“The raging Twenties” according to Alec Ross

6 October 2021

Alec Ross, Distinguished Adjunct Professor at BBS, presented Saturday his new book, at the BBS campus, Villa Guastavillani, in the presence of the Dean Max Bergami, of the journalist Giovanna Pancheri and of Romano Prodi, President of the Collegio di Indirizzo of Bologna Business School. 

In the book, published by Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, Alec Ross reveals the logic of power of big tech companies and large multinationals and, through interesting and engaging stories of reactions to their monopoly, lays the foundations for a new social contract, able to listen to workers and citizens in the face of an unprecedented global revolution. “The delicate balance that lasted nearly two centuries between people, companies, and states has broken down. As Obama said, every act of creation begins with an act of destruction. Today is the time to rewrite the social contract”, explains Alec Ross, who in the book weaves together interviews with the world’s most influential thinkers and fascinating stories of corporate activism and malfeasance, governmental failures, and renewals, and innovative economic and political models from around the world.

Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, businesses developed the ability to shape our daily lives both for the good and the bad. As a counterbalance, the state had the power to control their influence and the citizens to choose their leaders. This arrangement has been preserved for one hundred and fifty years. Today we find ourselves in a new wave of globalization and this balance is teetering dangerously. While the market is being monopolized by few companies, which are becoming more and more gigantic, in the US the line between Walmart and the halls of Congress has become thin. “It’s a phenomenon that concerns all countries in the world, Italy too”, says Alec Ross “What we need is an Italian model for growth and governance that reflects the values and priorities of its citizens. We need to revise our social contract to preserve what is sacred and defines Italy culturally while also allowing us to grow in a world where the multinationals of the United States and China increasingly define the world’s political and economic architecture. To do this, we need a new wave of Italian entrepreneurs, young men, and young women, the kinds that we are educating to help lead in this new world at BBS.”

A commitment that sees learning as one of the most important tools because, Alec Ross concludes: “When we go to work it is increasingly the case that either you tell a machine what to do or a machine tells you what to do. Education, the level of training, are the factors that determine which side of that equation you are on. Education needs to become increasingly interdisciplinary as we practice it at BBS, and it needs to be lifelong. It is no longer good enough to conclude learning, formal and informal, at the age of 23”.


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