Catalonia’s Post-‘Independence’ Economic Hangover Sets In

Uncertainty, threats, and counter-threats.
By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
Catalonia’s recent declaration of independence may have been a largely symbolic act but the economic hangover it has left in its wake is very real. Last month the number of unemployed in the region rose by 7,391 – the highest rise in a month of November since 2009. During the same period the number of people registered with social security fell by 4,038 – the sharpest fall since November 2013.
The economic pain is already taking a psychological toll. According to a new poll published by Spain’s Center for Sociological Research (CIS for its Spanish acronym), the number of households that fear that their economic situation will worsen in the next six months surged from 14.2% in August to 22.2% in October. By contrast, in Spain as a whole there was hardly any change, with the rate barely budging from 15.1% to 15.6%.
Almost 3,000 firms have shifted the registered address of their headquarters outside Catalonia since the banned referendum on October 1, many to Madrid. Although the exodus has slowed in recent weeks, every day dozens of Catalan companies continue to change their registered office, despite the express appeal of Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to stop doing so after the activation of Article 155 of the Constitution.
The Catalan exodus has so far been purely administrative, with companies effectively shifting domiciles, the ‘brass plate’ of the business, to avoid legal and tax complications rather than moving staff or operations, which would have huge cost and logistical implications.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 6, 2017.

On July 4th Demand Freedom, Don’t Celebrate The State

As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the July 4th holiday we should remember that we are not celebrating the state, but rather commemorating an act of secession from an oppressive government. We are celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain – a daring move by the Founders inspired by a desire for liberty.
Thomas Jefferson famously said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ That does not only mean that we should be prepared to defend against foreign invaders. Perhaps more importantly it means that we must retain the lessons from the original American revolt and guard against a government that views the people as the enemy.
We are familiar with the great observation from essayist Randolph Bourne that ‘War is the health of the state.’ But Bourne further explained that, ‘if the State’s chief function is war, then the State must suck out of the nation a large part of its energy for its purely sterile purposes of defense and aggression. It devotes to waste or to actual destruction as much as it can of the vitality of the nation.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 4, 2016.

Spain Leaps Toward Political Breakdown

Desperately needed international investors dread it
The dust is not even close to settling after Catalonia’s latest experimental flirtation with nation building. The pro-independence coalition fell tantalizingly short of gaining a majority of seats (62 out of 135). Now it needs the support of the anti-capitalist separatist party Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) to secure a pro-independence majority in the regional parliament.
The problem is that CUP, which advocates a Catalonian exit (Cat-exit) from the EU, the Eurozone, and NATO, as well as unilateral default on the region’s debt, seems determined to play hard ball. After picking up 10 seats in the election – a seven-point increase on 2011′s total – its lead candidate Antonio Baos has refused to endorse the reappointment of the region’s pro-business president Artur Mas, who Baos described as ‘tainted’ by corruption and the long shadow of austerity.
Kingmaker or Kingslayer?
In his role as Catalonia’s new kingmaker-turned-kingslayer, Baos also dismissed the possibility of CUP supporting a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain. Before the elections CUP had pledged that it would only support a unilateral declaration of independence if the pro-independence parties received a majority of the vote. It won 47%.

This post was published at Wolf Street on September 30, 2015.

When In The Course Of Human Events

It’s Independence Day in the U. S. and most if us in America are familiar with our Declaration of Independence and it’s “self-evident truths” and “unalienable rights”. However, when was the last time you read the entire document penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1776? Now, more than ever, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the original rationale for forging an independent, American nation.
Again, almost everyone can recite from memory most of this passage from the DoI:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
That’s all well and good and what is described is certainly “self-evident”. However, considering the times we live in:
Abject corruption by elected representatives in the legislative branch of government Disregard of law and Constitution by leaders of the executive branch of government Willingness to amend and create new law by the judicial branch of government Unlawful suppression of liberty and individual rights by the “bureaucratic branch of government” Complete capture and propagandizement of the “media branch of government” I believe that it is imperative that you read today the rest of the Declaration of Independence. Why? Perhaps you should review the rationale for revolution, laid out by Thomas Jefferson 239 years ago as the colonies were being held captive by a earlier, similarly tyrannical and despotic form of government (personal emphasis added):

This post was published at TF Metals Report on July 4, 2015.