Maria Jesús Cañizares, , January 12, 2022
The UAB professor publishes ‘The Economy of Catalan separatism’, where he analyzes the damage of the secessionist challenge, the “sucking dry” of institutions and the “hybrid war” of immersion
“What never should have happened” “What has happened”. “What will never happen”. These titles summarize the three parts that make up ‘The Economy of Catalan Separatism’ (Planeta), the new book by Ferran Brunet that goes on sale on January 26. A book about the economic, social and political consequences of the independence challenge that could well have carried the subtitle of ‘El procés ens roba’. But the editorial correction was stronger. Professor of Applied Economics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Brunet analyses, based on a great profusion of data, statistics and authors, the negative consequences of this great explosion that, “without reaching a train crash because the State avoided it, it has meant a social, economic abrasion as well as in political, social and economic relations in Catalonia”, explains the author to ‘Crónica Global’.
The book, divided into 75 chapters, is the result of four years of work in which he has investigated the GDP gap, the flight of companies, the reduction of foreign investment, the rise of Madrid in the face of the Catalan regression… “I spoke with German businessmen. They were outraged. They remember that the ‘procés’ changed the rules of the game, that is, the rule of law”, says Brunet, one of the founders of Sociedad Civil Catalana. He describes the drop in foreign investment in Catalonia as “apotheosis” and that the Generalitat covers “with partial data”: “I have analyzed the figures for 10 years”.
In this sense, he affirms that the foreign investment received by Madrid between 2010 and 2019 was four times that received by Catalonia. And after the referendum and the declaration of independence (DUI) of October 2017, “Catalonia receives 15 times less foreign investment than Madrid”.
The decline in GDP
The Catalan GDP, Brunet maintains, has also suffered from the secessionist ‘procès’, reaching a decrease of 4.6%, some 10,626 million, a figure to which must be added the destruction of 117,000 jobs. Likewise, the author explains in his book, 23% of Spaniards boycott Catalan products. “Every time we export less to the rest of Spain. Increasing sales seems impossible, they can hardly be maintained…” he warns.
Along with these harmful effects on the Catalan economy, that is, “what happened”, Brunet addresses the keys to the ‘processist’ movement, “what should never have happened”, created by CiU, ERC, CUP, supported by Òmnium Cultural and Assemblea Nacional Catalana; supported by a regional government with extensive powers and a powerful media apparatus and what the economist describes as “sucking dry” of civil entities, unions, employers and professional associations.
Without forgetting the promotion of Catalan, a hot topic again, which he describes as a “hybrid war” because “it causes fragmentation and exclusion, while school failure reaches 30% in Spanish-speaking students, compared to 17% of Catalan speakers. In Madrid, that figure barely exceeds 9%”.
Ferran Brunet warns that the polarization created by the ‘procès’ “is not reversed” and gives as an example what happened in Quebec, where the process of self-determination has been accompanied by an economic crisis, while Toronto took off.
“What will never happen” is, according to the economist, Catalan independence, which he considers “economically unfeasible” due to the collapse of GDP and employment. He jokes about the “55,000 million extra ‘pujoletes’ (currency of a supposedly independent Catalonia) that Catalonia would need to get annually.” Because who would pay the Catalans’ pensions? “The deficit would be much higher than the current 1,664 euros per year and pensioner, to which must be added the reduction in income from contributions due to the fall in trade with the rest of Spain and with the EU and the increase in benefits for termination of activity and higher unemployment”, he warns.