Counting the Cost
Debt, default and downgrade
Who is to blame for Italy's debt crisis - and how will it affect the global economy?
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2011 09:21

Just when you thought Europe's debt problems had gone quiet, Rome steps into the firing line, but is it Italian politics to blame?

Perhaps the situation is not as acute as it was in the US with its potential debt default, but there is a lot of investor discontent with Italy, from those who think it is headed the same way as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

In fact, the lack of political leadership in Rome, Brussels and Washington has wiped trillions of dollars off the value of global stock markets.

Italy is the Eurozone's third biggest economy, but has the region's second biggest debt, at around 120 per cent of its GDP. Greece, as a comparison, has about 160 per cent.

Italian debt stand at $2.6 trillion, which is more than the total borrowing of Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

And the country is not exactly expanding. The IMF forecasts just one per cent growth this year, down from 1.3 per cent in 2010. Many experts are expecting a default.

So who is to blame? What can be done? And what does it mean for the European debt crisis?

Also on Counting the Cost: Botswana is Africa's most prosperous and arguably most peaceful country, largely because of the discovery of the world's richest diamond deposits some 40 years ago.

But now the mines are past their peak, and Botswana needs to restructure its economy, or risk the consequences. What is Botswana going to do now the mines are emptying out?

And past the fake Apple stores and copied designs - can China find some real, home-grown innovation? 

Beijing is trying to change the negative perceptions of Chinese production with the help of investment funds that support indigenous innovation through technolgy incubators.


Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630.

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