This is the New Italy

Years of neoliberal economic policies imposed by Brussels and by Italian politicians alike have devastated numerous industrial towns and the very fabric of Italian society, reports Attilio Moro.

By Attilio Moro  Special to Consortium News
in Brussels

Sesto San Giovanni, a town on the outskirts of Milan, used to be one of the industrial capitals of Italy.

With around 200,000 inhabitants (45,000 blue collar workers, and a robust middle class), it was the headquarters of some of the most dynamic Italian companies, including Magneti Marelli, Falck, Breda and many more.

Today Sesto is an industrial desert – the factories are gone, the professional middle class has fled, many stores have shut down, and the city is trying to reinvent itself as a medical research center.

Twenty-three kilometers (14 miles) to the north of Sesto, the town of Meda was the seat of various symbols of Italian excellence: Salotti Cassina and Poltrona Frau, both of which exported high-quality furniture all over the world and employed tens of thousands of workers and designers. They fed a number of small family-based companies providing parts and highly qualified seasonal labour. Today both companies are gone.

Montezemolo: Public enemy.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, a former chairman of Ferrari, Fiat and Alitalia, and now a public enemy because of his dismissal of the “Made in Italy” label, acquired both companies and moved them to Turkey, choosing profit over quality—and Italian jobs. Montezemolo, of aristocratic background, is a champion of Italian neoliberalism, having founded the influential “free market” think tank Italia Futura (Future Italy) in 2009.

Another victim is the town of Sora, with a population of 25,000, 80 km. (50 miles) east of Rome. Until recently Sora was an affluent commercial city, with medium-sized paper factories and hundreds of shops. Today, all of the factories are gone and 50 percent of shops have closed.

All over Italy, the neoliberal policies that led to the economic crisis and resulting social decadence have accelerated in the wake of the financial collapse of 2007.

Once The Stalingrad of Italy

Sesto San Giovanni used to be known as ‘the Italian Stalingrad’, due to the strength of its working class and the Communist Party receiving over 50 percent of the vote. Now the strongest party in town is the Lega (The League), a right wing, xenophobic party. This has been accompanied by a demographic shift, as Sesto has lost almost one third of its population, but acquired tens of thousands of immigrants, which today constitute almost 20 percent of its population.

The Italian Communist Party, once the strongest in the capitalist world, has in the meantime disappeared, together with the working class. There is also the destitution of a dwindling middle class accompanying the breakdown of the social fabric with rampant corruption. All the traditional political parties have been wiped away.

Sesto San Giovanni: Once the Italian Stalingrad

They have been replaced by the so-called ‘populists’: The Lega and the 5 Star Movement, undisputed winners of the latest elections in March, who are now in the process of trying to form a new government. The Lega expresses the frustrations of the north of Italy that is still productive (fashion, services and some high quality products), and demands lower taxes, as Italian taxes are among the highest in Europe. They also want a parallel national currency, a reduction in circulation of the Euro (which slows down exports, especially to Germany) and limits to immigration.

The 5 Star Movement, which is partly considered to be the heir of the former Communist Party but with a different social base consisting of an undifferentiated lower class replacing the disappearing working class. It advocates a moralization of the political parties and a universal basic income of 750 euros per month ($875) for the poorest to reduce the effects of the social disaster which took place in the south of the country in the last 10 years: 20 percent unemployment, affecting 40 percent of young people, making the mafia and organized crime the biggest ‘employers’ in the most critical southern regions.

This is the new Italy. The old one, the Italy of Fiat, Cassina, small family-run businesses, the Italy of the Christian Democrats, the Communist Party and vibrant working-class culture is no more.

Attilio Moro is a veteran Italian journalist who was a correspondent for the daily Il Giorno from New York and worked earlier in both radio (Italia Radio) and TV. He has travelled extensively, covering the first Iraq war, the first elections in Cambodia and South Africa, and has reported from Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan and several Latin American countries, including Cuba, Ecuador and Argentina. Presently he is a correspondent on European affairs based in Brussels.



77 comments for “This is the New Italy

  1. Orlando
    June 4, 2018 at 12:00

    Eloquent, vivid piece of Italian recent developments accompanied by demographic decline, following significant political violence in 1960s-1980s, with recourse to public spending / debt increase to sooth differences, conspicuous mal administration and pervasive organized crime. Another miracle, after all.

  2. Winston
    June 3, 2018 at 17:35

    As this research revealed. Italy has larger middle class than the English- speaking western countries.

    Italy having larger middle class revealed something really wrong with English- speaking countries-after all it has weak government, north/south gap, corruption, tax evasion and mafia dominance!

    “The nations of Continental Europe (France, Germany, and Italy, Chart 4) are between the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic nations in terms of the size of their middle classes, averaging 60 to 65 percent of households. The German middle class was about 65 percent of households in the 1980s. It has since slowly fallen to around 60 percent, with a clear decline during the 2000s. One needs to be somewhat cautious when examining the data for Germany since prior to reunification in 1990 they included only what was then West Germany. France runs contrary to the German trend and that of most of the other nine countries examined here. France’s middle class increased from around 60 percent in the late 1970s and early 1980s to 65 percent in the 1990s and nearly 70 percent in the 2000s. There is no sign of any middle-class squeeze or decline in France over several decades or during bad economic times. Italy, too, runs counter to most other countries. Its middle class remained fairly constant at around 60 percent from the 1980s to 2000s. It fluctuated some in the 1980 and 1990s but was stable in the 2000s, even after the start of the Great Recession.””

    Measuring the Middle Class

  3. Frank
    June 3, 2018 at 12:36

    What we are seeing is that social democratic reforms and those political parties pushing them are no more; social democracy is dead.

    The Western financial and corporate aristocracy control most political parties and their political control leads to privatization, deregulation and tax breaks for the wealthy.

    (Especially beware of the aristocracy’s claim that governments and government services should be run like a business: businesses are run as dictatorships, many of them fail and, lastly, profits always come before people.)

    Let’s face it. This aristocracy is at war with working classes of the world and -with their control of the military-intelligence complex- they are overtly at war with the citizens of the world’s poor nations (this observation does not include the local oligarchies -who are also at war with their own people.)

