Italy is indulgent towards its children in some ways—it is not unusual for them to live at home until they are in their 30s—but hard on them in others. “A typical Italian family these days”, says Enrico Letta of the Democratic Party, “has some great-grandparents, four grandparents, two parents and one child. This poor child has so many people planning its life, there is no possibility of it ever taking a risk.”
The government transfers money from young to old by spending 14% of GDP on pensions, a higher proportion than any other OECD country. Italy’s demography ought to hand a big advantage to the young who, thanks to a fertility rate of just 1.4 per woman (well below the rate required to hold the population steady), are becoming scarce. But instead of gaining extra bargaining power, they are blocked by gerontocracies everywhere.
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