Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reader Moscow and I have been having a (not very productive) dialogue about Spain’s economic growth over the last ten years and its prospects for the next five. As it happens, Edward Hugh addresses this subject in his blog today. I won’t bore you with quotes but his conclusion is that there are major barriers to Spain achieving the private consumption and export levels which underlie current forecasts. For his reasoning as to why Spain possibly won’t be able to do a Germany, click here.

Relatedly, in another interesting Qorreo article, James Badcock castigates the Spanish government for neglecting “to seek new avenues for an economy that was munching through a building boom and attracting a new immigrant workforce at an alarming pace.” “Where would all this activity and manpower go when the boom ended?” he asks in retrospect, pointing out that “A savage economic downturn that would undo in little over a year what the Spanish miracle had taken decades to build.” When “So many of the new jobs proved to be disposable and the theatrical talk of replacing the brick with the laptop proved to be so many empty words.” Looking ahead, he goes on to berate both the government and the opposition for failing to produce a vision of where Spain’s economic future lies. Ahead of next year’s general elections, he suggests this void is so large “It would almost be preferable to stage an electoral battle between Nobel-winning economists, propounding their growth models and proudly sticking by them.”

So . . . no wonder I’m confused myself as to where Spain’s economy has come from (and to) in the last decade and, even more so, where it’s heading in the next.

Down at the pool today, I noticed that the new injunctions on behaviour I’ve cited before don’t contain any reference at all to noise. So, can we assume it’s impossible for either Spanish kids or adults to make enough noise to annoy their compatriots? Of course, the other explanation is that it’s so obvious what shouldn’t be done that it’s not necessary to spell it out.

Life as a compulsive blogger . . . I felt yesterday’s (hastily written) post was bad enough to merit an apology to regular readers. Then this morning I saw there’d been 200 hits, against a normal range of 150 to 170. Which was pretty confusing. I thought at first it was possibly just folk researching thorium. Then I realised I’d used the word “brothel” in the previous post. So not that much of a surprise, I guess. And I’ve just done it again . . .

Finally . . . My departing daughters and their friends have left me with an empty house, lots of laundry and a bloody head cold. But it’s not all bad news; before she left, my elder daughter (the novelist!) noticed that my small fig tree was heavy with fruit. In previous years, it’s produced a maximum of one pathetic fig. So this is a major improvement. Shame I don’t eat them.

Tailnote: My elder daughter has now published the second chapter of a novel she describes as “A fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalized Cuba, it’s being e-published one chapter per week. Click here.

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