CONFINDUSTRIA, at the forefront of development
More than 100 years have gone by since Confindustria's foundation in 1910, which have also seen the passage from the industrial revolution, launched at the beginning of the 20th century with the spread of the driving force of electricity and developments in the engineering sector, to the technological revolution of our own time deriving from the extraordinary impacts of microelectronics and digital technologies.
Following this long path gradually and tenaciously, Italy has emerged from a state of economic backwardness and subordination in the international division of labour to become at last an advanced industrial society.
A long gestation period, lasting almost half a century from the date of Italian unification, was necessary before in 1910 (almost at the same time as the establishment of the General Confederation of Labour) Italian entrepreneurs managed to form their own association to represent and safeguard the interests of the world of industry.
At that time Italy was laying the foundations of its development process at the culmination of the Liberal Age, not only thanks to the crutches provided by the state on behalf of "national labour" but also above all thanks to the dynamism and capabilities of a large group of captains of industry, some of whom went on to set up powerful entrepreneurial dynasties.
Despite sectoral and local imbalances, this sweeping transformation enabled Italy to escape the fate of certain Mediterranean and Balkan countries, which were condemned to remain among the underdeveloped areas of the European economy.
Since then Italy has embarked on a path (that was nearly interrupted several times during the Fascist period and after the Second World War) which over the last 25 years has brought it into the ranks of the world's most industrialised nations.
Almost all companies, overwhelmed by the great crisis of the 1930s and nationalised, which in 1957 (after the establishment of the Ministry of State Shareholdings) were separated from Confindustria, returned to the "mother ship" following the wave of privatisations.
The grass roots – the "hard core" of the Confederation – strengthened in quantitative and qualitative terms thanks to the contribution of the ideas and energy of a growing number of small production units. All this thanks to entrepreneurs aware of their own attitudes and potential, who have made an unparalleled contribution to the development of relations with civil society, local entities and institutions, the world of culture and professionals.
Confindustria has thus taken on an increasingly complex aspect, coherent in both its local and sectoral networks.
Today it is no longer just an industrial trade association. Nor can it be deemed to be an expression of what in political jargon are defined as the "strong powers", namely the leading industrial groups.
Indeed, thanks to its increasingly pluralistic configuration and characteristic innovative vocation, its responsibilities regarding the search for a solution to the enormous problems facing Italy through dialogue and debate with other members of the world of production and employment have grown.
Now as in the past, there are always new challenges along the growth and economic development path; Confindustria's mission is to tackle them and constantly seek solutions for Italy and its production system.