Spain's economy is a wreck.
It has been for a few years now, and it doesn't look like it's getting better anytime soon.
What's interesting about the crisis is that it's very visible. When I first came to Spain, the Copy Center at my university went on strike. It didn't matter that classes were about to start and students needed their books. They were making a statement, because thanks to the crisis, the workers hadn't been paid in over four months.
|Mountain of garbage in Sevilla.|
A few weeks later, many cities--including Seville, where I live--had a garbage strike. That mean no garbage was collected for weeks. Imagine, mountains of garbage piled up on the streets, which are fairly narrow, so there's no escape from the stench. It was, as you'd expect, gross. But hey, the workers hadn't been given a raise in over four years.
Then there are the protests. Spain likes protests. In fact, most of Europe likes protests. If history is any indication, it seems the people get bored, so what do they do? They start a revolution for kicks and giggles. Last night I was talking to a Spaniard about the Infanta Cristina scandal, and you know what he said when I asked if he thinks the monarchy is in danger? "Yeah, the people will probably want the monarchy to, well…to leave Spain."
Ready the pitchforks, folks.
But seriously, it seems every few weeks I accidentally stumble upon a protest--and I mean a protest. Hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, gathering in the main streets with banners. All ages, too, not just rabblerousing youngsters. Within a few days of coming here, I found myself walking past a communist rally. A COMMUNIST rally!
Is this real life?
It was shocking to me. Try that in the States, and you're on the CIA's watch list before you can say, "Workers of the world, unite!"
With such an economic crisis, unemployment rates are sky high at over 27%, compared the U.S.'s 7.7%. For people under 25 (so right out of college), that rate is about 60%. With rates like this, people take what they can. When I asked a Spanish student what he wants to do after he graduates with a degree in computer technology, he shrugged. "I just want a job. I don't care what it is."
For more information on Spain's economic crisis, click here.
|A protest on Día de Andalucía, a day during which residents of Andalusia are supposed to celebrate, not protest. But they wanted to make a statement.|