Autism spectrum disorders and nutrition: pregnancy


Last week I dedicated a post to publicize and unmask an alleged alternative therapy for the treatment of children with autism . I was accused of “not building” and only pretending to destroy. It may be true; in my defense I will say that I see nothing wrong in destroying what others have created for purposes (willing or not) allegedly fraudulent … but that in any case is a false hope … who knows if it is also dangerous.

Well, today I am determined to build and I will try to shed some light on two specific issues that, no wonder, always plan over the heads of those parents (both) with children affected with some autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ): Has the nutritional status of the mother, prior to pregnancy and during the pregnancy, influenced the development of an ASD in her offspring? and, beyond all this , what is known about the truth about successfully treating cases of ASD already diagnosed from the point of view of nutrition? I will address these issues in separate posts, one for each question.

Introduction to the causes of ASD

Image result for asdOn the origin of the different TEA (there is no single autism, as there is no, for example, a single “boat”) there are things that are quite well assumed: firstly that in its genesis there are different variables involved , genetic (of both parents), environmental and biological and; secondly, that all these variables are not identified since the ultimate causes of a significant number of cases of ASD are unknown. To worsen this reality, it is most likely that among all the known factors and those that are still to be revealed, there is also a certain relationship , and there may be predisposing and triggering factors (which are not the same). That is to say and for example, different groups of children with certain genes can be affected more easily due to their different environmental exposure.

So far what is quite clear is the following:

  • The scientific consensus coincides in resting genes on one of the risk factors that make a person more vulnerable to having an ASD . This is so that children who have siblings or a parent with ASD, have a higher risk of suffering some type of these disorders.
  • ASDs occur more often in people with certain conditions . About 10% of children with ASD have an identified genetic disorder, such as fragile X syndrome , tuberous sclerosis , Down syndrome and other chromosomal alterations.
  • The use of certain medications during pregnancy has been positively associated with a higher risk of presenting ASD, for example, thalidomide and valproic acid .
  • At the same time, there is also considerable certainty about some factors that are NOT causal factors of ASD , although one may hear about them, among them, one of the main ones, the old belief that ASDs are caused by bad parenting or carelessness in its growth by parents .

Nutritional status of the mother and incidence of ASD

Image result for pregnant mother

If you have carefully read the previous lines, the subject of the nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy is not a question that, in one sense or another, is considered contrasted when establishing it as one of the factors related to the development of the ASD.

However, precisely because of this uncertainty , there are few studies that are carried out to value this particular. In fact, currently a good part of the studies carried out not only take into account various aspects of the nutritional situation of the mother, but also interact with their genome in one way or another to favor a possible ASD in their offspring. According to some studies , in the case of genetically predisposed mothers, it could be interesting to supplement their diet in the period prior to conception with multivitamins in order to reduce the risk of ASD. Other studies ( link and link ) focus the benefits of this possible primary prevention intervention on specific vitamins, very often and especially, folic acid . Another vitamin possibly involved is vitamin D ; in this way, other studies such as this one or this one have speculated on how an inadequate nutritional status of vitamin D could favor cases of ASD.

Beyond vitamins, other studies seem to find a certain relationship in the dietary profile of the mother’s fats and the risk of ASD, so, in this case , it seems to provide some evidence on the role of omega-3 fatty acids. 6 and omega-3 , so that the dietary enrichment of the former would be related to a decrease in risk and the low intakes of the latter with an increase thereof.

If there is a common denominator in almost all of these studies pointed out, many of them reviews of the scientific literature on this matter, they are not clear . Thus, in most of the conclusions, the word that stands out is “could” … it could help, it could be beneficial, it could reduce (or increase) the risk , and so on. And it is precisely because of the observational nature of these studies or those that are reviewed, it becomes especially complicated to draw clear and direct conclusions. If we add to this that most of the possible nutritional factors may be related to genetic issues … it is understandable that the conclusions are not clearer than they are. In this way, all studies without exception end up referring to the need to do more studies in that line .


It seems that we strive to find an unequivocal relationship regarding the nutritional status of the mother and the development of ASD by her offspring; In spite of this, this topic is not at all clear although it seems that “there is something” . In any case, what is not too much doubt is that an adequate nutritional status facilitated by a diet also adequate in regard to its composition in macro and micronutrients, without being much less a guarantee to avoid cases of ASD , it could reduce its incidence (but of course, probably in a certain genetically predisposed population).

