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shows a pronounced similarity to the corresponding French and Belgian institutions.

Established in the same year in which the law concerning compulsory accident insurance was passed, this system of voluntary insurance has also a history of nearly twenty years of persistent efforts.

HISTORY.

It is interesting to note that the first effort to establish a state institution for old-age insurance in Italy dates back as far as 1859. A bill providing for such insurance became a law on July 15, 1859. This law did not impose any financial obligations upon the state treasury and therefore offered no additional inducement for old-age provision except that presented by the existence of an insurance institution (Cassa di rendite vitalizie per la vecchiaia).(*) The law never went into effect because of the political events of the following decade. A proposition to revive this old law. was made in the Chamber of Deputies on February 3, 1877, but without success. (6)

Agitation for the establishment of an institution to provide oldage pensions, organized by labor organizations in Bologna, led to the appointment, on October 11, 1879, of a commission () by the minister of interior and the minister of agriculture, industry, and commerce for the study of this problem and the preparation of a bill and regulations for an old-age and invalidity pension institution. (9) The commission brought in a report and the text of a bill, in which was proposed the establishment of an old-age insurance institution for the exclusive insurance of wage-workers. It proposed a limit of 600 lire ($115.80) to insurance written. The revenues of the institution were to consist mainly of the premiums of the insured, secondly, of voluntary contribution or legacies, and finally of certain state subsidies.

The management of this institution was to be intrusted to the National Bank for Loans and Deposits, and the local post-offices were to act as agencies. The cost of organization and administration was to be advanced by the State and gradually repaid from the extraordinary revenues of the institution. A form of cooperation was provided between this institution and private mutual benefit societies; furthermore, the commission proposed to encourage old-age insurance

a Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XV, Prima Sessione, 1882–83, Camera dei Deputati, No. 75.

Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XIII, Sessione 1876–77, Camera dei Deputati, No. 55.

c Zacher, VI, 1899, p. 29. Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XV, Prima Sessione, 1882–83, Camera dei Deputati, No. 75.

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by federations of such mutual benefit societies by offering them free of any expense the cooperation of the local post-office for the receipt of contributions and payment of pensions.

Based upon these recommendations of the commission, a bill () was introduced by the minister of agriculture, industry, and commerce in the Chamber of Deputies on November 30, 1881, for the establishment of a national institution for workmen's pensions. The essential features of this proposal were, first, its special designation for the use of wage-earners, and, secondly, the proposal to turn over to this institution as a state subsidy to the insured 20 per cent of the net profits of all the savings banks, private as well as postal. This provision of the bill caused considerable criticism and opposition from the savings banks, which claimed that such a tax would be an infringement of their rights and would endanger their own obligations.

On the other hand, the formation of an old-age pension institution without some material state subsidy offered very little hope for success in view of the very low standard of earnings of the Italian workmen; and the state treasury was not in a condition to furnish a direct subsidy without additional taxation.

The bill of 1881 never came up for discussion in the Chamber of Deputies. It was reintroduced with some modifications on February 19, 1883.(6)

According to this bill, the old-age pension institution, though an independent organization, was to be administered by the National Bank of Deposits and Loans. All workers of either sex over 18 years of age could take insurance for old-age pensions in this institution. The monthly contributions were to be not less than 1 lira (19 cents) nor more than 4 lire (77 cents), and an entrance fee of from 5 to 50 lire (97 cents to $9.65) was to be required. In addition to the contributions of the insured, several other sources of revenue were provided; namely, two-tenths of the net profits of the postal savings banks, but not of the other savings banks() and a few minor sources of revenue. Pensions were to be payable at any time after the insured had reached 50 years of age, provided he had been paying his premiums for fifteen years. In case of invalidity before reaching this age limit, special pensions could be granted by the committee.

a Zacher, VI, p. 29. Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XIV, Prima Sessione, Camera dei Deputati, No. 263.

b Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XV, Prima Sessione, 1882–83, Camera dei Deputati, No. 75.

c According to the law of May 27, 1875, establishing the postal savings banks, seventenths of the net profits of the savings banks are distributed to the depositors, and the remaining three-tenths must be distributed as premiums to provident institutions. The assignment of two-tenths to the national pension institution was therefore claimed as a fulfillment of their legal obligations.

Two forms of old-age insurance were recognized, so-called “general” and “mutual.” These have been called elsewhere in this report insurance with reserved capital and with alienated capital, the essential difference being that under general insurance the accumulations were payable to the heirs in case of death before the pension was granted, while in mutual insurance such accumulations were to be forfeited. The two different classes of insurance were to be kept separately, and the accumulations of profits in the mutual class naturally would be higher.

In the mutual class the granting of the pension was to be compulsory at the age of 65. But in either form of insurance, at the time of granting the pension, it could be computed in accordance with the wishes of the insured, so as to reserve the entire amount of the accumulations or part of them, as property of the insured, to be paid to his heirs, or without any reservation of the capital at all. Besides, the old-age pension institution was to be authorized to sell pensions for a capital value to relatives of workmen compensated by the National Accident Insurance Institution for fatal accidents.

Very exhaustive tables based upon Italian mortality statistics accompanied the bill.

In the memorial explanatory of the purposes of the bill its authors emphasized the fact that the institution was intended exclusively for the working classes, and therefore could not become a depository for the savings of small proprietors, as was claimed to be the case in France and Belgium.

