As terror over the Greek debt crisis cools momentarily, everyone’s suddenly paying attention to Italy.
Its market is diving, people are dumping Italian banks, and yields are shooting up.
Italy’s economy is the fourth-largest in the European Union, and its debt burden — wavering at about $2.2 trillion — shows no signs of subsiding, regardless of harsh austerity cuts.
Italy’s economy has deep-seated structural problems that are not going to go away by taking away the pocket book. Indeed, they may even get worse.
Too much emphasis on family means lots of small, privately owned businesses and few large, publicly owned companies.
In Italy, nobody moves! Not even between counties.
Source: European Commission
And -- because they can't get a job and move up the ladder -- immigrants aren't replacing Italy's ageing population.
No wonder all the Tunisians are going to France.
Source: European Comission
Particularly when Prime Minister Berlusconi makes a habit of appointing showgirls to powerful posts.
He tapped Mara Carfagna to be the Minister For Equal Opportunity and a member of his cabinet.
The first round of the Amanda Knox trial never met more than three times per week. Because a lawyer for the appeal is a member of Parliament, the newest round only meets on Saturday mornings.
Source: Rolling Stone
And the fact that it's harder to do business in Italy than in any other OECD country (OK, well except Greece)...
It is more expensive to purchase electricity as an industrial producer in Italy than it is in any other EU state.
Italy's annual growth rate has been under 4% since 1988.
Source: World Bank