Having been in abeyance for thirty years, Italy’s so-called ‘Southern issue’ has resurfaced as a result of the 2008 crisis. This involves a debate around the persistent state of economic and social stagnation that envelops the ‘Italian Mezzogiorno’, undermining its integration into the EU. Here we show the results of recent research into the ideas for development shared by the members of the southern ruling class. Our hypothesis is that one of the main causes (little investigated) of the Mezzogiorno stalemate is the weakness and inconsistency of development plans produced by the ruling class aimed at social mobilization. In-depth interviews with those occupying positions of influence in various areas of social and economic development show an argumentative deadlock about the diagnosis of development policies over the last thirty years (the neoliberal age). On the one hand, the rulers acknowledge the failure of the so-called ‘virtuous localism’ pattern (Cassano 2009); on the other hand, when asked to explain their own development vision for the future, they propose once again the same policy paradigm for southern Italy. This inconsistency translates into a sort of distrust for the development process that is under way.
Romano, O. (2020). What Future for the Italian Mezzogiorno? The Inconsistency in the Development of Policy by the Ruling Class in a European Periphery. In Maria Mirabelli Natália Brasil Dib Sinan Mihelčič (a cura di), Digitalization, Economic Development and Social Equality: Turbulent Convergence (pp. 327-336). GBR : Cambridge Scholars Publishing.