The only clear recommendation that I have made is that knowing the minimum risks of folic acid supplementation, while its proven benefits in reducing the risk of various disorders (not only ASD), would invite all pregnant women or women with the intention of being included in this kind of supplement in your diet. Something that on the other hand is already part of all protocols and recommendations in this regard

In the next chapter we will see the possible effect and role of nutrients in the treatment of cases of ASD already diagnosed.


Economy.- The mortgage law of Guindos passes its first test in Congress after rejecting the alternative of Podemos

The draft Real Estate Credit Law has passed its first examination in Congress on Thursday after the Congress rejected the amendment to the whole submitted by Unidos Podemos, with which the confederal group sought to replace the Government’s legislative initiative.

To overcome the debate of totality and reject the amendment of the left coalition, the Government has had the support of PP, Citizens, PDeCAT PNV, UPN, Canary Coalition and Asturias Forum, while PSOE and Nueva Canarias have opted to abstain. The proposal of Unidos Podemos has only had the support of Esquerra Republicana, Compromís and EH Bildu.

However, the opposition has forced that the parliamentary procedure of the norm must end in the Plenary Session of the Congress before being sent to the Senate, and not in the Economy Commission, as PP, Citizens, and CC wanted. This will require the PP to seek more support given the different parliamentary arithmetic of the two instances.


The Government proposal extends the limit of the banks when executing a mortgage (now it can do it with three months of non-payment), facilitates the conversion of the loan with variable interest to fixed and obliges the entity to communicate in detail all kinds of clauses, such as floor clauses, and to ensure that the client, notary through, declares himself aware of its nature and behavior in different scenarios.

The regulation, which involves the transposition of the European directive on mortgage loans, had to have been approved before March 2016. Since this procedure has not been completed, Spain has opened an infringement procedure, although the Government hopes to approve the regulation before of the end of the process in order to avoid a possible fine.

Guindos already announced during the presentation of the initiative in November that the Government had enough support to overcome the different parliamentary procedures, the same ones that had made possible the approval of the 2017 Budgets: Citizens, PNV, UPN, Asturias Forum, Canary Coalition and New Canary Islands.


The Government’s proposal establishes new terms for the early expiration of a mortgage, limits interest on late payment – three times the current legal interest and will be applied to the outstanding principal – and facilitates the conversion of the mortgage loan in foreign currency to another currency , as well as the change of mortgage loan with variable interest to fixed interest.

Currently, banks can decree the early expiration of a loan and execute the mortgage from the third month of default, a threshold that the Government raises up to 2% of the loan, including interest, or nine installments during the first half of the contract, and 4% or twelve months in the second.

To change a mortgage loan with variable interest to a fixed one, the maximum commission for early repayment for a novation or change of entity in which a fixed rate is agreed will be 0.25% in the first three years, and thereafter it will disappear.

In the case of variable-rate mortgages, the commission for early repayment will be zero from the fifth (0.25% limit) or the third year of the effectiveness of the opponent (0.5%), depending on the agreement. As for fixed-rate loans or this one, the early repayment fee will be 4% maximum in the first ten years and 3% thereafter.


On the other hand, the standard includes the possibility for both parties to voluntarily adhere to a standard contract in which the fundamental clauses of the contract are established, and obliges the entity to send seven days before signing the contract a file with the main characteristics of the contract, including floor clauses, with estimates in different scenarios of interest.

In these seven days, the consumer must go to the notary to answer the questions that he poses and where he will explain all the sensitive clauses, having to sign a record, free for the borrower, in which he will manifest knowledge of all the necessary information.


In addition, it is prohibited to offer the linked sale of products with mortgages, as in the case of home insurance, except for exceptions authorized by the Bank of Spain or if it proves that they benefit the consumer. That is, operations in which it is only possible to contract the mortgage loan if it is done together with a series of products are not allowed.

However, combined sales are allowed, which are those in which the consumer has the option to contract the mortgage loan separately or with a set of products. In this case, the entity is obliged to submit two budgets, one that includes the products that are marketed with the mortgage and another without them.

