Saturday, November 12, 2022

Giorgia Meloni: The hard work is just starting


Giorgia Meloni, October 21, 2022


In the space of four years, Giorgia Meloni has gone from being the leader of a minor party to being the leader of Italy, with an absolute majority in both houses of parliament. But she will not find it easy to put her electoral platform into practice.



Four years ago, when I last wrote about Italy’s political situation, Giorgia Meloni was leading a party that had won only 2% of the popular vote. Her party was, in fact, the smallest member of a coalition dominated by Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord. All of that changed with this year’s election. Her party took 26% of the vote, and the coalition 43%. She is now Prime Minister.


Meloni rose to power because she lacked the weaknesses of her two coalition rivals. She wasn’t an establishment conservative like Berlusconi, and she wasn’t a northern regionalist like Salvini. She was thus seen as the one who could best represent the entire country and deal with its problems, especially the existential crisis of rising immigration and falling fertility. Will Italians continue to have a homeland for themselves and their descendants? Or will they go the way of other nations that are now footnotes in history?


That may sound like hyperbole. With a population of sixty million, Italians will surely enjoy a supermajority in their country for years to come. Keep in mind, however, that their mean age is 47; therefore, more than half are past the age of reproduction. With a fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman, the smaller "procreative fraction" of the population will fall by almost 50% with each generation. Meanwhile, the foreign citizen population has risen from 1.3 million in 2002 to 5.2 million in 2021. The total number of immigrants is actually larger:


In 2021, Istat estimated that 5,171,894 foreign citizens lived in Italy, representing about 8.7% of the total population. These figures do not include naturalized foreign-born residents (about 1,620,000 foreigners acquired Italian citizenship from 1999 to 2020, of whom 130,000 did so in 2020) as well as illegal immigrants, the so-called clandestini, whose numbers, difficult to determine, are thought to be at least 670,000. (Wikipedia 2022)


The demographic crisis is key to understanding Meloni’s electoral platform:


·         taxation that takes the size of the nuclear family into account

·         a lower sales tax of 4% on goods for young children

·         public funding of housing for Italian families who do not own a home. Eligible families must have at least one gainfully employed member

·         no birthright citizenship and no decriminalization of illegal immigration

·         a naval blockade to halt illegal immigration across the Mediterranean


Although her coalition enjoys an absolute majority in both houses of parliament, she will not find it easy to put her platform into practice:


She will very soon have to deal with the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the United States, if she does not respect the treaties on the management of immigration, Islam, free and undistorted competition and the European Union's defence policy.


If she is really very brave, she will carry on regardless and continue her policy. That is when the European Central Bank will deal with her. Indeed, Italy has become, thanks to Berlusconi, a beggar. It owes its survival only to the accommodative policy of the ECB, which massively buys its abysmal debt, and protects it from hedge funds. Remember that the ECB holds 780 billion [euros] of Italian public debt (30% of total debt), and that this is only growing. Italy's 10-year borrowing rates have already exceeded 4%, which is completely unbearable for the country's budget. Then it would be enough for the ECB to stop its purchases, or even to sell part of its stock on the market at a low price, to immediately raise this rate to stratospheric levels, and make Italy look like Zimbabwe. And the same people who were yesterday in the street with signs of support will throw stones at her while insulting her. (Falento 2022)


Looking to the future


To date, nationalist victories have been on the periphery of Western Europe, and not in its core. The periphery is home to people who have not fully assimilated into the Western world-system, largely because they are less proficient in English—the main conduit of neo-Western culture. So it is difficult to make them understand ideas and social norms that emanate from the core, let alone comply with them. As a general rule, the periphery is where a world-system has the most trouble imposing its will, not only politically and economically but also culturally and ideologically.


The next decade will see rising tensions between the core and the periphery, and it’s difficult to say which will prevail. The periphery is being taken over by nationalists, like Giorgia Meloni, while the core remains dominated by elites who are pushing the globalist project: on the one hand, they want to export high-wage jobs to countries where labor is cheaper; on the other, they want to import low-wage labor for jobs that cannot be exported, i.e., jobs in construction, agriculture, and services.


That is why median wages in the West have scarcely risen over the past half-century. High-wage “breadwinner” jobs in manufacturing are largely gone, and the jobs that remain are increasingly low-paying ones in services. During the 2020s, wage stagnation will give way to a leveling downward of wages throughout the West. Elsewhere, the leveling upward will be modest and uneven. The inner periphery will get the worst of both worlds: they’re not poor enough to attract low-wage industries, but not rich enough to attract the financial industry jobs that are concentrated in London, New York, and other world centres.


It is doubtful whether globalization will be a net benefit for the average person in the world.  Wealth is created most efficiently in high-trust societies, and those societies are the ones most affected by “replacement migration.” We may simply end up with a world where most workers are equally poor and equally mistrustful of each other.





Falento, A. (2022). Giorgia Meloni ne pourra rien faire si elle ne sort pas de l’Union européene. Riposte laïque. September 26.  


Frost, P. (2017). Terra Nostra, for how long? Evo and Proud, November 23.  


Wikipedia (2022). Immigration to Italy.


Anonymous said...

yes as to your last point about inner peripheries or whatever the term may be i think its very resonant in my life since i live in a part of the country where sales jobs are the only viable option other than industrial jobs.

unless i just havent tapped enough into the job market as well as i thought i did then i would say that sales are the only white collar jobs left in some places.


Anonymous said...

the reason i write this is because i have a degree in Finance from a reputable business college and its been hard to find work. i am only 26 i would like to find something that actually appeals to me in my field honestly.


Anonymous said...

Italians themselves, like people in other very developed countries have raised this problem. Wanting to have comfort but not getting children is common. Companies want to make profits without educating new employees or paying them enough for them to be able to afford the produced goods is not sustainable. The system has to exploit new people to run on. The markets have to expand to run on.
The Italian population is the most unfertile in Europe and the most pressuring for women. No child care, machism, and very high cost of living are problems. Sadly, Meloni won't be able to solve these problems.

Truth Seeker said...

I just want to point out that there’s another, opposite viewpoint as well: that the answer to today’s leftism and globalism is actually... the United States. It’s true that “wokeness” comes from the US, but at the same time I’ve heard some experts say that the US has the largest population of hardcore right-wingers anywhere in the world, and its freedom of speech laws as well as a culture like Fox News wouldn’t be permissible anywhere else. In terms of non-English-speaking countries not being “conduits” for Western liberalism, I’ve heard that Poland, of all places, is experiencing LGBTQ and BLM movements, and a lot of young Poles are ultra liberal. Not saying this is right, just passing on some reports.

Santocool said...

You may a good writer about how genes or biology influence human society but about sociology...

The main reason for demographic erosion is too simple to understand but IDEOLOGICALLY difficult to be accepted by a great majority of conservs like you: capitalism. It's look repetitive and it is but just because capitalism is so extremely rooted since a long time, it's inevitable overlook its pernicious influence.

Based on eurostat research i saw one decade ago when i was studying in university, for majority of young european couples two kids is the ideal family size they would like to get.

But high life cost associated with lower wages, work exploitation (unbalanced division between work and free time) and lack of benefits for the mother make it hard.

That's why social democracies has been relatively better to rise native fertility rates.

Also materialism is making young and reproducible people choosing for continous accumulation of material means than raising families.

But right has a better strategy: pay some money for young parents and condemn people who don't want procreate by any reasons and or relatable practices. So smart...

Peter Frost said...

Anon (same person?),

Italians are copying the American model of capitalism, which used to work reasonably well in the U.S., where land and housing were relatively cheap and where ownership of capital was spread over a large middle class. That model no longer works in the U.S., and it works terribly in Europe.

Truth Seeker,

Yes, Americans are more dedicated to free debate than people of other countries. They have a tradition of not taking shit and talking back to authority. Here, in Canada, people have a long history of deference to authority.

That being said, I'm not overly optimistic for the future of the American people. The high concentration of economic power is driving a high concentration of political power. Elections are becoming irrelevant. Perhaps I'm too pessimistic.


I agree. It isn't enough to give young families financial support (although that is part of the solution). The imbalance between Capital and Labor must be corrected. This will be difficult because Capital is increasingly international and beyond the control of any one government. The culture must also be changed.

In particular, we need some oversight over advertising because it's creating a fake reality that glorifies the single lifestyle and, in general, an atomized vision of society. People are unconsciously falling into line with that fake reality, and I can't help wondering whether that is a deliberate goal. If you believe that wealthy groups invest in advertising solely to sell products or services, you probably also believe that they invest in the media to deliver news and entertainment.

J said...

The imbalance between Capital and Labor... yes, but then the places where this imbalance has been corrected (say, Socialist Cuba in the last 50 years) are even poorer, less fertile, and more desperate. The solution, I think, is to escape. Once those Fundamentalist Protestants escaped England and settled in America, their numbers started to multiply. Alternatively, it is possible to erect impermeable barriers, like the Amish and Orthodox Jews (that have no TV at home, and their phones cannot connect to the internet).

Santocool said...

Cuba is a completely failled socialism-attempt as well happened and still happens everywhere. One of the reasons is that it was never really a goal but to take the control using this narratives. It's not a good example. Scandinavian countries are good but not very good examples. Sweden has become more and more neoliberal in the last two decades while a pro natalist policy require a more collectivist or communitarian approach to support kids. Also many women complain about the difficulty to conciliate their professional career with raising kids. It's the traditional capitalism's work exploitation including of middle class people that is contributing to down fertility rate in self extinct levels, as well other factors, from the simple fact to live in high density places to materialism ideology.

Santocool said...

I also believe that countries like Japan evolve genetically and culturally to be chronically dependent to a more organized cycle of life, particularly with arranged marriage rather than random mating rituals.

Santocool said...

Japanese people i mean.

emilializ said...

"Here, in Canada, people have a long history of deference to authority" - Peace, order and good government.