Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Can these people save Italy?

While Italy has some serious problems to solve, here's what's making headlines in Italy at the moment. There's a new party called 'Act to stop the decline'. (A cunning choice of name by any account. After all only a tiny share of the electorate is bound to be 'pro-decline'.) Not long ago, an economist who is a member of that party--I won't bore you with names--accused an economist who is close to another party of not being a proper professor, but rather some lesser being in the pecking order of university hierarchies. So far so silly. But now, it turns out that the leader of 'Stop the decline' has lied about his degrees. Apparently, he claimed to have a master's degree from a US business school but that's not true. Now, here's a further twist. One other prominent member of the party who is also an economist (but a different one from the first) works at the business school where the party boss claimed to have done his master's degree. Recently, it occurred to this second economists that there was something fishy about the party boss's claim. After uncovering that there was no master he begged the party boss on his knees (by his own account) to publicly correct the mistake. The boss didn't and the economist published his information. After that, the party boss offered in tears to resign. Great from an opera lover's point of view, but perhaps a bit distracting form the economics bit. Was it Keynes who wrote that he was looking forward to a time when economists would become 'humble, competent people on a level with dentists'. Still a long way to go. 

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