The new words that enter the dictionary of the RAE

Amigovio, chupi, homoparental, mileurista, serendipity, tweet and tunear, among other words, are already normative

  • The twenty-third edition of the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Language (DRAE), published this Thursday, has introduced numerous words that did not appear in the previous edition. Some of them were already in the online edition of the dictionary, but other entries are made public with the publication of this twenty-third edition. This is a selection:

agrotourism m. Rural tourism, especially that which includes agricultural and livestock activities.

threaten (From amagar ). m. 1. Arg. , Bol. , Mex. , Par. and Ur. Indication or signal of something that finally does not happen. 2. Ec. , Guat. , Nic. and P. Rico. Gesture that indicates the intention to do something.

amigovio , via. (Fusion of friend and boyfriend ). m. and f. coloq. Arg. , Mex. , Par. and Ur. Person who maintains with another a relationship of less formal commitment than a courtship.

Anisakiasis F. Med. Gastrointestinal parasitic disease

Anisakiasis F. <em>Med.</em> Gastrointestinal parasitic disease

 caused by anisakis larvae and transmitted to man by infested fish that is consumed raw or undercooked.

anisakis (From the scientific latitude Anisakis , and this from the gr. Νισ κις anisákis ‘an unequal number of times’, for having unequal spike males). m. Worm nematode parasite whose larvae are occasionally found in some fish, marine mammals and cephalopods, and which can cause anisakiasis in humans.

antipersonnel adj Said of a mine: Prepared for, when being stepped on, to kill or mutilate a person.

antipersonnel. adj mines.

apunamiento (To sign up and -miento ). m. Arg. , Bol. And Chile. mountain sickness.

audioguide. ( Audio- and guide ). F. Portable electronic device for individual use that, through recordings, provides information when visiting an exhibition, tourist trips, etc.

backstage. (English voice). m. Space located behind a stage or a catwalk where those who take part in a show or a fashion show are prepared.

garbage (Of garbage dim). F. Arg. , Chile , Ec. , Guat. , Hond. , Mex. , Nic. , Pan. , Par. , Ur. And Ven. Particle of dirt, especially the one that gets into the eye.

batucada (The port. Brazilian batucada, der. Of batucar ‘dance and sing batucadas’, east of Batuque ‘batucada’, and this der. Bater ‘beat’). F. 1. Afro-Brazilian popular dance that is accompanied with percussion instruments. 2. Music that accompanies the batucada. 3. Set of people running a batucada, usually in the street.

bicycle ride F. Arg. , Perú and Ur. Organized bicycle ride, with collective participation.

Bicycle shop F. Arg. , Par. , Peru and Ur. Establishment where bicycles are sold or repaired.

beeper (From the English beeper ). m. Arg. , Chile , Ec. , Guat. , Mex. , Nic. , Pan. And P. Rico. Electronic device that records calls and messages.

birra (From it, birra , and this from al Bier ). F. coloq. beer.

blaugrana. (From cat. Blaugrana , from blau ‘blue’ and grana ‘grana 2 ‘). adj azulgrana . Blaugrana hobby. App. to pers., utcs

Botox (From Botox ®, reg. Mark). m. Chem Bacterial toxin used in cosmetic surgery.

brik. (Acort.). m. tetrabrik .

burka (From the English burka , and this from the arbor burqa ‘ ). m. or f. Women’s clothing from Afghanistan and other Islamic countries, which hides the body and head completely, leaving a small mesh opening at eye level. U. mcm

craps m. and f. malson coloq. Impatient person, who is always in a hurry.

cajonear. (From drawer and -ear ). tr. Arg. , Par. and Ur. To delay the processing of an administrative file or a document in order to delay its resolution.

cameo (From the English cameo , and this from the cammeo ‘cameo’). m. Short intervention of a famous character, actor or not, in a movie or a television series.

cyclogenesis (From English cyclogenesis , from cyclone ‘cyclone’ and -genesis ‘-genesis’). F. Meteor Formation of a cyclone.

citadino, na. (From Friar Citadin , and this from Cittadino .) adj 1. Bol. , Col. , C. Rica , Cuba , Mex. , Nic. , Pan. And Come. Belonger or relative to the city. 2. Bol. , Col. , Cuba , Mex. , Nic. , Pan. And Come. Said of a person: who lives in the city. U. tcs

coach. (English voice). m. and f. 1. Person who advises another to promote their professional and personal development. 2. Dep. Coach .

