Focus

The Report on the Mediterranean and the theme of the North-South Fracture

In Ancient times, the Mediterranean geological fracture was not yet an economic fracture. Economic differences among Mediterranean regions were not yet so strong. Things were not so different several centuries later, after the sunset of the Ancient Civilization, around 1000, when Islamic and Byzantine civilizations were the main Mediterranean and European powers. The divergence, and economic fracture, took place later; from the epoch of Medieval demographic and economic growth. Western economy began to take shape just from that period.
Until 19th century a fracture among Northern and South-East Mediterranean countries, did not yet exist. From indirect evidence we could assume that the average difference in income between Continental Europe and South-East coasts did not yet exceed 10-20 percent. At the end of the 19th century, however, the distance was already 50 percent. At the root of this further and dramatic distance between North and South is the process of Modern Growth then taking place. The divergence was by then a true fracture.
Today per capita product is 5-10 times higher in Northern Mediterranean regions the in the Southern ones; even though with differences according to countries and regions. The increasing North-South distance deepened in the last 100 years. And fracture does not only concern -as we know- per capita product; it concerns also all the other aspects that, together with per capita product, represent the development: from new kinds of knowledge, to interpersonal relations, to institutions, culture, public health, the very roots, that is, of what forms today the nucleus of our Western civilization.

A Report on the Mediterranean will be regularly published next years by the ISMM (the first issue is forthcoming). The purpose of the Institute is to collect statistical information on the economic conditions of the Mediterranean countries and to yearly update them so as to supply a database for scholars and institutions. Our series will be available on the Instute website as well. Every year a central topic concerning the Mediterranean will be discussed in the Report. We intend also to collect information on past economic evolution in Mediterranean regions (at least from the 19th century and possibly even before) so as to focus the formation of the economic divergence among the several different Mediterranean realities.