venerdì 9 maggio 2008

The Tragedy of Public Goods

The difficulties in supporting and fostering forms of decent local development in many areas in Italy (waste management, allocation and quality of infrastructures, water and energy management, territorial planning, etc.) never depends on a lack of economic resources but rather on an absolute lack of culture on public goods and public interests not only among public administrators and institutions but also among all local agents (individuals, families, associations, entrepreneurs, farmers, etc.). Reversely, when coping with an excess of public investments (for example in case of one of our usual emergency), this financial flow dramatically alters local systems which operate and survive only to put their hands on these economic resources pushing anything else behind. A too generic concept of public goods contributes to make mismanagement even an easier job with a systematic disconnection between the different intervention dimensions related to a territory as a whole: for this reason infrastructural measures systematically collide with environment, or industrial activities are incompatible with agriculture or forestry management becomes a “problem” for real estate industry, etc. This evidences a complete underestimation about the presence of interdependencies which definitively causes not only a continuing public goods erosion, but also the destruction of the possibilities to produce further public goods in the future. The main scope is to achieve an opaque resource allocation, possibly thanks only to a political fidelity, creating a vacuum in the administrative action and in a rational territorial planning. For this reason the quality of public goods becomes an indicator of the behaviour of those agents involved in their production and management: abuses, mismanagement (not to say illegal practices), too many norms and too complicated regulations, lack of transparency, infiltration of private interests everyday cause a real tragedy of public goods in Italy.

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