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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 00:19
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Es la conclusión que se saca si se ven las cosas con la perspectiva de un medio extranjero, The Economist en este caso.
The euro area's economy

Beggar thy neighbour
Jan 25th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Germany's economy has regained its lost competitiveness, but it may come at the expense of Spain, where wages are rising fast
Satoshi Kambayashi
THE economy of the euro area is basking in a rare period of optimism. Growth forecasts ended the year higher than at the start of the year, the first time this has happened since 2000. The growth differential with America's economy has narrowed and is expected to contract further this year. But in an economy that comprises 13 diverse nations, such blessings are rarely unmixed. A particular concern is that the recent resurgence at the euro zone's core could portend a protracted slump at its periphery.

Germany has been the source of much of the recent good news in Europe. For so long a laggard in the euro area, its economy is now growing faster than the regional average. Unemployment, though still high, has dropped sharply in the last two years. The latest survey from Ifo, a Munich economic-research institute, shows that business confidence remains close to a 15-year high. Exports and business investment are doing well. Understandable doubts remain about the durability of Germany's revival: consumer spending has so far failed to take off convincingly.

Yet arguably the German economy is on a sounder footing than at any time since reunification (see article). Germany's recovery in cost competitiveness has been crucial to its reviving fortunes. Declining real wages and a modest upswing in productivity have together produced a sustained drop in unit labour costs. Lower wage costs, in turn, have helped boost exports and jobs.

Hope for a lasting German recovery is mixed with concern about the outlook for countries where wage discipline has been less strict. In Italy and Portugal, for example, a combination of strong wage increases and weak productivity growth has undermined cost competitiveness.

The same cocktail of higher wages and sluggish productivity clouds the outlook for one of the fastest-growing European economies: Spain. In the last decade, its economy has expanded by an average of 3.7% a year, nearly twice the rate for the whole euro zone. Spanish demand has been driven by housing and credit booms that are vulnerable to higher interest rates. But high labour costs may in the end prove to be Spain's undoing. In a report published this week the OECD, while applauding Spain's “remarkable” performance, noted that its relatively high inflation had undermined its competitiveness.
Olivier Blanchard, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sees Spain as a plausible next victim of what he calls “the rotating slumps under the euro”. In his view, the euro area is characterised by a succession of booms and busts, each in a single country. A typical stop-go cycle starts with a localised increase in demand, which in turn leads to higher wages, lost competitiveness and finally to a protracted downturn. Since short-term interest rates in the euro area are not tailored to individual countries' cycles, monetary policy can attenuate neither boom nor bust.

In Mr Blanchard's model, the slump migrates across the currency zone according to shifts in relative wage costs. A long period of above-average wage growth that goes unmatched by productivity gains will eventually leave a country at a significant cost disadvantage.

Germany's recent history shows how hard it is for a member of the euro club to recover from a cost-induced slump. Devaluation might have been an obvious remedy, but can only be achieved by leaving the currency union. The only other solution is to drive down wage costs relative to those in competing countries. This option is also costly: Germans have paid the price in terms of high unemployment and stunted growth. Cost reduction is also painfully slow. Workers are resistant to pay cuts, so the necessary reduction in real wages relies on a long period of below-average inflation. This kind of wage discipline has underpinned Germany's revival.

An increase in productivity growth, a more recent trend, has given German competitiveness a further boost. Output per hour in Germany rose by 2% last year, according to a report published on January 23rd by the Conference Board, a business organisation. Such vigour has put further distance between Germany and its trading partners to the south. Spain's performance is particularly dismal. Output per hour there fell by 0.5% last year, continuing a negative trend that dates back to the mid-1990s. undefined

For Mr Blanchard, Spain is at a potentially dangerous point in the relative-cost cycle. Wages are still rising at a rate roughly twice the euro zone's average and well ahead of productivity growth. Spain's real exchange rate is up by nearly a quarter since 2000 (see chart). But so far the economy shows few symptoms of ill health. GDP probably grew by 3.6% last year and forecasts for this year suggest only a modest slowdown.

One clear sign of something amiss is Spain's current-account deficit, which widened to 8.8% of GDP last year, estimates the OECD. Such imbalances can reflect shifts in competitiveness and warn of trouble ahead—especially, perhaps, in a currency union where the costs of wage adjustment are high. Within America, by contrast, cost imbalances are resolved less painfully, because workers are willing to move from depressed states to where jobs are more plentiful.

Portugal's ballooning trade deficit in the late 1990s was a symptom of declining competitiveness and the economy has yet to recover from the subsequent bust. Spain now has the second-largest current-account deficit in the world in dollar terms and looks dangerously overheated. Germany's resurgence has set a challenge for the euro zone's southern members. Without the option of devaluation, their medium-term outlook looks less than rosy.

Nos huele el culo a recesión y a oficina del INEM.

Y en esta El Pocero:

Construction in Spain

Building blocks
Sep 14th 2006 | SESEñA
From The Economist print edition

The bad side-effects of a housing boom

LONG before you reach Seseña, on the new toll road south of Madrid, you see the cranes. They clutter the skyline above 100 huge apartment blocks at this half-built new town emerging from a dusty, empty plain. This huge housing project, being built in a small country town, is a symbol of today's Spain. It represents a booming economy, a dangerously overheated housing market and—according to the new mayor—a worrying dose of municipal greed and corruption.

