For a quarter of a century now, our magazine BARCHE has always participated in the Genoa International Boat Show. We have proudly participated in the show, which has rewarded the sacrifices and the work of those years
by Francesco Michienzi
Exactly six years ago I sent an interview request to one of the most important entrepreneurs of Italian boating, a man who has demonstrated his worth in his actions, and who does not like to appear in public; he has never given interviews. This is the response I received, but out of respect for his will, I will not reveal his name. I have kept this letter because in very few lines it expresses an authentically strong line of thinking that has kept its same meaning and value even after these years.
«Dear Director, If I may, what do you expect me to tell the press? Banalities or white lies? A careful eye sees everything, and you have one. You have seen what we’ve done in these years among a thousand hardships, without ever failing in our commitments… It’s time to put on our big boy pants and leave the trivialities behind us to try to build solid companies, to enter the consolidated industrial sector which has had a huge opportunity for growth and selection in the crisis. It’s time to understand new things in order to start again, consolidated and aware of having, thanks to Made in Italy, opportunities to seriously take advantage of. Opportunities that have at times been thrown to the wind in recent years».
I find myself rereading it often and I keep it on my desk as a warning and an incentive to do my job better. I personally entirely agree with these words and I want to accept the invitation to become adults, in the noblest sense of the term. I received the letter five years after 10 August 2007, the date when the pages of the Italian newspapers first discussed the economic crisis.
On that occasion, the headline of La Stampa read: “The mortgage storm shakes stock exchanges”, dedicating the front page to the “Made in US” scandal. Today the crisis has lasted more than ten years. Starting from the economy of a single country, it has crept into the financial and political circuits of the world and corroded its mechanisms, forcing the examination of post-war economic policies and demonstrating their weaknesses.
I believe that the moment has arrived, after the beginning of the global economic crisis, to ask ourselves how our productive system has changed and where we stand along our entrepreneurial path. 100,000 businesses have failed in Italy from 2008 to today. About another 20,000 companies are added to these which have made agreements with their debtors for the partial repayment of debt or have launched insolvency procedures other than bankruptcies.
Almost fifty percent of companies in the boating sector have reinvented themselves. Unfortunately, there are more and more cases of short-term memory loss, and without an authoritative press that seeks to contain the phenomenon, it is difficult to hope for a healthy market where the competition between companies is just.
A company cannot re-enter the market after a failure as if nothing had happened, without at least paying the toll of a moral sanction. A few days ago my publishing house received a proposal for an agreement for unsecured creditors at three percent of the sum owed by a shipyard. This proposal arrived eight years late, and is the result of a sick system that does not want to change. I am sure that this brand will rise from the ashes like a phoenix and will return to shine on the Italian boating scene.
This is not an isolated case: there are those who have changed their VAT number while keeping a similar business name, expecting you to consider them immaculate and then being surprised if you decide to keep them far away from the pages of the magazine. We do not want to offer you banalities or tell white lies: we are fighting for a sense of justice that protects those who are serious and have silently suffered over the last ten years, but have also rolled up their sleeves to resist with dignity. They are those who have worked tenaciously, investing all their economic resources to safeguard their company and the work of their artisans, just like the entrepreneur who answered my interview request.
We have reached a new edition of the Genoa International Boat Show which, despite the city’s recent troubles, will be the best in recent years: a showcase which is again coveted by Italian and foreign manufacturers. My hope is to see only healthy companies that have made ethics and compliance the watchwords of their business. Fortunately they are a majority, but in my opinion too silent, which should bear responsibility for preventing the return of unscrupulous entrepreneurs to the market, as they undermine the credibility of the entire sector.
Unfortunately, the civil justice system is not a flagship of our country. But we must not be discouraged; indeed, we must commit ourselves even more to enhancing and defending an industrial excellence that is unmatched worldwide.
This is the 25th Genoa International Boat Show for BARCHE, a milestone achieved with no small amount of effort, but with great satisfaction for the results obtained thanks to the commitment of all those who work and have worked for the magazine and those who trust in us. Similarly, our readers have never left our side, nor have the many advertisers who believed in the value of our work.
(Twenty-five years in Genoa, the editorial by Franco Michienzi – September 2018)