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macrohistory & world report

Kingdom of Spain

Map of Spain

Spain (capital Madrid) and neighboring states. Spain's Canary Islands are not shown.

Introduction

June, 2012. Spain had a balanced budget and even a surplus government budget prior to the economic crisis of 2008. Spain is now in an economic depression and it is written that Spaniards in general are not to blame. The Guardian has blamed instead "... property developers and land speculators, together with the senior bank staff who made [bad] loans." Banks borrowed money from international lenders in order to make more loans to developers and home buyers – an exuberant financial run-around that collapsed. Now employers are not hiring, cutting wages and working their staffs harder, maybe 9-hours for an 8-hour day. In mid-April 2012, the economist Paul Krugman described Spain's austerity measures during its depression as "insane."

Wealth and National Well-Being

World Factbook: " Spain's mixed capitalist economy is the 13th largest in the world, and its per capita income roughly matches that of Germany and France. However, after almost 15 years of above average GDP growth, the Spanish economy began to slow in late 2007 and entered into a recession in the second quarter of 2008."

BBC News: "The bursting of the housing bubble tipped Spain into a severe recession and by the end of 2011 the country had an unemployment rate of nearly 23% - the highest jobless rate in Europe. Austerity measures imposed by the government in an effort to reduce the level of public debt sparked a wave of protests."

Spain's health system is described as similar to that of Britain. It's health figures are superior to those of the United States.

Public debt
2011: 68.22% of GDP

Health expenditures
2009: 9.7% of GDP

Unemployment rate
2011: 20.8%
2010: 20.1%
2009: 18.1%

Value Added Tax 8%

Income Distribution – gini index
Ranks 108th among 140 countries (higher rank number is more equal, lower rank number is less equal). More equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 1.2%

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 77%

Net migration rate
2011: More arriving than leaving. A net gain of 3.89 persons per 1,000 populatio.

Ethnic groups
 17 percent Catalan, 7 percent Galician, and 2 percent Basque.

Spain is second only to Denmark in pork consumption.

Religion
Wikipedia, 2011: "Roman Catholicism has long been the main religion of Spain, and although it no longer has official status by law, in all public schools in Spain students have to choose either religion or ethics and Catholic is the only religion officially taught although in some schools there are large[citation needed] numbers of Muslim students together. According to a July 2009 study by the Spanish Center of Sociological Research about 73% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 2.1% other faith, and about 22% identify with no religion among which 7.3% are atheists...But according to a December 2006 study, 48% of the population declared a belief in a supreme being, while 41% described themselves as atheist or agnostic. Altogether, about 22% of the entire Spanish population attends religious services at least once per month. never attend services. The New York Times reports, on April 19 2005, that 18 percent of Catholics attend mass weekly.

Geography

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France

Government

Spain is a constitutional monarchy also described as a parliamentary monarchy. Capital: Madrid.

Recent History

November 22, 1975, two days after Francisco Franco's death, Juan Carlos becomes king. Some on the left associate Carlos with fascism and think he will not last long. Carlos will institute democratic reforms, become highly respected and a stabilizing influence on Spain. The Spanish monarchy becomes not unlike the monarchies of the Britain, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark.

Summer, 2004: Spain has been a tourist destination second in popularity only to France. People from farther north enjoy is sun and beaches. But for the second summer season, tourism is down. This year, hotels along Spain's beaches are having 40 percent vacancies. One possible reason, people are doing it where it is cheaper – in Croatia along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Tunisia or Turkey.

In 2006 Spain is described as having fewer McDonald's restaurants per capita than a lot of nations: 6.8 McDonald's for every million people compared to 44 per million in the U.S., 35.5 per million in Australia, 28.3 per million in Japan and 18.5 per million in the UK.

BBC: 2010 February - Thousands of workers demonstrate against government spending cuts and plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 67

December 21, 2011: Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative People's Party, becomes prime minister.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.