Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump Takes Italy by Storm: the Rise of Matteo Salvini and of the Italian Right

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Italian League and Minister of the Interior since June 2018. During the past few weeks, he has gained political prominence in Italy by adopting Trump's style and policies. Here, you see him together with the slogan "Italians First."

During the past few weeks, we have seen a true political revolution in Italy. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian League, has successfully exploited his new position of Minister of the Interior to gain personal prominence. The M5s movement had won the elections, this year, but it has been emarginated to a secondary role, while Salvini acts and looks like if he were the real Prime Minister. If new elections were held now in Italy, Salvini and the League would win hands down

All politics is, after all, about blame shifting. So, political success means simply finding someone to blame. Matteo Salvini was successful by adopting the same style and content that made the political fortune of Donald Trump. Both Trump and Salvini found a good target to blame with immigrants and foreigners in general. Both used harsh language, insults, callousness, and plain racism. Both found that the more shrill and violent their utterances were, the more they were approved by the public. It took a remarkably small effort to convince a large majority of Italians that all their troubles are caused by immigrants and, in particular, by the Roma people (less than the 0.2% of the Italian population). Salvini also capitalized on demonizing the Euro and the European Union, although he can't afford (so far) to exaggerate with insults and threats in that field. In any case, right now, it seems that 72% of Italians approve Salvini's actions
For everything that happens there is a reason and there has to be a reason for the outburst of hate and of racism in Italy. It has to do, probably, with the return of nation-states as protagonists in the world power game and with the ongoing disgregation of the American Empire. 

After the end of WW2, the European Union took the role of an agent of the American Empire to keep the European states under control. But the EU itself had to be kept under control, least it could become another empire that could have challenged the American supremacy. So, the EU wasn't allowed to develop an army, nor all the paraphernalia that would have turned it into a recognizable state, from an official language to a decent flag. It was an exercise in political acrobatics and it is remarkable that it worked reasonably well for more than half a century. 

But, today, the EU is weakened by the economic crisis and probably fatally wounded by the loss of Britain. All Empires tend to collapse in times of economic hardships, an even more likely outcome for a entity, the EU, which was a failed empire from the beginning. So, the old states are rising again - a trend that we see also outside Europe. Even in the US, Donald Trump is busy at turning the American Empire back into a nation-state. That changes many things, not necessarily for good.

Normally, empires are not racist and they don't engage in ethnical cleansing. They cannot afford that, since they are composed of heterogeneous entities which may need to be kept together by force. That makes Empires expensive: one of their characteristic is the large and costly military apparatus they are forced to maintain. Excessive military expenses is the most common cause of the collapse of empires. It happened to the Ancient Romans, just as it happened to the Soviet Union. And it is happening right now to the American Empire. It just can't survive for long without the influx of cheap energy and resources that created it.

Nation-states, instead, are relatively homogeneous entities in linguistic and ethnical terms, less likely to fragment in smaller pieces. What they need in terms of military force may be just a militia able to put down or exterminate ethnical or ideological minorities. That makes them less expensive and more resilient than empires. They can survive the economic hardships that shattered the most powerful empires in the world's history.

Nation-states often generate great enthusiasm among their citizens, but they are far from being benign entities. Their ethnical and linguistical homogeneity may be more a dream than reality and their survival may need to be propped up a poisonous mix of aggressive nationalism, hate, and racism directed against foreigners. It was one of the methods used in Italy by Mussolini's government in the 1920s and 30s, so it is not surprising that Mr. Salvini's government (formally known as Conte's government) is using the same methods today. As we know, hate and racism may not remain confined to insults.

