The Italian economic miracle or the Italian economic boom (Italian : il miracolo economico, or boom economico) is the term used by historians, economists and the mass media to designate the prolonged period of strong economic growth in Italy after the Second World War from the 1950s to the late 1960s, and in particular the years from 1950 to 1963. This phase of Italian history represented not only a cornerstone in the economic and social development of the country—which was transformed from a poor, mainly rural, nation into a global industrial power—but also a period of momentous change in Italian society and culture. As summed up by one historian, by the end of the 1970s, "social security coverage had been made comprehensive and relatively generous. The material standard of living had vastly improved for the great majority of the population."
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
After the end of World War II, Italy was in ruins and occupied by foreign armies, a condition that worsened the chronic development gap towards the more advanced European economies. However, the new geopolitical logic of the Cold War made possible that the former enemy Italy, a hinge-country between Western Europe and the Mediterranean, and now a new, fragile democracy threatened by the proximity of the Iron Curtain and the presence of a strong Communist party,was considered by the USA as an important ally for the Free World, and therefore a recipient of the generous aid provided by the Marshall Plan, receiving $1.5 billion from 1948 to 1952. The end of the Plan, that could have stopped the recovery, coincided with the crucial point of the Korea War (1950–1953), whose demand for metal and other manufactured products was a further stimulus to the growth of every kind of industry in Italy. In addition, the creation in 1957 of the European Common Market, of which Italy was among the founder members, provided more investments and eased exports.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe, and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.
Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is commonly used, there is no commonly agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
The above-mentioned highly favorable historical backgrounds, combined with the presence of a large and cheap stock of labour force, laid the foundations of a spectacular economic growth. The boom lasted almost uninterrupted until the "Hot Autumn's" massive strikes and social unrest of 1969–1970, that combined with the later 1973 oil crisis, gradually cooled the economy, which has never returned to its heady post-war growth rates. The Italian economy experienced an average rate of growth of GDP of 5.8% per year between 1951 and 1963, and 5.0% per year between 1964 and 1973.Italian rates of growth were second only, but very close, to the German rates, in Europe, and among the OEEC countries only Japan had been doing better. In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy personally praised Italy's extraordinary economic growth at an official dinner with Italian President Antonio Segni in Rome, stating that "the growth of [...] nation's economy, industry, and living standards in the postwar years has truly been phenomenal. A nation once literally in ruins, beset by heavy unemployment and inflation, has expanded its output and assets, stabilized its costs and currency, and created new jobs and new industries at a rate unmatched in the Western world".
The Hot Autumn of 1969–70 is a term used for a series of large strikes in factories and industrial centers of Northern Italy, in which workers demanded better pay and better conditions. In 1969 and 1970 there were over 440 hours of strikes in the region. The decrease in the flow of labour migration from Southern Italy had resulted in nearly full employment levels in the northern part of the country, meaning that the workforce there now had the leverage to start flexing its muscles.
The 1973 oil crisis began in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo. The embargo was targeted at nations perceived as supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The initial nations targeted were Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States with the embargo also later extended to Portugal, Rhodesia and South Africa. By the end of the embargo in March 1974, the price of oil had risen from US$3 per barrel to nearly $12 globally; US prices were significantly higher. The embargo caused an oil crisis, or "shock", with many short- and long-term effects on global politics and the global economy. It was later called the "first oil shock", followed by the 1979 oil crisis, termed the "second oil shock."
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period of time, often annually. GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect differences in the cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries; therefore using a basis of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) is arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards between nations.
The impact of the economic miracle on Italian society was huge. Fast economic expansion induced massive inflows of migrants from rural Southern Italy to the industrial cities of the North. Emigration was especially directed to the factories of the so-called "industrial triangle", the region placed between the major manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin and the seaport of Genoa. Between 1955 and 1971, around 9 million people are estimated to have been involved in inter-regional migrations in Italy, uprooting entire communities and creating large metropolitan areas.
Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.
Turin is a city and an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy. It is the capital city of the Metropolitan City of Turin and of the Piedmont region, and was the first capital city of Italy from 1861 to 1865. The city is located mainly on the western bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley, and is surrounded by the western Alpine arch and Superga Hill. The population of the city proper is 878,074 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 1.7 million inhabitants. The Turin metropolitan area is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 2.2 million.
Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits. As of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera.
The needs of a modernizing economy and society created a great demand for new transport and energy infrastructures. Thousands of miles of railways and highways were completed in record times to connect the main urban areas, while dams and power plants were built all over Italy, often without regard for geological and environmental conditions. A concomitant boom of the real estate market, increasingly under pressure by strong demographic growth and internal migrations, led to the explosion of urban areas. Vast neighborhoods of low-income apartments and social housing were built in the outskirts of many cities, leading over the years to severe problems of congestion, urban decay and street violence. The natural environment was constantly under strain by unregulated industrial expansion, leading to widespread air and water pollution and ecological disasters like the Vajont Dam disaster and the Seveso chemical accident, until a green consciousness developed starting from the 1980s.
Urban decay is the sociological process by which a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude. It may feature deindustrialization, depopulation or deurbanization, economic restructuring, abandoned buildings and infrastructure, high local unemployment, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, crime, and a desolate cityscape, known as greyfield or urban prairie. Since the 1970s and 1980s, urban decay has been associated with Western cities, especially in North America and parts of Europe. Since then, major structural changes in global economies, transportation, and government policy created the economic and then the social conditions resulting in urban decay.
The Vajont Dam is a disused dam, completed in 1959 in the valley of the Vajont River under Monte Toc, in the municipality of Erto e Casso, 100 km north of Venice, Italy. One of the tallest dams in the world, it is 262 metres (860 ft) high, 27 metres (89 ft) wide and 22.11 metres thick at the base and 191 metres (627 ft) wide and 3.4 metres thick at the top.
The Seveso disaster was an industrial accident that occurred around 12:37 pm on July 10, 1976, in a small chemical manufacturing plant approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Milan in the Lombardy region of Italy. It resulted in the highest known exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in residential populations, which gave rise to numerous scientific studies and standardized industrial safety regulations. The EU industrial safety regulations are known as the Seveso II Directive.
At the same time, the doubling of Italian GDP between 1950 and 1962had a massive impact on society and culture. Italian society, largely rural and excluded from the benefits of modern economy during the first half of the century, was suddenly flooded with a huge variety of cheap consumer goods, such as automobiles, televisions and washing machines. From 1951 to 1971, average per capita income in real terms trebled, a trend accompanied by significant improvements in consumption patterns and living conditions. In 1955, for instance, only 3% of households owned refrigerators and 1% washing machines, while by 1975 the respective figures were 94% and 76%. In addition, 66% of all homes had come to possess cars. In 1954 the national public broadcasting RAI began a regular television service.
The pervasive influence of the mass media and consumerism on society in Italy has often been fiercely criticized by intellectuals like Pier Paolo Pasolini and Luciano Bianciardi, who denounced it as a sneaky form of homologation and cultural decay. Popular movies like The Easy Life (1962) and I Mostri (1963) by Dino Risi, Il Boom (1963) by Vittorio De Sica and We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) by Ettore Scola all stigmatized selfishness and immorality that characterized the miracle's roaring years.
The economy of Italy is the 3rd-largest national economy in the eurozone, the 8th-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and the 12th-largest by GDP (PPP). Italy has a major advanced economy, and is a founding member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD, the G7 and the G20. Italy is the eighth largest exporter in the world with $514 billion exported in 2016. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. The largest trading partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.6%), France (11.1%), United States (6.8%), Switzerland (5.7%), United Kingdom (4.7%), and Spain (4.4%).
The economic history of Japan is most studied for the spectacular social and economic growth in the 1800s after the Meiji Restoration, when it became the first non-Western great power, and for its expansion after the Second World War, when Japan recovered from devastation to become the world's second largest economy behind the United States, and from 2013 behind China as well. Scholars have evaluated the nation's unique economic position during the Cold War, with exports going to both U.S.- and Soviet-aligned powers, and have taken keen interest in the situation of the post-Cold War period of the Japanese "lost decades".
The term Wirtschaftswunder, also known as the Miracle on the Rhine, describes the rapid reconstruction and development of the economies of West Germany and Austria after World War II. The expression referring to this phenomenon was first used by The Times in 1950.
Peter Temin is an economist and economic historian, currently Gray Professor Emeritus of Economics, MIT and former head of the Economics Department.
