The industrialist Gerolamo Gaslini (1877-1964) operated in the field of vegetable oils and food industry. He had great success and enjoyed a solid entrepreneurial reputation. In 1938 he built in Genoa the internationally-renowned paediatric hospital "Istituto Giannina Gaslini", named after his prematurely late younger daughter. To fund and manage it, in 1950 he donated all his considerable heritage to the "Gerolamo Gaslini Foundation". The latter promoted the research on its donor, achieved in 2006. Then, without offering explanations, the Foundation refused to publish it. With a three-year delay, the author, P. Rugafiori, in defence of the independency of the scientific research, decided to publish the book, based on a vast body of primary sources. This documentation has permitted the exact calculation of Gaslini’s enterprises tax evasion. Three discussants contribute to the debate: two are historians, M. Elisabetta Tonizzi and Fabio Levi, and one, Luca Bagetto, is a philosopher. They examine the book from different points of view, according to their scientific expertise. The author’s reply carefully reviews their critical comments and stresses the multi-disciplinary approach of the book.
Keywords: Business history, Italian industrialists, Italian food industry, gift relationship, ethics and economics, private morality and public institutions