Posted by: gurglin | December 14, 2008

Italian welfare part 1

In Italy there are around four different “layers” for doing a job or for accomplishing a task, not counting the different bureaucratic structures built around them.

What in other countries is generally done by some civil servants within a specific unit of a ministry, in the Boot it has a more complicated journey to go through. We do not dare to forget the hundreds of thousands of people “working” in ministries have no skills no knowledge whatsoever – neither general culture nor job related – and they simply got that job for a political quid pro quo, a vote-job exchange. This is not surprising… it is the normal and generally accepted way of getting a job in the public administration, at any level. These people keep on getting (I would not use the verb “earning”… it does not fit here…) the wage for going to the office every once in a while, but once there they only surf on the web, do coffee-breaks, managers read newspapers (not because they are interested in them, but it is a sort of status symbol compared to the rest of employee whose only window to the world is a TV), make phone calls, make photocopies and send faxes for their own private affairs… Moreover most of the times employees organize different shifts: one every 5 or 10 among them has to go to the office building for checking the badges of his group of people, then he/she leaves and somebody else scheduled for this heavy task goes back in the evening, possible a couple of hours after the official end of the working day, for ensuring everybody will get extra money for the “extra work” provided to the administration.

This way of “working” caused some problems, but not because the whole bureaucratic machine was stuck, but because European Agreements were demanding, therefore under European pressures it was necessary to do some work… hence it was necessary to create some other semi-private structures for doing the “dirty job” that theoretically was task of the “practically unemployed” employees “working” as civil servants. A lot of Authorities – whose role is still obscure – and an uncountable number of Agencies were created, and sometimes those half-public agencies are physically next to the ministries (like in the case of “the ministry of finance” and the agency doing its work, called Sogei).

Sadly enough this is not the end of the story, because politicians tend to be overwhelming with their mafia attitude, and imposed their people in those agencies as well, which means – once again – that if you want to get a job there you need to be sponsored by a politician… your experience and skills are therefore not important anymore….

This fact meant those special agencies created for doing the work on behalf of ministry employees – because ministries were filled of unskilled people – became some sort of ministries themselves, where people do work a tiny bit, but given the strong connection with the political-mafia (synonymous of political parties and trade unions) they are not forced to work… they do not have to… Therefore most of the work is outsourced to some private companies that in most cases avail themselves of some contract heavily-underpaid people, with almost no rights, no holidays, no sick nor pregnancy leave. They are the only ones who really work under the menace of their contract not being renewed if they do not accept the nasty rules of their job, whose conditions are closer to slavery if compared to anything else in civilized countries.

In a way those people, the real workers, pay for not being part of the mafia elite that rules the country. Politically speaking there is no left nor right wing: mafia is a way of living, a spread mentality that pervades the whole country, from the most important politician to the last citizen. Either you accept it, or you leave the country…

From another prospective you realize that for just doing one task there are at least three (generally four) administrative layers and “levels” of people getting paid, while in any decent country one person would be enough…. this is the Italian way for a generalized welfare and the local answer to socialism… for one person really working (the contract-servant) there are 4 working-class-people who are paid for, to whom you must add the different managers and the bureaucrats involved in parallel agencies aimed at coordinating the NON work, which makes a whole country sustained by a few percentage of “slaves”.



  1. What a wonderful analysis of the italian mess! Good job!

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