Thursday, March 1, 2012


When Berlusconi entered politics back in 1993, most people thought that he would do for the Italian economy what Margaret Thatcher did for Britain’s in the 1980’s: namely, modernize it. There was good reason for optimism. With an economy long dominated by family run businesses and government bogged down by corruption, Italy elected Berlusconi knowing that he had created his own wealth by taking on the establishment. As an entrepreneur (he hates to be called a businessman) he built a media empire, a giant construction conglomerate, and resuscitated one of the greatest soccer clubs in the world, A.C. Milan. In a brilliant profile piece in The Atlantic, one of Berlusconi’s former colleagues tells the reporter that Berlusconi got into politics in order to prove his naysayers wrong. Motivation borne out of wanting to stick it to your detractors does not necessarily foreshadow success, as it turns out. By almost all measures, Berlusconi failed Italy. The big challenges faced by Italy when Berlusconi first became prime minister, like corruption, stagnant growth, an inflexible job market and debt, still bedevil the county. Last summer, besieged by an international bond market that was demanding budget cuts, he seemed incapable of making even small concessions to placate investors. While still ostensibly head of parliament, he has been relegated to playing a ceremonial role. And despite the barrage of negative publicity created by his relationships with young women, he seems to have no shame. He gleefully tells the author of the Atlantic article that he is a “playman,” not a playboy.
- Read more about it here: The Atlantic