The main entrance to the Exhibition of Italians Abroad also leads, on the right, to the Provident Society Gallery.
Social welfare encompasses the vast field of cooperative societies, mutual aid societies, charity societies, popular banks and savings banks. The subject, which is of capital importance for those who study social economy, is made easy and attractive by numerous diagrams even to those who are less well versed in this subject.
As soon as we enter the section, we find on the right-hand side the statistics of the workers' organisations from 1881 to 1909. Let us stop for a moment in front of one of the diagrams on display, the one which summarises the statistics of organised and free workers. Out of every 1000 workers in industry, there are a little more than 100 organised in Lombardy, about 150 in Piedmont and Liguria, and 350 in Emilia; the minimum is found in Veneto and Sardinia with a little more than 50. Moving on to agriculture, in Liguria there are barely 10 organised farmers out of 1000, in Piedmont 40, in Lombardy 50, in Sicily 80 as against 125 in industry, in Abruzzo and Apulia 100 as against 80 in industry, in Emilia 300 as against 350; in Veneto there is almost a balance with 50 as against 60. These figures explain, for example, the frequency of farm strikes, of outrageous struggles between landowners and associations in Emilia.
The high proportion of organised farmers in Lower Italy certainly derives from the fact that the agricultural industry is almost the only one in these regions.
Special tables explain the phenomenon of the periodic internal immigration of farmers to the "Agro romano", to the Maremma of Grosseto and to the Apulian Plateau at harvest time.
Let's move on to credit. On the left-hand side we read a lot of statistical data that show how far savings have come in Italy in recent years.
The ordinary savings banks had on 31 December 1910 deposits of 2,500 million, whereas in 1891 these deposits amounted to only 1,200 million. The capital deposited has therefore more than doubled in twenty years.
As for the Banques Populaires, an interesting parallel can be drawn between the Italian banks (Luzzatti type) and the German banks (Schultze-Delitzsch type). Let's take a look at the most important data: the Italian Banques Populaires number 690, with 510,222 members; the German Banks number 1022 with 627,192 members; the average for each Italian Bank is 726 members, while for the German Banks it is only 614. The paid-up capital is, in round figures, 98 million for the Italian banks (147 thousand francs on average per bank); for the German banks, 268 million (263 thousand francs per bank). The reserves are 57 million for Italian banks (86 thousand francs per bank); for German banks, ni million (109 thousand francs per bank). Deposits reached 971 million for the Italian banks (1 million 407 thousand francs per bank); for the German banks, 1 billion 324 million (1 million 296 thousand francs per bank). Loans and discounts for 1908 amounted to 1 billion 689 million francs (2 million 549 thousand francs per bank) for the Italian banks and 2 billion 369 thousand francs (2 million 312 thousand francs per bank) for the German banks. The gross interest for the year was almost the same: 5.57% for the Italian banks and 5.52% for the German banks. Net interest on share capital was 13.88% for the Italian banks and barely 9.40% for the German banks; the average dividend distributed was 8.34% for the Italian banks and 6.18% for the German banks.
The Popular Banks are also classified according to the condition of the members and the rate of interest distributed.
Among the numerous special exhibitions, we would like to mention in particular, because of the modernity of their aims, the one of the Provincial Labour Office of Udine, the Labour Office of Verona and the National House of Providence for the accidents of workers at work.
The gallery of the Provident Society leads into the gallery of Italians abroad, the section of newspapers published abroad and the colonial monographs. On the contrary, at this point, Providence continues to the right of the gallery we have just visited, with the two sections of the Italian and French social economy. This second gallery is very long and runs between a tightly packed double line of stands.
The exhibition embraces the most diverse societies; let us briefly recall the Italian scholastic mutual aid society, the mutual aid society for the deaf and dumb of Milan, the pious workhouses and orphanages which exhibit the work carried out in their workshops.
The French social economy section, which followed the Italian one, also had many exhibitors: savings banks, workers' associations, insurance companies, philanthropic societies, vaccination institute tables, sanatoriums. Among the most delicate and interesting provident societies were those of the Mutualité maternelle, to help poor mothers, and the Association, for pensions for orphans of French railway employees.
©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911