If as a country we could make 10 new year´s resolutions for this critical year, what would they be? Here´s my list, in order of importance:
Tembleque 009.jpg

1. DO SOMETHING to unblock the growth in Spanish productivity. (This one overlaps with all the others, but it´s so important that it deserves its own space.)

2. Have an honest conversation about the model of collective bargaining and the political role of unions in Spain. Tell the truth in public about how dysfunctional it is and how it affects productivity, democracy and even the ethical nature of business in Spain.

3. Make some concrete bipartisan, cross-society plans to change 2).

4. Have an honest public debate over the dysfunctional Spanish labor market. Recognize how the peculiar characteristics of Spain´s labor laws reduce productivity, raise wage costs, reduce employment and squeeze Spain´s well educated young people out of decent jobs.

5. Make some concrete, bipartisan plans to reform 4). Start by wiping out everything there is and introducing a single contract for all people of all ages, with severance pay that rises over time (say, one month per year) up to a reasonable maximum (say, 12 months).

6.) Redefine “unfair dismissal” (despido improcedente) so that it becomes a rare exception rather than the rule.

7. Drastically increase the number of training courses offered with public funds.  Take them out of the hands of unions and offer them in partnership with the private sector, in a great public-private partnership to raise Spanish skills and productivity.  Include language courses for immigrants.

8. Thoroughly overhaul the INEM so that it becomes a true clearing house for job opportun ities, along the lines of the new French public employment services.  This might also be done in cooperation with the private sector in another great PPP.

9. Reform unemployment benefits by requiring the unemployed to show up for job training or job interviews.  Withhold unemployment benefits permanently at the first missed job interview or training session.

10.  Cut wages across the board, in all sectors, by 10%, to restore Spanish competitiveness.

I know, it´s an unbelievably ambitious list.  But imagine how different Spain would be by 2012 if we could make all of these changes!  They´d have to drop the S off of PIIGS….

Happy new year to all!


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Fernando Paredes 31 diciembre 2010 - 11:49

Hopelfully, your 10 new year´s resolutions are almost imposible to fulfill. It seems like every ten years this country has to be reivented striking always to the working class. We´d like you to consider to share the efforts a little bit.

Happy New Year to all!!

LOLA MEDINA 1 enero 2011 - 20:17

I miss another resolution needed for the good of this country in the coming year: education reform! For some licensed professions such as lawyers and doctors, learner-of-facts is a necessity but unfortunately it is not the case for the rest of professionals . Skills learned today will soon become obsolete and new skills must be mastered specially . For this reason, knowing how to learn, search for and acquire information is more valuable than being a learner-of-facts. Because most high schools students enter the work force, their knowledge should be measured by their ability to acquire information and turn it into useful knowledge rather than their ability to memorize as it is the case in the Spanish systems….only this way to think and work would let us increase productivity and recover from these years poor situation

Jonathan Langton 7 enero 2011 - 14:49

Bravo, Gayle! I hope I am still here to see it. I am never quite sure why it is so counterintuitive for some people that a more dynamic labour market is good for the economy, which benefits everyone.

I was appalled to read recently that 73% of young Spaniards are on temporary contracts, often very poorly paid at that. It seems that the practice is to exploit the young to support the over-protected established workers.

World Spinner 12 enero 2011 - 03:44

10 New Year´s Resolutions for Spain | Economy Weblog…

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

Florent Mathieu 6 febrero 2011 - 14:34

Well, it looks like a standard recipe in 10 steps to do a standard regular cupcake. it can be implemented through a strong and settling political program relying on people. In economics, or any other subject, I do believe we need to understand resources on a 3D level:

1. The assets resources: Capital, Cash, Inventory and trade as explained throughout your post
2. The human resources, and where economics is missing the point and get updated to the irrational field, we are all more irrational than rational
3. The information resources and how the information is directed from the roots to the end user.

Hence, I am looking forward to some realistic build up to the reasons stated point by point in your post. It s mainly looking to one resource, and not the others.

Otherwise, it will remain a recipe to still end up in the same stalemate as before, and I would emphasize there that economics is not universal as It will give only a Jackson Pollock painting.

Economics has to build up on the specificity of countries. What might work in the US might not in Europe. Spain, particularly, has the great opportunity the country missed so far,which one? On building up on their language, Spain is the door to Europe of the whole Latam business resources. So yes building up bipartisan, building up bilateral countries agreements in the same time as rationalising its internal system.

We can think of emergency actions. Emergency actions are only to bring back situation to normal not to step up to sustained success. So do you have something else around which we can articulate these emergency actions? Something on which we can build the future on, and gather people around towards a vision of a brighter future rather than coming back to the startling normality?

And finally I would like to draw your attention to this subject referenced below showing that economics might get outdated not considering the irrationally around, and my only fear is about what is the root cause to many diseases in the past couple of decades, how can we gain back power and rule over economic and financial skidding around?

Source: It s in French, sure it is translated in English somewhere given the importance of this article: “L’economie, une science inexacte” or Economy, an inexact science. Page 76 Le monde en 2011- The economist Courrier International

Many thanks for sharing your view on this subject.

http://technorati.com 12 diciembre 2013 - 12:46


10 New Year´s Resolutions for Spain | Economy Weblog…

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