    The capitalist system is “working” as it normally does; it brings poverty, inequality, ecological degradation, urban wreckage, and constant warfare to the average working person (whether they are within the formal or informal economy).

    So, reforms are pretty much finished with; fortunately, or unfortunately we are faced with a choice: social revolution or death.

    • Winston
      June 3, 2018 at 17:45

      UK has similar business density as Italy but has north/south and east /west gap and bushiness are squeezed by finance (see Tom Brown’s book).

      Majority of Italians employed by micro SMEs. Maybe why has bigger middle class than English-speaking countries.

      Italian SMEs – Overview
      In terms of economic relevance, the overwhelming majority (99.9%) of enterprises active in the Italian economy (the third largest in Europe after the German and the French ones) are SMEs and they account for 81% of the workforce and 68.1% of the value added in Italy. The sector has a relatively small-scale structure: the share of micro-enterprises is higher than the EU average and this particular feature does not depend on the sector composition.

      Measuring the Middle Class

      Research from Toronto’s York University found that a one percent increase in a region’s business density can:
      • Increase GDP by 38 percent;
      • Reduce unemployment by 20 percent; and • Increase patents by 52 percent.
      Focusing entrepreneurship activities in concentrated urban centers attracts talent, increases property values
      and sales tax revenue, and draws additional businesses to the area.
      These concentrated areas of business development, sometimes called innovation districts, improve walkability and help cities save money by limiting
      infrastructure costs”

      The Economic Impact of PLACEMAKING
      Where is SME density the highest?

  4. Kenneth
    June 1, 2018 at 11:59

    Congratulations for Italy on having your recently voted president subsequently usurped and replaced by a man preferred by the EU. Tyranny is showing it’s face more boldly.

    • gininitaly
      June 3, 2018 at 05:55

      Absolutely correct… the continuing murder of any form of human civil and social democracy is the agenda for the 21rst century by the BIS central bankster/monopoly corp resource raping Parasites who want to rule the world.

  5. Gina de Miranda
    May 31, 2018 at 17:55

    Neoliberal policies have destroyed the prosperous stable world with widespread prosperity with a Dickensian oligarchy.

  6. David
    May 30, 2018 at 07:04

    In Germany we have a similar trend but perhaps no so heavily.

    The reason is not only that industry goes to country’s like Poland.
    The reason is that more and more companies are becoming too small of being able to compete with other makers on the market.
    If small shops are replaced by EDEKA, ALDI,Saturn and Media markets the trend is obvious. But it concerns many other branches too.

    It’s a lie that the merger of markets is better for all. In a larger market the tallest player eliminate their rivals.

    May be that this trend is in Italy too.

    • Ruth F
      May 30, 2018 at 15:52

      I just came back from a 10 days’ holiday in Sardegna/Italy and I am surprised how clearly the people in the streets – just “ordinary people” – analyze their situation! They fully realize the consequences of globalization and are able to name them all. They do not need any lessons in economics – they just know and see them with their own eyes, without any illusions. I was completely impressed and wished my fellow citizens in Switzerland would be as clear in their understanding of what’s going on worldwide as the Italians are!

      • David
        May 30, 2018 at 20:27

        “They fully realize the consequences of globalization and are able to name them all.”

        Sometimes I wish I could say that about my compatriots.

        I often have the impression that the consequences of globalization is not known to the German people.

      • gininitaly
        June 3, 2018 at 05:59

        The Italians have been screwed over by their own governments for centuries… this is simply another type of Mafia cabal on a global scale.

    • Winston
      June 3, 2018 at 17:48

      Germany’s’ SME’s are strong still and help of Fraunhofer-no such org in Italy or any other European country.

  7. May 29, 2018 at 21:57

    The Globalists and their “New World Order” are in control.
    June 26, 2016
    “Brexit: Are The Serfs Finally Rebelling”?

    The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don’t realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated, and forced into an EU dictatorship by treacherous politicians. These are some of the same politicians who scurry to the meetings of the so-called elites in Davos, and also attend Bilderberg meetings….
    [read more at link below]

  8. Jeff
    May 29, 2018 at 18:51

    It never ceases to amaze me that this is happening all over the world and nothing is happening to arrest it. I suspect that’s because so many are brainwashed into believing that because they have representative government that means that the government will be responsive to the wants and needs of the electorate.


  9. Don
    May 29, 2018 at 18:23

    Considering North American and European governments and societies are absolutely drowning in debt to central bankers, Islam’s total prohibition on usury for everyone doesn’t look so backwards now, does it? I’m not talking Islamic banks either which are controlled by these same central bankers. I’m talking a total, 100% ban, on lending at interest, whic was even despised by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

    When Cato the Elder was asked, “What do you think of usury?” his reply was, “What do you think of murder?”

    Aristotle on Usury:
    There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.
    – Politics, 1.10, 1258b

    Since those who rule in the city do so because they own a lot, I suppose they’re unwilling to enact laws to prevent young people who’ve had no discipline from spending and wasting their wealth, so that by making loans to them, secured by the young people’s property, and then calling those loans in, they themselves become even richer and more honored.

    Thomas Edison
    “If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good, also. The difference between the bond and the bill is the bond lets money brokers collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%, whereas the currency pays nobody but those who contribute directly in some useful way. It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people.”

    And we know what Jesus thought when he threw the moneylenders out of the temple.

    • June 1, 2018 at 09:47

      I applaud you Don, for exposing the root of the problem, and not allowing the symptoms of the problem to become the focus.

      The banksters seized the control of producing and issuing money from their respective governments hundreds of years ago and have been making all the rules ever since.

      People are brainwashed to accept their identity as “consumers” living in an economy and not so much as citizens living in a society. The banksters even control the language.

      Where bribing of a public official is illegal, lobbying a public official is legal and prolific, yet they are the same thing.

      The corruption starts with the money lenders.

      Please visit

  10. Rong Cao
    May 29, 2018 at 13:54

    As long as this neoliberalism prevails and actually run this country, the new coalition of populist parties are simply the puppets of those aristocrats and won’t last long in Italy’s politics. People will continue to suffer with no end in sight.

  11. Luigi
    May 29, 2018 at 12:52

    “Make Italy great again” that’s what this amounts to.
    There’s simply no mention to the fact the people were very happy to buy cheap products made abroad instead of paying a little more for home made quality.
    If we choose cheap plastic to the things that we used to build and we proud of, that’s the inevitable outcome.
    Sticking a neo-liberal label in front of something and saying you’re gonna to better is just plain and utter bullshit!

  12. Loretta
    May 29, 2018 at 12:10

    The tragedy of Europe. We the people have been castrated and doomed to a life of slavery – unless we rise up and rid ourselves of our “owners”.

    • Don
      May 29, 2018 at 18:13

      The problem is most people don’t know anything about money so even “rising up” won’t do much. If you want a successful revolution in a short amount of time, have everyone withdraw their money from the banks and ban usury, but expect tough times ahead.

  13. DH Fabian
    May 29, 2018 at 10:46

    Interesting. The US has taken a quite similar path. “Today Sesto is an industrial desert – the factories are gone, the professional middle class has fled, many stores have shut down….” describes many US towns and cities, and we have absolutely no mercy on those who are left behind, in poverty. We just don’t acknowledge it.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 29, 2018 at 11:31

      I’m glad you explained your point the way you did, because this article could have been written about Pittsburgh or Cincinnati from back in the 80’s. They say, misery loves company, but you don’t see me celebrating Europe and Italy’s dilemma. As long as people will need to eat, this squeezing of the middle class down to the lower class, is without a doubt going to have a boatload of backlash. If only the word ‘fair’ were to enter into the conversation, but greed doesn’t know the meaning of ‘fair’.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 29, 2018 at 14:59

      DH Fabian – yeah, those who are left behind are called “Deplorables” for having the gall to speak up about the offshoring of jobs.

      Wanting to limit immigration and control the borders, in order to protect what jobs are left for themselves and their children, they’re called “Racists”.

      Wanting to stop the gross military spending, the associated death and destruction, and concentrate on their own country, they’re called “Populists” or “Nationalists”.

      Wanting to protect freedom of speech, they’re called “Fascists”.

      You can’t make this sh*t up!!!!

      • Realist
        May 29, 2018 at 15:47

        As if the rich don’t shamelessly protect THEIR interests!

        • backwardsevolution
          May 29, 2018 at 17:43

          Realist – yes, it’s precisely because the rich have been allowed to “protect” their interests that we have the mess we have. There’s been a total takeover by the financial/corporate class who are busy gobbling each other up. Anti-monopoly laws on the books are not being enforced. Nobody is minding the store, and we’re all commodities now.

          Not only are they protecting their interests, but they “manufactured” those interests to begin with. They got together and set out to crush labor. They set up the WTO, World Trade Organization, pushed for globalization, courted the corrupt Chinese elite, offshored the jobs, and the rest is history. The media was bought out and Congress was bought off.

          They lobby for new, favorable laws that THEY write, and the politicians pass them. You have to cut taxes in order to get them to “bring” their money back home, only to find out that their money has been home all along, sitting in U.S. Treasuries. What?

          White-collar criminals are given fines, not jail time. As one guy said: if every bank robber knew he would only get a fine for robbing a bank, there’d be a line-up around the block. The fine just becomes the price of doing business.

          The Chambers of Commerce are rubbing their hands together in glee over the complete lack of border control – all the more cheap illegal labor for them. Silicon Valley delight in the H-1B’s coming in from India – they’ll work for less and well into the night. The Indian doesn’t care because his motive is to send money back home and become the number one son.

          How many MS13 are hanging around the bank entrances on Wall Street? How many illegals are going to school with THEIR children? None.

          I’m rambling again. Italy needs to get out of the European Union and take back their sovereignty. They never should have been there to begin with. A country that doesn’t look after their people is no country at all.

      • Oakland Pete
        May 29, 2018 at 17:50

        Yes, people can make up a lot of shit. One turd is that limiting immigration and controlling borders as it applies in the context(s) mentioned does not have a very unhealthy dose of racism inherent in it. Here’s another turd: Fascists come to town with a slogan: “No Marxism in Berkeley”. You want to give free speech to those who want to use it to deny free speech to others. Fascists declared I have no free speech rights, and I insist I do. There is no middle ground. So in steps Antifa and the police to resolve the problem – Antifa on my side, the police on the side of fascism. This time my side won. Back in Europe between the world wars, the same argument arose and fascism won in some countries. Apparently you are on that side, under the guise of “freedom of speech”. That time the Red Army intervened to resolve the problem. Apparently you would have opposed them. Now you even imply that the left doesn’t oppose war or phony “free trade” agreements.

        These are all the mantra of Trump supporters, and I can’t make this shit up.

        • backwardsevolution
          May 29, 2018 at 20:05

          Oakland Pete – “Yes, people can make up a lot of shit.” Thanks for highlighting that fact with your post.

          The people voted for control of the borders and limiting immigration. They say it’s over loss of their own jobs and the costs incurred with supporting the illegals; you say it’s over racism. Some citizens worry the new immigrants are no longer assimilating; you’d probably say “who cares about assimilation?” Who is right, and for that matter, do they really have to give a reason? Suppose they want to stop all immigration for ten/twenty/one hundred years/forever. Is that racism? Maybe their idea of a country is different than your’s. But you feel you get to dictate, don’t you?

          Just as you feel that YOU should get to dictate who speaks at Berkeley. And you say the speakers are dangerous? They pale in comparison to the likes of you.

          But it is what you leave out of your post that is the most telling about you. Nothing – absolutely nothing – about the people who have lost their jobs, the 30,000/year who are offing themselves, the gutted and rusting industrial towns, the corruption and theft of the corporate class.

