Tag Archives: income inequality

I thought it was the USA…

…or just another country?

Damn lies? Or statistics?

I’m not sure what’s more depressing — the amount of ‘worst’ categories that my adopted country is in, or the amount of ‘worst of the worst’ categories that my native country is in. But something about the data seems off to me — was this chart assembled by the paper of record or actually by the IMF? I don’t doubt that other industrialized nations routinely outperform us; some of these categories are quite well-documented (healthcare availability, life expectancy, income disparities) but all the same, this reeks of a certain school of woe-is-me-American declinism that’s of limited use, if not simply tiresome. But: statistics are interesting, as long as one understand their uses and abuses.

Intuitively, I’m not sure what to make of Italian food security being at the same level of Israel (who, incidentally, did not get the dark red ‘worst of worst’ mark that the belpaese did).  Unscientifically, it’s hard to believe that anyone starves in Italy — but much easier to believe that many families find it hard to ‘make it to the end of the month,’ to translate the Italian phrase.  Rising food prices play a role in that, but according to a recently-unveiled Euripes report (quoted here on MSN),  public debt and the cost of energy and housing are the main culprits.

Mortgages and rents are not affordable for two out of five Italian families, and 40% of households have difficulties in paying rates and fees. A worrying picture emerges when you compare the data of 2011 with the previous year: 40% of Italian families has trouble paying their mortgage, compared to 23.2% in 2010, and 38.1% have trouble paying rent, versus 18.1% in 2010.

Quick Roundup

ENEL is getting pretty interesting.  Check out their Green Power.  Back when in 2008 I was impressed by their solar generation, tracked by the minute, at their headquarters near Largo Cairoli in Milan.

As was predicted in the Italian press years ago — and in these pages a few weeks back when people were naive enough to think that Fini could bring down the PM — Bossi’s Lega Nord stands to win big from the continued political incoherency. Hit the north?

Hilary in that place where maybe she was shot at, once… not terribly impressive.  But good words on the hate and hooliganism, probably by Tim Judah, I’m guessing.

Yes, these are all from one source.  But one ignores that source at a very deep peril, although it can be mocked humorously.

And last but not least, here’s a fine one from Gotham’s rag on rising income inequality, the reality of which we really all have to confront.  It’s something my Italian students complain about a lot, but the numbers show that Europe has less to worry about than the US in this regard.  As Leonardo DiCaprio mock-quotes Hawthorn in The Departed, “Families are always rising or falling in America.”