I've updated the blogroll, and put a number of weblogs which originate in Italy up. There is Roberto at Wind Rose Hotel, Marco at Se Me Lo Dicevi Prima, Wobegon at, naturally, Wobegon, and Hans, at I, Hans.
Roberto and Hans have been helping me out a lot with info on Italy prior to the elections, and Roberto has a considerable number of posts in English on this topic.
His latest post, Italian Elections 2006 (6) has a look at some of the arguments which are going on about the present state and likely future of the Italian economy.
Interestingly Roberto finds solace in the words of Korean Economist Pio Song (written in The Korea Herald). The solace that Roberto needed was from the wrenching experience produced by the reading of two articles, The Economist's "Addio, Dolce Vita", and Time Asia's Twilight In Italy (see this post, below).
The words which gave Roberto most solace I think were these ones:
[i]n the 1970s, Italian political and social issues were strongly debated and argued. Today in my opinion the situation seems difficult, but not so desperate as it was depicted at that time or it has been described recently. Italy and Italians have experienced more difficult times than the actual moment. The agenda of the new government should be long and complex. Problems to face and solutions to implement are hugely unpopular but even more necessary. Now that monetary policy has been handed over to the European Central Bank, Italy can rely only on fiscal policy in tuning its economy by itself.
Surely a sort of Rooseveltian New Deal is needed. Italian infrastructure system should be modernized and renovated. The ailing national air company Alitalia, railways, highways, schools and hospitals need a remodeling.
Now my answer to Pio Song would be yes and no. Yes he is right that the social and political crisis in Italy was much worse in the 1970s, yes he is right that what Italy badly needs is some modern version of the new deal, but no, he isn't right in thinking that this can be so easy for Italy. We are not in the 1930s, and Keynesian type fiscal policies are all but excluded for Italy now, essentially for demographic reasons. And for these reasons the economic crisis is much more severe than it was back then. Rejuvenating an ageing Italy will not be easy, and the political gridlock we are seeing at the moment hardly augurs well.
You can also find:
Italian Elections 2006 (5)
Italian Elections 2006 (4)
Italian Elections 2006 (3)
Italian Elections 2006 (2)
Italian Elections 2006 (1)
Italy Economy Real Time Data Charts
Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Italy related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Italy economy charts together with short text updates on a Storify dedicated page Italy - Lost in Stagnation?