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.
Many social science arguments are too abstract and rooted in a specific discipline to be able to cast light on the world we live in. However, with the help of the great anthropologist Clifford Geertz, it is possible to show that some analyses can be grafted on a vision better corresponding to our daily life: a more and more connected world, at the same time more and more fragmented and differentiated. Hence, a policy exploration on how to intervene on some (positive and negative) aspects of our time in order to master the tensions that upset it, and how to utilize the most convincing characteristics of the Italian (and world-wide Italic) culture. Thus, it will be possible to come to terms with the tragic large inflow of refugees that struck Europe starting from the Mezzogiorno and Greece: and, at the same time, to give momentum to the European construction.