When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Italy: The Strange Ambivalence Of Looking To The Future

Two mounted police patrol Rome, Italy.
Two mounted police patrol Rome, Italy.
Mario Deaglio


ROME — "Curiouser and curiouser!" the famously ungrammatical exclamation from Alice in Wonderland in the 1865 Lewis Carroll classic. The current situation created by the pandemic is certainly not wonderful, but it is quite curious, and grows stranger and stranger with every passing day.

We are caught between the willingness to continue the social distancing measures, as that is the only way to defeat the virus, and the desire to start living again, because only in that way will we be able to move to a better place, beyond just ensuring our physical wellbeing. We are in a sort of indescribable limbo, with the number of positive cases still rising, but the speed of this growth decreasing, putting us on the apparent cusp of a shift from a medical to an economic crisis.

We are caught between the willingness to continue the social distancing measures, and the desire to start living again.

Businesses in Italy, especially large and medium-sized ones, have until now managed to stay afloat, albeit with increasing difficulty. Supply chains have held up, and, although it may be challenging, this could go on for another few months without grave consequences for them. The lockdown has lead to an unexpected increased civic awareness, both inside and out of the hospitals. All the while this has become increasingly unbearable on the schooling of children and the pocketbooks of adults (and business).

Grass and flowers grow in the cracks ofthe pavement in Plebiscito square, in the city center. Photo: Salvatore Laporta/IPA

On one hand, there are factories eager to turn their conveyor belts back on to preserve their bottom line — and indeed, to hope have a future at all; on the other hand, there are individuals who risk having no future at all without the availability of a respirator or a bed in the ICU. We are stuck in between the necessity to stay safe today and to be flexible to what tomorrow may bring — all with the European Union negotiating how and how much they will help us.

It is hence not a battle between capital and labor, and for that reason it is difficult to draw up a strategy. Our traditional ways of conceptualizing society have become outdated — it is no longer a battle between winners and losers, but rather the necessity to reconciling different interests — and to do so quickly.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest