La Italia exhausta

Italia se enfrenta tal vez a las elecciones más importantes desde 1948, cuando los electores confirmaron el surgimiento de la nueva república italiana a partir de las ruinas del régimen fascista de Mussolini. El 9 y 10 de abril, los italianos deben elegir entre el gobierno de centro derecha del Primer Ministro Silvio Berlusconi y el bloque de centro izquierda encabezado por Romano Prodi. Pero ninguno de los dos parece ser el tipo de personaje resuelto que se necesita para superar los sombríos aprietos económicos de Italia.

El malestar económico de Italia es obvio. En los últimos cinco años, el crecimiento económico acumulado fue el más lento en la zona del euro --3.2% en comparación con el promedio de 7.8%- con dos años de estancamiento. El PIB per cápita también cayó debajo del promedio de la zona del euro. El empleo ha aumentado, pero la productividad de la mano de obra no ha variado y la productividad total de los factores ha disminuido. Junto con una fuerte apreciación del tipo de cambio real, ello ha llevado a una pérdida dramática de competitividad y un debilitamiento de las exportaciones. En efecto, el único sector en crecimiento parece ser el de los libros que hablan del deterioro de Italia.

Berlusconi argumenta que las estadísticas no son confiables porque ocultan una realidad mucho más prometedora para los italianos ricos de hoy. Otros miembros del gobierno admiten con mayor sobriedad que Italia se enfrenta a serios problemas pero culpan a factores que están fuera de su control: una serie de sacudidas económicas globales, una desaceleración en la Europa continental, el ingreso de China a la Organización Mundial del Comercio y el papel del euro.

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