Luca Fazzi | July 21, 2015)
Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Trento
On July 9, the Senate approved the bill n.1176, which provides for the establishment on October 4 Day Gift. The anniversary is symbolically important, being the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi who, sent by his father to Rome to sell a lot of goods, distributed the proceeds to the poor and exchanged his clothes with a beggar as a sign of dedication to the divine and the human desire for fraternity and justice.
The initiative as is often the case for the measures proposed by the government Renzi is a mixture of the sacred and the profane. Sacred is the reference to the patron saint of Italy (along with St. Catherine of Siena), the profane is the intent to promote the mobilization of free resources in the main form of donation to contribute to social causes. Is there anything wrong with that combination of idealism and materialism? In principle, no. The common good, the welfare and the fight against inequality can not be just a business administration and accounting of the state. So however it was never because the first modern European public welfare, established in Britain after the war in 1945, was based on an agreement popular among generations and walks of life united in the effort to rebuild a society torn apart by the conflict in the name of patriotism that united all toward a common destiny and solidarity.
As then, today the welfare can not be reduced to a single issue of taxation and redistribution but also be fed through the social solidarity and mutual aid. A world where giving to others is perceived only as a legal obligation and not a moral and social value, the long is inevitably destined to dissolve into a thousand streams of self-interest, group and caste.
But a welfare state able to offer everyone an opportunity not possible without a lot of effort in public education, health, social assistance and development. From this point of view, the supporters of the government Renzi have little reason to rejoice, and fewer still have the many representatives of the third sector co-opted into the ranks of the national policy, champions until now mainly in words of the third sector reforms stranded in the marshes of 'inaction and the rhetoric of the new advances.
Despite declarations of intent, in Italy social needs remain largely unmet in today. Public expenditure dedicated to combating poverty is lower by about 80% compared to the European average, while spending on services for dependent persons in one of the countries with the highest rate of aging of the planet is lower by about 40 %. Compared to these needs the renzismo seem to want to relinquish all responsibility. The philosophy of the reforms of welfare that the government promotes refers to the so-called Social Investment Strategy promoted by the European Union, a program in which the capital is considered an investment to harness the potential of the individual in key productive employment. The idea is that the economy and productivity and will save the welfare rights. It is no coincidence they play everywhere in this historic trombones of those who would like that the third sector to abandon his vocation as a subject is not moved by the purpose of the distribution of profits, to embrace forms and models more profit-oriented or low profit as goes fashionable to say in order to occupy "niche markets" more productive and rewarding.
The economic imperative also engulfs the organization of the processes of outsourcing and contracting out services based increasingly on contracts to the lowest bidder that promote the spread of the few providers of performance of large organizations at the expense of small and medium-sized more related to local communities and that express in a more authentic nature of the third sector and community solidarity. Instead of playing as a single choir, building supply chains of services based on the intertwining of action and professional networks and popular participation in associations, the third sector as it shatters, they exacerbate conflict between competing organizations, are mobilizing large budget that They encourage opportunistic behavior and predators and people remain trapped in the logic of every man for himself in order to survive and continue operating.
The gift in this scenario, more than a recognition of the nature of acting in solidarity as one of the pillars of the welfare state, risks becoming a further boost to the irresponsibility and the dismantling of public intervention. As if it had been known for decades of international studies that, without a basis of public funding and a government coordinated, participatory and transparent supply system, opportunism and adverse selection of the weakest are destined to become designated and inevitable outcome of social policy programs.
Someone notes that the recovery of resources from civil society through the promotion of the gift is the antidote needed to cope with the decline in public spending. That idea of justice can not be entrusted to the charity, it seems to be, for too many, distant memory. But the teaching of St. Francis was that of taking responsibility away from individuals and institutions by giving the free choice is responsible for ensuring brotherhood and opportunities for a decent life for all. San Francesco extolled the need for participation at the last gathering of a decent life. He wanted a community where each for his part took responsibility not to abandon the less fortunate to their fate. The call to holiness to legitimize measures that contribute in the current framework to further weaken the state's role as guarantor of the rights of the poorest and most unfortunate therefore sincerely sounds heretical. As is well known, moreover, does not just appeal to the saints to aspire to the kingdom of heaven.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate and promote the culture of the gift from the bride and miracle workers to the government and the audience of his supporters would be to legislate and act to allow to steal less. Remove to those who steal and make it available to those who help in a logic of solidarity, justice and fairness, it is the best way to ensure the rights and future to those who have nothing.
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