Brave New Catalonia

Catalonia IndependenceCatalonia independence

Ever since the nationalists in Catalonia flared a low key rebellion against Madrid, the region seems close to the world depicted by Aldous Huxley. They are attempting to create a brand new life, erasing all Spanish vestiges from early childhood onwards. Even personal emotions or individual behaviour which falls outside the independence goal become conspicuous deviations. At most, ill-judged and fruitless activities.

Against this backdrop of brain-washing, it seems almost a miracle that a majority of voters cast their ballots for non-independent parties in the last elections. The polls being regarded as the proxy to a referendum, their result cannot warrant any push for setting up the so-called Catalonian Republic. The nationalists will govern by narrowly securing an overall majority in the regional Parliament. But they lack enough popular backing for splitting Catalonia from the rest of Spain. They will no doubt pursue their ultimate objective, betting on the fact that time works in their favour. In some years,  they hope to attract enough followers to turn the tide forever.

Any open conflict sacrifices human lives for what each party regards as the right cause. Fortunately, the Catalonian rift will likely see no bloodshed. Yet those unwilling to cave into nationalist pressure are suffering daily bullying and harassment. Hatred runs so high that rampant violence might erupt at any time. To some extent, it has already happened in economics terms. All individuals in Catalonia, regardless of their faith, are facing dire prospects as investment plunges and production stalls, dampening employment and growth.

The road map to independence openly recognises that a couple of generations will become victims of the process as living standards plummet. Many are ready to endure such a sacrifice as the price to pay for creating a new country. Let’s hope most people react swiftly to prevent a collective self-immolation. Otherwise, the backlash will drive Catalonia into an economic free-fall, while severely hurting Spain as a whole.

About the Author

JP Marin Arrese
Juan Pedro Marín Arrese is a Madrid-based economic analyst and observer. He regularly publishes articles in the Spanish leading financial newspaper 'Expansión'.