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.


I can't imagine them actually going ahead with independence if they don't get a guarantee that they'll still be in the Eurozone afterwards.

I can't imagine independence going forward without an armed conflict. And I can't imagine Catalonia winning such a conflict. Though it would be entertaining to sit by and watch as Saudi Arabia and Morocco arm and aid the Catalans in their struggle.

If there is a strong enough and democratically legitimated independence movement I cannot see the European countries standing by and watching how Spanish soldiers invade Catalonia to crush that movement.

Military conflict is a bluff.

A civil war that I think is quite possible. Especially if an independence vote would be vary narrow and considering the hundreds of thousands of non-Catalonien immigrants into greater Barcelona who probably would be allowed to vote as well...

"I cannot see the European countries standing by and watching how Spanish soldiers invade Catalonia to crush that movement."

Crushing the movement? If it were a mere 'movement' we were talking about, then we wouldn't be talking about it at all.

Formal secession, yes, I very much think that the European countries would stand by. The alternative, after all, would be for them to invade Spain!

Nay, Alexei, the name of the game would be to send volunteers and military matériel to the insurgents, I would say.

Keeps the nationalists happy, the country of origin itself in peace, and stimulates the military industry at the same time.

Nay, Alexei, the name of the game would be to send volunteers and military matériel to the insurgents, I would say.

Hmm, I think I've seen that play before. It ended tragically.

I do agree with that, JWatts.

I don't think that the current Madrid administration is reckless enough to start a civil war. But the situation isn't that different from the secession of Slovenia from Yugoslavia in 1991 either. The most developed part of the country, possessing a specific language and country, located on the far end of the entire country, wishes to secede very clearly.

Unlike the Basque counties, Catalonia isn't stained by history of violent secessionist extremism, and any movements of Spanish forces against Catalonia would be perceived as an aggression. In the current economic and political situation, Madrid cannot afford any kind of boycott or embargo.

This is by far the cleanest way for the EU to peacefully put the kibosh on independence movements. While I'm sure a small fraction of ultra-nationalists wouldn't give a damn, support for independence among the vast majority of moderates would collapse if the EU made clear that the new country would not be allowed into the EU and all its inhabitants would loose their EU citizenship.

The EU wasn't intended to suppress independence movements in the constituent countries. If it starts doing so, it will lose a lot of legitimacy in minds of the voters; given that already Brussels isn't particularly popular with the European street mob, this further loss could be fatal in the long term. (Not that the typical bureaucratic brahmins in Brussels think seriously about this, but some of the smarter politicians may).

From the practical point of view, many of the current EU members emerged as independent countries from disintegrated empires, and harbor sympathies for self-determination movements, so I can't see how EU could enforce such rules, even if it would want to.

Would you think that Lithuania or Slovenia, where the secession process had a price in blood, and where those events are still in living memory, would vote to suppress Catalonian independence, even though peacefully?

I can't speak to the politics of Lithuania or Slovenia, but I can speak to the politics of the EU western core. Most of those countries have their own minor-thorn-in-the-side independence movements and have no widespread romantic attraction to the general notion of independence movements. It's probably also better for their national politicians for the suppression of independence movements to be seen as coming from the EU level while they can continue to appear even-handed and equitable in their own countries. While there is some degree of sensitivity to the fate of the EU within the EU bureaucracy, in the end the EU is the creature of the constituent national governments, and they have no compunction about sacrificing what's-best-for-the-EU to get what's-best-for-them.

The core may be the core, but the influence of non-core countries is significant, and I can't really see the Irish, the Croats, all the Baltics, the Slovaks or even the Hungarians (where irredentism is currently a very lively political force) voting against the Catalonians, without meeting backlash from their national constituencies. Also, EU created a huge precedent by accepting Kosovar independence.

It is true that many countries have minor independence movements, but the best way how to live with them is to "defang" them by addressing most of their talking points. If this is consistently ignored and the independence movements grow from minor to major ones, it is sort-of too late. Once such secessionist movements are widely popular and have recognized leaders, the current state starts being perceived as a foreign sovereign.

I can't think of any case in the western world where a popular, widely-supported secessionist movement shrank again to the political fringe peacefully. Quebec may be the closest case, as the drive to independence there is definitely less pronounced than in 1995, but Quebec separatism is still quite mainstream. In all the other cases - Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the former USSR + Yugoslavia + Czechoslovakia - it seems that once a certain degree of popularity is reached, there is no way back.

Norway and Switzerland get along passably without being EU members.

And Switzerland is doing very well without being an EU member.

Ok, that was redundant. Never mind....

This is by far the cleanest way for the EU to peacefully put the kibosh on independence movements. While I'm sure a small fraction of ultra-nationalists wouldn't care, support for independence among the vast majority of moderates would collapse if the EU made clear that the new country would not be allowed into the EU and all its inhabitants would loose their EU citizenship.

Denmark seems to do well enough not being part of the EU, why not Catalonia? The benefits accrue to being part of the free trade area and Schengen Zone, not the non-optimal currency area with a dysfunctional central bank.

Denmark is a member of the EU. You probably mean Norway.

Catalonia per se is quite an important economic hub of the southern part of the continent, and the EU cannot "punish" it without dealing punishment to important EU businesses as well.

Glad to see that you are now willing to not dismiss the issue as "rather primitive tribal arguments" anymore.


I don't see where he went back on that. I believe all he's saying is that the tribal arguments are getting more attention by notable people in his field. No one is above tribal politics. I'd like to think economists can at least openly acknowledge this.

" The first is that education in Catalonia is becoming increasingly “hispanicized,”"

Hummm, no, it's not. Today Catalan is the major language is most schools and universities and there are children who actually speak Castillian/Spanish very poorly, which was unthinkable just 10 or 15 years ago.

Indeed, education and culture has become remarkably less 'hispanicized' as of late.

Well, give Wert time, will you? It hasn't been a year since he promised to "hispanizar las aulas." Plus, now that he went and described the protests against his education reform as "practically a birthday party" on live TV, he has a fresh PR crisis on his hands, so it may take a while.

