Never is the social and economic destiny of a territory a matter of coincidence or the outcome of an unalterable path. Conversely, such destiny always results from choices made by local communities and the direction imparted by the national government. Within the economic history of Southern Italy, in spite of growth reiteratedly alternating with stagnation, a constant feature lies in the presence of elites that hampered social dissemination of economic progress.
Yet, Southern Italy’s industrial vitality endured all overturns and today expresses productive activities that have succeeded in attaining excellence by smartly competing in global value chains, such as aerospace, automobile, pharmaceuticals, and agri-food. For the occasion of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, we wish to give way to a number of success stories rooted in the productive fabric of Southern Italy’s Regions.
Such experiences stem from the successful combination of multiple factors: human resources quality appealing foreign investors; deeply rooted skills often dating back to ancient trades and traditions; and the positive function performed by the State, which favoured enterprises increase in size and stimulated investments from other regions both of Italy and abroad. Such success stories are evidence that benefits for wide segments of Southern Italy’s population can result from clear distribution of roles between central government and local authorities, effective drive to such valuable distribution, and rigorous use of funding resources. These stories teach us that cooperation between the European dimension (funds availability, expenditure control, and best practice sharing), the national dimension (effective selection of incentive mechanisms, collaboration with non-central level) and the local dimension (efficient use of resources and identification of ad-hoc place-based strategy) enable attaining large-scale results.