Briefly on my EU theme - “Europe worked on the assumption that if it ever stood still it would fail. As a result, it went at breakneck speed and bent its own rules along the way. In the planning of the euro, the [political] desire to create a massively ambitious currency union across much of the EU was achieved only by ignoring its own economic rulebook.” With predictable (and predicted) consequences, of course. More here.
It's been a while since Edward Hugh commented on the Spanish economy but here he is with his latest reservations about the optimism of others. EH covers all the bases, including bank debts and export growth. One interesting fact - “77% of the total stock of Spanish savings is invested in property and around 85% of Spaniards own one or more homes. Which means, as the Spanish themselves are now discovering, that as property prices go down you suddenly start to get poor in just the way you formerly got rich.” And on exports: - “Spain needs to produce sufficient exports to cover ALL imports, and then some more to generate a surplus to drive GDP growth. . . The key point about Spain's export sector is not that it is not competitive but that it is FAR TOO SMALL for the job it now has to do.”
But there are, of course, challenges bigger than the saving of merely Spain. Here's the site of a good friend of mine who'd like your help in saving the entire world:- A pragmatic idealist's common-sense proposal for saving the world. Don't hesitate to write with your comments.
Penultimately . . . Here's a couple of fotos of possibly the worst parked car I've seen in ten years. Not only was it on a zebra crossing and a metre from the pavement, it was also parked on a blind bend. This forced cars to, first, brake and then overtake it as other cars came down the hill around another blind bend. It's possible the car broke down here but, against this, there was no sign of the warning triangle that's compulsory in this situation. Incredible.
Talking of driving. . . Although the price of oil is now higher than when the Spanish government imposed its 'energy-saving' speed limit of 110kph, it's now decided to put this back to 120. No one can understand why. But, as I've said, it'll certainly help any relative in the sign-writing/erecting business.
Finally . . . For those interested, here's how the price structure works down at the Asian restaurant:-
Original price (including drink) – 12 euros.
Reduced price – 11. With drink: Minimum of 12.50
Availing yourself of the discount of 10%
1. Not available for the weekday reduced price of 11. So, 12.50
2. With the non-reduced weekend price of 12: – 10.80 With drink: – 12.30
So, despite both the reduced price and the 10% discount, you always end up paying at least 12.30 if you have a drink. In other words, you always pay more than the original inclusive price of 12 euros. Clever stuff.