Watching independence (or not) unfold in Catalonia is a pretty cool experience. I mean, all those years spent in school studying different revolutions in history, loving Les Miserables in all its forms, and now, here we are – watching a revolution happen in a modern, Western country.
I think it’s great to watch. I’ve been following France24 and, in many ways, it’s like watching a sport. I’ve actually been flipping channels between Catalonia and Formula 1. Lying on my couch in my Onepiece on a Friday night, one could say that following a revolution happen is quite comfortable!
I take no real sides, since I really have no deep understanding of what feelings lie behind the whole situation in Catalonia-Spain. Whilst I hope it stays peaceful, I do think it is important that the events in Catalonia be allowed to unfold naturally (without foreign manipulation) so that we can take a good deep look at how a society works. Remember – it’s not like we’ve seen a declaration of independence, in a modern Western country, unfold in real-time with modern media technology before.
Declarations of independence carry a significant economic factor that is most important to keep in mind, and the current events unfolding in Catalonia will provide a lot of soft clues and hard data as to the true, underlying power structures in Catalan and Spanish society.
Declarations of independence are always a forced redistribution of wealth, as control of land ownership is transformed across societies. There is no more fundamental political market than the market for sovereign land, so declaring independence is the same as setting off a societal earthquake.
Shifting sovereignty of land will impact the situation of everything operating on top of it. It is like a fundamental shifting of societal tectonic plates. Those whose interests are at stake and those who are ready to defend their own interests the most will be they key driving factors in how those plates are allowed to settle.
There are many relativities as to how the plates shift, and how people are affected. Within Catalonia, for example, those for and those against independence are a couple whose interests will differ. If Catalonia assumes and holds independence, those who were against it (identifying more as Spanish as compared to Catalan) will have had control of their land transferred to a new owning party against their will.
Please note that, by saying control of land, I am implying the right to set laws that govern the operation of societies operant on that land.
This is an obvious point and, thus, easy to forget to say out loud. Declarations of independence are forced redistributions of wealth. The self-declared capacity and right to set the laws of the land.
Who is ready to hold on the most? We’ll have to wait, watch, and see. In time, it will be down to the Catalans and the Spaniards themselves to settle their moral viewpoints, but it will be for us to know that the entire debate will effectively be revolving around matters of wealth distribution. Wealth begins with its governance.
This brings me to the title of this text: political priorities.
I have to say, first off, that it is good to recognise the importance of nations. Nations, like families of families, preserve the regenerative cultures from which new generations of children are born, and operate the legal systems that allow transactions to take place over their jurisdiction. In the interests of preserving cultural diversity and trade on the planet, conserving cohesive nations, and allowing new ones to be born under conditions of sufficient societal pressure, is of utmost importance.
Catalonia is a great test for current politicians’ strength in defining and holding on to their values, as there is no deeper battle than pitting sovereign ownership of land (Team Spain) against the right to cultural and transactional self-determination (Team Catalonia).
All this said, I don’t think we should get carried away by nations anymore. At least not as much as in history before today.
Whilst nations are important, then ultimately they are society’s middle management that should not take the supreme leadership role, except in times of war against each other (which we shouldn’t be aiming for, anymore).
In times of peace, it is obvious to recognise that all nations share the same planetary system, and thus have to share resources and co-operate to maintain their sustainability. In times of peace the planet’s nature is, thus, of primary importance, as all nations are dependent on it.
Furthermore, nations do not organise life at the practical level. That is what local governments do. Given that there would be practical anarchy without local governments, they must be thought of as having secondary importance, as all nations are dependent on their organisational capability to keep the day-to-day in operation. In bridging the resources of the planet to their users at the local level, nations have tertiary importance in maintaining the systemic markets that allow the flow of information and material to occur.
Of course, all three are definitely needed for anything to make sense. A planet’s resources, generated and used at local levels, moved and secured at national levels, cannot be put to any use without all three layers of societal functioning*.
My personal opinion for an order of political allegiance in the times that we live in: planet, city, country. I personally wouldn’t mind if the relevance of nations faded a bit in the media, and more news time was given to super-national organisations and local governments. This makes sense to me, based on the reasoning above.
As a salesperson, I will definitely be interested to see how Catalonia and Spain start selling their sides of the story and revealing their moral allegiances.
*At work in helping leadership understand their relationship with the world around them, my business partners and I consider the functioning of society with a tool called The Societal Cube, depicted below in a couple of slides from our presentation materials.
The Cube is meant to show how a certain fundamental set of industries is needed for the functionality of day-to-day life. The bottom layer of the cube is primarily a national responsibility, whereas the the top layer of the cube is realised at the local level. To fill the picture presented in the text above, the cube can be thought of as surrounded by a sphere, which would be the planet and its resources.