Making Italy Great Again

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From Euro Pacific Capital

This week, market watchers around the world are justifiably fixated with the high-stakes, high-drama political developments unfolding in Italy. While a political crisis in the world’s 9th largest economy (International Monetary Fund figures, 4/17/18) would normally not be enough to cause an international meltdown, given how thin the global economic ice has become as a result of ever-increasing debt loads, even small disruptions can create systemic problems. But from my perspective, what makes the Italian drama so interesting is that it parallels so precisely developments in the United States. It’s amazing that more Americans do not realize, that when looking at Italy, they are looking at a fun house mirror reflection of the United States.

Italy is currently dealing with the results of an election in which populist political forces scored a big victory over the establishment, which they had judged to be both corrupt and ineffective. In other words, the Italians replayed the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S. The big difference is that here the anti-immigrant tendencies of the right and the economic populism of the left were united in one person: Donald Trump. In Italy, those positions are represented by two separate parties that normally would be rivals. But politics can make very strange bedfellows, and the absurdity of the current economic reality has made them partners.

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Will Italy Sink The EU And Boost Gold?

By Arkadiusz Sieron – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The recent growth acceleration in the EU could distract attention from problems of the common bloc. Fortunately, you can always count on Italy. Whenever you start thinking that only bright future is ahead of the union, the descendants of the proud Romans remind about themselves. Indeed, Italy focuses three major EU’s problems like in a lens. What are they and how could they affect the gold market?

First, populism. As you remember, Italians held general elections in March. As we reported then, the populist party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo won about one-third of the votes. Since then, the Five Star Movement and League, the two biggest parties in the new parliament, have been negotiating to form a new government. In May, they finally published a contract for their shared platform.

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What a Populist President Would Mean for Mexico

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Polls suggest Mexico’s populist coalition, led by the National Regeneration Movement, could win the presidency in the July 1 federal elections, along with a majority in the lower house and a near majority in the Senate.
  • If the coalition gains only a lower house majority, it will face heavier pressure from established parties, including the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), to moderate its populist stance.
  • But the PRI and PAN will be weaker in the wake of the vote, assuming the polls bear out, and will have to rely on federal courts to halt potentially controversial legislative measures, such as energy or education reforms.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the National Regeneration Movement's candidate for Mexico's presidency, addresses the crowd at a campaign event on April 20, 2018.

(HECTOR VIVAS/Getty Images)

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The Forces Driving Democratic Recession

By Jay Ogilvy – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Liberal democracy is in retreat across the globe. Following decades of expansion since the 1950s, the spread of democracy hit a wall in the new millennium. Freedom House, using carefully crafted metrics, has measured a decline in democracy and freedom worldwide. Definitions are important: Does the fact of elections, even where the outcome is autocratically determined, qualify a country as a democracy? By most measures and definitions, there are now about 25 fewer democratic countries than there were at the turn of the millennium.

Founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy Larry Diamond wrote a 2015 paper, “Facing up to the Democratic Recession.” Diamond asks, reasonably enough, “Why have freedom and democracy been regressing in many countries? The most important and pervasive answer is, in brief, bad governance.” But this tells us very little. How and why has governance been so bad?