By Eddy Montilla.
Seven years ago, when I wrote an article to explain why Spain would need at least 10 years to get out of its economic crisis, people called me an idiot and used several offensive epithets that cannot even be mentioned. Three years before my prediction comes true, Spain’s unemployment rate hovers around 20.90% (46.0% among young people), facts that will continue for many years more. But I do not bring this up to brag about it. In fact, this is one of the few moments when to be right is sad rather than gratifying since only a sadist or irrational person can enjoy a prediction that sent a whole generation of young people to an uncertain present and future.
Spain went from the world’s eighth largest economy in 2007 to the fourteenth in 2015 if we take as a parameter its gross domestic product. This position would be lower if it were not for its geographic and historic condition that let the country benefit from millions of tourists every year. However, tourism, as an economic driving force, can mend “Spain’s pieces of clothing, but it will not buy it a “new dress”. Spain’s government, the ruling Party and supporters justify their administration by saying that the economic growth in that country is above the European average. These views, coming from politicians, are understandable because that’s exactly what they usually do: To try to convince people by telling them fairy stories in which they are doing everything right. But what I cannot understand is why many people in Spain swallow these fairy stories without even thinking what they are eating about.
Let me put forward this idea clearly and explicitly: Can we really talk about economic growth in Spain? The truth is that the economic crisis has touched the bottom and since it cannot grow deeper, it’s trying to float to the surface to put behind the negative numbers in which it has been swimming all these years. In Spain, therefore, it is impossible to talk about real economic growth until the country reaches the level it had before the crisis, and in order to reach that level, two things, in my opinion, are really important: First, public expenditure cuts must continue and, second, it is necessary to promote the creation of permanent jobs instead of the thousands of short term jobs the Government has created and boast about.
The way Spain has faced its economic crisis is absolutely commendable. However, with an aging population, low birth rate and a generation of young people without jobs, that country will need almost a miracle to go back to the comfortable position it had before 2008. Unfortunately, as judged by the number of parishioners who go to church these days, God seems to be like a fashion of yesteryear. Then, where will the economic miracle come from?
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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