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Without entering into the political merits of the question, this essay attempts to outline the economic-institutional and structural problems which the Italian economy now has to address, problems too often swept under the carpet or distorted under the pressure of events and short-term economic emergency. It is thus possible to interpret the piece as a sort of memo for the government produced by the general election of April 21 1996. The author observes the Italian economy from a non-traditional viewpoint, that of markets and their operation. Hence his onus on the centrality of the crises of the stock exchange and money markets (par. 2) and, secondarily, of banks (par. 3), the effect of which is to deplete the Italian business world (par. 4). Favourable elements are also discernible, however; they offer opportunities that need to be exploited now (par. 5).