The technological irrelevance of Spain


MADRID

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It is no secret that Spain is far from being a technological powerhouse. We neither have productive muscle nor do we have innovative muscle. And the European Union as a whole, although at a lower level, is also beginning to lose that train, as is being demonstrated in the semiconductor crisis. Our welfare state and the level of European wages led us to move production to Asia. The difference is that while Asians, and specifically the Chinese, are knowing how to transform themselves and not only manufacture what others design or invent, but are also beginning to innovate, in Europe and, of course, in Spain, we are staying behind. Experts comment that European funds

they are an opportunity that, well taken advantage of, can help put us on that map of technological innovation, with investments that allow us to be more competitive. But the funds alone will not be enough, it is necessary the formation of human capital and a friendly fiscal, labor and regulatory environment that encourages investment and attracts talent. And there is a long way to go.

The battles within the coalition government between the ministers of Podemos and those of the PSOE, which lately the purple ones always win, are not exactly going in the right direction. After the fights for the increase in the minimum wage, from which Yolanda Díaz won, the debate is now focused on the labor counter-reform to overturn the law approved by the Government of Mariano Rajoy in the middle of the economic crisis, in 2012 . The European Commission has serious doubts that the changes that the Executive wants to make go in the right direction and reassures them that Nadia Calviño is controlling, if not leading, the changes. And that is why Pedro Sánchez, very condescending since last summer with Yolanda Díaz, defended his economic vice president on Friday in Brussels. Making the sectoral agreement prevail over that of the company or recovering the ultra-activity of collective agreements introduces more rigidity and does not serve to tackle the real problem of our labor market: temporality.

And as for salaries,
it might be thought that raising the minimum wage can help attract talent,
but make no mistake. In the technology sector, artificial intelligence, innovation … the minimum wage is not exactly charged. Salaries must be more attractive to prevent our young talents from fleeing the country and, without a doubt, that is a task for companies, but the Government also has weapons in its hands to attract and not discourage the arrival of prepared human capital. Raising personal income tax to high incomes or raising social security contributions to companies do not seem the best measures to achieve it.

Get ahead of the OECD by applying on our own a Google rate for which hardly anything has been collected and that we have now committed to eliminating, or applying before the rest of Western countries a minimum rate in Companies, as provided for in the Budgets, as soon as you It allows raising a few hundred million, but it weighs down the image of the country among investors and, probably also among entrepreneurs who are thinking of settling in Spain.

The proper use of European manna can boost the take-off of our technological and innovative activity; Strengthening the ties between the university and the business world is undoubtedly necessary; raising salaries to attract talent would help, but the different Administrations cannot ignore their responsibility to make it easy for technology startups and those who bet on innovation with less lower bureaucracy and taxes.

Investment in R&D grows

Last year Spain invested 1.47% of GDP in Research and Development, somewhat more than the previous year, but above all due to the effect of falling GDP, according to Cotec data. Even so, we are still far from the European average and countries like Germany that allocate more than twice as much to this game as we do.

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