Yes, it seems that the current party governing Spain (PP) is helping the independence movement in Catalonia by doing everything possible to make the Catalans angry.

I am astonished at this as well. It seems to me completely unhinged, especially in a country that still has some unhealed wounds from the past.

Even if it was so, it would mean nothing. The Irish lost their ancestral Gaelic language right at the same time when they developed mass violent secession movements.

Miguel, no estoy nada de acuerdo! pues queda demostrado en los exámenes i pruebas académicas i pedagógicas que no hay ningún niño escolarizado en Cataluña que no entienda y hable el castellano. En cambio si que sucede a la inversa. Peró bueno! no creo que sea el tema de éste bloc.

Laura.. revolviendo "i' e "y" ? POr cierto tambien usan "e" en catalan?

More so, they write Spanish poorly.

Related to that issue is generational. You've got the children of "Spanish" immigrations to Barecelona who now can benefit from catalan-only asides. That is a big block of voters.

At the same time, you've got EU immigration (and others) coming in with little interest in Catalan but a lot of interest in Spanish.

I suspect that If Catalonia declares independence, they will all be speaking English in a generation.

"they will all be speaking English in a generation."

As a second language, maybe. But why would they give up their native language? After all, it may be advantageous to have a fallback speech which the outsiders do not understand.

Even in Luxembourg and Faeroe Islands, the natives seem to hold onto their languages quite stubbornly.

I can't imagine myself why would I start teaching my child English first.

If am Dutch (or German, or Italian, or Romanian, or Polish) living in Barcelona, why do I teach my kid Catalan -- a language that is singularly useless?

Spanish or English. Leave Spain, then learn English.

Doubly so for non-EU immigration.

That is why they want independence now, otherwise they will be stuck with a montreal in a generation.

It is not 'useless'. It is just not spoken over a geographic field as extensive as Spanish. The number of people who speak Catalan is in the seven digits. That is likely enough for it to be self-sustaining. There are old Iberian tongues with a census of speakers in the five digits. They are much more endangered.

The whole business seems bass-ackward. If you wanted to take out an officious central authority with scant legitimacy, one would think target number 1 would be Brussels.


The most advanced independence movements, such as those for Catalonia/Scotland, prefer Brussels to their current capitals. Nigel Farage is a popular rhetorician among anti-Europeans, but his party is given no power by the British voters because they don't care much about the European Union.

In the case of Scotland, they're awfully quite about that, because of not wanting to split the movement. Just like they try to keep quite about the Queen (the SNP is currently technically monarchist, even though it contains a bunch of republicans, since Salmond thinks ditching the Queen as well is a vote loser.)

And as the SNP has found, there's quite a lot of SNP voters that don't really want independence. Indeed, my Scottish coworkers to a man believe that Salmond doesn't actually want independence, but has to do the referendum because it's the party, and they're perfectly happy with that.

The most advanced independence movements, such as those for Catalonia/Scotland, prefer Brussels to their current capitals

And yet, their current capitals have elected government and are much more subject to their influence. You figure maybe some of these separatists are just frivolous?

By the way, Britain follows a first-past-the-post system of electoral tallying. That inhibits the prosperity of 3d parties.

"as economic conditions in Spain improve"

It's difficult to see any scenario where the economic conditions in Spain- and all of Spain- improve to the point where it isn't rational for people in Catalonia to want out.

Even if you discount the historical issues with Catalonia being part of Spain- and that is one mammoth discount- as a practical matter the rest of Spain is an anchor for Catalonia. There is no rational reason for them to remain part of Spain short of "artificial" political consequences. Either those consequences will be emphasized and such will be sufficient sufficient to change the calculus or the people of Catalonia will follow the rational path....and leave the rest of Spain ASAP.

Catalonia has a population and urban hierarchy adequate for a fully sovereign state. They also have a signature local language, though most people converse in Spanish (as most people in White Russia converse in Great Russian). Spain's signature problem is horrible sclerosis in their labor markets. Are Catalonia's politicians committed to ameliorative reforms? If not, what are they fleeing?

„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.”

Why should it be the Catalans who have to bear the cost of providing the “public good” of keeping the eurozone together? Maybe you paint a too apocalyptic picture of the effects Catalonian independence would supposedly have? Personally, your suggested scenario reminds me of arguments that painted very dire consequences of letting banks fail during the financial crisis, which I found always somewhat unfalsifiable. Or is keeping the eurozone together in its current form maybe not a “public good” at all?...

I agree. Arguments that run "I think you should not do what you really want because those people over there might suffer" do not work well in my experience. The only argument that is likely to work well is one that goes "if Catalans vote for independence, they will suffer". But if the suffering is going to come at the hands of the EU, denying them access for instance, then the Catalans may well choose a course of action that leads to the collapse of the EU. All those dire consequences become positives, not negatives.

“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?“

You are talking as if “the economy” _belongs_ to someone… There is no reason why companies in a seceded Catalonia should not continue to trade with the rest of Spain within the European trade union. Or do you actually mean the loss of 20% tax revenues? But then, if tax revenues were distributed fairly, a Catalan secession would mean that this loss of tax revenues would be accompanied by a parallel need to finance 20% less public goods. There would only occur a “problem” if Catalan tax revenues were disproportionately used to finance public goods in the rest of Spain. Which I think is one of the main points of the independence movement.

“furthermore other regions would claim more autonomy too.”

If Catalan independence is a good thing, why should the independence of other Spanish sub-groups then be a bad thing? On the other hand, if you want to claim the former is a bad thing, you should substantiate your claim.

Overall, I think you are dodging the main issue: are there _legitimate_ reasons for why a group of people that does not want to share the same government and institutions with another group of people should be prohibited from seceding in a peaceful way?
As a thought experiment, assume that you lived together with some people in a house and were prohibited from moving out, because the other inhabitants would not like that – are these two situations really fundamentally different from each other?

