Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Italian Economy: Day 4

No class yesterday (Tuesday) because it was Italy's Fourth of July.

Today was mostly a lesson on Sylvio Berlusconi, current Prime Minister of Italy. Wikipedia (hate to link there but it's okay) covers much of the basics from class that I don't care to repeat.

He is very popular here in Italy for reasons that seem beyond my professor. He was friends with G.W. Bush but Obama has yet to meet him - that sums up a lot of his politics for me.

Much of his popularity comes from the fact that he controls so much of the media. His private company, Fininvest, broke the Italian government monopoly on TV (which was great for the Italian people, who realized a huge increase in quality and variety of programming). However, he still controls that company, which owns 3 of the 7 TV stations. In addition, as PM, he essentially has control of the 3 state-operated stations. So in total he controls 6 of the 7 major channels in Italy.

Two other thoughts on him: First, Italians apparently write off the fact that he does a lot of seemingly questionable things with much younger women because he maintains the appeal of the Italian lover. Second, Italians apparently like the fact that he is rich and still controls his company, because they think it makes him less likely to steal from the government.


Pete Abbate said...

This is hilarious!

Berlusconi's supporters want him to win the Nobel! The whole article is so sarcastic - it's wonderful and timely for me, with what I've been learning. Amazing how much news you'll find about anything from the classroom if you look (I was incredibly conscious of Somali pirates for the two weeks before and after I represented them at a Model UN, but I've quit caring and moved on since).

Pete Abbate said...

Love this.

More to come on Berlusconi in the future, I'm sure.

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty