[ExI] Italy's Social Ca

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Thu Jun 7 21:31:55 UTC 2007

"Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:
>>  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.

>I would say that what was wrong with it is exactly what was wrong
>with American Indian's complete tribal loyalty to *their* own tiny
>tribe.  Without unification, they were easy pickings for the European
>colonists---at least in the long run.

I don't see this logic, Lee. The more distributed the people, the harder
it is to conquer them. For example, if Washington, D.C. (i.e. the U.S.
Federal government) did not exist, the U.S. would be very difficult to
control, would it not?

>>  The young people learn very little science in grade school through high
>>  school. The Italian Space Agency and others put almost nothing (.3%)
>>  into their budgets for Education and Public Outreach to improve the
>>  situation. If any scientist holds the rare press conference on their
>>  work results, there is a high probability that the journalists will get
>>  it completely wrong and the Italian scientist won't correct them. The
>>  top managers at aerospace companies think that the PhD is a total waste
>>  of time. This year, out of 75,000 entering students for the Rama
>>  Sapienza University (the largest in Italy), only about 100 are science
>>  majors (most of the the rest were "media": journalism, television, etc.)

>The most modern economists seem to agree with you. Investment in
>education now appears in their models to pay good dividendes. Still,
>this has to be only part of the story.  The East Europeans (e.g.
>Romanians) and the Soviets plowed enormous expense into creating the
>world's best educated populaces, but, without the other key
>factors---rule of law and legislated and enforces respect for private
>property---it *was* basically a waste.

Remember my previous words of how important are the families.

The filtering process is the following. Given the:

1) (unliveable or sometimes nonexistent) salaries and,
2) lack of societal support for science and poor scientific work

those who do _not_ have

1) the possibility to live at home well into middle age, or do not have
a property 'gift' or something else of substantial economic value, AND
2) those who are unable to accept the lack of cultural support AND,
3) poor work conditions, AND
4) are not passionately in love with science,

... leave.

It's a very strong filter, and off-scale to any of my previous
experiences. I think that this filter has been working, filtering, for
decades. I also think that once the Italian families stop their support
then Italian science will stop. Italian science _needs_ the Italian
families for it to continue.



Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
INAF Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI), Roma, ITALIA
Associate Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Tucson

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