Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Good Italy, Bad Italy


It's a pretty good analysis of what's wrong with Italy and how to fix it, sprinkled with some portraits of people doing well in modern Italy. The only problem with it is that, living in Italy, I knew most of it already, and generally agree with the proposed solutions as well. I think the book would be best for someone who is interested in Italy, but not intimately familiar with what's been going on here over the past 20 years. He does make some good points; for instance, that the rigid labor contracts are, yes, problematic in terms of making the economy more flexible, but made much more so by standardized national contracts for categories of worker, and a justice system that is slow, bloated and unweildy. In other words, you could offer more worker "protection" than in, say, the US if you also eliminated some of the other inefficiencies in the system and still do ok. All in all, it's a reasonably positive book: he also makes the point that part of the problem is people simply being too negative in Italy. If more people would stop moping about, get off their asses, and do something, it would tip the balance from 'bad Italy' to 'good Italy'.

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