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Reyes Calderón, Dean of School of Economics, University of Navarra, Spain

Why does Spain excite but not convince?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:06:14 +0000 Published in La Razón

While I meditate on Minister de Guindos's attempts to convince all and sundry of the solid foundations of Spain's Economics , I reread my colleague Francesc Pujol's report : "World Cup South Africa 2010: Analysis of media impact and reputation". And I realize how right he is. Usually, brand values are grouped into emotional and rational components. Pujol's data shows that the world championship concentrated its beneficial effects on the emotional components, without affecting the rational and responsibility factors, such as trust, credibility, leadership, innovation and efficiency. This is good news for companies where the emotional component of the brand is important, and bad news for the rest. Including the Minister, since the study also concludes that sporting success did not improve the "Economics Spanish" brand at all.

Spain excites, but does not convince: that is our problem. Our eternal problem. Spain is soccer and the courage of bullfighters (where there are any left); it is renowned for tourism and culture, which means powerful income for companies and towns that have wised up and known how to exploit these components. But it is not enough: we are not credible as Economics, as energy, as industry, as a place to invest, as reliable allies.

And the question is: are we? De Guindos nods convincingly and forcefully. I echo: "The volatility of the premium will not change the Government's course". The reforms are "beyond the tribulations of the markets", he affirmed this Tuesday. Which is like saying: "Gentlemen, we have a plan and the short term will not make us lose sight of the horizon. Emotions will not contaminate us because, in short, they are not capable of affecting them".

On the contrary, the head of the civil service examination, always in mass bath, as in soccer; with his usual emotional language, Loch Ness included, does not believe it. Watching him, I remember the pessimism of that fateful slogan taken out of context: "Spain is the problem". Rubalcaba speaks of the announced reforms in terms of Spectacle, Deplorable behavior or Ceremony of confusion. Unamuno also warned that people "give reason for the four who shout and say nothing of the forty thousand who are silent". Many times Europe, including stock exchanges, follows this erratic and emotional behavior. It would therefore be advisable for the Minister to remain faithful to his goal, and maintain his plan through thick and thin, and we would be grateful if the civil service examination were aware that it also makes a mark. With no elections in sight, we play on the same team. With a more rational attitude, the voice of the quiet ones would be heard, to the benefit of our battered premium.