Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture

By Eamonn Rodgers; Valerie Rodgers | Go to book overview

E

economy

The Spanish economy is a modern western-style economy based principally on the services sector, which generates just over 60 percent of the country’s wealth, compared to about one-third generated by industry and construction combined, and about 5 percent by agriculture and fisheries. GDP per capita, estimated at $13,660 in 1996, has oscillated between 75 and 80 percent of the EU average. Regional imbalances are, however, more marked in Spain than in other EU countries, with a few regions (the Balearics, Madrid and Catalonia) being above the EU average whereas many others are far below. While the Spanish economy shares many characteristics with other western European economies, it offers certain moderately distinctive features. The services sector, despite a normal diversity and range of activities, is unusually reliant on the hotel and catering industry because of the exceptional importance of tourism. The industrial sector, of modest size overall, is dominated by motor manufacture, and the sector as a whole is largely in the hands of foreign multinationals. The agriculture and fisheries sector is the least typical, with an unusual diversity of cultivation (and a correspondingly large variation in productivity), and an unusually large fishing fleet that almost matches those of all the other EU countries put together. Agricultural development has been adversely affected by traditional land tenure systems, with farms that were either excessively large and under-exploited or too small to be economic (see also latifundia; minifundia).

The modern Spanish economy has been characterized by rapid change, although it has been only partially successful in adapting to a changing international environment. Following the Stabilization Plan of 1959, the 1960s saw rapid and sustained growth up to the first oil shock of 1973, but Spain’s dependence on imported oil and her excessive reliance on energy-intensive heavy industry meant that she could not absorb the increased energy costs. The state-owned National Industrial Institute, which had played the leading role in Spain’s industrial expansion, found itself having to subsidize ailing industries to avoid large-scale industrial collapse (see also industrial development). The ten-year recession was followed by another period of growth during the second half of the 1980s promoted by a wave of foreign investment, in turn induced by Spain’s entry to the EEC in 1986. The need to adapt the economy to European legislation and to a much more competitive environment brought about a massive shake-out, with liberalization, deregulation and privatization becoming the order of the day. Some sectors have undergone substantial transformation, for example the banking and financial services sector, which has seen mergers and takeovers as well as significant foreign penetration in what had been an inward-looking enterprise (see also banks; Cajas de Ahorros). State monopolies, for example in oil refining and distribution, have had to be broken up.

The modernization of the Spanish economy has therefore occurred in two wholly distinct stages: first, a period of rapid but uneven expansion during the last fifteen years of the Franco regime

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction x
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Structure xiii
  • Architecture xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 7
  • Further Reading 11
  • Further Reading 29
  • Further Reading 37
  • Further Reading 41
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 47
  • Further Reading 65
  • C 70
  • Further Reading 81
  • Further Reading 93
  • Further Reading 100
  • Further Reading 113
  • Further Reading 128
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 136
  • Further Reading 140
  • E 152
  • Further Reading 155
  • Further Reading 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • F 173
  • Further Reading 185
  • Further Reading 206
  • G 213
  • Further Reading 227
  • Further Reading 229
  • Further Reading 231
  • Further Reading 242
  • H 245
  • I 261
  • Further Reading 266
  • J 276
  • Further Reading 280
  • K 283
  • L 285
  • Further Reading 292
  • M 313
  • Further Reading 332
  • Further Reading 335
  • N 359
  • Further Reading 362
  • Further Reading 365
  • O 376
  • P 384
  • Further Reading 429
  • Q 430
  • R 433
  • Further Reading 435
  • Further Reading 436
  • Further Reading 439
  • Further Reading 443
  • References 452
  • S 464
  • Further Reading 471
  • Further Reading 475
  • T 502
  • Further Reading 508
  • Further Reading 509
  • U 526
  • Further Reading 536
  • V 537
  • Further Reading 538
  • Further Reading 539
  • Further Reading 544
  • W 545
  • X 550
  • Y 552
  • Further Reading 553
  • Z 554
  • Index 557
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