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Spain And UK Data Show Two Tales Of Europe's Limping Economy



MADRID – Good and bad news arrived Thursday as Europe continues its struggle to emerge from a five-year-long economic crisis.

Bad news first: Spain has again marked record-high unemployment figures, with a 27.2% jobless rate for the first quarter of 2013, the seventh straight quarter of rising jobless numbers.

The euro zone’s fourth-largest economy (and the world’s 12th largest) counts some 6.2 million people out of work, with youth employment rising to a staggering 57.2%, El Pais reported.

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Indignados (Zarateman)

Jose Luis Martinez, a strategist at Citi in Madrid, told Reuters: "These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy.”

Protests against austerity measures and rights for the jobless were expected later Thursday in the Spanish capital. Here was a different take, however, on the continuing crisis, with one Spaniard declaring: “16.6 million people working in this country for the rest. #unemployment #EPA”

16'6 millones de personas trabajan en este país para el resto. #paro #EPA

— Daniel Ampuero (@danielampuero) April 25, 2013

On a more positive note, Britain announced Thursday that its economy grew more than expected, expanding 0.3% in the first quarter. The data avoids a triple-dip recession. “Today's figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing," said George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. “Despite a tough economic backdrop, we are making progress. I can't promise the road ahead will always be smooth, but by continuing to confront our problems head on, Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future."

The Office for National Statistics said the numbers were boosted by services and manufacturing, but that the construction sector continued to struggle, with output down 2.5%.

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The Demagogue's Biggest Lie: That We Don't Need Politics

Trashing politics and politicians is a classic tool of populists to seduce angry voters, and take countries into quagmires far worse than the worst years of democracy. It's a dynamic Argentina appears particularly vulnerable to.

Photograph of Javier Gerardo Milei making a speech at the end of his campaign.​

October 18, 2023, Buenos Aires: Javier Gerardo Milei makes a speech at the end of his campaign.

Cristobal Basaure Araya/ZUMA
Rodolfo Terragno


BUENOS AIRES - I was 45 years old when I became a politician in Argentina, and abandoned politics a while back now. In 1987, Raúl Alfonsín, the civilian president who succeeded the Argentine military junta in 1983, named me cabinet minister though I wasn't a member of his party, the Radicals, or any party for that matter. I was a historian, had worked as a lawyer, wrote newspapers articles and a book in 1985 on science and technology with chapters on cybernetics, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

That book led Alfonsín to ask me to join his government. My belated political career began in fact after I left the ministry and while it proved to be surprisingly lengthy, it is now over. I am currently writing a biography of a molecular biologist and developing a university course on technological perspectives (futurology).

Talking about myself is risky in a piece against 'anti-politics,' or the rejection of party politics. I do so only to make clear that I am writing without a personal interest. I am out of politics, and have never been a member of what Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni calls la casta, "the caste" — i.e., the political establishment.

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