And here we stand. The message that the current economic hardship is the result of resource depletion and of the negative effects of ecosystem disruption didn't pass, and maybe it never will. At this point, accusing Salvini or Trump of "populism" or of "racism" is not going to stop the trend. It is clear that their methods work wonderfully well. The skunk is out of the bag and we don't have to wait for long before other leaders will follow their example. A new round of ethnical cleansing in Western Europe, if not the start of a new European war, may be a plausible scenario for a non-remote future

But nothing is unavoidable. With enormous changes going on worldwide, with the ecosystem collapsing, with natural resources dwindling, with the human population still expanding, we may be rather facing a Seneca Collapse that will make short work of the European nation-states, just as the current crisis is destroying the American Empire. The future is never like the past and the only thing we are sure about it is that we cannot be sure of anything.



  1. So. I suppose this post is meant to get people's attention and improve the blog's traffic. I understand that, everyone's got to make a living.

    But I agree with none of the remarks about the Italian government, and there are many things I would like to write in response.

    But I won't. I come to this blog to get an informed opinion about collapse caused by resource scarcity. As far as I am concerned, the less politics involved, the better.

    1. What always amazes me is how people immediately react to something they don't like by assuming it was written only in order to make money. And it amazes me even more how, in our society, we idolize "debate" as a way to reach consensus. There has to be something wrong in the very fabric of the universe.

    2. How is this not collapse related ? As Professor Bardi observes, these are 'portents' on the road to collapse, the politics is necessarily interwoven. Perhaps, because I think nation states are a failed concept that should have long ago been abandoned, and dislike them intensely for using violence against the 'other'to garner support at home that I do have more of an interest ? I am open to debates as to why that point of view is wrong but I always start of from the point that if you need to use violence (or the threat of violence), you've already lost, the end is just a matter of timing ?

      The US is spending more and more on their war machine, justifying it by creating bogeyman. They're encouraging the NATO countries to spend more and more as well, the NATO countries will probably acquiescence because it does follow the narrative of the road to collapse. To justify it, they need to create scary bogeymen. These bogeymen don't vote, so there is nothing to be lost by politicians scape goating them for the real reasons, resource depletion and inequality

  2. In 1947 the Catholic Church helped DeGasperi politically, DeGasperi asked for the European Defense Community, but France was against because french people wanted atomic weapon after having suffered the Nazy invasion, Germany was divided into RFD vs DDR, Britain had imperial nostalgia , Spain was a dictatorship.

    Lets reverse the qualitative factors of the European orbit of 1947

    The Catholic Church would fire DeGasperi as a neo-Nazi reactionary man, no Italian political parties want USE = CED, France is in favor of a European defense, Germany is reunited, Britain is in favor of the CED = USE, Spain is a state of rule of law .

    Let's compare this theoretical orbit with the current reality of 2010s

    The Catholic Church does not want a European defense and Catholic Church would label a new DeGasperi as a racist and neo-Nazi reactionary man, no Italian political parties want USE = CED, France is in favor of a European defense, Germany is reunified, Great Britain never ever had the Euro currency is in BRExit and Britain is going out of the European market, Spain is a constitutional monarchy where rule of law is enforced.

    Lets put aside the difference of Great Britain (for which, one could imagine in the near future a return into the EU, after the Great Britain economic decline experiencing outside the EU), it is clear to me, that in Europe there is a chaotic war fighting attractor.

    This point of presence, it confirms to me, in the coming decades the future pattern of the Punic Wars II is rational and consistent as a prediction tool.

    The Italian Republic is boiled: paraphrasing Mrs Thatcher - The many Italian Communist parties that are on the right, in the middle, on the left, on October 31st 2019 they will also run out Draghi's money-

  3. With the decline of resource availability, the spectre of Malthus rises. With it a fall in living standards is reason enough to carve out 'living space'; the only way to avoid this is through a fearsome, authoritarian government holding back its citizens' base angst.

    It will be interesting.

  4. I mentioned in a previous comment that Bob Altemeyer, social psychologist and expert on the Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) personality, sees rising fear as the driving force behind a rising number of right wing authoritarians in a people. I think after 70 years of research this is scientifically well established. I again strongly recommend Bob Altemeyers book "The Authoritarians".

    Why are we umans so awefully afraid that it creates all kinds of pathological problems and even negatively affects our society? Why are we afraid of clearly imagined threats, like "immigrants"?

    Strangely it might have something to do with a parasite that humankind and its predecessors have lived with for millions of years of evolution called "Toxoplasma gondii" and it is the human brains oldest software bug.

    Toxoplasma gondii, among other things, reduces the hosts fear significantly, making it less afraid of, and more prone to be eaten by, cat predators (the hosts for the next development cycle of the parasite). There was a time in our evolution when being eaten by large cats was a real threat to our ancestors and being afraid of those cats was an important survival trait.

    As usual, evolution changed the hosts to adapt to the evolutionary pressure. In the infected population fearless individuals were more likely to be selected out while frightend individuals had a higher survival rate, raising fear in the population to an overall higher level. Even infected with Toxoplasma gondii our then more "cowardly" predecessors where afraid enough of large cats to not be eaten as often.

    Large parts of our population still has that evolutionary adaption of hightened fear. Infections with "Toxoplasma gondii" have been on the decline as our civilization invented hygiene and other forms of disease prevention, but our brains are still "buggy".

    In short, to cope with Toxoplasma gondii, evolution made us much more afraid than we would need to be today, so we fear those "others", the strangers, the unknown. In fear we lash out and become violent and aggresive. Authoritarian leaders play that fear like a fiddle and know to make use of that aggression.

    In german populists are proverbilly referred to as "ratcatchers". This might be more apt a term than we would initially assume. Would we empower the ratcatchers if we did not have inherited the rats cowardly traits from our ratlike ancestors?

    In our hybris we think that humans are the pinnacle of evolution. Seeing our world today I rather think that evolution might have left us very flawed. It may well be that a small parasite that we inherited from our rat like ancestors has left us our greatest weakness, the irrational fear of everything "other".

    1. To you it may be irrational, but fear of foreigners consuming scarce resources and out-competing you genetically, is the most basic and fundamental element of human survival tactics.

  5. You are completely wrong about Trump and my guess is you are wrong about Italy too. I suggest you read some of John Michael Greer's political blog posts to understand why people will flock to anybody that goes agains the neoliberal consensus.

    Immigrants are a big issue because of resource scarcity and the current nation states in western Europe are failing at their most basic tasks (protecting the lives and livelihoods of their own citizens) in the name of enriching a global elite.

    Is it any surprise that people are disenchanted with the ideas of globalism, EU etc?

    Calling people racists will make you feel better but is not helpful. Of course most people are racists, they always were. But why are they voting this way now?

  6. Merci Monsieur Bardi !!!! Clair !

  7. >a poisonous mix of aggressive nationalism, hate, and racism directed against foreigners. It was one of the methods used in Italy by Mussolini's government in the 1920s and 30s,

    Hm no, it was not. Fascists' hate was directed at *Italian* Socialists, internationalists, free-thinkers, Communists, freemasons, Catholics and pretty much everybody who happened to cross Mussolini's bed temper on any particular day.

    Not primarily foreigners. Mussolini's racism was inconstant and opportunistic, as even the National Partisans' Association admits (, not to mention De Felice, Mack Smith, and to some extent everybody who has done some research in the matter.

    The equivalence fascism = racism just does not cut it, likewise the equivalence anti-fascism = anti-racism.

    The Racist Laws were passed in 1938: if racism is all that there was to fascism, one has to wonder how Mussolini kept himself busy in the previous *16 years* in power.

    Mussolini loved Crispi, an ethnic Albanian, and loathed the German minority. He had a Jewish mistress and claimed to be the "protector of Islam".

    That is not to say that fascists were not racists. I just mean that it was not really a priority for the regime, and pretty much everybody - at the time and long after - was racist as well. That races were not equal and were to be classified in a hierarchy was as self-evident to the general populace back then as Hofstede's ideas are today.

    Having said that, I agree with @NomadicBeer. There is no "outburst of hate and racism" in Italy, as you so dramatically write. There is a large part of the population which is so deeply disillusioned with the postwar establishment that is willing to vote for anything, anybody just to punish the status quo.

    Hiding behind "racism" is a pathetic excuse for the establishment's shortcomings. And apparently, an excuse that voters are no longer willing to accept.

    Please do read Greer's latest post Skip the esoteric stuff if that is not of your liking, just let the political analysis sink in.

    1. You are right, within some limits. The Italian Fascist government was not overly racist until the invasion of Ethiopia, in 1935. Then, racism started becoming important, the racial laws came afterward and then it was a crescendo. That changes little to my point, though. Maybe you don't see the "outburst of hate and racism in Italy," personally I see it very well. It is enough to publish a post on Facebook where you show some compassion toward immigrants to be attacked by hordes of angry people whom I would hardly define as anything but racists.

      You are also right that accusing the current administration of "racism" may well be an excuse for the poor show of the previous one. Indeed, my post doesn't aim at excusing anyone, it is an attempt to understand what's going on in Italy. Which I think is worrisome, but it doesn't depend on who is in power. The previous administration was not so outspokenly racist, but implemented more or less the same policies that the current one is proposing.

    2. >Maybe you don't see the "outburst of hate and racism in Italy," personally I see it very well.

      You are probably right on that point: I only visit Italy once or twice a year, I lost touch with the most current developments.

      Still, I think the country has come a long way since I was little: I remember the times when Venetians and Southerners were treated like dirt in Lombardy. Later on, I remember how "Albanian" or "Romanian" were swearwords. Not to mention how blacks were treated.

      That has changed to a very large extent: the Albanian and Romanian communities are well integrated, and you barely hear about Southerners anymore. There is still anymosity against blacks, but there is now a generation of Afro-Italians who speaks Italian fluently and is well-educated.

      I think that Italy is, all things considered, a much more open-minded place than it was in the past.

      That is why I do not believe in the accusations of racism. The Lega has little to do with racism, and everything to do with people who have lost all hope and are angry.

      They see that the Italian state can afford to provide for foreigners who come to Italy in droves, and even invites more to come, but cannot afford to protect its own citizens. And they are angry. Not just annoyed, but white-hot mad.

      And the more hysterically the media and the PD (and university professors) throw around accusations of racism, the angrier people will get.

  8. I think far too many confuse xenophobia with racism. A homogenous society functions far more like a tribe than a nation state. I think most nations could use a lot less diversity. That wouldn't be very good for the elites profit, of course. You can have racism now, or ethnic cleansing later.

    1. Correct. In view of the previous comment, I would say that the Fascist government in Italy promoted xenophobia up to 1935, then added racism when it expanded in Africa.

    2. I guess in the end empires are just big Venn diagrams waiting to be cut into smaller more agile entities. Which variable or attribute we use for the cutting is not of much importance.

  9. I am hesitant to hold opinion(s) on much of anything Italian (save the arts). I do not hesitate to hold opinion(s) on the USA (I'm a native) or Latin America (my wife is a US Citizen born and raised in Honduras, Central America). In Central America & Mexico, people view 2nd cousins etc as "close family". Hence, our close family includes Mayflower stock and redneck stock whites who easily pass a "one drop test" (like me), Latins, American and East Indians, Asians, Middle Easterners, Africans and Afro-Americans, even Europeans (no Italians). We're farmers, mechanics, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, adherents to most known religions and to none. Of course all family get-togethers involve much squabbling, but we have long boasted that ours is the pænultimate while utterly untypical American family.

    But for reasons discussed in Prof Bardi’s essay and a host of others, we are suddenly wondering whether our family will find ourselves unwelcome in our country!

