Alitalia coverage

In my first article about the Alitalia soap opera, I wrote:

In my view, Alitalia is emblematic of the rot that riddles the Italian economy.

Which is why I focus on the issue so much. It won’t be the first or last time that politicians do shady deals to the detriment of the populace, in Italy or anywhere else. However, in today’s Italy, this sort of thing is looked upon as normal, and it contains a little bit of all the elements that are wrecking the country:

  • Unions aren’t really representing “the workers”, but a select group of privileged workers who earn much more than market conditions would normally allow for.

  • The rich get richer at the expense of Italian taxpayers, rather than necessarily through the merits of their own initiatives. Some of them actually create good products, but many of them, like Berlusconi, became wealthy through a mix of politics and finding clever ways to get around laws.

  • Some companies/people/unions/whatever are more equal than others. Is having Alitalia vital to Italian national interests? Of course not. Italy remains a wonderful place to visit, and other airlines would be happy to fly tourists in and out of Italy. And yet it’s getting very special treatment that is of course not available for Joe Schmoe who runs a struggling business.

  • Massive waste of public money.

  • A near total distrust and avoidance of free markets. Neither the left or right is content to simply liberalize the market, sell the government’s interests in things, and let the market work. In something that’s a “natural monopoly” like trains or electric power transmission, there are some good reasons for keeping the government involved, but airlines? No way.

All Alitalia articles:

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