Time for my update on business practices in the Bel Paese – instead of TQM (Total Quality Management), we could call it Total Quagmire Management. Naturally, all of the usual suspects garner honorable mentions.
Turns out Alitalia has accumulated a nice little art collection of sorts over the years. So much so, it’s currently being appraised by Christies. It’s unclear whether that is for eventual sale, or if our new owners at the CAI want to know which are the best pieces to hang in their living rooms.
While over at State-run television RAI, a new President has been put in place. An octogenerian. So much for career advancement and bringing in new blood. Although one could argue that if the only people left watching state TV are Italy’s ever-aging population, perhaps he more than anyone could make the picks like the health shows and armchair travel specials. And just think: it’ll surely make things easier for actors looking to errr…rise to the top – I don’t think at that age even Viagra can help.
Meanwhile, an exciting new initiative has been announced in an effort to combat childhood obesity, which is taking on epic proportions over here: appropriately named SAFE, the program will supposedly help people get on the right track. It’s a shame that the acronym stands for: Stile di vita, Alimentazione, Farmaco & Esercizio Fisico (Lifestyle, Eating, Drugs & Physical Exercise). Pardon me, but since when are drugs to combat couch-potato bodies considered part of a healthy lifestyle? Probably not since those little chocolate ‘diet helpers’ came out in the 70s called Ayds (okay, they didn’t know what was coming down the pike)...
And finally, the doozy of the week: the government decided in their infinite wisdom to bring about a bill to help ‘stimulate’ (read: wreak havoc upon) the housing market. Their bill would allow anyone and everyone to build up and over across terraces, front lawns, and wherever they can build, much to the chagrin of the neighbors. In short, it proffers legality on practices that are changing cityscapes as we speak – just ask anyone in Rome’s (supposedly unbuildable) city center; new rooftop constructions blocking once perfect views are the order of the day.
This legislation (which may now be modified due to the outcry), is all the more audacious due to the fact that it favors the one category (outside the mafia) which contributes the least to the government coffers. Builders. The ones who hire all their workers under the table to avoid the social costs, who only declare about 1/8 of their income for taxes, who purchase materials (namely, cement) illegally to avoid the VAT, who build without permits (and accompanying taxes), and the list goes on.
At least lobbyists in America actually give money to government projects and politicians in order to get their way –
Needless to say, this is the outcome on business when government officials interfere with free enterprise.