The importance of economic growth for Italy

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, they chose an appropriate image, here is one excerpt:

Decay is another problem faced by Italy, including decay of its natural and cultural heritage. The city of Venice — a wonder of mankind and also a big money-maker as a tourist destination — is threatened by rising water levels. The Roman Coliseum is endangered by traffic fumes and exhaust. Solving those problems requires (again) extra money. As it stands, Italy has some of the worst-maintained cultural heritage in the Western world, and further decay could cut into Italy’s tourist income, producing another dangerous downward spiral.

There is much more at the link.


Perhaps possibly maybe the wrong parts of Italy are being toured:

One thing Italy needs is for its people to embrace life. A 70% increase in the annual number of live births would about do the trick. Of course, there are a half-dozen other major problems with their political economy.

I don't think the World -- or Italy, by the way -- needs more Italians.

"…There is nothing in or on Earth that we of the Outer Worlds can need or want. All that was ever worthwhile on Earth left it centuries ago in the persons of our ancestors.

They call us the children of Mother Earth, but that is not so, for we are the descendants of a Mother Earth that no longer exists, a Mother that we brought with us. The Earth of today bears us at best a cousinly relation. No more.

Do we want their resources? Why, they have none for themselves. Can we use their industry or science? They are almost dead for lack of ours. Can we use their man power? Ten of them are not worth a single robot. Do we even want the dubious glory of ruling them? There is no such glory. As our helpless and incompetent inferiors, they would be only a drag upon us. They would divert from our own use food, labor, and administrative ability.

So they have nothing to give us but the space they occupy in our thought. They have nothing to free us from but themselves. They cannot benefit us in any way other than in their absence.
It is for that reason that the peace terms have been defined as they have been. We wish them no harm, so let them have their own solar system. Let them live there in peace. Let them mold their own destiny in their own way, and we will not disturb them there by even the least hint of our presence. But we in turn want peace. We in turn would guide our own future in our own way. So we do not want their presence. And with that end in view, an Outer World fleet will patrol the boundaries of their system, Outer World bases will be established on their outermost asteroids, so that we may make sure they do not intrude on our territory.

There will be no trade, no diplomatic relationships, no travel, no communications. They are fenced off, locked out, hermetically sealed away. Out here we have a new universe, a second creation of Man, a higher Man

They ask us: What will become of Earth? We answer: That is Earth’s problem. Population growth can be controlled. Resources can be efficiently exploited. Economic systems can be revised. We know, for we have done so. If they cannot, let them go the way of the dinosaur, and make room.

Let them make room, instead of forever demanding room!”

Even in that setting, though, the Spacers ended up being a huge (and in the case of Solaria, inhuman) dead-end.

No. The last thing the world needs is another greasy Fredo.

Did you visit the village of $1 houses?

$1 houses and too many immigrants is an interesting problem.

People are not fungible

I think that's a better answer for $1M houses and too many immigrants.

At $1, and not $1M, I think householders are pretty fungible indeed.

1 million immigrants from Somalia and 1 million immigrants from Germany. Are. The. Same. Thing. Obviously what you’re trying to imply with your fungible comment. People are always fungible, ask any employer. Duh.

Remember Trumpists, race isn’t real except in your fevered dreams.

Germans aren't coming for $1 houses in Italy. They aren't moving to the free houses in the American Midwest either. For the same reason.

It just illustrates that those places and those cultures aren't such valuable destinations, anyway.

So beggars can be choosers!

Exactly. Poor kids are just as bright as white kids.

Go to send joe to

>"Population pressures will increasingly bring more and more migrants from Africa and northern Africa to Europe. "

What a deeply bizarre phrasing this is.

How about:
Africans suffer severe Malthusian disasters.

The downward spiral Italy faces is its banking system and the far right's promise to cut taxes when the country has a very high debt to gap ratio. It didn't help either that the Italian banking system was used in the past by the owners of the banks to finance their businesses and engage in self-dealing.

Agreed. Higher taxes are key to reviving a stagnant economy.

If your bonds fail, so do your banks. Higher tax collections come from taxing tax evaders, who learned from the Greeks.

Oh, I agree completely. If the common people must suffer to protect large financial institutions, then suffer they should and be happy about it. Progressivism means making hard choices about who's ox should be gored for the greater good, and I for one will always side with bondholders.

