chapter
2 Pages

consumerism

There was little to consume in Italy in 1945, as the war receded to leave Italians cold, hungry and unemployed. The imperative of ‘autarchy’ or self-sufficiency, imposed by the Fascist regime during the 1930s, had practically cancelled the very idea of consumerism and replaced it with the modest dream of just ‘mille lire al mese’ (a thousand lire a month) and a peaceful life. In 1950, over 70 per cent of an Italian family’s expenditure was on food, housing and clothing. By the mid-1950s, however, three major factors began to effect a profound change on Italian spending patterns: rapid economic expansion (the so-called economic miracle), mass motorization and television.