    It's unpleasant for my kind of people, but mankind can survive xenophobia (racism is either a subset or a misnomer); we have before, time and time again. But resource depletion and the CO₂ crisis (a close relative) are existential threats.

  10. If I am not mistaken the connection between resource depletion and the Nation state political trend mentioned is that always and for ever the elite will do all they can to protect themselves, and hopefully make a billion or two in the process.

    It seems reasonable to believe that TPTB/wealthy elite have a very advanced understanding of the resource depletion/biosphere degradation situation. Do not think that just because they talk as if they don't understand or accept it then they do not.

    If this is so then their goal will not be accomplished by expansion/growth, but by consolidation. Consolidation is a very hard thing to pull off, you certainly can't announce it then go for it. You can't even let on that that is what is happening. You have to lie and you have to make the populace ask for it, convince them that that is the pathway to wealth for them, or at least convince them that it will remove any barriers to wealth creation for them. This also has the added benefit of taking the focus off of TPTB/wealthy elite

  11. Let's look at the history: for example, what began to happen in Adrianople in 378 AD.
    Now, in 2018, we know these things, we know the five factors of cultural collapse, as highlighted by Jared Diamond.
    The social explosion (the combustion society, as observed by Tiziano Terzani in his disenchanted vision of the US multiethnic-multieverything powder keg, engine for use and benefit of ultracapitalistic elites) was implemented and favoured by the world elites, in decades of grom [sinister, left wingy in Italian] years of ideological, illegal, undemocratic support to deportation / importation of millions foreigners (six / seven million, in a few years !! but which organism would not enter into a rejection crisis with respect to a such extensive, deep aggression and coercive graft operation !?), partly significant millenarily hostile (the jargon, our Italian culture are rich of expressions, mottos and proverbs that recall raids and violence by Saracens, Turks, etc. we can go back to Carthage and Hannibal, do we ignore the history?).
    To blame Salvini for the principle of resistance that he has begun to realize is how to blame the thermometer for the 40 ° of an inflammation designed in all possible ways (see [in Italian] here, here, etc. and hundreds and hundreds of other "policies" of support for mass immigration, Mrs Bonino not only admits it but claims the systematic violation of rules and laws).

    If you have the chance to risk your life going up, after dinner, on a nightmare train or a bus a-la John Carpenter's Escape from NYC, if you have the opportunity to pass after 9 PM in one of the new (South) Bronx, the new banlieues grafted in the Italian cities and suburbs risking the safety of your life, you will be able to understand the gravity of what has been achieved and understand why more and more large parts of society have understood the gravity of the social fragmentation carried out by certain world castalias and the social geo-engineering experiments carried out on their (Italians') suffering, on their lives, in their mockery, fiscally exploiting them.
    Only crazy masochists could think not to oppose some resistance to their annihilation (return to the lexicon of physics and the combustion society).

  12. At the end of the 19th century, millions of Europeans migrated to America, north and - to a lesser extent - south, most of them for economical reasons. Now Europe is in the position of America back then, and Africa in the position of Europe back then.
    Just my two cents.

    1. This comparison does not make sense.

      America at the end of the 19th century was a land that was blessed with an extraordinary abundance of natural resources: thousands of acres of fertile land, abundant fresh water, and a wealth of mineral resources – stone, sand, salt, gold, silver, copper, as well as coal, oil, or natural gas. It was a land that had loads of space, with a large land mass that became very early on governed by one political system, and that was largely empty since the indigenous population had been ‘removed’. It was a land that was rapidly industrializing, making extensive use of fossil energy - including, already, oil - and that was offering countless economic opportunities for a diverse workforce, skilled and unskilled. European immigrants had a fairly close cultural background, and they were allowed in because their arrival was necessary to the development of the country and the exploitation of its incredible natural wealth.

