In Wednesday’s rant, I argued that pretty Italy is a country of and for the old.
That is to say, in terms of opportunity for betterment, it’s a wasteland.
Italy is a country which the young (even if wealthy) are best advised to leave behind, in search of better prospects elsewhere.
All this, of course, is my way of marketing our newest ebook about the Italian diaspora, ‘La diaspora italiana – Italiani in Scozia‘.
But it’s true.
Educated parents with cash know it, so send their kids to study abroad at the first opportunity.
While the rest of us live out our lives here, oppressed by the tax burden required to pay for the healthcare and pensions of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, while despairing of the prospects for our own kids.
Yvonne, who lives in Australia, commented:
Daniel, I can read the passion in this ‘rant’. I know that politics is really messy and complicated in Italy, but are young people so turned off by the system that they don’t vote? Making people vote is totally uncontroversial here. ( In fact some wit suggested that putting the electoral commission in charge of vaccination would be the best answer to vaccine hesitancy.) Such an enormous shame that young well-educated people feel they have to vote with their feet.
It’s not that ‘young’ Italians are not interested in politics, absolutely not, Yvonne.
It’s the demographics!
I mentioned, I think, that there the ‘young’ are a minority in Italy.
But I appreciate that if you don’t live here, or in Japan which is in more or less the same boat, it’s difficult to comprehend.
“Oh look!” I’ll comment to my wife, “That women’s PREGNANT!”
Or as we walk around the lake and pass a father pushing a pram, “Did you see? Did you see? A BABY! Wasn’t it CUTE! A girl, right??”
(We’re really into babies, my wife and I.)
Italians who don’t travel abroad don’t appreciate just how OLD their country is.
And vistiors to Italy don’t get it, either, given that you don’t expect to have kids under your feet anyway when visiting art galleries or Roman ruins.
Or at least, not Italian kids. They’re all out in the suburbs, right? Probably in school.
Take a look at these numbers, which I found at http://www.comuni-italiani.it/statistiche/eta2017.html (they’re from 2017, but the situation hasn’t improved):
Numbers turn people off, I know, but everyone likes BABIES, right?
So take a look at the 0-4 band, then at the 70-74 band.
There were, in 2017, MORE people in their early seventies than pre-school-age children.
That’s not good.
(Well, I suppose it’s good that people live longer, but you know what I mean.)
For your edification, I adapted the data I got from the source linked to above to show the totals and percentages in each of three subjective age categories: ‘The Young’, so under 30; ‘The Middle’, so under 60; and ‘The Mature’, that’s everyone else.
Beh, put like that, it doesn’t seem so bad, right?
There are as many ‘young’ as ‘old’, and a larger ‘middle’.
What could be the problem??
So then I messed with my categories, reducing them to just two: under-forty and over-forty.
The data shows that two fifths are under-forty, while three fifths are over-forty. If you prefer percentages to fractions, look at the table.
BUT, BUT, BUT!
Of the approximately twenty-five million under-forties, perhaps nine to ten million are under eighteen years of age.
Which means they don’t vote.
So we have around fifteen million voting under-forties, versus approximately thirty-six million voting over-forties.
And everyone knows that older voters have more to lose, and more apprectiation that voting is the way to ensure things keep going their way.
While the young are fretting about climate change and eating vegan, older voters are resisting any increase in the minimum retirement age, so their golden years are as extended a period as possible, hang the climate!
Ok, so some of the older voters, concerned about their kids and grandkids, will back policies that prioritise opportunities for the young over their own interests – these typically being, to retire as early as possible, then live on the heftiest slice of the tax pie they are able to get away with.
But not many.
Given that Italians have so few kids, and many have none at all, it’s “I’m all right Jack!”
Meaning that the issues on the political agenda are overwhelmingly those that matter to the majority, the old.
“Who would want to leave Italy for Scotland?” as my correspondent asked earlier in the week?
Basically, anyone between twenty-four (end of college degree and fun times) and thirty-four (beginning of family life).
See the problem now?
Here’s a final reminder about this week’s new easy reader ebook, ‘La diaspora italiana – Italiani in Scozia‘.
From the Roman empire to the European Union, find out more about the Italians who made their homes in a land which couldn’t be more different from their own. A place of great natural beauty, though with a challenging climate and strange food, a destination that offered them the economic opportunities and stability not found at home, amongst a local population who were welcoming, if at first difficult to communicate with due to the sometimes incomprehensible local accent – Scotland!
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment is processed), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook (.mobi/Kindle-compatible, .epub) cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them.
Thursday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is ready for you to read/listen to and is, as always, totally free.