Italy’s Amazing Shrinking Economy
The Italian government just announced Q2 GDP figures, and they are, as they say in Rome, “Not so good.” Italy’s economy shrank by .0.7 percent, and by 2.5 percent from exactly a year ago. It is clear that Italy is immersed in a profound economic crisis, with dangerous ramifications for the entire Eurozone.
Italy is the largest economy within the group of five Eurozone members dubbed the PIIGS, nations with disastrous sovereign debt problems. Greece was the first, and Italy may be the last, but the Italian economy and its staggering sovereign debt are far too large for a bailout. That is why Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is sounding increasingly desperate, and whispers are growing louder that the only hope of saving the euro is for the European Central Bank to print money at warp speed, in the process inducing massive inflation. In other words, inflating away the value of Europe’s sovereign debt, even at the expense of the currency’s value-and the integrity of life savings of ordinary citizens- may be the last grasp for Eurozone politicians who are so up against the wall, they may be tempted to undertake policy measures that until recently were deemed unthinkable.