Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Italy's dire state

But Italy is special. Old-age pensions swallow 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 57 percent of all social spending. No other country in Europe spends so much on making its past comfortable.

And the future? Unemployment among people ages 15 to 24 is a record 40.1 percent, while the number of people 55 or over who are still working has ballooned to 3.5 million from 2.8 million in just five years. ...

Almost 400,000 [college] graduates have left Italy in the past decade, and only 50,000 similarly qualified foreigners have arrived. ...

The average salary for an Italian born in the 1980s is about €1,000 a month, or about $1,375 — hence the media nickname Generazione Mille Euro. ...

Only two economies have grown less than Italy’s between 2001 and 2011. One was Haiti, which continues to suffer from its 2010 earthquake, and the other was Zimbabwe, which continues to suffer from Robert Mugabe. ...

“La classe dirigente” — the Italian ruling class — is Europe’s oldest: the average bank chief executive is 69 years old; court presidents, 65; and university professors are on average 63.
--Beppe Severgnini, NYT, on the backward-looking dolce vita. HT: SC