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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Arrivederci, democrazia

The names on the list of his ministers – most of which were unknown to members of the Italian general public – showed that Monti had failed in his attempt to involve party representatives. His cabinet was made up exclusively of non-aligned specialists.

“The absence of political personalities in the government will help rather than hinder a solid base of support for the government in parliament and in the political parties because it will remove one ground for disagreement,” he said.

The Guardian speaks of the absence of “party representatives” in Italy’s government. The Times (behind a paywall) is more frank: Italy ditches democracy as row blazes over how to save the euro.

A new row blew up between France and Germany yesterday over how to save the euro as Mario Monti, Italy’s new Prime Minister, appointed an all technocrat Cabinet that does not include a single elected politician.

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15 comments to Arrivederci, democrazia

  • I’m of two minds of this. After all, why should the political parties be the gatekeeper to public office? And considering that they’ve failed, do the really deserve to be selected as the new interim cabinet?

    One of the things that irritated me was that the first report I heard about the new cabinet made a substantial point of mentioning how many vulvas there would be in the new cabinet, as if that should matter.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Why not just restore the old dukes and mini-monarchs of Italy? If you are going to remove those pesky, annoying elections, one might as well do things with a certain style.

    (sarcasm alert).

  • Hugo

    Since when did Libertarians support democracy?

    I personally have no problem with a prime minister appointing whoever he wants to his cabinet, and I have no problem with a parliament appointing whoever they want as prime minister.

    But it is unusual for a parliament to appoint as PM someone who is not an MP. How did Monti become PM?

    The problem is not unelected technocrats. That system works fine for business. The problem is moronic technocrats with a false theory of economics, within a system which doesn’t allow anyone to exercise *judgement*, and no Darwinian mechanism for getting rid of people who get bad results (because of their false theory of economics). The bad results achieved by inflationist economics of all kinds has not led to anyone in power rejecting inflationist economics, because they benefit from it. What we need is a system to align incentives: to allow politicians to personally benefit without resorting to things which screw up the rest of the country (like inflationist economics).

  • Cyclefree

    It really doesn’t matter what laws this government passes. Italians won’t obey them.

    “Fatta la legge, trovato l’inganno.”

  • Since when did Libertarians support democracy?

    I put my own views on that into a post called This great isonomy of ours.

    Still, this democracy stuff used to be quite well regarded. Indeed the EU and its predecessors the EC and the EEC used to be seen as a Good Thing precisely because it was seen to promote and preserve democracy, particularly in countries who had little history of it. Strange to see it go with scarcely even a whimper.

  • Hugo

    Johnathan, what about the Doges? Restore the merchant aristocracy Republics of Venice and Genoa!

    And look what happened to Naples: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2008/04/open-letter-pt-2-more-historical.html

  • RRS

    What on earth (or in any other “beamed up” place) are you talking about?

    Is “Democracy” dead in the U.S.? Are the members of the Cabinet (heads of departments) elected pols.?

    Non-“parliamentary” Ministers – undemocratic – c’mon!

  • the other rob

    Of course Hobson’s choice between interchangeable scoundrels wearing different coloured rosettes is not, necessarily, democracy.

  • PeterT

    How did Monti become PM

    Hugo, they made him a Senator for life. A bit like Gordon Brown gave Mandelson a peerage (made him a Lord) in order to bring him in to the cabinet of the last government.

  • For myself, I think this is a useful development as it shows that the EU has nothing but contempt for democracy.

    If the EU has it’s way, then this is what national governments will be like within a Federal EU, little more than local technocrats whose only role is the rubber stamping of EU rules in the local parliament.

    Time to bring this house of cards crashing down.

  • Rich Rostrom

    RRS: in the U.S. and other President/Congress states (i.e. the republics of South America, the heads of departments are appointed by the elected executive, with the approval of the elected legislature. The executive and legislature must answer to the voters for the performance of the appointees, who may be removed at will by the executive.

    In a parliamentary state, such as Italy, the ministers are chosen by and from the parliament, which answers to the voters. The present Italian ministers were not chosen from the parliament, which removes one of the two controls the voters have over the choice of ministers.

    (But only one. The ministers are still responsible to the parliament, which is still responsible to the voters. This is more important. The requirement that ministers be MPs makes them answerable only to voters in a few indivdual constituencies.)

  • RRS

    Perhaps I err, though I worked in Italy for a time.

    I believe the President appoints the PM, and the PM appoints the cabinet. Parliament has the power of “no confidence” to require the President to start over, with a structure to which parliament will accede.

    There are, of course, reasons (mostly of political power) to include elected MPs as ministers, and parliamnet can reject a “government” ( administration) that does not diffuse power to its liking. In Italy today, they are looking to diffuse responsibility rather than share power.

    It works. It is still “democratic.”

  • Surellin

    Il Duce would love it. Government by technocrats with none of that messy political jostling and disagreement. The only problem is, as was mentioned, the Italian public will just give the bad finger to whatever laws they don’t like. See current events in Greece. Have things in Italy become so radioactive that no one at all is willing to create a government or even join a national government?

  • Is it the marriage of corporate (monopoly capitalist) interests and the state? If so, it is fascism. Again.

    If it is instead the traditional socialist tyranny of middle europe, it is less surprising.

    Completely unsurprising is the bureaucrat class attempts to reinstate the technocracy that the 1980s capitalist piracy of the UK and USA overturned.