Quite separate from the question of fundamental legitimacy, but no less relevant, is the question of how to best structure the actual process of secession: what would be the least disrupting way, and to what extent is it a requirement of fairness to compensate the remaining part of Spain for the Catalan secession?

"Overall, I think you are dodging the main issue: are there _legitimate_ reasons for why a group of people that does not want to share the same government and institutions with another group of people should be prohibited from seceding in a peaceful way?"

America gave its definitive answer to that question in 1861 to 1865: Yes, they should. The winner will find reasons which will be more and more legitimate in the centuries that follow.

Meaning it is not about reasons, it is about power.

And the split of Czechoslovakia shows that the answer within the context of the EU is quite different. But then, neither the Czechs or Slovaks were defending the right to hold humans as slavery. Sometimes, a regime's raison d'etre is just too vile for anyone who believes that freedom is more important than preserving slave holder property rights.

And sometimes it is not. Remember that Europe's ruling elite by and large supported the massive system of slavery in the Soviet Union and they belong to the generation that actively went out to protest to support the Communists enslavement and mass murder of the peoples of Indochina. Pol Pot being a little worse than Jefferson Davis. Indeed, the EU is led by someone who was so inspired by Pol Pot and the Cultural Revolution he tried to bring that system of mass slavery to Portugal.

The EU is governed by people for whom the word "moral" is a political issue.

'Remember that Europe’s ruling elite by and large supported the massive system of slavery in the Soviet Union'

In someone's alternate history, I guess. In the real world, Europe's elite was fully supportive of NATO, and they have shown themselves fully able to integrate almost all members of the former Soviet empire without resorting to warfare. Just ask the Poles, the Czechs, the Bulgarians, the Magyars, etc.

OK, France was its own case, but when isn't that an assurate description of French affairs? And everyone in NATO always expected full French participation in repelling a Soviet invasion, up to and including the battelfield use of the French force de frappe (in Germany, it must be noted for the cynics among us).

They do now. The Soviet Union lost. The government at the time also supported NATO. But Europe is *now* ruled by the Sixty Eighters. And they most definitely did not support NATO.

Gerhard Shroeder being a good example. Joschka Fischer another.

Except notice that America has backed away from those claims. It is very rare that an American will make an argument about the importance of the Union. Rather they will say the Civil War was about slavery. Which it wasn't. It was about secession. Which may have been caused by slavery, but Lincoln did not go to war to free the slaves.

So the answer is not that definitive because Americans do not like to make it.

Sorry, as native Virginian (one who used to get school off each year on Lee/Jackson Day, years before anyone thought of merging that holiday with Martin Luther King Jr Day, and also as someone who grew up within walking distance of Lee-Jackson Highway), this is just historical ignorance, as Ilya Somin at volokh .com points out at http://www.volokh.com/2012/03/06/libertarianism-and-the-civil-war/ and http://www.volokh.com/2011/02/20/whitwashing-jefferson-davis-and-the-confederacy/ -

'The real Jefferson Davis unequivocally stated in 1861 that the cause of his state’s secession was that “she had heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races.” Other Confederate leaders also emphasized that slavery was the reason for secession (see here, here, and here).' Do check the non-listed links yourself, if you have any interest in historical accuracy, as compared to romantic fantasy, often repeated by people who were not born and educated in the Commonwealth of Virgina. Again, said as a native Virginian who also used to drive along the Jefferson Davis Highway, it would be a shame if you remain ignorant of the Commonwealth's history, especially when some non-Virginian has to be cited as for proof, compared to the actual words of native son Jefferson Davis himself. And yes, I did take pictures of his memorial at the state capitol in Richmond - behind the building designed by another Jefferson, though one apparently not merely not in fashion in a slave state, but also at this web site.

Virginians are not exactly shy in revealing their historical roots, even when they are not in current fashion - we just hate being misundersood as to why we were motivated to do what we did. I may add, as a native Alexandrian, I am fully aware of why my birthplace (and Arlington, where I also lived) was retroceded from the District of Columbia in 1846 -

'Alexandria was also an important port and market in the slave trade, and there were increasing talk of the abolition of slavery in the national capital. Alexandria's economy would suffer greatly if slavery were outlawed. At the same time, there was an active abolition movement in Virginia, and the state's General Assembly was closely divided on the question of slavery (resulting in the formation of West Virginia some years later by the most anti-slavery counties). Alexandria and Alexandria County would provide two new pro-slavery representatives.

After a referendum, voters petitioned Congress and Virginia to return the area to Virginia. The area was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846' (wikipedia - Alexandria,_Virginia)

Real Virginians tend to disdain anyone who remains so willfully ignorant of our history. Maybe you should spend some time reading about it instead of displaying your lack of knowledge for anyone to read?

This actually does not prove your point.

Also, it's hilarious to read this expat Germanophile with completely Continental sensibilities suddenly become this Son of Sweet Virginia's Soil.

'This actually does not prove your point.'

And how does the fact that a group of slave holding secessionists explicitly attacked United States of America territory in defense of their slave holding not prove my point? Or does the fact that the Japanese claimed they attacked Pearl Harbod out of necessirty due to American boycotts of material the Japanese considered essential for further conquest mean that you feel the Japanese had a point for starting a war that caused two of their cities to be obliterated in nuclear explosions?

'Also, it’s hilarious to read this expat Germanophile with completely Continental sensibilities suddenly become this Son of Sweet Virginia’s Soil.'

I have repeatedly pointed to my background as a native Virginia, who grew up in Fairfax - is this now something to be ashamed of when talking about the Civil War? Or is this something that makes those who aren't actually native Virginians uncomfortable when talking about events that shaped not only Virginia's history, but that of the entire U.S.? Though I hate to brag - my mother comes from Marblehead/Salem, one of the few areas in the U.S. that has an equally long and illustrious history as that of Virginia.

And I believe that the cannons still stand at the Fairfax Courthouse (pointing towards DC, for those who care about details) with the plaque that (not exactly accurately, though arguably reasonably) claims the first deaths of the Civil War occurred there. The ones I first read four decades ago, when just hanging out.

