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PostGreetings from Catalunya...and a Third Edition (Henry Levin, USA, 08/11/17 2:34 am)
I have been in Spain since June 12 with a three-week hiatus to visit my son and new grandson in their latest international posting.
Within Spain we have only been in Catalonia. The mood here is a restive weariness. There will be an unofficial referendum at the beginning of October on separation. We do witness continuous airing of opinions in the press and gassy debates on television among antagonists. The latest polls that I saw showed support for separation in the low 40s percentage-wise, but no one takes these seriously because with the exception of the true believers and opponents, many people avoid public declarations on such an emotional issue. My impression from the news is that prior to Brexit the nationalists would have gotten between 50-60 percent support. But, the lessons of Brexit are bracing to many, just when the Catalan economy is doing reasonably well. In my view, the negative residue that is emerging on Brexit may undermine a favorable vote for independence.
As I mentioned to you, some of the claims are Trumpian in grandeur. For example, I have now seen two debates in which the nationalist representatives have suggested that as an independent entity, Catalonia will choose to become an outpost of the Chinese with a Chinese military base that will become a political, economic, and military necessity for the EU to respect and ally with. The banners saying "si" are seen hanging from the windows of flats in the region, but relatively few, although that may change as things get heated in September (after we leave for the US). The conservatives simply keep repeating that secession is "illegal" and will not be recognized by the EU.
There is considerable news and frustration about the Venezuelan situation. This takes a personal turn for us because of our family history in Venezuela (starting in 1968 for Pilar and in 1970 for me) and our cuñados venezolanos. Like so many international dilemmas (e.g. Syria, Yemen, etc.), we are frustrated that there are no diplomatic levers to pull to solve outrageous international situations.
While I am busy with professional work and some social interactions, I have a low-grade depression with the state of the world. Things that once seemed important take on a secondary status. Nevertheless, I am proud of publishing the 3rd edition of my book Economic Evaluation in Education, if only for its longevity. The first edition was published in 1983 and the second in 2001, and the book has garnered about 1,350 citations on Google Scholar, which is not bad for an arcane topic. The third edition is completely revised. Enclosed is the cover.
JE comments: See below. It's a multi-colored text, but the Gold Standard on the topic. In academic publishing, third editions are rarer than four-leaf clovers. This, and the 1350 citations, show that Hank Levin has achieved the elusive scholarly ideal: definitiveness. Congratulations!
Re: Catalunya. It's been several months since our pro-independence colleague Jordi Molins has commented on the topic. What can you tell us about the China connection, Jordi? To trade Madrid's hegemony for Beijing's strikes me as a risky gambit. Better the devil you don't know?