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Trump similar to Berlusconi — How did that work out for Italy?

August 6, 2015

Some pundits and commentators, for example at project syndicate, have pointed out that Trump is similar to Berlusconi* in some ways. Both are businessmen with loud, provocative personalities, who relish scandal and get away with obnoxious character traits that would sink ordinary politicians.

When putting up the last post, I noticed that between 1999 and 2014, Italy happened to be dead last for per-capita GDP growth out of the 28 EU countries**. Then I put two and two together.

Should Trump become president (and I think he could very well beat Hillary, actually — there are an awful lot of people who don’t like her), he may well be a lot like Berlusconi. He may be a good businessman, and he may succeed in sticking it to the people voters don’t like, and calling out the usual politicians on their phoniness. He may even be financially successful, personally, while being the country’s leader. But the country will not be.

* Berlusconi was prime minister of Italy 1994-1995, 2001-2006, and 2008-2011. He outlasted countless mistresses, corruption charges, and various scandals, being finally convicted for tax fraud in 2013.

** The economist points out that Italy’s overall GDP growth was not just bad compared to the EU, but between 2001-2010, was worse than every country in the world except for Zimbabwe and Haiti.

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