Italy does not need one of those bloody affairs during which heads roll. No. What Italy really needs is a revolutionary change of mentality.
The words of a disgruntled expat? No, the words of Italy’s current Prime Minister Mario Monti who has said, according to a recent editorial in the Washington Post: “What we need is a revolution in Italians’ thinking…”; wise Mr Monti also added that bringing about such a change would take time. More time, perhaps, than some will allow him.
Throughout the change of mentality process, obstacles will be thrown in Monti’s path at every possible opportunity; primarily, one suspects, by one Silvio Berlusconi and his, as Italy expert Maurizio Viroli puts it, “corrupted liberalism“. Disciples of Berlusconi’s lopsided liberalism are actively plotting Mario Monti’s downfall. They will be aided and abetted, possibly inadvertently, by Italy’s cantankerous trades unions.
Berlusconi’s Allies – Italy’s Unions
Italy’s overly powerful unions are also in obstacle throwing mood and appear to harbour rock bottom levels of trust in Italy’s employers. Indeed, the way Italy’s unions are kicking up, one could be forgiven for thinking that businesses in Italy are run by people with zero scruples. This means that the unions are saying a big fat ‘no’ to any proposal which may make it easier to employ, and sack, Italians.
Ironically, Italy’s unions may end up preserving the status quo and may even help reinforce the corrupted liberalism championed by that man of many scandals, and former Prime Minister of Italy. Italy’s erstwhile unions do not appear to realise this, or don’t want to. What Monti is proposing would whittle away their powers too. Ivory towers have to be protected, you know, at any and all cost, provided ‘I’m all right, Jack’, or should that be ‘Mario’?
While it is true that Monti’s measures so far have upped Italy’s already high tax burden, he was forced to do this on account of the actions of Italy’s tax evaders and the corrupt, many of whom are one and the same. Of course the inactivity of his predecessor has undoubtedly amplified the pain Italians are feeling as a result of a series of austerity measures, introduced not over a number of years as would have been wise, but hurriedly compressed into a number of months in the second half of 2011. Silvio Berlusconi will never admit to damaging Italy by not having started the austerity and reform process several years ago.
The trouble is that dodging the system has become as Italian as pasta – partly on account of the appalling examples Italy’s leaders, such as Craxi and Berlusconi, tend to set and are still setting. This has led to a kind of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ mentality which far too many people in Italy tend to regard as being the only way to get ahead.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Incidentally, talking of bad examples, it was super Silvio Berlusconi who transformed false accounting from a criminal to a civil crime in order to save his own bacon. In doing so, Berlusconi set a bad example which others have followed as is evidenced by Italy’s accounting court recently mentioning that levels of corruption in Italy are beyond a joke and are continuing to rise. The court stressed that new laws to kerb corruption are a necessity. There is talk of making false accounting a criminal offence once again. Italy’s corrupt liberals will not like such a move.
Stoop Low or Leave
Those who are reviled by the thought of having to stoop so low as to join the gang, or those Italians who actually want to do something with their lives but do not possess the necessary connections, have set sail and left Italy’s sunny shores.
Popular Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, which profits, literally, from skulduggery in Italy, has a column on its web site called Cervelli in Fuga – Fleeing Brains. Aside from the brain drain articles, that Il Fatto Quotidiano exists bears testament to the downward spiral Italy is facing.
Yes, Italy needs a revolution in the way its citizens approach life. Italy needs meritocracy and respect for rules. Corruption and crime should be reviled, hard work rewarded – not the other way round which seems to be the case in Italy at present.
As the old saying goes “no pain, no gain” – partly as a result of Berlusconi’s inactivity, Monti has now inflicted pain on Italians.
The next stop for Monti is some way of steering Italy’s stodgy economy back on course. This is what he and his team are working on now. Think “liberalism” without the “corrupted” part.
Mud Will be Slung at Mario Monti
Will Mario Monti be able to bring about what will to all intents and purposes amount to a revolution in Italy? This depends on how well he can defend himself from Italy’s corrupted liberals, who will fight dirty. Expect to see mud slinging articles on Monti appear shortly in those Italian newspapers friendly to Silvio Berlusconi: Il Giornale and Libero. Consider this a prediction for 2012.
If Mario Monti does manage to revolutionise Italy, he should be canonized, as it will be nothing short of a miracle.