Monday, June 10, 2013

A festival of ideas in Florence

I do not refer to the conference I attended On Friday June 7th at the Florence School of Regulation of the European University Institute, although it was an interesting conference and I could discuss my paper on the Spanish regulatory reform with good scholars. I refer to the forum “La Repubblica delle Idee,” organized by newspaper La Repubblica in some of the most emblematic buildings and public squares in Florence (Italy) last week.
I lived in Florence between 1995 and 1999 and thanks to the existence of the Florence School of Regulation I have returned last year and this year for short visits. Beyond the permanent pshysical risk of suffering from Stendahl’s syndrome, this time I also enjoyed a big civic pleasure by attending this forum of dialogue between journalists, intellectuals, politicians and the general public. To me, it compensated for the unpleasant surprise of the closure of the Edison Bookshop in Piazza della Repubblica. The newspaper La Repubblica, together with its cousin the weekly magazine L’Espresso, are key institutions in the war against corruption and populism that must be permanently fought in Italy. The format of this debate is a typical product of the best of Italian democracy: a festival of debates and dialogues, a celebration of free speech. The festival was accompanied by an exhibition of some of the most significant front pages of La Repubblica in the recent past. One of them spoke of the appointment by Mario Monti not long ago of “The Government of 18 professors,” an experience of technocracy that was defeated in the recent general election when Monti’s list finished in fourth position. I randomly attended a dialogue with Francesco Bei and Filippo Ceccarelli, two journalists at La Repubblica, and I took some notes about what they were saying: “The capital of seriousness of the Monti government so quickly dilapidated...;” “Politics does not stop...” “The farse is the neighbour of the catastrophe...” An intellectual equivalent to Stendahl’s syndrome.

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