It is by and large not "the common people" in Italy who avoid paying taxes.

Leonard, collecting from tax scofflaws does not raise taxes on the common people. Wealth Tax cheats make those who do pay taxes pay more for less.

Read the materials below on tax cheating in Italy by the wealthy. There is quite a bit of more material on this subject wealthy Italian tax evasion and bank ownership and loans with poor regulation if you are interested.

As me and Barack used to say, he’s the first black man who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

I mean we used to say spread the wealth around, cause poor kids are just as bright as white kids.

Back when I was Vice President Barack and me toured Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting in 2018 with Margaret Thatcher.

Go to joe at send joe to

What's the weather like in St. Petersburg? Are you a Russian troll?

Starting early in the disinformation campaign claiming to be someone you are not.

By the way, Leonard, here are some statistics and recent efforts which recovered $2.3 billion from tax evaders.

Italy needs a better economy? Thank you Captain Obvious!

Depressed cities in the US, like Cleveland or Newark or Detroit, they need better economies too. The poor nations in the world like Rwanda, Afghanistan, Mali, and maybe Haiti. They need better economies.

TC's nonobvious point is that Italy needs to be more like the rest of the EU, instead of being an outlier. Not so long ago Italy surpassed the UK in GDP/capita, now it's fallen behind again.

Too many old people...whereas the US/UK, for now, have a younger population. And bad patent policy, but that's an advanced topic not suitable for most readers here...

Given my vast research, on Wikipedia just now, northern and central Italy have more typical EU wealth and a more modern economy. Southern Italy on the other hand has made a lifestyle/cultural choice to focus on family farms and small (~8 hectare) holdings. Nobody is going to IPO that stuff.

It sets up a question though. If the resistance to immigration is to protect a lifestyle, what lifestyle? A family vineyard and making wine in the barn?

You can't be for that and Progress based economic growth at the same time.

The opposition to immigration is mostly centered around identity. Italy traditionally is a sacred homeland for the Italian ethnic group. Many families have roots there for thousands of years. They have their own language and identity tied to that geography. And, economically, the migrants from Africa are not helping. They require social services, and there aren't lots of open jobs to fill.

Yes, if Italy want the benefits of a modern economy, they need more than tourism and restaurants. Another problem that I see is very stifling government. Some political leaders have tried to facilitate economic growth, that hasn't been very successful, and sure there has been corruption and political opposition.

The African immigrant will learn Italian. And eat pasta. That means he’s Italian. There’s nothing to culture outside of language and food. Contrary to some Trumpists, people are fungible. This whole shared history nonsense doesn’t exist.

In other words, culture is just another word for wrong skin color.

Not such a bad sketch, but it might beg the question of why a village of $1 homes has such a precious culture to preserve.

Maybe a little fusion is in order.

Exactly, talking to myself here. Literally.

Of course the immigrants won’t be moving to €1 houses in villages. They’ll be moving to cosmopolitan cities and adding their vibrancy to the local economy and school district.

Since the real estate market in the country is collapsing there’s an even greater argument for mass migration and replacement. African-Italians have above replacement fertility rates and they actually work. Mostly in the drug trade, which is a thriving market.

Finally, a competitor with the Mafia. I’m with Warren, we need to topple monopolies.

Your quick research has been a bit misleading... Not in terms of north south divide but on the social reality of the south. Naples metro area only is 4 million people, clearly not family farms. The problems are complex, some cultural, some institutional, some related to infrastructure... Everybody has ideas on how to fix them, but the best ones will require big investment with little short term payoff of run against strong entrenched interests.

The boon of virility quickly diminished into the oncoming traffic. I cooked like that lady at Orchestra Hall let the painting rot. There’s only keeping an eye when you cook on a grill. You desire a hesitation, but there’s no ethic, tactic or device, you’re at an altitude—metal, fire, the meat, one, another, then the other; you turn and sift, stifling

I agree with Niko : not one of the best Tyler's column. Obviously Italy needs growth. The problem is how.

"Blaming immigrants and the EU is unlikely to resolve Italy’s core dilemmas." No one is blaming immigrants for Italy's economic problems. As for UE, to blame it might be the first step of a solution. A devaluation of Italy's currency could help make Italy's exports more competitive (and Italians poorer in the world, of course). This is impossible with the Euro.

