2014 has been a year with many interesting reads on Spain's current state of affairs and Spanish politics in particular. Following up on the fine book published by César Molinas in 2013, we have read new works by Luis Garicano --The Spanish Dilemma-- or the Politikon collective --The Broken Urn--.
Garicano's book is extremely easy to read as displays a very clear and well defined line of thought: it is our collective responsibility as citizens to decide which model do we want to place at the center of our future political aspirations: Denmark or Venezuela.
As other reviews point out, after dissecting a number of global trends and Spain post the dramatic economic crisis ignited in 2007, Garicano focuses a great deal on elite selection and incentives created. And rightly so. These microeconomics aspects are key in shaping any viable future political alternative. We know his: we have the opportunity and ought to become the Denmark or the South, ignoring the siren songs of populists to establish a Venezuela-inspires regime in Europe.
The Broken Urn is a different product, a collective effort written by sociologists and political analysts, not by an economics professor. The book is remarkable in its relentless didactic endeavor. It focuses on destroying false myths and attacking over-simplistic notions of a better world achieved through a mere change in a law or two --the electoral system, in particular--. On a different note, and similarly to Garicano, the book's authors attribute a great deal of importance to putting in place correct elite selection institutional mechanisms.
Some recent related criticism has focused on the danger of vying for radical, utopic change as the country's intellectual elite did a century ago, in 1914. I feel we should be extremely cautious about vague revolutionary promises of bringing about a better future. But this does not mean that the well-deserved criticism of some of our current political and economic institutions --such as 'Bernabeu stadium executive box business practices' or 'old buddy capitalism'-- should be minimized in any way.
The highly praiseworthy book written by Eva Belmonte from Civio that will see the light in the first part of 2015 will shoot in this direction.