18 September 2007

Pasta or gasoline...

Pasta strike

Last week there was an event in Italy that I think helps to symbolize some of the differences there are about life in Italy versus the United States – there was a nationwide pasta strike. I studied economics when I was in college and have always had an interest in financial issues. Many times these issues can be much more complicated than the media may make them and thus I think many times many people have a misconception of the things that really affect their lives.

For example, in economics there is always the discussion of inflation as one of the gauges an economy but for many people this is a concept they do not completely grasp. However, Americans understand the price of gasoline completely. I recall that the newspapers in Albuquerque weekly listed the prices of a gallon of gas locally and statewide. When there was a change in the price of gasoline this would many times be the lead story for the evening news both on a local and national basis. If you asked any person on the street they could probably tell you the price of a gallon of gasoline within one or two cents.

During last week’s pasta strike people were encouraged to refrain from buying pasta for one day as a complaint about the price of pasta. In America I had heard of “gas strikes” but never a food strike because of the price. Based on what I see in the newspapers and what people discuss it seems that here the economy is gauged on the price of food, not on the price of oil. I have seen many articles on the price of pasta, bread and a cup of coffee but very few on the price of gasoline. To me this is very indicative of the differences of the lifestyles of Italians and Americans.

In Italy, food reigns supreme.

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