Italy: Employment, GDP to fall in south 2012-2015, OBI says

OBI Director General Corvino say youth must take up challenge

10 July, 15:45

(ANSAMed) - SORRENTO, JULY 10 - Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by a modest 0.8-0.9% in its central and northeastern regions in the 2012-2015 period, while in the northwest the economy will be virtually static, with 0.2% annual growth, and the south's GDP will drop by 0.4% a year, according to forecasts by the Observatory of Banks Enterprises of Economy and Finance (OBI) released on Tuesday. The findings were released by experts at this year's Sorrento Meeting of 250 economists, academics, bankers, researchers and representatives of public and private institutions, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebati, and Moroccan feminist writer and psychiatrist, Rita El Khayat.

Italy's youth will be particularly hard hit in the next three years, with 0.3% decline in the number of people under 25 in work in the South, compared to modest rises in employment in Italy overall (+0.3%), in central Italy (+0.5%), in the northeast (+0.7%) and in the northwest (+0.4%). If these projections come true, southerners will make up 25.5% of the employed labor force by the end of the 2005-2015 decade, down from 27.6% at the start of it, according to OBI.

The gradual concentration of jobs in Italy's four north-eastern regions will affect internal migration as well as the flow of people from Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean, OBI experts said.

''The data confirms the need for an overall transformation of European and Mediterranean economic, social and political systems,'' OBI Director General Antonio Corvino said. ''We must admit that the economic, social and political thinking of the past few decades has been flattened by conformism. It has lost its potential for critical analysis''.

This change of worldview, Corvino said, is essential to avoid ''the deterioration of civil society, the dangerous drift towards criminality, the risk of clashes between Mediterranean cultures, and the sacrifice of entire generations of young people''.

Corvino called on Sorrento Meeting participants, on society at large, and on youth to take up the intellectual challenge posed by the current situation, by emulating the likes of Federico Caffe', John Kenneth Galbraith and Albert Camus. In particular, he invited young people to ''overcome the 'single thought' critique of neoliberalism in order to face the new social and economic challenges''.

Ebati and El Khayat called for gender equality and the defense of women's rights as fundamental conditions for overcoming the current crisis, especially in the many countries, from East to West, where the road to freedom and an even playing field for both men and women is still a long one. (ANSAMed).

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