Elsa Fornero ad Affaritaliani.it, from the taxman to pensions: “Whoever has more is right to pay more”. Interview
The meritocracy… it is talked about a lot, as it is little known. We discuss this with the economist Elsa Forneroformer Minister of Labor and Social Policies, with responsibility for Equal Opportunities, from 16 November 2011 to 28 April 2013 in Monti government.
Professor, recently at a conference at the School of Economics where she spoke with Michele Boldrin, a very interesting concept emerged: that a meritocratic approach allows everyone to look at the world in general, as well as the sphere of work and the personal path of each in a different way. And from this vision comes a different action, a different way of acting on reality.
Meritocracy can be the salt of democracy and progress. However, it risks being an empty box if it does not have shared values of society as a reference. It’s right to reward the good, but our society doesn’t make everyone start from the same line. From the first years of life, from elementary school many children are left behind.
It seems to me that today’s young people, particularly in the world of private work – I am thinking in particular of the economic and financial sectors – live in a context sensitive to these issues; they themselves are. Perhaps economic rewards would also be needed to accompany the chrism of merit.
However there are too many young people who experience a sense of disorientation and trust. Some are less committed, they don’t share the motivations of the study. They have little civic sense, because they feel marginalized or excluded from society. We need to make an effort to recover many too many disappointed young people for the future. The Welfare that we must have is the one that seeks to level the starting points. Only in this way is meritocracy legitimized.
The ministry of Viale Trastevere, in the Meloni Executive, is called Education and Merit.
I had the opportunity to discuss with the minister Giuseppe Valditara and in the name of the dicastery he leads I suggested he insert a little word… I would have called him Education, Opportunities and Merit.
What do you answer to those who say that the reforms of the School of the Left have lowered the bar of what was asked of the students and paradoxically made society more classist? Only those with a family behind them reach the top.
There is no fair value given to the school. Parents once had great aspirations that their children should have a higher education than they had. Today the media give too much weight to appearance, less to education based on study and commitment and many parents demand good grades for their children without having taught them to deserve them.
The nominations for state-owned companies are starting. It is banal to say that merit is not always followed. What do you answer to those who say that they are run-in machines anyway and that this is the case all over the world?
It is a vague and populist statement. In the world, greater value is given to skills, exactly the opposite of the Five Star thesis: “One is not worth one”. In Italy, unfortunately, belonging to or proximity to the centers of power still counts too much in the mechanisms of choice.
Your pension reform, how meritocratic is it? We look at the protests in France. Can we say that opposing the raising of the retirement age is an expression of an anti-meritocratic culture?
The principle of the contribution formula, which the 2011 reform applied to everyone, closely links the pension to the contributions paid, and therefore to work. The rule applies to everyone and the exceptions are justified only in the sense of equity towards the less fortunate, not the more fortunate. And equity must also concern young and future generations, who do not “deserve” to be in debt from their fathers’ pensions.
Is the tax reform that was launched by the Meloni Executive meritocratic?
The tax authorities must be based on meritocratic criteria, but also on solidarity. It is right that, as the founding fathers predicted, whoever has more pays proportionally more. We have a society that excludes too many people, the taxman can be a tool to provide resources for a welfare system that reduces starting differences and makes meritocracy fair.
What do you think of the so-called affirmative action (positive discrimination), a declination of which, to be clear, are the female quotas?
These are actions that can serve to reduce resistance and make up for delays, as has also been done in other contexts, I am thinking of the condition of blacks in the USA. The important thing is to create the starting conditions for meritocracy to be true.
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