The mondine, you see, are the elders of our tribe. It’s not just a matter of learning songs from them, however beautiful and important: it’s a general vision that they have to share, vision wich is deeply rooted in the values that make us, Italians, and Emilians in particular, what we are. So, when Antonio asked me what I think about the financial crisis and the bailout issue, I asked myself, what would mondine say? The answer is surprisingly simple and clear-cut: Silva, Lidia, Diva and the others have fought to take the satisfaction of some basic needs, which they perceive as individual rights, away from the private sector (personified by the landlord, standing on the bank of the rice paddy) and into some public sphere: care for the children, health care, pensions. There is no doubt they would much rather borrow the money to buy their home from the government, however faulty, than from Wall Street.
I do not mean to say technicalities are not important: they are, they make a huge difference, on them the Paulson plan – and its European equivalents – are accepted or rejected. But the mondine point of view gives us a perspective, a goal: the mortgage for your home should be with the government. We choose stability over sexy finance, and if this entails a slight loss of performance, so be it. A decent home is an individual right, and you do not mess around with it. Interestingly, you do not even need to be particularly skilled in finance to call this judgment: it saves a lot of brainpower and debate, and it “feels right”. The full interview became a podcast on Apogeonline (in Italian).