Yes, no one is "blaming immigrants" for the economic problems. Tyler is misinterpreting the opposition on purpose. The opposition to immigration is centered on identity. Italy is a sacred homeland for the Italian ethnic group. They don't want to give that up, and they don't want to give up their Italian language and Italian identity which is probably coming next.

There’s no such thing as identity, this is a racist meme straight out of Stormfront. Do they speak Italian? They will. Will their kids go to Italian schools? Yes. Will they live in Italy? Yes.

That makes them Italian.

What is Italian? The Mediterranean fusion culture that was Rome? The internationalism and innovation of the 1920s Mille Miglia?

You attempt some parody, but you end up as another kind with this parochial idea that "Italian" has ever been a singular or permanent thing.

Every culture that lives is a breathing and changing thing.

Then there is the fact that most Italians are far more attached to their local region, or even city or town, than to Italy as a whole. It makes no sense to argue that the "Italian identity" is being threatened by immigration, because the "Italian identity" barely exists.

"Solving those problems requires (again) extra money."

Why "extra money" ?

How were all these physical Italian wonders built and maintained in the first place?
Obviously the Italian economy was well able to afford all this in previous centuries.

The real problem now is economic inefficiency caused by rapacious government and destructive cultural norms.

A 0% GDP per capita growth over a 20 year period is pretty appalling.

The Italian trump, Burlesconi was mostly responsible for that tepid growth. Same is happening here now with the recession in the US. Italy also combines populism with not enough African immigrants to revitalize entrepreneurship and business formation.

"Same is happening here now with the recession in the US. "

Well that's a moron statement, which granted, is pretty typical for you. There is No recession in the US and GDP per capita growth under Trump has been in the 1.5-2% range.

Different anonymous here. Trump has certainly enjoyed the longest running recovery on record, kicked off by Obama's stimulus.

While I'm agnostic about recession, I do get a kick out of the #TrumpRecession angst.

As Trump broke through every standard of Presidential behavior, still with no bottom in 2019, a certain kind of yahoo would say "with a strong economy he will be reelected." Like it was a certainty.

Well, those dorks deserve to sweat a bit.

They couldn't come around on ethics in executive leadership. But now they have this recession fear, on top of the polls.

A real recession would be bad, and best avoided, but nothing wrong with a little Trumpist flop sweat.

Bonus link

Flop sweat.

I am getting really tired of pretending that Presidents control the US economy. Trump's trade stuff is definitely bad, and does seem to be making things worse, but the economy would probably be weakening now anyway.

Except in extraordinary circumstances, the President has little-to-no control over short-term economic conditions. There has been precisely one extraordinary circumstance in the past 50 years: the Great Recession. And Obama and Bush do deserve credit for forestalling a new Great Depression, which very much could have happened (though you could argue that they should have done more).

That's it. It wasn't Clinton's boom, or Reagan's boom, or Carter's recession, or Bush I's recession. And it's not Trump's...whatever happens now. Although seeing Trumpists get all bothered by a potential recession, with our bumbling moron of a President blaming the Fed (which cut rates!) and acting like there is some kind of conspiracy, when a couple of years ago they were trying to act like Trump sprinkled magic fairy dust on the economy is a fun bit of schadenfreude.

They can sell their monuments if they can't afford to maintain them.

Another EU miracle!

Interesting that Tyler doesn't mention Berlusconi. Italy started stagnating when a populist con man took over the government. Berlusconi systematically destroyed Italy's (already fragile) civil society. His control of the media managed to hide massive corruption, sideline dissenting voices, and undermine trust in the idea of good government, expertise and democracy. Italy has never recovered. Berlusconi has become the blueprint for modern pseudo-populist authoritarians. Italy's present is the future of places like Hungary, Poland, Russia and the US.

This is no place for Berlusconi Derangement Syndrome!

Elections have consequences.

Elizabeth Warren hasn't been elected - yet. While we're at it, who's the 'populist con man' in charge of Japan?

It's interesting to me that if we had Hilary, we would not have had Liz. But now, with Trump, it might look like a natural consequence.

