Luigi Federico Signorini: "Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. Writings in the Nuova Antologia"

Speech by Mr Luigi Federico Signorini, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Italy, at the meeting to celebrate the publication of "Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. Writings in the Nuova Antologia", organized by the Bank of Italy, Florence, 12 March 2018.

Central bank speech  | 
15 March 2018

Introduction

  1. On the day Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was born in Livorno, on 9 December 1920, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera featured, among other things, a political and institutional maelstrom and two important economic questions. The former was related to the Government's 'resolution to apply the Treaty of Rapallo'. Under the treaty, the city of Fiume (hotly contested by Italy and Yugoslavia in the wave of nationalist sentiment that followed the end of the European war and the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire) was to become an independent state. Gabriele d'Annunzio's self-proclaimed Italian Regency of Carnaro was opposed to this solution, and called instead for Fiume's annexation by Italy. A few weeks later, the 'Bloody Christmas' clashes signalled the end of the Regency under the guns of the Italian navy and army, sent by the last Giolitti government. As for the two economic questions, one regarded the regulated price of bread: this had been set during the war but by 1920 had become unrealistic owing to wartime inflation and had to be heavily subsidized, creating a gaping hole in the public accounts. The abolition of the subsidy was entrusted by Giolitti to Marcello Soleri, Under Secretary for Food Provisioning and Consumption, and was approved in February 1921. Although it met with strong opposition at the time from several political parties (as reported in the Corriere), the measure made a substantial contribution to rebalancing the budget. The second question was the subject of a second-page article written by Luigi Luzzatti, entitled 'Nuova carta moneta?' ('New paper money?'), which allowed the newspaper to highlight the 'deep concern about an increase in money in circulation which is having noticeable effects on prices and exchange rates'. 'If prices and exchange rates go up, the money press is to blame', observed the columnist.