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The transformation of democracy in Italy

Giovanni Barbieri
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Università degli Studi di Perugia
Giovanni Barbieri
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Università degli Studi di Perugia
Open Panel

Abstract

The IV Berlusconi government (may 2008 - ) has brought relevant changes in democratic institutions of Italy. Many scholars have thought to these transformations referring to populism, authoritarianism or even sultanate (e.g. Sartori ). Nobody of them is wrong, because of the transformation of democracy has got elusive and multiform aspects. But if we should summarize these different features in an unique formula, we could use the expression “demagogic pluto-democracy”. Demagogic pluto-democracy, in Vilfredo Pareto’s words, is formed by the union between the class of the rich speculators and that of the workers; but it must be clear that the speculators manage to get this union by means of cunning , propaganda, and deceiving with false promises the working class members. This form of democracy isn’t new for Italy. In the past, we can find it during the so called “Basso Impero” (248-476 d.c.), or when Giovanni Giolitti came to the power. Nowadays, however, it seems to reach the largest development. The decisions and the actions made by the IV Berlusconi government in front of different issues – Alitalia; fiscal shield; and Civil Protection – testify a strategy aimed at supporting the interests of a more or less extensive group of speculators, entepreneurs, or rich people. Despite of this, Berlusconi manages to maintain a wide consensus to his decisions, blanketing them with attractive words and promises: “l’italianità”, the taxes reduction; the citizen security.