Luzzatti, Luigi (1841-1927)
Tipologia: Paragrafo/Articolo – Data pubblicazione: 01/01/1933
Luzzatti, Luigi (1841-1927)
Encyclopaedia of the social sciences, editor in chief Edwin R.A. Seligman, New York, The Macmillan Company, vol. IX, 1933, p. 638
LUZZATTI, LUIGI (1841-1927), Italian statesman. Luzzatti, the son of a wealthy Jewish Venetian family, became interested at an early age in the liberal reformist solution of the social problem. Charged with treason by the Austrian government for organizing a mutual aid society among the gondoliers, he fled to Milan, where he taught economics at the technical institute from 1863 to 1866. At this time he published La diffusione del credito e le banche popolari (Padua 1863), which marked the beginning of his lifelong advocacy of people’s banks in Italy. In 1866, when the Venetian provinces were freed from Austrian rule, he was appointed to the chair of public law at Padua; he later taught this subject at Rome from 1907 until the end of his life. In 1867 he published La chiesa e lo stato nel Belgio(Milan), the first of a long series of essays on religious freedom collected in Libertà di coscienza e di scienza (Milan 1909; 2nd rev. ed. as Dio nella libertà, Bologna 1926; tr. by A. Arbib-Costa as God in Freedom, New York 1930). These as well as specific appeals in favor of Rumanian and Polish Jews and Turkish Armenians won him international fame as a champion of religious toleration and civil equality for national minorities.
As a protégé of Marco Minghetti he was appointed in 1869 secretary general for agriculture, an unusual distinction for a man of twenty-eight. He became a member of Parliament in 1871, as soon as he attained the necessary age, and was continually reelected until 1921, when he was appointed to the Senate. He was minister of finance in four cabinets during the years 1891 to 1906; minister of agriculture, industry and commerce in 1909-10; premier in 1910-11; and minister of finance once more in 1920. A moderate liberal, he promoted a great deal of legislation dealing with industrial accidents, woman and child labor, old age, emigration, housing, vocational training and cooperation. Neither a free trader nor a protectionist, he initiated for Italy a policy of commercial treaties, no fewer than twenty-four of which he negotiated personally; the most important of them was the provisional accord with France which terminated the tariff war in 1898. A novel feature of some of them was a supplement providing for the mutual regulation of labor conditions. As minister of finance Luzzatti was responsible for considerable economies during a critical period of Italian finances and the conversion of the national debt of 8,100,000,000 lire with a reduction in interest from 4 to 3.5 percent, an operation which in 1906 he carried out most successfully despite its magnitude.