The people of Catalan have spoken; the results are in on a referendum over the weekend for independence of this cultural region of Spain. The informal result shows an eighty percent yes vote. Of course, this is only a non-binding referendum and the Spanish government calls it illegal. The federal government is even complaining that government buildings, such as schools and the like, were used for the voting process. It’s been no secret that Catalonia has wanted to be an independent country for several hundred years. The region was even granted autonomy prior to the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule; Franco crushed Catalonian dreams and actually shelled the city of Barcelona from time to time to enforce his dictatorial regime.
The instigator of this latest round of Catalonian unhappiness and desire to be free from an overreaching central government seems to be economic. It seems the Barcelona region is a big tourist draw and pulls in much more revenue for the federal government than the Catalonian region receives. In other words, the Catalonian people are opposed to the mandatory redistribution of wealth. They are opposed to a government in Madrid making decisions for them when they don’t feel properly represented. They want protection for their cultures and language. They want to be respected.
This phenomenon is a consequence of failed socialist policies. When an economy is booming on borrowed money, everyone is happy. Everyone is a genius in a bull market. However, when the brown material hits the fan, and euros, or dollars, become scarce, old hatreds and unfulfilled desires can bubble to the surface.
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I expect to see more of these separatist uprisings across Europe (and the United States?). This is the natural order of things when an economy starts to fall apart from mismanagement and bad economic decisions, like when there is overreaching government interference in an economy.
We in the United States should use Europe as a petri dish, a model for experimentation. We should use the failed redistribution experiment in Europe as a way to teach our kids about what does and does not work in an economy. We should use the crisis as a way to inform our youngsters about the certain, eventual failure of socialism. However, somehow I think that our universities are willfully ignoring the events in Europe as to look at the reality would show our kids that most everything they have been learning from the communist prof crowd is wrong.
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