In 2008 just after the crisis started, I was living in my home town, La Vall d’Uixó (Valencian Country), with my father, just two streets away from my mum, one from my oldest brother and four from my second brother. We were an upper-middle class family with no more problems than any other family. All my friends were from 100km around my town and the future for most of them was to live a comfortable life belonging to a stable middle class.
Four years later my father had to emigrate to South-America to be able to keep his socioeconomic status and reach retirement quoting the sufficient years to get the 100% of his pension. As a state worker, my mums’ salary has been reduced up to 25%. Her taxes had increased considerably. Therefore, her purchasing power has been reduced around 30%. So far my oldest brother could keep his job. Besides the labor instability and the social atmosphere he has not suffer that much by the crisis. On the other hand my second brother, 30 years old, decided not to emigrate. He can’t find a permanent job and has to work in any temporary job he can find (like harvesting oranges) in extremely poor conditions.
Personally, I had to immigrate to Germany to be able to find a job related with my studies for a decent salary. I took the decision to emigrate even before the crisis, but it was a voluntary decision not forced by the circumstances. Nowadays, there is more than 51.9% of youth unemployment in my region [July 2012, according to Eurostat], ridiculous salaries, labor exploitation, social instability, reduction of rights, etc. There were three options, stay and look, stay and fight or leave. I couldn’t just stay and look; it doesn’t fit my personality. So there were just two options left. Frustrated by the passivity of Valencian society, I decided to leave.
We all know many of the causes for the global crisis so I won’t repeat them again. But one special characteristic of Valencian Country is that the economic and financial crisis has coincided in time with a social and values crisis. Valencian citizens have accepted political corruption as a part of the game. One generation ago, a thief was rejected by both family and society. Nowadays, they are justified by the family and acclaimed by the part of society. You can often hear people saying: I prefer “my people” stealing than “the others” doing it, someone will do it anyway. First of all, I wonder who is “my people” do they really consider politicians of the two biggest parties as “their people”? Secondly, why is it necessary that someone has to steal? We lost the old values of our culture: Honesty and simplicity. A big part of Valencian society has become sick, honesty is hard to find and arrogance is spread all around the territory, especially in the capitals. This together with the financial crisis brought the country to the most absolute bankrupt.
Most of policies applied to solve the problem have been focused on cutting social rights, dismantle welfare state and rescue the “poor” banks that are suffering so much (I hope the reader got the irony of the last sentence). I’m not an expert in economic affairs but any taken economical measure will be useless if we don’t solve the crisis of the values first. Society has to be re-educated and learn that there is another way to do politics. Corruption can’t be the rule but the exception and whenever it’s discovered, it has to be prosecuted and eliminated, not justified or acclaimed.
Now, I have friends from all over the world; that is one of the good things at emigration. But most of the ones I left at home won’t be able to have an accommodated life any longer. They will have the same three choices I had. Unfortunately, so far they all chose the first option, stay and look, but there will be a point where there won’t be anything else to look at. Then they will have to choose, leave or fight.