“Agreement on Catalonia’s inevitable independence needed”, the Wilson Initiative

20.03.2013

Source: Agencies

In a public lecture held at Cercle d’Economia, the academic group warns that any opposition will only delay it and make it more expensive for all

An independent state will cost 383 € per person each year while being part of Spain costs 2.251€ per person each year

wilson628_628x250In a conference held in Barcelona-based Cercle d’Economia‘s head office, the Wilsion Initiative members endorsed the viability of building up an independent Catalan state and rejected the catastrophic foresights coming from certain views or opinions.

According to all six members of the above mentioned group,   all of them internationally renowned economists and academic experts, Catalonia’s independence has already become “inevitable” since it is a democratic popular and transversal demand which goes from lower to leading classes.  For that reason they warned that any Spanish opposition to Catalan emancipation will only delay it and so they urged the elites from both sides to reach an agreement on the independence process as the best way of minimizing costs for all.

The lecture “Economic and Juridical  Dimensions of Catalonia’s Independence“,  introduced also another self-evident line of argument which   members think to be a great endorsement for separation:   according to their own calculations,management of an independent, Catalan state, would cost 383€ per person each year while being part of Spain already costs 2.251€ to each Catalan every year.

In a crowded hall, during the presentation Dr. Jordi Galí, director of CREI (Centre for Investigations on International Economy) proclaimed on behalf of all members that “Catalonia has the right to decide on its own political organization”  and the right also to do so “without any coercion or any threatening intimidation” no matter the uncertainties that a new scenario might obviously represent. 

COL.LECTIU WILSON1Against intoxication

Dr. Galí remarked that these experts decided to take an step forward to discuss and explain their opinions on the subject of independence because of the exasperation they felt after  they had listened to three outrageous reacting misconceptions concerning the present debate on sovereignty.

The first one was based on direct obvious lies such as the  assert that the new state “would not pay any pensions” at all. The second one was the tendentious use of apparently indestructible truths like saying that “independence is something out of our time and contrary to globalization”. The last one consisted in creating alarm by alerting on some   “catastrophic disasters” that a separation from Spain would carry with it.

In experts opinion, to assure with total certainty that independence would sink Catalan exportations by means of a hypothetical Spanish boycott or that Catalonia would not have any access to international credit is just not   true and quite out of the reality of things. Far from being so “catastrophic” and “sure” such foresights are, in their opinion, quite unsure and unpredictable since, as they say, in such a process there are always some costs and some benefits. They also pointed out that on average two new countries are born every year and that all the ominous predictions for Catalonia are based upon the childish idea of some “punishment” for leaving Spain.

The cost of being part of Spain

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Dr. Xavier Sala Martin, professor of Economics at Columbia University in New York, indicated that when debating on independence we must take also into account the costs that Catalonia must assume for being part of Spain. He denied and strongly disagreed with the idea that an independent Catalonia would automatically be sent out of the European Union.

Sala Martín admitted the possibility for Catalonia to assume either some part of the Spain’s debt or to refuse doing so if there is no common agreement on separation. “But we must pay, of course, if we stay in” he retorted amid the laughing audience.

The Wilson Initiative

The Wilson Initiative takes its name from and is inspired by American President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), who, in the wake of USA’s participation in World War One, focused his energy on transforming the international order so that it would be consistent with “reason and justice and the common interests of mankind” (11 February 1918, in a speech to the US Congress). Loyal to these fundamental principles, Wilson proclaimed that

“National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. “Self-determination” is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of actions which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”

WILSONThe members of the Wilson Initiative are academics (in the fields of economics and political science) who have witnessed with some concern how particular political parties, media organizations, and analysts are actively spreading misinformation to scare the citizens of Catalonia and keep them from freely exercising their right to decide the future of our country. Besides being anti-democratic, these campaigns are often lacking in common sense or suffer from serious errors of measurement, interpretation, or deduction regarding economic data or the current political or judicial status quo. They have also noticed with some uneasiness how some responses to these campaigns are similarly based on arguments or predictions that do not hold up to systematic scrutiny.Although the European Allies and the American Senate frustrated Wilson’s project to some extent, the principle of self-determination eventually made its way into the Charter of the United Nations and it has been upheld on several occasions by the International Court of Justice. We believe that contributing to its defense and to its peaceful and rational expression is an absolutely essential task at this moment in time.

Besides Jordi Galí and Xavier Sala Martin the other members of this advisory group of experts are Pol Antràs, professor of Economics at Harvard University; Carles Boix, from the Princeton University; Gerard Padró, professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Jaume Ventura, investigation director at CREI (Centre of Investigations on International Economy).

PUJOL WILSON

Former Catalonia President speaks out

As said, the conference gather a lot of interest, as a packed hall proved. Among the audience, a number of key players in current Catalan society, both politcally and economically. One among them, was former Catalonia President (1980-2003), Mr. Jordi Pujol (82), who had the floor in the Q&A time. Mr. Pujol asserted that “Independence is [now] possible”, even though when he was president he never took the chances to make it possible (as Mr. Artur Mas, now does).

Also former FC Barcelona and next Bayern Munich coach, Josep Guardiola, was spotted in the back rows.

About the Cercle d’Economia

Whereas the main founders are businessmen, the Cercle has never been a business organization, as from the very beginning it has brought together professionals and economists, either from the world of business or from the world of University, and also Administration experts.

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Founded in 1958, in Barcelona, it was created in order to contribute to the economic and social life of Spain, promoting the desires for liberalization and openness, and the desires to favour the integration into the new European Community of free, developed nations created after the signature of the Treaty of Rome.

It is formed by individual partners and by cooperating entities that are the main pillars of the institution. The current census contains more than 1,300 partners. The cooperating entities play an active role, especially during the work meetings. At present there are more than 100 entities.

Although current President, Mr. Josep Piqué, a former minister in J.M. Aznar‘ Spanish administrations (1996-2004),  is a die-hard foe of the independence proposal, others members of the Board of Directors do not share his views, and press to make the event possible. Mr. Piqué chaired, however, it, even though in some moments he was unable to hidden non-verbal disagreement about Wilson Initiative members words

It deserves to be mentioned than in a previous event, members of Instituto de Estudios Económicos (IEE) think tank, warned precisely of, from their spaniard biased view,  the catastrophic, apocallyptic outcomes from Catalonia Independence.

(Watch video, in Catalan)

(Translation:JTN)

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