WHAT ITALY’S CHANGES OF GOVERNMENT MEAN (COMMENT). Elmer commented on yesterday’s post that: “For decades, Italy had many changes of government, but often these seemed to be reshuffles of familiar figures.” Some 45 years ago, I had conversations with an Italian lawyer about Italian politics. He told me that Americans made a mistake when they attached too much importance to each Italian “change of government”. He said that the changes usually consisted of shuffling of cabinet portfolios, which would not be called a change of government in the United States. If I looked at voting patterns, I would see that the broad patterns of votes were remarkably consistent, often changing only a couple percentage points from election to election.

Taleb believes that attempts to eliminate small risks can result in fewer but larger risks. The frequent changes in administrations in a country like Italy reduce the chances of severe major changes. Taleb expresses it: “[Italy] experiences a great deal of harmless political variability”

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