Social and Economic Dilemmas
Despite the backward social and economic conditions of the South and despite the lack of raw materials in the more progressive north, the tutelage of Italy by the Cavour ‘s heirs had produced many of the pre-conditions and much of the infrastructure required by a modern state.
The state itself, by promoting railroads and naval construction, stimulated the growth of heavy industries in the north. This led to population inflows from the countryside both to the cities and to the areas of railroad construction and tunneling. Simple country folk were uprooted and thrown together in relatively anonymous social conditions, where the traditional support of family and Church was absent. Often working for meager wages and always subject to the caprice of employers, the newly arrived Italian workers suffered many of the same disorienting effects as workers in the early stages of other industrial revolutions, such as England or Germany. One response, hesitant and tentative at first, was the development of workers’ associations to help protect the worker in the workplace and to ease his lot in life. In other words, the concentaration of workers which took place alongside the growth of industry led, in Italy as elsewhere, to the development of socialism and the organization of a socialist party.
What was unique about Italy was that its early socialists
were interested not only in the fate of industrial workers, but also in
the peasantry. The development of modern,
Finally, while both of these developments were in process
during the first decades after
These themes will provide the topics of our work for week seven.
|Assignments: DiScala, pp. 139-175;