In Italy's 'Red Emilia,' Socialists Mean Business Policies Foster Small Manufacturers in Region near Milan

By Reese Erlich, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 3, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

In Italy's 'Red Emilia,' Socialists Mean Business Policies Foster Small Manufacturers in Region near Milan


Reese Erlich, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


TEXTILE-FACTORY owner Graziano Daviddi has just gotten a complaint from a customer that the cloth is too thick. With a few taps on his computerized weaving machine, Mr. Daviddi corrects the problem and the new, multicolor wool cloth comes tumbling out.

"You notice the noise level is also quite manageable," Daviddi says, "because we installed special baffles in the ceilings and inside the machines themselves."

State-of-the-art equipment and flexible production methods account for much of the success of more than 2,400 textile and knitwear garment factories in this small town 100 miles southeast of Milan. Small shoe manufacturers and ceramic floor tile businesses enjoy similar success here in the province of Emilia Romagna. The region enjoys a 6 percent annual growth rate and virtually no unemployment at a time when Italy faces 11 percent joblessness nationwide. Emilia Romagna is certainly an Italian success story, says Federico Galdi, director of International Relations for the national employers trade group Confindustria. "One of the secrets of Italian fashion," he says, "is that by using small scale production rather than the big factories with 3,000 workers, they are capable of introducing a new collection in only two weeks." Another secret is that for years Emilia Romagna has been governed by the Communist Party of Italy (PCI) and by its successor organization, the Party of the Democratic Left (PDS). While the ruling Christian Democratic and Socialist parties in Rome promoted large-scale industry such as Fiat and Olivetti, the communists sponsored co-ops and small factories. In one of the ironies of the post-cold-war era, large industries face serious problems in the former Soviet Union and Italy, while communist-inspired, small-scale capitalism is thriving in "red Emilia. From cheap labor to high skills German companies first opened garment factories in Emilia Romagna in the late 1950s, seeking low-cost labor. That surge coincided with layoffs and political purges of communist workers from some large factories, according to Angelo Orru, head of La Fenice Garment Company in Carpi. Unable to find other work, some of those communists set up small factories. "They transformed themselves into entrepreneurs," Mr. Orru says. "They were not investing and speculating; they were working hard." By the late 1970s the Communist Party was voted into office in Emilia Romagna and many of its cities. The PCI was determined to show that it could effectively govern in Italy and started a campaign to promote economic growth.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

In Italy's 'Red Emilia,' Socialists Mean Business Policies Foster Small Manufacturers in Region near Milan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?