Italy After Berlusconi

I’m worried. So worried that I haven’t been able to write for the last couple of weeks. I’m worried about the state of Italian culture now that a coup d’état, beautifully executed by Europe’s hit squad, has left in its malodorous wake an unelected representative of Goldman Sachs sitting as Italy’s PM—just as everyone and his rich brother is clamoring for growth!.

Sure, Berlusconi was an embarrassment; my Italian neighbors felt ashamed every time the conversation turned toward the skirt-chasing midget. But growth? I mean, not a single one of my neighbors salivates over an iPad they will never use. Their desire for goods doesn’t seem to be growing. Population isn’t growing. You’re telling me growth is the answer, the only answer?

Well then Bunky, Italy is certainly dead—or doomed to an endless coma. Can half hour lunches be far behind this clamor for industrial efficiency and growth? Is the pursuit of pleasure also dead, something the Italians do extremely well, even well enough to irritate the delicate sensibilities of America’s right wing lunatics who ignore that part of their own constitution? Will the pursuit of pleasure have to be jettisoned in favor of the nose-to-the-grindstone life so the “the Vampire Squid” (Goldman Sachs) can fatten itself like a tumor with its tendrils immersed in the delicious fattiness of that unlimited growth? (To ancient Romans, cancer was the crab because of those tendrils visible on tumors, but maybe they were thinking of squid…)

Perhaps I am underestimating the Italians because they aren’t on the street like Americans trying to get their government to return to the good old days of “government of, by and for the people,” the days before huge industrial companies magically became “people” by someone’s misinterpretation of law and banks simply lent money provided by depositors.

Definition: good old days—when being conservative meant you didn’t take unnecessary risks with your capital. Today bankers get bonuses for taking risk. The bigger the risk the bigger the bonus. There is no downside, no deductions for failure. Any engineer worth his salt would see the same thing as I see: Positive Feedback=Highly Unstable System. Avoid! Avoid! (Meaning bailouts will be needed every goddam time if this idiocy continues. And they’ll use your money.)

Yes, that’s it. I’m not reading the Italians right. They have their savings. They have their underground economy. Perhaps just a shrug is all they need. Ignore the bastards in Government; get on with your life. Plant by the moon. Eat what you plant. Love like you’ve never loved before.

That’s the ticket. Nothing bad will happen. I’m better now. Perhaps I’ll go to Venice. Venice is a good place for a fantasy life disconnected from reality.

If asked to give a speech on the issue, I’d give this one:

Is anyone else worried? Is it just me?

Italy After Berlusconi originally appeared on , updated: Nov 20, 2011 © .

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