Xavi Sala i Martin in Beijing

According to the official version, Columbia University economist and well-known growth theorist Xavi Sala i Martin is in Beijing to give a paper at a meeting sponsored by the IMF. But my confidential sources (OK: I mean the newspaper ‘Sport’) here in Barcelona have another reading: the IMF meeting is a cover. Xavi – who is President of the Economic Commission of FC Barcelona (and a well known cul?) – is there to act as intermediary for Bar?a President Joan Laporta. His mission: sort out the details of the Beijing 2008 sponsorship for Bar?a shirts next season. If they get this the rumours say, then it’s next stop Thierry Henry.

Obviously Xavi isn’t the only prominent Bar?a supporter who is globetrotting these days. Spanish president Zapatero has been in Germany: let’s hope he brings us more luck than he brought Schr?der. In fact such is the scandal that this support from a Spanish president for a football team that is not Real Madrid is causing, that prominent PP politicians in Madrid think nothing of blaming all Spain’s current misfortunes on our favourite football team. We are the team of the ‘regimen’.

Anyway all of this was just an excuse to say that two hours from now Bar?a will be out on the pitch at the Camp Nou to collect this years Spanish League Championship Trophy. Right-on Bar?a.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

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