The distinction between public and private is not only unfitting, but unproductive and The private sector does not represent the good, or the public sector the bad, and vice versa. We wish to give the word “public” a renewed positive connotation, as is found in the Italian Constitution, without emulating entirely the private sector, but rather by working together in unison, in pursuit of the common good.
These are not abstract words, but rather values that were arduously maintained following the bloody wars of the early 1900s, and ratified by a Constitution that was, and is still today, for all Italians.
In order to once again strive for the common good and promote a new and sustainable model for growth, the machinery of government must be improved by revamping its two powering engines – the political system and the administrative system. A working government with an efficient public administration, an authoritative and modern institutional structure, a political system that works – these are the premises required to ensure a country’s both economic and social progression.
It is here that we focus most of our efforts, what is often termed “innovation for social change”.
We believe that in order to address the numerous crises we currently have before us, antiquated methods, such as delegating free rein to non-profit organisations for offering public services or philanthropy, are not the solution. “We would have liked to bring to life another of the numerous associations that deservedly help the ill or children. This would have undoubtedly given us much more gratification as well as recognition.” Instead, we preferred to undertake a more challenging and low-profile task, by attempting to intervene at the root of the crises, acting on the decision-making mechanisms and the policies that cause such crises, or in the very least, fail to resolve them. In other words, we aim to work on the institutions and legislation, not in an abstract manner, but through a hands-on approach.
This might seem like an ambitious project but, in reality, it is something which is already underway in other countries such as the U.S. and Great Britain, labelled as “innovation for social change”. It is clear that the groundwork first needs to be properly laid in order for any change to happen.
The foundation operates, without limitation, in the following areas:
evaluating the performance and transparency of the public administrations;
monitoring public expenditure, in particular, that of the local councils;
ensuring social inclusion and promoting participation in society;
social impact investing;
reform to the political parties and policies;
restructuring the institutional framework and its performance;
modernising recruitment mechanisms based on merit and skills;
the accountability of directors in both the public and private sectors.
Ethics is our premise or means, a norm for public conduct: this has no relation to morality, but rather to the concept of responsibility and regulation of a proper method of living within a community.
> Above: “Calendar-cake”, by Maria Letizia Cariello, donated to the Fondazione Etica.