Here is bit of reference -

'The Battle of Fairfax Court House was the first land battle of the Civil War between Union and Confederate land forces after the surrender of Fort Sumter. It occurred two days before the Battle of Philippi, Virginia (later West Virginia) and nine days before the Battle of Big Bethel, Virginia. A small Union cavalry force on a reconnaissance mission to gather information about the strength and disposition of Confederate forces in Fairfax County precipitated the battle when they loudly rode into the village of Fairfax Court House, taking a few prisoners and firing at random, in the early morning of June 1, 1861. Part of the Virginia (Confederate) Warrenton Rifles infantry company resisted the incursion, inflicted a few casualties and forced the Union force to retreat by a different and more circuitous route.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fairfax_Court_House_(June_1861)

I do not need to newly claim being proud of my Virginian birth and education - I always have been, espeically when discussing the Commonwealth's history with those ignorant of it. Though I will admit to never having heard such a ridiculous thing as a 'Son of Sweet Virginia’s Soil' - we tend to just call ourselves Virginians, with a certain understated sense of inherent superiority over those less fortunate in their birthplace.

Though I'll admit to have living for a while near Jermantown with my German girlfriend, it had nothing to do Germany. Why yes, the Jermantown essentially centered at the intersection Jermantown Road and Lee Jackson Memorial Highway.

It does not prove your point because you are talking about the reasons for secession. That may have been about slavery. But the Union response was not. It was about keeping the Union together. That is why Lincoln did not promptly free the slaves - and when he did, he did not free Union slaves.

Americans are not comfortable about suppression someone else's freedom. Which is why they talk about slavery rather than secession.

(Mind you, it is not the only war that is treated this way - the Holocaust museum is allowed where it is because Americans want to think their involvement in WW2 had something to do with the murder of Jews. Which, of course, it didn't. Of course Americans do not like the sort of people who do not like Jews, but that is not why they went to war.)

Somin's post was stupid, and so is yours. Secession was about slavery. The North/Lincoln wouldn't have cared if it was about slavery or if it was an argument over whether Bud Light tastes great or is less filling, they were still going to invade and conquer.

Strange that the Confederacy refused to recognize those parts of their states that wish to secede from the Confederacy, and/or refuse to join the Union, whether as small as the Free State of Winston, similar parts of east Tennessee and western North Carolina, or all of West Virginia.

You may say it was "states' rights," but under Jeff Davis the Confederacy was worse on states' rights than the pre-Civil War Union had been. In my North Carolina, it took a determined Zebulon Vance to fight against Jeff Davis's suspension of habeas corpus and other actions against states' rights.

While it's certainly true that Lincoln had excesses during the war, the CSA committed crimes at least as great against civil liberties, states' rights, and the right of secession, making a mockery of their stated reason and rendering any attempt to blame Lincoln absurd.

Spain can't even get the UK to hand back a vestigial colonial rock. It seems to me Spain has no power.

Gibraltarians want no part of Spanish sovereignty and the parcel of land in question has not been governed by Spain in nearly 300 years. Why should anyone pay Spain any mind when they ask for random pieces of territory to be delivered to them?

The USA isn't Europe, and Europe has a long history of ethnic strife and separationist movements. Probably longer than existence of written records thereof.

Many were successful. About a third of the current continent consists of countries whose existence began as an insurgency against the foreign sovereign.

The separatist movements aren't any weaker than anytime before, but they vastly prefer peaceful means these days. The modern democratic state may crush violent groups with tacit approval of the majority. It is at the same time nearly powerless against advocacy groups which work through media and popular opinion.

"The USA isn’t Europe"

Yes, I think trying to look at European separatist movements through an American (or even North American) lens is probably a mistake.

The crisis will not pass.

Nothing to get one's knickers in a twist for: There have now been 68 years of peace in Europe, a ripe time to ask what the nation state is actually good for. A Europe of Catalonia, Bavaria, Provence, Scotland, Lombardy, and so on, is not unattractive, a sort of Holy Roman Empire writ large.

The common currency question is trivial compared to many other economic questions, but these have essentially been solved. The language question has also resolved itself--speak whatever you will be understood in at home, speak English to those who don't understand you. The question of common defense is not, and that's where this version of a political utopia may well founder. Of course, if the Americans keep doing it... . :-)

Dismalist, the Federalist

In theory, +1.

The EU can supersede the national states and regional powers might be a better suited mechanism in terms of proximity.

OTOH, some states like Italy, France or Spain have spent centuries trying to centralise and create a national identity. I am happy to see a European Federalist identity come on top, I am a bit more worried to see it dissolving itself into regional+European identity, admitting that might even be possible.

But, on the practical economic level, I do not see any benefit to secession, not if they get saddled with the appropriate amount of Spanish debt and get taxed by the EU to the level of their strength.

I would guess that a smaller country is almost by definition more agile and adaptable than a larger country. The negotiations are easier and the entrenched interests are fewer.

An example? Independent Catalonia could reform its labor laws in ways which the entire Spain would never approve of.

Inflexible Spanish labor laws seem to be a huge contributor to the contemporary abysmal unemployment of the young workers.

I wonder if there is an "optimal" size of a highly autonomous economic unit, and whether it is about 10-20 million people.

There's a certain agility to a smaller country, yes but, if a labor law is good for Catalonia, it's unlikely to be bad for Spain...

In general, I am of the opinion that each problem should be handled at the appropriate level. On one extreme, the colour of the paint of the local school is best handled by the local community. The interest rates affecting the EUR are best handled at the European level.

Now, this might seem a tad obvious but take your chosen example of labour laws. IMO, it's likely that the best level to deal with that is EU-wide. Why? Because the EU is relatively homogeneous - we have an educated workforce more or less across countries and the composition isn't radically different between countries. Thus, unless someone can explain to me why laws that are good for Catalonia wouldn't be good across the EU, I'd say that's the strength of the EU: Homogenize the playing field as needed across an entire continent...

