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Freedom, Italian style

September 20, 2010

Growing up in Italy, some thirty years ago, you got the impression that most transactions were being conducted under the table. It was not uncommon to hear a store-owner ask if you wanted a receipt with your purchase. Of course that meant that if you didn’t need a receipt then the purchase would not be rung up and no VAT would be paid, so you might even get a discount. It’s in this context that my Mom sent me away summers working for some shepherds in the Alps. At first she paid the shepherd to take me along, but soon I became quite useful and in time got rewarded in nature (cheese, butter, salamis, etc…). So the hell with “child labor laws” and the hell with “minimum wage laws”. Nobody even suspected they existed. In fact, throughout my youth I lived on a diet strictly outside the “regulated food chain”: unpasteurized milk and milk-products, unregulated meats and sausages; I mostly drank water from streams, and home-made wines; Lived in unregulated cabins; Slept in unsanitary conditions. Talk about health risks! And yet what an apotheosis of freedom!

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From → Italy

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