Italy is, sadly, heading downhill. More and more commentators are painting a very grim picture of the downward direction in which Italy is heading while the nation’s supposed leaders do little more than squabble.
If you read Italy Chronicles regularly, you’ll know that it does not always show Italy in a very good light. You may think it’s just me, but after reading these articles, you may agree that I have a point.
Let’s start with two gloomy articles which recently appeared in the New York Times.
First of all, here’s an article written in late October 2013 by Italian American former restaurant critic of the New York Times Frank Bruni after a visit to Italy. The title of Bruni’s article says it all: Italy Breaks Your Heart.
Here’s a telling quote from Bruni’s gloomy take on Italy:
I was having lunch on a mountaintop in the Marche region, and with wild boar sausage in front of me and a castle overhead, I could have convinced myself that I was in heaven. “A museum,” she corrected me. “You’re in a museum and an organic garden.” That’s what Italy had come to, she said. Each year the country lost more of its oomph, more of its relevance.
Bruni found similar negativity in other areas of Italy too. If you are an Italy lover, then I strongly recommend you read the whole of Bruni’s article here: Italy Breaks Your Heart.
Next up is an article by well-known, in Italy, commentator, Italian Beppe Severgnini: Italy: The Nation That Crushes Its Young.
Once again, the title sends out a message that all is not right. The contents of Severgnini’s article confirm this, as the following excerpt shows:
Almost 400,000 graduates have left Italy in the past decade, and only 50,000 similarly qualified foreigners have arrived. This is not the healthy, free movement of people that the European Union was set up to encourage. This is a nation on the run.
The rest of Severgnini’s article is similarly depressing, you can read it here: Italy: The Nation That Crushes Its Young
If those two articles did not induce a bout of the blues, these two probably will.
The writer this time is one Dr Roberto Orsi, Project Assistant Professor at the Policy Alternative Research Institute at the University of Tokyo, who penned a couple of pieces for the blog of the London School of Economics, no less.
Orsi had this to say about Italy back in April, 2013 in a gloomily titled article: The Quiet Collapse of the Italian Economy.
The truth is that the Italian state went bankrupt in summer 2011, when interest rates on the national debt went out of control, and as a result Italy lost access to the financial markets.
Orsi’s April article ended on this unhappy note:
The collapse of the Italian state finances is rapidly approaching. It will have an enormous impact on the Eurozone and the European Union.
Orsi’s damning The Quiet Collapse of the Italian Economy piece was followed up in October with another article: The Demise of Italy and the Rise of Chaos.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
It’s hard to think of a more negative title and the contents of Orsi’s analytical piece further reinforced how bleak the outlook was for Italy. The tone of Orsi’s article was undeniably grim. This is how it started:
Future historians will probably regard Italy as the perfect showcase of a country which has managed to sink from the position of a prosperous, leading industrial nation just two decades ago to a condition of unchallenged economic desertification, total demographic mismanagement, rampant “thirdworldisation”, plummeting cultural production and a complete political-constitutional chaos.
Orsi also has something to say about the, unfounded, optimism of Italy’s leaders which is being dutifully reported in Italy’s mainstream press:
Throughout the summer, Italian political leaders and the mainstream press have hammered the population with messages of an imminent recovery (la ripresa). Indeed, it is not impossible for an economy which has lost about 8% of its GDP to have one or more quarters in positive territory.
The, false, optimism of Italy’s Prime Minister and his cohorts continues even though the EU has commented that the measures premier Letta and his government are discussing in Italy’s parliament do not go anywhere near far enough to pick Italy up off her old knees.
It gets worse:
A recent study indicates that 15% of Italy’s manufacturing industry, which before the crisis was the largest in Europe after Germany’s, has been destroyed, and about 32,000 companies have disappeared.
The current leadership, both technocratic and political, has no ability, and perhaps even no intention, to save the country from ruin.
The concluding sentences leave readers in no doubt:
Unless some sort of miracle occurs, it may take centuries to reconstruct Italy. At the moment, it seems to be a completely lost cause.
Read the rest of Orsi’s grim article here: The Demise of Italy and the Rise of Chaos
Can views on Italy’s future become any more negative? Yes, they sure can.
Perhaps this comment from, of all places, The Simpson’s might drive the message home:
Are Italy’s political leaders paying heed to the alarm bells? No, not at all. It seems Orsi may be right, they appear to possess neither the ability nor the will to stand Italy back up on her feet.
Is there any way to stop Italy’s fall? Probably not, unless someone outside of Italy steps in before it’s too late.
Will this happen? Maybe, maybe not. Then again, it may well be too late to save Italy from impending doom.
What do you think? Has the time come for Italy to seek help?