Watches in Prato? No, They're Timepieces!

One of the great differences between the US and Italy is the quality of goods produced. In the US, production follows market numbers, and its mass produced goods are neither high or low quality—most are decidedly in the middle.

But when I go shopping in the market town of Aulla, I can go to a big department store that has the worst and cheapest crap I’ve ever seen, even considering the weak dollar. It’s amazing.

Then again, in Italy there are many clever folks sticking with the old traditions and producing top quality handmade goods at top prices.

Consider Ennebi of Prato. They hammer out titanium watches for export priced at a cool 3,300 euro.

Meanwhile, the poor Italian immigrant population rushes to meet local and tourist demand for cheap knock-offs of watches with designer names on them.

It’s the free market at the fringes.

Italy often goes through what they call economic miracles. That’s because the government—when there is one—can’t keep track of the huge amount of goods produced by talented folks tucked away in homes that from the outside look ready for the wrecking ball and inside are rather luxurious if you can look past the thick curtains. After all, you don’t want the tax man snooping; the economic upturn might not be a miracle if the government was able to keep track.

(This is one thing I like about Italy. Italians have the distrust of government that all democracies should encourage. It might keep us free if we’d follow the trend.)

Single payer health care lets you have great ideas and turn those ideas into products that produce wealth without worrying about the enormous cost of health care that might come to bite you if you quit your cushy job in that lavishly padded cubicle at United Amalgamated General.

Not only that, but Ennebi sends a great percentage of their production to the US. Do we see the dynamic here? The US government actively produces rich folks who consume handmade foreign goods like popcorn at a movie, shoveling money at them like crazy as if they were gods who’d get angry and hurt us if not fed the increasingly useless paper the government prints. Meanwhile, clever Italians are happy to produce those goods at a price that rich US consumers don’t even have to snivel at, them being rich beyond what the hoi polloi can even imagine these days.

It’s a great world we live in, isenit?

Watches in Prato? No, They're Timepieces! originally appeared on , updated: Feb 06, 2008 © .

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