By Carlo De Benedetti
The opinions expressed are his own.
In a magnificent book published a few years ago Cormac McCarthy imagines a man and a child, father and son, pushing a shopping cart containing what little they have left, along a back road somewhere in America. Ten years earlier the world was destroyed by a nameless catastrophe that turned it into a dark, cold place without life.
There is no history and there is no future. But there is an objective: to head south toward the sea. Mythical places, only vaguely perceived, where there might be salvation. The father is getting older and is ever more weary. But he has the child with him. And he has his objective. He wants to take him southward to the sea. Toward a future that may still be possible.
Today, is the western economy, in particular the Italian economy, that world destroyed by an Apocalypse? Are we pushing that cart, containing the few things we have left, toward a mythical sea of which we know nothing, or even what it is like or where it is?
Re-reading the book I was tempted to think this. To think that those pages, written in 2006, were in some way a prophesy of what we are living through today. Never before has an entire productive system, our own, been so fundamentally questioned.
I have been convinced for some time now that the huge financial crisis of the last few years is the litmus test of a deeper crisis to do with the universal economic order that has lasted through the centuries, with a shift of the balance of world wealth toward new countries.