      The situation in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century could not be more different. Europe is an old continent, made up of old nations (the concept of nations originated there). It is a land with a a complex history and very diverse cultural traditions, political trajectories and legal settings, which institutional "unification" is recent, incomplete and dysfunctional. It is a fairly small piece of land, with few natural resources, populated by a lot of people - and increasingly by old people. It is not a land where everything has yet to be done and where more people are needed to exploit a yet untouched potential. It is a land where a lot has already been done and much of what could be exploited has already been. It is a continent where societies have a growing sense that their best days are behind, not ahead. In other words, it is a land which propensity to be welcoming to others is "naturally" going down, not up. African/Middle Eastern immigrants, on the other hand, come from significantly different cultural backgrounds, and the experience to date with their integration in European societies is proving to be quite challenging. Their arrival also represents a much higher burden for European economies than the arrival of European immigrants to America at the end of the 19th century, since European economies have few unskilled jobs left to offer and as they maintain an expensive safety net that to some extent benefits migrants and that was totally inexistant in America at the end of the 19th century.

      So the comparison does not make any sense. Europe is not and cannot be The New World. It is an aging continent that has a very acute perception of its own decline, and where societies are growing increasingly unequal, resentful and fearful - also because they are perfectly aware of the demographic bomb on the other side of the Mediterranean (i.e. in 2050 it is expected that there will be 2.4bn Africans and only 450m Europeans). In these conditions the kind of migrant influx of the last few years can only trigger the sort of backlash that we are now observing. The only surprising thing, in fact, is that so many people seem to be genuinely surprised by what is happening.

    2. I agree basically with your description of the different frame, in which the euro-american resp. the afro-european migration took resp. take place and which are the cause for a different attitude towards immigration in the target regions.
      What I was aiming at with my 2 cents is, that in p.c.-speak, all immigrants are refugees from war zones and that in this context, a mere economic motivation is something bad. So i wrote, that those millions of our forefathers and -mothers emigrated for the very same economic reasons, only that they were lucky enough to find countries with ample opportunity. (One could also say: a country, where the indigenous population was extraordinary weak from a military point of view.)
      in other words: not the motivation is bad for the africans, only the luck.

    3. So, to learn from the brutal American experiment, we should stop immigration into Europe right? After all, most people seem to be quite clear that the Native Americans paid dearly for the priviledge of being "civilized" and "culturally enriched".

      Or maybe instead we should only allow immigrants who have higher education and skills than the present population? After all, the only reason Native Americans were pulled kicking and screaming into the modern world (for their own good I am sure) is because they were dominated by Europeans who knew how to make all manner of advanced technology which eventually led to a higher (energy) life style.

      Somehow, the comparison doesn't seem so direct.

  13. I am not convinced by ‘blame culture’ claims in some comments above, although 20th century accounts of countries falling under the control of governments who used ‘blame culture’ as a propaganda tool could provide relevant historical perspective.
    I think, rather, a more general case can be made than just calling up these extreme examples.
    In Britain widespread ‘official’ cruelty is not just restricted to recently exposed cases, for example those of migrants who were in childhood British citizens of the British Empire (see ‘Windrush’ below). Britain for the last decade has increasingly ‘snookered’ itself by imposing a policy of ‘austerity’ and has cut social income support for significant fractions of our population. There has often been for example cruelty to persons with severe health disability.
    I gather that Italy has suffered similarly a relative economic decline, due in large part to adverse trade effects from being ‘snookered’ in the Eurozone after the partial collapse in 2008 / 2009 of the modern ‘business model’ aka ‘Petroleum Age’, and what might be the first instalment of the looming ‘resource crisis’.
    Recently, however, I wrote a letter to my elected Member of Parliament specifically about the recent cruelty increasingly meted out to earlier post-war immigrants, and concerning cases recently exposed in the press.
    I hope it might help discussion if I quote from my letter:
    " ‘When Even Legal Residents Face Deportation’
    … Extreme examples in this case help to define a more general condition. Public policy translated into executive action by bureaucracy dealing with individuals needs careful political framing. Like military action it will otherwise create widespread cruelty where ordinarily civilised people become callous – even claiming righteous justification. Modern states have done this routinely in the past with dire consequences. I have many disturbing stories from my youth, confessions one might say, from men not much older than me conscripted into the winding down of the British Empire.
    I am old enough also to remember and to have worked with original ‘Windrush’ immigrants. And I remember the less than edifying controversies of the day. …”