Be careful what you wish for, Peter Thiel.

Where’s Warren in the betting odds? 14.9%. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not.

Not sure a platform of pretending to be Cherokee, guaranteeing illegal immigrants free healthcare for life and citizenship as soon as they cross the border, cancelling 180 millions of Americans’ health insurance, and increasing every American’s tax bill by, conservatively, $20,000 is a winning strategy.

But we’ll see I suppose. I thought Clinton would win the nomination in 2008. I hadn’t caught on to the fact that 700 journalists at all of the main publications (that’s the majority) and news editors at all of the main cable news channels (minus Fox) coordinate political messaging through how they frame “news”.

Even I wasn’t that cynical.

For the record from Wikipedia:

“The [Journolist] contributors discussed killing the Wright story, as it was reflecting negatively on Barack Obama. In a separate discussion, about an ABC News-sponsored debate between Obama and Hillary Clinton, Michael Tomasky, a writer for The Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of JournoList: "Listen folks – in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have.”

Remember the game the “news” is playing. Here’s another journalist member:

“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them – Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists".

Here’s another journalist:

"find a right winger's [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear.”

Your worldview is manufactured by people literally plotting to shape how disinformation is disseminated. And never forget Matt Yglesias’ now deleted tweet about how it’s better to be dishonest if it furthers your moral worldview.

These people are Orwellian analogues. And even control of 95% of the information market won’t save a Warren campaign.

Referencing Journo-List at all is anti-Semitic and incredibly racist. This is a meme that won’t die among the Neo-Nazis, AKA non-Warren/Sanders supporters.

Yes, every reporter you read is part of an email list and forum about how to frame news. That’s not a conspiracy. We’re a professional organization trying to make sure information that is published adheres to a worldview that’s conducive to our worldview theory. That’s not a conspiracy. They just want to make sure you don’t ever read things that are oppositional to our political allies, aka false truths and false science. We.

Anything that’s not Journo-List approved is fake news. Also, we’re still around. Everyone knows it, but collusion isn’t illegal. And it’s not collusion if it’s in support of OUR truth. Truth is relative.

One thing is for certain, anybody still holding onto "journo-list" is a bitter old fart.

Don't be that guy. Keep up. At least complain that Twitter doesn't have enough Nazis anymore. That's still reasonably fresh.

Japan is in much better shape than Italy or, any European country for that matter. Notice that Japan actually controls immigration rather than electing populist clowns who loot the treasury while talking about the immigrant threat and doing nothing.

Japan is a nation of immigrants which is why they’re successful in the first place.

+1 for Peter. Steve Bannon plays a role in both Burlosconi and Salvini.


All these racists try to prove criminality. We can easily show that murder and rape in the US is dominated by white New England college graduates. Similar to Epstein.

Hurry, you can be covered for mental illness under your parents healthcare plan.

One more benefit of Obamacare.

Italy has so many problems - trash, insufficient electricity, lack of water in the south. The list goes on and on. Many of which can be solved by money.

One thing the Italians could do is extract more money from tourists. They could increase bed taxes, institute greater taxes on tickets to tourist destinations, essentially charge people to enter the country. Tourism is Italy’s one growth industry. Use that business to generate income for infrastructure, monument maintenance, and pensions.

The direct competitors for tourists are Spain and Croatia (except Rome and Venice that compete with Paris mostly). Both Spain and Croatia have lower prices already, so rising prices might not be a good idea.

I don't know where the inflection point is, but tourism revenue is a supply and demand curve and at some point if you raise taxes you'll reduce revenue.

Italy gets 58 million tourists a year. Just as an example, hotels in Rome collect between 4 and 7 euros a night per room depending on hotel quality. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of a third to a half of what American hotels collect for bed tax.

Venice gets so many tourists they’re thinking of instituting an entrance fee. The line around the Vatican takes several hours to work through.

Italy can afford to dissuade a few visitors and it could still increase revenues.

"Italy can afford to dissuade a few visitors and it could still increase revenues."

Tax revenues or tourism revenues. If Italy doubled tourist taxes but then tourism dropped by 10%, it would be a brutal hit to their economy. There are a lot of jobs in the Italian tourist industry.

Italy, and most of Europe, look to be competing for national/cultural Darwin Awards. I think this is a case where they may be declared winners.