          No, it’s all about you and what you want because you’re still fighting the last world war. You haven’t left it. You see yourself as separate from the citizenry. You are separate. You are fighting a different battle. Wow, good luck, buddy.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 29, 2018 at 20:21

            Oakland Pete – free speech is messy and ugly at times, but it is a necessary relief valve and the only way to solve differences. When voices are stifled, they go underground and grow because they don’t like being told to shut up and step aside, and they know when this is being done. Good clip on free speech by Cathy Newman and Jordan Peterson:


          • John
            May 30, 2018 at 18:36

            What an appropriate name you have. Ever heard of the band Devo?

            Immigrants actually create more jobs than they “take”. This is an easily researched fact. About 1.2 jobs per immigrant. See the well researched paper “Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?” by Gihoon Hong and John McLaren, for one study that decided to actually investigate this issue.

            Automation kills more jobs than immigration, Offshoring also does this. Offshoring like the way their Fuhrer makes his line of clothing, Even MAGA hats are made with fabric, bills, and stiffeners that are sourced from outside the US! Trumpstore dot com sells mainly foreign made merchandise as well!

            Automation, if the means of production are nationalized, would make “jobs” (aka wage slavery positions) unnecessary, which is why those being used as shock troops for the Neoliberals (aka the Fascists) are so indoctrinated to oppose “Marxism”.

            Free Speech is not an issue in opposing Fascists, as is easily observed by realizing that AntiFa is not calling for the Government to ban hateful speech. If those who oppose Fascism opposed Free Speech, they would be asking the government to ban some speech. That they are not doing so makes clear to all but the most obtuse that this is not a Free Speech issue.

            That the same people who complain that their Freeze Peach is being infringed upon by those who would, without asking for government interference, take autonomous action to deplatform such hatemongers, also cheer on a Resident of the White House who openly talks about stripping citizenship for those who disagree with him, and who calls for government action against, for instance, athletes who take a knee to protest racist shootings of unarmed people of color, makes it pretty damn clear that “Free Speech” is not a concern of theirs in reality.

            Their attacks on those in academia who they perceive as being “Left” lays bare their hypocrisy.

            That those who support the Orange Fuhrer claim that the “Left” (in which they somehow include the right-wing Neoliberals) is somehow in support of foreign wars of aggression, while cheering on the dismantlement of the JPCOA, the moving of the Embassy to Jerusalem, the sanctions against Venezuela (with talk of either a proxy war there or US support of a military coup), the bombing of imaginary “chemical weapons facilities” in Syria, and the “Libya model” for North Korea, etc, again shows the disingenuousness of their hypocritical position.

          • Oakland Pete
            May 30, 2018 at 19:36

            Nope, I’ve actually lost jobs to affirmative action, but understood that those who took them started life here with anchors tied to their career prospects, so took my situation in stride. Those who cross our borders look different than us. Why? Because they are from here, and we are from Europe. Have you considered the irony in our characterization of this country as “ours”, while indigenous peoples are the outsiders? What was the origin of “WOP”? It meant “with out papers”. Now Italians are another just another white citizen of the U.S.. What papers did my ancestors have when they came here? None. And they slaughtered the locals. How did African Americans get here? In chains, and now those who came to Berkeley, who you seem to like, tell them to go back where they came from. From what I’ve seen, the barrier to assimilation comes from the racism that infects so much of U.S. life. Or have you not read a newspaper in your life?

            I’ll tell you who is fighting another war: Those who wave swastikas and confederate flags. They came to Berkeley with a slogan: “No Marxists in Berkeley”. Their emblems disclose how they would run us out: with violence. They did it in Charlottesville, they did it with the klan, they did it in Europe, and they will do it whenever we let them. Yes, I, along with the thousands who marched that day, will decide whether nazi scum will tell us how we can think and where. You, along with your fascist friends, backed by the cops, can come to town with your weapons and we will turn you away. We are the citizenry, and fascists are not. My ancestors came over on the Mayflower, literally; but I have the humanity to recognize we were invaders, and those you demonize deserve to be here. Who the fuck are you to tell me, or anyone, we are separate from the citizenry? In case you didn’t notice, Trump did not win the popular vote, and immigration was a key plank in his platform.

            You and a few others I could name but won’t (we corresponded privately) need to understand who Antifa confronts: They don’t wear MAGA hats; they wear pointy hats with white robes. They don’t wave American flags; they wave confederate flags and swastikas. They call themselves Proud Boys, Traditionalist Workers’ Party, Patriot Prayer, Identity Europa, and they are FASCISTS. You and DJ can call for freedom of speech for them, but I think “freedom” for them is an oxymoron. I call for freedom of speech for Berkeley, and that was the specific issue at stake that day – a concept the appropriately named backwardsevolution distorts. Yup, you’re a troglodite, pal.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 30, 2018 at 22:42

            John – of course immigrants create jobs. How could they not? It’s a classic Ponzi scheme.

            But low-skilled illegals actually do cost the country dearly in educational, medical and housing costs (thousands of dollars for every man, woman and child), and they do take jobs away from low-skilled Americans, force wages to stay low, as well as put increased pressure on housing costs.

            What I was saying is it is up to the American people to decide how many people they want to allow in and who gets let in. It has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with what they want. It’s THEIR country.

            Automation has been responsible for the loss of some jobs. It’s the excuse economists like to use to lay the blame on anything but the real reason for the loss of jobs – offshoring.

            Antifa is just another little fascist hate group who are intent on shutting down free speech, and if they don’t get their way, they break a few windows.

            John and Oakland Pete – you are still fighting the last world war, in a totally separate world. You don’t want a united country. You want to rip it apart, and Identity Politics is going to do just that.

        • Sam F
          May 29, 2018 at 21:22

          There seems to be no real disagreement in principle here.
          BE fairly notes that reducing offshoring of jobs, limiting immigration, and reducing military spending can be advocated by those who are not deplorable racists, nationalists, or fascists.
          OP declares against fascism but thinks that immigration restriction implies racism when that may be true only among some of the less intelligent, like the anti-Marxists he faced.

          We can reduce offshoring and military spending without longterm immigration restriction.
          I suggest an import tax to equalize foreign & domestic wholesale costs for products of comparable quality, based upon general living conditions in the supplier nation, adjusted for labor conditions of each producer. This funds foreign aid to the producer nation to raise standards of education and health care, and permits wage increases, because these will not affect the wholesale cost in the consumer nations. It uses the difference of standard of living to improve that of the foreign producer rather than lower that of the US consumer.

