Federalismo democratico

Federalismo democratico.
Per un dialogo tra uguali.
Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2010

For those who cherish democratic federalism in every part of the world (especially those of us here who are distressed by the seemingly intractable problems of the public system), the concrete functioning of the local and national administration in Canada, the United States and Australia is to be considered a model. However, this is not the case in Italian (and European) discourse and administrative practice. Yet, equitable politico-administrative relationships are essential for promoting the development of real freedom. This is the point of departure of the present research. It explores the theoretical and historical foundations of democratic federalism in the New World; it explains why the key aspects of the public system in question—such as transparency, trust, responsibility, productivity, merit, flexibility, versatility, cooperation, emulation, dynamism, etc.—have a concrete and meaningful significance in Canada, the United States and Australia which is almost unknown to us. It refers to some important contributions of Aaron Wildavsky and Louis Hartz (and to a debate with Giuliano Amato on our ailment of inadequate administrative freedom) to vigorously support a project of the informed transformation of democratic federalism in Italy, one which reflects the needs of the country and its diverse regions while simultaneously complementing their genuine historical and civil character.

La quarta libertà

Come padroneggiare la pubblica amministrazione
Bonanno, Acireale-Roma, 2007

Italian citizens have been observing the shoddy performance of much of the public system for quite a while. People are asking themselves why nothing is being done to remedy it. Without detracting from the many reform efforts undertaken so far, it is necessary to admit that this is a reasonable and unsettling question—one which has long proved elusive and unfathomable for this author. To tackle it head-on, this book spans multiple areas using an interactive method of analysis: it offers unexpected perspectives on historical causes, interrogates privileged witnesses, reconstructs little-known historical processes, and draws on personal misadventures in corpore vili. The outcome of this blizzard of comparisons, tests and experiences regarding the dearth of administrative freedom in Italy is to focus attention on our Achilles heel, a handicap that is now insupportable from the economic, social and civil points of view. It proposes a path of regeneration that intensifies contemporary trends towards integration, federalisation and democratisation, and promotes continuous growth in the productivity of the public administration, a path that should be inspired by more advanced experiences but rooted in the realities of the Peninsula.

Il nuovo arriva dal Sud

Una politica economica per il federalismo
Marsilio, Venezia, 2009

To attentive observers both within and outside the Peninsula, Italy appears to be a country with great potential, but one which despite having numerous high-quality, ingenious and widespread enterprises, is incomprehensibly ‘packaged’. As a result, it now finds itself ill-placed in the scenario of the international economic crisis, and faces extraordinary difficulties in recovery and re-launching. This is a question with many problematic aspects, requiring concentrated efforts at diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Luca Meldolesi shifts the focus from policies and operations that, in practice, have many defects, to what is missing in their implementation and administrative mechanisms. He explores the economic policies relevant to these missing links using an approach of improvement and complementarity to those generally pursued, a fresh perspective that has been gradually derived from long experience. Initially identified in the South and in government, these missing links (which can be repaired) have proved to be versatile means of addressing a wide range of problems concerning the entire country. They also suggest multiple, and sometimes unusual, ways of achieving consistent progress at the local and national levels. This shows that the framework adopted here has a general validity, and is particularly useful for strengthening local economic growth, reinforcing the entrepreneurial fibre of small and medium enterprises, addressing situations of absent, irregular and insufficient employment and of social discrimination (including that of culture, race and gender) and tackling specific situations of degradation and poverty. It is essentially a call to recognize, describe and set in motion a large proportion of Italy’s capacity and additional resources (which are by no means scarce) in order to master these circumstances and offer a prospect of well-being and federalist democratisation that is actually within reach.

Il giuoco degli dei

Un’angolazione di politica economica alle radici della storia, dell’identità e del federalismo italiani
Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2006

The far-reaching international events of September 11th, subsequent to the fall of the Berlin Wall a dozen years earlier, necessitated a re-examination of our country’s role in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The distinguishing feature of this booklet is that it illustrates how the theory of Fernand Braudel, according to whom history serves to explain the reality in which we live, can be developed to claim that all of history also serves to redirect this reality. In fact, these evocative historical analyses, written in an incisive and witty style, explain that from the time of the Italic peoples and the Phoenician, Greek and Celtic invasions, our history can be retraced to gradually rediscover the leading role played by our country in an era of the widening and deepening of democracy and of public system reform in Italy and Europe.

Emersione al femminile

Carocci, Roma, 2005

This book speaks of the Italy of today, but one that would (and could) evolve into an Italy that is more just, democratic and prosperous. In fact, our topic covers a crucial part of the general struggle for the emancipation of women that despite the many demands of our time—related to work, family, education, culture, etc.—is by no means won, at none of the various levels of the social, local, national and European pyramid. Yet, this struggle is incorporated into a process of democratisation of our market-based liberal societies (of public structures and of politico-economic systems) that could actually release large beneficial energies. The essays presented here point out that the quality and quantity of employment (independent and dependent, private and public) is the key to our restructuring (and reaffirmation) at the international level. They explain that the regularisation of female workers is essential for that of male workers as well—especially for a society at the high levels of civilization (and development) to which we aspire. Furthermore, the text concludes with unexpected collective encouragement to pursue the changes that can emerge from a special emphasis on the release of female energies, starting from the vast sector of irregular employment (both informal and insufficiently formalised) discussed here.

