[ExI] Italy's Social Capital (was france again)

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Sun Jun 3 06:14:43 UTC 2007


wow, a libertarian who supports universal military service and social
planning with "re-population" a la Ceausescu! Political categories are
really changing aren't they;.)?

When studying things that happened before we were born, we should bear
in mind that history is always written by the winners. Southern Italy
could be seen as an example of spontaneous order that worked fine,
more or less, until it was broken by outside intervention. At school,
we had to study the "heroic liberation" of Italy. Actually it was just
another successful military campaign that resulted in the conquest of
a region by a foreign occupation army and the imposition of foreign
values and way of life upon the population. Sounds familiar doesn't

Fascism was certainly more bad than good overall, but if we try to
read beyond the black and white of history books, not all they did or
wanted to do was bad. As most strong regimes do, they invented foreign
enemies to build internal unity around their own values (sounds
familiar again doesn't it).

And they certainly wanted to build "a much stronger sense of "being
Italian" as opposed to being Calabrian" in the population.

But what is wrong with being Calabrian? Calabrians (or Napolitans, or
Sicilians...) had a common language, culture and sense of identity.
That was broken by outside intervention, without replacing it with an
alternative framework. Hence many of the problems of current Italy.

As most Italians, I have two mother languages. One is a beautiful,
musical and very expressive language (not dialect, language) that has
evolved with its speakers for centuries, and now is sadly fading out.
The other is a "television language" that sounds flat and artificial.
Guess which one I love most.


On 6/2/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Amara writes
> > "Giu1i0 Pri5c0" <pgptag at gmail.com> :
> >>As a Southern European I think that our big strength is flexibility
> >
> >
> > Regarding the flexibility: I'm very flexible (remember I'm an Italian
> > government employee who is also an illegal immigrant), but my
> > flexibility is not enough for increasing my productivity for the half of
> > my life I spend in queues.
> >
> > To have any productivity in this particular country where the
> > infrastructure is broken, one _must_ have also the social and
> > familial network (to get help from someone who knows
> > someone who knows someone who knows someone who
> > knows someone ...) Italy does not not run by merit
> > (i.e. skills, experience, competence), it runs by who you know.
> In the book "Trust" Fukuyama listed among his examples
> northern Italy (where trust is high) as opposed to southern Italy
> where it isn't. In the book "War and Peace and War", Peter
> Turchin describes how southern Italy has never recovered
> from the events of the first two centuries A.D. when their
> "asabiya" and social capital slowly vanished. Two thousand
> years ago!
> I cannot help but wonder what long term solutions might be
> available to Italians who love their country. My particular,
> my focus now is on the Fascist era, and I'm reading a quite
> thick but so far quite enjoyable book "Mussolini's Italy".
> Even in the movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", one
> strongly senses that the Fascists were trying as best they
> knew how to solve this problem and make the average
> Italian develop Fukuyama's "trust" in other Italians, and
> develop their social capital (amid the corruption, etc.).
> Of course, it hardless needs to be said that the Fascists
> were a brutal, repressive, and abominable regime. This
> book "Mussolini's Italy" spares nothing here, and was
> even described by one reviewer as "unsympathetic".
> Still---given the nearly absolute power the Fascists wielded
> for about three decades---wasn't there anything that they
> could have done?  That is, instead of trying to foment
> patriotism by attempted military victories in Ethiopia
> and Libya (a 19th century colony of theirs), wouldn't it have
> been somehow possible to divert their resources to more
> effectively "homogenizing" Italy in some other way?
> (I must say that as a libertarian, I'd much prefer that everyone
> ---especially including a small minimal government---mind their
> own business.  Here, I'm just considering a theoretical
> question concerning how groups might reaquire their asabiya
> and their social capital.)
> I have two ideas, only one of which is outrageous. But the first
> one is to have universal millitary service for all young people
> between ages 14 and 25. By mixing them thoroughly with
> Italians from every province, couldn't trust evolve, and in
> such a way that the extreme parochialism of the countryside
> could be reduced?  The 25-year-olds could return with
> a better attitude to "outsiders" (e.g. other Italians), and
> with a much stronger sense of "being Italian" as opposed to
> being Calabrian, or just being the member of some clan.
> (My outrageous idea is that instead of trying to subdue
> Ethiopia, what if Sicily and other areas of the south could
> have been "subdued" instead?  Stalin managed to force the
> relocation of huge numbers of people, so couldn't
> Mussolini have done the same?  Clans in the south might
> have been broken up into separate northern cities, and
> depopulated areas of the south might have been colonized
> by force by northern Italians.  Perhaps impracticable, but
> at least the goal would have made more sense that getting
> into stupid wars.)
> Ah, but alas, the history of "social engineering" and "social
> planning" doesn't have a very good track record, now,
> does it?  But there had to be a *better* program that the
> King of Lydia could have pursued with his tremendous
> resources than getting into a war with Persia and getting
> creamed. Or there had to be a *better* idea for the
> Romans than allowing slavery to supplant their farmers...
> And so on.  Is there nothing constructive the Fascists
> could have done?
> Lee
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