Is Italy dying?

Yes, and it’s cultural.

I agree with the comments from many people about how beautiful Italy is and about the good living, food and art, architecture. But Italy is in total decline. A generational one. See the GDP is basically a constant slope down for 20 years.

Now I am already hearing many Italians saying “life is not only GDP” to which I answer, it is if your kids cannot find a (good) job, are underpaid and have to live at their parents home for basically ever. And this contributes to the cultural decline.

True, the people of ingenuity, design, creativity and all that: I’m Italian, I feel that, I agree. But when a society - mind you not only a government - is so stuck on archaic rules, bureaucracy, regulations, it suffocates completely such creativity.

And I say society, not government, because it’s cultural, meaning the society is what gives rise to the incompetent government. To the point that if you google for “governo tecnico” Wikipedia will say “it’s an Italian definition of a technical (competent) government” which comes in to rescue from the disasters made by the political governments, to life extend the country to the next bailout by the much hated Europe. And then the political government comes back in and start stealing again.

Now again it’s not only the stealing, as I said, it’s the asphyxiating rules that kill much of the so much lauded Italian renaissance geniuses in our genes. And it’s cultural, because we cannot get rid of it, of such rules, of such government, of such incompetence.

Because there is NO meritocracy really, because the best jobs, the few good jobs, are gotten because your cousin knows someone. Not always of course, but very often, then the best people don’t move to the top, they linger and stagnate, or they move abroad, either ways they don't contribute to growth, alas the plot below. Archaic rules plus lack of meritocracy.

Also I gather the transition to Euro was brutal, but I don’t buy what my fellow Italian friends say here about the terrible Europe. If Italy was not in Europe, by now it would have now joined the great Union of The Mediterranean States, with Libya, Lebanon and others powerful economies of the region. The reality is that European integration showed the lack of competitiveness that Italy always had but could hide by constantly increasing debt and devaluing of the Lira. Instead of opening up competition, reducing the red tape and unlock the creativity of the Italian people, then of course when competing with the northern countries, or let alone with China that first outcompeted Italy, then got the Italian outsourcing factories, then straight out copies and steal whatever is left of the initial product, coupled with the lack of R&D investment and investment into the future - no it’s not EU fault if Italy failed at competing. It’s Italy’s fault, societal fault, cultural collapse. It’s like the country didn’t adapt, woke up in the 2000’s 2010s 2020s and still thought the world was in the 1980s.

And the bureaucracy, oh god the bureaucracy. When the citizens of a small provincial town speak in admiration of how the notary of the town has bought a Porsche, when really why is that even something to talk about? In the Valley, the 25 years old engineering grad with Google stock options, or with his startup first exit has the Porsche, or maybe the Lambo, and of course nobody even notices. But no, in Italy it’s the notary that has it, and everybody talks about it. In admiration. Looks up to the guy (gal, rarely). Someone whose jobs is basically to rubber stamp papers (200 euros per stamp). Why not the surgeon, great surgeons in the town! Why not someone who really has an impact and produces something? Why not the entrepreneurs? Well, not many left, got outcompeted and squashed by the bureaucracy. The notary. What a sad joke.