More than 13,000 apartments are being built in Seseña, the biggest single housing development in a country obsessed with building. Young first-time buyers from Madrid will start moving in later this year. They have been forced 40km (25 miles) out of the capital by prices that have more than doubled since 1997. Seseña, a town of fewer than 10,000 people, is now preparing to welcome 40,000 new arrivals.

The building boom creates lots of wealth. It pays the wages of hard-hatted workers and, so long as Spain's housing bubble does not burst, should make its promoter rich. It also helps to fill the local town hall's coffers with fees from building licences and other taxes. Some councillors benefit directly. Two are on the promoter's payroll, as is the daughter of a third.

The new mayor, Manuel Fuentes, notes that permission to build was rushed through just before he was elected. “It was all very quick and not at all transparent.” State prosecutors have been asked to investigate. The promoter denies corrupting councillors. They also deny any wrongdoing. No criminal charges have been laid. Yet Seseña's name has now joined the growing list of Spanish towns hit by construction-related scandals.

Spaniards have long suspected that there is graft in their town halls, whichever party runs them. But it was only when a dozen councillors from the southern resort of Marbella were arrested in March that hard evidence came out. Marbella is now being run by administrators appointed by a regional authority. Illegally built holiday homes may be bulldozed. Local democracy is, in effect, dead.

Fresh scandals involving town halls and construction projects now emerge almost weekly. Marbella's councillors are alleged to have taken bribes, but the corruption elsewhere is often more subtle. As Spain builds, town halls increasingly come to depend on income from licences, land sales and property taxes. A mayor who sells municipal land, or pushes through a new housing development, bending the law if necessary, gets more to spend on vote-winning projects.

Because of the opaqueness of municipal accounting, it is hard to say just how dependent town halls now are on building. Estimates for the resorts around Marbella run as high as 70% of total income. Government and prosecutors have usually turned a blind eye, as nobody wants to kill the golden goose of construction.

“The worst thing is that it has just become normal,” says Alejandra Gómez-Céspedes, a criminologist at Malaga University. “When you apply the law, it is as if you are acting against people's civil liberties.” Every year the number of houses being built rises. Last year around 715,000 were started (compared with some 225,000 in Britain, which has a population one-third bigger than Spain's). The Marbella case shows that the law is at last being applied in some places. Spain's Civil Guard chief plans to set up special units to tackle municipal corruption.

Another danger lurks for town halls, however. Spain's housing market may crash, bringing a sudden halt to all building. How will they pay the bills then?

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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 08:59
Mulder Mulder está desconectado
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"Local democracy is, in effect, dead." --> esta frase, que no está en negrita, me ha llegado al alma y dice mucho más de lo que se lee.

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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 09:06
Mi_casa_es_tu_casa Mi_casa_es_tu_casa está desconectado
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Joder, pues sí, es fuerte pero real como la vida misma. ¿Hay alguien que lo dude? ¿Hay alguien que crea que los hay_untamientos no son "espacios democráticos de corrupcion"?

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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 16:13
ladrilloloco ladrilloloco está desconectado
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Por ilustrar con un caso práctico. En el pueblo donde vivo, Castilla y León, 6.000 habitantes, el concejal de urbanismo tiene una tienda de deportes en la que no entra ni el viento. Antes de asumir el cargo tenía un Renault viejo a los dos años y pico ya se paseaba en un flamante Mercedes nuevo de no menos de 20 kilos. El individuo es un garrulo integral. Si al menos fuera persona de mérito el "sobresueldo" no parecería tan injusto. El caso es que además de robarnos se descojonan de nosotros. Nos tienen por muy tontos. Lo peor es que quizá tengan razón.
¿Qué se puede hacer?. La protesta individual no creo que surta efecto. ¿Una querella? ... ¿cómo consigo pruebas?. ¿La prensa, cartas al director, ...?. Probablemente no publicarían nada si no aporto pruebas. Solución: sociedad civil ... asociaciones de vecinos. En este pueblo no las hay. Aquí hay mentalidad de súbdito. Las Administraciones Públicas la fomentan. Normal, conviene a los partidos. Supongo que en otros lugares pasará tres cuartos de lo mismo.

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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 16:25
Mi_casa_es_tu_casa Mi_casa_es_tu_casa está desconectado
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Iniciado por juan carlos.aparejador
Si, pasa lo mismo.. hay un pacto para taparlo todo.. algun dia contare en el foro la que tengo aqui liada con la sinverguenza de la concejala y el granuja del alcalde.. que estoy que no gano para abogados..

Venga juancar!! Anímate y nos lo cuentas joder!!!

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Antiguo 11-feb-2007, 17:43
ratoncitoperez ratoncitoperez está desconectado
Burbujista obsesivo
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Iniciado por juan carlos.aparejador
Si, pasa lo mismo.. hay un pacto para taparlo todo.. algun dia contare en el foro la que tengo aqui liada con la sinverguenza de la concejala y el granuja del alcalde.. que estoy que no gano para abogados..

SI, CUENTAS NOS LO APAREJADOR, PORFA, somos colegas de foro.

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