Riformisti di qua, conservatori di là? Contro il riformismo unico
Reformists here, conservatives there! Against «one reformism fits all»
The debate on how to reform the italian economis system in order to improve its performances, especially in terms of economic growth, is almost monopolized by the idea that what is needed is a more market oriented culture. The exact meaning of this recipe is not at all clear. However its hard core can be singled out: it is the idea that insecurity, both in the labour market and in the social protection system, is by now a necessary condition for economic growth. The strength of this model is quite often considered to be the fact that it performed very well in some other contry. The main purpose of the essay is to show the weak foundations of such a claim and to offer an alternative conception of economic reformism that takes into account the distinguishing features of the italian economic system and the most prominent obstacles to its further development, so to avoid the mistakes in the idea that others’ models can be successfully replicated thanks to some structural reform. The paper addresses also other questions related to the idea that a sort of «neutral reformism» independent from the values, that should distinguish different political sides, is possibile.
La globalizzazione e il mutamento della socialdemocrazia
Mark Blyth, Jonathan Hopkins
Globalization Didn’t Make You Do It! Party Politics
and the Transformation of European Left Parties
Blyth and Hopkin analyze why, when the parties of the «left» were in power all over Europe during the late 1990s, there was arguably very little «left» about the policies such parties pursued. The conventional answer stresses three factors: The globalization of product and financial markets, the new fiscal environment of permanent austerity, and the changed «tastes» of European voters. The authors contest all three explanations and instead offer an explanation of party and party system change that stresses how parties shape their electoral (and thus policy) environment is as important as how the environment forces parties to shape their policies. Expanding upon previous work on the transformation from catch-all to cartel parties, Blyth and Hopkin argue that factors internal to all political parties, not just those of the left; financing, the decreasing utility of members, professionalization, and the dynamics of party competition: particularly voter turnout and volatility, have together forced parties to truncate the policy space they operate within such that what is not offered to voters becomes as important an issue as what is offered. Left parties across Europe have reduced their policy commitments in order to control for these endogenous factors, and have formed tacit cartels with other leading parties in an attempt to control for their attendant costs.
l riformismo e il discorso sul «welfare»
The new discourse on welfare
The new discourse on welfare is characterized by two central ideas: enabling opportunities should be enhanced at the expense of ex post compensations and active citizenship should take the place of welfare dependency. While sharing the importance of opportunities and active citizenship, the paper aims at highlighting the plurality of conceptions that these values may take, warning against the risk that the new discourse on welfare favours a version strongly reducing the rights of citizenship. More specifically, the risk is that of embracing a meritocratic conception of equality of opportunity that, even though conceived in substantive terms, is indifferent to many dimensions of disadvantage and a contract-based conception of citizenship, blind to the differences between the duties governing market exchanges and those based on social justice.
La democrazia manomessa: riformare, deformare, conformare
The violation of democracy: reforming, deforming, conforming
The project of radical reform of the 1948 Constitution has formed part of the Italian political landscape since the mid-1970s. Over the last three decades, however, the issue of «constitutional reform» has more often than not resembled an interminable political soap opera. The initial reason for the proposal was very simple: the political system was too unstable and too inefficient to fulfill the needs of a large and advanced democracy. The only way to overcome this problem therefore was to reduce the number of parties by means of constitutional and electoral engineering. Of course, there were also other less explicit and less noble reasons. In particular, constitutional reform reflected the ambitions of a number of actors to change! the rules of the game, thus improving their prospects of electoral success. In addition, some saw in the project the possibility of forcing Italian politics down the path of neo-liberalism, which, as things stood, was impeded by the veto-powers attributed by the Constitution and the electoral laws to a wide range of actors. This article has three main purposes: (1) to elucidate the gap between public arguments and unavowed projects; (2) to underline the unexpected effects of the various reforms that have been approved; (3) to demonstrate the continuity between the anti-democratic and anti-political ambitions of the Berlusconi government’s reform proposals and those proposed and approved by the centre-left during its time in government from 1996 to 2001.
Le privatizzazioni come mito riformista
Privatization as a reformers’ illusion
The paper suggests that efficiency considerations do not explain why privatization policy is so appealing to the centre-left parties in Europe. Divestitures of state owned corporations in the UK and elsewhere were implemented by right wing parties with the over-arching objective to defeat trade unions . The producitivity and welfare changes were modest or negligible, sometimes negative. Why reformers of the left support privatization? The paper suggests that efficiency motivations are weaker than usually said by a mostly biased privatization empirical literature and by free-market apologetics. The reason lies in the nature of the privatized coroporation, wich is very far from a competitive enterprise. The paper conjectures that the centre-left seeks by its support to privatization to gain political rents. This implies to surrender financial rents to the globalized financial actors, to be paid out by political support or neutrality to centre-left governments. This strategy is at high risk of be captured by the financial èlites and poses a threat to democracy. A state without ownership, with a marginal role in service provision, becomes a tax -and -transfer, law -and -order state, with little democratic legitimacy. Public provision of services should be reformed as an explicit social inclusion mechanism, based on clearly stated policy goals and involvement of users. The Eu should not adopt a rigid privatization-liberalization-regulation paradygm, and should instead build on flexible tools to achieve common goals in terms of citizens’ access to those services that have a community-building content.
