Two months have just passed since the first state of alarm decreed by a democratic government. The purpose of such an exceptional measure was to stop the expansion of the Covid-19 coronavirus that it almost burst the Spanish health system. The main measure of containment of that decree, in force today due to successive extensions, has been the closure of the entire population in their homes, the consequence of which is the collapse of the economy to unknown extremes. The crisis is of such depth that this period has been baptized by the IMF as the Great Confinement, in grim similarity to the Great Depression.
The parallelism between these two stages is what makes us recover today the prolific professor John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist who lived first-hand the consequences of the crash of 1929, which dragged a decade of misery and instability, which historians consider essential to understand the Hitler’s arrival and World War II.
Galbraith points out in his book A journey through the economy of our time that “the belief that there should be an automatic return to the high or full use of factories and workers depends on faith, hope and political promises , not from economic reality. That of 1930 was a manifestation of a balance of underemployment that lasted a decade. One of the uses of history is to remember what can happen again ”.
Well, as nobody would like it to be repeated, it is important to bring your reflections to today’s reality and remember that recovering the prepademic activity depends on us, on what we do and the expectations we believe (faith, hope and promises), more than from the reality of numbers. Therefore, it is becoming urgent to change our mentality and ignore those ashen politicians who act as if there is some revenue to take out of collective misery.
The first thing we have to achieve is to get out of the state of collective dung in which we find ourselves; in which half the population is crazy about going out, even if they don’t know very well why, and the other half is afraid to leave their nest. They are understandable attitudes, but not recommended from both an individual and a collective point of view.
Therefore, the immediate thing is to try to regain normal work as soon as possible and leave teleworking as a secondary, backup strategy. The movement of a company puts workers, suppliers and customers into orbit, and each of these has its own planetary system around it, which chains others, until a harmonious economic and social universe is generated, today broken by confinement, which we call prosperity.
Spain had 18.8 million households at the end of March, of which 13.5 million had one or more people of working age and 5.2 million without active people, which responds to the fact that in Spain there are almost 9 million pensioners. Seen in another way, in this country there were 10.7 million households in which all those who were of the age to do so worked, while at the opposite pole were 1.07 million households in which there was no wage, the 30% houses with a single person.
These data, which will undoubtedly have worsened with the massive ERTE, some of them not collected in the EPA of the first quarter, also show that despite the difficulties there are millions of workers, families, that their economic situation has hardly been seen affected by the crisis. These, among which undoubtedly are the 3.25 million officials, in addition to the almost 9 million pensioners, and the millions of permanent employees in the private sector, are the white hope for recovery in the very short term, regardless obviously, from the contribution of foreign trade.
For this reason, the immediate thing is to change the climate, lose sight of the count of deceased and contaminated (because there are none, not to cover them up) and recover worldly conversations, which one is exhausted of so much importance, especially one’s own. You have to get out of the toilet paper and paracetamol and recover the restaurant table with friends and the route through the shopping centers; go from the essential to the convenient.
This environment is especially relevant to save the summer campaign of tourism, a sector that this year depends on the social climate, not on the weather, and that to recover requires certainty before doubling on June 15. It will be difficult to count on international tourism, but if you manage to get the national out of the house, the damage to the sector and to the country may be manageable.
For this reason, there is a lack of time for the Government and the tourism sector to encourage all the families who have resources, which fortunately are many, to go on vacation in the summer months, not to shut themselves up in the town, in the second home, who move and spend. In addition to having fun, they will contribute to alleviating the lives of millions of employees who live in this sector and to public accounts, which belong to everyone.
It is a leading, imaginative sector, and ideas are already circulating such as creating a kind of Imserso for the entire population, not only for retirees, so that subsidizing going on vacation in national territory, is the same that Italy and France are designing. We must forget romantic visions about what the postcoronavirus will bring, because it will not bring anything that we have not previously ordered and paid for, as realistic as messaging. It will happen what we rescue from dreams and pursue it with “faith, hope and political promises” that the great Galbraith would say.
Aurelio Medel He is a Doctor in Information Sciences. Professor at the Complutense University