“Crisis” isn’t the word for Italy any more, says the British historian of Italy, John Foot. A “crisis” ends, whereas Italy just keeps declining, like almost no other developed country since 1945. Real incomes are now lower than 15 years ago. Over three visits to northern Italy this autumn, I’ve tried to understand how ceaseless decay changes the way a country lives.
The “lost generation” of young Italians suffers most. They sit chatting on the steps of Bologna Cathedral, reluctant to spend €1 on a perfect espresso in a café. Italy’s demographic pyramid functions as follows: the old have nice pensions, the middle-aged are unsackable and the young fight for temporary contracts. A common situation: a highly educated young Italian performs menial tasks for a less qualified older boss, often for free.Don't forget the tourists;
Here’s a plausible future: Italy as Eataly, a food hall with some museums attached, a staging-post for Asian tour groups.Which reminds us of that anomalous Credit Suisse report telling us that Italy's such a paradise;
...a new report on Global Wealth from Credit Suisse claims that while median wealth per Italian is fifth highest in the world at $142,296, that figure for the United States is only $53,352 (good for 25th place).While other Italian statistics say the opposite.