Xavier Sala i Martín: The Pursuit of Happiness

Possessive husbands tend to react predictably when their wives ask for a divorce: first they act surprised, then they deny the facts, quickly followed by refusing to sign the papers, and finally, they try to make her believe that the separation will leave her destitute and that without him, she is nothing.

After the massive demonstration on September 11th where an important proportion of Catalans expressed their desire for a divorce from Spain, the reaction of the Spanish system has been following the predictable script of possessive husbands.

First, surprise. The initial silence and boycott by Spanish politicians to Catalan President Artur Mas’ conference in Madrid demonstrates that they were caught flat footed. Mas argued that we Catalans have tried to explain during 30 years that we were uncomfortable and the replies have been no’s, scorn, indifference, and contempt. And now they’re surprised!

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