conflict (Conjugal c) act. tr. 1. Arg. , Bol. , Ec. , Mex. , Par. and Ur. Causing a conflict in something or someone. prnl. 2. Arg. , Bol. , Ec. , Mex. , Par. and Ur. Said of a person: Suffer an internal conflict or concern that may eventually condition their behavior.

short-term. (From loc. [A] short term e -ismo ). m. Behavior or attitude of the short-termist.

short-termist adj That pursues results or effects in the short term. App. to pers., utcs

chaise longue. (Loc. Fr.). F. Seat soft, elongated and normally without arms, which allows to stretch the legs, sometimes designed as a side extension of a sofa. U. tcm

chop (Of Fr Chope , and this of the Alsatian Schoppe ). m. 1. Arg. , Bol. And Ur. Jar or large size glass to drink beer. 2. Arg. , Bol. , Par. and Ur. Beer contained in a chop.

chupi (From expr, see yupi , interjection to express joy). adj 1. coloq. Esp. Very good or great. A movie chupi. adv. 2. coloq. Esp. Very good or great. Pass it chupi.

drone (From the English drone ). m. Unmanned aircraft.

curly , gives. (From the part of curling ). adj Arg. , Bol. , Chile , Par. , Peru , Ur. And Ven. Said hair: curly.

establishment . (English voice). m. Group of people who exercise power in a country, in an organization or in a specific area.

Euribor (From the English euribor , acronym of eur or i nter b ank or ffered r ate ‘European type of interbank offer’). m. Econ. Interest rate applied to loans in euros between large banks, and which is often used as a reference in mortgage loans at variable interest rates.

europarliamentary , ria. adj 1. Of or pertaining to the European Parliament. m. and f. 2. Deputy of the European Parliament.

outsource (From English to externalize , from external ‘external’ and -ize ‘-izar’). tr. 1. Econ. Said of a company or a public institution: Entrust the performance of tasks or own services to another company. The Ministry outsourced the photocopy service. 2. Psicol. Attributing to external factors the origin of feelings, perceptions or thoughts of their own.

feminicide. (From lat. Fem na ‘woman’ and -cidio , see English feminicide ). m. Murder of a woman because of her sex.

giga 2 (Acort.). m. Inform. gigabyte.

gigabyte. (English voice, from giga- ‘giga-‘ and byte ). m. Inform. Unit that equals approximately one billion (2 30 ) bytes . (Symb. GB).

hacker. (English voice). m. and f. Inform. Hacker.

hyperlink (Of hyper- and link ). m. Inform. link.

hijab (From tree ib ). m. Handkerchief worn by Muslim women to cover their heads.

homoparental. (From homo- and parental ). adj 1. Said of a family: Made up of two people of the same sex and children. 2. Pertaining to or relative to the homoparental family.

identikit (From the English identikit , acronym of identification ‘identification’ and kit ‘kit’). m. Arg. , Bol. , Ec. , Nic. , Par. , Peru and Ur. Robot portrait .

impasse. (Voice fr.). m. 1. dead end. 2. wait time (detention of a subject).

intranet (From the intranet , from intra- ‘intra-‘ and net ‘network’). F. Inform. Electronic network of internal information of a company or institution.

lunch box. (Of lunch and -was ). F. Arg. , Bol. , Chile , Col. , C. Rica , Ec. , Guat. , Mex. , Nic. , Pan. , Peru , P. Rico and Ven. Small container, plastic or other material, used to carry light food, especially children when they go to school.

Mary 2 (Acort.). F. jerg. marijuana.

medicalization. F. Action to medicalize.

medicalize (From the fr. Médicaliser ). tr. 1. Provide something, as a means of transport, of what is necessary to offer medical assistance. 2. Give medical character to something. The medicalization of childbirth

mileurista adj 1. Esp. Said of a person: Who receives a monthly salary that is around a thousand euros and is generally considered below their professional expectations. U. tcs 2. Esp. Pertaining or relative to the mileurista or mileurismo. Mileurist salary.

multiculturalism F. Multicultural qualitynaturopath. adj Said of a doctor: Specialist in naturopathy. U. tcs

multiculturalism F. Multicultural qualitynaturopath. adj Said of a doctor: Specialist in naturopathy. U. tcs


Pilates (From JH Pilates , 1883-1967, German health specialist who developed and disseminated this method). m. Gymnastic method that combines body exercise with mind control, based on breathing and relaxation.

positivity F. Quality of positive

prequel (From the English prequel , and this formed on sequel ‘sequel’, with substitution of the first syllable by pre ‘pre-‘). F. Literary or cinematographic work that tells facts that precede those of another existing work.

quad. (Voice of the English amer., Quadricycle shortening ‘quadricycle’). m. 1. Four-wheel off-road vehicle similar to a motorcycle. 2. Sports activity or practice done with quad.

net. […] ~ social. F. Global communication digital platform that connects a large number of users.

