Bloomberg Businessweek


Italy has been in the doldrums for years, but the country’s just fine with kicking the can down the road

Rome this past summer could easily be confused with the capital of an aspiring failed state. A drought exacerbated by crumbling infrastructure led to threats of daily 8-hour water shut-offs. The aqueducts, historically the pride of Rome, leaked some 40 percent of their flow. Trash piled high in the parks and grass went uncut as the city grappled with public works corruption scandals. Over the course of the summer, police discovered at least two clandestine hazardous-waste-disposal plants, although the news coverage curiously focused on how the hidden facilities evaded their electric bills. The upside, for some, is that the city’s buses have become free for fare dodgers, because there aren’t enough ticket checkers. And in a symbolic touch, the parched, overgrown Roman landscape became tinder for fires that sent clouds of smoke over the already stifling city. Rome was burning.

Evidence of decline abounds in the rest of the country,

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