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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The new "Lords"

They call it "American dream" but they should call it "Italian dream".
Because in Italy the Dream can eventually be more ambitious.
In America the poor guy that begins to work at the back of his mother’s shop knitting sweaters can become the head of a big corporation and make billions just selling ready made, fashionable knitwear.
In Italy somebody like that, who incidentally is called Benetton, not only can become a billionaire selling knitwear, but actually with the family’s holding company, Atlantia, can control "Autostrade per l’Italia".
And in order of doing so, doesn’t even need to invest his billionaire profits.
They can stay well secured in some fiscal Heaven, the money he needs will be offered at a very low interest by any Italian Bank.
In this time of global recession, the Benettons are a perfect example of someone that is going against the trend.
Great "people" in the business of government authorized highway extortion. Atlantia’s revenues have increased by 7,8% in just six months and now stand at 1.6 billion Euro.
1.3 Billion Euro of this comes from toll fees, in spite of the fact that motorway traffic levels are the same over the same period.
As a matter of fact, toll fees have increased by some 3,6% since the first of January 2008.
“The Benetton family’s holding company, Atlantia”.
How good these words sound, they grant a certain glamour to the concept of tolls. Atlantia, meanwhile, has reached profits up to 366 million Euro in a single six-month period (+7,4%).
When the highways still belonged to the Italians (who incidentally paid for them with the taxes), these profits still belonged to the Italians. Now, instead, they are being shared out amongst the industrialists at Benetton and the political parties, while the Country becomes increasingly poorer.

There are two main categories of companies in Italy: private companies and "State partners".
The first are having a hard time with huge loss of profits, the second bloom.
They got the license, from the State, or better, from the ones who should represent the State and the Italian citizens, to suck the citizens.
Something is wrong, why should somebody vote for the ones who give the license to suck them?
The kind of concessions handed out may involve the provision of water, garbage collection, electricity and roads, in other words, the kind of primary services that people can no longer live without.
The only option open to the Italians in the light of this intensive exploitation of tariffs is to consume less. However, to their great surprise, they find themselves nevertheless paying more. As a matter of fact, the concession holders are driven by a very strong profit motive. In order to make this profit, if the market goes down, prices instead go up.
That is a mathematical law: if the consumed amount is lower, in order to produce the same revenue you MUST upgrade the price.
So that the electoral contributions to the parties can be the same...
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