Warum gibt es etwas und nicht nichts? (Why is there something rather than nothing?) - Leibniz

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Smugness, alla Italia

Jonathan Russell writes in the Telegraph:

Spain's finances are in the dock thanks to Standard & Poor's, the spreads on Greek bonds have soared and Germany's economy is set to deteriorate faster than ours, according to the OECD. Suddenly the euro doesn't seem like such a one-way bet.

But where is the usual suspect, Italy, in all this euro-doom? Sitting pretty according to its finance minister Giulio Tremonti. The country didn't get involved in the sub-prime crisis and GDP figures could be significantly better than reported.

How do you work this out? "Our banks suffered little from the sub-prime crisis. There are few of them where English is spoken," he told Les Echos newspaper, no doubt not in English.
And GDP? "One should be suspicious of GDP figures …they do not include the informal economy."

The Italian "informal economy"? I'm sure there is another word for that.

And as one of my earlier posts shows, they've also invested less than 1% of their officially-declared GDP in US Treasuries.


James Higham said...

Just love that - the "informal economy", the one which keeps Italy running.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Well it's untaxed and therefore resilient and flexible.

Sackerson said...

Fructifying in the pockets of Cosa Nostra...

hatfield girl said...

As a fully paid up member of the informal economy (and of the other economy too, sadly) I protest the idea that we are all cosa nostra. We are quite brave in standing up to the criminal economy and its effects. Some 40 of our investigating magistrates have been gunned down or blown up in the last 25 years, leading the opposition to the criminalisation of our economy. That doesn't mean that everything everybody does has to be rubber stamped by the government. Lots of life has no place in it for government or state.

Also it's true that having replaced Fazio as governor of the Bank of Italy with the inestimable Mario Draghi, and with Mr Tremonti as Finance Minister, Italy has been quite canny about debt, bubbles and US Treasury bonds.

You're just jealous because you have Brown and Darling, who where such beastly suits.

Sackerson said...

HG: jealous, of course. And I have marvelled at the courage of those who stand up to The Octopus; now I think of it, corruption and oppression are linked with Southern poverty, not the wealth of the "Tedesci" - we Brits had best get used to the idea of becoming poorer.

hatfield girl said...

wear. tired out.

Anonymous said...

Jealous of Italy? Make sure you've got your wheel locks on won't you love ;-)