Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tyler Cowen's feelings are hurt

Catalonia wants to secede
He taught me Ph.d Micro I at Harvard, so it’s too bad he wants to wreck both Spain and Europe, and for so little in return. Didn’t one of his theorems suggest this was a bad idea? It’s not as if Catalonia is treated like Tibet. (Haven’t I spent a few nice days walking around Barcelona in my time? Didn’t Air Genius Gary Leff get a decent meal at El Bulli? Didn’t they once make a young people’s movie about the place in which no one has to do any work?) Don’t we have bigger problems to worry about? How easily does he think negotiations for separation can go, especially with entire eurozone deals at stake and a Spanish history of sending in troops? He mentions that the territory is subjected to «humillación constante» de España. Maybe he’s been misquoted, but from what I see I take this as a paradigm example of how a really smart person can be taken in by rather primitive tribal arguments.

The discussion in the comments is surprisingly rational, with no shortage of people pointing out that maybe culture and language matter more to people than the mathematical models of rootless cosmopolitan economists. Nobody's even used the "R" word yet; contrast that with what you hear when secession is raised in the US.


hailtoyou said...

Isn't he the big "ethnic food" connoisseur? Doesn't he realize that without the "separatism" he deplores, most of his favorite cuisines would not exist?

Visibilium said...

I'm fine with Catalonia secession. People tend to like Spain simply because she's become so much more kinder and friendlier than she was during the Franco years. Unfortunately, she still retains the obnoxious habit of slapping around non-Spaniards whenever she can get away with it.

Spain's economic problems are rooted in a real estate price correction that affected bank loan portfolios. This experience should sound familiar to Americans, except that the Spanish mania went way overboard in comparison. The Spaniards are working their way through the problems with help from their Eurozone partners. Spain's problems continue to be formidable, but an eventual resolution is much more likely than in, say, Greece.

Spain clearly needs Catalan thrift and industriousness to help resolve Spanish economic problems. Perhaps a secession deal could be negotiated on a timetable that's tied to economic benchmarks.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I sometimes ask people where, exactly, do they think "diversity" comes from. So far, it has been a conversation-stopper.

Anonymous said...

Anybody here think that the problem originated from the Anglo need to to find comfortable retirement homes?

Oh, no. just "market forces", of course.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Anon - demand is a market force. What the fuck is your point?