Opera Omnia Luigi Einaudi

National Feelings on the Greek Affair – Politics and Labour Congress – Splitting of Agricultural Land -Rates of the Succession Duty – Octrois and the Municipalities

Tipologia: Paragrafo/Articolo – Data pubblicazione: 22/09/1923

National Feelings on the Greek Affair – Politics and Labour Congress – Splitting of Agricultural Land -Rates of the Succession Duty – Octrois and the Municipalities

«The Economist», 22 settembre 1923, p. 440




Turin, September 14



A great stirring of national feeling took place last week over the massacre of General Tellini and his officers in Greek territory. The nation stood firmly behind the Government while the issue was pending, and the whole situation was characterised by an unusual absence of public meetings and utterances calculated to embarrass the Government. From the Italian point of view, the Government’s conduct was founded on a firm determination to obtain the proper reparation for the truculent deed. Times are past when Italians could be slain in foreign lands and the Government content itself with languid protests.



Domestic politics are quiet in this summer season. After the passing of the Bill for the new electoral system through the Chamber of Deputies, Signor Mussolini decided not to urge it through the Senate, and declared that general elections are not to take place shortly. As the new electoral system gives 356 places out of 534 to the party which receives the greatest number of votes, and not less than 25 per cent, of all votes polled, the Government is sure of a large majority in the next Chamber. It is highly improbable that the Socialist party, which at the two last General Elections polled the largest individual party vote, will next time take the lead. Socialism is splitting into minute factions – communists, revolutionary, girondinos, and so on. The General Labour Confederation at its meetings from August 23 rd to 25th at Milan proclaimed its independence from all political parties – a novelty for a movement which was until lately almost identified with Socialism. There has been much talk of some representatives of the Labour Confederation going into the Mussolini Cabinet as under-secretaries; but so far nothing of the sort has happened. The severance of Labour men from Socialism is highly significant. The masses have tired of Socialist promises, and are increasingly inclining to the strenuous life ideals.



While industrial Italy is making great strides, in the agricultural world the old tendency towards the splitting up of the land in favour of small proprietors continues to gain ground. Recent statistics of the Finance Department tell us that the number of land and house sales, which amounted to 343,362 in the financial year 1914-15 rose to 508,440 in 1920-21, and to 489,803 in 1921-22. As the only buyers of agricultural land are farmers (contadini) it is easy to see how rapidly land is passing into the hands of small direct cultivators. There are villages, especially in the North of Italy’s mountain and hill regions, where not a single non-cultivating great landholder survives. The great movement of property from class to class took place without Government aid and without credit organisation, and was almost entirely financed by the savings of the peasant class.



From the point of view of giving security to family holdings and to the saving tendencies of this great landholding community, the bold decision of Signor De Stefani, Minister of Finance, to abolish the succession tax will have beneficial effect. The decree was finally signed by the King on August 20th, and abolishes the tax on all successions between 1) parent and sons, grandfather, grandmothers, and descendants in direct line; 2) husband and wife; 3) brothers and sisters; 4) uncles and nephews. As to all other successions, between other relatives and strangers, the tax is only graduated in relation to the sum received: 12 per cent, up to 10,000 lire, 15 per cent, from 10,001 to 25,000 lire, 18 per cent, from 25,001 to 50,000 lire, 22 per cent, from 50,001 to 100,000 lire, 26 per cent, from 100,001 to lire, 30 per cent, from 250,001 to 500,000 lire, 35 per cent, from 500,001 to 1,000,000 lire, 40 per cent, from 1,000,001 to 5,000,000 lire, 45 per cent, from 5,000,001 to 10,000,000 lire, 50 per cent, over 10,000,000 lire. The old tax went up to over 100 per cent, in big successions, so that the new scale will prove a great boon to many embarrassed heirs, who were frequently obliged to relinquish the estate, not being able to pay the succession tax.



Signor De Stefani is quietly adding, almost every week, something to his rebuilding of our financial system. His last decree allocates to the municipalities the entire yield of the octrois or duties paid on the retail sale of some goods on their entrance in towns. The yield was hitherto shared between State and municipalities in a mysterious and complicated way. In some cases the State paid the cost of the collection, but the yield was received by the municipalities. The new decree sweeps away all those technicalities, and gives the whole yield of the tax and the whole responsibility of the collection to the municipality.

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