Collapse occurs gradually, then all at once.

"What should Italy do? Erect new barriers to keep them out? No matter what combination of answers you favor, it will cost money — which is to say, it will require economic growth."

Nope. Keeping them out does not require much money at all. Italy's existing Navy is perfectly able to handle the problem. Of course, they will not be allowed to, because politicians in Europe (and everywhere) like to virtue-signal, and will not change their idiotic immigration and refugee policies until the populace revolts completely. And then they will be (again) shocked and amazed when the said populace elects... a populist. You know, someone who says the unthinkable and the obvious. Someone who might do something other than kick cans down roads and sweep stuff under rugs.

Off topic: Tyler, is a comment box that only shows three lines (about 40 words of text), and requires you to scroll to review your previous sentence a deliberate choice? Or is your web designer that bad?

I recently read an article, full of photographs, of the ski industry in the Italian Alps. It was a dark article because the ski industry is no more because there is no more snow. Formerly popular ski towns are now ghost towns, with abandoned lodges, apartments and condos, restaurants, and retail and commercial buildings. The few remaining residents waiting, for what? Cowen has expressed admiration for the young Irish novelist Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends and Ordinary People). Her books are dark, her characters filled with self-loathing, the cause never stated but implied: the spiritless life of late capitalism. Like those ghost towns in the Italian Alps, the once-treasured cultural landmarks in Rome and Venice are considered not worth saving by the Italians. [This is not my view, but I'm neither Sally Rooney nor one of the millennial characters in her novels and short stories.]

"Her books are dark, her characters filled with self-loathing, the cause never stated but implied: the spiritless life of late capitalism."

What would you prefer? The rich spiritual life of tribal society? Of feudalism? Of socialism? Capitalism has lifted billions out of abject poverty just in the last 50 years, but that's not enough for you - you want it to give people a meaning in life, and preferably a meaning in life you approve of.

What would I prefer? Reading is an acquired taste: Me: "[This is not my view, but I'm neither Sally Rooney nor one of the millennial characters in her novels and short stories.]"

I once ate a donut at Chesapeake Bay, and I thought isn't that echo polished as a fingernail. A broad repose, broad enough, I dropped the donut but instead of kicking it, I stuck my toe in the water. If a frog had jumped it might have been different but the water wasn't cold, and anyways, I was sure because apparently the moonshine was worth it.

Tyler wrote: "Until the 1980s, its postwar performance was one of the very best in the world, for a while surpassing the U.K. in per capita income (much to the chagrin and disbelief of many Brits).

It isn't surprising that Italy rapidly grew after it was on the losing side in World War II. In 1937, Italy's GDP per capita was 60% that of Britain's but five years after the war in 1950 its GDP per capita was still only 45% that of the U.K. Italy's GDP per capita in 1970 had slightly surpassed the U.K.'s GDP per capita in 2010 dollars, $17,200 v $16,000. The GDP per capitas of Italy and the U.K. were essentially even from 1970 to 2000, with Italy's being 10% higher in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Japan caught up to the U.K. in terms of GDP per capita in 1975 and has been essentially the same up through the present. The difference is that both the U.K. and Japan have had 1.0% and 0.8% growth since 2001 while Italy's growth has averaged 0% and took a hit during the Great Recession. (OECD stats)

Tyler: The Roman Coliseum is endangered by traffic fumes and exhaust. Solving those problems requires (again) extra money.

Sounds like that problem specifically is solved by Tesla Motors (and their ilk) and then the Coliseum endures for another 2000 years?

Venice might similarly be helped a fair bit by curbing absolute tourism.

Italians are probably suspicious of generalized claims that the real problem with maintaining heritage is money and they need only to do X, Y and Z culturally compromising thing to magic up the extra money.

"... structures ossify, firms and governments become less productive and dynamic, rules become more vulnerable to gaming and rent-seeking, and interest groups increase their ability to seize parts of the pie. If the pie doesn’t grow, eventually it becomes harder to sustain productive activity and a healthy politics."

In what way is any of that related to gdp growth? It seem to me that one would need to be vigilant for these under all economic conditions.

Is this a comfort story or a sense-less study? It's third world alliteration.

