When Italy’s Escalator Ground to a Halt

Postwar Italy’s “escalator” system kept wages ahead of price hikes. In the 1980s, a socialist government brought it grinding to a halt — sending workers’ incomes on a decades-long downward trend.

In August 1983, Bettino Craxi became Italy’s first Socialist prime minister — but it didn’t herald a triumph for socialism, or even for his Partito Socialista Italiano. Craxi is today most infamous for destroying that hundred-year-old party in a corruption scandal that resulted in him fleeing to Tunisia to avoid jail time. He also played a decisive […]

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