It does not really matter whether some legislative changes would be better or worse for Spain. What matters is that each legislative change will be opposed by entrenched interests, and the bigger the entity, the more such entrenched interests. It is easier to overcome lobbying of one corporation / organization than to overcome ten of them.

I would say that the history tends to support my view. Obviously disastrous policies like the Prohibition took much longer to repeal in the USA than in smaller countries which tried them. If you look at tax codes, larger countries have almost invariably more cluttered codes with more exceptions and loopholes than smaller countries. The EU Common Agricultural Policy is a similar behemoth. Pretty much anyone interested is of the view that it should be changed, but they absolutely cannot agree when and how. In the meantime, status quo has no regular challenge.

I disagree with the view that legal principles should be the same across the EU. The principle of competition which weeds out the worst products works as well in law as it does in manufacturing.

There is good reason why trees do not grow to a kilometer and humans aren't as big as whales. Sizing up creates a huge set of new risks.

"The language question has also resolved itself–speak whatever you will be understood in at home, speak English to those who don’t understand you."

This kind of opinion could be named "rationalist naivism". Humans do not work this way. Not everyone speaks English, not every state institution will accept English, and some languages have more prestige than others.

Look at the linguistic hell of Belgium for an example.

Everyone in Belgium speaks English...

That is why all the laws of the land must be officially translated into French, Flemish and German.

This kind of multilingualism is an enormous deadweight loss on the country.

Tyler - Jaume Lopez Hernandez (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) advocates, if necessary, paying a large indemnity to Spain in exchange for independence (essentially taking on a disproportionate share of the Spanish debt burden). More here: http://pileusblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/reflections-on-catalan-secession/

Then, what's the point except romanticism?

Never underestimate romanticism, what do you think a nation actually is.

But if Catalonia will be richer and stronger sans Spain, then at some point this debt will be discharged, and Catalonia will be free of Castile. This would still be cheaper than the price Ireland paid for its independence.

A nation is usually the result of an historical process. Yes, romanticism played a part in building (some of) them but it was also a matter of the ruthlessness and determination of its leaders across generations and centuries. And, well, the constant warfare helped by delineating an Other.

I still think romanticism that cost lost of money is idiotic.

I still think romanticism that cost lost of money is idiotic.

Spoken like a life long bachelor. ;)

It's not all about economics, you know. You persistently miss the point. People have very strong opinions on the subject. It is extremely emotionally charged. Of course Oriol Junqueras professes fraternal relations with Spain if (or, in his world view, when) Catalunya breaks off: he may be extreme, but he is still a politician. In the streets, you'll sometimes bump into dogs dyed into yellow and red stripes and, on special occasions, into unborn babies clamoring for independence via speech bubbles drawn on future mom's belly. Try asking those people if they lose sleep over how Spain would survive without their taxes.

There's also the issue of Artur Mas's political legacy. He very recently attempted to shift from "a referendum in 2014 no matter what" to "a referendum in 2014 or, if not, then in 2016," and the backlash has been nasty. Alicia Sánchez-Camacho is of the opinion that his top priority is to go down in history as the President who achieved independence for Catalunya, and she might in fact have a point, just this once.

Mas, by the way, made his case in the New York Times a few days ago (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/opinion/global/a-referendum-for-catalonia.html). Bad timing, with all the eyes being on Syria, and there's nothing new in his op-ed anyway, but the fact that he keeps seeking international support suggests he might indeed strike soon.

"It’s not all about economics, you know. You persistently miss the point. People have very strong opinions on the subject. It is extremely emotionally charged.""

^This + 100.

And there's nothing wrong about emotions playing a role in this case. If the Catalans place a higher subjective value on their independence than the cost of seceding, including reasonable compensation payments and the takeover of some part of Spain's debt, then that is a perfectly fine value judgement and not wrong per se. Economists have no business in criticizing such a value judgement. Its the preferences of the people that matter, whether these include subjective values like romantic nationalism or not.
Emotions would only be a problem in this case if they clouded a clear and sober assessment of the economic & other costs of secession. In helping this assessment by make the costs transparent, so that Catalans can make an informed choice between alternatives, economists could and should be of use.

Modern economists like centralized power.

The economics don't matter, it is self-determination. The EU is anti-self-determination, it crushes local governments and imposes puppet regimes in Greece and Italy, but the mood of the people is for greater independence, not less. The urge to merge is gone; it died about 10 years ago. Now the urge is to separate and it will go away because nothing is being done to solve the problems. Instead, they are putting on more debt and tightening political control. The only question is when it all falls apart.

Yes, secession will trigger a financial crisis, but the crisis will come eventually. Secession will speed things along and make the people happier. They will quickly turn to building their newly independent nation, while the remaining Spanish will get to work cleaning up their bad debts. For now, they will continue growing more and more unhappy as the debt piles higher and their self-determination is thwarted.

We will see if "the people" really have any say in the matter.

How curious that the puppet regime in Greece ignored all the demands from Brussels and the IMF and just kept shoveling money to the Greek special interests. They must be pretty terrible puppeteers.

The Americans are incompetent too. Notice how Obama managed to get all of Egypt hating America. The same thing is happening in Greece as Golden Dawn grows more popular.

If it breaks up, who's left holding the debt? Perhaps rump Spain can force Catalonia to take a proportion of debt with it? Otherwise, and especially if Basque country or Navarre also manage to leave, thus prompting possible further separation by other provinces (maybe Galicia?) who have some nationalist movement anyway. If the Catalans don't take some of the debt, then Spain has to either repudiate the relevant portions of debt (hurting their standing) or shoulder the same load on fewer people. If enough people leave when the door opens, without taking their debt shares, then it might make sense to leave or to abolish the whole damn thing. That's sort of a thought exercise. I assume debt allocation is already a point under debate. If Catalonia ever wants into the EU, Spain can force it to take some debt before removing objections to membership.

