Austerity measures: if the young were to vote them in



The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has reminded us that in the European Union unemployment among young people stands at 21%, one in five. Just a few days earlier, at a conference, the new governor of Bankitalia, Ignazio Visco, reminded us that salaries for those entering the world of work are at the same level as 10 years ago in real terms. Given the low growth rate in Europe (especially in Italy) and the financial crisis of recent years, these figures – unfortunately – are no surprise.

Nonetheless, the regularity with which we read bad news regarding our young people is truly disheartening. How can this country look to the future with confidence, if those who should be building our tomorrow are incapable of doing so? The problems are well known, and to some extent, so are the solutions: rather than going into detail here, I shall simply express my wish that this country should increasingly focus its attention on the young generation.

In contrast, these two declarations have brought to the fore a “dream” that has been buzzing around my head for some time. Since most of the austerity measures being talked about have to do with long-range issues (the job market, welfare, public debt, etc.), I would love it if only the under 30s could vote for them.

They are the stakeholders of the future, the ones who will have to live with the consequences of the choices made in these days. An old Native American proverb says that what we have is borrowed from our children; the sooner we remember this, the better.