Wilson.cat and the movement for independence for Catalonia
The Catalonian “human chain” was yesterday, and it drew hundreds of thousands of people, a large number for a single region. According to the Washington Post, it was more than one million people.
If you would like to read more on this — by economists and other social scientists — Wilson.cat is one intellectual resource for independence. The site represents writings of prominent scholars favoring independence — or at least an informed referendum — for Catalonia.
I am surprised this initiative is not receiving more attention. If you were to ask in which ways economists today are having the most influence on the world, this movement would be close to the top of the list. Among the economists involved are Andreu Mas-Colell, Pol Antràs, Jordi Galí, and Xavier Sala-i-Martin, all of whom are extremely well known in the profession.
Personally, I am still waiting to hear why Catalonian independence would not bring the fiscal death knell of current Spain, and thus also the collapse of current eurozone arrangements and perhaps also a eurozone-wide depression. Otherwise I would gladly entertain Catalonia as an independent nation, or perhaps after the crisis has passed a referendum can be held. When referenda are held during tough times, it is often too easy to get a “no” vote against anything connected with the status quo.
Is the view simply that “now is the time to strike” and “it is worth it”? Obviously, an independence movement will not wish to speak too loudly about transition costs, but I would wish for more transparency. Or is the view that Spain could fiscally survive the shock of losing about twenty percent of its economy, with all the uncertainties and transition costs along the way? That could be argued, but frankly I doubt it, OMT or not, furthermore other regions would claim more autonomy too. An alternative, more moralizing view is that the fiscal problems are “Spain’s fault in the first place” and need not be discussed too much by the pro-independence side, but I am more consequentialist and marginal product-oriented than that.
This piece, in Catalan, does cover the fiscal implications of debt assumption for an independent Catalonia. The site also links to this somewhat spare piece by Gary Becker, but I still want more of a discussion of the issues raised above.
Keep in mind that two clocks are ticking. The first is that education in Catalonia is becoming increasingly “hispanicized,” the second is that as economic conditions in Spain improve, or maybe just become seen as a new normal, getting a pro-secession vote in a referendum may become harder. It doesn’t quite seem like “do or die” right now, but overall time probably is not on the side of Catalonian independence.
If anyone connected with the independence movement could point me to source materials addressing my questions, I would gladly cover it more on MR.
Here is Edward Hugh on the Catalan Way explained. And here is more from Hugh.