Business: Hope in the Mezzogiorno

For decades the barren, overcrowded Mezzogiorno—the southern two-fifths of Italy that has 37% of the nation's population—has been a vast poorhouse. And World War II, which destroyed 28% of the south's already lagging industrial capacity (v. 18% in the north), seemed the final blow. Only 308 out of every 1,000 Mezzogiornisti held jobs (many for only 80 days yearly), and in scores of squalid piazze lounged hundreds of men young and old who had never had a day's work. Richer Mezzogiornisti lived four and five in a room; the poor inhabited caves, for in many villages there had been no new...

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