Tyler - Some Catalans are willing to take on a disproportionate share of the Spanish debt in exchange for trouble-free secession. Google "reflections, Catalan, secession" for more info - for some reason the blog does not like my posting a link.

Seems odd to me how someone like T Cowen could get trapped by such a lack or rigour and mounting emotional pseudo-tribal arguments to promote CAT @[email protected] Some fair analysis should be carried out with perspective on both sides views. Unfortunately, Spain politics are so blurred with short-sight arguments and noise that Catalan(ist) have made a point when building an apparently serious case. But not all catalans are nationalists. Only 48% attend local elections. Between 200 and 400 k (out of 7 m) attended yesterday the demonstrations, no 1M!.I suggest you go around FEDEA website to see some calculations on the actual economic impact of CAT independence. Moreover, two points for discussion: why catalan children are forbidden to receive regular classes in Spanish since 1980 (amazing), and why catalan citizens never got a balanced view of how (troubled) Spain history looks, and why cervantes moved el quijote to go around Cat sine centuries ago.

Curious where you get your 200-400,000 figure when La Vanguardia was reporting 1.6 million. Also not sure what you are talking about with regard to Catalan children being prohibited from Spanish language instruction given that my Catalan wife says they had Spanish language instruction at least a couple of hours per week during her childhood in the 1980s and 90s.

I think regular classes means non-foreign language classes (e.g. math)

Re: 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

I assume that an independent Catalonia would inherit some reasonable share (either by population, or GDP, or some mix of both) of Spain's current debt, and all the Eurozone measures that go with it. That sort of thing is pretty much standard practice when nations split peacefully.

Well, splitting various estimates, it sounds like this year's demonstration attracted less than half of last year's 1.5 million crowd in Barcelona.

And compared to its model - Baltic Republic protests against the still existing Soviet Union in 1989 - it is a good try, but still less than the then 2 million people spanning over 600 kilometers. Somehow, I doubt too many of the Catalonians hanging out on the beach were overly concerned about generations long memories of the gulags.

It also helps that the demonstration was on a ('the' is probably more accurate in one sense) Catalonian national holiday, and that most of the human chain was along the coast.

'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.'

I knew that a new and improved eurogeddon was coming - and just a week after touting an interview where politics is seen the greatest threat to the euro.

And let's just change one name here - 'Or is the view that Great Britain could fiscally survive the shock of losing about twenty percent of its economy, with all the uncertainties and transition costs along the way?'

At this point, it looks like Scotland will be leaving the UK - and yet, even as another European polity splits up, not really much to be heard - maybe the exit of part of one of the world's oldest currency unions is just not interesting enough (speculation being that an independent Scotland, like the Irish Republic before it, will deal with the not inconsiderable difficulties of leaving the pound zone, which currently has at least seven members). In other words, Scottish indpendence is on track and probable - and very little spoken about England's 'collapse' when it loses its major oil and gas fields.

Of course, look at the disaster that was the Czech/Slovak break up - no wonder people in the EU seem less breathless about the idea of political change. The difference being, that unlike the causes that led to Czechoslovakia being formed, within the EU, no one is talking about slaughtering their national enemies in an attempt to redraw national boundaries. Almost as if the EU was founded with the explicit goal to resolve such tensions.

Disaster of the Czech/Slovak breakup? You are probably misinformed. I am a Czech and I was 15 at the time of the breakup, seeing it firsthand.

There was a lot of bad mood, but the breakup itself was very pragmatical and lukewarm. At no point felt the population threatened by violence or war.

Retroactively, it seems that separation of Czechia and Slovakia was a really good idea. Both countries are quite happy, a major source of friction is gone, and the smaller republics can try many individual political and economical reforms on their own, where the negotiation on the federal level would get stuck for years.

As far as I can see, in the Old World - ethnic and religious diversity is weakness and promotes constant gridlocks in institutions. There isn't much to celebrate about that, with the exception of cuisine.

'Disaster of the Czech/Slovak breakup'

My apologies - that statement was meant to be sarcastic, pointing to a not exactly distant in the past event, and directed to an audience of mainly unaware Americans. Of course it was not a disaster, and one of the people I work with was previously employed by a company in what is now Slowakia, though she is Czech, and moved (along with her husband) to Praha, her pension (and his, as a former teacher) are not a problem. The division functions just fine - and like a number of older Czech/Slovaks, she has no problem using either 'language' (speaking as a professional translator, it is an interesting question whether Czech and Slovak are different languages - though thankfully, no one is shot for their opinion, unlike in the former Yugoslavia).

I'll also add, for no good reason, that with the name 'Marian,' my assumption of Central European origin was German, not Czech.

I am neither Catalan nor Spanish though I live in Barcelona. I have had long conversations with Catalans on the issue of their independence and it seems to me that the main point is not economical but rather romantic, the defence of their language being a main point. Many Catalans believe that the only time to attempt a separation is in a time of crisis because it's only then that people will be more uncomfortable with the central Spanish government, even if seceding in such a moment means huge economic woes for Catalonia and Spain. They basically want independence no matter the cost, which to me looks like a bad kind of nationalism. I do however agree with them in that defending their tongue is important and that the current government is destroying some past advances made on that front. Let me add that when Tokyo was recently chosen to host the 2020 Olympic Games instead of Madrid I could hear a few fireworks being set off in Barcelona, so this issue is breeding some hate.

It is true: a significative part of catalans says that the main reason to leave Spain is to protect and defend their culture and language. But it is not exactly true. Spain has one of the most tolerant language law in EU and public schools in Catalonia are forced to teach in catalan. Most of the complaints about the barely respected catalan culture are just personal feelings wich are far to be real. In order to this, catalan and spanish mass media haven't helped to calm people down, talking about not very common discrimination and making little situations seem like a big deal.

Feelings matter.

As to your observation about media, well, that is their principle of existence. Should they just peddle the facts and the numbers, they would be departments of algebra.

What use is the EU if not to facilitate some decentralization of power? If the boundary of the tariff zone is the boundary of the EU rather than the constituent state, what economic inefficiency arises from smaller states?

