Spain – A Third World Country?

I’ve lived in Spain for more than 30 years and love the way of life, the ordinary people, and the climate. However, having said that I am beginning to believe that Spain is heading towards 3rd World status.

Let’s look at some of the indicators:

  1.     A third world country usually has a high level of Political Corruption.   Well, well, well. Almost all the political parties in Spain, over the last few years, have had members prosecuted for fraud, This extends from the level of local councils, through regional governments, to the principal MPs of the country. Even the political parties themselves are not exempt.
  2.      A third world country’s judicial system is slow, subject to political pressure and unjust.  Now how about that? The courts are just getting round to trying people for offences that occurred in the early 2000s. Justice? Maybe sometimes – if you can pay for a good lawyer and have friends.
  3.      A third world country usually has a high level of unemployment – particularly youth unemployment, and the wages paid are generally well below that of first world countries.  Spain’s level of youth unemployment in Cadiz province is over 60%, and it is only at that level because of seasonal jobs in the tourist industry. In general, work contracts are short-term and insecure – unless you are a civil servant, in which case you are fixed for life- whether you actually do any work or not.
  4.      In most third world countries, young people are leaving (or trying to leave) to find work in other, more prosperous, countries.   I have a small language school in Cadiz province – most of the young adults who are learning English are planning to leave Spain. “There is nothing here for us,” they tell me. “How can we have a future, marry, bring up children when there is no work in our field, and we have to take jobs as cleaners or supermarket cashiers?” (I know doctors working in supermarkets and engineers working as waiters.)
  5.      Most third world countries are not disposed to pay for basic research.   I know a young woman who was doing research into the field of the effects of different oils and fats in diets on the body’s immune system. She had a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Science. The Spanish government paid her just over 1,000€ a month. She is now working in Britain. What a terrible waste for a country when many of its intellectually brilliant citizens travel abroad to do research work.
  6.     Most third world countries have a high level of bureaucracy, and the paperwork is slow and seemingly endless – and also expensive.   Try setting up a business in Spain. I have – once – and I will never attempt it again. You have to pay for everything, it’s slow – sometimes more than six months to get a paper you need to present to another authority. If you attempt to set up a company – then notaries get involved and, in Spain, they are very expensive. Then, when you have your company established, you have to deal with the local Government to get the necessary permissions: an expensive nightmare! One poor lady I have talked to set up a perfume shop. Because she was selling alcohol she had to get a technical report on sound insulation and machine noise – just as if she was a bar/disco. The sound test was accomplished by clinking two bottles of cologne together, the machine noise test by using a calculator. It cost her 1,000€ for the report, another 120 or so for the licence. All this for a shop of 30 square metres.

I could continue, but you get the idea. Unless there is a profound change in Spanish politics, then Spain will descent to the status of a third world power – and probably revolution in the streets. This also applies to many other European countries. There is deepfelt dissatisfaction among young people with the governments of most of Europe – there must be change – and it must be soon.


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