Sunday, October 1

The Spanish economy in the face of bipartisanship


With an eye on the july elections one has the feeling that the bipartisanship be dominant again. if it really is Is it a better option for the economy than the multiparty system of recent years that now seems to be languishing? Spanish democracy has never been purely bipartisan and even less bipartisan (understood as prone to agreements of two). However, during a good part of the last decades, the preponderance of the first two parties and their certain alternation in power was assumed as a competition between two. More recently, new political forces have emerged that they came to draw a multi-party map on a national scale and, in fact, the current government is a left-wing coalition.

Is not that United Kingdom or United States -fundamentally bipartisan systems- are to shoot rockets in terms of political cooperation and conflict resolution, but historically they have worked and have effective control systems. We miss, in any case, that cooperative spirit that already Abraham Lincoln he defined by pointing out that “a man divided against himself cannot remain standing”. In Spainhowever, we oscillate between Mariano José de Larra and Adolfo Suárez. The first suggested that “politics is the art of looking for problems, finding them, making a false diagnosis, and then applying the wrong remedies.” The second that “it is better to agree than to fight. It is better to give in than to lose everything.”

The convergence between left and right it is pure arithmetic and is achieved through the center. However, we have just witnessed in Spain the very death of a center party in Europe. The curious thing about citizens is that he came to have agreements with the two main parties that showed much more agreement than anything else regarding the need for some economic and social reforms (and even political responsibility). They never gelled. On the other hand, extreme options are weakened. On the left, the internal struggles and, perhaps, the assessment of their performance, have led to a sharp drop in their support. For the extreme right, there is irrelevance because he proposes everything that Spain does not need (stopping Europeanism and immigration, for example) and rarely manages to govern in coalition. It remains, yes, a lot of noise and not very pleasant.

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The economic question is to what extent this step towards multipluralism What now seems to be fading away has been a system of control and economic reform. The United States system cannot be taken as an exact reference, which, moreover, has been in question these days due to the blockade of the budget that has kept the entire American administrative system and a large part of the markets in suspense.

Those who criticize the multipardismo point out that this system encourages patronage and political corruption. Partisan fragmentation can generate greater opacity in political decision-making and facilitate the capture of public resources by interest groups. This can have an impact negative in the economy, since resources are diverted towards political ends instead of being used efficiently to promote economic growth. It has also been shown that, at least in its irruption, the arrival of new parties favors budgetary and social change from positions entrenched by the historical bipartisanship.

It will consider four important institutional dimensions. The first is the political stability and certainty. In this sense, both bipartisanship and coalitions can provide political stability if solid and lasting majorities are achieved, but this is not a historical tradition in Spain. There are no coalitions like

german or dutch which, strictly speaking, can be interpreted as a bipartisan reconfiguration of a multiparty system. In those countries, progress is being made because the voter values ​​entrenchment and its impact on the economy very negatively.

Second, the possibility of consensus and economic reforms. In a two-party system or stable coalitions, consensus on economic policies and necessary reforms is more likely to be achieved.

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In third place, competition and diversity of ideas. In a multiparty system, competition between different parties can lead to a greater diversity of ideas and economic proposals. This can generate an enriching debate and encourage innovation in economic policies, but also to polarize in an impractical or clientelist way or make politics a profession without professionals.

Fourth, the risk of political paralysis. In some cases, the multipartism and coalitions they can lead to further political fragmentation and make it difficult to make quick and effective decisions. Italy is the epitome. The economic and social future of Spain goes through a new interlocution. He multifarious it has not helped her. It is not clear that the bipartisanship do it, but sometimes it is easier to reform between two than between dicecisis.

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