Italy: A country in coma

As a whirlpool, the crisis that has been lasting for the past 5 years has hit Italy hard in 2012.
The country was put under the "technical” government of Mario Monti, who acted as a commissioner and subjected Italy to a shock therapy of austerity policies, similar to the structural adjustment programs imposed by the IMF. While intended to reanimate the economy, it plunged the country into a real recession under the blackmail of two parameters: the "spread" between Italy and Germany, and the Public Debt, which has grown another 10%, reaching 127,3% of the GNP. It is not by chance that the Prime Minister Mario Monti has been International Advisor to Goldman Sachs.

The deterioration of the living conditions of a large part of the Italian population concerned especially the "working poor": in Italy, there are three million, about 15% of the total employed. Eight million Italians live with less than one thousand euro per month. The crisis has seriously damaged the middle class.

Almost 30% of the resident population in Italy, risks poverty or social exclusion; the incidence of poverty increases especially in families with many children. The inequality between rich and poor has widened, with 20% of earners who receive 37.4% of the total income, and 20% of the poorest who get only 8%. The Bank of Italy, in its latest study on estates, reveals that the richest 10 italians own as much as the poorest 3 million. Furthermore, according to Coldiretti, in 12 months, the proportion of Italians who cannot afford an adequate full meal at least every two days, has doubled (now 12.3%).

The year 2012 has recorded a loss of 4 million jobs and the closure of more than 100.000 companies (25% more than in 2011). The increased insecurity and undeclared work have affected especially the younger generations.

In this context, from a country sponsoring the MDGs, it could start benefitting from them as well.

Italy is unfortunately very far from contributing to its European commitments. Although many of Italian cooperation projects relate to the achievement of the Goals, in particular those on education, food security and health, no official reports have been made to evaluate what has been achieved by the Italian Cooperation for the MDGs.

In a context of strong and generalized reduction of public spending, of resources available to the ministries and for services to citizens, thanks to the Spending Review and the Stability (pact) law, the Ministry of Defense, from 2013 to 2015, scored an increase in its budget. Twenty-five times higher than that of social policies – the defense budget passes from 19.962 billion in 2012 to 20,935 in 2013, up to 21.024 billion euro in 2015, significantly increasing the resources at its disposal. In addition, while all ministries reduced investment spending, the government confirmed for 2013 the Italian participation in the purchase of 90 airplane fighters F35 - whose total cost amounts to approximately € 14 billion in 15 years - and of two submarines U212 and two FREMM frigates, with a cost in 2012 of about 800 million euro. This growth in the Defense budget indicate the will of the Italian government to follow the path of "military Keynesianism", through the use of public spending in this sector to stimulate domestic demand for consumption and investment.

Source: 2013 Social Watch Italian Report