The Italian Economy Seen from Abroad over 150 Years
Since it became a united country, Italy was looked at with keen eyes by foreign economists, economic historians and policy makers. They wanted to see whether it would be possible for the economy of a country which had in the XVII and XVIII century regressed to the role of agricultural raw material exporter after having been the premier site of European industry, trade and especially finance, in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, to redress itself and join the industrial revolution making good use of its population and territory, which gave it the potential to be among the great powers of Europe. In this paper several instances of this are considered, focussing on foreign observers who concerned themselves with the Italian economy at different stages of its development. An attempt is made to see what influence their opinions had on Italian economic debate and Italian policy-making.
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