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The global soul is hidden in the Langhe
La Stampa - November 4th 2012
As we gathered for a convivial Piemontese dinner in Torino on our first evening, and as we drove out the next day into the perfect, vine-laden hills of the Langhe, we ought to have been thinking about friendship, about shared memories, or at least about...
The political legacy of the Games
La Stampa - August 5th 2012
We should probably thank Mitt Romney. Until the Republican candidate for America’s presidency came to London and made the mistake of publicly casting doubt on whether the British were really ready for the Olympics, and, even worse, whether we liked the...
The risk that scares the world
La Stampa - July 22nd 2012
We in the northern hemisphere are entering our summer holidays in a gloomy mood, partly because we are being joined in our gloom by some of the emerging economies of the southern hemisphere. But the most important word to bear in mind, the one that is...
Italy must face the truth
La Stampa - June 10th 2012
President Giorgio Napolitano was right when he said, last November when the new Monti government was being installed, that it was a time to tell, and face, the truth. Unfortunately, few people seem to have listened. And that includes among the euro-zone’s...
The new route of Europe comes from protest votes
La Stampa - May 6th 2012
Democracy is, at its most basic, a mechanism of control, of accountability. So elections are times for registering anger, for protesting, for punishing those who have been in government during bad times. Today’s elections, in France, in Greece, in Italy...
The markets are demanding more answers
La Stampa - April 11th 2012
If you believe the financial markets, the difference between happy recovery and imminent disaster is 80,000 American jobs, in a country with a labour force of 155 million people, plus admittedly some mildly negative news from China. Of course this cannot...
La Stampa - March 11th 2012
It has been a year of extraordinary swings of emotion. When news spread of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in north-east Japan on March 11th 2011, the first response was one of shock, awe and sympathy. How could a rich, developed country...
This time, Beijing must take risks
La Stampa - February 28th 2012
China is the sort of country, and economy, that can make you feel giddy. No sooner do you think you have grasped the basics of how China works and the direction it is heading in than it changes. This may be frustrating for foreign observers and competitors,...
The possibility of change now is real
La Stampa - February 9th 2012
Time is said to be a great healer, but the way in which Italy’s image abroad has been transformed in the three months between President Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation on November 12th and President Mario Monti’s visit to the White House today has been...
What Monti should say
La Stampa - January 15th 2012
The indiscipline of member states that led to the euro crisis, wrote a wise man last June, occurred thanks to "an unhealthy politeness towards each other, and excessive deference to large member states". That wise man was Professor Mario Monti, writing...
Lifesaving medicine for the Euro
La Stampa - December 8th 2011
Sadly, one good day will not save the euro, and neither will pious promises to behave better in the future. For sure, Italy´s austerity plan and the Franco-German proposals for fiscal union represent progress. But there is much more to be done.
Because Italy can do it
La Stampa - November 13th 2011
Watching Italy during the past few years has been like watching a slow-motion car crash. Or perhaps a better, more English analogy would be to compare il Bel Paese to the Titanic. It is strong, full of rich people and built with fine engineering, but...
Chasing lost credibility
La Stampa - November 2nd 2011
What is credibility? In one of his films, Groucho Marx might have said that credibility, alongside integrity, is essential in life, and if you can fake that, you´ve got it made. At the very least, financial markets are now indicating that they believe...
That´s why the crime of Perugia has become a unique case
La Stampa - October 5th 2011
Having spent most of September in Perugia, I know that it usually feels delightfully isolated from the outside world, except of course that it is full of foreign students, one of whom, during that month, was this English journalist. At least it did feel...
Powerlessness of a fragile system
La Stampa - August 10th 2011
He won’t think this very often, but as he returned home early from his Italian holiday to take charge of the emergency, the British prime minister, David Cameron, must have been praying that he would find traditional English summer weather: rain, preferably...
The entrepreneur who does not understand Italy the company
La Stampa - August 5th 2011
The turmoil in financial markets is almost enough to make you agree with the President of the Council: Italy looks like the victim of this crisis, not its cause. For it is partly true: economic growth is weakening everywhere in the rich world, America...
The transparency of a scandal
La Stampa - July 20th 2011
British scandals, it should now be abundantly clear, work quite differently from Italian ones. In Italy, scandals start with a seemingly huge revelation and huge amounts of attention, but then get steadily smaller and the attention fades away. In Britain...
Be careful, Italy, or risk your credibility
La Stampa - July 10th 2011
During the past two years of writing and talking a lot about Italy, whenever I have said something critical about weaknesses in the Italian economy, almost inevitably someone in the audience or among the readers has responded by saying "But we are not...
When readers´ trust is betrayed
La Stampa - July 7th 2011
British journalists can often be annoyingly arrogant and self-important, even while they pretend to disparage themselves as being even less popular than politicians and used-car dealers. The scandal now exploding in London looks set to explain both of...
Britain is resigned to austerity
La Stampa - June 28th 2011
In Britain a strange silence, or at least a strange calm, is about to be broken. It has been strange because we have a weak economy, high unemployment and sharp government spending cuts and yet there has been barely a murmur of protest on the streets....
