Highlights of Mario Draghi’s career
February 10, 2021 - Italy’s political parties on both the left and right are backing Mario Draghi to form a technocratic government. Crippled with a debt load at almost 160% of gross domestic product and a raging pandemic, Italy faces one of its biggest challenges since World War II.
However, members of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement want a clearer picture of Draghi’s programme before committing.
Draghi is famously known for pledging to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro in 2012. During his eight-year stint as President of European Central Bank, he made unlimited purchases of eurozone government bonds using quantitative easing -- printing money. By 2018 the ECB had ended its bond-buying programme after spending €2.6 trillion ($3.15 trillion).
He studied economics in Rome, taking a doctorate in 1977 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT he was supervised by Nobel prizewinner Franco Modigliani, an influential Keynesian economist. The latter broadly followed the concept that increased government expenditures and lower taxes stimulate demand.
His longest job was a decade at the Italian Treasury. He arrived in 1991 during a crisis in which foreign investors speculated against the lira, leading to a sharp devaluation. The political system, corrupted from the core, finally imploded a few months later.
Between 1991 and 2001 Draghi embarked on a massive privatisation programme -- from banks to utilities. A move condemned by critics as a fire sale of Italy’s crown jewels.
Now, as Draghi forms a new government to relaunch Italy’s economy, he will have the power of a €209 billion ($253 billion) European Union stimulus package of grants and loans.