Monday, February 27, 2017

Pontevedra Pensées: 27.2.17

It's a commonplace comment that the Spanish work among the longest hours in at least Europe. Though not necessarily productively. But a Telegraph article recently suggested that this isn't true. And that the Spanish don't put in many more hours than the British, for example. Witness this OECD table:-

Which nationalities work the longest hours?
[European countries and the USA in bold. And Iceland.]
Mexico - 2,246 hours per year
Costa Rica - 2,230
South Korea - 2,113
Greece - 2,042
Chile - 1,988
Russia - 1,978
Poland - 1,963
Latvia - 1,903
Iceland - 1,880
Portugal - 1,868
Lithuania - 1,860
Israel - 1,858
Estonia - 1,852
Turkey - 1,832
Ireland - 1,820
United States - 1,790
Czech Republic - 1,779
New Zealand - 1,757
Slovakia - 1,754
Hungary - 1,749
Italy - 1,725
Japan - 1,719
Canada - 1,706
Spain - 1,691
Slovenia - 1,676
United Kingdom - 1,674
Australia - 1,665
Finland - 1,646
Austria - 1,625
Sweden - 1,612
Switzerland - 1,590
Belgium - 1,541
Luxembourg - 1,507
France - 1,482

But what is true is that the Spanish stretch these hours over a much longer period, with the inevitable result that they go to bed later than any other people in the world, perhaps. One of the consequences of this is said to be less sex and, therefore, a low birth rate. This has led, would you believe, to the creation of a “sex tsar”. See the text of a Times article on this at the end of this post. Or a similar Independent article here.

By the way . . . I see the French are not only bastards but (verylazy bastards. And I wonder why anyone works at all in Switzerland and Luxembourg, given the source of most of their wealth. Interesting to note where the Anglo countries come.

I've noted a few times that there's a gulf between Spain's headline economy numbers - GDP growth of 2-3% - and what's actually going on down at the various coalfaces. Well, here's a Spanish expert who claims things are very bad indeed below the surface. He insists that Spain has a third world production model of speculators and waiters, with a labour market where the majority of jobs created are temporary and with remunerations of €600, and the largest wage decline in living memory. Plus a broken pension system and an insolvent financial system. The Olive Press chooses to label this 'a rant'. Presumably because their in-house expert disagrees. Which sometimes happens between experts.

Like other foreigners, I've oft noted that Spanish kids are not told until quite late in their youth that they should take others into consideration. I thought of this when watching a mother park her car below a supermarket last night, and then take her young daughter into the shop. Setting her a fine example of individualismo. Or, as others call it, selfishness.

As you can see, there was no shortage of normal space but she still felt it OK to block the way for others. And I know she would be able to justify it. At least to herself.

En passant 1: Is there anything less interesting than reports of the Oscars ceremony – even one that goes spectacularly wrong?

En passant 2: I haven't watched RT News for a while. But this morning I was amused to see that – in what they call "this post-truth age” – they've set up a new team to tell us what is really going on in the world. As Moscow dictates, of course. One wonders how many of their own reports they'll be analysing. Like Trump, beyond irony.

En passant 3: Talking of alt-news, alternative facts and post-truth, I see that some rich bastard in the UK has started an equivalent of Breitbart there. It's called Westmonster (geddit?) and you can find the web page for yourself, if it interests you. Or you are a UKIP supporter. He bankrolls that party. But is   threatening to stop doing so unless they make him Chairman.

Finally . . .  A Private Eye cartoon:-

The Times article

Spanish sex tsar will encourage baby-making

After a long day at work, dinner at about 10pm and watching TV until past midnight, many Spaniards have little energy left.

Experts believe that this explains why the country has one of the lowest birthrates in the developed world.

Spanish women say that they would like two or more children but in 2015 those aged 18 to 49 had an average of 1.3 children, well below the EU figure of 1.58.

Faced with a population crisis, with fewer births than deaths recorded for the first time last year, the government has appointed Edelmira Barreira, a demographic expert, or sex tsar, to get people to produce more babies.

Rafael Puyol, of the IE Business School in Madrid, blames long working hours and late nights: “They do not help with making a family. Then when a child arrives it is even worse.”

In 2013, a Spanish national commission exploring how the country could reconcile work and family life, found Spaniards sleep 53 minutes less than the European average, with the lack of sleep resulting in high rates of stress and absenteeism.

Mr Puyol said lack of government help for parents, a work culture which did little to favour family life and the absence of affordable housing or nurseries for most people all slowed couples’ enthusiasm to have children. VAT on nappies is 21 per cent, and child care provision amounts to 1.5 per cent of GDP, compared with the EU average of 2.8 per cent.

Elisa Chuliá, a sociologist with the National University of Distance Learning, said modern women want to enjoy the independence their mothers’ generation did not have.

“Younger people want greater liberty to travel and have their own careers which their parents never did,” she said.


Alberto MdH said...

I'm not certain if the spanish economy is ruined or not (Time will tell) but Roberto Centeno is a fraud for sure. Despite all his claims he does not advises Trump in any capacity, he only claims to do so despite having already been exposed as a fraud (Perhaps it would be appropriate to call him The decrepit Nicolás)

Eamon said...

"Spanish sex tsar will encourage baby-making" - population decrease in Spain - the pill, condom and when they fail abortion. Simple.

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