Catalonia’s independence, size doesn’t matter

Xavier Sala i Martin

I believe that the most important reason that will bring Catalonia‘s independence is not the desire to preserve its identity, its cultural heritage and history or even its language. What will bring the independence will be the realisation that it is not only economically viable but extremely important and desirable to achieve it as soon as possible to stop the financial choking that results from not being an independent state.

Xavier Sala-i-Martín is a respected catalan economist, one of the most quoted economists in the world and professor of economics at Columbia University, also known for his flashy suits and for being part of the Barça management.

In 1998 he gave a speech about the economic viability of Catalonia’s independence that I find very interesting today because many people who are still against it claim that since Catalonia would become a small country its economic viability is not clear.

In that speech he compared Catalonia’s case another successful european small country: Switzerland. However, in my opinion that is not the only example, there are many other similar examples of successful countries of a similar size such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Belgium, amongst others and concludes that when it comes to independence size doesn’t matter. I personally think that it would also be a better way to deal with the challenges of globalisation.

He goes on to analyse more arguments that unionists have traditionally given against Catalonia’s independence. They claim that since Catalonia’s biggest market is Spain becoming independent would lead to the loss of the Spanish market and therefore its economy would collapse. Sala-i-Martin argues that this is partly true since some people would actively boycott Catalan products for a while. However, this is unsustainable in the long run. Spanish people choose Catalan products not because they are Catalan but because they are the best in their market and so they’d still be after the independence. On the other hand Catalan economy is less dependent every year of Spain because it is highly internationalised compared to how it was 30 years ago coming out of 40 years of isolation due to Franco‘s dictatorship.

These are a few of the arguments against Catalonia’s independence that he countered in his speech. In case you are still undecided I invite you to read the original article in Catalan or in English and find out for yourself.

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