Monday, November 1, 2010

Italy has no future

Unemployment is a serious concern everywhere, especially among young people. In Italy, it affects over a quarter of the entire population, six percentage points above the European average. However, this has not led to any significant reaction of the society. In France, the pension reform - rising the retirement age from 60 to 62- caused a cycle of demonstrations which blocked the country during several weeks. This massive movement involved workers from all sectors but also young students  who expressed their concern not about pension reform but about their future. The French pension reform is particularly unjfair as it penalises particularly people who started working very early.

In France like in Italy, younbg people have no bright prospects . Social mobility does not work any longer: young generations are not getting a better situation relative to previous generations. But they don't protest, neither do their parents. They express distrust of the institutions, including the Church, and in past years hundeds of thousands left their country in search of a job in other European countries.

So what makes Italy so different from France? Italians are traditionally tied up with their families; this has become more evident with the crisis, where the family is a 'natural' safety net, in the absence of  a Welfare State protecting those who lost their jobs. For their future , the young count increasingly on the assistance of their families. They stay longer living with their families, even beyond 30 or 35, or when their leave their homes, they tend to rent a house close to their parents. Ties become even closer, because of reciprocal need and dependence. In so doing, the family has a 'conservative' influence on society as it protects its children in all areas, studies as well as professional activity.

Politicians have understood this phenomenon and use the family as a flagship for their political campaign. But just in a rethoric way, because in fact, little has been done, especially on social services for women having a job, or tax benefits for families with children. Families are increasingly under stress, as an inefficient State has now to struggle with debt reduction. Social cohesion is a matter of concern, and it might be in peril.

No comments:

Post a Comment