Serendipity (Adapted from the English serendipity , and this one from Serendip , today Sri Lanka, by alus to the Eastern fable The Three Princes of Serendip ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’). F. Valuable finding that occurs accidentally or accidentally. The discovery of penicillin was a serendipity.

spa. (English voice, and this one of Spa , city of the province of Liège, in Belgium, famous for its healing waters). m. Establishment that offers treatments, therapies or relaxation systems, using as a main base the water, generally current, not medicinal.

Tweet. (From English tweet ). m. Digital message that is sent through the Twitter ® social network and that can not exceed a limited number of characters.

tweet intr. 1. Communicate by means of tweets. tr. 2. Send something by means of a tweet.

tweet m. Action and effect of tweeting.

tweeter , ra. adj 1. Pertaining or relative to the tweet or tweeting. m. and f. 2. Person who tweets.

tuning 3 (From English to tune , literally ‘to tune’, ‘to adjust’). tr. Adapt something, especially a vehicle, to personal tastes or interests.

Wifi. (Tb. Wi fi. ♦ Del English. Wi-Fi ®, brand reg.). m. Inform. Wireless connection system, within a certain area, between electronic devices, and frequently for Internet access. U. t. in apos.

Stop the veto of AIDS in insurance

Stop the veto of AIDS in insurance The Official State Gazette published, on June 12, 2018, the modification of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users that puts an end to the episodes of discrimination in the contracting of insurance for people carrying the virus of the HIV , linked to the development of the AIDS disease.

The entry into force of this legal modification, long claimed by entities such as the State Coordinator of HIV and AIDS (CESIDA), is “eradicate from the legal system those aspects that limit equal opportunities and promote discrimination for any reason, in this case , for being carriers of HIV / AIDS, or other health conditions, in regard to the scope of discriminatory content in certain legal transactions, benefits or services.

Fighting entities in favor of people affected by HIV have repeatedly denounced the fact that many of them were discarded at the time of signing health or life insurance to, for example, apply for loans or mortgage loans with the consequent damages . In other cases, extra requirements have been stipulated in terms of checking the contractor’s health status or extra costs linked to the illness suffered have been proposed. Therefore, the preamble of the new law, of the first signed by Pedro Sánchez as President of the Government, proposes the fight against “the social stigma and legal discrimination of people living with HIV”.

Official sources of the UNESPA insurance company deny that there is discrimination and have told that the regulatory change “protects companies to take into account the risks that under any circumstances affect the health of people” and promote the contracting of insurance under these established criteria in a clear and objective manner as it has been happening up to now in other situations such as, for example, people with disabilities.

It will be at this moment the companies that will have to capture this new situation in the contracting of their policies, UNESPA exposes, according to its own competence in the market and its specialization, mainly in the most affected branches of Health and Life.

The Government gives a year to extend the measures against discrimination to other diseases

The Government gives a year to extend the measures against discrimination to other diseases

The new norm determines that “those clauses, stipulations, conditions or pacts that exclude one of the parties, because they have HIV / AIDS or other health conditions will be null and void ” and establishes that “the waiver of the provisions of this provision shall be null and void. the party that has HIV / AIDS or other health conditions . ” At the same time, the Government is given a period of one year to extend these anti-discrimination measures to other diseases and in this same sense.

The legislative amendment includes the change of law 50/1980 of October 8, of the Insurance Contract, through the first additional provision: “People with HIV / AIDS or other health conditions can not be discriminated against. In particular, the denial of access to hiring, the establishment of hiring processes different from those usually used by the insurer or the imposition of more onerous conditions, due to having HIV / AIDS or other health conditions, are prohibited, except that they are based on justified, proportionate and reasonable causes, which are previously and objectively documented. “

The Health and Life companies fear a new uncertain scenario with the new policies and the management of those already subscribed

The Health and Life companies fear a new uncertain scenario with the new policies and the management of those already subscribed

Jordi Parrilla, director of the Auditorium Foundation of the Col·legi de Mediadores d’Assegurances of Barcelona explains that “the declaration of health to which the insured responds until now meant that the insurer could reject the candidate, exclude certain pre-existing diseases or apply a loading”.

For the sector, explains Parrilla, an undesirable scope of action for insurers can be opened by introducing a level of uncertainty “that would undoubtedly be the worst scenario for consumers and also for the insurance sector, which needs a stable framework to calculate the cost of the benefits that he must face “. Meanwhile, it remains to be determined in what way, this expert asks, “will companies have to assume the coverage that until now were excluded and what effect all this will have on reinsurance”.

Since CESIDA, which together with several Spanish universities such as Alcalá, has repeatedly denounced these types of discrimination, they have praised the approval of the new law that will allow, says its president, Ramón Espacio, to end the social stigma that “may have serious consequences for the normal development of life of these people affected by HIV “.

More linked to the insurance sector, the conviction to Spain in October 2010 for the case of a Spanish citizen with HIV who after having signed an insurance policy is declared in a situation of absolute permanent disability. After claiming compensation, the insurer denies it. In the trial, the company’s defense requests the medical file of the plaintiff to which it is opposed while requesting measures of protection of its privacy. The plaintiff’s requests were rejected and the claim dismissed since the insurance company had not been informed of the state of health of the plaintiff at the time of insuring the insurance. Finally, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned the Spanish State to pay the plaintiff for the moral damage suffered, as stated in a March 2017 report prepared by CESIDA and the Legal Clinic for Social Justice of the University From Valencia.

What does the word 'culture' mean today?

What does the word

Knowledge advances when it discerns. Wherever a word came to designate some object in a generic or indeterminate way, the intelligence , penetrating and incisive as a razor’s edge, is pleased to distinguish new words or invent new meanings to refer more specifically to the richness of shades that this object contains when it is submitted to a more rigorous intellectual analysis. And by dint of progressive discernments, humanity is endowed with a broader and finer discourse and, finally, knows the world with greater accuracy.

Think of the word love . It was formerly applied both to the movement of the planets by their orbits and to the surrender of one’s life for the fatherland, the possessive passion for another person or the copulation of animals. This semantic ambiguity annoys the intelligence, which always wants to divide the object that the experience shows in a confused way, decompose it analytically in its parts and, thanks to these operations, understand it better to, in its case, dominate and transform it. For that purpose the language strives to establish a table of meanings of the word love or to add, within the same semantic family, terms that provide different nuances or contexts of use: falling in love, attraction, sex, passion, fidelity, charity , desire, altruism. An advance of this nature is observed daily in the scientific field: what the ancients called, for example, madness or melancholy , today we diagnose it as bipolar syndrome or manic-depressive illness. Science configures a tree of medical terms that, divided into branches and sub-branches, organizes the variety of psychic pathologies with extremely high clinical precision. Well-established nomenclature that paves the way for healing.

The most transcendental words of a language and with greater symbolic force accuse a load of superior ambiguity and for that reason the need to distinguish between meanings and possible contexts is made in these cases even more compelling.

Culture is, without doubt, one of those transcendent and ambiguous words. When we talk about culture, what do we mean? We observe that the context can mutate the use of the word, often without elevating that mutation to a conscious plane among the speakers, which is the source of many misunderstandings or only apparent agreements. It seems useful, therefore, to state its main uses. They are four.

Image and interpretation

Image and interpretation

We say Western culture and in doing so we mention that set of beliefs and customs, historically decanted and structured in interpretative frameworks, shared by members of the same community. We say ancient culture or modern culture and in doing so we allude to that same set but now in its temporal dimension. Even if there are common elements, no one would deny that a Frenchman and a Chinese belong to separate cultures and that this belonging essentially determines the way in which both see the world. The same can be said about this Frenchman in the successive stages of history: the vision of a medieval French is not the same as that of a Renaissance, enlightened, romantic, modern or postmodern French. What makes that vision different? Culture. When using the concept of culture in this first sense, we often use two metaphors: culture as an image of the world , on the one hand, and culture as an interpretation of the world , on the other. Both designate more or less the same, only that the first puts the accent on the iconic and the second, on the linguistic.

