19 December 2014   Leave a comment

Spain has been under an EU/IMF/ECB austerity program for several years as it has tried to reduce its budget deficit to less than 3% of its Gross Domestic Product (as required by eurozone rules). Part of the austerity program requires the withdrawal of government supports or subsidies for poorer individuals.  One such program was rent controls which are scheduled to expire at the end of this month.  The result is that many small businesses are going out of business because the rents are too high.  According to The Guardian:

Up to 20,000 small Spanish businesses could be forced to close when rent controls are abolished at the end of this month, according to the self-employed workers union. Many of the closures will be emblematic shops that shape the urban landscape in cities such as Madrid, Granada and Barcelona.

The Camisería Hernando has been in business since 1857 and has occupied the same shop on Madrid’s Gran Vía for 50 years but is closing after the rent shot up from €3,000 to €30,000 a month.

In their place will come larger retail and chain stores that can afford the rents.  Soon, many Spanish cities will look just like American cities.

 

Imperialism takes many forms, and the travels of Chinese Admiral Zheng He suggest that overseas exploration need not inevitably lead to colonization.  The Admiral made seven voyages to the Indian Ocean between 1405 to 1433, ultimately leading to the east coast of Africa.  His explorations were the only sustained forays abroad made by China, and the Chinese never followed up on his activities after the last voyage.  His trading patterns contrast sharply with the European patterns in the same areas.

 

A lesson for all of us:

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Posted December 19, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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