Italy's Politicians Cost Italians An Obscene Amount Of Money

Italy Italian Politicians Parliament

Photo: AP

Italian business association Confcommercio recently carried out some research into just how much Italy’s politicians cost Italians. The answer is that Italy’s politicians cost around €152 per capita or €352 per family unit.

According to Confcommercio, there are 154,000 national and local politicians in Italy.  A veritable army of the blighters, by the sounds of things!  

This army of Italian politicians costs Italy about as much to run as a real army at some 9 billion Euros a year. 

And Italy’s honourable members of parliament are some of the best paid in Europe.  No mention of return on investment was made, unsurprisingly.  As a matter of interest the  Italian army is 108,000 strong.

How can these stratospheric sounding costs be put into perspective?  Now that is a good question, and it just happens to be one which Reuters Italy’s Chief Financial Correspondent Lisa Jucca put to me via Twitter. Time for some darting around the web, I thought to myself, rising to Reuters’ challenge.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far and its not much, I’m afraid:

The United Kingdom had around 30,000 elected politicians and civil servants in 2009.  They cost the country £500 million (€584 million) a year, according to an article from July 2009 on the Express.co.UK.

The population of Britain was 61,802,000 in 2009.

A quick calculation results in cost per capita for 2009 of £8 (just over 9 Euros at current exchange rates).  Inflation in the UK in 2010 was 3.286%, which would bring per capita cost of politics in Britain to €9.29 today.

Assuming the UK and Italian figures are genuinely comparable, the cost of politics to Italy does appear to be exorbitantly high.

As a matter of interest, the UK’s Royal Family costs Britons 65 pence per person.

Finding data for other countries has not proven possible, but the search will continue.  I’ve probably managed to rope professor of political science James Walston into my hunt for information on the cost of politics around the world.  He told me that he may be able to lay his hands on relevant data.  If and when it appears, it will be duly added to this post.

If you know something about this, and have a reliable source, then please let me know in a comment below, and this post on the cost of politics will be updated.  Many thanks in advance.

Could it be that the world’s politicians are somewhat reluctant to let on what their per capita cost is?!  One wonders.

Once all the data has been compiled, we could even start to benchmark our dear politicians!

This post originally appeared at Italy Chronicles.

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