Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Economist on Italy: "Send in the Clowns"

I stopped liking The Economist about a decade ago, but this cover of the magazine is such an insult and clownish behavior to the majority of voters in Italy who rejected the technocrat (Mario Monti) and his coalition who did the bidding of the so-called "troika" (EU, IMF, European Central Bank) to squeeze money out of Italians to pay international bankers.

From Zero Hedge (and I have verified that this is indeed the cover of The Economist March 2nd, 2013 print edition):

Here's the article by The Economist, which manages to fling an insult to Japan's direction as it disses Italian voters and ridicules Mr. Beppe Grillo and Mr. Silvio Berlusconi as "clowns":

A SENSE of humour in adversity can be attractive, but it is not always useful. Confronted by the worst recession in their country since the 1930s and the possible implosion of Europe’s single currency, the people of Italy have decided to avoid reality. In this week’s election a quarter of the electorate—a post-war record—did not even bother to show up. Of those who did, almost 30% endorsed Silvio Berlusconi, whose ruinous policies as a clownish prime minister are a main cause of Italy’s economic woes. And a further 25% voted for the Five Star Movement, which is led by a genuine comedian, Beppe Grillo. By contrast, Mario Monti, the reform-minded technocrat who has led Italy for the past 15 months and restored much of its battered credibility, got a measly 10%.

...In fact the danger is less of break-up than of stagnation. This was the week, history may conclude, when Europeans made clear that they were not interested in reform. Nine months after the French ran away from change, the Italians sprinted past them. As many as two-thirds of Italians rejected not only German-imposed austerity but the entire reform agenda that was designed to improve their economy’s dismal record of near-zero growth. Follow that path, and it leads to the economic paralysis and political decline that Japan has endured for the past 20 years.

Change course or be like Japan

The Economist fully endorsing and supportive of the unelected (and now totally rejected) technocrat administration is not surprising, but the article's tone of ridicule and arrogance is so explicit and in your face that it is almost amusing.

Who's the clown here?

I am heartened that Italians completely ditched the technocrat from Goldman Sachs running their country without any mandate. Zero Hedge has an article by a Frenchman commenting on the Italian Election, and I agree with his sentiment (emphasis is by Zero Hedge):

As a Frenchman, as a European, I want a diverse Europe in which each nation is managed by its own elected people. If the nation chooses to be poorly managed—so be it, this is what democracy is all about. I am not interested in a Europe where the standard of living falls precipitously for a large part of the population, nor am I interested in humiliating what were once proud countries in the hope that they desert their old deities and accept a new god.

And neither do I want to be administered by unelected technocrats delegated by the northern Europeans on the flimsy pretext that my own politicians are useless; they may be hopeless, but I am entitled to have them that way.

What the eurocrats offer under the banner of "reform" is nothing of the sort but just an increase in their power and the destruction of the incredible diversity which made Europe an endlessly fascinating place.It is time to return to market prices and democracy and to accept that technocracy cannot work. I love Italy more and more. Indeed, for the first time in years, I can envisage a situation in which I feel bullish on Europe.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting fine-tuning.

Anonymous said...

Education-wise mr. Grillo is an accountant. As a comedian he has largely been banned from both public and private TV since about 20 years, because of what he was saying; further details are on wikipedia.

In these elections Mario Monti had the support of the catholics, in a country where the largest party in power has been the Christian Democrats for the 40 years after WWII.
Among other things Monti is a "leading member of the Bilderberg group"; check out the details on wikipedia. I can hardly imagine a profile more detached from Italy's reality of 30% temp workers and salaries below the Euro area average (14% lower than Germany).

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