From 1950 to 1990, Italy’s income per capita growth rate was second in the world only to that of South Korea (Dornbusch et al. 1993) and was certainly the fastest growing among the main European countries (Boltho et al. 2001). It put the country’s citizens, at the end of that period, near the income per capita of France and Germany. For a few years, the per capita income of Italians was even higher than that of Britons. Italians thought they had made it back into the fold of the developed world. Their demography had become that of a mature economy, and they looked forward, as members of the Exchange Rate Mechanism of the European Monetary System (EMS), to European monetary unification, which beckoned at only a few years’ distance.