Josep Oliver Alonso
Since the “process” began, something has changed in the Catalan economic environment. There is a growing perception of wear and tear and less economic dynamism, which is accentuated by the vandalism of recent days. And although the penalization of certain expressions is not acceptable, neither can one be silent before the consequences that those generate. Because, in the areas of activity and employment, it rains over wet: while between 2013 and 2016 the Catalan GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.2% (higher than the 3% of Madrid), in 2016-19 its advance fell to 2.3%, far from the 3.2% in Madrid. And something similar has happened with the occupation.
Part of this dynamic reflects the greater Catalan dependence on medium-low value added services (tourism, commerce, entertainment and real estate activities); it is the other side of the coin of the loss of industrial momentum and of less weight than that of other areas, such as Madrid, of the most productive tertiary (information and communications, finance and professional activities).
There is a growing perception of wear and tear and less economic dynamism, accentuated by vandalism
But it also responds to strictly political factors: the climate of recent years, not particularly business friendly, certainly has not helped. For example, it is not by chance that the population of Madrid, attracted by its greater growth, increases more than the Catalan, a trend that the INE projects for the next decade; the elimination of Barcelona, in the first vote, as the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency (November 2017) did not seem unexpected either; nor has it been the fall in overnight stays in Catalan hotels between 2016 and 2019, in one million (-6.2%) per part
of domestic tourism; finally, after that wear and tear, there is also, although it is not possible to quantify it, the political-social climate that led to the departure of companies in 2017: is it by chance that Valencia has been ahead of Catalonia in the factory of batteries for electric cars? The participation of Ford and Iberdrola together with the Generalitat Valenciana in a large public-private agreement to install it there is not less, nor is the expectation of using European funds for its financing. It is confirmed that, in this ultra-competitive world, what one loses is won by others.
At a certain point in the recent past, some sensitive part of the Catalan economic engine broke down , perhaps confidence?, reinforcing an industrial loss that has dragged on since the 2000s. It did not cause a sudden crisis but triggered, if not corrected soon, an inevitable decline, which is of great substance. Because we are very far from the desirable levels of productivity or social well-being and because our particular hell continues to be paved with good intentions: some of the intellectual justifications for what has happened these days indicate the entrenchment of the worrying dynamics of recent years. If we continue like this, eventually we will all lose. Although, as always, those who have less will be worse off.