This note originates from the results of the Strategic Project of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) on "Unemployment". Three polar self sustaining processes have been suggested as relevant: standardisation and variety; global and local context; codified and tacit knowledge. Three are also the main interpretations of unemployment. Two of them agree that economic growth is an essential condition for reducing unemployment and exclusion. However, in the first one "passive" (short term) flexibility is considered as a necessary and sufficient condition for virtuous growth. In the second interpretation "innovative" (long term flexibility) is to be implemented through the action of networks and associations and the coordination mechanism is lead by cooperation. The third interpretation tends to consider economic growth irrelevant (or impracticable) with respect to employment and this is why the appropriate remedies are discovered in a radical reform of the social architecture. On the whole, a partial equilibrium approach is not deemed sufficient and it is proposed the use a whole array of policy options differentiated with respect to the national and local setting and to the influence on the growth potential or the capability to exploit this potential.