Monday, October 13, 2008

Musical break:

Joselito - campanera - (ruiseñor)

It used to be a favourite of my parents, who danced the passa-doble with great skill and agility.

Joselito was a child star in Spain during the late fifties and sixties. Here is what Spain was like during those years:

The Spanish Miracle (Desarrollo) was the name given to the Spanish economic boom between 1959 and 1973. It is seen by some as the most remarkable positive legacy of the regime. During this period, Spain largely surpassed the per capita income that differentiates developed from underdeveloped countries and induced the development of a dominant middle class which was instrumental to the future establishment of democracy.

The boom was bolstered by economic reforms promoted by the so-called "technocrats", appointed by Franco, who put in place neo-liberal development policies from the International Monetary Fund. The technocrats were a new breed of economists who replaced the old, prone to isolationism, Falangist guard.

The implementation of these policies took the form of development plans (planes de Desarrollo) and it was largely a success: Spain enjoyed the second highest growth rate in the world, just after Japan, and became the ninth largest economy in the world, just after Canada. Spain joined the industrialized world, leaving behind the poverty and endemic underdevelopment it had experienced since the loss of the Spanish Empire in the 19th century.

Although the economic growth produced noticeable improvements in Spanish living standards and the development of a middle class, Spain remained less economically advanced relative to the rest of Western Europe (with the exception of Portugal, Greece and Ireland). At the heyday of the Miracle, 1974, Spanish income per capita peaked at 79 percent of the Western European average, only to be reached again 25 years later, in 1999.

The 14 years of recovery led to an increase in (often unplanned) building on the periphery of the main Spanish cities to accommodate the new class of industrial workers brought by rural exodus, similar to the French banlieue.

The icon of the Desarrollo was the SEAT 600 (a license-built Italian Fiat 600) the first car for many Spanish working class families, produced by the Spanish factory SEAT or Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo.


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