[ExI] Italy's Social Capital

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 3 16:34:21 UTC 2007

Giulio writes

> I find it difficult to understand how one can love an abstract
> entity like a country. I can love a person, a pet, a city or region
> that I know and where I can feel at home, but a country?

Historically, in the west, it has been of great advantage to many
nations, e.g. France, England, Spain, etc., for their people to
have a love of country. Without this, remaining independent of
foreign domination would have been *extremely* difficult if 
not impossible. 

Of course, there are exceptions.  The United States could have
easily survived between 1820 and 1940 with no patriotism or
love of country whatsoever. That's solely because they were
guarded by their oceans and had no powerful neighbors.
Now whether the U.S. could have  resisted the Germans,
Japanese, and Soviets later on without the people loving their
country is another question.

> A country significantly bigger than San Marino or Liechtenstein is an
> abstraction. Nation states are obsolete dinosaurs, and in my opinion
> the sooner they are replaced with smaller, interdependent but
> independent communities of a manageable size, the better.

I can hope, right along with you, in the eventual triumph of libertarian
ideas. Then nations---even down to your San Marino and Liechtenstein
---can also wither away.  What real need of collective action is there
once we all become true libertarians?  Sadly, however, I think that
truly radical changes (e.g. a singularity) will happen long before
folks become libertarians.

(Actually, I do suspect that in order to advance humanity further at
the present point in time, there may be answers to that question. It's
looking more and more possible that governments still have an
important role to play economically.  At least if we are in any hurry
to overcome ageing, death, and our currently poor standards of 
living, no matter how amazingly wonderful and truly exalted they
are compared to what humans had just a few centuries ago.)

> Perhaps Italians are just a bit less naive than others, and do not
> take seriously the patriotic crap that they hear at school, army,
> church etc.

It's a luxury that they can now afford. Yet speaking economically
again, isn't it true that southern Italians still lack trust (in Fukuyama's
sense) and that they cannot form business entities of the size of companies
corporations because trust only extends as far as their own families?

> On 6/3/07, Amara Graps <amara at amara.com> wrote:
>> That's your mistake. Italians do _not_ love their country. They love
>> their: 1) family, 2) town, 3) local region, and that's it. Patriotism
>> doesn't exist (except in soccer).
>> (I think that is a good thing, btw.)

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