In an increasingly global and complex world, the only possibility for a socially sustainable development is to look forward and not to the past. An economy based on permanent employment, typical of the second half of the last century, will no longer be possible. Future will be characterized by variable employment, within the perspective already defined as the fourth industrial revolution, also called “Industry 4.0”. In many countries, especially in Germany, this perspective is considered with great attention. Even in Italy, economists are reflecting on how this can lead to a general development, especially here, in Italy. To seek responses we need to reflect on how will tomorrow’s production sectors look like, starting from the assumption that Italy will remain among the “top ten” of both, the most developed and most scientific-efficient countries. If it’s true that globalization aims to standardize productions, it is also true that every Country will be characterized by typical activities, which for Italy will be linked to the agri-food sector. Expo 2015 perfectly highlighted the key competitive advantages of this sector, which entail the traditional Made in Italy as well as organic products and environmental equilibrium of productions. Without forgetting the world of machines and equipment of the food industry, including packaging, with a long tradition of success and still at the cutting edge of innovation and competitiveness. Changes need their right times, but in Italy something is happening, the “after Expo” has begun, and, with the help of scientific research – an area, in which Italian Universities are greatly present – something entirely new is emerging. In Italy, all the ingredients needed for the growth of the food sector already exist (or are being looked for), and contribute to the creation of growth-friendly synergies. It should be remembered that the food sector indirectly generates considerable advantages for the tourism of food and wine; to the extent that in Italy non-European overnight stays are substantially higher than in other European countries. In 2013, they were twice than those of Germany and 45 or 30% higher than those of France and Spain, respectively. Italy can count on young entrepreneurs with innovative and ambitious ideas, engaged in developing new industrial policies, which put together tradition and innovation, so that for a long time the Italian food sector will remain one of the healthiest and more sustainable for the environment worldwide.
By Dante Marco De Faveri