Italy: Year of the Sboom

The Italians have a word for what has been happening to their economy lately: sboom. An s placed before certain Italian words turns them into their opposites, and "unboom" just fits the bill. When Italy's postwar economic miracle suddenly began to fade last year, the sboom set in. Last winter and into the spring, the lira wobbled and fled the country in uncounted millions. The stock market dived, and inflation rampaged. Italy's economy, further unsteadied by continuing political crisis, looked sick indeed.

Now the Italians are congratulating themselves on a second miracle: the...

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