Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia finally cast their vote despite all of the resistance from the Spain’s authorities. The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out a formal referendum. Almost 2 million people out of the population of 7.5 million could vote and the preliminary result is an overwhelming 80% in favor of vote of independence for Catalonia.
Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the non-binding poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum. Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the poll as “fruitless and useless”, however. “The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.
Judging from the recent events the region will not be allowed to gain independence in any democratic sort of way. Unfortunately, it is completely unclear whether Catalan are prepared to stand up and fight for their rights with weapon in hand. With the non-equivocal resistance from Spain that may eventually remain the only way though, just like the fight of the Eastern Ukraine for independence showed. It may be hard to imagine a bloody military battle in Spain but a year ago it was impossible to imagine a bloody battle in Ukraine either.
One thing that Spanish government made very clear is that they are not letting the region go. That stands to reason, no country is keen on breaking itself up, so why should they? If Catalonia wishes independence, they will have to fight for it. The economics of politics is such that it must become more expensive for Spain to keep them than to let them go. Is there a peaceful and non-destructive way to do that?
I read recently two very interesting articles that discuss in depth the current problems with the internet, privacy and democracy implications. I highly recommend reading both:
The Real Privacy Problem
Three Paradoxes of Big Data
The Internet and the related technologies erode the very fabric of society. They do so quietly, surreptitiously, in little steps. As usual, do not blame the tool, blame those that use it for evil. Although some tools better not have existed in the first place, I feel.… -->
An article in The Morning Call talks about economic impact of the NSA surveillance, but limits the discussion to its area of interest – the US companies, while making me think about the rest of the world:
Worldwide spending on the cloud is expected to double over the next three years to more than $200 billion. U.S. firms have been leaders in developing the technology. According to a new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, however, global worries about NSA surveillance are likely to reduce U.S. market share.
The report’s admittedly loose estimate is that U.S. cloud-computing firms will lose $21 billion to $35 billion in revenue between now and 2016. According to the report, some 10 percent of non-U.S. members of the Cloud Security Alliance said they’ve canceled a project with a U.S. company since the disclosure of the NSA’s surveillance. In addition, 56 percent indicated “that they would be less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud computing service.”
Interestingly, this does not only apply to the US economy. There are companies everywhere that would rather prefer not to be monitored. That would rather prefer to go about their business without this stranger looking over their shoulder day and night. What will happen?
I think we may be facing a new arms race soon. The businesses with money were not all that interested in keeping things private until now. Now they will likely invest in tools for privacy and the tools will get better. And so off we go, there will be demand for privacy from the, ahem, private sector and the demand for surveillance from the government sector. Big money to be made.
Just wondering… will the common citizen become “collateral damage” in this war?… -->
Quite interestingly, it seems there is some resistance to total surveillance, both in the minds and in the reality. Yes, the surveillance is increasing and the automated processes for surveillance, linking of events, things and people and follow-up and recognition is driving the technological advances now in the so-called “big data” processing. Not only your shopping habits but also all of your whereabouts can be linked together and clearly identified with sufficient data and processing power.… -->
The Reg reports on a recent survey that conclusively shows that “the majority of Americans think the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screening at US airports, is doing just fine…”
Overcoming the initial shock, my conclusion is that if the government keeps something up long enough, people will just swallow it in the end because they will no more know any better. Duh, the humanity.… -->
The managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde has figured it all out for us. Her advice is to integrate the Eurozone economies closer together. And introduce more central control over the monetary and economic side of things.
Yeah, right. If we wanted to make sure that the next economic problem anywhere in the EU takes the whole of it down under we would heed her advice. Oh, absolutely, the tightly integrated economies are a clear winner when it comes to sinking quickly.
But I hope the people at the top realize that they are not outside EU, they are inside it, and it is not in their best interest to build a Titanic out of the EU countries. The strength of the German economy and its resilience to all sorts of political and economic crisis lies in its loose integration and the freedom of every land to develop its own strengths. And that’s a good principle to apply to the whole of EU as well.
Sure, the development and this silly economic growth are not as fast as they would be in a tightly controlled and integrated economy but the advantages of a diversified locally directed economy were clearly seen during the last crisis when Germans could so rightly say “He who laughs last, laughs best.”… -->
An extremely interesting article by Bruce Schneier titled “The Vulnerabilities Market and the Future of Security” is available at Forbes and on his own site. A must-read for anyone even remotely interested in security.… -->
I call this interesting thing “The Factor of Money”. What is it? It is one of the things quite wrong with the world from most people’s perspective. Although, to be fair, most of them do not realize it. And there is a minority who abuse the rest so it is quite ok for them. But let’s see.
A society is built on a number of factors that the society considers important. And whoever controls the decisive factor controls the society. If most of the world considers a single factor of utmost importance then whoever controls that factor controls the world.
Factors important, or crucial, for the people in the society may differ. One of the factors quite widespread nowadays is money. Notice how USSR, the Soviet countries overall, were not into money before. like the eighties. And those countries were quite apart from the other countries that were controlled by money. They were independent and powerful, they could not be easily subverted by money. Once they joined the throng in cherishing the money factor, they became a slave to the controllers of the money factor. Notice how quickly their deterioration happened.
Now watch this. China was always quite separate from the money world. They became strong on a basis totally different from money. Now they let the money in. What do you think will happen? Yes, let’s watch them being overtaken by the overlords of money. They stand no chance anymore whatever they may think about it.
The Factor of Money is the factor that leads to enslaving entire countries to the will of the Lords of Money. If you want your society or country to be independent, the first thing to do is to break away from The Money Factor.… -->