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CataloniaThis is the question that will be posed to Catalonian citizens on November 9, 2014. Should they answer yes, there is a follow up question that reads: "In case of an affirmative response, do you want this State to be independent?" which is the real important one. In essence this referendum is about sovereignty from Spain. Would Catalonian citizens prefer to be sovereign (even within the limited constraints of a flawed democracy) or would they prefer to be part of a greater Spain? If you would like to see all the technical details, go to Wikipedia and search for "Catalan self-determination referendum".

THE EXTERNAL VIEW

Every time there is motion to separate or self-determine there is an onslaught of voices from "authority" against such a move. Typically these voices are the loudest the closest to an economic loss a government (politician) is. This means that the country facing separation will be histrionic. The regional partners to this country will be opposed and the rest of the countries will be neutral but deferring to the decisions taken by the country facing the separation question. This scenario is a given and a standard.

Rationales

Yet, if you dive deeply into the so-called rational that the "father" country has to reject separation, you will find very little. Almost all the arguments are based on unassailable issues such as "national security" or "national prosperity" or "shared culture" or "extended history" and so on and on and on. This is strange if one considers that for geopolitical and geoeconomical reasons it is extremely likely that a separated country will continue to have extremely strong economic, political and military ties with its father country. In other words, in political, economic and military terms very little would change. Yet, the reaction of the father country is invariable overblown and exaggerated well beyond any measure. The question then becomes why? If in practical terms (for the vast majority of the people) things would change very little, why is that it is so critical that there is no separation? To answer this question we need to look at how the real democracy operates. As we have stated many times (see for example Politicians and Bureaucrats Job Security Through Misery ) politicians need to spend money to stay in power. This means that they need to control money. In a separation scenario they would lose control of a large amount money and this makes all the difference in the world. In the case of Catalonia, Spain would lose 20% of its GDP. It makes a difference for politicians but not for the average middle class Juan or Maria. This explains politicians' desperation to prevent separation because their entire way of life is at stake.

Going beyond the puppets, we need to look at puppeteers; the power elite. They operate by controlling politicians. Should there be a separation this will pose new problems because the control effort would now have to be doubled. Of course, when one has access to quasi-unlimited funds this is not an insurmountable problem, but nevertheless it is a problem that they would prefer to avoid. It gives bad examples to other people. The power elite operates through a hierarchical structure with them at the top. They realize that the more people they have below them, the more difficult is to attain control. They would like to keep this hierarchical pyramid as lean as possible. And so because of this they support the politicians in the father country.

THE INTERNAL VIEW

The view of the would-be separating party can be split in two.

Politicians

Would be independent politicians (should separation occurs) understand full well how the game is played. In an independent country they gain control over large funds that are currently controlled by the father country. They understand full well the relationship between their wellbeing and the amount of money they are able to spend. The more they spend the better their life. However, in order to spend more they need to control more. In an independent country they would have access to the holy grail: the Central Bank. What is not possible within the father country is indeed possible (necessary) in an independent country. And so they become vociferous well over the top in their arguments for separation. And again these arguments are quite light on good rational, depending primarily on ephemeral and emotional slogans such as "unique culture", "our destiny", "control of our lives", "independence from strangers", "righting historical wrongs" and so on. There really is very little tangible political, economic or military arguments for the separation. This is so, again, because there aren't.

People

People on the other hand have a different agenda. They feel like they are not in control of their own lives… and they are absolutely right. They are being controlled by politicians and the power elite. They have the idea that the closer they are to political power the freer they will be. Their logic assumes that politicians will be more pliable and malleable should they answer to smaller communities. They have hopes of improving their lives, but they don't hold to many expectations.

OUR VIEW

Our view can be defined as neither external nor internal. Being Libertarians we are outside of the classic political spectrum and therefore we look at the issue from a historical point of view. What politicians and power elites want is crystal clear. No more clarifications are required. However, what the people want is of critical importance. This is so because it is the people who change political systems. It is the people who evolve politically rendering their masters obsolete.

From a people's perspective seeking to improve their lives through separation is not going to work. In the short time separation (or independence) won't make any difference. People will be exchanging far away slave masters for local slave masters. Their lives won't change substantially. Their freedom won't increase a bit. Remember, dear reader, that in ultimate analysis they are exchanging one democracy for another. The difference in freedom from one to the other is exactly ZERO because they are the very same political system.

Yet, there is something else. Over time this wish to control one's life is of critical importance because in its ultimate expression it leads to personal sovereignty, this is, Libertarianism. The correct point of view to analyze these events is to take a look at the final outcome over long periods of time. This is akin in mathematics at calculating the behaviour of functions when trending towards infinite. You may not understand what the function is doing right now, but when analyzed what will do in the infinite, its behaviour becomes clear are completely defined.

As such our point of view is that these self-determinations are of critical importance because they clearly point towards the general direction at which political evolution is heading. It is yet another clear reminder that our theories are correct (see for example Political Systems Lifecycle ).

These events also support and demonstrate our points of view with regards to the notion that true political evolutions always occur in small increments with small differentiating features. They are never revolutionary nor do they bring massive changes with them. They are always transitional, which means that they preserve much of their previous characteristics.

As such we welcome our sisters and brothers from Catalonia in their evolutionary steps and wish them the very best. Should they ask for advice, we will unequivocally tell them: go ahead! Self-determination is the only road and Libertarianism is right on schedule.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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