More poverty, more inequality, more job insecurity, more youthful emigration, less social protection, a considerable reduction of the real incomes of households and a collapse of the lowest incomes. This is the panorama that is envisioned by a new assessment in Spain. In summary, the country will experience a widening social gap and extreme poverty.

The conclusions came from a meeting of experts who gathered at the Queen Sofia Center on Adolescence and Youth, where attendants foresee that the crisis in that country will continue to be  very long for an increasing number of families.

The report titled” In the shadow of the crisis: The Spanish society in the 2018 horizon”, is composed of conclusions reached by a panel of eleven experts in different social disciplines who, based on how current trends, offered ideas of how reality will be in five years for the Spanish in the economic, political and social aspects.

They agreed that the future is “anything but optimistic.” This has been explained in a press conference where the CEO of the Federation of Drug Addiction (FAD ), Ignacio Calderon, and the Technical Director of the institution, Eusebio Mengías, have reinforced the idea that by 2018 per capita GDP will remain below 2007 levels while the “Spanish growth model” will have eroded without a feasible replacement.

In parallel, the active population will have been reduced due to the increase in the number of people over 65 years of age, which will become 20% of the population. Meanwhile, they estimate, the labor market will experience unemployment above 20 %, which will be characterized by occupational informality flexibility, intermittency and instability in professional careers as well as precarious jobs.

“Between 2014 and 2018 Spain will witness the inexorable and profound weakening of the welfare state, much like it has already happened in countries like the United States. It is expected that the Spanish society will go from a social to a neoliberal model, with a societal reality similar to the one currently existent in the United States, which is characterized by the thinning of the middle class, social polarization between rich and poor, income inequality and increasing poverty of the masses, “he says .

The loss of income caused by unemployment, the tax burden, increased rates to access public services and cuts in social protection, will cause a generalized impoverishment of families and a collapse in the lowest incomes, “that will increase the number of homes with serious economic difficulties and the number of families at risk of exclusion or in extreme poverty”.

This outlook will change the configuration of the families, who will become even more “multi- generational”, especially by young people who have to return home after a failed emancipation,  divorced and single-parent families who will do the same by failing to maintain a single individual home. This will enhance the economic dependency of the elderly and the young will, in turn, will  play the role of care givers.

According to experts, the first effect of this reconfiguration will be the plummeting in birth rates: in 2018 the percentage of women 18 to 34 who will not have residential independence will be almost ten points above that of the EU average.

These women also will be directly affected by the reductions to be imposed in social policies: the feminization of care will worsen.

In this environment, the youth take the initiative and through participation and leadership in social movements and platforms, they will claim more intensely the construction of a new social model that goes from I to we, advocating cooperation as a means of subsistence and a new political and social identity, far away from traditional feedback channels.

“Indeed, the youth will form the new activist movement, a group with a committed attitude that seeks new formulas. They will do away with parties and unions,” says Mengías.

According to Mengías, “it is the time of the civil society,” which articulates responses to private and public deficit inadequacies in the next five years, when the political disaffection will continue to increase.

Although experts talk about social fracture, they do not forecast “ruptures and crises of gravity” with the demonstrations. The report also predicts that in the next five years there will be a “rapid decline” of bipartisanship that will be replaed by “a profound rethinking of the traditional political scene”.

They speak of “new politics” versus “old politics”. They envision the replacement of the classical dichotomy “left” vs “right”. Young people will fluctuate between abstentionism, expressive utopian voting and the vote of punishment, while the intermediate generations will fluctuate depending on the economic situation.

Traditional parties, which will have less and less social support, will have to direct their efforts toward older people “a solid electoral base” to reach less than a third of the vote in 2018.

Experts say that these trends will be different only if the government puts in place measures to facilitate care and social protection for households that are most affected by the recession.

They also recommend promoting a covenant of shared responsibility, because if a collective electoral interest is favored, such as that of the majority over the rest, all that will be achieved is collective misery.

The third conclusion reached by the panel is that, as of right now, there is a deep crisis in the financial and socio-economic model, as more and more young people have joined social movements. “It would be a serious political mistake to ignore the increasingly widespread social unrest and requests that are raised by the public,” says the report.

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