I think about this every day. I lived in Italy for 21 years. Born as a U.S. citizen of two Italian parents who come from the same town, I am considered to be the perfect hybrid. I lived in the South, the area most afflicted by Italy’s problems and also the land where the “Italian Revolution” will occur and will set us ahead of Germany and as the locomotive of of Europe (I am certain it will happen in the future).
Italy suffers from a wide range of problems. The premise should, however, be completed only when you consider how rich Italy has become while still stricken with her ordeals. So saving Italy does not mean avoiding the worst, rather it means setting her on the throne of Europe. This is a winning fight, not a struggle for survival.
First and foremost, Italy suffers from the lack of natural resources, mainly oil. Furthermore, as a nation, it decided not to adopt nuclear energy and this is something to which I agree, considering the current level of corruption in the country (people are smart not to trust the government and the private sector to manage the waste produced by these facilities). This is where alternative energy and superconductors will save the country. So, while all other nations will benefit from such technologies, Italy will have the highest gain in comparison, especially the South of Italy.
The next problem is corruption. Now, it’s easy to say that organized crime is a main factor in the Italian corruption ordeal and, in a way, it is true. But let’s not give the rooster credit because the sun comes up every day. Organized crime is a burden on the country, but corruption has its own epicenter. One way to fight this is to reduce the number of laws currently active. I need to find the exact source, but I know in Italy there are so many outdated laws in vigor that can easily be trashed out and help the economy kick start. Now I don’t mean laws that protect the environment or the social protection net, but dumb laws like if a person forces himself into a public house then he/she can’t be kicked out and other things of that nature. Laws that hold back private initiatives are only there to favor crony capitalists and not the small businessman. Consider how stupid is the law that states that inmates with families must get a pension: why so? They committed a crime so they get hard time; why should they get pay? So, as you can see, eliminating laws rather then adding new ones would lighten the load and help the economy.
Then, of course, you have organized crime. It’s a very simple fix actually. First of all follow the money. First you legalize marijuana and prostitution so you can regulate it and tax it heavily and I mean like 50% tax, flat. No deduction whatsoever. This kills the black economy and generates further revenue. Organized crime syndicates either become official activities or they get hard time. Plus, we won’t have half of the prison population that are in for possession of small quantities of drugs. All the foreign petty drug dealers will have to go elsewhere to do their dirty business as well. Next, put laws that punish even more organized crime related felonies and take out all possible “circostanze attennuanti” so if they have any relation to that type of felony, they go straight to jail, without passing go. Further to this, we definitely need more judges to work on more cases and speed up the judicial process and, to aid them, we also need to establish a department of Information Technology, whose sole purpose is to centralize and standardize the information technology need of all departments of the country, including towns and provinces. By doing so, no town can make a pen cost 200 euros or pay consultants millions without being caught, should an investigation be made. So, having all financial activities traced clearly in sight, Organized crime can’t put their dirty fingers on the “cosa pubblica” without easily getting caught. This is also related to the previous matter on fighting corruption. It’s funny how Italians think they can actually get away with stupid things because, for them, all you have to do is make sure the phones aren’t tapped. They are I.T. ignorant on many levels (not strictly organized crime, but the PA and the whole corruption network in general). The power of standardized I.T. throughout the country will help fight this. So, a few more prisons, many more judges, better technology and a standardization of IT with its own independent ministry will help this.
Finally, we need more and better infrastructure. We use trucks to ship most of the resources! This is ridiculous…we need more railroads to do shipments, and this means fighting the trucking lobby first and foremost. Then we need strategic infrastructure investment such as the shipping ports, highways in the South, better electric conduits and much MUCH more high speed Internet. Businesses are actually shovel ready in the South; they just need the logistics to actually be productive, you know.
I can go on explaining many more detailed solutions to the Italian run for the top. See, essentially, the main problem in Italy is actually its leaders. They are the true weak link in this chain. It’s truly a state of mind of the whole country to behave in a certain way. They feel helpless to fight this fight on an individual level and they accept being corrupt on the social level, so this is why things work out the way they do. Is it casual or by design? By design of course! Remember, it’s crony capitalism, and in it Italy is its masterpiece.
