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The People Who Count the Votes

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The whole world waits with bated breath, or at least they should. 

This weekend marks the greatly anticipated Italian general election; however, this battle of the ballots has become much more than just your typical prime minister vote gathering event. 

The candidates include current Italian Democratic Party Secretary Pier Luigi Bersani who is essentially the stand-in for all of the following: Mario Monti, Mario Draghi, the IMF, Angela Merkel, the ECB, maybe even Ben Bernanke, and of course, Goldman Sachs. 

And despite being forced out of office in late 2011 by the aforementioned gang and replaced by Goldman Sachs technocrat Mario Monti, the other main prime minister contender is the infamousil Cavaliere, Silvio Berlusconi. 

As we all fondly remember, Berlusconi is the impish longtime politician who dared to lead a so-called typical Italian lifestyle (at least as portrayed by Federico Fellini) and still be the head of state. 

This election will also provide a significant opportunity for the Italian people to decide if they wish to return to the days of a pre-European Union embracing a European currency, a time when there was low unemployment, an economy that ranked in the top-five in Europe, and an undeniable pride carried by citizens who proudly declared they were Italian. 

Unfortunately, much like the previous attempt at a European referendum when former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou sought such a vote, the stakes remain very high. 

Yet, no Greek referendum was taken and just like Berlusconi, Papandreou was eventually shown the way to the exit.  Greece continued to descend from the center of culture to the epitome of a country stuck in a downward spiral, nevertheless the euro was saved.  In spite of this, the cracks in the European (and the world’s) Keynesian dam are becoming more and more obvious. 

Escalating unemployment, food and medical supply shortages, currency devaluations, diminishing manufacturing, collapsing exports, and ever-increasing worldwide violence all point to something that will finally trigger a monumental economic collapse. 

Perhaps that “something” will be the Italian election this weekend featuring the return of the anti-euro candidate. 

However, with the European experiment in the balance, don’t be surprised if somehow the Italians vote to keep the status quo and continue to sink into the quagmire. 

After all, as Joseph Stalin reputedly once said, “It’s not the people who vote that count; it’s the people who count the votes.”

Stay tuned.

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