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Life - poem from Jose Hierro (Read 30148 times)
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #45 - Jun 20th, 2012 at 7:17pm
 
Nice speech from Mr. Krugman. But as I stated somewhere here before,there is so much more into "everything", that pulling one's side of the blanket will effectively solve a problem, only to generate a deeper one on the other side. 

There are complex group of problems that may be solved one at a time, given a determined priority. Certainly, that's not what’s happening to Spain or Greece (and perhaps Italy too). Quite a few things must be started and made progress steadily at the same time, or else...the blanket example. And you have to fight habits well dug inside these cultures, which make it very difficult to reach agreements.

Of course, right now the need would be a total fusion. I would like to think Europe can make it on its own, because it is really the only way it can stand a chance. But besides our own mistakes, unfortunately, there is a quite a wide world outside Europe with their own interests. And they have plots and actions, indeed, to profit from this crisis.

http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/invest-europe-asset/2012/06/20/id/442865

It is just a small example of how voices try to plant their own seed. For instance, does Mr. Trump (or friends) have interests on companies who need to sell Europe’s housing? Most probably not, but who knows? Just 2 years ago, state owners here cried out loud (in all media) that housing prices could not go lower, that it was “the” time to buy…..
We have a lot in common (and a LOT of history), but lacking a real “Leif motiv”  - apart from economic protection. A real fusion is not possible in the nearby future. You must educate the weaker part of  Europe to accept the view of the stronger part, to row in the same direction. It is far easier when you have a common idea, like the building of the United States: a brave new country, where everything could be possible, or the concept of nations that started (more or less) in the first half of the XIX Century.
But I’m afraid nobody will make that kind of sacrifice today. People see how greedy neighbors are taking advantage of the situation, while they preach morality in public.  Sometimes, you even see the same within your very walls. Yes, a lot of efforts are being made, by millions, but if the feeling is that it’s going nowhere, shattering will not be avoided.
I still see this like a huge experiment tried by some, encouraged by others who were looking forward to collect their part sooner or later. Fifteen years ago we were urged to make agreements and rules which were not strong enough to stand certain situations. And sooner or later, fears become true because human spirit cannot help but give away to ambition and greed.
Nobody has a clear picture of how to go on from here. Like “proud” statements from Spanish Government last week, or messages either from German Government or Europe’s Central Bank, everyone seems to be playing hide and seek. Once again, if strong positions try to impose their economical plot and choke countries with big debts -remember the Treaty of Versailles. We should be much smarter than then, but the world is so much more complex….
It’s not that I’m being pessimistic. It’s just that I still see we’re not facing real problems. 50 % of the politicians (and assessors) should have been wiped out from Spain. But no start up has been made, they’re resilient, survivors. And worse, these measures  should show the way to go. Not only by real figures from the “surgery”, but as a new culture. Banking reforms should follow. If you can’t use banks to help economy out, there is no real use in them. Ban non – productive economy. And not too long, people must think how we can survive in a society where corruption and fraud are applauded in the end (fiscal amnesty to  tax evasion is on its way here:  so desperate to lay hands on fresh dough, that we’ll forgive the crime that caused it – you can imagine the feeling on us poor “normal” tax payers).

Now that Greece has taken time to breath, as autumn arrives, disguises will start to fall, and the real players will have to stand out. But keep in mind that, for example, the rest of the world has kept "relatively" quiet meanwhile. Who knows what would come out combining this crisis with more religious or political outbursts?



 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #46 - Jun 22nd, 2012 at 1:12am
 
Figment wrote on Jun 20th, 2012 at 7:17pm:
And you have to fight habits well dug inside these cultures, which make it very difficult to reach agreements

you seem to be suggesting an animosity between various nations.

are you saying that there exists anmosity between certain nations?

hope i'm not being naive.

if so, which nations 'dislike' each other most? (is 'dislike' a good word?)

is germany the most hated? (is 'hatred' a valid term?)

