Thursday, April 27, 2017

Financial Times Messes Up On Italy

I have for a long time thought the Financial Times to be the best newspaper in the world, but now I am going to play Dean Baker beating the press on it.  I think they are slipping, and the sign is a story that appeared in today's issue about Matteo Renzi in Italy, about whom I have posted here previously.

The story reported that he is likely to finally nail down the leadership of the Democratic Party in Italy this Saturday over two rivals.  It then praised him and compared him to Canada's Trudeau and France's Macron as a bright young guy all new and blah blah, even as it recognized that he stepped down in December as PM after losing a referendum he pushed.  It said he has learned his lesson.

Now it did briefly recognize that he might have a problem in the general election next year as the opposition Five Star movement now has 50% support in the polls, although so what.  The one thing that they mentioned as possibly causing problems for him would be the problems of Alitalia.

There was zero mention of the corruption problem of his father, zero.  I note that over the last several weeks basically every day on the front pages of all the newspapers in Italy have been stories about this matter, and it has badly damaged Renzi in the polls.  The Alitalia story is back pages. Heck, that airline is always in trouble, in "crisis."  Big nothing.  But his old man being corrupt completely upends this story of him being the reformed young Trudeau-Macron.  He has a serious problem, and it could be a serious problem for the EU next year, if Renzi cannot get this under control.

But the Fin Times somehow completely missed this story.  I guess their reporter listened to some PR guy out of the Renzi camp and never bothered to check on the Italian press.  I am sorry to learn that the FT has joined so many other newspapers in just going down the toilet of bad reporting.

Ciao you all.

Barkley Rosser 

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AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

You write: “I am sorry to learn that the FT has joined so many other newspapers in just going down the toilet of bad reporting.”

Whatever this is, it is NOT economics.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

BTW, the problem for Renzi is that his father's shenanigans involve the state contracting entity, Consip, and involves matters going on while Renzi was Prime Minister, with his dad intervening in various matters in inappropriate ways. The nature of that has been dribbling out as front page headline stories on a regular basis, with Renzi's poll numbers dropping following this. So far nobody has pinned anything on Renzi himself personally, but his brand is damaged, and if he is unable to get this stuff cleaned up, and he has not been able to so far, he faces a serious challenge next year over this, not over the chronic problems of Alitalia.

Also, if one were to worry about some economic problem messing things up, it would be a wave of bank failures, especially if the much troubled Monte de Paschi di Siena blows up, which could happen.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Barkley Rosser

I agree, corruption in Italy and elsewhere is a matter to worry about. It is, though, a matter sociology, political science, the police, and the voters have to deal with. The subject matter of economics is how the monetary economy works.

To put this in perspective: physicists do not try to figure out why and how Nero burnt down Rome but they try to figure out the laws of thermodynamics which hold for all places and all times. Nonscientists are defined by the Fallacy of Insufficient Abstraction, which is the mirror image of Whitehead’s Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness.

From this follows that the economist as scientist is NOT interested in why “the FT has joined so many other newspapers in just going down the toilet of bad reporting” but is indeed very much interested in why economics has gone down the toilet of bad science.

To come back from the sad state of Italy to the sad state of economics: the four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke