The Spanish Crisis (revisited)
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The Spanish crisis from a different point of view. Learn some interesting facts about Spain and also learn a lot of vocabulary about economy; very useful.

(with Spanish subtitles, sorry)


Welcome to Spain. Welcome to a country deep in recession where all you hear about is real estate crisis, banking crisis, debt crisis, downgrading, risk premium, speculation against Spain, 25 percent unemployment, bailing.

But we, who run in front of bulls for fun, aren’t about to complain or to feel sorry for ourselves, because what we see (you know, the “is the glass half-empty or half-full?” bit) is a country full of opportunity.

In the midst of the crisis we've already had some great news. Have we mentioned we’re the World and European football champions? But seriously, it’s not all about football. The Spanish tourism sector is at an all-time high. In 2011 tourism revenue grew by fourteen percent and we are the country with the second-highest tourism revenue in the world, second only to the United States. Last year we had 57 million foreign visitors. Spain has a population of 46 million, and that figure will be even higher in 2012.

Our exports of goods and services grew by 18% between 2009 and 2011, and we reduced our trade deficit balance significantly. We also reinforced our efforts to globalize our companies. Do you know who was leading the Panama canal expansion? Who is going to construct the first high-speed train in the Middle East between Mecca and Medina? A consortium of Spanish companies. Who manages airports in cities such as London, Orlando and Bogota? Who is going to construct offshore wind farms in Scotland? Who supplies wind turbines to the world's leading economies? Who is building desalination plants in Adelaide and the Atacama Desert? Whose systems were used to manage most of your flight bookings to come here? Who Germany put in charge of their air-traffic control system, saving time and fuel? Who is developing a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease? Or who supplied the weather station for the Curiosity Mars rover?

- Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena, eeeeeh Macarena!

Oops, sorry. Yeah, we did that too. That's right, Spanish companies are doing all these things and more, led by qualified creative sustainability-conscious professionals. Ironically in the midst of the banking crisis and according to Euromoney, we have the best bank in the world and another one that isn’t too far behind. Solid banks. Even while the industry has been shaken to its foundations. We have an innovative global telecommunications company able to provide service to over 300 million customers in twenty-five countries. Our companies are at the forefront of growth sectors such as cleantech, and 13% of our energy consumption comes from renewables. We are the world's leading country in installed solar energy and the fourth-largest in wind energy. We also have giants of the global fashion industry and multiple companies in this industry able to dress and supply footwear for the planet.

This is a country which today, in these turbulent times, is incubating a growing number of new dynamic companies ready to make the leap and take their place in the world rankings. The economic crisis is harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit endeavour and creativity of Spaniards. No matter what anybody says, we work as hard as we party.

But now let's talk about Grant Thornton Spain, where despite the current economic situation we're investing in top-level talent, in strategic sectors such as finance, insurance, cleantech, in reinforcement or expansion of our services (mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, outsourcing), all with the end of being right beside these companies at the most important stage of their development and helping them unlock their potential for growth and also growing with them, of course. We believe in the value of investing in advertising and institutional relations that reinforce the Grant Thornton brand. Investing in our clients’ satisfaction and in their loyalty. Investing in the continued training of our talent, and in new offices. Because we are going to be there with our current and future clients through thick and thin, making yourselves indispensable. We want to transmit our instinct for growth to everyone. In fact it's possible the current crisis is making us think about how we can do things better.

Okay guys, they say Spain is a fantastic country to live in. Perhaps it's because of our sunshine, our gastronomy or our diversity, or perhaps because of our health care system. After all, Spain has the third highest life expectancy in the world, according to the OCDE. We can raise that to number two if you're lucky enough to be female. I think we can also say that we have a big heart. Well, that's actually been proven, Spain has the highest organ donation rate in the world and last year the number of transplants increased by 12%, yet another reason to be optimistic.

Welcome to Spain. We hope you enjoy your stay.


RECESSION= When the economy of a country is having a negative growth for more than 6 months in a row.

REAL ESTATE= The buying and selling of houses and land.

BANKING CRISIS= A crisis caused by banks having financial problems.

DOWNGRADING= The international rating companies publish ratings which say how reliable and solid the economy of a country is. If a country is downgraded, the rating goes down, so foreign investors will trust that country less and demand higher interest rates for buying its debt.

