Welcome to Antonio Dipietro
That’s a bold statement. You probably heard the phrase “race to the bottom” before. Sadly, for the longest time, Italian politics has been nothing but that. For all the backbiting, backstabbing and crab mentality, it seems that Italian politics can’t rise above. In fact, many other countries in the EU have dismissed the Italian political economy as hopelessly outdated.
They have dismissed us as products of an earlier time in social-political evolution. I know this offensive and insulting. I resist such categorization, but you really can’t avoid the glimmers of truth in such blanket dismissals. The truth is Italian politics doesn’t have to be caught in that one-way ticket race to the bottom.
The great thing about Italian culture is that we have a sense of community. We were not fully individualist even though we’re Europeans. We come from a tradition of a strong regard for the greater public good.
This is the big dilemma that we face because, as we could all agree on the overarching theme and philosophy, when it comes to actual implementation, all bets are off. You only need to look at the past 60 years of Italian politics to see this in action.
To say that Italian political economy at some level or another is dysfunctional would be to put it mildly, especially after the 1960s. Still, we have to keep trying. There is always room for improvement. The best part to all of this is we don’t have to become German we don’t have to become Scandinavians we can remain Italian. There is a strong Italian solution to this set of problems.
Problem Number One: Inclusive Democracy
1. The Division
As you already know, if you are reading this blog and any other blogs on Italian politics and culture, there is a divide in Italy. In fact, it should be obvious. The divide starts roughly at Naples. Below Naples is another Italy; above Naples is another Italy. This cannot be sustained for long. We have to create a unified Italian development model that ensures inclusive democracy and growth for everybody.
2. Future of Democracy
It's one thing to stick to a democratic model, it's another to actually deliver on all the blessings that this form of government can and does deliver. It is not a function of historical accident nor cultural background. It goes beyond that. It really all boils down to simple political will. Just because it hasn't happened in the past, doesn't necessarily mean it's not going to happen in the future. Similarly, just because we are stuck with seemingly intractable pattern of dysfunction and problems, doesn't necessarily mean that we are perpetually doomed to repeat it.
Reform Italian Politics to Boost Growth and the Viability of Italian Culture
I’m a firm believer in our culture because I know in my heart of hearts this is where the answer lies. It’s not a question of imposing a system or a set of solutions from within. While inspiration is great and importing ideas are awesome, we have to ultimately reform them with both an Italian face and heart, and, yes, a purely Latin soul. So what problems do we have facing us? What is the big project that we need to confront?
Ask 100 people what the answer is to produce a sustainable economy, and, chances are, you probably would come up with 101 or more different answers. That highlights the fragmented, yet exciting, intellectual ferment that forms the backdrop to our project.
It’s obvious that the market has to be reformed. It’s not performing the way it should. The blessings of economic democracy are not being felt by all layers of society. Something has to be done. The problem is figuring out which path to get there. We can all agree on the final destination. We could all agree on the final set of blessings that we should all aim for. The problem is everybody’s driving in their own road. The project then turns on not only identifying these roads, but ensuring that everybody drives at the same direction and at the same rate of speed.
Welfare System Reformed
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Immigration, again, just like welfare, is a non-issue that is a big issue. It’s a non-issue in the sense that we need immigration because of the low birth rate of our country. If we just shut out all migration and start and plug up the border, we will end up in the same basket as Japan where the average age is approaching 47. Something has to be done and immigration is a tool to fix that demographic problem However, we cannot stop there.
To maintain and preserve Italian culture, we have to have a serious discussion on how we can solve the economic ramifications of low birth rate, while at the same time, propagating Italian culture. A lot of this has to focus on results-driven and quality-based immigration.