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Post Franco-Italian Crisis; Autarky in WWII Italy
Created by John Eipper on 02/12/19 4:23 AM

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Franco-Italian Crisis; Autarky in WWII Italy (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 02/12/19 4:23 am)

Italy is the nation with the fourth-largest gold reserves. The first is the US with 8134 tons, Germany 3378, IMF 2814, Italy 2452 (plus 141 given to the European Central Bank), France 2435, China 1828, and Russia 1506.

In recent days, some representatives in Parliament have asked about the legal situation of the gold.

The director of the Bank of Italy confirmed that only 44% of the gold is stored in Italy, while 56% is abroad, of which 43.3% is in the US, 5.7% in the UK and 6% is in Switzerland. The director then candidly added that in order to know who is the real owner is, it would be necessary to ask the European Central Bank .

The ECB has already stated that the Italian gold cannot be touched, while the present Italian government is convinced that the Italian gold belongs to Italy's citizens and not the ECB.  (Apparently the new government has not yet understood what the European Union is.)

I have already mentioned some reasons why Italy is sick and tired of Macron's attitude, his insults, his political and economic outrages, but what has upset the young fellow seems to be the political meeting of our VP Di Maio, leader of the Five Star party, with some leaders of the Gilet Jaunes in the run-up the next European Parliamentary Elections.

The withdrawn French Ambassador has not yet returned to Rome. This truly is the lowest point in Italian-French relations since WWII.

I still remember the first and only French naval bombing. I was sleeping and the exploding bombs woke me up. It was on 14 June 1940. Italy had declared war but also said that it would remain on the defensive. Instead a powerful French fleet with 4 cruisers, 11 destroyers and 4 submarines plus 8 airplanes attacked Savona and Genova, causing some casualties and damage, but they were pushed back by 4 small MAS torpedo boats in front of Savona and by the torpedo-destroyer Calatafimi in front of Genova. It was a great show of "French grandeur" in this naval battle and I still laugh at such a powerful fleet.

Concerning autarky, may I say that complete autarky is impossible, as no country has all the necessary resources within its borders, but in time of war practically all nations practiced some kind of autarky. For instance, some old relatives of my wife from New Jersey complained that during the war they could not find good Italian prosciutto any more. Who said that in the US the home front did not suffer?

However in Fascist Italy (and also in Nazi Germany) autarky worked very well. The idea was to become self-sufficient, pushing with all possible means the development of industrial, scientific and agricultural progress. A "green economy" was started (but then after the war for many years forgotten), with the use of water, solar, volcanic power to avoid as far as possible the use of hydrocarbons.

A curiosity: following the stupid self-defeating sanctions imposed on Italy by the Empire against Russia, we cannot export among many other things the famous "mozzarelle di bufala."  But by now the Russian markets are filled with Russian mozzarella and we lost the market.

JE comments:  We'll take your cheese, Eugenio!  (What can I say?  I love cheese.)

Eugenio, what do you make of this FP article from yesterday, which suggests that Five Star is stirring things up in France in order to restore its "radical credentials" among the folks at home?


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  • Is the Five Star Movement Maintaining its Popularity? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 02/13/19 12:47 PM)
    I would say that the FP article on the Five Star Movement (cited by John E on February 12th) is fairly objective.

    But you have to be careful. The tendency for politically correct people is to demonize the Five Stars and the Lega by any means, as their coalition government no longer wants to be the usual lackey of the Empire (but without any change of alliance), or of the lousy well-fed bureaucrats of the so-called EU.

    In the latest regional elections in Abruzzo on Sunday, the Lega jumped to 27.5%. In March 2018 it was at 12%. At the same time, Five Stars got only 20% while last year it was 41%.

    However, the supporters of Five Stars are generally not showing up at local elections. In fact the voter turnout was only 53%, which is low for Italy.

    Personally I am happy about the good performance of the Lega (now national and no longer regional and secessionist), but until the European elections of May 26th, it is not wise to offer any conjectures.

    JE comments: Eugenio, is Five Stars beginning to fulfill any of its promised environmental initiatives? And what about a topic I'd like to discuss further: "degrowth," or what the French call décroissance?  No US politician would survive for ten minutes with such a platform.

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