The Spanish, however, unlike the English and people from other countries, do not enjoy having to "hacer cola" - that is to say, "queue up" - and wait for things. They - as is often the case - have a quite different, quite imaginative, way of dealing with this peculiar daily difficulty.
I was chatting with a work colleague about this belief only yesterday. She has a house in Spain and her husband, now retired, does the shopping when they are out there. They have, however, always been bemused at how chaotic Spanish social organisation seems to be. One example we talked about yesterday goes as follows: when you go into a grocer's to do a bit of shopping and there are a number of people in the shop waiting to be served, the English will carefully line up and expect everyone else to do the same. Silence often reigns, as each person can only really speak to two people - the one in front or the one behind. And, as the English rarely choose to engage people they don't know in conversation, not even these limited opportunities are taken advantage of. Social networking, at this trivial level, comes really hard to a dyed-in-the-wool Englishman or Englishwoman.And that last sentence sort of summarises the Spanish at their best.
In Spain, though, it is different. To my colleague's uneducated eyes, it is a total breakdown of fair play and justice. Or it was until yesterday, when I explained there is clearly method to the madness.
When you enter a Spanish shop, the first thing you see is a crowd of shoppers milling around the counter, waiting to be served. They chatter, exchange gossip - basically interact with each other for any and every reason. There is freedom of movement, the opportunity to talk to everyone, a physical closeness and air of informality that promotes a useful and constructive sense of community. Nevertheless, it is true that to the unpractised eye disorganisation is the overriding driver. How can social fairness and justice operate in such an environment?
It's easy, once you know how. Like any good magic trick, the explanation lays quite bare the erstwhile invisible structure. The only two phrases you need to know when you go shopping in Spain are:
As you can see, the Spanish, in their wisdom, have created a system of social organisation which allows them to queue up, gossip, locally network and support community interaction without losing out on the twin virtues of social fairness and justice. They do not need to obediently line up in silence and miss out on the opportunity to communicate the latest community news with all and sundry.
- On entering the shop, as the last person to arrive: "¿Quién es la última?" ("Who is the last person?")
- And in answer to the above, when you yourself are the last person: "¡Soy yo!" ("That's me!")
They can be open, honest, fair and just - all at the same time.
Let's first look at some comprehension questions on unemployment in Spain.
- How many people were unemployed in Spain in the first quarter of 2011?
- What was the general unemployment rate?
- What's the unemployment rate for young people?
- What does the IMF think is the biggest problem between generations?
- What advantages do older workers have?
- What is the current situation of most younger workers? What sorts of contracts do they have?
- What negative effects does this have on productivity and training, in particular?
- What has this led to in relation to youth unemployment?
El desempleo en España refleja la totalidad de las personas desempleadas en España. Según la Encuesta de Población Activa correspondiente al primer trimestre de 2011, la cifra de desempleados en el país es de 4.833.700, con una tasa de desempleo del 20,89%. Desde 2009 España tiene la máxima tasa de desempleo del primer mundo (véase el anexo: Países por desempleo). La tasa de desempleo juvenil en España es del 43,61%.Remember, if you still need support in understanding this text (and in this case you might do - it's a little more technical than other texts we have seen), use Google Translate to provide you with a workable English alternative. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter - you'll get model answers to the comprehension questions as well as useful vocabulary.
El Fondo Monetario Internacional considera que en el mercado laboral español existe una dualidad que es fuente de insolidaridad intergeneracional. En el que han convivido a lo largo de los últimos años por una parte trabajadores, en general de más edad, con contratos de trabajo de carácter indefinido, con una mayor protección laboral e incrementos salariales elevados con otros trabajadores, en general más jóvenes, con contratos de carácter temporal y bastante desprotegidos. Esta dualidad ha producido efectos negativos sobre la productividad ya que en estos contratos temporales, empleador y empleado no han tenido incentivo en la formación laboral y en el que el régimen de negociación de subidas salariales ha hecho que el ajuste de la crisis se haya hecho básicamente vía despido de los contratados temporales y perjudicado la creación de empleo, lo que ha incidido en la elevación de la tasa de desempleo de los jóvenes hasta límites muy altos.