Thursday 1 August 2002

The struggle continues

I have recently been reading Spain: a History, edited by Raymond Carr.

In the mid-nineteenth century, political battles in Spain were:

fought between the conservative wing of the anti-Carlist coalition, the "men of order" who came to form the Moderate party, and the "defenders of liberty", the Progressives.
We then learn that:
The bible of Progressives was Florez Estrada's Course of Economic Policy, a regurgitation of the works of Adam Smith and his followers. To believers in the virtue of competition, the great defect of the Old Regime was the lack of a free market in land.
Absolute property rights were introduced by the Progressives, with rents set by the market. To complete the market economy, the monopoly of guilds was abolished.

The Democrats, on the other hand:

demanded universal male suffrage, a distribution of rural land to the dispossessed, and the legalisation of workers' associations to fight employers.
Carr then observes:
The Progressives were Anglophiles, admirers of Bentham and Adam Smith. The Moderates were Francophiles, who saw in French administrative centralism an instrument to destroy the Progressives' hold over local government.

Well, well. A hundred and fifty years later and the same divisions still exist in Europe.