The people of Italy really know how to enjoy life. Here, in the south of the country, on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, it is more obvious than anywhere else in Europe.
Even when the government was in turmoil, sending bond yields higher and stocks lower, life just goes on in the sun and the refreshing breeze from the sea.
People here are happy. The restaurants in town are full and midnight doesn’t mean that one is going home, even in the middle of the week. Hell, the kids are up at midnight, don’t know how they get up for school the next day.
Italy is an empire that was. The first one in history – it controlled large swath of the ancient world and I have nothing but respect to their engineering marvels, their road networks, and the establishment of Roman law throughout the empire. They were also renowned for their war-like nature. After all, this allowed the Romans to build an empire in the first place.
Their fall in the 5th century seems to have two reasons – the usual one, government abuse of the people, but also climate change. The second is almost never discussed, because we’re conditioned to think that climate change is caused by industrialization and resulting pollution. While it’s true that we’re dumping tons of garbage on this beautiful planet, climate change can only be caused by sun activities. And this is what broke the back of the Roman empire. When the weather turned cold, the warring tribes from the north of Europe stopped fighting each other and turned attention to the south. As it was getting colder, it was more difficult to grow food and feed families. It was a necessity to go where it’s warmer and fight hard for a place in the sun. Hunger is a huge motivation.
Over the centuries many great things came out of Italy – the arts, the food, the wine, the relaxed lifestyle.
And today they’re in the news again – Italy, the third largest economy in Europe, just managed to form first EU-sceptic government, which the media call “populist”.
This is code word for “anti-establishment” these days.
To be clear, Italy has suffered greatly under German hegemony in the EU, their unemployment rate roughly doubled since 2008.
Correspondingly, the unemployment rate in Germany was cut in half during the same period.
Let this message sink in and then try to say “populist” again.
The unelected officials in Brussels can’t hide their wrath and are out in the media to bash Italy in undiplomatic terms. “How can people decide what they want to do??” the thinking goes.
Well, the Italians just did.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler