BELLINZONA – From bad to worse. This could be the title of the photograph taken by the Welfare Index for 2021. The figures published yesterday indicate an overall value of 123.09 points compared to 100 in the reference year 2011. Which would indicate, during the ‘last decade, a worsening of the general social situation. discomfort by 23%. The Welfare Index has been compiled by UDC MP Paolo Pamini, president of AreaLiberale, with his colleague Sergio Morisoli and consists of 90 indicators. In the six thematic macro-categories there are variables such as the dropout rate, the number of divorces, the number of arms sales, the percentage of precarious workers, the number of empty flats, with data extrapolated from official statistics.
“The Welfare Index, says the note issued yesterday by Pamini, is designed for a quick understanding. Considering 2011 as a “zero” year, the total number of points in the 90 indicators that make it up is 15,000, equivalent to an index equal to 100. When the index exceeds the 100-point threshold, it means that the social (welfare) situation worsens, when the index falls below the 100 threshold means it improves. Since 2011 we have been collecting official statistics to try to understand the social situation in Ticino. We want to highlight the dynamics that characterize the lives of those people in need, marginal and excluded from the production cycle in the strict sense; and that, however, they depend on state intervention; but also of that middle class which struggles and lives in uncertainty.
THE EFFECTS OF THE LOCK
Today we know, thanks to the comparison of the data from 2021 with 2020, that the Confinement with its prohibitions, its closures, its dirigisme had managed to manipulate reality in a temporary and artificial way. It is enough to make one believe or hope that deprivation of liberties and state dirigisme were something useful and good. As soon as the ties loosened, the reality, confirmed with the data from the Welfare Index 2021, returned en masse to the scene, knocking on the door rather than knocking.
The growth of unrest from confinement to date has increased by a good 8.01 points, reaching a record high of 123.09 points in 2021.
INDICATORS OF DISEASE
We clean up the field of speculation. The global figure for 2021 is nothing more than the logical continuation of a trend that began before the Pandemic: the old economic scheme, that GDP growth combined with the growth of state spending creates well-being and prosperity for all , has jumped. On the one hand, unrest is growing due to “false” economic growth and a “looted” Ticino labor market. On the other hand, by a state expenditure that grows more and more than the wealth produced, but which is ineffective and inefficient in reducing social unrest. The Covid-19 has nothing to do with it. Today we know that it first slowed down but then only accelerated the negative effects already underway.
In this sense, after 11 consecutive measures from 2011 to 2021, it is difficult to disprove, without a good dose of bad faith, some consolidated and irreversible trends. Sub-indicators grouping the criteria of some ad hoc monitored categories leave no room for sophistry or illusions.
The crime indicator has risen from 123.13 in 2020 to 131.77, meaning that “forced imprisonment” for all citizens has only given the impression that this unrest had diminished. . Occupational disease stands at 111.33 points in 2021, an increase of 8.70 points, returning to the level already reached before the pandemic.
With 119.08 points the youth discomfort is confirmed in constant exponential growth in the last 3 years. The indicator that groups the criteria of family discomfort follows its regular growth without interruption (nor had Covid interrupted it) and flies to 120.92 points. The behavioral criteria sub-indicator highlights a clear deterioration from 110.7 points in 2020 to 121.8 points in 2021, the highest growth recorded with 11.1 points difference. On the other hand, the weak trend of the sub-indicator of financial need criteria is confirmed. This index is constantly moving and fluctuating around the value of 100, with 99.8 points in 2021; it means that the casuistry of those who need direct financial help in the strict sense remains constant throughout the decade. One might dare to deduce: that the financial support system in Switzerland and Ticino is working, and that the growing social unrest is little influenced by financial needs but by other non-monetary problems. All of these are hypotheses to explore.
ECONOMIC GROWTH IS NOT ENOUGH. A REFORM IS URGENT
In conclusion, it is definitely clear that social reform must now be tackled without further delay. Economic growth alone will no longer be able to absorb widespread unrest on its own, public spending has already shown its impotence to reduce it for more than a decade; while taxpayers will not be able to afford further increases in social spending.
The growth of discomfort we measure requires a multidisciplinary approach, as opposed to current departmentalism, and an innovative logic of solutions. The resources introduced into the welfare system, in a broad sense, now account for more than half of the state’s annual budget; a check is required. That of questioning the relationship between input and output, or in other words that of measuring efficiency (do the solutions reach the goal?) Efficiently (how to achieve them?). But that is not enough. The approach needs to be broader. In order not to find ourselves like the American “rust belt”, there is only one way: to bet on a strong bet. That is, to create the civil agreement beyond the policy of the party that deals with the state, and to support a “country pact” of civil society for growth. The aim is to encourage and reward the production of higher income from work (wages) and business (profits); new employment (skilled employment for residents) and increased productivity (income ratio and economic output). Social reform must focus on the motto: less aid (subsidies) and more inclusion (work) ”.