Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Issue of Catalan Independence

The Issue of Catalan Independence
Morgan Impola

The northeastern region of Catalonia in Spain will be having a referendum on whether to secede from Spain, or stay with their country. The main issue being that the “autonomous” communities within Spain aren’t allowed to secede on their own volition. But with the (remotely) possible independence of the country were to happen, the political, social, and economic landscapes would be dramatically rewritten.
To a layman, the country of Spain is just that: A country. But in technical terms, it’s a region of “autonomous communities”, meaning that the 17 regions (and two cities) that make up what is known as Spain are self governing: From Castile & León all the way to Ceuta. The region known as Catalonia (Or Catalunya in Catalan) is one of the autonomous communities, with the largest city being Barcelona.
The move for independence was called by a referendum in the Catalan parliament, but was deemed illegal by both the high parliament in Madrid and Spanish constitution itself. The main claim for Catalan separatists is something called a call for “self-determination” with is for colonial nations that wish to become free in layman’s terms. But as can be easily seen, Catalonia is itself not a colonial nation, so the claim to self determination falls rather short. Not only is the claim in Spain’s court, but it also violates terms for the European Union. Upon the supposed “independence” Catalonia would have to traverse a myriad of legal and political loopholes that would complicate an already messy (and frankly, impossible endeavour).
But theoretically, the independence of Catalonia would, firstly, have major political and economic repercussions in Spain itself. Catalonia makes up 16-18% of Spain’s GDP, as well as having a fairly large population itself, so economically Catalonia could be stable.
But the social implications would be dramatic. Spain may not take the divorce well, and refuse to trade with Catalonia, or possibly worse. An embargo could ensue. But this is only theoretical.
In short. The independence referendum in Catalonia is not only illegal, but it also would have serious economic implications for Spain itself, but also for other independence movements in the future.
“Autonomous regions in Spain | spain.Info USA.” Spain.info, www.spain.info/en_US/consultas/ciudades-y-pueblos/comunidades-autonomas.html. Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.
Vidal-Folch, Xavier, et al. “EL PAÍS analyzes 10 claims commonly made by separatists to support their cause.” EL PAÍS, Síguenos en Síguenos en Twitter Síguenos en Facebook Síguenos en Twitter Síguenos en Instagram, 26 Sept. 2017, elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/25/inenglish/1506339116_980655.html. Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.
“Why the referendum on Catalan independence is illegal.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 26 Sept. 2017, www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/09/economist-explains-17?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07. Accessed 26 Sept. 2017.

12 comments:

  1. I like how you connected this interesting political event to Economics. I haven't even heard of this independence movement before and enjoyed learning about it. Also, your predictions and arguments are strongly backed up by facts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Prior to reading this, I had no clue that Spain was divided in such a way. Upon reading this, my mind instantly went to the parallels that this draws with 19th century America when states began succeeding from the Union. The political and economic justifications and ramifications are strikingly similar.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that due to nationalism Morgan's theoretical "embargo" would be highly likely. which would not only weaken Spain's economy as Catalonia accounts for (16-18% of the GDP), but also destroy the newly created nation due to their difficulties in the area of trade. Thus economically it would not make scene for either party to allow Catalonia to secede from Spain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Building on your theory, I wonder if Spain would go so far as to threaten embargoes on other countries in order to prevent them from recognizing Catalonia as independent. China, for example, discourages Taiwan's independence through economic threats towards Taiwan and any other country that might aid Taiwan. This strategy would severely hinder the newly independent country's economy but also, as John mentioned, bring negative consequences to Spain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There also is the issue that Catalonia has a large percentage of Spain's population, which means the amount of labor available to Spain as a whole would decrease drastically, as well as the cost of labor in Catalonia would increase.

      Delete
  5. After reading your post and the comments, I did a little more research into this. I found out that Catalonia accounts for 16.34 percent of Spain's debt so this would be a huge loss to Spain's economy, and they would lose the tax money from this region. This also would impact Catalonia because it would not be financially stable right off the bat, thus leading to difficulty establishing themselves as an independent country. Since this is only one of the many implications of the split, this would not be economically feasible for either region.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had never heard of this important decision! I can definitely see Spain not taking this well, as Catalonia holds important economic resources, significantly they have large access to the ocean. I found that Catalonia represents about 25% of all of Spain's imports, which would severely impact Spain. I wonder how Catalonia would approach this, especially if they don't produce the bulk of these goods, instead getting them from neighboring autonomous communities. If this were to happen, large changes in trade would ensue for both Spain and Catalonia, as well as countries that import goods from Spain currently.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I didn't know that Catalonia was thinking of leaving Spain. How would taht impact Spain more than just GDP? Emily Willis mentioned the large amount of imports that Catalonia represents, but what about tourism. Spain in general is a very popular vacation spot, and how much would Spain lose without the income? This decision also brings into question the relations with Catalonia, like trade. While I think that Spain would be more economically stable if Catalonia stayed, it might be more beneficial for Catalonia to leave if they have a larger income from tourism and imports than the rest of Spain.

    ReplyDelete
  8. For a more safe route that both may prosper is that Spain should split up into states, territories, or regions with different form or view from the government position. Let the place that want their own rule their own but stay in unison. If it is that bad where they want to be their own country it would be more problematic for Europe instead of just Spain, especially if they make their own currency instead of using a preexisting one.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am torn about this one! I can see how Catalonia leaving Spain would affect its stability, and economy. I could see Spain demanding all UN countries to boycott Catalonia until they beg to join Spain as it loses importing, exporting, and working opportunities. Yet at the same time, I think about being someone in Catalonia and feeling like their people are being held back just to benefit those other autonomous communities. I would want independence as well!
    Now IF Catalonia was able to gain its independence, what stops the other autonomous communities from demanding their freedom as well?

    P.S. Nice connection Janie! I was thinking about Taiwan and China as I was reading this piece too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What is the motivation for Catalan wanting to be independent? It seems as if they are not being controlled with laws too stringent or many restrictions preventing their economy from growing. If Catalan were to become independent, they would have none or far less of the resources from Spain altogether which could cause them to have to import far more than they export which would put them in debt. They would also have to form their own government which probably has a form already but small scale. This would take away focus from the economy and without the mix of the law of Spain and economy, their economy could become weak.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ever wanted to get free Google+ Circles?
    Did you know that you can get these AUTOMATICALLY AND TOTALLY FOR FREE by registering on Like 4 Like?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...