The South according to Draghi –

twelve o’clock, February 4, 2021 – 09:43

of Emanuele Imperiali

Mario Draghi has the effect of an avalanche in the dead of a now totally self-referential politics, entirely folded back on the buildings and light years away from the people. Many, in these first hours after the full mandate received from the Head of State, are wondering what the Draghi-thought is about the South. What to do? What are your guidelines, who will you choose in the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion? The former President of the ECB is a shy man, as we know, loves to talk little, but when he intervenes in public debates he says phrases that remain carved in the rock, for months and months. So let’s try to retrace some of them, at least the most salient. The economy is sending worrying signals day after day, the prestigious Financial Times warned last March 26, the priority is not only to provide a basic income to all those who have lost it but above all to protect workers from the loss of it. Words from which a first conviction already transpires: problems are not solved either with bonuses or tips, but by implementing policies capable of imprinting a strategic turning point, thus protecting true and unassisted employment.

At the Rimini Meeting of CL on 18 August 2020, he said clearly that subsidies are used to survive, to restart, but young people must be given more, otherwise they will remain without a professional qualification, sacrificing their freedom of choice and their income future. Sound rejection of measures such as the Citizenship Income so desired by the 5 Stars? It seems so. Already in September 2009 Draghi was drastic on one point: the South remains the largest and most populous backward territory in the euro area. As governor of the Bank of Italy, between 2005 and 2010, he specified several times that the gap in per capita GDP compared to the Center-North has essentially unchanged for 30 years. Phrases of shocking topicality. And he added: For a long time the economic results of the South have been disappointing, which is why more general and less regional policies are needed. On November 26, 2009, the prime minister in charge argued that the southern area is lagging behind in essential services such as education, civil justice, social assistance, transport and healthcare and emphasized how the burden of organized crime hinders large parts of our South the free market. On health care, in years well before the pandemic, Draghi warned against a gap with the rest of the country resulting from the lower efficiency of the service and not from a lack of spending. Shifting the emphasis, it was always recommended, from the quantity of resources to the quality of results. When as helmsman of the Bank of Italy I pronounce the annual Final Considerations, he carved a phrase that today, at least as a liturgical mantra, everyone utters, without the South the whole country has no future, we all need the development of the South.

Let’s try to draw a summary and an indication: for the south, Draghi’s recipe is based on an effort of ordinariness, with the aim of unifying Italy with general policies, perhaps declined in a different way to take into account the different contexts. Ultimately, it is necessary to focus on the application of policies, rather than on aid and subsidies, on the ability to measure and evaluate the results of public action. And at the same time improve the quality of the services of public structures which must ensure common standards throughout the country. Draghi’s passion is human capital, primarily youth, abused everywhere but certainly more in weak areas. There is an obvious shortage in the South of what Draghi calls social capital. When he insisted on the need to evaluate the efficiency of public administrations, in an independent, systematic, frequent way, to measure their progress, he anticipated the philosophy of the Recovery Plan, still light years away from the daily action of the political class.

February 4, 2021 | 09:43


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