Madrid, globalization, and Yogi Berra

Wed, Apr 22, 2009


Wandering around the Spanish capital, it´s hard not to be envious.  Imagine a city that combines the best of Paris, New York, and Washington. Imagine a city of transcendent art and architecture, clean streets, functioning transit systems, a buoyant economy and spacious parks-a city whose lively streets are thronged with courteous, attractive, and clearly prosperous people. Imagine great shopping, fabulous restaurants, world-renowned bars…and stop imagining!  You can´t afford any of it!

But you can afford to walk and to look. As Yogi Berra once said,”You can see a lot just by observing.”

Observation: if print media are dying, the reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated (to quote Mark Twain). Walking from our modest hotel to the Prado, we passed at least five newspaper kiosks.  Each one carried approximately 40 different newspapers, including multiple English language papers.  At one such kiosk, I counted 11,including the NYT, the WSJ, the Financial Times, the NY Herald Tribune. Not cheap, though-the Herald Tribune set me back four bucks.

Observation: Is the global economy linked? Do the Spanish care about Colorado?  This morning´s “El Pais”, the Spanish national daily, carried a story about several companies, notably Iberdola, which expect to profit from infrastructure investment in the US. The pic that accompanied the story was of Iberdola´s 3,000 megawatt wind farm in Colorado.

An Iberdola official, Ramon de Miguel, was quoted as saying that the US market is very large and very compettive, but he sees potential for growth in the country´s electrical network.

“It is very old,” he said Änd Obama wants to replace the whole thing.”

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