Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We've all had plenty of fun at Greece's expense lately, and with good reason--the country is a mess. But this week, it seems that Italy is ready to take center stage as Europe's poster child for incompetence. If you're wondering why, this statistic ought to give you an idea:
Between 2000 and 2010 Italy’s average growth, measured by GDP at constant prices, was just 0.25% a year. Of all the countries in the world, only Haiti and Zimbabwe did worse.
Um... yikes. To put that statistic in perspective, you're talking about one country whose citizens have resorted to eating mud cookies to survive, and another country that became an international laughing stock when its hyperinflation got so bad that it had to print a 200 million dollar note... and then Italy.

Italy's economic growth statistics are in stark contrast to the image that many of us likely have of the country--I myself spent time there last November, and I had a great time drinking wine and eating cheese and homemade pasta in a beautiful setting. Come to think of it, all of the locals were drinking wine and eating cheese, too. At lunchtime. On a Tuesday. You know, this is all starting to make a lot of sense...

[The Economist]

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