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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.


#296: Italy's A Nice Place, But The Neighborhood's Going Downhill

August 5th, 2011

Episode 398 of 974 episodes

Italy is in trouble. The country is getting sucked into Europe's debt crisis, and leaders around the continent are trying to figure out what to do about it. On today's show, we talk to a few Italians who describe how common tax evasion is in Italy, and how big the unofficial economy is. We also talk to Andrew Balls, head of European portfolio management at PIMCO — a guy whose job is figuring out whether to lend money to Italy. He says Italy isn't in such bad shape. Yes, it's debt is high. But its annual deficit is small, it didn't have a housing crisis and its banks are in decent shape. Italy's problem is that investors are getting nervous about its neighbors — Spain, Greece and Portugal. And that tends to spill over.

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