The generation with no future and the Next Generation

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Do we have a future? Our generation seems to live in a space between major crises and suffers from all kinds of anxieties and uncertainties. Some have even called us, with a certain contempt, the glass generation.

Eco-anxiety, burnout, increased depression, self-harm and dissatisfaction. But what if the emotional situation were simply the partially unconscious reaction to a state of insecurity that we perceive to be close at hand, already in sight?

The war has finally stirred up an atmosphere that had already been strained by the pandemic and the succession of crises that are crowding in on the doorstep of a system that is proving increasingly unstable. The accumulation of so many problems does not seem to augur well for -almost- anyone on this planet.

In view of the fact that the austerity recipes advocated in the previous crisis did not work, at least now it seems that other ideas will be chosen. But is this really the case, and is there a real intention to learn from the mistakes of the past? Let's look carefully at some of the developments that have been taking place.

The NextGenerationEU funds are the aid that the European Union has proposed to help post-pandemic recovery and accelerate the ecological and energy transition - of these funds, more than 140 billion euros correspond to Spain, about half of them in the form of loans.

The main problem is that it is a plan tailored to the private sector. It will involve a transfer of public funds to large companies, which in many cases are also responsible for not having made the transition in time and for having profited more from the maintenance of the same system that is now weak, full of holes. It is a gatopardist plan, which changes little so that nothing really changes.

The PERTEs were invented, as explained in the research by Bayas, Martín Sosa and Flores: "The Royal Decree-Law creates a new form of public-private collaboration: the Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE), for the execution of investment projects endowed with European funds. PERTEs are part of a "mixed economy" format, very little regulated in the Spanish State, in which the public sector assumes the risks and responds with guarantees while the private sector receives the benefits for the construction and/or management of goods or services."

Whereupon, and answering the above questions, do not hesitate for a second. They were rhetorical questions. We have learned little from the mistakes of the past because we dare not recognize them. In fact, we are even making new ones.

A few months ago, and a year late, the Spanish Climate Assembly was launched. In the image and likeness of others, such as the French one, which was the first, this project of participatory democracy could have helped much more than it is doing. And it is related to the allocation of European reconstruction funds, because, if it had been set up earlier, and with more competences, the Assembly could have helped to allocate these funds better and to avoid that only a few benefit from them. The usual ones. The big companies that have very direct ties with the traditional political parties. Pay attention to this fact to which we will return later.

However, something very curious is happening with the Assembly: it is not being publicized at all. A project in which there are many powerful people involved, prestigious experts such as the award-winning ecologist Fernando Valladares, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and the Government itself, which has financed it
. And yet, it is not being publicized at all. Not even a media campaign for something like this. Not even a public TV program to inform the population. And the answer is very obvious: the authorities are not interested.

In short, the Assembly works as follows: 100 people chosen by representative lottery are advised and trained to propose to Congress a series of measures that can help to overcome the energy crisis and the ecological transition. Putting collective intelligence to work to move with speed seemed - and is - a good idea, as we explained in more detail here.

As has been seen in other countries, this is a fantastic way of launching courageous proposals that political parties did not dare to make. They have always excused themselves on the grounds that they would not find support among the population, the transitions have been very slow, which is why we have such an accumulation of problems. But now they could have that support, and come legitimized by a process with successful precedents of formation and deliberation in many places in the world, it is not even a question of innovating.

So what is the problem? That the political parties do not want to promote too much a system that comes to show how problematic, slow and useless the current party system is in many occasions. The excuse that we do not know a better system than the current democracy is not true. We do. There are examples that show the potential of these deliberative processes, which can even culminate in Constituent Processes, such as the one taking place in Chile to change the constitution, but that can never happen here as long as we do not even dare to take the previous steps.

That is why it is so important to understand the relationship between all these facts: without participatory democracy the big companies feel safer and the political parties less threatened by an alternative that would improve or even replace them, but we are running out of time, and therefore, without a future.

Curiously, these funds are called Next Generation, when in fact they are simply an attempt to save the big companies of the current generation, even if that means condemning the next ones.

About the Author

Juan Bordera

Journalist and content creator.

April 08, 2022 — Juan Bordera

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