One of those voices calling for leaving the Eurozone

Quite amusing, given the context:

Italy’s labor minister called for a referendum to see if Italians want to temporarily bring back the lira after widespread popular discontent over high prices that many blame on the introduction of the euro.

A leader of the euroskeptic Northern League party, Maroni appeared to realize his proposal, made in an interview with Rome daily La Repubblica, would be attacked.

Industry Undersecretary Roberto Cota, also from the Northern League — one of Berlusconi’s main coalition partners — insisted on Sky TV24 news that going back to the lira was technically possible.

When the euro came into circulation, many merchants steeply raised prices on goods and services from fruit and vegetables to plumbing repairs and dining out.

What makes this so amusing is that

a) The Northern League is a coalition of cranks and oddballs whose ultimate goal is the secession of Northern Italy from Southern Italy (how’s that for a meme?)


b) Italians and the Italian government are blaming the Euro because Italian merchants used its introduction as an occasion to raise their prices. They’ll use just about anything as an occasion to raise their prices, and it would have been up to Italy to prevent it by proper supervison. It’s too late now anyway, for the merchants wouldn’t take the increase in prices back, even if the Euro would be exchanged for the Lira again. And last but not least: Why is this anybody’s goddamn business except the Italians’, huh?

As it happens, none of the arguments now suddenly brought forth against the Euro are any more convincing than Maroni’s, as I’ll demonstrate in the posts I’m going to put up over the next days.

6 thoughts on “One of those voices calling for leaving the Eurozone”

  1. “The Northern League is a coalition of cranks and oddballs whose ultimate goal is the secession of Northern Italy from Southern Italy)” … well, not really, as northern Italy has never been a part of southern Italy; it’s a part of Italy, so would presumably wish to secede from Italy (and thus separate itself from southern Italy). A coalition of cranks and oddballs maybe.

  2. –a) The Northern League is a coalition of cranks and oddballs whose ultimate goal is the secession of Northern Italy from Southern Italy (how’s that for a meme?)–

    Well, consider that their blue staters not wanting to pay for the laze-a-bout red staters.

  3. Geoff,

    maybe an unfortunate phrasing.


    is there going to be a Southern League (or maybe a Confederacy) when your red-staters are fed up with the blue-staters? ;)

  4. Ralf,

    It’s the blue staters who are talking about seceding. We red-staters don’t talk much about tolerance, but we’re far more willing to live with them than they are with us…

  5. The Northern League has a pretty good historical case. Italy was united by Count Cavour, the prime minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont, in the North of Italy. Cavour was devious, but he probably did not particularly want the Southern half of the country at all. That area was (badly) governed by as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, i.e. the southern part of the boot and Sicily. But Garibaldi presented him with a fete accompli. The fact is that Southern Italy was governed from the middle ages by a succession of heavy-handed and corrupt rulers and did not develop anything like the civic life of the Northern cities. Central Italy, formerly the Papal States, is also a distinct politico-cultural area. These long term cultural differences, going back literally a thousand years, make the different regions of Italy very different. See Robert Putnam’s book Making Democracy Work, which has the details on all this, including reams of empirical evidence.

    Bottom line, the South is a third world area, poor, corrupt, lawless and violent. See also older book by Edward Banfield, the Moral Basis of a Backward Society, which paints a dire picture of Southern Italy. It is far more different from the Italian North than the American South is from the American North. Shedding it and forming a country out of only the wealthy and civic-minded parts of Italy is not only going to appeal to “cranks and oddballs”. It is a pretty obviously and appealing idea if you live in the North. If I lived in “Padania”, I’d vote for secession.

  6. I will second what Lex said about Northern and Southern Italy. The United States is a very different place. Very much younger and less culturally set than Italy. Most of the US was fairly empty when the question of succession was settled in the negative by one of the bloodiest and most violent wars in human history. The prating of a few idiots after the election to the contrary notwithstanding, it will never be raised seriously again.

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