The term German model is most often used in economics to describe post-World War II West Germany's means of using innovative industrial relations, vocational training, and closer relationships between the financial and industrial sectors to cultivate economic prosperity.
The economic history of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization, whose economy appears to have depended significantly on trade and examples of overseas trade, notable being Indus-Mesopotamia relations. The Vedic period saw countable units of precious metal being used for exchange. The term Nishka appears in this sense in the Rigveda. Later Vedic period began codifying the ancient Indian population based on caste, a social stratification which created a hierarchy of priests (Brahmins), warriors (Kshatriyas), merchants (Vaishyas) and laborers (Shudras).
This article covers the development of Spain's economy over the course of its history.
The European Miracle: Environments, Economies and Geopolitics in the History of Europe and Asia is a book written by Eric Jones in 1981 to refer to the sudden rise of Europe during the late Middle Ages. Ahead of the Islamic and Chinese civilizations, Europe steadily rose since the Early Modern period to a complete domination of world trade and politics that remained unchallenged until the early 20th century.
Les Trente Glorieuses refers to the thirty years from 1945 to 1975 following the end of the Second World War in France. The name was first used by the French demographer Jean Fourastié. Fourastié coined the term in 1979 with the publication of his book Les Trente Glorieuses, ou la révolution invisible de 1946 à 1975. The term is derived from Les Trois Glorieuses, the three days of revolution on 27–29 July 1830 in France.
The Japanese economic miracle is known as Japan's record period of economic growth between the post-World War II era to the end of the Cold War. During the economic boom, Japan rapidly became the world's second largest economy. By the 1990s, Japan's demographics began stagnating and the workforce was no longer expanding as it did in previous decades, despite per-worker productivity remaining high.
The Greek economic miracle is the period of sustained economic growth in Greece from 1950 to 1973. During this period, the Greek economy grew by an average of 7.7%, second in the world only to Japan.
General elections were held in Italy on Sunday 7 June 1953, to choose the Second Republican Parliament. They were a test for leading centrist coalition ruled by Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi.
Nicholas Francis Robert Crafts CBE is Professor of Economics and Economic History at the University of Warwick, a post he has held since 2005. Previously he was a Professor of Economic History at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) between 1995-2005. He also teaches for the TRIUM Global Executive MBA Program, an alliance of NYU Stern, the LSE and HEC School of Management. His main fields of interest are the British economy in the last 200 years, European economic growth, historical data on the British economy, the Industrial Revolution and international income distribution, especially with reference to the Human Development Index. He has produced a substantial body of papers for academic journals, the British government and international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.
The Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale, best known by its acronym IRI, was an Italian public holding company established in 1933 by the Fascist regime to rescue, restructure and finance banks and private companies that went bankrupt during the Great Depression. After the Second World War, IRI played a pivotal role in the Italian economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s. It was dissolved in 2002.
The Brazilian Miracle was a period of exceptional economic growth in Brazil during the rule of the Brazilian military government. During this time the average annual GDP growth was close to 10%. The greatest economic growth was reached during the tenure of President Emílio Garrastazu Médici from 1969 to 1973.
This article covers the Economic history of Europe from about 1000 AD to the present. For the context, see History of Europe.
The post–World War II economic expansion, also known as the Golden Age of Capitalism, postwar economic boom, the long boom, was a period of strong economic growth beginning after World War II and ending with the 1973–75 recession. The United States, Soviet Union, Western European and East Asian countries in particular experienced unusually high and sustained growth, together with full employment. Contrary to early predictions, this high growth also included many countries that had been devastated by the war, such as Japan, West Germany and Austria (Wirtschaftswunder), South Korea, France, Italy, and Greece.
This is a history of the economy of Italy. For more information on historical, cultural, demographic and sociological developments in Italy, see the chronological era articles in the template to the right. For more information on specific political and governmental regimes in Italy, see the Kingdom and Fascist regime articles.
Tadashi Sasaki was a Japanese central banker and 22nd Governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ).
The Belgian economic miracle was a period of rapid economic growth in Belgium after World War II, principally between 1945 and 1948. It was characterised by parallel trends of rising employment and real wages and low inflation, leading to improvements in living standards. It was roughly contemporary with the Wirtschaftswunder in West Germany and part of the period of worldwide postwar economic expansion in the late 1940s and 1950s.