Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Covering their privates

In a moment where there is a very deep crisis like now, the economic news proliferate in all media with supersonic speed and we barely have the time to separate the grain from the straw. Besides, the majority of people ignores the tricky mechanisms over which the experts pontificate their studies, is easy that we feel fooled. In fact, it is difficult to understand how is possible that if numbers are the same to everybody, one party reads them exactly opposite than the other party. Two plus two are four, whether you are right or left, people think.

In this mess of number and percentages, common people do not, and cannot, understand, it is thanked the clear words heard a few weeks ago to the economist, and Professor at the University of Barcelona, Gonzalo Bernardos, during a debate at Carlos Fuente's "Catalunya Opina", Canal Català. More or less, Prof Bernardos said that to begin to readdress the actual situation, the authentic reality of the Spanish banking sector had to be faced. Spanish banks have closed the tap to credits, which drags us towards a cul-de-sac, why? We must, then, ask. In a solitary sentence by Prof Bernardos, it is summarized; he affirms that in 2007 there were banks that had 85% of their credit conceded to the estate sector. Not long after, it has come the big downturn of this sector, and consequently, a few weeks ago, the President of the Superior Council of Chambers of Commerce, Javier Gomez Navarro, said that the estate companies in Spain owe a total of €350B, from which half are loans to buy land. Very good. In that respect, the very Prof Bernardos manifests that banks are doing "creative accountancy" to make up the fact that a lot of those plots of land that they financed are not worth, now, a 10%. All together, there is no need to have studied economics to preview that the banking sector in Spain is about to explode.

However, it has not been unique to Spain. He have all seen as the American and German governments have faced the situation and have tried to solve this cancer that was -maybe still is- rotting their financial structures. I shall not value whether they have done well or not but certainly, have made public the insides of the responsible of this chaos that has affected a great number of the companies and families. Contrarily, the internal situation of the Spanish and Catalan banks continues to be as impenetrable as the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Why are so untouchable the figures of Botins and Forneses, when everybody guess that hide more sins than Barabbas?

I do not believe that the answer to this question is alien to an information appeared more or less a month ago, where it said that Banco de Santander accumulated debt from PSOE -Socialist Party of Spain- worth €30M. On the other side, "la Caixa" made the same with PSC -Socialist Party of Catalonia- but with a more modest figure, only €7.2M. When we see the generosity of these institutions towards who represent us, can start imagining why the governments look at the other side. How can they ask for responsibilities to whom saves them from bankruptcy? We are in front of one alliance politico-financier that invalidates any sign of authentic democracy. Who pays, rules. And PSOE and PSC are not exceptions. Their viability as political parties depends exclusively from a General Council to which they had to concede privileges to be able to finance and not having to close for administration. Do not come now with tales like popular sovereignty or similar things, because who really rule are a bunch of people with offices at the highest floors of the most emblematic buildings in Madrid and Barcelona. Talking about democracy, when the elected government are puppets in the hands of bankers who give or forgive debts when they want, is wanting to take us for granted and an insult to the intelligence of the voter. A partitocracy in the hands of a banking oligarchy is not a symptom of progress. It is a clear political and moral degradation. Does anybody like to keep voting Botin's butlers?

Santiago Espot
CEO Catalunya Acció

Article published at "El Punt", on March 29th 2010

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