I am italian, I left after military service, 30 years ago. It was obvious it was going the way of Argentina after the IIWW, a bunch of collectivists, half socialists and half creatures of corporativist swamps. Just like Argentina, Italy is the tale of the frog, the GDP per capita does not increase, but neither decreases, so people just adapt.

Those with a modicum of self-esteem vote with their feet, and emigrate, like I did. I settled in Honduras. If I was 25 again, and with my average brain, I would now choose Haiti or some place in South-east Asia, maybe Burma or Cambodia. I do not know enough Africa to tell, but there could be some good places there too.

Are you really still living in Honduras? I thought the people of Honduras were desperate to escape Honduras? You would now choose Haiti? Are you serious?

If he likes Haiti he should go all in and move to Venezuela.

My hometown, Fresno, Ca. You get all the cultural heritage of Tijuana plus the benefit of public sector workers harassing you for money.

In Haiti they are corporativists. They use the State to steal, very seldom to kill. And they have no idea how to compete.

In Venezuela they are socialists. They use the State to kill. And they do not allow you to compete.

"Those with a modicum of self-esteem vote with their feet, and emigrate, like I did. "

Why do you think the British and French aren't fleeing?

GDP per capita:

U.K. $44,000
France $43,000
Italy $40,000

Italy is the poor man of Europe!

I do not know.

Any human that lives in a place in which if you work hard you do not make, say, 1000k onces of gold on a year, it is not a place that deserves an advanced primate staying there and to be sucked to the bones paying taxes.

Yes, Tegucigalpa, Lomas del Guijarro.

Of course there are people leaving. But there are people arriving,too. Ricardo used to call it comparative advantage. I am not smart enough in San Francisco. But I am a pretty good entrepreneur for poor, far, and desperate places. There, I might even have an absolute competitive advantage compared to most people that have what is needed to be successful in Silicon Valley.

I hope I'm not the only one here who knows that not all of Honduras is poor and that there are many people there doing quite well. Lomas del Guijarro is very nice.

Indeed, it is.

Tacitus was was quite cranky, although he spent his dotage as proconsul of Siria.

An old, now dead Italian I loved once said that diamonds are sterile, while actual life thrive on shit.

I don't see Tyler's point regarding "worst-maintained cultural heritage".

The large econoomic problems is that Italy as a whole is too dependent on tourism and doesn't have enough other successful export-centric global industry.

Italy has lots of tourist sites that draw large crowds that pay full ticket price and the facilities are well maintained. I don't think there are financial problems there. There are problems with some older more obscure historic sites that aren't big tourist draws. There is a recent effort to lease them out for free to business operators who can fix them up and make them generate revenue and tax streams and I don't know how well that has or hasn't gone.

I agree. Italy’s ability to generate significant and increasing revenue from tourism is deeply damaging to the rest of the economy. Resources are dedicated to filling millions of low skill service jobs.

Come now, neither you or the copy editor noticed that the one in Rome is traditionally spelled Colosseum?

Unconfirmed rumors have it


Donald Trump

Made an offer to purchase Italy.

Italy will be in a world of hurt during the recession. The ECB will be needing to buy all their bonds. Germany may not agree, then the Euro break up is nigh.

After how many years have passed does a facility where people were tortured and set upon by wild animals become a tourist attraction? Is that also to be the fate of Auschwitz and Treblinka? Maybe a kind of amusement park could be built at Hiroshima where tourists get a sample of a nuclear blast and radiation poisoning, since most of the original structures were destroyed. It might be possible to remodel Lubyanka as a hotel with suites dedicated to the memory of Stalin, Beria, Yagoda and others.

Good point. What we tourists value is bizarre. I even read that people are posing for selfies with their children (!) in front of Jeffery Epstein’s mansion.

However I don’t enjoy the Colosseum because of the deaths that occurred on its sand but because of the amazing architecture and engineering.

Their problem is corruption and the welfare state. The physical structures will probably stand longer than Italian society.

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This analysis is correct. Zero growth at a high standard of living produces winners and losers, as does positive growth. But, with zero growth, the losers lose more and the winners win less or else leave the country, and people become angry and depressed and vote for people like the current leaders of Italy. Zero economic growth for a long period of time feels and is terrible - especially when your next door neighbors are doing well.

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