SPEAKERS CORNER… by franklyfrancophone
Catalonia is a nation within the Spanish state, with its own language and culture. For many years the Catalans were subjected to oppressive laws aimed at promoting a homogeneous Spain by the imposition of a single language and the centralization of power. The state sought to extinguish any identity other than the Spanish or Castilian one. In 1978, after the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco had come to an end at long last, Catalonia gained a certain measure of autonomy, but today Spain is limiting the Generalitat’s capacity to govern in the spheres of justice, the economy and language issues.
Independentism in Catalonia has been growing over the last 30 years. Many Spaniards think that the idea of Catalan independence is risible, as unworthy of being taken seriously as is the idea of Scottish independence according to anglo-unionists. Interestingly, and indeed risibly, Catalans are told that their country should not be regarded as economically viable because it has no oil or gas reserves, while Scotland is told that its still very considerable oil and gas reserves would not be of benefit to it. Go figure.
Espanyolists argue that nationalism is a bad thing, but – and this may seem uncannily familiar – they never decry Spanish nationalism, which for them is the only nationalism that is good. Catalan independentism does not mean hating Spain: it simply looks for a better status for Catalonia, which is as legitimate as for France, Germany, or any other country, even bonnie Scotland.
The video above considers some of the arguments that tend to be brought out against Catalonia’s viability as an independent nation. It is based on an article by Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a Catalan-American professor of economics at Columbia University, who concludes his article as follows:
“It has been argued that, as time goes by, the desirability of having smaller nations increases. And the economists who say so are not (I repeat, NOT) some crazy Catalan nationalists. They are Harvard University professors Alberto Alesina and Robert Barro and Stanford University professor Romain Wacziarg [now at UCLA]. These economists have demonstrated that the 20th-century trends of increasing trade and globalization explain empirically the increase in the number of countries that we witnessed during the second half of the century. The reason? The growth in international trade and globalization makes it less desirable to belong to a larger political union like Spain. As globalization progresses, the need of one’s industry to depend on a large local market is reduced. The gains from being small, on the other hand, remain the same. Hence, the optimal size of a country is reduced.”
This article is reproduced courtesy of franklyfrancophone: http://franklyfrancophone.wordpress.com/