    • Winstom
      June 3, 2018 at 17:58

      This has been happening for over century in North America. First rust belt in U.S. was NE rust belt caused by factories decamping to Midwest. First rustbelt in Canada began in late 19th centiry-in the maritime provinces-when rules of unification favored the Interior!.
      The plight of Maritime Provinces (that became a rust belt in 19th century due to national policy favoring Central Canada-the 1879 National Policy) has some echoes in US;and proposed solutions also would help struggling regions in US:

      https://www.theglobeandmail. com/news/national/how-the- maritimes-became-canadas- incredible-shrinking-region/ article23554298/

      How the Maritimes became Canada’s incredible shrinking region
      Neither Canada nor US and affected states did anything to reverse decline of original rust belt, so how can they reversed decline of other regions? Do not have experience.

  14. DFC
    May 29, 2018 at 10:46

    This is just another WHOOPS (we did it again) moment in hubristic neo-liberal thinking that we see playing out over and over again throughout the entire World. That is, not understanding the present institutions (economies) and how they came to be and what they actually do. Neo-liberal thinking has be dominated by the idea of developing the most efficient “economies of scale” that would provide cheap goods to all of the World’s CONSUMERS (looks good on paper, right?). We went through this in the United States, where Walmart wiped out Main Street and now Amazon is wiping out the suburban malls (and eventually Walmart probably as well) , all in the interest of providing the cheapest and most efficiently made goods. The result has been the liquidation of many “non-competitive” sectors and jobs (which the United States masks by not reporting the number of people that have simply quit looking for work). The same process is going on in Africa and Central America, where suddenly all of the traditional small scale basic occupations (like food and textile production) are no longer viable and the only option left for those people is to EMIGRATE.

    Cheap efficiently made goods for all the world’s consumers is only ONE HALF of a greater equation. The SECOND HALF, that they did not foresee was that the World also needs consumers with JOBS to fund the purchase of those efficiently made and inexpensive goods.

    CONSEQUENCES: Now they are finding the world UNGOVERNABLE (Trump, Brexit, Italy, Mass Migrations, etc.) and so the next thing on the neo-liberal agenda is to LIMIT DEMOCRACY – which people might be willing to facilitate if it involves getting a free UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME check from their friendly neighborhood globally centralized one-world government . wtf?!

    • DH Fabian
      May 29, 2018 at 10:54

      The US remains on the course set by the “Reagan Revolution,” when the corporate state was given full control over the country. Even liberals have simply disappeared the consequences of our years of neoliberal economic policies — our poverty crisis. The US began shutting down/shipping out jobs in the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s — lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs alone since 2000. Yet, we refuse to acknowledge (much less, do anything about) the obvious consequences.

      One step further: As US tax revenues have continued to sink, military spending has soared out of control. In 2003, the US launched the longest, most expensive war in this country’s history, draining us out militarily and economically. We can’t rebuild this time because our jobs are gone. Oops.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 29, 2018 at 11:30

        I’m glad you explained your point the way you did, because this article could have been written about Pittsburgh or Cincinnati from back in the 80’s. They say, misery loves company, but you don’t see me celebrating Europe and Italy’s dilemma. As long as people will need to eat, this squeezing of the middle class down to the lower class, is without a doubt going to have a boatload of backlash. If only the word ‘fair’ were to enter into the conversation, but greed doesn’t know the meaning of ‘fair’.

      • Typingperson
        May 29, 2018 at 20:39

        Yep. I think this happened to the Roman Empire.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 29, 2018 at 21:10

        DH Fabian – according to Ralph Nader, it started before Reagan, back in the early 70’s. This is when the think tanks got started. Nader said the Democrats divorced the working class and were right in there with the Republicans.

      • Winston
        June 3, 2018 at 18:06

        US decline tied to suburbanization-that becaame about 70% by Reagan’s time. Need population density for business density. In its absence workers at mercy of large companies who are at mercy of finance led “shareholder” value. Actually large companaies are being gutted from within by self serving execs who benefit from “shareholder Value”.

        John Bogle called out managerial capitalism.
        Owners Capitalism vs. Managers Capitalism

        • backwardsevolution
          June 4, 2018 at 02:28

          Winston – thanks for posting the links. John Bogle seems like a very good and decent man.

    • May 29, 2018 at 12:40

      Kinda brilliant DFC, thank you! Amazon going to take out the malls . . . and then the Consequences of the race to the bottom. Several ideas I haven’t quite put together. Thanks!

  15. mike k
    May 29, 2018 at 09:47

    The oligarchs are the top predators of our world, roaming the globe in search of prey to devour. No nation or natural resource is safe from their bottomless hunger for more, more, more………

    • DFC
      May 29, 2018 at 11:30

      Mike K. I agree the Oligarchs are the problem, but it is not like they all got together to plan this. The oligarch class is SYMPTOM created by simple mathematics – discovered by an economist from ITALY no less:

      Please see video below (length: 2min:50s):

      DH Fabian alludes to the real cause above, which was the elevation of the CORPORATION over the NATION STATE.


      These 25 Companies Are More Powerful Than Many Countries

      Zuckerberg’s early motto was: “Companies over countries”.

      In the past, when the United States was confronted by massive income inequality promulgated by the Robber Baron Class (oligarchs of the day) the progressives of that era engineered a fairly ingenious set laws that restricted them. Some of which were:

      1] Graduated Income Tax
      2] High Corporate Taxes
      3] Estate Taxes
      4] Anti-Trust / Anti-Monopoly Laws
      5] Tax on Worldwide Income
      6] Banking Regulations

      Now, with international banking and “open borders” (ie diminution of the Nation State) all of these remedies are rendered moot as corporations and people (the oligarchs who run them) can just move about wherever they like, to get the best deal. (Trump’s much ballyhooed tax reductions are a symptom of the race to the bottom).

      LESSON: Before you run out seeking to improve the world, spend some time understanding what purpose the entities serve that you want to eliminate.

