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Jaime Pozuelo-Monfort Headshot

Andalusia's New Generation?

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Andalusia, the largest and most populated autonomous community (let me rather say federal state) in Spain, has recently switched presidents, from the former José Antonio Griñán to the current Susana Díaz. Many voices claim in Spain's Socialist Party that a new generation of leaders is taking over. This article reviews the caliber of this so-called "New Generation".

Let's first of all review Susana Díaz's qualifications. One may say that her political career has been very successful, perhaps extremely successful. Born in 1974, she started a bachelor's degree in law at the University of Sevilla which she abandoned when she was appointed Secretary of Organization of the Juventudes Socialistas (the Socialist Party's youth base) of Andalusia in 1997. She would later complete her bachelor's degree in law, taking just about 10 years to finish.

Susana Díaz has no professional experience outside politics. She has no language skills except for her native Spanish. She has not spent any time abroad, whether academically or professionally. She is, after all, a professional politician. She is the current President of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, however she has not been democratically elected, not even by her own party. She has been designated to be Griñán's successor.

"Que Dios nos pille confesados," if this is the best replacement that the Socialist Party can find within its own ranks. A person who has taken 10 years to complete her bachelor's degree in law from an average university (10 years might be acceptable if it were rocket science at CalTech), who has no working experience outside politics, who barely speaks her native Spanish language, is meant to lead the New Generation which will pull Spain up and away from this Deep Recession?

This is the consequence of a political meritocracy in Spain's two major parties which impedes the more prepared, the brighter, to climb up the ranks to the very top. It is important to join the base at the earliest: Susana Díaz did so. It is important to develop a successful political career within the party: Susana Díaz did so. It is important to remain loyal to the party: Susana Díaz did so.

I am truly ashamed by the caliber of our political leaders, a majority of whom are simply mediocre. Susana Díaz could do a fair job as councilwoman of the City Hall in the city of Seville. But she is simply not the right person for the post of president of such an important autonomous community, the largest and most populated in Spain. Andalusia, the region of extreme corruption where (almost) everyone in the Socialist Party and the trade unions has been touched, ought to be intervened. Yet they are all friends with each other and nobody dares to denounce unethical behavior because everyone is afraid that doing so will activate the chain of blame in which everyone is holding back what they know about everyone else waiting to start shooting once someone else starts shooting. Impunity remains.

Politicians sustain themselves. They know that in the worst job market in our lifetime (worst than the United States' job market during the Great Depression of the 1930s), their only job possible is in politics. There are of course always exceptions to the rule, however generally speaking a politician would rarely find a job outside politics. So the best way to keep one's job is to protect your very own feud, and sure politicians are best at it.

I know who would be a much better president of Andalusia. Born in 1976 she completed her bachelor's in law at the University of Seville. She earned master's degrees from the French École de Commerce EAP-ESCP in Paris and from the University of Chicago. She later worked for the investment bank Goldman Sachs in New York City and for the law firm Garrigues. She is now working for the United Nations in extremely poor countries. I will call my alternative candidate for president of Andalusia "She Rocks".

She Rocks is a much better candidate than Susana Díaz for the Presidency of Andalusia. If (electorate) markets were efficient, if individuals (voters) were rational, we would surely demand that She Rocks presented her candidacy for the presidency of Andalusia. She Rocks would be chased by the media, but even the media serves the interest of the political establishment. What a predictable show.

She Rocks is originally from Seville (the capital city of Andalusia), she is multilingual (French and English in addition to Spanish). She has academic and professional experience abroad. She is simply too good to be true.

This is what we do in Spain with the best candidates: we ignore them, we force them to move abroad, we condemn them to exile. You are too good to be true in Spain? Get lost. And we do so because we suffer from envy, our greatest evil. We envy our neighbor, we envy anyone who is wealthier (whether in money-terms or happiness) and more successful than we are. And we do it regularly, we are merciless, a merciless people. What a shame.

She Rocks would always defeat Susana Díaz in a recruitment process. But She Rocks would lose any recruitment process if she were to join a political party. The party's candidate will always be chosen no matter what (el candidato de la casa). But the Titanic is sinking and we need the best pilots! It does not matter, whether Spain is sinking or not, the political party will be loyal to its base. What a shame.

Coincidentally the same phenomenon applies to (endogamic) universities run by (cacique) presidents. The "candidato de la casa" always gets the post instead of a much better candidate who comes with superb foreign credentials (a Ph.D. from a U.S. or U.K. university). Nobody dares to speak up because when you do you are defenestrado.

There is one way to change it all: The Elegant Revolution. In the aftermath of The Elegant Revolution our post-political leaders would not earn euros or dollars, they would earn Iberios (a new complementary currency that rewards meritocratic altruism).

For a single bachelor like me the answer to the question is obvious: who would you marry Susana Díaz or She Rocks? Give me a break.

Susana Díaz and her cohorts are the ones who should be moving abroad to brush up their skills and improve their qualifications, they could then return and aspire to a better job in a better Spain. But the opposite occurs. The trend goes on. The country loses its intellectual capital for good. Who will return if (most of) the best and brightest leave and the worst remain?

Susana Díaz has even been compared to Felipe González Márquez: unbelievable. The 15-M movement was also called the Spanish Revolution. What would the French have to say? Where were the guillotines? We need to act now against this nonsense, to allow such individuals to take control of the Titanic when the Titanic is sinking, individuals that are part of the problem and not of the solution, individuals that will perpetuate the corruption, the clientelism and the nepotism that has invaded every square meter of Andalusia since the Socialist Party took over in the aftermath of Franco's death.

Spain is at risk of breaking apart not because of Catalonia, but of Andalusia. The Catalans are much more serious and entrepreneurial than a majority of Spaniards. Catalonia might indeed become independent because Spaniards as a whole are incapable of stopping the bleeding in Regions like Andalusia.

To see it is to believe it.