In the past, Spain wanted to be a large country to field a large army. But, war is stupid (Pinker, 2011). So, what difference does it make now?

Catalonia is a genuine nation with its own language. Why shouldn't it be its own state as well?

Good for the Catalonian economists. Judging from these comments, many other economists, however, seem to root for Leviathan.

The reality is that having a globe divided up into a vast number of countries -- there were 205 at the 2012 Olympics -- has been a success. Now that the age of empire is over and a large fraction of national aspirations have been satisfied, the world is remarkably peaceful and fairly peaceful.

Let the Catalans enjoy what so many other peoples enjoy.

While we're at it, let's have Puerto Rican independence as well. American taxpayers bribe Puerto Ricans immensely with tax breaks, but Puerto Ricans don't feel part of America, as exemplified by their sending their own Puerto Rican team to the Olympics. Let's have a peaceful breakup -- Americans will save money and Puerto Ricans will get their national pride.

Now that the age of empire is over and a large fraction of national aspirations have been satisfied, the world is remarkably peaceful

This is an under-remarked point. Why the love for multi-national empire? The 20th century was a blood-soaked mess because of empires, lumbering around the world doing stupid things.

Churchill said that while the rise of empires are bloodsoaked affairs, the collapse of empires are even bloodier. Well, we've gotten mostly past all that by now, thank God.

Except they just voted in favor of statehood in a popular referendum. Also their taxes are higher than on the mainland, they just go to the local government.

One problem is that Congress granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. I do not think those in the Phillippines ever received American citizenship and our other dependent territories relinquished were to lacking in population for it to much matter one way or another. We will need a constitutional amendment to revoke that grant of citizenship, as well as statutory legislation to work out who among residents of Puerto Rico gets to keep their American citizenship and who among Puerto Rican residents of the mainland gets to keep their American citizenship, &c.

If it was good for Steve Wozniak to leave HP to cofound Apple, why shouldn't the same principle apply to Catalonia? The Catalans have their own way doing things and it may turn out better than the Spanish way. Or maybe not. But what argument is there against letting them try?

Ditching Spanish labor law would be a help.

A lack of decent knowledge in an area never seems to stop Tyler from writing as if an expert in the field.

As an outsider living in Catalonia, I feel that almost all people here are unwilling to shed blood for independence. Which means, in my opinion, that it won't happen.

Not everywhere is Bosnia. Peaceful means are often more effective in obtaining independence than violent struggles. If the willingness to shed blood was the decisive factor, Palestine and Tamil Eelam would be independent states long time ago, while Norway wouldn't.

"Peaceful means" are only effective until your opponent says No, with a capital N.

Well, some opponents cannot really say No with capital N, if by this you mean sending in the army. The government in Madrid is one of them.

Sending the Spanish military to crush a popular movement in Catalonia would be a tricky gamble with very high stakes.

Soldiers in Europe have already rebelled for smaller reasons; once they do, the government is usually toast.

'The government in Madrid is one of them. '

However, there is the contrast with Basque demands for independence over the last several decades, post-Franco. The government in Madrid remains more than effective enough in using straightforward security measures, including the banning of Batasuna (and several other parties afterwards), to ensure that Spain remains a single nation.

Spain is the only country I have been in that is actually as paranoid as the U.S. became after 2001 in terms of security measures, including very well armed security figures in many public settings - however, in Spain, this represented a considerably more relaxed state than a couple of decades ago.

The Catalonians are very well aware of what the Spanish government is capable of - whether they care as much about independence as the Balts is an open question, but the situation is not quite comparable. The Russians, broadly speaking, never really considered such nations as Finland or Latvia part of Russia. However, though it is not likely that Spain's response to Catalonian independence will be as savage as Russia's to Chechnaya, the Catalonians know that the government in Madrid is likely to treat any serious Catalonian independence movement using many of the same mechanisms as those applied against the Basque region. With the caveat that this would likely only escalate to violence if the Catalonians began to use ETA's methods, which has not yet been the case.

I do not think that the comparison holds. Terrorism is horrible and alienates population, even the ethnic population of the perpetrators. Local police will fight it, unless cowed, and the people will support military crackdown.

It is something completely different, at least in the western settings, to send soldiers against elected politicians and a peaceful mass of their voters. No one in Europe can do that without looking as the new Adolf, and there is really some risk of the army rebelling against such request. Soldiers will happily attack terrorists, but attacking civilians is very demoralizing.

Even in Czechoslovakia in 1968, when the Soviet soldiers learnt about the real state of things, the morale disintegrated. The units were swiftly (October) sent back to Russia, because risk of mutiny was considered serious enough. The new troops which came to CSSR were stationed in isolated barracks far from the Czechoslovak population, to prevent replay of that situation.

And that was a classical totalitarian country with controlled press and 50 years of thought control.

All this commentary from American observers about that Catalan independence movement makes me feel kind of icky. I'm quite certain that not all the yankees who have expressed an opinion on this know much about anything. That also goes for TC talking about what he wants from the debate. Yeesh.

and yet you have contributed the least, as you have made no argument whatsoever.

Xavier Sala i Martin have talked about an interesting idea. Is there an example in history where borders between countries have been changed trough a voting/referendum/? The lesson from history to "be independent" is start a war, let a lot of people get killed, a couple weeks later send a representative to the UN to talk about the crimes against humanity and demand help from the rest of the world. So, why not a referendum for a change?

There are a lot of uncertainties about an independent Catalunya like being part of Eurozone or not, if they can be able to avoid becoming a Ceuta or Melilla clone in Europe (drug traffic), if they make enough babies to keep being Catalonian or are outnumbered by muslims, if an independent Catalunya will follow Argentina's debt scenario....but in the end the matter is about self-determination not money.