      • May 29, 2018 at 12:14

        DFC – “I agree the Oligarchs are the problem, but it is not like they all got together to plan this.”

        Uhh – right – no – not at all. I mean its not like oligarchs get together and price fix, or form monopolies, or cartels, or coordinate efforts to move government policies in their favor using vast amounts of money, lobbyists and association groups, or create think tanks to propagandize the population, or form influence groups like the “Trilateral Commission,” or the “Bilderberg Group,” or the “Council on Foreign Relations,” or . . . . . .

        Truth be told “oligarchs” have been ruling the West for millennia now, and yes they are quite well organized, and yes they do – “plan this” – when it comes to the brutal economic policies that dominate the lives of we peasants around the globe. Dreaming that we can fine tune the violent monstrosity that is neoliberal capitalism is like dreaming that one day the psychopaths in Congress will magically vote for campaign finance reform so they insure that they can’t be re-elected – and then, as the fairy tale goes – we’ll finally fix everything and have an actual functioning democracy.

        • DFC
          May 29, 2018 at 12:40

          Gary, yes… they do that now. And they have done so since the beginning of time. (Agreed) But it is not like a child is born and decides to become an oligarch. (It is not planned.) And the way the world’s current economic system is set-up, it exacerbates the problem. The Nation States were doing something else, in addition to causing all of our wars. So, you fix the warring states problem and the next problem you have is the one we are currently facing.

          Trump seems to have tapped into the problem, and his election was in response to that. I seriously doubt he has the ability(or desire?) (or anyone for that matter) to put the genie back in the bottle. After Trump fails, it will be the turn of the Marxists and Communists again to give the problem a shot. And we will have to see what they come up with. Vilfredo Pareto though the only way to fix such a system was to demolish the entire structure and start over again (China’s Cultural Revolution, for example.).

          Futhermore, (and this is not meant as a personal put down) am I to assume that you have spent your entire life working against your own self interests? I don’t know you, maybe you have been, but I would put money on the presupposition that you have been looking out for your own self-interest in life. That said, the oligarchs are doing the same. And I would also wager, that if you were an oligarch you would be acting in the very same way they are currently acting. Why, because I have yet to see an oligarch dismantle his own creation, his own livelihood in the interest of the greater good. Maybe a few exist, but you will not find enough of them to populate any type of sustainable and beneficent government.

          And then we are back to this: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. A proclamation by the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

          • Oakland Pete
            May 29, 2018 at 17:58

            Corporations and nation states are both constructs of capitalism. Imperialism is as well, and the offshoring of jobs is an aspect of it. In its decline, rather than allow workers the consciousness to understand their interests are in their class allies internationally, capitalism feeds us the false solution of nationalism – which can, and often does, lead to fascism. The solution is not with the democrats or the republicans, or with the opportunists on the left who ally with either imperialism via democrat party logic or with fascism via the increasingly popular solution (especially on Consortium) of the red-brown alliance. The solution is socialism. Our task is to convince our fellow workers of this, and our fellow leftists of the errors of opportunism. That last is why I waste my time talking to so many of you boneheads!

          • May 29, 2018 at 18:02

            DFC – ” But it is not like a child is born and decides to become an oligarch. (It is not planned.) ”

            “So, you fix the warring states problem and the next problem you have is the one we are currently facing. Trump seems to have tapped into the problem, and his election was in response to that.”

            You must be playing that whole “3D chess” thing DFC, because I find your posts to be basically gibberish with no real substance. Perhaps you’re just operating in a whole other dimension? I’ll leave you to it. “(and this is not meant as a personal put down)” – just an observation.

          • anon
            May 29, 2018 at 21:34

            You ignored his question, pretending that oligarchy is unplanned, which you know is false. Then you accused all who must act in self-interest of being as selfish as oligarchs, which is propaganda. Then you proclaim for Owell’s pigs that they are “more equal”.
            So money=power=virtue, the philosophy of oligarchy opportunism.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 29, 2018 at 21:51

            DFC – “I don’t know you, maybe you have been, but I would put money on the presupposition that you have been looking out for your own self-interest in life. That said, the oligarchs are doing the same. And I would also wager, that if you were an oligarch you would be acting in the very same way they are currently acting.”

            Everyone is looking out for their own self-interest. Many don’t even know they’re doing it. The difference is that most people don’t get away with doing whatever they want, as much as they’d like to, but corporations are currently getting away with blue murder because THEY CAN. They have completely seized control.

            This is where elected officials are supposed to come in. Elected representatives are SUPPOSED to weigh all sides of an issue. High-paid corporate lobbyists might get their ear, but they’re then supposed to consider what is in the interest of the country and its citizens as a whole. This latter part is not happening. The politicians have been bought off.

            Interesting that Orwell chose the “pig” as the animal who ran things. Pigs get eaten.

        • backwardsevolution
          May 29, 2018 at 23:40

          Gary Weglarz – great post!

          DFC – I like your list of the six restrictions. I have a feeling that the corporate run is creating its own demise.
          They know this, so they’re looting while they can. These restrictions can then be put in place again.

      • mike k
        May 29, 2018 at 12:32

        The few dominating and exploiting the many predates capitalism by thousands of years. Capitalism is just the latest gimmick serving that historic reality. What we have to get rid of is the few having power over the many, gross inequality, injustice. Every mythos and propaganda that supports an aristocracy must be undone. Basic equality of income is the basis for a creative world at peace. Inequality breeds, demands war. The greedy at the top of the social pyramid are never satisfied until they have everything, and others have nothing. If these vultures are not eliminated we will have poverty and war until everything is destroyed. The first step to dismantling this evil hierarchy is for it’s victims to wake up to it. EVERY OTHER CONCERN IS ONLY A WASTE OF PRECIOUS TIME.

        • DFC
          May 29, 2018 at 13:19

          Mike K. I appreciate your perspective and thoughts… but I think they need more development. Lets just say we implement basic equality of income and you and I have the same job. So, correct me if I am wrong here: You being a conscientious person goes to work everyday and do the best job you can. I, however, am a different sort of person and do the minimum amount of work as possible and always call in sick to the point where I am a detriment to the organization. So, you are telling me that, no matter what I do, I will always earn the same amount of money as you do? That is a guarantee?