Emersione. Dialogo con Marco Biagi

Carocci, Roma, 2004

In recent times, the economic policy of regularisation has met with the labour-law perspective of the late Marco Biagi. This has led to a breakthrough with significant consequences for the fascinating subject of declared employment. This book discusses the terms of this encounter from various points of view. In the first section, it presents the issue of the regularisation of female workers and proposes a horizontal-vertical analytic framework to address irregular employment in new and old sectors. In the second, it calls attention to some salient aspects of the Italian experience to compare them with the historical-logical context within which Marco Biagi developed his own project. In the third, it scrutinizes the contrast between the perspective of regularisation and that of labour reform with a threefold purpose: to shed light on the ‘new phase’ of the current economic policy, also with respect to the irregular employment generated by ‘European integration’; to propose a generalisation of EU policy for regularisation; and to discuss the possibility that a real enhancement in the quantity and quality of employment contributes to the positive development of our market-based liberal democracy. The conclusion is that, surprisingly, the versatility of Marco Biagi’s contributions suggests new perspectives on areas related to the ones opened up (as in the case of regularisation) and proposes further theoretical-applicative solutions in the logic of public interest.

Sud: liberare lo sviluppo

Carocci, Roma, 2001

Releasing the latent energies of the South is the premise of the economic development policies explored in the present volume, within the logic of the deepening of democracy and of the pursuit of ample regular employment. To this end, the author presents a framework that enables easy evaluation of current policies. He analyses certain weak areas, and explores ways to remedy them. The author proposes the un-chaining of local development and the surfacing of the multiple faces of the South, through the pursuit of policies appropriate to each of them and through the careful establishment of corresponding small technical centres. Finally, he connects this reasoning to the aggregation of small and medium enterprises and to the productive propensities observed in many areas of the South in order to discuss the most effective ways of achieving the desired results.

Occupazione ed emersione

Nuove proposte per il Mezzogiorno d’Italia
Carocci, Roma, 2000

Currently, about ten million employable Italians lack regular jobs. This amounts to a huge collective problem, but also to an extraordinary opportunity for economic and civil growth. In fact, in addition to the surplus labour masked by the low productivity of the public sector, this ample availability of the workforce evokes, for Italy, the image of the god Janus—a two-faced country that could embark on a path of rapid ascent if it learns to gradually overcome this duality in favour of the regularisation of economic activity and of employment, private and public efficiency, and social and political integration.

The policy of regularisation of undeclared employment and of the inactive but employable section of the population has a primary role in this scenario. Meldolesi proposes a historical-interpretative theory of Italy that results in some concrete proposals for intervention and the provision of opportunities. Further, he develops a comparison between the Italian South and the eastern part of Germany—the two main areas of the European Union ‘lagging in development’—as a starting point for the discussion on employment and regularisation. Finally, he presents the policy of the Committee for the Surfacing of Irregular Work, recently established by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Dalla parte del Sud

Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1998

This is a book that overturns many clichés about the economy and society of the South. It does not deny the difficulties facing the South, but argues that in an era of market integration, limited availability of public funds, and the growing presence of the European Union in the life of the country, there is now an important opportunity. And the South would have ample ability to seize it. This is substantiated by the experiences recorded and analysed in this volume, such as those of Grumo Nevano (NA) and of Bridgestone Firestone in Bari.

Alla scoperta del possibile

Il mondo sorprendente di Albert O. Hirschman
Il Mulino, Bologna, 1994

he work of Albert O. Hirschman enjoys wide international recognition. Key concepts such as commercial asymmetries, linkages, possibilism, the hiding hand, exit and voice, passions and interests, shifting involvements, and the rhetoric of intransigence have had great resonance in economics and other social sciences. But because of the multiplicity of analytic structures and the elusive craftsmanship of their construction, it is not easy to actually derive lessons even from works that are accessible and attractive to read. In this volume, which is the first comprehensive study of Hirschmanian thought, Luca Meldolesi has followed a logical-genetic itinerary that progressively introduces the reader, through the various paths that connect the writings of Hirschman, to his intellectual laboratory. In this manner, along a journey of biography and writing that begins during the tumultuous Thirties in Europe and continues on into North and South America, finally weaving its tapestry across three continents, this volume brings to light a structure of thought that reveals an enviable unity of inspiration. A flexible and multifaceted methodology, an intellectual effort in many directions, and an extraordinary wealth of results led Hirschman to accomplish a feat that leaves the reader with a dual lesson, both on the levels of intellect and of civic responsibility.

Spendere meglio è possibile

Il Mulino, Bologna, 1992

Many people feel compelled to ignore what is in plain sight. But by using commonplace experiences, it is possible to convey to them a message of faith in changes that they consider impossible. This volume, born from comparisons with the developed countries to which we frequently refer, addresses the key issues of public expenditure and state functioning. It traces an inductive (rather than deductive) path from the Centre to the South to the North of Italy with the intention of grappling with some thorny issues: the lack of public expenditure evaluation, which deprives the country of vital feedback; the often abominable condition of government jobs; the limits of an emphasis on technicality; the requirements for the liberalization of the South; the productive challenges emerging from the competition with Europe; and the financing of political parties. The underlying theme is the attempt to gradually identify various aspects of the ‘maladie d'amour’ that afflicts the country, to understand its psychological motivations, both historical and contemporary, and to systematically determine a series of small and large practical policies within the reach of citizens, which by investing the country with a little more confidence in its abilities, can encourage it to strive towards overcoming a particularly rough patch in its long history.