By Stefania Fumo
ROME, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Contemporary Italian society is awash in resentment and fear, and this mindset is an obstacle to economic growth, Italy's Center for Social Investments Studies (CENSIS) said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the latest CENSIS survey unveiled in the Italian capital, 95 percent of Italians believe they need the right connections in order to get ahead in life.
Meanwhile, 88 percent Italians think being born into an affluent family is the only ticket for success, comparing to 61 percent of Germans, 54 percent of British respondents, and 38 percent of Swedes, according to CENSIS.
As well, seven out of 10 Italians object to marriage between people with a 20-year age difference, between people of the same sex, and between people of different religious faiths, especially the Muslim one. Another four out of 10 are opposed to marriage with Asian or African immigrants.
The study "reflects an image of a country that harbors a strong sense of unease in the present, a powerful nostalgia for the past, and that is incapable of investing in its own future", according to CENSIS.
The think tank attributed this mindset to the poverty of young families headed by individuals under 35, whose average income is 15 percent lower and whose personal wealth is 41 percent lower than the national average.
It also pointed to a generalized loss of the culture of personal risk-taking, which it says is a key element of economic growth and upward mobility.
"Acrimony, annoyance towards others, especially if different from oneself, and many fears: this is the collective feeling of Italians today, when every challenge is perceived as a threat, never as an opportunity," commented CENSIS General Director Massimiliano Valerii.
"This is the opposite of the myths, dreams and desires ... (at the basis of) development, reconstruction, and the economic miracle: a social progress that was interrupted by the great (economic) crisis of 2008," the CENSIS chief said.
Valerii also pointed out that while traditional media such as TV, cinema and the press were once the main purveyors of positive myths, collective objectives and rituals, today most people are stuck in a self-referential social media universe, where they share "resentment and fear."
However, Professor Lorenzo Cannavo' from the Department of Social and Economic Sciences at Rome's La Sapienza University begged to disagree.
"I could only give an opinion on the results if I could assess the methodologies used," Cannavo' told Xinhua.
"Overall, it appears to me to be a highly emotional approach to the problem -- which has been ongoing for the past 50 years -- of the mismatch between education and jobs, compounded by the impossibility of making projects for the future."
"Because my students... are aged 20 to 30 years, I can only tell you that I see a lot of skepticism, a lot of disenchantment (and) low expectations, but not 'resentment'," the professor added.
Founded in 1964, CENSIS is a socio-economic think tank that analyses education, labor, welfare, public health, media, government, and security, among other social issues.
Its studies are commissioned by government ministries, regional and local authorities, chambers of commerce, professional associations, banks, private companies, international bodies, and the European Union, according to its website.