By Don Quijones: In most places these days, it’s probably easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than it is to pass a corrupt CEO of a failed bank through a wide-open prison gate. But a judge in Spain tried – and it’s costing him dearly.
By Don Quijones: While many Spaniards may spit bile and venom at the merest suggestion of Catalonian autonomy, they would do well to ask themselves what happened to their own national sovereignty. How is it, for example, that Spain is taking orders on virtually all economic matters from men in black dispatched from Brussels and Frankfurt?
By Don Quijones: Two years ago, Mariano Rajoy rode a wave of public anger to victory in Spain’s general election. The man who could never win anything was suddenly gifted the closest any politician can hope to get to absolute power in an ostensibly democratic society.
By Don Quijones: There are things politicians should never do – assuming they want to hold on to their jobs. Using the dirty “s” word (sovereignty) is a definite no-no. Also high up on the list of “don’t dos” is threatening the interests of foreign creditors and bondholders.
By Don Quijones: Despite a miraculous economic “recovery,” EU-wide youth unemployment hit 24%. New records were set in Spain (56.5%), Greece (57.3%), Italy (40%), and France (26%). The warnings from history are clear: governments that allow youth unemployment to escalate, do so at their own peril.
By Don Quijones: 58% of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities aren’t countries but corporations. Royal Dutch Shell’s revenues exceed the GDPs of 171 countries, making it the 26th largest economic entity in the world. And the balance of power is shifting rapidly.
For a certain segment of the population in Spain, albeit quite a small one, life has never been better.
By Don Quijones: Four months ago, Miguel Blesa, ex-CEO of failed Caja Madrid and senior member of the governing Popular Party, was in jail. Accused of felonies ranging from irregularities in Caja Madrid’s purchase of City National Bank of Florida to wrongful “appropriation of funds,” Blesa was not even granted bail by the judge. But now he is free, and the judge is in trouble.
By Don Quijones: If there is a two-word combination that strikes primal fear into the hearts of global senior bankers and representatives of international financial institutions, it is “odious” + “debt,” a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation shouldn’t be enforceable.
By Don Quijones: If recent reports from the Spanish government are to be believed, the Spanish economy is now officially out of the woods. Not only is the worst behind it, but it’s now positively humming along at a growth rate of, um, 0.1% per year. It is, as Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro put it, a “lesson to the world.” Oh really?