NEW CRISIS AND FEARS.

THE CULTURE OF RESENTMENT IS NOT THE SOLUTION

Abstract dell’articolo di Fabio Lucchini “Crisi e nuove paure. La cultura del risentimento non è una soluzione” apparso su IL FUTURO TRA PAURE E SPERANZE – Pedagogika.it anno 2012 n 1.

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After the brief illusion of global economic recovery, continued deterioration of market index, erosion of purchasing power and significant loss of jobs herald a next future full of uncertainties. It increases the fear that the distrust of the financial markets, or (according to other interpretations) the deliberate hostility of speculators, will result in a significant deterioration of general living standards.

Clearly, at the dawn of 2012, we move into a phase of history where vast majority of people live their future as a big and worrying issue. In particular, Italian economic system is under pressure and social fabric suffers. Estimates show that vulnerability to poverty is spreading on a large scale. A recent survey demonstrates that in the early nineties of the last century nearly half of the Italian population risked to become poor. Now, is reasonable to assume that the situation turns for the worse, especially given the chronic stagnation of the Italian GDP and the lingering effects of the crisis (G. Vecchi, In Ricchezza e povertà. Il benessere degli italiani dall’Unità a oggi, 2011).

Sense of existential insecurity is increasing, together with the frustration, fear and resentment. It is not a new phenomenon, but there is something new. During the last two decades public opinions have often identified the origin of its social ills with “the others”, the strangers, the immigrants, demanding protection and therefore asking governments to increase levels of repression. Now is precisely the state, “the representatives of people “, and with them the big business, to be targeted risking of playing the displeasing role of scapegoat.

In the nineties of the last century the main concern of our communities, wealthy and convinced to remain so long, was represented by small predatory crime. In the last decade, following the momentous events of September 2001, the risk of permanent and apocalyptic terrorism had triggered feelings of confused restlessness towards “the others” and their alleged intention to condition us and distort our lives through fear. Now, at the beginning of a new decade those concerns have not disappeared, but are almost negligible in the face of the widening of the existential precariousness. What seemed guaranteed up to now (employment, pensions, health) is not likely to be in the future. Weaker sections of population are already suffering due to the economic decline, but also middle class starts to become poor.

General dissatisfaction grows, but, at the same time, popular darts target is changing: no longer delinquency and deviant migrants, but the “big powers”, unable to manage the global system and its financial, technological and environmental resources (repeated oil spills in the sea and the recent catastrophe in Fukushima add a plus of anxiety). Ultimately, global public opinion has no doubts about the identity of those responsible for the instability that threatens us. The growing feeling of hostility felt by large sections of Italian public opinion against local ruling elites is emblematic of the changing mood. The persistence of the economic crisis seems to have finally revealed what had long been known: that governments of different political leaning have failed, cajoling people rather than governing them, lavishing promises and creating expectations regularly frustrated in the few achievements.

However, hurling new scapegoats (speculators, politicians, banks) could stir up social anger, stressing dangerously the already strained collective nerves. As the extraordinary and terrible twentieth century taught us, the only way out of the overall crisis that is sweeping our world is try to understand, avoiding simplifications and working for change. If the economic resources decline, the same cannot be said for human capital, supported by a terrifying level of education and access to technological tools. The growing need for participation and involvement in the public sphere felt by a new generation “forced” to leave the apathy of well-being is the best hope for the future. A perspective that should be substantiated by the commitment of everyone. The collective intelligence, and not the culture of resentment, is the only effective antidote against the cynical and dysfunctional irrationality that led us to the current situation.

 

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