Il Mezzogiorno e l’Italia (1861-2011)

ANNO 52 2011
Francesco Barbagallo

The South and Italy (1861-2001)
The essay reconstructs the relations between Northern and Southern Italy, from Unification to the present, through the basic lens of unbalanced interdependence. The South made a great contribution to the North’s industrialization, keeping the balance of payments steady through immigrants’ remittances. The partial industrialization of Naples in the liberal age was followed by limited comprehensive land improvement and electri fication in the fascist age. In the republican age, Italy made its most important attempt at modernizing the South by means of extraordinary State intervention, through the fund for the development of Southern Italy. Productive investments ended in 1973, coinciding
with the end of Fordism and the beginning of globalization. Public expenditure was then to support private incomes and an increased consumption of northern products – a mech anism that was to last for twenty years. But the structural consequences were to be unfavourable, especially after the 1980s: deindustrialization, widespread unemployment, low-quality public services, and increased organized crime. In the 21st century, Southern Italy is characterized by uneven modernity, a low-quality ruling class, and absolutely no organization of government policy.

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