Este mapa muestra cómo Estados Unidos está formado por 11 naciones "separadas" con sus propias culturas
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Para aldeanistas cerriles.
The Economist escribió un artículo hablando de "aldeanismo"* y sentó fatal.
The perils of parochialism
Europe is no longer an automatic solution for Spain’s ills. But nor is navel-gazing
Nov 6th 2008 | From the print edition
SPANISH companies may be going global. The AVEs and the motorways may have shrunk Spain from a vast country that only a generation ago took days to traverse. But paradoxically many Spanish politicians seem to find it increasingly hard to look beyond their own region, let alone their own country. That imposes costs, both tangible and intangible.
Mr González and Mr Aznar, in their different ways, had ambitions for Spain to play a role in the world. Mr González built up links between Spain and Latin America and made it a serious presence in the EU. Mr Aznar, sensing that Europe's centre of gravity was moving east, tried to establish a special relationship with the United States. That had a certain logic, even if he failed to persuade Spaniards of it. It has been harder to divine the international ambitions of Mr Zapatero, who apart from Spanish only speaks a little French and has never spent much time outside Spain. He has said that he will give greater weight to foreign policy in his second term. He argues that Spain is uniquely well-placed to promote “north-south dialogue”. His main initiative has been to call for an “alliance of civilisations”, but few countries have paid more than lip-service to this.
Perhaps his one concrete achievement in foreign policy has been in Africa. His government has offered aid to several north-west African countries if they will take back illegal immigrants deported from Spain. Some 80% of illegal migrants detained in Spain are now returned to their country of origin.
Mr Zapatero has raised spending on foreign aid from 0.25% of GDP in 2004 to 0.5% this year, so his efforts in Africa have not come at the expense of Latin America (where Spain spends €1.5 billion a year). Both the United States and the rest of Europe like to talk regularly to Spain about Latin America, says Trinidad Jiménez, who is in charge of relations with the region.
Generations of Spaniards believed with José Ortega y Gasset, an early-20th-century philosopher, that “Spain is the problem, Europe is the solution.” Having done so well out of the EU, Spain has uncritically supported almost anything coming out of Brussels. But from 2013 it will become a net contributor to EU funds, which may change its attitude. In the first half of 2010 it will hold the EU presidency, which Miguel Angel Moratinos, the foreign minister, says it will use to get Europe to try harder on innovation and research and development.
That sounds like a continuation of the Lisbon Agenda pushed by Mr Aznar, though Mr Zapatero has seemed keener on the (unrelated) Lisbon Treaty, which strengthens the Brussels institutions. Indeed, the country has yet to debate its interests in Europe properly. “We need to work out what we want to say and not just demand the right to speak,” says Mr Pérez Díaz, the Madrid sociologist.
Defending the idea of Spain
That requires a clearer sense of what Spain is and what it stands for. In some ways, localism is one of its strengths: for example, the attachment of Spaniards to the folklore and festivals of their home towns is an attractive part of their culture. But exaggerated localism is becoming a weakness. In the past teachers and other public servants would move around the country. Now they stay in their own region. Some companies find it difficult to recruit managers who are prepared to work abroad.
Reversing the drift to localism requires changing the terms of the political debate. It would help to take another look at the constitution now that it is turning 30. This charter has given Spain, for the first time in its history, a precious combination of democracy and political stability. But it has a few flaws, which are becoming more apparent. Some amendments would be timely. Formally embracing federalism would do more than anything else to answer the regional question. The electoral system gives disproportionate weight to small nationalist parties. Adding seats elected on a national basis would make it fairer.
In the past few years Spain's political leaders have chosen to look backwards and to emphasise the local issues that divide them. Recession will create new and different political demands. Spain will no longer be able to look to Europe for further windfalls. The euro has brought benefits but also a loss of competitiveness. For the first time since Ortega coined his analysis, Europe is not an automatic—and relatively painless—solution to Spain's problems. A return to rapid growth and high employment demands an economy that is even more outward-looking, and a national government capable of pushing through unpleasant reforms. That in turn requires the politicians to defend the idea of Spain more effectively even as they give due recognition to their country's regional diversity. After all, over the past 30 years few other places have been as successful.
From the print edition: Special report
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