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june12/soccer_06-21.html

at the end of Hemingway's book titled 'moveable feast' .. after doing much traveling, they say, "but Spain was much the best." =)

the 'restored' edition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Moveable_Feast

page 223, hard cover, dying Evan Shipman wth pancreatic cancer talking to Hemingway while they were in Cuba reminiscing about the old days:

Quote:
"You know Paris was a happy time and Key West was quite wonderful, too. But Spain was much the best."
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #47 - Jun 22nd, 2012 at 7:31pm
 
No, what I really meant is how we have changed ourselves towards living in community during the last 30 years.
To put the Spanish example, education has widely contributed to integrate the younger generations with Europe, especially for us who have always had a feeling of inferiority compared to the rest of Europe. Fifty years ago, it was a common joke in France that “Africa started past the Pyrenees” because they considered us more part of northern Africa than Europeans. Our attitude didn't help much then, either.
Another example is how “machismo” has evolved. It is similar to traditional Japanese way of relationship man-woman. Fifty years ago, mostly in the deep countries, men could beat their wives arguing that they deserved it, and most times there was nothing legal that could be done. Nowadays, and there I have to say, greatly helped by media, there are very few fragments of that behavior, as it is strongly prosecuted.
In the end, it always turns up to be something that can be changed by education, just like the concept of fairness, respect to your neighbor and community.  And accepting that we are all part of a society that can only advance if we have a similar moral basis. If you have embedded deep inside to respect what is owned by everyone, it’ll be so much easier. If you constantly have to keep an eye for people who live in community only for the advantages, and not the obligations….you know the situation won’t stand for too long.
So what I meant that in Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain there is distance
And about Europe’s inside relations….things have changed a bit during the last years, but there are still a lot of generations that have been raised with strong “feelings” about their neighbors, and especially regarding “next door” ones.
For example:
1)      France – Germany : Two big wars during the last 100 years cannot be wiped out easily. Their size and power make them the “big bullies” in Europe. Germany, while being a bit superior, would always act naturally as superior, so French would always keep an eye on them not to let them “abuse”.
2)      Spain – France: France has always ignored us, like something farther away than a mere frontier. A place full of flies, yet to be civilized. Spain has always considered French as snobs. They get the glory. Cuisine, wine, cheese, they brag about it when  we are at least at their level….but don’t get quite the consideration. So we always have a strong feeling of inferiority, which is really only due to ourselves. And what we don’t see is that we have the same relationship with…
3)      Portugal – Spain: If you could put the Spain-France relationship in front of a mirror, perhaps you could observe what happens with Portugal and Spain. It’s being slowly straightened up, but not many years ago, we just ignored anything about Portugal, and they had the same feeling that we have towards the French with the Spaniards.
4)      U.K. – the rest of Europe: Isolated, they want to keep their way of making things but without stepping out of community completely. British feel they can get more advantages if they keep certain distance. So, while they could clash with France and Germany they only do if strictly necessary.
5)      Italy – the rest of Europe: Something similar to the U.K.  They’re like a small brother who usually gets away with it, and you have to accept him like he is. Full of culture, style, and bon vivants,  we share with them a view of what’s important in life, but they’re so much confident about their possibilities….not like us, who do seem to appreciate what we have. It always looks like they enjoy the same things more than you do……and perhaps it’s true.
6)      Greece: Theatre was invented there, so they always seem to give a theatrical turn in things…to their advantage. Now with the crisis, all outsiders who can claim rights on them are potentially seen as a menace. So Germany looks like the “bad” father who is constantly telling you what to do.  Have a fierce rivalry with Turkey, bordering the same level as for example, India and Pakistan.

But like I said, things are slowly changing. Millions of Germans and Britons have learnt to appreciate the way we live in Spain. We are trying to behave and think a bit like them. It’s just a matter of taking the best parts and when they’re together, making them bigger than if taken individually.
Now Germany is very unpopular because their trying to impose their way of doing things, and it’s not pleasant, even if they are finally right, which still has to be proved, because “one man’s medicine is another man’s poison”. And how they have behaved during the World Wars don’t give much peace of mind. But I give credit to the way they raised their country again, and we have to learn a lot about how to govern and administrate a country. They are aware of this and sometimes their self-sufficiency makes them look like a kind of bully.
And finally, about the Hemingway reference, I have the same feeling. There is so much to see and live in Spain. So different at a few steps away. The problem is that we don’t know exactly what to do with it. I know it sounds “chauvinist”, and that while the years go by, we’re starting to lose a bit of that quality. If you see Spain with a heart wide open, you’ll see much more than its parts. And with the modern media at the tip of our hands it’s easier to peek. But nothing can compare to the experience of living it.