Ten years of controversy
La Stampa - June 10th 2011
If anyone had told me, ten years ago, that in 2011 I would be writing regular editorials for an Italian newspaper and would have published a book about Italy, I would have said that they were mad. After all, as direttore of The Economist, I was travelling...
US-China power fatigue
La Stampa - May 30th 2011
We crave simplicity, or at least simple explanations. As Barack Obama made his triumphal, political-celebrity-in-chief tour of Europe last week, many wanted to believe that America remains the world’s dominant, even hegemonic power, despite all the forecasts...
China´s ever-changing economy
La Stampa - May 14th 2011
No sooner do you think you have puzzled out how the Chinese economy works, than it changes, dramatically. That is what happens when an economy grows its GDP by 10% a year, and therefore doubles in size every seven years, with huge accompanying social...
Lies about Italy´s economy
La Stampa - April 24th 2011
It is quite normal to expect politicians to say half-truths or even lies: in this, Italy is not unique, even if it is fairly exceptional in the ability of its political leaders to say something one day and deny having said it the next, all in the justified...
Japan lifts up its head
La Stampa - April 9th 2011
It is cherry-blossom season in Tokyo, a time when traditionally the nation celebrates the ephemeral, transitory nature of life, symbolised for centuries in Japanese culture by the brief, beautiful appearance and then disappearance of these light-pink...
Without truth there will be no reform
La Stampa - April 2011
It was pleasing to see Antonio Vigni’s elegant reply (“Tre verita’ sull’Italia”) to my provocative article about “bugie”. His truths do, however, need some clarification.
The first pseudo-pseudo bugie/verita’ was about whether Italy’s industrial system...
The risk of retreating from the world
La Stampa - March 13th 2011
If you have ever wondered why Japan has so few old buildings, or why the most famous Japanese woodblock print, by the artist Hokusai, is of a big wave, or even why the internationally accepted term for a tidal wave is “tsunami”, a Japanese word, well...
New democracies, new EU
La Stampa - February 28th 2011
The resistance of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to accepting either the moral or the practical logic of his situation, holed up in Tripoli and with more than half of his country (measured by population) in opposition hands, should surprise no one. During his...
Italy is not answering the telephone
La Stampa - January 30th 2011
A few days ago, a TV interviewer asked me what I thought an alien from another planet, an extra-terrestrial, might think about Italian politics if they were suddenly to find themselves in Rome. It was a nice question, even if it made me wonder whether...
Share the weight of the world
La Stampa - January 18th 2011
Everyone, it seems, accepts that there is a “G2”, or Group of Two, at the forefront of world affairs except the two countries participating in it: the United States and China. The rest of the West, ie Europeans and Japanese, lament the rise of the G2...
A challenging decade for democracy
La Stampa - December 31st 2010
Journalists often think news is defined in terms of days or even minutes. Politicians seem far-sighted if they think in weeks, or visionary if they can see as far ahead as the next election. Most ordinary folk have memories whose range varies according...
Distrust undermines alliances
La Stampa - December 3rd 2010
The good news about the latest Wikileaks disclosures of American diplomatic reports on Silvio Berlusconi is that they take the focus away from the president of the council’s parties and “relaxing” private life. Many Italians, especially supporters of...
Beware of the nuclear risk
La Stampa - November 24th 2010
It is tempting to regard the firing of artillery shells at an island on the other side of the world as unimportant. That temptation is especially strong when the culprit is North Korea, a country that has a long record of nasty actions that turn out to...
Made in Italy tested against reality
La Stampa - November 7th 2010
The global economic crisis of 2007-09 has done us all a disservice in more ways than just the obvious ones of having caused rising unemployment, falling living standards and increasing feelings of insecurity. It has damaged the popular understanding of...
America will become inward-looking
La Stampa - November 4th 2010
So America´s mid-term Congressional elections have, as expected, brought a dramatic defeat for the Democratic Party in general and Barack Obama in particular, with the Republicans taking majority control in the House of Representatives, narrowing the...
Cameron more daring than Blair
La Stampa - October 21st 2010
It is an extraordinary gamble: cutting 500,000 public-sector jobs, in a programme of dramatic fiscal retrenchment, with ministries’ budgets being cut by an average of nearly 20% over four years. Moreover, it is a gamble made with a daring and determination...
A brave choice
La Stampa - October 9th 2010
They are not always known for their bravery. Too often, they follow fashionable sentiment, in a rather weak way. But this year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has made a bold and admirable choice in Liu Xiaobo, the dissident who China locked up last year...
Obama needs to regain credibility
La Stampa - October 4th 2010
As Barack Obama gets down to the serious task of campaigning for Democratic Party candidates in an effort to stem his party’s losses in America’s mid-term congressional elections on November 2nd, it is time to think about what once seemed inconceivable:...
The majority does not work for Italy
La Stampa - September 14th 2010
It has been flattering to us British that so often during the Italian debate about politics and the electoral law, our system has been praised. It was even flattering this year, in May, when so many Italian commentators expressed worry about how our “first-past-the-post”...