Watching the European Union slowly crumble is an unfortunate but inevitable thing. First Greece’s economy collapses and now Italy is moving to join them. Italy has already cut spending a minor amount and that means entities previously receiving government money are pissed:
A museum in Italy has started burning its artworks in protest at budget cuts which it says have left cultural institutions out of pocket.
Antonio Manfredi, of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, set fire to the first painting on Tuesday.
“Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government’s indifference,” he said.
The work was by French artist Severine Bourguignon, who was in favour of the protest and watched it online.
Mr Manfredi plans to burn three paintings a week from now on, in a protest he has dubbed “Art War”.
A scorched Earth policy never really accomplishes much. Honestly, these individuals are probably making the life of Italy’s future fascist state easier by burning much of the art before the state decrees it to be done. Either way I’m not sure how destroying art is going to make an argument that museums need more money, I would say it’s probably time to get any important works of art out of the museums before some asshole torches them (and without pieces of art nobody is going to go to a museum so they’ll receive even less money). On top of the hissy fits being thrown by those who used to receive government money Italy has also admitted it won’t be able to balance the budget by 2013:
It was previously predicting a 0.4% contraction in the economy, but has cut that to a 1.2% contraction.
The government has also admitted that it will not be able to meet its target of balancing the budget by 2013.
It now says that it will be able to balance the budget by 2015, which is still more optimistic than the IMF, which says Italy will not have a balanced budget until at least 2018.
The only ways to balance a budget are to spend less money of bring in more money. This means Italy will either have to take funds away from more entities or increase the amount of money they steal from the people in the form of taxation. No matter what route the Italian state choose people are going to be pissed. That’s the kicker about government programs, eventually the state runs out of peoples’ money to steal and reality must be faced. It’s far better for everybody involved when the state doesn’t get involved in anything. Another interesting story coming from Italy that could be a sign of dire times is the rise in Italy’s gold exports:
Italian exports of gold ingots to Switzerland have soared in recent months, data has shown.
Exports to Switzerland were 35.6% higher than in February 2011 “mainly because of sales of non-monetary raw gold”, statistics agency Istat said.
This could mean any number of things. One possible reason people are buying Italian gold is because they’re trying to liquidate their holdings of Italian bonds or currency. Since Italy uses the Euro it’s most likely the former. If the Italian state is looking to go into insolvency it’s best to rid yourself of any Italian state assets, like bonds, while they’re still worth something. With the collapse of the euro looking more likely it would be foolhardy to convert those soon to be worthless Italian bonds into soon to be worthless euros. Thus converting those soon to be worthless Italian bonds into gold, which has traditionally held its value, is a much better option.
Italy is looking to be the second Greece.