Root Cause of Poverty

(Matthys van Raalten)*

I once got to know an owner and director of a Dutch flower company from a village near Aalsmeer, where the largest flower market in the world is.

This man informed me and cautioned me against doing business with Southern Italians. He received many orders for his flowers from Italy, and his rule was, that if the order derived from a place to the south of Rome, he would not accept it. For after lots of bad experience, he had come to the conclusion, that if an Italian company to the north of Rome orders something, they usually properly pay their bills. However if the order came from a company to the south of Rome, in many instances there were problems in getting the invoices paid.

If you look at the economy of Italy, you can also notice the fact, that in the South there is more poverty and the economy in general is not doing very well, and that in the north people are much richer, there is fewer poverty.

There are cultural differences between southern Italy and northern Italy. The difference is not the religion, they are both overwhelmingly Catholic.

The real difference is, that in the North, people are more committed to keeping their agreements. It’s something you can see world wide; the countries where people are more disciplined in keeping among others business agreements, the wealthier they are.
Other people think that corruption and the lack of a well functioning justice system are the main causes of poverty world wide, but I disagree. Not that these things are not relevant at all. But they also stem often from the initial problem of people not keeping their word: a government official who takes bribes breaks his contract with the state, a corrupt judge breaks his oath of impartiality.

* Matthys van Raalten is a conservative political activist from Amsterdam.