Italy: Butterflies in the Boom

Italy's sensational consumer economy has soared to new heights—but Italian bankers and economists worry that it has risen on the wings of butterflies. "Butterflies" is the Italian nickname for cambiali, the instant-credit promissory notes that flit from one holder to an other through Italy's credit-happy economy. No one knows for sure the exact value of the cambiali now in circulation in Italy, but knowledgeable bankers estimate that their worth may equal the total value of Italy's currency. Cambiali have become so much a part of Italian life that Cinema Director Vittorio De Sica has just produced a movie —fittingly...

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