To stimulate a desire for self-help the authors of the bill thought a state institution necessary, and discarded the proposal to impose this duty upon local savings banks or mutual benefit societies as utterly unsatisfactory.

The bill was based entirely upon the principle of voluntary insurance, and the authors took a very strong stand against any proposition to make old-age pension insurance obilgatory.

The bill of 1883 met the same fate as the bill of 1881; it never came up for parliamentary consideration. Two years later, in June, 1885, the new minister of agriculture, industry, and commerce introduced a bill which in many of its provisions radically differed from the previous bills, and at the same time the bill of 1883 was recalled by royal decree.(a)

The bill of 1885 did not provide for direct state insurance as did the two previous bills. The result of neither the French nor the Belgian experience was considered favorable to such a plan, and the plan itself in Italy has called forth the criticism of bearing the

a Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XV, Prima Sessione, 1882–83, Camera dei Deputati, No. 75a.

earmarks of state socialism and excessive centralization. Equally good results were claimed to be possible through private institutions, singly or in federations, but under government supervision and control, and the National Accident Insurance Institution established in 1883 was quoted as an example. The bill provided therefore that each savings bank could be authorized to write old-age pension insurance by depositing a guarantee fund of 50,000 lire ($9,650). Several savings banks could unite in forming an old-age fund. To each old-age insurance institution thus organized a definite geographic district was to be assigned. Insurance was allowed to all workers over the age of 15. Only insurance with reserved capital was to be permitted; that is, the premiums and interest being returnable in case of death. The pensions were to begin at the age of 50, though they could be postponed. When a pension was granted, it might be given with or without the reservation of the rights of the insured to his original accumulations, and even lump-sum payments might be substituted for pensions.

The state subsidies to the insured remained nearly the same as in the previous bills, but they were divided into two groups, the annual subsidy and an eventual subsidy, the payment of the latter being delayed until the fund reached a certain amount. The main bond between the many old-age pension insurance institutions was to be formed by the distribution of these subsidies among them in direct proportion to the number of insured. These were to be further distributed in equal amounts among all insured persons who had paid in not less than 6 lire ($1.16) during the current year. The cooperation of the postal savings banks for collection of premiums was another form of state assistance. This bill did not have any better success than its predecessors. The Parliament dissolved before it came up for discussion.

The fourth bill in this series of unsuccessful efforts was introduced in the Lower Chamber on December 9, 1887.(9) In this bill the tendency away from a direct state insurance toward a system of state subsidy and supervision of private local pension insuring institutions was even more pronounced than in the preceding bill. The bill of 1887 provided for the establishment of a special fund in connection with the Bank of Deposits and Loans. This fund was to be utilized for distribution of subsidies to institutions for insurance of workers against old age, and the selection of the institutions and the assignment of subsidies to each were to be left to ministerial decrees, with the provision that the distribution must be in proportion to the number of insured persons over 15 years of age who had paid in during the year not less than five lire (97 cents), and the subsidy should not exceed twenty lire ($3.86). In return for this subsidy the

a Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XVI, Camera dei Deputati, No. 74.

pension insuring institutions must present annual reports of their accounts and otherwise comply with the regulations to be promulgated in compliance with the law.

This bill made somewhat better headway than its three predecessors. It was referred to a parliamentary commission which brought in a favorable report on July 2, 1888, but because of the closing of the session of the Parliament in December of the same year, the report of the commission did not come up for consideration.

The bill was reintroduced on December 11, 1889, again referred to a commission, which brought in its report on July 11, 1890, approving the bill with some modifications; but it made no further progress.

The fate of the earlier bills indicated a lack of interest in the system of voluntary old-age insurance. None of the bills introduced within the eighties had even achieved the dignity of a discussion on the floor of the Chamber. This may explain the long interval which elapsed before the next effort in the same direction was made. The next bill was introduced on February 23, 1893,(9) and was entitled “A Proposal for the Establishment of a National. Institution for Invalids of Industry.”

Notwithstanding this difference in name the bill was very similar to those introduced in 1881 and 1883. It proposed the establishment of a national old-age insurance institution rather than a subsidy to local and privately organized funds. Though legally autonomous, it was to be regulated by statutes prepared by the minister of agriculture, industry, and commerce, and approved by royal decree. Like all the previous bills, it proposed an institution for the special benefit of wage-workers and a voluntary system of insurance with state subsidies. From the list of these subsidies the contribution from the income of the postal savings banks had been omitted. The annual contributions of the insured were to be not less than 12 lire ($2.32), nor more than 100 lire ($19.30); and both the individual form of insurance (with reserved capital) and the mutual form (with alienated capital in case of death before pensioning) were permitted. Pensions were to be granted at the age of 60 or over, but only after 15 years of insurance. In case of invalidity such pensions might be granted before the expiration of such terms. In all cases the pensions depended upon the individual deposits, the interest, and the additional benefits conferred through distribution of the subsidies. This distribution was to take place for the first time in 15 years after the organization and proportionately to the number of years of membership, and after that annually in equal shares to all making the minimum contri

a Italian text: Atti Parlamentari, Legislatura XVIII, Prima Sessione, Camera dei Deputati, No. 245. Bollettino di Notizie sul Credito e sulla Previdenza, 1893, Vol. II. French text: Bulletin du Comité Permanent du Congrès International, vol.5. German text: Bödiker, Arbeiterversicherung, 1895.

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