Solving Sicily

Sicily

According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal written by Stacy Meichtry and Liam Molony, Sicily is in the process of going bust. It’s governor resigned after seeking a bailout from Rome, but Rome has only a sieve to offer.

I had a few minutes to spare so I thought I’d solve the problem. The precedent could be useful.

Two other pieces are needed.

First, the Republic of Singapore is a well organized, prosperous country. It is a major financial center, has a significant oil refining industry, is one of the busiest ports in the world and has a notable gambling industry.  It also has a very effective government viewed by some as too authoritarian. It’s triple A rating means it has a giant pail not a sieve.

Second, Goldman Sachs is laying people off.

It might not be too much of a stretch to imagine that Sicily has pretty much none of Singapore’s strengths.  Some have gone so far as to question the commitment of local government officials to fighting corruption.

Instead of laying off those fine young investment bankers with seven-figure salaries, Goldman Sachs should set them to work selling Sicily to Singapore.  Sicily will prosper with everything Singapore has to offer especially the authoritarian government.There might even be a few lira in it for Rome (or euros, whichever is worth more).

Singapore would get some much-needed geographic diversification and an excellent satellite operation centrally located in the Mediterranean. Fewer pirates too.

The fine young investment bankers would get hefty bonuses with which to buy fat cigars and Manolo Blahniks.

Sicily would get saved.

Far-fetched?  What do you think you do when you can’t sell bonds?  You sell assets.

Italy better hurry or Greece will find out. Or California.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303612804577533142055417510.html?KEYWORDS=stacy+meichtry

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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  • My maternal grandmother and grandfather both emigrated to the USA from Sicily with their parents , at age 5 in 1905. Their families detested Sicily. It was a poor place, dominated by landlords and aristocracy, with no way to get ahead.
    My grandparents told me on dozens of occasions that ” In Sicily, everybody who had Get Up And Go, Got Up and LEFT.” It remains a backwards place. When your biggest draws are olive trees, some half baked beaches, a few ruined Greek temples and a volcano, it’s time to go. Arrivaderci.