This post was written for the Winter Issue of the World Policy Journal, which is entitled “Europe Under Fire” and analyzed the struggle for unity in Europe. Each issue begins with the Big Question: an overarching question that frames the magazine and provides insight into the long form pieces to come. In this issue focusing on Europe, the Big Question was: “What does your government need to remain viable?”; They asked David about Italy; below his short answer.
In the same article “The Big Question: The Throes of an Identity Crisis”, you may also find the much more relevant commentary by Prof. Yanis Varoufakis on Greece.
Italy: In Need of Cultural Revolution
Italian stagnation is worrisome. Socioeconomic conditions are hardly sustainable, and the political opportunity to implement reforms in the immediate aftermath of the crisis has been wasted.
Recently published data shows that youth unemployment in Italy has reached a startling 40% (general rate is 12.7%). But Italy is just one amongst many Eurozone countries where recession is being particularly cruel with young people.
During the past three years, tax hikes – wrongly denominated “austerity” – have triggered protests all over the Eurozone. However, no meaningful market or labor reforms have been implemented; better, the weight of labor flexibility and salary cuts, as well as of a later retirement age, has been imposed on the youngest, the so-called “outsiders”.
Both governments and European leaders are de facto ignoring the problem.