RISK PREMIUM= The return one expects to make on the market security, versus what kind of return they can make on a more risk-free investment. In the case of a risk-free investment, this usually means an interest rate paid on something like Spain or Germany Treasury bonds.
If a country needs funds it will issue debt, that is, it will ask for a credit. Foreign investors can buy that debt in exchange for reasonable interest rates that balance their risk and their future profits. If those investors decide to invest in Euros, they can choose any of the countries sharing the euro, but not all the countries are just as safe and trustable. The more trustable a country is, the less risky, so the less interests they need to offer to get their debt bought. Being Germany the best economy in the Euro zone at the moment, the difference between Germany’s interest for the debt and that of another country shows how much, or little, that other country is trusted. In the present European context, we use “risk premium” to talk about that differential.

BAILING= If you bail somebody out of prison, you pay money so that they can be free. But in European economy, “bailing” is a process by which the countries in the European Union give lots of money to a country in deep recession to help it rebuild its economy. This is designed to protect the Euro from a disaster that would affect all of them. That money needs to be returned in the future and hard conditions are imposed on the country to make sure it will recover as fast as possible.

IN THE MIDST OF= In the middle of.

AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH= At the highest level in history.

REVENUE= The profits you get from an inversion. All the money you get from a particular source (in this case, from tourism).

FIGURE= Number.

GOODS= Things you can buy (clothes, tomatoes, cars, books…)

SERVICIES= Things people make for you (and you pay them for it). You get a service when you go to a restaurant, bank, cinema, bar, theatre, swimming pool, school, hospital…

TRADE= The act of buying and selling things.

REINFORCED= To reinforce is to make stronger or more powerful.

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN= A train that can travel at a speed of 300km/h (185 mph) or faster. Only in Spain and France high-speed trains can go faster than that.
mph= miles per hour. Km/h= kilometers per hour.

OFF-SHORE: Away from the coast.

WIND FARMS= An area with many wind turbines.

WIND TURBINES= (also: turbines) A kind of wind mill to produce electricity from the wind (see picture).

DESALINATION PLANTS= A kind of factory that turns salty water from the sea into drinkable water (it takes the salt out of the water so people can drink it).

FLIGHT BOOKINGS= Airplane reservations.

DALE A TU CUERPO ALEGRÍA MACARENA= (Spanish) Enjoy life, Macarena.

SUSTAINABILITY-CONSCIOUS= (People) who care about sustainability and try to respect nature while growing. A sustainable economy is a production system that tries to protect the environment as much as possible because it considers that if you take from nature more that nature can offer, and you pollute nature faster than it can regenerate, then the economy will collapse sooner or later. Only keeping the balance with nature can an economy (global or local) be sustained in time without cracking.

AT THE FOREFRONT= At the top, in the most important places of the ranking.

CLEANTECH= (clean technology systems) A system of production which tries to keep a minimum negative impact on nature.

RENEWABLES= Renewable sources of energy: solar, wind, tides, thermodynamic, etc.
Energy that is renewed by nature so it will never finish.

FASHION INDUSTRY= Companies selling clothes.


TURBULENT TIMES= Times of big problems and unrest.

INCUBATING= Generating, creating, but not yet visible.

MAKE THE LEAP= Jump. If a company is ready to make the leap, it’s planning to be present in a new important area.

HARNESSING= Controlling and leading.


SPANIARDS (noun)= Spanish people.
Two Spaniards = Two Spanish people.

PARTY= If you party you have fun, usually by going to bars, clubs, parties, celebrations, etc.

THROUGH THICK AND THIN= In every situation, no matter what happens, in good times and bad times, even when there are great difficulties.

GUYS= (coll. esp. AmE) People (especially when addressing them) = BrE chaps, fellows, mates.

GASTRONOMY= The art of good eating. The particular style of cooking you can find in an area.

HEALTH CARE SYSTEM= The national service taking care of your health (hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc.)

LIFE EXPECTANCY= The number of years people are expected to live on average.

OCDE= (in French: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This organization is committed to the promotion of free-market and democracy and comprises most of the developed countries in the world and a few other powerful economies, mostly Western countries.

PROVEN (AmE) = past participle of to prove. BrE: prove-proved-proved / AmE: prove-proved-proven.

INCREASED BY 12%= Got a 12% more.