The Self-Deception Game

In a week which has already seen Rai president Lucia Annunziata announce her departure (Rai is Italy’s state-run television and radio network), the latest statements from the Italian government about the future of Alitalia only serve to reopen one of the old questions floating round my head: just how solvent is Italy?

The Rai scandal has a total feeling of deja vu : Ms Annunziata resigned whilst accusing Berlusconi and his centre-right government supporters of trying to pack Rai with political appointees.

The Alitalia bankruptcy statement too may be just one more case of its kind. Indeed, following the bizarre logic of these things it may be that the declaration is intended to avoid the eventuality, if you see what I mean.

“If everyone understands that Alitalia could go bankrupt, then it will be relaunched,” Rocco Buttiglione, European affairs minister, told reporters. “But if anyone deceives himself into thinking that it can’t go bankrupt, then it will.”

So maybe this could and should be discounted as just one more bankruptcy (scare?), probably it is, and there’s nothing more to be said, but I would just like to take the opportunity of rephrasing the Buttiglione quote:

If everyone understands that the Italian State could go bankrupt, then it might just get relaunched,”…….”But if everyone deceives themselves into thinking that it can’t go bankrupt, then it will.”

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".