Il riformismo e le privatizzazioni in Italia
Roberto Cavallo Perin
Reformism and privatizations in Italy
The writing proposes a critical analysis of italian laws on privatizations about public job and public utilities. The purpose of this reforms was inspired by ideological favor of italian parliament for private undertakings rather than by indipendent public policy. The italian history of the XIX and XX centuries shows that the private and public enterprises become inefficient and ineffective for the lack of public laws against the monopoly. Keeping a plurality of producers of public utilities to check the quality of their services and to allow the customers the best choice seems necessary. This is only possible if the regulation comes from a higher level than the municipal one.
//Miss Governance, I presume//
Miss Governance, I Presume
«Governance» is often seen as a remedy for State and market failures and as an answer to the challenges to democracy. It is an inclusive bottom-up policymaking process in which exchanges, bargaining and compromises take place between public authorities and private interest groups, and in which decisions are taken unanimously. Governance is normally considered to be the antithesis of government. Government is seen as unilateral and exclusive top-down policymaking based on hierarchic state control, whereas governance is seen as a spontaneous and non-hierarchical order and as a higher stage of democratic development. This dichotomy is more a reflection of ideological bias and administrative requirements than of actual political reality. The fact is that in the real world of democracy control mechanisms and pluralistic devices have always been mixed and complementary. «Old governance» differs from «new governance» because of the balance of power between public and private networks (and between the latter) and because of the scale of the playing field, which is henceforth transnational or global rather than national.
Alle radici della libertà umana: percorsi della biopolitica
At the roots of human liberty: paths of biopolitics
In the philosophical debate currently developed, biopolitics reached a preeminent importance. In order to underline the increasing attention paid to biological human life by modern politics, the term has really spread out, in particular since Michel Foucalt’s late work. This article intends to report and analyze the different perspectives and approaches to this issue, with special reference to the Italian experience, and tries to comprehend how biopolitics might influence political choices of our time and determine our political future.
The European policy of promotion of democracy.
Lessons from Poland and the Rousseau’s thesis
The European Union has made pressure on the candidate countries to build up democratic institutions and legal mechanisms to enforce the law and to respect fundamental rights. The conception of democracy that has been endorced in this view relies on the value of a market system, a democratic regime and the principle of rule of law. Nevertheless, this conception does not take into account the national context where these principles should have been integrated. The analysis of the adaptation of Polish political system to the criteria settled up by the European Union during the pre-accession period shows that democratic legitimacy has been undermined by this strategy, because of the lack of attention for national legacies and national culture. This case study seems to fit with the thesis of Jean Jacques Rousseau. He argued that any possible formal constitution would have been legitimate and effective only if it had been coherent and acceptable from the point of view of the «substantial» – namely «national» – dimension of Poland.
The Integrated Territorial Projects (PIT) in Calabria:
qualities and criticisms
In the current period of the programming of the European Structural Funds 2000-06 in Calabria, the Integrated Territorial Projects (PIT) could become a model for public initiatives, in which the themes of local economic development and modernisation of public adiministrations are addressed in an innovative way and new forms of governance. The Calabria Government has created 23 PIT wich will carry out, in next three years, many actions in different sectors of public policies: infrastructures, education, social regeneration, economic development, technological development, information and commmunication technologies. This paper analyse the political, social and economic factors concerning the planning process of the PIT in Calabria, from the point of view of public policy analysis.
Luigi Alfonso Casella e la propaganda serica in Calabria
Luigi Alfonso Casella and the silk promotion in Calabria
This article aims at pointing out the figure of Luigi Alfonso Casella (1865- 1945) within the ruling class of Calabria. He devoted most of his work (from 1911 to 1934) to the management of the Sericultural Institute in Cosenza and was engaged in the development of silk production in Calabria and the other Southern areas. He attempted to promote the interaction between the national economic policy and the local interests. During the early XX century, Italian sericulture began to show some weakening signs due to the Asian production. The government planned a project in order to support one of the most important field of Italian economy involving technicians in order to encourage production and productivity in the local areas, mainly in the silkworm breeding sector. Using unpublished sources, together with a careful analysis of some little known aspects of Italian sericulture, the author critically restores the outcome of this promotional project in Calabria, by pointing out the considerable results achieved, mostly thanks to Casella’s specific intervention. Such results were forgotten due to the decay of sericulture after the 1930s.
Cucinare il moderno
Poverty and inequalities in the world.
The causes of changes in the last 25 years
This article starts with an extensive review of Rapporto su povertà e disuguaglianze negli anni della globalizzazione by N. Acocella, G. Ciccarone, M. Franzini, L.M. Milone, F.R. Pizzuti and M. Tiberi, Rome 2004: Edizioni Colonnese, l’ancora del Mediterraneo, Pironti. The article first summarises the following issues dealt with extensively in the book: definition and quantification of key concepts such as globalization and poverty; the role of global public goods in world inequalities; the role of international financial institutions and of the state; policy suggestions. The article then goes on to discuss the possible causes of globalisation; it uses Keynes’s concept of causa causans to try and get to the root causes of globalisation and related policy implications. Prominence in this analysis is given to the role of technological and organisational innovations; the latter leads to a discussion of the role of transnational companies in the globalisation process. The article concludes that, though much of the popular literature equates globalisation with liberalisation and «marketisation», the equation should not be accepted. It is possible to have globalisation with a human face and dimension; without, therefore, the excesses of «marketisation».