Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Friday, 26 may 2017 | CNA


Independent Catalonia could have “resuscitation effect” on “struggling” Europe, says Arthur Brooks

The president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Arthur Brooks, explained in an interview with the CNA how the impact of an independent Catalonia in the European Union “could in a strange and paradoxical way have the greatest benefit that Europe could imagine”. The renowned American social scientist said that Catalonia, with its entrepreneurial culture, could become “an example” to other countries and have a “resuscitation effect” in a Europe that is “struggling”. Brooks also stated that “the Catalan independence movement is not populist”.


The president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative thinktank, and leading social scientist explained in the interview that the Catalan independence movement is “not populist”, rather “the opposite”. “Populism tries to take back leadership by the people from the leaders. And this is actually not what is happening in Catalonia. What is happening here is that the Catalan leaders are in favor of independence,” he pointed out. According to Brooks, nowadays “many people don’t like populism and so they call anything they don’t like populism.”

Even though Brooks preferred not to take a stand on Spanish and Catalan domestic politics, when asked about the possible impact of an independent Catalonia on the European economical and social transformation, he saw some potentially positive effects. The president of the American Enterprise Institute remarked that “if Catalonia is independent and sees itself as an example of free enterprise, of commerce, of entrepreneurship, it could actually have a resuscitation effect for all of Europe, it could be an example for a continent that is struggling”. He added: “a free Catalonia could in a strange and paradoxical way have the greatest benefit that Europe could imagine”.

Brooks was invited by the Catalan Council of Public Diplomacy (DIPLOCAT) to give a conference on “Populism and Human Dignity” in Barcelona on May 17. The event was introduced by the internationally renowned economist and former Catalan Minister Andreu Mas Colell and the Secretary General of Diplocat, Albert Royo.

The emblematic Catalan Centre of Contemporary Culture (CCCB) in Barcelona was the chosen premises for Arthur Brooks’ conference. He gave a speech on ‘Populism and Human Dignity’, “because populism is a big topic these days”. Even though the expert does agree with the negative force of populism, he also suggested during his interview to the CNA its use to recover human dignity” and “solidarity with the ones that are at the bottom of society”.

Brooks declares himself politically independent. His major field of investigation is the connection between culture, politics, and economy. He is the author of several books such as Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism, Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America, How We Can Get More of It. His book The Road to Freedom: How to win the fight for free enterprise became a New York Times bestseller.

The president of the American Enterprise Institute is not only a social scientist but also a musician. As he explained to the CNA, he came to Barcelona 25 years ago as a French horn player in the city’s orchestra. After three years he got married here and since then visits the city at least once a year. Brooks confesses that Barcelona is his ‘favorite city in the world’.


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia