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The mob, the minister & the mud: Corrupted Italy

AldoAldo Hippo HoorayRegistered User regular
edited July 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Recent affairs in Italy urged me to make a topic outlining the situation to the unaware, because I feel the troubles do not get the attention on these forums that they deserve.

The troubles Or: Eh, wassamattayou?

Italy has always been famous for it's corruption, but in recent years it has made an attempt to create a better image. As I am going to show below this new image is mostly wrong.

The prime minister
silvioberlusconiiz1.jpg
Silvio Berlusconi is the prime minister of Italy, he held this function before from 1994-1995 again from 2001-2006 and he regained his position earlier this year. Silvio is also entrepreneur, real estate and insurance tycoon, bank and media proprietor, sports team owner and songwriter.

His biggest problem is with the law. The man doesn't like the law, simple as that. Because he is a multi-millionaire and the most powerful man in the country he can afford to show his dislike for the law. Check out the special wiki page on his trials if you want to know a little more about this subject. Suffice here to say that he leaves no sources untouched to keep him out jail, yesterday there was another protest march against a new legislation that would make him and his seconds immune to prosecution.

Garbage crisis
napleswd1.jpg
For over a year the garbage in and around the city of Napels has not been collected, resulting in tons and tons of garbage rotting on the streets. Not even the house of Sophia Loren has been spared. The dirt is literally everywhere.

There are many reasons why this can happen, but they all boil down to the weak government and the mob:
  • A lot of garbage dumps come in use as agricultural land or to build houses and/or parks on
  • Plans for new garbage dumps run into the good ol' NIMBY. No one wants a garbage dump in their backyard and the government lacks the power to push it through.
  • The Camorra (Mafia from Napels) controls all aspects of the garbage disposal in Napels and the surrounding region. This even goes so far that they pick up toxic waste from rich regions in the North and dump it in Napels. It is estimated that the Camorra makes $1 billion profit per year on their antics.

When Berlusconi got kicked out of office in 2007 and Prodi got back into power (an old reputable politician who held office a few years before that) he promised to solve this situation, of course this was too difficult to just fix in a few months. Which resulted in him getting kicked out of office and Berlusconi swinging right back in.

There is however a silver lining:
250pxvesuvius1822scropefl5.jpg
The famous Vesuvius is supposed to have another eruption between now and 30 years.

North vs South
The northern part of the country has a much higher GDP than the south, as can be seen in this map I put in spoiler tags:
erp07fig1cc2.png

This is not very shocking, most countries have regional differences, just look at the differences between coastal and inland areas in the USA. The problem with Italy is that a lot of northerners want do divide the country in two. The infamous political party Lega Nord has gained a lot of votes on this premise. Now they are part of the government.

The scapegoat
As one can imagine from a group of people who call half the people living in their country good-for-nothings, slackers and "living on our taxes": they do not like foreigners as well. Berlusconi has often said that the biggest problem in Italy is that of illegal immigrants (see for example: here)

Now, what does one do when he needs an easy to define group to blame all his problems on? And he can't blame the Jews without risking Israel launching a few bombs in his general direction.

The gypsies! Yes! With their big noses and heathen magic and and and and....

So there you go: The Italian government wants to collect fingerprints of all Roma people of all ages currently residing within the borders of Italy. The EU has been calling Italy out on this issue, which they consider an act of discrimination.
The following must be noted here:
  • Only "nomads" (as Italians call all Roma and other similar groups) will have to give their fingerprints
  • Normally only criminals get their fingerprints taken.
  • The Lega Nord minister in charge of this operation is talking about "the gypsy emergency"
As to please human rights groups around the world the Italian government said that they would send Red Cross workers along with the people having to take fingerprints as to make sure that no human rights would be violated. I can't even begin to understand how this would make this thing morally acceptable.

However, because this is Italy local rulers get to decide on the execution of this plan, one said he won't take fingerprints of anyone younger than 14, another one said he didn't feel like taking fingerprints at all...etcetera.


So, four problems that gained attention in the media. Of course there's more I could write about, like the mob on Sicily or some other government regulations that make me rise an eyebrow. But I'll refrain from that as to keep this OP kind of readable.

I think there are two main themes we can discuss:

1) Should we continue treating Italy as an ally or as an unruly ally that needs to get straightened out?
2) How should Italy fix itself? Why did the people re-elect Berlusconi after the raped the country twice already?

Aldo on

Posts

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I'm not exactly well equipped to talk about Italian politics, but I do know quite a few Americans who work for the government currently living in Italy. Those near Naples are (naturally) horrified by the garbage crisis.

    The attitude there is also very interesting. The way these Americans see it, it's fairly odd if your house hasn't by robbed at least once. Crime of that vein is expected, in a way. Some Americans I've spoken to even mention having landlords with "connections" who can make sure they get their stuff back.

    So yeah, Italy is clearly a nation troubled by rampant corruption, and insular nomads who commit mostly petty crimes is the least of their worries. Northern Italy is a great place to vacation, though.

    Alecthar on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Alecthar wrote: »
    I'm not exactly well equipped to talk about Italian politics, but I do know quite a few Americans who work for the government currently living in Italy. Those near Naples are (naturally) horrified by the garbage crisis.

    The attitude there is also very interesting. The way these Americans see it, it's fairly odd if your house hasn't by robbed at least once. Crime of that vein is expected, in a way. Some Americans I've spoken to even mention having landlords with "connections" who can make sure they get their stuff back.

    So yeah, Italy is clearly a nation troubled by rampant corruption, and insular nomads who commit mostly petty crimes is the least of their worries. Northern Italy is a great place to vacation, though.
    Neither am I, I learn most things from my newspaper and assorted wiki/google news articles.

    I didn't know that robberies were so common, I thought the mob mostly focused on shops. The way the landlords have connections is pretty typical. And Italians are usually nice people and the country is beautiful (at least what I've seen of it), such a shame their country is so corrupted.

    Aldo on
  • RedThornRedThorn Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Alecthar wrote: »
    and insular nomads who commit mostly petty crimes is the least of their worries.

    To be fair, it's not really surprising that the gypsies are used as a scapegoat. A very visible ethnic minority that commits loads of petty crime and is culturally acceptable to dislike? That's like the best scapegoat ever. I'm not saying that the discrimination against them by the government is okay and it certainly isn't helpful, but it's pretty obvious why they get singled out.

    RedThorn on
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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    RedThorn wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    and insular nomads who commit mostly petty crimes is the least of their worries.

    To be fair, it's not really surprising that the gypsies are used as a scapegoat. A very visible ethnic minority that commits loads of petty crime and is culturally acceptable to dislike? That's like the best scapegoat ever. I'm not saying that the discrimination against them by the government is okay and it certainly isn't helpful, but it's pretty obvious why they get singled out.

    I always wonder if Roma people have similar crime levels to other minorities with an equally low income level. When I did a paper on Roma in Romania I didn't run into anything*.



    *I wasn't looking either, I focused more on their identity, culture and where they were living (mostly in run-down apartments and they were travelling much either).

    Aldo on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I thought I should just post that I found this thread incredibly informative but know nothing of Italy.

    electricitylikesme on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The Northern League is picking up in popularity again? Damn.

    They need another shakeup.

    Thanatos on
  • TarranonTarranon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I sort of had this vague idea that Italy was corrupt, but mostly from literature and other fiction. You know, Rome being the city of thieves and all.

    I didn't realize it was actually pretty bad.

    Tarranon on
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Tarranon wrote: »
    I sort of had this vague idea that Italy was corrupt, but mostly from literature and other fiction. You know, Rome being the city of thieves and all.

    I didn't realize it was actually pretty bad.
    They had cleaned things up pretty well shortly before joining the EU (relative to where they were before cleaning things up). Apparently, things have gone downhill considerably since then.

    Thanatos on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Tarranon wrote: »
    I sort of had this vague idea that Italy was corrupt, but mostly from literature and other fiction. You know, Rome being the city of thieves and all.

    I didn't realize it was actually pretty bad.
    They had cleaned things up pretty well shortly before joining the EU (relative to where they were before cleaning things up). Apparently, things have gone downhill considerably since then.

    Italy was one of the first countries to join the EU and they profited a lot from the free transport of goods and labour. I guess this sudden increase in wealth and the explosive growth of summer tourism did them a lot of good.

    --

    I'm glad people have learned something from my OP. :)

    Aldo on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Tarranon wrote: »
    I sort of had this vague idea that Italy was corrupt, but mostly from literature and other fiction. You know, Rome being the city of thieves and all.

    I didn't realize it was actually pretty bad.
    They had cleaned things up pretty well shortly before joining the EU (relative to where they were before cleaning things up). Apparently, things have gone downhill considerably since then.
    Italy was one of the first countries to join the EU and they profited a lot from the free transport of goods and labour. I guess this sudden increase in wealth and the explosive growth of summer tourism did them a lot of good.

    --

    I'm glad people have learned something from my OP. :)
    They were one of the first to join, but not one of the founding members. The rest of the EU didn't want them getting in until they took care of their corruption issues, and their shitty economy (their currency would have substantially devalued the Euro).

    Thanatos on
  • DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I was in Rome recently, and while I didn't see anything that bad there, garbage was quite high on there as well.

    DarkCrawler on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    They were one of the first to join, but not one of the founding members. The rest of the EU didn't want them getting in until they took care of their corruption issues, and their shitty economy (their currency would have substantially devalued the Euro).
    Oh, yes. Sorry, got it mixed up. You are right.

    Aldo on
  • enderwiggin13enderwiggin13 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    From what I understand, the Italian government has been this way almost since it's inception. It wasn't actually unified under one government until the late 1800s and even then, the government was relatively weak and unable to protect it's citizens. It was weak enough to allow the corruption to take a foothold and I'm fairly certain that's why my great-grandparents emigrated back in 1919. Well, that and WWI.

    I should ask my grandmother about it sometime.

    enderwiggin13 on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    All I really know about Italian politics is their government seems to crumble to dust every few years.

    not surprised about the corruption and regional conflicts though. Italy has never really been a unified country except under dictators.

    nexuscrawler on
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    I'm glad people have learned something from my OP. :)

    I certainly did. Most importantly that I'm not going to Italy until this shit looks clearer.

    Wonder_Hippie on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    From what I understand, the Italian government has been this way almost since it's inception. It wasn't actually unified under one government until the late 1800s and even then, the government was relatively weak and unable to protect it's citizens. It was weak enough to allow the corruption to take a foothold and I'm fairly certain that's why my great-grandparents emigrated back in 1919. Well, that and WWI.

    I should ask my grandmother about it sometime.
    An old history teacher once told me that the Italians soldiers in WWI didn't even speak the same language, every city state used to have its own dialect.

    Aldo on
  • PataPata Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Oh wow, just looking at that guy I wouldn't trust him to mow my lawn.

    Pata on
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  • enderwiggin13enderwiggin13 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    From what I understand, the Italian government has been this way almost since it's inception. It wasn't actually unified under one government until the late 1800s and even then, the government was relatively weak and unable to protect it's citizens. It was weak enough to allow the corruption to take a foothold and I'm fairly certain that's why my great-grandparents emigrated back in 1919. Well, that and WWI.

    I should ask my grandmother about it sometime.
    An old history teacher once told me that the Italians soldiers in WWI didn't even speak the same language, every city state used to have its own dialect.

    Yep, my grandmother's family was from Turin and spoke Piedmontese while my grandfather's family was from Cantazaro and spoke Calabrese. When my grandfather was still alive, they used to argue in Italian, then stop in the middle of the argument and argue about who's Italian was correct. :P

    Here's a good look at the various dialects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Languages_spoken_in_Italy.svg

    enderwiggin13 on
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  • METAzraeLMETAzraeL Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Pata wrote: »
    Oh wow, just looking at that guy I wouldn't trust him to mow my lawn.
    That picture practically screams corrupted politician

    METAzraeL on

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  • ZimmydoomZimmydoom Accept no substitutes Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    METAzraeL wrote: »
    Pata wrote: »
    Oh wow, just looking at that guy I wouldn't trust him to mow my lawn.
    That picture practically screams corrupted politician

    Part Robert Duvall, part Hector Elizondo.

    All EVIL.

    Zimmydoom on
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    Gim wrote: »
    Zimmydoom, Zimmydoom
    Flew away in a balloon
    Had sex with polar bears
    While sitting in a reclining chair
    Now there are Zim-Bear hybrids
    Running around and clawing eyelids
    Watch out, a Zim-Bear is about to have sex with yooooooou!
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    Recent affairs in Italy urged me to make a topic outlining the situation to the unaware, because I feel the troubles do not get the attention on these forums that they deserve.

    The troubles Or: What's the haps?
    Damn. It shouldn't be "What's the haps?" Should be: "Eh, wassamattayou?"

    GungHo on
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    GungHo wrote: »
    Aldo wrote: »
    Recent affairs in Italy urged me to make a topic outlining the situation to the unaware, because I feel the troubles do not get the attention on these forums that they deserve.

    The troubles Or: What's the haps?
    Damn. It shouldn't be "What's the haps?" Should be: "Eh, wassamattayou?"

    Oh shit, this was the best quote I've read in a long time.

    urahonky on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    GungHo wrote: »
    Damn. It shouldn't be "What's the haps?" Should be: "Eh, wassamattayou?"
    Okay!

    Aldo on
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