Planning Studies Centre

italian version

Progetto'80: a project for the renewal of the Italian society

The ‘Progetto 80' was a project of reflection and programming promoted in 1968, at first by the ‘Planning Office' and then the ‘Planning Secretariat' at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning of the Italian Government, under the direction of Giorgio Ruffolo, who was subsequently responsible of both. It was developed during the most flourishing period of the Italian Government (between the 60s and the 70s), at that time called Centre-Left, i.e. political cooperation between the Christian Democrat Party (DC) and the Socialist Italian Party (PSI) (when a considerable part of the Italian Left Politics was still ‘blocked' by the faithful and indestructible adhesion of the Italian Communist Party to the Soviet block and to its totalitarian, anti-democratic, anti-European and anti-Atlantic policy). In the experience of the Centre-Left government (which roughly developed from 1964 and 1973), the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning has been directed by two Socialists: Antonio Giolitti and Giovanni Pieraccini, and around them a group of ‘intellectuals' (economists, sociologists, political scientists and planners) have been grouped together in order to try and give an impulse for a deep, long-term change of the Italian society: the very perspective of the ‘80s'.

The Planning Studies Centre (see its aims and activities), founded in 1965, advance this trend. From it came the greatest number of experts that later took part in the movement of the ‘Progetto 80', and in it they studied a good deal of the technico-scientific innovations connected to an experience of integrated, socio-economic and planned programming, which constituted the heart of the ideas related to the Progetto 80 (see the original cover and index).

However, as the success and the innovation of the Progetto 80 are inherent to the success of the ‘integrated programming approach', so has its failure been determined by the abandonment in the political and governmental ambiences of that approach, by the decline of a rigorous consistency with the methodology of the approach, by a difficult diffusion on a larger scale of the knowledge necessary for the implementation of that approach; in this way, that approach had the time to enter the practice of the traditional economic and social policy and to be consolidated by a new way to manage public administration.

The Planning Studies Centre tried in every way to consolidate and deepen at least the scientific side of the Progetto 80. This trial has been developed in three main directions of integrated planning:

  1. The building of an accounting system concerning the choices of the economic and social policy and a system of ‘econometric models' related to a programming approach. All this flows in the ‘Progetto Quadro' which has been an attempt at quantifying the ‘Progetto 80' (developed within the ISPE, the official institute of the Economic Programming created within the structure of the Ministry of Budget), but under the coordination and direction of Prof. Franco Archibugi, director of the Planning Studies Centre, and other experts of the Centre. The Progetto Quadro has remained a cost-constant reference point of the research activities of the Centre until now and the hope to relaunch this research has never been abandoned (with an update of its contents, but a methodology that is still valid for the Progetto Quadro). The main report of the Progetto Quadro has been republished by the Centre in 2002 ( see here ) among the works of Prof. Franco Archibugi. It has been revised by the author with only few modifications (‘An Accounting Framework for the national Programming' etc.). See furthermore the Project for a new Social Accounting written by Prof Archibugi and already proposed by the Centre to the National Research Council CNR (but until now it has remained unanswered).
  2. The deepening of budget programming techniques, as method to systematically bind the public expenditure, especially that of the Ministries of the Central Government in Italy, to the development of integrated programming. This effort, at that time (1970), had produced a report on the introduction of a system of budget programming in Italy (by the director of the centre, Prof Franco Archibugi). The introduction of budget programming was considered a further application of the Progetto 80's innovative ideas. Today it constitutes, as Strategic Programming, one of the main concerns of the Centre and of its educational activities (see Master in ‘Strategic Programming and Evaluation in the Public Domain'). It is possible, furthermore, to consult the following publications by the centre – among the works of Prof. Archibugi – related to the matter: Introduction to Strategic Planning in the Public Domain and Compendium of Strategic Planning in the Public Domain (only in Italian) .
  3. The – more and more articulated and recursive – building of a territorial reference Frame for the regional, territorial and environmental policy ( Quadroter ), of which the Planning Studies Centre has been the inspirer, as symbol and tool of that integrated Programming (integrated among economics, sociology and urban planning) which it dominated right from its own birth. The Progetto Quadroter has continued to be the leitmotif of a good deal of the Centre's research activities, and has marked, during time, renewed editions at national and international scale. The main researches still being valid, which are derived from the Quadroter, are: Decamb, Utras, Anatur, Surb-Italia, Actvill, and many others.

Incomprehension and political administrative opportunism developed within the same group of experts which should have carried on principals and methods of the contributed Integrated Programming (much more than political vicissitudes, which are, as well known, very far from being a real factor of social and cultural progress) leading to failure in the expectations of the Progetto 80, which has been reduced to be only a historical testimony, verbose and unheeded.

The political crisis of Italy in the Integrated Programming (and of its institutions that have still – for a long time – referred to this Programming, only on paper) had its counterstroke on the Planning Studies Centre, which – with logistic difficulties at surviving – put aside the commitment to constitute a promotional factor of change of the Italian society, and dedicated itself with more concentration and firmness to the deepening of the very technical and methodological issues of Integrated Programming, consolidating its networking with an international, scientific environment, on the very theme of integrated, socio-economic planning.


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