Archive for the Economics Category

Italian pharmacies: the fairy tale capitalism

Posted in Daily Life, Economics, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Jul 04, 2008 by Cicero

Pharmacies are one of the most globalized entities in the world. I mean, a drugstore always works more or less in the same way: you go there and get the medicines necessary to improve your health. Of course, there are some variations, but the overall model is like this.

As you might expect, things are a bit different in Italy. Here, although there are pharmacies, they have an old fashioned way. A number of Italian idiosyncrasies produces an atmosphere of the fifties.

First of all, the drug market is state controlled, with tabled drug prices, and no price competition among pharmacies.

Additionally, the pharmacies have the monopoly to sell drugs, even the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. That is, to get something simple as a Tylenol (which is called here Tachipirina) you have to go to a pharmacy. No chance to find it at a supermarket!

And all pharmacies are family-owned businesses. No drugstore chains and no competition, my friend. It is simply forbidden to establish a drugstore chain in Italy. Every pharmacy belongs to a family and attends to a particular region.

As a result, Italian pharmacies form a fairy tale capitalism: controlled prices, regional monopolies, family-owned businesses and no competition. That is the real Italy. An unreal country.

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Embracing the reality: Italy needs immigration

Posted in Economics, Immigration, Paradoxes, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on Jun 21, 2008 by Cicero

Let’s face it. Italy is an old country, not only considering its history, but also considering its current population. Comparing Italy’s population to that of one of the BRICs (Brazil), it is evident that both countries are in different phases, considering population distribution.

Italy - population pyramid

Brazil - population pyramid

DTM (Demographic Transition) is a model used to explain how a population behaves during the time. This model has five stages in which a country population can be placed. The Stage Five has countries whose populations are reproducing below their replacement levels. Clearly speaking, countries unable to produce enough children to replace their parents, in the future.

Italy is in Stage Five. Without a significant immigration effort, the Italian population will soon begin to fall, with obvious geopolitical and economical consequences.

Italy will soon be unable to produce wealth for its next generations. Without a smart immigration policy Italy will be unable to cope with future changes, to innovate.

Italy will continue shrink in power, wealth and intelligence.