Tyler said : "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." This idea instead of make Catalans happy being part of Spain empowers them in their independence quest. Catalans believe that without them Spain will collapse and some people just want to see the world burn. If the Kingdom of Spain is in a vulnerable position due to irresponsible spending, they should use nice words to keep Catalunya paying taxes instead of intimidation, really. You can not blame Catalunya for white elephants in Valencia and the renewable energy bubble that went bust last year when subsides were retired to solar and eolic plants.

About fiscal independence in Spain there´s a nice example. The Basque Country (Euskadi) and Navarra have full tax autonomy and they now seem to be happy teaching spanish to kids until they are 7-8 years old. But the price paid to get there was a lot of death people for several years. Euskadi works, Navarra works, the Kingdom of Spain somehow works, why Catalunya would be different? Just because this time is different? The mistery for me is why all the media is focused on political independence when leaders are negotiating a new fiscal arrangement http://blogs.elconfidencial.com/espana/notebook/2012/03/24/cataluna-como-el-pais-vasco-soberania-y-pacto-fiscal-8931

Debt rating from 2012 https://www.research.unicreditgroup.eu/DocsKey/credit_docs_2012_126482.ashx?EXT=pdf&KEY=n03ZZLYZf5l2PWPsZLYmH9d-uaXikN-WIxisNv07eGc=
Moodys S&P Fitch
Catalunya Baa3 wn BBB- n BBB+ wn
Pais Vasco A2 n A n AA wn
Navarra -- A n --

Forgot to mention it. The fiscal independece arragement between Euskadi, Navarra and the Kingdom of Spain is written in the constitution from a few years ago. Problem now is that people against the independence of Catalunya treat the constitution as dogma, as the word of God. They (conveniently) forget that the last Spanish constitution came from people talking and negotiating. If the Constitution needs to be changed , which better way than a referendum? If a referendum is not possible, what's the alternative?

FC Barcelona will never allow Catalonia to secede. Secession would mean becoming another Celtic.

In Canada most people under fifty have been listening to this line of hogwash our whole lives. If Quebec is not gone by now, it's not going anywhere. The benefits of independence were always dubious at best, and the potential costs were enormous.

The same applies for Catalonia. Frankly even UK "independence" from the EU is a similar "quick fix" that wouldn't actually fix anything of great importance to anybody who isn't a utopian tribalist. It's not clear what would actually change for the better in an independent Catalonia either.

As for how much hard-core support Catalan independence could hope for, well. If the pool of people who care enough about the Catalan nation to be depended on on referendum day is bounded upward by the number of people who actually speak the local language, it's fair to say Catalonia isn't going anywhere. Catalan is far worse shape than French is in Quebec. At last report (2008) only 36 percent of Catalonians speak Catalan regularly. French is (as of 2011) spoken by 78 percent of Quebecers.

In the meantime, the main Catalan separatist party (Convergence and Union, CIU) only got pluralities in the rural provinces of Catalonia (Lerida, Gerona and Tarragona) in the last election. The province of Barcelona went for the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party, the mainstream federal party of the left. At the provincial level, CIU is its weakest in Barcelona, the metropolis of Catalonia, the engine of its economy and, not co-incidentally, where most non-Catalan speakers in Catalonia live.

So it's not at all clear Barcelonins want to be the capital of an independent country, the same way the Bloc and Parti Quebecois were always their weakest on the island of Montreal, where all the jobs and money (and non-francophones) are.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that, in advanced economies where economic and civil liberties are generally respected, most regional "independence" parties are little more than vehicles for demagogues to take advantage of linguistic and ethnic minorities in irreversible decline. Said demagogues may or may not have any real interest in independence, if that is not in fact practically impossible. They are, however, guaranteed the use of a scapegoat for all their region's problems to assist their re-election to the provincial legislature every few years.

Catalonia, Quebec, Scotland and the UK have many genuine problems. Most were not the work of Madrid, Ottawa, London or Brussels, and sovereignty will not repair them.

What it would 'fix' is getting the people of Britain out from under an unaccountable administrative apparat which imposes asinine social policies on them. We live in an age where local self-government and sensible immigration policy gets one slapped with the label 'utopian tribalist'.

And of course anglophone Canada would benefit from ejecting the Quebecois. The dynamics and debate within Canadian politics is distorted and inhibited by that national question.

where all the jobs and money (and non-francophones) are

All the jobs and money? What are you talking about? That fails even as illustrative hyperbole. There are 4.5 million people in Quebec outside of urban Montreal and 700,000 in Quebec City. They have an adequate total population to go it alone and a city of 700,000 will support the most sophisticated higher education and medical training. They might be dependent on American or Canadian capital markets...

in advanced economies where economic and civil liberties are generally respected

Sorry, your 'human rights' star chambers are not a component of a regime where civil liberties are 'generally respected'

And yet at the same period during you were listening to the hogwash, many other countries in the world disintegrated along ethnic lines.

I don't think that you can generalize from Canada easily. Also, Quebec population has little economic motivation for independence, it is pure nationalism that drives them. Catalonians have both motivations at once, which makes for a stronger pull.

"The first is that education in Catalonia is becoming increasingly “hispanicized,”. Do you know what you're talking about?

You can change the length of the alimentary canal all you want, but the end product is still the same.

Catalans fancy themselves the Germans of the Iberian Peninsula, but they're just kidding themselves. Catalonia is just as corrupt, bloated, and venal as the rest of Spain.

Yawn ... the Catalan independence movement is total bullshit ... if this were a real movement, Catalan leaders would have declared their independence from Spain by now, instead of wasting time holding hands

Also worth reading [1] "Catalan challenge asks real questions of Europe", by Alex White and Raphael Brun-Aguerre http://www.vilaweb.cat/media/attach/vwedts/docs/jpmorgancatalunya.pdf; [2] "Feasibility of Catalonia as a State: Analysis of Public Funds", by Núria Bosch and Marta Espasa (University of Barcelona) http://www.slideshare.net/miquimel/feasibility-of-catalonia-as-a-state-analysis-of-public-funds, and [3] Cercle Català de Negocis http://www.ccncat.cat/en/studies-and-reports

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