Italy may find Prime Minister Mario Monti's dose of discipline hard to swallow, but his depoliticized democracy is the only form of government that can move Italy forward. Monti's experiment may also serve as an antidote to the political dysfunction in the West – especially the US.
AP Photo/Thierry Charlier, File
Making my way from Milan to Rome in recent days, I experienced firsthand the rancorous process under way to deleverage Italy’s sovereign debt and impose more competitive habits on the languorous rhythms of this Mediterranean culture.
Angry truckers blocked the main highways, drivers left their taxis standing, and most trains were canceled. Students scrawled anti-austerity slogans across peeling, ocher-colored walls. Surly shopkeepers only brightened at the sight of mid-winter gaggles of Chinese tourists.
All the strikes and animosity took aim at the reforms proposed by the “un-democratic” government of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and his so-called technocratic cabinet – even as he was hectoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel to loosen up Germany’s fiscal authoritarianism and allow some breathing room for growth in the eurozone. Because elected politicians couldn’t get their act together, Mr. Monti was appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano late last year to formulate and implement key structural reforms before a new election takes place in 2013.
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