Fiat Runs Out of Petrol

ALESSANDRO FUCARINI/AP

AUTO-DA-FE: Fiat workers protest layoffs in Palermo, Sicily

Down here in the poor south, the industrial formula is all too familiar: a northern business magnate learns to leverage his economic power to make the wheels in Rome turn in his favor. And with the government providing a shield — from both competitors and economic downturns — the richest in the land grow ever richer. Silvio Berlusconi comes first to most minds, having multiplied his real-estate earnings into unprecedented wealth in the 1980s after a sweet government deal helped him launch his private media empire. Sixteen months after he moved into the Prime Minister's office, Berlusconi quietly remains Italy's wealthiest...

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