I’ll conclude by saying this: In my mind there is an alternative universe, and in it Italy is the motor of Europe. It’s a wonderful reality. Never have I seen such a deserving country. The people of Italy must wake up to this potential and make it their main goal, then it would only be a matter of years before this alternative reality becomes ours. No more must we play the blame game. The South must not accuse the North of stealing its resources during the unification and the North must immediately cease thinking of the South as a second class land. (The South is second to none, believe me.) We are all one and, in this unity, we can be the best of our potential. Time will tell.
EDIT August 2nd, 2017:
I want to thank all who took interest and some of their time to appreciate a topic like that of seeing Italy succeed. Especially in the current historical moment in which this wonderful nation is finding itself in (The migrant crisis, the permeating corruption, France being a constant nuisance etc.)
The two main reactions which I feel like the comments portray are appreciation and skepticism.
As for appreciation, I noticed that the details on a practical and sensible plan to actually overcome real obstacles that would give real gain in terms of wealth and progress is something that was very well received and agreed upon. In fact, many readers have added to the “recipe” and gave other great ideas which of course are viable solutions. For example, making politicians more legally accountable and taking away any form of “immunity”. One common scenario to consider is when they want to enforce anonymous voting during tough political issues. Should a certain senator or representative be arrested for a crime? If so, since it is a representative, the congress must vote for his arrest, and who would vote for a coworker to be arrested? Today if politicians want to make a decision which they know the public will condemn them for doing, they would opt for an anonymous vote (disgusting may I add…).
The other sensation as I stated before is skepticism. However I need to add that it is more of a blend of skepticism and resignation, alias sad pessimism. There is a truly strong component of helplessness to the Italian problem that many young and old Italians feel due the insurmountable mountain that holds progress back.
This horrible state of mind is further aggravated by the fact that when citizens of areas like Sicily, Calabria and Campania rebel against corrupted forces like the criminal organizations, the politicians leave them alone, stranded. This feeling of abandonment is the worst possible thing that can happen.
What I am trying to say here is that we should not expect to solve a problem like this one with naive optimism. On the contrary, realism is the key factor to eradicate Italy’s chains. What wee need to make sure is that we keep the flame of hope alive.
Yes, many Italians are leaving the country and it’s a real phenomenon, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at it from this perspective: many actually keep contact with their homeland and this translates to wealth being brought back to Italy. For example I currently work in the United States and very often I find myself sending money back in one form or the other (purchasing items, sending a gift, planning my vacation to visit, etc.) and when scaling up to thousands of Italians doing the same thing, this translates to a large amount of wealth increase for Italy. You could interpret this is a form of financial colonization. Furthermore, since so many Italian that work abroad gain much needed experience that they could not obtain easily otherwise, if they come back to Italy (and statistically there is a good amount that do) they bring back with them not only their skill set, but also a new and improved mentality which will blend with the rest of the Italian society and this would be very helpful, especially in the South where more pragmatism would be welcomed.
What I have stated here is not a continuum of solutions to the Italian revolution, because from what I see the collective has a clear mindset about doing so, rather I am just trying to balance the strongly perceived skepticism seen as a sign of weakness and resignation with a keen sense of a better future.
Each Italian (and Italian loving person) should be like the survivors of the novel “Fahrenheit 451”. We should all hold within us the solutions and knowledge of our culture for the future. We must resist, each according to their ability. One day, the moment will come in which the right political, social and economical conditions will allow for our potential to come out (It happened once, it will happen again).
We need to be selfless about this solution and truly desire it, even if we know we won’t personally get to see it. With certainty, posterity will and every step we take to get there now will be a step less we won’t have to do later.
I can only imagine how impossible was the thought of Italy in the 1800s, yet through brute force of intellectual spirit and the loss of much blood in battle, a country was formed for better or for worse , one called Italy. The execution was horrible, the results weren’t the best and the leading class (like now) was dismally incompetent. Still today, we have a pretty nice nation with yet so much more to give to the world. If you think about it, what we are trying to do currently is not really as hard, compared to the past. It’s amazing how the tables could turn in 50–100 years for the better.
After the Italian unification, it was said “Italy was made, now we must make the Italians.”
Today, we have the Italians , now we must make Italy as great as the Italians.