We look at things from an image of the world , a mental constellation of unconscious evidence, historical and social origin. The image of the world of men of antiquity does not match the image of the modern world. The mythical-minded ancient Greeks looked at the Milky Way and thought they saw spots of milk shed by Hercules when suckling from their mother’s womb, while we, the modern, scientific-minded, see there certain formations of matter that we call galaxies. Although they face the same reality, the Frenchman, with all the persuasion of a non-problematic evidence, sees a different world than the one that sees the Chinese and that disparity obeys a lens -the culture- that creates a particular perspective for him. And as with glasses for the myopic, culture is not something that we see but precisely the condition of possibility of vision, that which, being invisible to us, enables us to see things, including ourselves.

The other metaphor about culture assumes that the world is a text that is capable of being read. To this metaphor – the world as a book – Hans Blumenberg dedicated a beautiful essay: The readability of the world (1981). Whenever we read a text we interpret it. The same text is read differently by different people, even by the same person in successive moments of his biography. Hence the plurality of readings that have given rise, for example, the Antigone of Sophocles or the Quixote of Cervantes. To read them is to interpret them in our own way, according to our vital urgencies and our circumstantial environmental conditions. There is not a single unique or authentic reading of these works, because, by their very nature, they open up to many interpretations.

Nothing else happens with the real world in which we live, move and exist. The whole world – from the minerals to the supreme being passing through the intermediate stages – resembles one of those books caused by a plurality of possible interpretations. And we are condemned to know it not directly – there is no authentic, pure or direct knowledge of the facts – but through that detour which are the words that interpret it. And the words of natural and everyday language, to which the senses and meanings with which we construct our interpretation -words such as justice, dignity, courage, truth or beauty- are attached, we have not created them individually, we borrow them from our language maternal: French, Chinese. So that no one knows strictly the naked reality that he experiences every day (the thing itself), but he reads it and interprets it, and both operations are performed within the linguistic universe of his mother tongue, which frames the limited number of interpretations possible of the world for an individual of that community and of that time (a French today, a Chinese today). We say French culture or Chinese culture and with that we refer, then, to that general interpretation of the world that most French and Chinese share because they use the same language to communicate with each other and to understand themselves.

What we affirm about the metaphor of the image has to be repeated now with respect to the metaphor of interpretation: that culture, in this first sense, allows us to know but we hardly know it. It structures our mind and heart, but the structure itself remains silent, behind our backs, working in silence. That is why the French interpretation of the world seems to him to be the most natural, not less than the Chinese interpretation of his. And to each one, on the other hand, that of the other gives rise to a sensation of strangeness.

The works

The works

We also call culture to certain works produced ( poiesis ) without utilitarian purpose, mainly for entertainment, disinterested pleasure, aesthetic-moral instruction or pure knowledge. Sometimes these works are created by an anonymous collective (the people): sayings, stories, romances, oral epics, songs or popular festivals. But, although the line that separates popular culture from cultured culture has been shown to be less clear than previously believed, in most cases we call culture, in this second meaning, artistic works – works of literature, music, artistic, philosophical or scientific- with personal authorship.

In the first sense, then, the culture belongs to the totality of the members of a given community (all of them without exception share an image-interpretation of the world), while in the second, on the other hand, the concept is reserved for works made by a very small portion of individuals from that same community: poets, novelists, dramatists, philosophers, painters, sculptors, architects, filmmakers, composers, scientists. In the first meaning, the culture is identified with an unconscious, impersonal and natural vision of the world, while in the second, culture is the result of intentional, personal and artificial work -produced according to the rules of art- of the author of the work. In this second assumption, the field of culture, far from universally extending to the entire human condition, is contracted to a tiny minority: everyone interprets the world, but only a few write a novel, enunciate a scientific law or compose a symphony.

In fact, the vast majority of citizens expect to earn a living practicing a profession or a trade: they produce goods or provide services to satisfy a market demand, which pays them in return for their benefit. Only a small minority, in a certain sense straying from the general channel, feel the inner need to dedicate the best hours of the day, the best days of the year and the best years of their life to something that nobody has demanded: the literary, artistic work or scientific Naturally, these literati, artists or scientists also aspire to make a living in some way. But such an exhaustive dedication to a work does not have as a priority the placing of another merchandise on the market to earn a living. It responds rather to a private infatuation for the perfection that the author of the work imagines intimate to it even before creating it.

