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In education, too, there are “two Italies”: scholastic performance differs sharply between North and South, which besides reflecting differences in the quality of schools, also depends on the family and social contexts from which children come. The disparity in initial opportunities is reflected in employment prospects and in adult social condition and the inequalities in education increase the economic and social gap. Investment in education therefore reduces inequalities, helping to create more opportunities and greater equity.
In the Mediterranean model, pensions are doubly important: for the person who is entitled and for his family. Systematically weakening them, or not protecting them, means undermining social policies in their entirety. Specifically, the article examines the Italian case, where pensioners have a central function and indirectly take on the role of compensating for the gaps in protection and address the shortcomings of the welfare system.
The crisis is persisting in Europe; deflation, stagnation and the drop in industrial production dominate in various countries: less money to spend, lower consumption, fewer imports. This is the situation in Italy, as analyzed in the article; it has achieved an improvement in current account balances due to a loss of wealth caused by austerity, while a country like Germany continues to show a favorable balance of trade.
Investments in building new renewable energy facilities have greatly increased at the expense of “traditional” investments which overall are falling due to the end of a technological-economic model based on mechanics. They can make up for the fall of capital and construct a paradigm to support growth. However this requires an adequate industrial policy because in Italy “there are no globally recognized technological leaders in the key technologies of the renewables”.
Although the central banks of the world’s main economies have implemented expansionary monetary policies to bring down interest rates and therefore stimulate investments, the results have not been up to expectations. Monetary policy has not had the desired effects on the real economy, since the aggregate demand remained weak. The inequalities in income distribution and the ageing of population are related to the secular stagnation.
In Basilicata oil and gas extraction has been under way for over 20 years; the article aims to analyse the relation of this with the national consumption trends and oil production and the consequences on the local economy and employment, specifically in the area mainly involved in new business ventures in recent years, Val d’Agri. Lastly, the analysis considers the change in demographic structure and the limits of National and local planning.