NAPLES, ITALY - 12 MAY 2020: A public housing complex is seen here in Ponticelli, a district in the outskirts of Naples, Italy, on May 12th 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic has precipitated one of the worst economic downturns in generations across the world. But few major economies are likely to suffer as much as Italy’s, or take longer to recover.
The health emergency has already left hundreds of thousands of Italians unable to pay for their own food for the first time. Experts warn that the poverty crisis is only just beginning, and that many of those who abruptly plunged into poverty may never be able to lift themselves out of it – even once the pandemic is over. Italy, more than its Western European neighbors, is ill-prepared to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Its big problem is that its economy never really recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, leaving families poorer and the government much more indebted today than it was then.
CREDIT: Gianni Cipriano for The Wall Street Journal