Data vs professional liars

Míriam Nogueras's picture
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People who lie about Catalonia are a species that unfortunately are in no danger of extinction. On the contrary, it seems like there are more and more of them every day. I will give you some clues about how to recognize them and some data to dismantle their lies. They say you can catch a liar quicker than a limping man. Let's prove it.

A liar is somebody who, in a debate, criticizes the Government's foreign spending policies. Catalonia spends 202 million euros in foreign affairs, according to none other than the Accounting Court. Liars use this figure to question pro-sovereign arguments. But they don't give the whole story. Andalusia spends 499 million euros, and the Basque Country, for example, spends 242. But no spending would be justified (in any of the three regions) if the results weren't optimal. How can we check? We can look at the export data, according to the Department of Economics. Let's see: Andalusia, 25 billion euros, Basque Country: 22 billion euros, Catalonia? 63.8 billion euros. The data speaks for itself. Let's go on.

"The Catalan independence process is damaging the Catalan economy and its growth," is another of those phrases that some liars use. Let's combat their words with data: the smart practices used in the business world together with government support produce optmistic news like the following: Barcelona will have a direct flight to Hong Kong starting next July. And since we're on the subject of airports, a reminder to the liars that the Barcelona El Prat Airport charted record numbers of passengers in 2016 (44 million), growing 11.2% over last year. Some will say, "Yes, but Madrid's Barajas airport had 50 million!" That's true (and nothing less should be expected, given that it is the capital of the Kingdom and that they set up all sorts of obstacles so that El Prat cannot grow and reach its full potential) but the growth registered at Barajas is 7.7%, and thus, the most significant growth this year was in Barcelona.

While we follow the story of lies, it'd be good to remind those who assert that "the independence process adversely affects Catalona" that the StartUp Ecosystem Overview report confirms that Barcelona ranks as the fifth European technology hub, after London, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, and above Madrid. Not only that, it consolidated that ranking by capturing 56% of the foreign investment in startups made in the Spanish State. Therefore, liars, not only are we the fifth ranking European hub, but more than half of international investment stays in Catalonia. Can we say that the Spanish State's disdain evidenced by its non-investment in Catalan talent contrasts with the confidence shown by the international business community? Yes.

It turns out that some liars tell the media that business are fleeing Catalonia “because of the independence movement”. Well, we'll have to inform theses liars, who seem to like being ridiculous, that the Catalan business network is not only not emigrating but in fact is leading business creation in the Spanish State with 21.7% of the total. Some will say, "But so many have gone out of business!" but actually in Catalonia there were 9.4% less of these in 2015. And experts note that this growth is thanks to the entrepreneurship and drive of the Catalan business community, something that generates confidence and attracts investments (don't forget the significant percentage of foreign investment monies that come to Catalonia).

How about the fallacy that many liars use with respect to education spending? The percentage of GDP targeted for education in Catalonia is low, according to an article by Oriol Amat published in El Punt Avui on January 15, which details it perfectly, 2.9%, compared with, for example, 4.4% in Andalusia. But spending as a percentage of GDP, the figure that liars use to deceive us, is not a practical reflection of reality. "The same spending in education, with a higher GDP, makes the percentage smaller," as Amat explains in his article: Andalusia spends 4,110 euros on each student and Catalonia, which, we remember, spends a lower percentage of its GDP, actually spends more on each student: 4,237 euros. The problem that we have in Catalonia is one of financing, bringing 19% to the Spanish State's table and receiving between 9% and 11%. We must also remind the liars that the results of the PISA report this year place Catalonia above average in the State, in Europe and across the OCDE.

In short, some liars unmask themselves when they question the quality and professionalism of many (many many) economists who for years now have been defending the viability of an independent Catalonia. In this section I will be brief, and won't repeat what many international economists (including Nobel prize winners) have said supporting this viability, I won't talk about all the economic reports that demostrate it. I will simply give you one data point: Richtopia, a British media outlet, specializing in Top100 lists, ranks Xavier Sala i Martín, the well known Catalan economist, 14th on the list of the most influential economists in the world. In the world! Liars, we caught you.


Míriam Nogueras

Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT MP in the Spanish Parliament

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