The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance under the PM Mario Draghi hired a strategic consulting multinational to ‘organise’ Italy’s distribution of the Recovery Fund monies
The firm will carry out a study on the ‘Next Generation’ plans for the country and offer technical-operational support of project-management for the monitoring of the various lines of work for the finalisation of the plan.
Much has been said about the value of the 25 thousand euros contract: peanuts for a large company like McKinsey. Be it opportunism, or the desire to get involved in Italy’s recovery, or even sympathy for Draghi’s government and the Italian procurement code, this decision has triggered a wide debate.
The government could have involved Universities and youth organizations through a call for tenders, but apparently this was not in their plans. Article 35 paragraph 2.a of the Procurement code, states that for contracts lower than 40,000 euros there is no need to publish the call for tenders. In fact, McKinsey was assigned the job by direct award, without prior consultation of the contractor with two or more economic operators.
“The government of the best”, as they call it, confirms its oligarchic tendency towards co-optation. According to Yanis Varoufakis in his last interview with the Italian journal La Stampa, McKinsey’s engagement “is an affront to the Italian people’s well-developed sense of decency.”
McKinsey has a controversial past
The US company is involved in the profit maximization of the company Purdue Pharma, to which McKinsey employees had suggested pumping sales of OxyContin, a highly addictive opioid drug, thus contributing to a crisis that has devastated families and communities across the United States, according to a NY Times report.
For Italy’s great recovery plan, the government brings into play the strongest supporters of Milton Friedman’s doctrine: “Conduct business in line with the wishes of shareholders, which is generally to make as much profit as possible”.
We have been told that Draghi’s academic past with Federico Caffè would have influenced his political decisions. Keynesian and expansive policies for the new “magnificent and progressive fate”, quoting Giacomo Leopardi, were presented by mainstream media. As we have seen in the previous article, Draghi is neither a Keynesian, nor a savior of the fatherland.
What we actually understood is that the ancient rule of the Art of War also applies to him: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
That’s exactly what Draghi has been doing in the last few weeks: he hired Francesco Giavazzi (the infamous theorist of the expansive austerity) as economic consultant, but also Sirena Sileoni, deputy director of Bruno Leoni Institute (whose motto is Ideas for the free market), where a paper was published a few months ago claiming that the blocking of layoffs causes a bubble “which sacrifices the freedom of dismissal by companies and the efficient reallocation of productivity which would be ensured in the medium-long term, by the free deployment of the productive forces”. And to conclude (for now) the unexpected contract with McKinsey.
Draghi’s decision comes as no surprise
Back in 2015, as president of the ECB, he had used private legal advice to close commercial bank branches across Greece. In 2015, the European parliamentarian Fabio De Masi asked for access to the agreement and the contents of the legal advice but Draghi said that European taxpayers should not be allowed to access such sensitive documents. Diem’s voice on this topic is still very clear, Release #TheGreekFiles.
But this time there shall be no escape for the government. According to the Italian law, the contract has to be made public (find it here). What we actually need is a collective request to publish the documents provided to the Ministry by the private company. If the government refuses, this will set an alarming precedent that would torment even the most passionate supporter of “The government of the Best”.
A provocation from Yanis Varoufakis stimulated a wave of resentment in some Italian citizens that have lived under two completely different governments in the last two years, with a political crisis at an almost weekly basis.
So predictable, so sad: Mario Draghi hired McKinsey to 'organise' Italy's distribution of Recovery Fund monies. What next? Get the Mafia to re-organise the Ministry of Justice?
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) March 8, 2021
Those same citizens that now deal with Berlusconi’s lawyer undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, with uneducated undersecretaries of the Ministries of Cultural Heritage and Education, theorists of the free market and expansive austerity as economic consultants of the PM. And let’s not forget Matteo Renzi, the Senator who triggered political chaos by pulling his support from Conte, thus leading to Draghi’s government. Mr. Renzi, has recently received significant money transfers from Mohammed bin Salaman, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, just for saying that Saudi Arabia could be the ideal place for a new Renaissance. After harming the previous government in the midst of the pandemic, Renzi flew to Saudi Arabia for the amount of 80’000 euros, to address as ‘His majesty’ a man accused of killing and cutting journalist Jamal Khashoggi into pieces.
Well, indeed, we need high profile consultants, maybe psychiatrists, to understand how it is possible to accept this situation.
Deceptions are more frequent than real change
In Italy there is seemingly no escape from the political crisis. The technocratic government maintains the frequent excuse that ‘There is no alternative’.
Let’s conclude with a meaningful quote from Another Now:
“The worst form of slavery is that which people consent to for lack of any viable alternative.”
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect DiEM25’s official policies or positions.
Photo Source: Philip McMaster on Flickr.
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