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PostRajoy's Economic Time Bomb (Paul Preston, -UK, 02/03/12 11:10 am)
I had lunch yesterday with one of Spain's top economists who had recently come from talks with Rajoy. His views were bleak in the extreme. He was deeply disappointed that, after so long in opposition and with ample time to consider policies to do something about the Spanish economic crisis, Rajoy had arrived in government without any plans at all. Instead of having decrees already drafted, he is still thinking about it. Instead of bringing in good economists, his team consists of old friends of doubtful competence. At the moment, said my friend, there are only two tax-payers for every person on some form of state benefit and, with unemployment set to increase dramatically, the consequences are obvious. He reckoned that the IMF would have to step in within months and that Rajoy could not last more than two years at the outside.
I hope that I have reflected the conversation accurately.
JE comments: Grim tidings, indeed. Given that everyone knew the PSOE was on the way out, one indeed would think that the PP would have had a solid economic plan in the wings.
Greetings to all from Santiago, Chile. I am enjoying the summer heat, the company of good friends, and the bustle of this exciting capital city. More soon.
A Politics of "Anyone But..."
(John Heelan, -UK
02/05/12 5:58 AM)
Paul Preston reported on 3 February that "Rajoy had arrived in government without any plans at all. Instead of having decrees already drafted, he is still thinking about it." JE commented "Given that everyone knew the PSOE was on the way out, one indeed would think that the PP would have had a solid economic plan in the wings."
Rajoy's lack of plans in his election platform was noted by many observers during the recent Spanish election campaign from which he emerged victorious. I suggest that he won on an "Anybody but Zapatero" basis. It seems to me that in these days of social instant gratification, the "Anyone but (the Incumbent)" method of winning elections is becoming more popular. In the UK, Cameron won on an "Anybody but Blair/Brown" basis. The Arab Spring seems to have been based on "Anyone but the current dictator" basis. Are we likely to see in forthcoming elections "Anyone but Obama" and "Anyone but Sarkozy," but probably not "Anyone but Putin"?
That got me thinking further.
Did not Plato, Polybius, Machiavelli and others comment on the cycle of governance methods? Wikipedia reminded me that "Originally society is in anarchy but the strongest figure emerges and sets up a monarchy. The monarch's descendants, who because of their family's power lack virtue, become despots and the monarchy degenerates into a tyranny. Because of the excesses of the ruler the tyranny is overthrown by the leading citizens of the state who set up an aristocracy. They too quickly forget about virtue and the state becomes an oligarchy. These oligarchs are overthrown by the people who set up a democracy. Democracy soon becomes corrupt and degenerates into mob rule, beginning the cycle anew."
If national governance is becoming "Anyone but...", does that not suggest that we are starting the downward track of the governance cycle?
JE comments: It would seem that Chileans would add "Anyone But Piñera" to John Heelan's list--but he's not even two years into his term.