          • anon
            May 29, 2018 at 14:03

            He did not say that, nor have I heard anyone argue against productivity incentives. Equality of income implies equal efforts if not equal results.

          • John
            May 30, 2018 at 18:42

            DFC – how about we have robots doing the jobs so both of us can enjoy life?

      • anon
        May 29, 2018 at 21:45

        Before you run out telling people not to improve the world, DFC, spend some time understanding:
        Nothing in our Constitution elevates the corporation over the state.
        Economic concentrations have gained control of the institutions of democracy.
        Even the loosest oligarchy is highly organized, and to assert otherwise is propaganda.

      • Kathy Mayes
        May 30, 2018 at 14:58

        DFC: I’m in favor of all those laws except high corporate taxes which I do think hinders capital moving into our labor markets. In addition, we need to eliminate “Foundations”, the entities that have bypassed estate taxes, and that have enabled the oligarchs to dominate from the grave.

        • DFC
          May 30, 2018 at 15:38

          ALL: I was not trying to portion out blame in any of the above, nor advocate for a solution. Just trying to illustrate how it happened. (Some of it was planned, some was the darkside of human nature and some was mathematical – and any solution needs to take into account ALL of those things. It is a complicated multivariate problem.)

          A borderless / nationless world has its appeal, but it also has downsides. Back in the era of the Robber Barons, you could enact laws that limited the Oligarchs and they had no choice but to comply. In our present borderless multi-national world, the alternative to compliance is just to pull up stakes and move to a better tax jurisdiction. Trump just lowered the corporate tax rate to 20% but how long will it be before Europe responds with 15% (Ireland is already there)? So what we have now is a race to the bottom and the world’s people will suffer as you won’t be able to fund many social programs with a 10% corporate tax rate.

          All I was pointing out was the Law of Unintended Consequences of many of our actions. So we reduce the power of nations (to avoid wars) and the unintended consequence of that is a runaway Pareto Distribution (that favors corporations and the rich) with no easy solution.

        • John
          May 30, 2018 at 18:44

          As labor is a “cost” for corporations, money that corporations spend on labor would not be taxed. Taxes are on profits. High corporate taxes would ENCOURAGE corporations to invest in labor, as they did prior to Reagan, when corporate taxes were in the 80-90% range.

  16. May 29, 2018 at 09:30

    Side thought — other than the claims of ‘Christian Europe,’ is this part of why many Europeans reject EU membership for Turkey? They know they would lose a site for low-cost jobs outsourcing?

    • David
      May 29, 2018 at 11:20

      At first I have to apologize for my poor English knowledge.

      I guess that the reasons for the rejection of a Turkey’s EU membership are more political than economic.
      In Europe we have a common law,and a common currency. But we have no executive authority which establishes the EU law.
      I guess that the EU fear that Erdogan doesn’t observe the law.
      Second reason may be that the conflicts of the middle east are on the EU’s doorstep.

      On the other hand: The Turkey’s main good for export is cotton. This industry will break down if the importers will pay it in Euro instead of Lira. So I do not believe that Turkey really wants to become a part of the EU.

  17. Vivian O'Blivion
    May 29, 2018 at 08:12

    Yep. Quick, clear summation of a desperate situation. The actions of the President reek of desperate measures (hopefully). Election re-run should see a decisive outcome (fuelled by righteousness indignation) that allows real change. If the majority of the people want to reassess the Euro or even the EU then it is their absolute right. I would extend the root and branch “surgery” to the constitution. If I am reading this correctly the President is not directly elected but rather appointed and yet he / she is significantly more than a figurehead.
    Thatcher led the way with the whole industry is superfluous, we can manage with a service based economy (what ever the f**k that is) mantra. She was supposed to have had a background in science but knew precisely the sum total of f**k all about industry.

  18. mike k
    May 29, 2018 at 07:46

    The rich have their ways of emiserating the rest of us. These oligarchs are destroying everything worth having in our world. Unless we stop them, the nightmare they are creating for us will only become worse and worse.

    • mike k
      May 29, 2018 at 07:51

      Capitalism is a trap designed to impoverish everyone but the rich. Our only hope is some form of socialism, but the rich are doing everything they can to demonize and discredit socialism. Socialism simply means sharing the wealth more equitably. Of course the greedy oligarchs hate it.

      • DH Fabian
        May 29, 2018 at 11:09

        Every day/year that liberals have called for “standing in solidarity” with middle class workers while utterly disregarding our poverty crisis (i.e., proof of the failures of US capitalism) has established their clear support for our capitalist system. At most, they call for a sort of “socialism” that benefits the more fortunate alone, those who still have jobs (in a country that lost multi-millions of jobs in recent decades). Americans truly believe that only those who are of current use to employers (the corporate state) are deserving of the most basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) to food and shelter.

        • anon
          May 29, 2018 at 22:00

          All economic classes have self-interest, DHF, but they are not all equally guilty. Obviously not all Americans believe that the unproductive should suffer, or things would be worse. The fact that the selfish oligarchs and their opportunists worsen the lot of the poor cannot be blamed on everyone.

          Look more closely at the facts and you will see, as Mike said, that “the rich are doing everything they can to demonize and discredit socialism.”

          You tried to change the subject, blame the selfishness on the middle class, and within that blame selfishness on liberals. No, it is the belief system of fake liberals, and Repubs.

    • DH Fabian
      May 29, 2018 at 10:58

      That’s popular, but erroneous, thinking. We’re not “the 1% vs. the 99%.” We’re rich vs. middle class vs. poor. In a nutshell, it appears that the rich are now doing to the middle class essentially what the middle class already did to the poor. We have been watching mass upward wealth redistribution since the 1980s.

      • Georg
        May 29, 2018 at 11:32

        Yes! It is probably worth revisiting Harry Braverman’s “Labor and Monopoly Capital” published just before the Thatcher/Regan insurgency. Middle class now living through what working class was experiencing at the time. It has to be said though ther the provision of education and health now is much better, a socialised benefit which is not counted in individual incomes and is ultimately reflected in increased longevity.

