State of Incorporation

I recently came across something I first read back in January 2004 about what might be called the private nationalization of Italy under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – when your country becomes a labyrinth of overlapping properties owned by one man – and it seemed interesting enough that I thought I'd re-post it here. So:
    Hi there,

    I'm an Italian citizen living in Milan, in a building that was built by Immobiliare EdilNord, which is owned by the Prime Minister. I work part-time for the Pagine Utili, owned by the Prime Minister, but I might soon be contracted by Blockbuster, the famous chain owned by the Prime Minister. I've always been a fan of Milan, the soccer club of the Prime Minister. I go to work in a car which I first saw in an ad in Panorama, a weekly magazine owned by the Prime Minister, and which I bought secondhand from an employee of the Banca Mediolanum, a bank amongst whose biggest shareholders we find the Prime Minister. The insurance for the car is also owned by the Prime Minister, and when I'm driving I often listen to some radio stations... owned by the Prime Minister. When I leave my house I first accompany my neighbor, who works at the Finbanc Inversiones (owned by the Prime Minister) before I pick up some newspapers and magazines (also owned by the Prime Minister). Sometimes there's traffic on the way to work, and so to tell my colleagues I'll be late I use a cellphone of the Compagnia Telefonica Mobile, which sees the Prime Minister as one of its shareholders.

    Some afternoons I go shopping in the supermarkets built by one of the Prime Minister's construction and development companies, where I buy products produced, published, and sponsored by the Prime Minister. In the evening I nearly always watch the television, nowadays completely in the hands of the Prime Minister, on which the movies (often produced by the Prime Minister) are continuously interrupted by commercials made by the Prime Minister's own publicity agency. Thus, through satellite, I try to get out of Italy to see if anything good is being transmitted elsewhere, but then it happens that I find TV networks functioning under Mediaset – which is owned by the Prime Minister. Distrustful and tired, I do some surfing on the internet via the Jumpy Provider, of NewMedia Investment, another property of the Prime Minister, and there I find lots of declarations of the Prime Minister, nearly all against his political opponents. Sundays I like to stay at home and just read books – which come from publishing companies owned by the Prime Minister.

    Panta rei, everything proceeds – but for a while now I've heard a lot of whispering about the conflicts of interest in relation to our Prime Minister, so I ask myself: why? Is there something anomalous? This isn't how it's supposed to be?

    My sincere greetings,
    An Italian Citizen
Originally published on Indymedia Italia.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting read -

However, it is kind of vague. Does the fact that the It. PM owns so much, really mean tht Italy is undergoing `private nationalisation'.?

It's a pretty big leap from what this poster on Italian Indimedia says (the link you provided is broken, btw) and the suggestion that Berlusconi owns ALL or most of Italy...

January 26, 2009 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Jay Jordan said...

The term 'private nationalization' got my attention. Reading this I couldn't help but mentally compare Silvio Berlusconi and Lorenzo de Medici, at least in terms of wealth and power. Berlusconi's views on architecture are not as refined a Lorenzo the Magnificent's were in his time.

January 26, 2009 2:13 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Just tested it, and the link isn't broken - it's just not a direct link to the original post.

January 26, 2009 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Private Nationalization - does'nt Berlusconi own all of Italy if he owns all of the media? Its even worse than State owned media.

He also changed a lot of laws whilst in power, so as to protect himself and his friends from fraud.

I personally would not want a PM or government like that, yet I think it happens in every country all over the world but in more subtle ways.

January 27, 2009 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just knew he'd get back into power, not just because Prodi was a fairly supine politican but mostly because of Berlusconis vast media empire.

Apparently the same kind of thing is happening in Mexico, and frankly i can't see much difference in the long run between the ownership of huge oligarchical conglomerates by individuals, and the current norm of ownership by boards of directors.

January 27, 2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Wall-E

January 29, 2009 5:51 PM  

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