Guest Post: Why Spain Is A Riot [Zerohedge]


Why Spain is a riot

The reason why Spain is a riot both financially and socially goes beyond matters of economic policy. Spain faces a graver problem, its political institutions.

Over the past few weeks, Spain has received worldwide attention due to its deteriorating economy and growing outbursts of massive social protests. Most notably, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in his debate with President Barack Obama last week that he did not want his country to “go down the path to Spain.”

As the world fixes its eyes on the eurozone’s fourth largest economy, analysts continue to offer suggestions as to how to best tackle the Iberian country’s economic woes. However, the reason why Spain is a riot both financially and socially goes beyond matters of economic policy. Spain faces a graver problem, its political institutions.

Spain’s political establishment: stale and clientelistic

Perhaps the most lamentable element in Spain’s political class is that it is hard, almost anecdotal, to find elected officials with a track record outside the public sector. For too many years, the country has been governed by bureaucrats who have no experience whatsoever in the real world of business. The majority of Spain’s politicians do not know what it is to conceive an idea, to risk one’s own wealth, to deal with banks, workers and suppliers, and, ultimately, to experience failure and success. Sadly, the Spanish taxpayer-financed political establishment understands failure and success only in terms of which side of the aisle their members are seated in parliament.

Furthermore, Spain’s political system is extremely sectarian and clientelistic. The concept of merit among the political class has been perverted into allegiance to the apparatus – and to the right leader within. Future political promises are embraced by parties when they are young and, years later, the chosen ones find themselves making decisions on public policy without ever setting foot in the real world: a group of individuals whose only interest is that of the party which keeps them fed and spoiled. Unfortunately, and to use Daron Acemoglu’s term, this type of “extractive” political institutions have contaminated other areas of civil society as well and have distorted a free society’s vital values of meritocracy and personal accountability from the educational system all the way to the business fabric.

 

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