…but does the premier know what's gong on in his “company-state”? (Berlusconi loves to say that the efficiency of the state must be inspired by the efficiency of a company).
Imagine that Power steals and commits injustices and that the opposition, instead of standing up against the Power, goes out to club the people who are protesting.
This paradoxical scenario, that would have been a bit excessive even for the ambitions of a leader like Africa's Bokassa, took place right here in Italy, a nation that is a top member of the drawing room of modern democracies.
Let's imagine that foreign cigarette manufacturers, who own and dominate the Italian market, today, are the “power” and that the Italian State Monopoly – AAMS (Azienda Autonoma Monopoli di Stato), in its role as controller, represents the collectivity.
If Big Tobacco tries to act in its own interests with every means, the AAMS should watch over it to make sure that whatever happens complies with the laws and follows the rules.
Except for Yesmokes, all the cigarettes we find on the shelves of Italian tobacco shops today, including our “Nazionali”, are the property of foreign companies. These companies do not pay taxes in Italy and they are transferring all their production outside the country. We are talking about a sector worth 14 billion euro a year in tax revenues.
In this scenario, here are the actions of the AAMS:
- It is safeguarding the interests of foreign companies and giving away the revenues of the State.
- It closes its eyes to the operations of foreign companies; specifically allowing them to carry out promotional activities and to violate European Community laws on publicity.
- The AAMS has openly lined up with the power against Yesmoke, the “intruder” in the cigarette market, and it has tried in every way to neutralize the newcomer with obstruction tactics, even pushing into fields where it has no responsibility. Worse still if the intruder is Italian and is alone in opposing the perverse system.
The ridiculous Italian anomaly
The problem, and a big one it is, is that the general public is not represented, as the apparatuses of the State are acting in the interests of the adverse party. This Italian anomaly, that would be excessive even in the dictatorship of a third world country, helps us to understand how it was possible for Philip Morris to have a discount of 60 billion euro on tobacco taxes and how 98 billion euro disappear in taxes on slot machines.
And it explains how it is possible to sweep all this under the carpet without anyone having anything to say about it; and this includes Berlusconi, to whom it seems like the equivalent of a number of annual financial budgets is of no interest.
The fact that the State Monopoly is acting almost openly against an awkward intruder is the real thermometer of this seriously degenerated situation.
And it's going to be fun when Italy is fined by the European Commission for not abolishing the minimum cigarette price, in spite of the suit won by Yesmoke. And as usual, “Italy” will use the tax money of the Italian people to pay this fine.
Fines like this should have a deterrent effect on particular behaviour, but in this case, unfortunately, it will probably be less useful than a fine for no parking issued to an undisciplined driver.
Isn't all this grotesque? Who are those obtuse people who have led the system of the corrupt into this blind alleyway?
If anyone has bet on this unacceptable and ridiculous anomaly, not only has he chosen the losing horse, he has chosen the horse that won't even make it to the finish line.
Jean-Bédel Bokassawas the extravagant dictator of the Central African Republic, and then emperor of the Central African Empire, with the name of Bokassa I.
This leader, ruthless and cannibal, was deposed in 1979.
For his coronation, that was planned to reflect the one of Napoleon, Bokassa spent an astronomical sum, which totally depleted the already meagre resources of the poor African state.
THE ITALIAN PARADOX – What is the purpose of the Italian State Monopoly – “Monopolio dello Stato? Soon even our famous “Nazionali” cigarettes will be entirely manufactured abroad. Today all the Italian cigarette brands are owned by foreign companies.
The all Italian paradox is that the State Monopolies exist today and safeguard the interests of these foreign companies, and they are perfectly in agreement with that elite of ass-kissers who control everything in the country with public funds, giving away to their foreign friends billions of euro, fruit of the work of Italian workers and taxpayers.