  14. It seems pretty unscientific to blame all economic problems of Italy on energy and resources. I mean, problems with energy and resources are global but there is plenty of places where economy expands, even in European Union - from Ireland to Germany and Poland. What possible reasons are there to experience problems much sooner than these countries? Italian economy was less healthy than German one even 10 and 20 years ago. Economic growth cannot be infinite of course, but given that many places still manage to grow for now - something seems to be much less efficient in Italy (and Grecee & Spain & Portugal). It sometimes seems to me like you, Mr Bardi, tend to dismiss pure economics to much - you are obviously right that economies cannot grow forewer, but evidently some grow longer. Different regulations, budgets and culture must have some impact here.

    1. I have to point out that there has been very little economic growth in Italy for quite some time. A good argument could even be made for economic contraction since about 2008 or so, if not sooner.

      For example, when we take the time to strip away debt expansion from GDP we get some surprising numbers. Also, energy use per capita gives us a clue.

    2. Yvan - as I said, "Italian economy was less healthy than German one even 10 and 20 years ago"; so not only I'm aware of that, this rather supports my point. Evidently Germans do some stuff better.

    3. Liverty90 - Yes my response was a bit sloppy. Of course there are many notorious reasons why the Italian economy is not growth friendly, all well known and detailed by people inside and outside the country. Yet none of these elements have really changed recently and certainly not abruptly in 2008.

      It seems we are in an economic phase akin to a breath holding competition. Cheap and abundant energy is our oxygen, and Italy seems to have passed out some time around 2008.

  15. Let's outflank both the global monster and the narrow-minded national bureaucrats.

    Build local communities, as small, sustainable and livable as possible, where everybody is a citizen - whatever their family background - as long as they love and care for the place.

    That's what we are trying to do in as small an area as one can imagine, in one corner of Florence, because it is the best place in the world.

    As is every other place in the world, if we start to care for it.

    "Stand up, look around, and scale that down too!"

  16. Dear Mr/Signore Bardi,

    Did you take your final phrase from Rana Dasgupta?

    "If we wish to rediscover a sense of political purpose in our era of global finance, big data, mass migration and ecological upheaval, we have to imagine political forms capable of operating at that same scale. The current political system must be supplemented with global financial regulations, certainly, and probably transnational political mechanisms, too. That is how we will complete this globalisation of ours, which today stands dangerously unfinished. Its economic and technological systems are dazzling indeed, but in order for it to serve the human community, it must be subordinated to an equally spectacular political infrastructure, which we have not even begun to conceive."

  17. Keep this in mind:

    As liberals across America continue to attempt to one-up one another with the volume of virtue they can signal, specifically on the question of 'open borders' - especially since 'jenny from the bronx' victory over the weekend, none other than Nassim Nicholas Taleb unleashed a trite 3-tweet summary of how farcical this argument is...

    What intellectuals don't get about MIGRATION is the ethical notion of SYMMETRY:

    1) OPEN BORDERS work if and only if the number of pple who want to go from EU/US to Africa/LatinAmer equals Africans/Latin Amer who want to move to EU/US

    2) Controlled immigration is based on the symmetry that someone brings in at least as much as he/she gets out. And the ethics of the immigrant is to defend the system as payback, not mess it up.

    Uncontrolled immigration has all the attributes of invasions.

    3) As a Christian Lebanese, saw the nightmare of uncontrolled immigration of Palestinians which caused the the civil war & as a part-time resident of N. Lebanon, I am seeing the effect of Syrian migration on the place.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)