ITALY: Victim of Affluence

In 1946, Industrialist Ferdinando Innocenti had an idea that put a nation on wheels. He made a stubby, inexpensive motor scooter: something more than a bike but less than a motorcycle. He called it the Lambretta, and Italians, too poor to buy autos, rapidly embraced it as their family vehicle. Premier Alcide de Gasperi boasted before he died that his regime had "given the motor scooter to the people." Pope Pius XII once publicly praised the motor scooters for "raising the level of life of the social categories who cannot buy more costly means of transport.'' Archbishop Giovanni Battista...

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