Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mario Monti and the Lost Generation

One piece of news which made a great impression on me was this: Italy's Secretary to the Prime Minister Antonio Catricalà has stated that youth under the age of 35 can start a business with only 1 euro as capital. I have said it before and I will say it again now: Mario Monti is amongst the best politicians (albeit an economist) who have ever set foot in the European stage. He cares about his country and is neither blinded by ideology nor afraid of any political consequences either at the national or the European level. He does what he knows best: revive the Italian economy.

It is the first sample of growth policies we have seen in the EU for months now. Announced measures for infrastructure in Italy are expected to reach 300 billion euros from now until 2020. Troubled areas in Rome, Naples and Florence are expected to receive an "upgrade" worth approximately 2.5 billion. 400 million are expected to be invested in internet technology to digitize the country's social services and boost buying and selling through the internet. For me what is most important is what I began with: every youth until the age of 35 may start a business with as little as 1 euro for capital.

It would be amazing if we could see such action from other member-nations of the EU. For the time being only Monti was able to show that he truly understands the situation and is willing to do something about it. What are we waiting for? For youths to start migrating from the EU to Australia like it is currently happening in Greece? (read this detailed article in the Guardian for more information). Should we stop and watch as people under 30 are constantly leaving their native nations for a "better" life elsewhere?

Mario Monti has spoken of a lost generation. What he meant were the myriads of young Italians fleeing the country in order to find employment elsewhere. Many leaders speak of the future, while they focus their policies to the over-50's population. The future cannot exist without the young. I remember Ernest Hemingway's story in the 1920's Paris: an old garage director told his young subordinate that he belonged to "une génération perdue". Hemingway wondered whether the youth who had seen the evils of war, were disciplined and polite could really be considered lost.

The same rationale holds today. Who is worse off might I ask: the person whose salary was reduced from 3000 to 2500 euros or the person who is desperately searching for a job and cannot find one? Yet with the notable exception of Italy, no nation (or politician for that matter) is doing anything about it.

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