Like many people here, one of my major issues is that Italy has major problems with transparency. In Australia recently, political coverage shed light on the faceless men behind the political parties and how they inevitably steered much of the direction the parties were taking. In Italy, I think it is fair to say that the society is mostly steered by the faceless. There is a sense of helplessness here when compared to other Western and Northern European countries where freedoms and transparencies are almost a given.
In comparison to other nations, the freedom of the press here is limited and highly stratified, steps are being taken slowly to weed out nepotism which is endemic and nero, which is basically like the black market has created a sub economy with its own set of unwritten rules and etiquette. Professional guilds control sectors and pricing and are incredibly influential and powerful, as are the splinters of labour unions who seemed to be involved in a revolving run of strikes and public campaigns in protest against the country's substandard wages, austerity measures and the imbalance between political and individual power.
Italy modernised in the 1950s after being decimated in the second world war, and has experienced varying degrees of acculturation and economic prowess in the decades that have followed, but since the 1990s has been in a slump in comparison to most of its neighbours.
I recently spent a few days in Shanghai, a place I had not visited for about five or six years. Revisiting, I noticed there were a few more skyscrapers than I remembered, that the place seemed less like the dusty western frontier I remembered it being back in 2005.
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