      • anon
        May 29, 2018 at 21:52

        Wrong, DHF, your statement does not argue that we are not “the 1% vs. the 99%” so why do you say that? The fact that the poor suffer first obviously does not make the middle class as guilty of their suffering as the exploiters. You are propagandizing for the rich and nothing more.

  19. Catcher in the Wild (now based in NC, USA)
    May 29, 2018 at 07:22

    Well yes, I am on a front row seat here in Florence reading The Establishment Media’s (La Repubblica of Rome & Corriere della Sera of Milan) on-going attempt to sell the Neoliberal agenda to Italians…just as our NYTimes & WashPost do in the US. Here, it’s the effort to cancel and reverse the results of the March 4 election in which the “populist” 5 Star-Lega winners formed a coalition to try to restore political-economic democracy. And so far, they have been stifled by President Matarella rejecting their nominee for Minister of the Economy, the distinguished Prof. Paolo Savona, who appeared to be the perfect physician to diagnose and treat the extremely sick patient, Italia.. As a result, the 5 Star-Lega choice for Prime Minister, Giuseppi Conte, resigned, whereupon Matarella replaced him with yet another technocrat, this time from the IMF based in Washington, the capitol of Neoliberalism, giving The Establishment and its media more months to trying to con Italian citizens into conforming to its agenda. That is, re-do Italian elections in September. Here’s hoping that Mr. Moro in Brussels and Consortium News will still be around by then to analyze the results…not wiped out by Establishment propaganda and/or algorithms.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      May 29, 2018 at 16:58

      Italians and Europeans must wonder. Democratic elections are accepted as long as the outcomes are reasonable for some other and apparently stronger power. What power is that? The EU, other EU states, Italian establishment?
      Says something about the limits to democracy in the EU as a whole.
      What is the big fear with the populists?

      • David
        May 30, 2018 at 06:20

        As German citizen I guess most of my people fears a debt cut like the “Greek Rescue”
        Media told German people that they rescue Greece from becoming a failed state but the only thing which was rescued were the German and French banks’ bad loans. Back then the euro rescue fund was established. Many of Italians’ banks are in a crisis today and many fears that Italy claims them as too big to fail.

        Italy wants to contract debts but it’s public debt is 132 % of the gross domestic product,which is against EU guidelines.
        I guess Germany fears that Italy could leave the EU in order to enforce this objective.

        Such a behavior would destroy the EU in the long term.

  20. Giuseppe Castaldi-Area VIce president 3M
    May 29, 2018 at 05:49

    This is a very interesting article from Mr Moro and clearly depicts the reality of Italy and the struggles, in most parts of Italy, to attract new investments and to even keep in place the existing industrial base and employment levels.
    As a result of poor leadership and performance from the political class in many decades,the true issues of criminality,tax evasion,disparity between north and south and enormous juvenile unemployment,have not and will not be addressed,due to strong personal interests from the pilitical class! Consequently the image of Italy outside the country is poor,major corporations do not want to take risks and invest in italy,existing companies are de-localizing production to low cost eastern countries,italians have lost confidence and therefore there are very few new born babies…all of these factors bringing Italy into a very negative spiral!
    New qualified political leadership is needed and in particular ,with a strong understanding of the global issues,dinamics and markets,and strong credibility and reputation both in Italy and abroad!

  21. john wilson
    May 29, 2018 at 04:22

    Not only do the Italians need to get back their own currency they also need to reduce the dependence of electronic money. When you are forced to use someone else’s currency (like the dollar and the Euro) you are no longer a sovereign nation and are supine to to the demands of others. In the case of electronic money, otherwise known as a ‘cashless society’ the population is also completely under the control of the state and their purchases and even movements can be tracked in real time. I believe the so called “cashless society” is the most dangerous thing ever to be inflicted on populations. If the latest Italian government has any sense they will chuck out the president, have a referendum on membership of the EU and get their country back because at the moment it seems to belong to someone else.

    • J. Decker
      May 29, 2018 at 05:18

      Great article as it fills out so much more of the picture which, frankly, I confess to have been unaware. And that surprised me as I attend to these global matters daily through awesome spots like this.

      Anyway, of note in the post, a rare opportunity surfaced to reveal another deep state “aristocratic” criminal behind the curtain: Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, a former chairman of Ferrari, Fiat and Alitalia, and now a public enemy…[having] acquired both companies and moved them to Turkey, choosing profit over quality—and Italian jobs. Montezemolo, of aristocratic background, is a champion of Italian neoliberalism, having founded the influential “free market” think tank Italia Futura (Future Italy) in 2009.

  22. Dr. Ip
    May 29, 2018 at 02:52

    It’s Italy. Money rules. The Mafia rules. The neo-liberals will choke off any attempt at reform. The Mafia make millions from neo-liberal policies. The millionaires make more millions from the same policies.

    Perhaps you have heard “Bella Ciao” before but never understood the lyrics. Well there are two verses that are very important:

    Il capo in piedi col suo bastone
    o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
    il capo in piedi col suo bastone
    e noi curve a lavorar.
    (in this verse the boss, with his big stick in hand, looms over the workers who are bent over their work)


    Ma verrà un giorno che tutte quante
    o bella ciao bella ciao bella ciao ciao ciao
    ma verrà un giorno che tutte quante
    lavoreremo in libertà.
    (in this verse there is the expression of hope that one day we will all be able to work in freedom)

    Now that was the original version of the song. Politically motivated, but not yet faced with the invader.

    Then there is the Partisan version which was very popular with the Communists during and after WW2. In it, the partisan is woken one morning to the awareness that the country has been invaded and ha the feeling that this will be the day that death comes. And yet, the partisan is willing to go out and fight the invader to the last drop of blood, asking the listener to place a beautiful flower on his grave so that people who pass by will say: “What a beautiful flower!”

    The invader is the boss now and all the partisans have been deflowered!

    Bella Ciao (Partigiano version with English subs):

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