 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #48 - Sep 25th, 2012 at 3:49pm
 
is this true?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/world/europe/hunger-on-the-rise-in-spain.html

have you seen stuff like this?

normal? unusual? rare?
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #49 - Sep 25th, 2012 at 7:00pm
 
Well, it's not normal. I have always seen people stalking garbage containers, but they are usually junk prowlers.

I don't say that if you go to determined places at the right time you might see those kind of things; but I cannot confirm the same has not been happening before the crisis. But for sure, thinking that there should be more people involved  right now...well,  you don't have to be a Nobel Prize Winner to figure that out. Charity help is overwhelmed, while economic situation does not improve, and no one knows when to expect it.

So, even if it is something rare, it can only get worse, so there you have it ready -  room for more shocking news.


Meanwhile, people keep on protesting and making their opinion louder in the street. Today 3 - 6 thousand people rounded up Congress in Madrid, while 1,500 policemen awaiting all day long. What hasn't been told so loudly is that there were people there all day, with  no problems.  After sunset, things started to get rough, ending with 64 injured and 24 arrested. People are starting to truly hate what politicians represent, and they do not feel represented by any choice of political party. So they can only shout out loud their dissatisfaction. Our next 15-20 years are being auctioned, and the only part we will play in that is as victims.

It is difficult trying to control violence on everyone, specially when there is not a true leader (they don't want to be beheaded).

During the next three weeks, many decisions that had been delayed will have to take place; this is only beginning....

And many, many more will go out and shout.
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #50 - Sep 28th, 2012 at 10:01pm
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #51 - Oct 1st, 2012 at 5:36pm
 
I intended to explain myself all these points this weekend, but anyone can read the article and more or less would end up in the same place.
An important detail, though, is that I disagree with this sentence:
"But many Catalans blame the debt on what they call “fiscal looting,” a reference to the disproportionate amount of taxes they pay to the state, compared with other regions".
This is a mantra that parties and politicians who claim independence have repeated again and again - and then, again – that sometimes you forget to remember that it is just another lie. Perhaps people in Madrid and Catalonia pay a bit more taxes than other regions, but it is neither disproportionate, nor really unfair. Perhaps Catalonia suffers more private highways, but that’s also a way of getting more income on travelers on their way to France, or entering Spain.
But this is not what they complain about.  It is all about the big money companies have to dish out for having their national headquarters there, where they pay taxes. That money doesn't really belong to the city or province that collects it - it goes to the whole of the state for its use.  For instance, for each Euro the government spends on Madrid, 5 euros have been collected there. Of course there are local taxes, but they’re a minor bite. Should all that money stay in Madrid? Nope. But politicians in Catalonia think they should get the whole of what is collected there. If all the money given by countries to the European Community was collected in Brussels…..should Belgians keep it for them? It’s ridiculous.
So, the Catalonian politicians are claiming all that wealth. They are telling people…”See how these lazy people from Andalucia steal our taxes” (these are nearly the exact words stated at a meeting). And during deep crisis, people are desperate enough to believe anything (they want to believe).
Instead, they should blame their governors. I think I mentioned in this thread before, that Catalonia (like for instance, Andalucía or Valencia) used money (money that must be paid back now) creating unnecessary jobs, just for the sake of handing out work to people related to their own governing party. You can understand that sooner or later this power can be used to pay back political favors (to other parties who can support voting in Parliament, for instance), or building unnecessary roads, cities, theme parks, airports......the list is endless. This is not much different from what other regions have been doing. Andalucía focused on paying thousands of nonexistent eventual jobs to laborers with difficulties finding work, so they had a chance to live the rest of the year on unemployment benefit…..until their next –nonexistent – job. No wonder people vote for parties who do such things.
The difference is that in Catalonia there is a complex web of interests, all tainted by regional colours, a flag that is waived at any time of inconvenience to disguise the real problem. Meanwhile, the bill soars up. Perhaps if they were reminded who will have to pay most of it back….. but pointing out obvious things like that  is considered anti patriotic.

It will end up like the milkmaid and her pail.

To be continued……
 
 
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