The Future of the Western Liberal Order: The Case of Italy
One year after Silvio Berlusconi’s exit from Italian government, will the style and culture he brought to government over the past generation be seen to have exited with him? Berlusconi oversaw a period in which Italy’s democratic procedures, already historically weak, saw marked deterioration. The country’s internal polarization, populist politics, clientelist culture, structural economic weaknesses, regional imbalances, and politicized media were all exacerbated during his time in office. In the post-Berlusconi era, how are Italy’s structural problems being addressed, and what major challenges remain? To what extent is the Italian experience limited to Italy and to what degree is this a case in a larger complex of issues and trends being confronted by other Western democracies? This paper explores these questions.