Mario Monti is our new "technocrat" prime minister and his "austerity package" was approved by our Senate. It's a €30 billion ($39 billion) package of tax hikes and pension changes, see "Monti Wins Confidence Vote in Italy’s Lower House". Besides numbers and analysis, yesterday I was walking into the center of Florence, and I've never see so few people walking in the streets (without packages). Monti says that now a "second phase" of reforms is going to start. They are meant to unblock the medieval Italian socioeconomic particularistic structure and foster more modern and universalistic competition. Usually in Italy such a second phase is always announced. But the government always falls before the start of the second phase. Let's see-hope. Particularism is an old Italian problem (see next post).