Not long ago Italy was Europe''s highly touted emerging economy, a society that blended dynamism and super-fast growth with a lifestyle that was the envy of all. Now it is viewed as a major threat to the future of the Euro, indeed to the European Union as a whole. Italy''s political system is shorn of credibility as it struggles to deal with huge public debts and anemic levels of economic growth. Young people are emigrating in droves, frustrated at the lack of opportunity, while older people stubbornly cling to their rights and privileges, fearful of an uncertain future.
In this lively, up-to-the-minute book, Bill Emmott explains how Italy sank to this low point, how Italians feel about it, and what can be done to return the country to more prosperous and more democratic times. With the aid of numerous personal interviews, Emmott analyzes "Bad Italy"—the land of disgraced Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an inadequate justice system, an economy dominated by special interests and continuing corruption—against its contrasting foil "Good Italy," the home of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, truth-seeking journalists, and countless citizens determined to end mafia domination for good.