Italy: Show some Guts, or be Gutted!

Galileo Ferraresi wonderfully succeeds in condensing within a few short paragraphs the Rise & Fall of his country, from the extraordinary position in industry and science attained in the world in the 1950s—not unlike that she played during the Renascence—to the breaking of every arrow in her quiver how over the past thirty years by the USA, the European Union and the associated Privateers. The “Britannia Yacht” reference is to the privatisation get-together held on 2nd June 1992, set up by the Bank of England’s British Invisibles (sic) and chaired by Mario Draghi, on HM’s Yacht then moored at Civitavecchia.

In 1936, as fascism was in full swing in Italy, the socialist Alberto Beneduce (1877–1944) split merchant banks from savings banks, nationalised the Banca d’Italia and forbade foreign capital from circulating freely in Italy.

From 1950 to 1960 Enrico Mattei and the ENI (the national petroleum company (excellent documentary here supplied Italy with gas and petroleum.

By 1953 Italy had become so wealthy that she simply crossed off half of Germany’s debt to her. The other half has never been repaid.

In 1954 Olivetti built the world’s first PC.

From 1955 to 1960 the Lira was the world’s strongest currency and Europe’s most stable. [Fare aggio, means that the Lira was considered safer than gold, and was therefore bought at a price over the official exchange rate against gold.

In the 1970s, while at university Italian students received an educational allowance tallied to their plan of study, so as to live decently while learning.

In the mid 1970’s public transport at Bologna was free.

By the 1980s, Italy was the world’s fifth-ranking industrial power, and by the late ‘80s, could boast of the most politically-astute citizenry.

In the year 2000, the Italians were the world’s wealthiest people, with average savings of Euro 35,000 euro per capita.

In 1990, 70% of Italians owned their own home, a figure rising to the world’s highest – 81% – in 2007.

WHAT happened then?

In 1960 Adriano Olivetti took a train trip; alive as the train entered a tunnel, he was found dead when it emerged. One year later, Mario Tchou, his engineer who had invented Elea 9003, the first transistor PC, was killed in a bizarre road accident. “Thanks” to their disappearance, Italian electronics was taken over by the USA.

In 1962 Enrico Mattei was murdered by a bomb which blew up his private plane over Milan, putting Italy back under the Seven Sisters’ thumb.

The Lira came under attack from the $US and Italy became a plaything for US/UK economic and cultural power-games.

Italy’s citizenry was interested and involved in politics? Purge that from their minds! But how?

Force-feed them with television and radio programmes made by idiots for idiots; pummel them into becoming monomaniac football fans—has any other nation on earth three daily sporting newspapers?

Strong wine wants diluting, eh? Which is what’s been done with our citizenry, in line with Coudenhove-Kalergi’s plans. Ten million starving, apolitical immigrants have come to water down the 45 million Italians who were only too aware of their rights having been acquired by struggle.

The political parties’ bosses have been at pains to select for Parliament and Government the flabbiest, most corrupt, ignorant and mafiosi from amongst us. Politicians out for the main chance rather than statesmen seeking the public weal.

The same can be said of the trade unions: in 1975 a handful of penniless hirsute youths at Bologna launched the private Radio Alice to cover the student and worker uprisings. The Partito Radicale, another grouplet, broadcast its ideas all over Italy. But the trades unions, with millions of members, have never seen fit to set up a radio station, a paper, a broadsheet, a megaphone to link up the workers with the unemployed. Blind stupidity? Or a plan to purge our country of politics?

Public transport has been gobbled up by private operators so that it costs the earth to commute.

In order to raise our people’s cultural level, a century ago a school-teacher earned as much as a judge. Does he even garner what one might reasonably describe as a wage today?

Thanks to the IRI (Institute for Industrial Reconstruction), its state banks and companies, Italy had an industrial structure engaged in research and development of new technologies which then trickled down to small and medium business. But ever since the Yacht Britannia’s guests disembarked from their cruise, the Prodi/Berlusconi team, de facto in power for the past 25 years, has taken down the IRI, given away the State’s crown jewels, stripped away our industrial and banking power, thereby accomplishing Von Hayek’s liberal dream.

In 1992 the socialist Giuliano Amato and Co. reversed the 1936 Beneduce reform to allow foreign capital to circulate freely (globalisation) ; they privatised the Banca d’Italia and the public sector and allowed merchant and savings banks to merge.

As for the Euro, its introduction slashed our citizen’s capital by 50 %. A cup of coffee that had cost a thousand Lire suddenly cost a Euro, doubling the price, with everything following suit.

Add to the drop in purchasing power, the fall in wages. In 1974, a wage-earner could buy a 60m2 flat in Milan for the equivalent of three-and-a-half years’ salary; by 2015 that was nine years and it’s now hit eleven.

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, a family with two or three children supported by a single wage-earner was commonplace. People could live decently on that single wage, buy home appliances, a car and of course, a home. In 2022, one finds 30% of Italians unmarried or separated; 20 % of married couples have no children at all while 50 % are married—but few have more than one child. Politics and « the economy » have wrecked the Italian family.

Owning real property has been our citizens’ traditional “refuge” investment, the sole investment that has consistently gained value over time. However, by introducing the so-called “energy efficiency ranking,” property now drops in value over time, just as though it were a car, while the cost of maintaining that property cannot ever be recovered. Just that one simple law, one seemingly-innocuous stroke of the pen.

While in 1951 only 7% of the population were over 65 years of age, this has reached 25 % in 2022.

Every year, 145,000 educated young people emigrate to some country that offers better prospects.

What is to be done? A century ago, Lenin wrote… “He who wants to remain in Italy has but two alternatives: stand by idly and grow ever poorer, or throw oneself into the struggle to change the course of history and that of Italy.”

Put otherwise: Show some guts, or be gutted. (Essere coglioni o avere i coglioni).

Galileo Ferraresi is an Italian seafarer. Note that Ferraresi is endorsing neither the Radical Party, nor the Fascist Party, nor Radio Alice, but referring to noteworthy events or decisions of which they were briefly protagonists. This was originally published here and here. Translated from the Italian by Mendelssohn Moses. We have very slightly shortened the text, and altered the title to something a little less raunchy (Essere coglioni o avere i coglioni).