Author Roberto Saviano & Professor Nouriel Roubini Examine the Crisis in Italy & the US
Author and journalist Roberto Saviano and Professor Nouriel Roubini sat down with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, chair of NYU’s Department of Italian Studies, to share their perspectives on the financial crisis, criminal activities and money laundering, and how they undermine trust in the global financial system.
Presented by NYU’s Department of Italian Studies, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the Global and Joint Program Studies at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and hosted at NYU Stern, the event drew some 400 students, faculty, press and members of the community to campus.
Best known for Gomorrah (Mondadori, 2006), which exposed the economic and financial dealings of the Neapolitan Camorra, Saviano served as the Vivian G. Prins Global Scholar Fellow at NYU’s Department of Italian Studies, teaching a graduate seminar on the Mafia, during the fall 2011 semester. In October 2011, he won the PEN/Pinter Writer of Courage Award.
Saviano, who spoke in Italian, described the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been laundered over the last 10 years, implicating many of the world’s largest banks. He stressed the importance of understanding the connection between legal and illegal communities, and underscored that both Italy and the US have a fundamental role in addressing today’s illegal economic activities. The world has lowered its guard on illegal activities and has stopped doing its job of policing them, claimed Saviano.
Professor Roubini reinforced the importance of studying crisis economics, criminal economics and linkages between the two disciplines. He asserted that Europe and the United Kingdom are in a double-dip recession, and that the US is also at risk. The key to resolving economic duress in the euro zone, he explained, is not only fiscal reform, but also economic growth and job creation. Turning back to the US, he warned that the country is not investing enough in education and infrastructure, and in many ways, is falling behind in today’s competitive global marketplace. Pointing to Occupy Wall Street, protests in London and the Arab Spring, he also explained how rising economic inequality is manifesting itself in various ways around the world.