The tribute money - detail (Christ with the apostles), Masaccio, 1401-1428, Florence, © Scala Archives
'I think of a wonderful book dating back to the 15th century called “Praise to the honorable merchant” by Benedetto Cotrugli, one of those universal spirits whom I have always looked up to as a mentor; a small manuscript of vital importance where he states that everything should be bought and sold at the right price. Cotrugli was certainly a humanist merchant, perhaps the first one, strictly speaking, and in this sense, with respect to history, almost a pacifist revolutionary who, for this very reason, still has a lot to say to the present day, especially regarding business ethics, and who asserted “the willingness and desire to purchase things with honor and without offending the Lord and thy neighbor”. His clear intent not to harm God or other people in any way seems touching and beautiful to me, and I’ve humbly tried to embrace this tenet in my daily business and in the care for Creation.
Still today, if we can be his moral heirs, we shall know that production must have the right price and the right profit. Not too many years ago, evading taxes could be considered by some as a smart action, and it sometimes sparked an imitative desire. Today this doesn’t happen anymore, things appear very different now. Paying taxes is a value, a duty and at the same time an act of respect to the society we live in and to other people. Just like profit, which must be harmonious and commensurate. How can excessive profit be justified? I crave none, and every single day I try to pay the utmost attention to ensuring that earnings are in line with the morality of my entrepreneurial business and with the high quality of my product. I’m convinced that such vision of the world is true to any human being and especially to young people, to whom we owe a lot and in whom we put our hope. Today, with technology, everyone knows everything about everyone, and knowing that a company generates the right profit and distributes such benefit in a way that strikes the balance between profit and giving back creates an overall atmosphere of trust, esteem and serenity.'