History of Neoliberalism in Spain

I’m reading about the history of neoliberalism in Spain, and it’s very instructive.

In 1982, the Spanish Socialist Worker Party achieved a historic landslide win in the general election. Immediately (and I mean, really at once), the Socialists started putting in place a gigantic austerity program that, according to contemporary sources, was Thatcherite in inspiration. By the end of their first year in power, The Washington Post published an article observing how anti-labor and pro-business these Spanish socialists were.

At the beginning of the 21st century, it became obvious that a massive recession was inevitable. But the Socialists, who were hoping to come back to power in 2004, were still completely neoliberal, pro-austerity, etc. How to get people to vote for them when everything they had done in the 1980s was backfiring?

The Socialists did the exact same thing that today is done by every global corporation. They rebranded towards “social justice.” As one scholar says, they went heavily into the postmaterial realm to mask what they were doing in the material realm. Abortion rights, gay marriage, and the endless drumbeating about the Civil War of 1936-9 were aimed at distracting people from the real estate bubble that was about to pop and the plummeting working conditions. “We are antifascists and our opponents are fascists” became their favorite argument. It worked because it always does.

Today, when Spain is still processing the devastation of 2008-9 while dealing with the added devastation of COVID, the Spanish Socialists who rule in coalition with the far-left are even more aggressively touting their postmaterial social justice achievements. For example, just as they announced terrible price hikes on energy that will financially ruin several hundred thousand citizens, they conducted a series of “toy strikes.” Toys go on strike to protest against gender stereotypes in how children play. In a situation where a tragic number of young people report not being able to afford having children, these bastards have the gall to offer vapid, stale talking points about gender stereotypes in toy marketing. Imagine how this must feel to people who are in their mid-thirties, still dreaming of maybe having a kid one day while hunting for a gig that might employ them 10 hours a week. Like all leftist performances, this one is deeply cruel.

As I said last month at a conference, it’s funny how “reproductive rights” are always and only about the right not to have children. They are never about the right to have as many children as you want, even today when the number of women in Spain who report being prevented from aborting is minuscule in comparison with the number of women who report not being able to afford having the children they want to have. This produced a bit of a stupor in the audience until two female academics in their early thirties loudly and almost tearfully supported me. (In general, I’m finding that it’s a lot easier to explain my ideas to academics under 40 and / or from Spain.)

The lesson here is that masking economic dispossession with social-justicey claptrap was first invented by leftist political parties and then eventually imitated by global companies.

What we need to remember is that whenever a politician or a corporate boss starts going on about anti-racism, social justice, and anti-fascism, they are out to rob us. This is a con, a trick to use our better impulses against us. We need to learn to resist these emotional appeals and see them for a dirty trick that they are.

8 thoughts on “History of Neoliberalism in Spain

  1. I’ve always noticed that about societies. Their priorities always seem so misplaced. They always focus their attention on things that, even if ignored, wouldn’t really affect us all that much, while either ignoring or being half-assed or cavalier toward things that are truly pressing and should be addressed as a “top priority” category.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Today I saw a very stark example of how ‘woke’ is used to rip poorer citizens and buyers off. I usually don’t care about those far away American insanities but here even started becoming angry. Home is sacred in a way and the biggest property middle class dream to own. Don’t think those companies will succeed to sell garbage for good money despite their best attempt.

    // Realtor.com has removed crime data from its website, and Redfin has decided not to add it out of concerns that it could perpetuate racial inequity.

    David Doctorow, the CEO of Realtor.com … said the removal was part of a company effort to “level the playing field” and scrutinize what safety means to buyers and renters so that it can “reimagine how we integrate safety data” on the platform. Realtor.com has been collaborating with fair housing advocates as part of the initiative.

    On the same day that Realtor.com announced that it was removing its crime data, Redfin came out with a full-throated denunciation of crime data being included on real estate websites. Redfin’s chief growth officer Christian Taubman announced that, after consideration, the company would not be adding crime data to its own platform.

    Redfin highlighted the difference between crime and safety and said that through its research, which included surveys, people defined safety in a variety of ways.


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    1. My friend did her realtor license exam last week. She says half of the questions are this woke garbage that no rational person would answer the required way. You need to assume that every question a client asks is motivated by racism. Who lives in this neighborhood? Which stores are nearby? Is the neighborhood safe? You have to assume that any of these questions are a coded way of asking if there are black people in the neighborhood. And you should refuse to answer.

      Also, the clients can sue you if they feel like you are racist. No proof is necessary. It’s enough to feel it. I don’t know if it’s true but that’s what they are taught. The instructor only wanted to talk about racism throughout the realtor course. It was impossible to move her towards any other topics.


      1. The funny part is that this friend is an accountant at my university, and she decided to start a new career in the private sector because she was tired of the university wokeness. Turns out, the private sector is worse!


      2. // You need to assume that every question a client asks is motivated by racism.

        To be honest, around half of comments to this post at Rod’s blog could be seen as racist. For instance,

        A few years ago, the black economist Glen Loury had a fellow academic, whose name I forget, on his podcast and they were discussing crime, which the guest had been researching. The guest stated that the single biggest statistical predictor of the violent crime rate in a given area is the percentage of the area’s population that is young black men. Not income, employment, illegitimacy rates, or any of the other “root cause” explanations. These others may have some predictive validity, but none as much as the basic demographic question that our bizarre racial etiquette demands go unmentioned.

        SECOND (from a policeman)
        If the population of the city you’re looking at is over 20% black, you’re going to have noticeable, but tolerable, problems with crime. If the population of the city you’re looking at is over 30% black, you’re going to have noticeable problems with basic city services and governance in addition to more crime. If the population of the city you’re looking at is 40% or greater, you’re on your way to becoming Detroit.

        We just completed a census in 2020 and the demographic numbers for every U.S. county are readily available for now. Look for places with the black diversity under 20% and you’re going to have less hassles. It really is that simple.

        For comparison, in London blacks make up 13% of the population but almost half of the homicide offenders. Of course nearly all these offenders are black males, roughly 6.5%. Can’t blame Jim Crow—or guns—on this one.


  3. While companies may be training realtors to hold their un-PC views to themselves to prevent lawsuits (and we all know how mobbing online can destroy a person … or a firm, just have one unstable client and one uncareful employer), the main reason is described in this comment:

    // This doesn’t strike me as “wokeness” so much as realtors freaking out about crime spikes in cities and, I might infer, a greater concern about crime among homebuyers, especially in cities, than they had a couple years ago. It also suggests to me that the actual crime stats are even higher in some categories, and highly concentrated in certain places, than anecdotes suggest.

    In this case, the wokeness is cover for bamboozling people into buying houses so realtors don’t take a loss during economically screwy times. it’s also evidence of the obvious: that real estate agents, not buyers, are the true customers for these services.

    // Yes, it’s classic corporate wokeness, fealty to the bottom line disguised as virtue.


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