Cassa per il Mezzogiorno
The Cassa del Mezzogiorno (Register or Fund for the South) was a public effort by the government of Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 to stimulate economic growth and development in the less developed southern regions of Italy. It was established in 1950 primarily to construct public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 and infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

 (roads, bridges, hydroelectric and irrigation) projects, and to provide credit subsidies and tax advantages to promote investments. It was dissolved in 1984, although its mandate was maintained by successive, less centralized institutions.

It focused mostly on rural areas and many say that it assisted Southern Italy to enter the modern world, although there is evidence that some of the funds were squandered due to poor financial management by the government. Historian Denis Mack Smith
Denis Mack Smith
Denis Mack Smith CBE is an English historian, specialising in the history of Italy from the Risorgimento onwards. He is best known for studies of Garibaldi and Cavour and of Mussolini, and for his single-volume Modern Italy: A Political History...

 noted, in the 1960s, that about a third of the money was squandered. Steel mills and other projects were promised but never built, and many irrigation projects and dams were never completed as intended.

The government-led industry that was created was marginal, but the need for skilled labour led to a drop in southern unemployment. Italian journalist Luigi Barzini
Luigi Barzini
Luigi Barzini is the name of:* Luigi Barzini, Sr. , Italian journalist, war correspondent and writer* Luigi Barzini, Jr. , Italian-American journalist...

 also noted that funds were usually given to major Italian companies to build large scale, highly automated manufacturing plants, requiring huge amounts of money to build and needing minimal staffing due to the automated nature of the plants. Most of the profits would return to companies based elsewhere in Italy with little benefit to the local economy.

The Cassa per il Mezzogiorno resulted in a mass migration of about two million people in the late 1950s and early 1960s out of Southern Italy and into Northern Italy and other countries. This left a social gap in the south, with most of the seniors, women, and children left behind.
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