I’ve just read about the dumbest article ever on Italy. It’s from Newsweek. It’s called Agony and the Ecstasy
It’s called that because its premise is to find out why Italians are satisfied with their lives while the government blunders on and the economy shrivels like a sweater in the hot wash.
Of course, the article fails to explain anything. It does provide us with a laundry list of the dunderheaded decisions by a string of Italian governments so long you can’t see the yo-yo at the end.
But how is the Italian situation different than that of the US?
Sure, Italy created an illusion of a strong economy in the 80s by devaluing the Lira. But don’t forget, a Euro will cost you $1.52 today.
While garbage piles up in Naples, Italian courts try titillating crotch rearrangement cases. While deaths pile up in Iraq and the dollar sinks like a rock, the US government is entirely focused on whether or not Roger Clemens, a man who throws baseballs for a living, used performance enhancing substances.
Well, except that our government is considered less corrupt because the people have decided that funneling money to huge corporations is good for profits and isn’t corporate welfare at all, and politicians who give vast amounts of the public’s money away should get piles of it in return for their reelection campaigns, which is always good for the stability of the system. Our politicians are not corrupt at all, and stability in the US is, well, rock solid. So certainly, the Northern Italy corporations whose toxic chemicals pollute Campania are just increasing their profits for the good of the people by choosing cheap ways of disposing their toxic wastes. We get that.
But let’s focus on the other side of the equation. Italians seem to like their lives. Many of us who aren’t Italian are jealous. We want lives equally as good. Heck, many of us would settle for tomatoes and eggs that are half as good.
So what’s GDP got to do with a good life? After all, that’s pretty much the focus of the article in question. Maybe in someone’s industrial nightmare, this means something. But if Italy is moving backwards, toward a localized clan economy, I’m moving with them.
Sitting out in our little familial piazza in Piano di Collecchia Sopra sipping my neighbor’s black-as-sin homemade wine is one of the great pleasures in my life. The wild boar they shoot and stew and serve with gnocchi is fabulous. Who needs an ever rising GDP when folks make stuff this good out of stuff they farm and hunt?
I mean, really, even the cheap Ferrari knock-offs are handmade with loving care in Italy. How cool is that?
Perhaps some of us, a minority for sure, are looking for a life that pleases us. A life full of joy, honest debate, great food from gardens and nearby forest, and…health care.
We don’t need no stinking politicians and their friends, the rich industrialists.
That’s what Italy does best. It elects lots of governments and ignores them and many of the laws that come out of them. Life goes on.
Yet for all this, many Italians feel that the country still has the potential—the creativity amid the chaos—to make a magnificent comeback if only…
Comeback. Harrumph. Who’s on first? Are there cheerleaders?