The phenomenon of total absorption of the author by the loving gestation of this kind of work is called vocation . The author feels called to apply the totality of his creative energies to generate an original and new work moved by a fascination towards the dignity that he intuits in it, without his intention being, in the first place, the calculation of the price that maybe some day receive in exchange. He knows that his work will be sold, but in the vocational author this is a reflex effect with respect to the main purpose: to enrich the world with a form of perfection that did not exist before.

The most perfect works produced by this minority attract, with the passage of time, sometimes not without initial hesitations, the admiration of people of good taste and, later, they arouse the general acclamation of society, which receives them as models and integrates with pride in the glorious patriotic canon. The linguistic metaphor of the first meaning of culture presented this as an interpretation of the world formed by words of the natural language that each individual borrows from society. Now this language is in permanent mutation, like society itself. Who promotes this renewal? Those few men and women dominated by a useless vocation, who enrich the flow of common language by founding new words or inventing new meanings for them. Through this innovative work, this minority helps to update the future interpretation of the world of the community: they define the dictionary of the words that future generations will borrow.

As Mallarmé writes in Le tombeau d’Edgar Poe , the role of the poet is, in the last analysis, to “give a purer meaning to the words of the tribe” ( donner a sens plus pur aux mots of the tribe ) . Purity understood here as words stripped of anachronism. Purity, in short, as contemporaneity.

The cultural industry

Other times we talk about culture -third meaning- in the sense of cultural industry . The market is the place of the exchange of merchandise. The vocational author produced the work attending mainly to the perfection and dignity of this, anticipated in his seduced imagination. But, once finished, this work in most cases is put on sale and, from that moment, is assimilated to a commodity and is subject to the laws of the market. And promoting exchanges, in the chain of distribution and sale of cultural goods, there appear then the mercantile companies that operate in this sector, such as publishers, auction houses, art galleries, theaters, concert and cinema halls.

The mercantile society pursues the profit and the maximum business benefit through the exchanges of goods to which, like any other merchandise, they are priced. This law is not an exception for companies that offer goods to cultural consumers. It is true that the workers of this specific sector tend to be individuals receptive to the dignity of cultural works, admirers of their perfection and friends to deal with their authors and with refined people eager to acquire those works, possess and enjoy them (bibliophile booksellers, collectors antiquarian , musical music lover, etc.). But the company, if it wants to continue operating in the market, must first try to become viable and know how to put a price on the works, turn them into merchandise, sell as many as possible and obtain an honest income in the exchange.

When jumping from the workshop to the market, the work supports the tension between two antagonistic poles: on the one hand, the fidelity of the author to the vocation and his devotion to the perfection of the work; on the other, the law of the market, the uses of the business and the maximum business benefit. The tension, in short, between what has dignity and what has a price.

This tension remained in equilibrium for many centuries because, in poorly literate societies, the market for culture had traditionally been national and elitist, limited to an enlightened and largely accommodated consumer. But in the last half century this balance has been broken as a result of the globalization of the market and the democratization of the public.

At the end of the 19th century, for example, only a literate and cultivated minority could read a novel and was a potential buyer of it. In the late twentieth century, the Harry Potter series has been sold in all corners of the world, after a global advertising campaign that uses all imaginable forms of marketing, including expensive and spectacular Hollywood productions. Dickens earned money with his novels while JK Rowling with his own has become one of the greatest fortunes of his country and has triggered the benefits of multiple companies that have negotiated the rights to his work.

It is not a unique case. The cultural market is no longer minority and elitist; now it is global and massive, as it can be the financial or automotive. Multinational corporations have abandoned their respect or their traditional indifference to culture (whose production in many respects still followed artisanal patterns), have colonized their territory and made it a part of the very profitable entertainment industry. And this is how it has spread to culture, once ruled by the rationality of vocation, that other rationality characteristic of this kind of industry: the rapid circulation of ephemeral merchandise, the positive value of novelty, the media show and, in last term, the sacralization of success understood as the maximum sales volume (best seller).

As culture can generate extraordinary business benefits, the industry now produces goods designed from their origin to be placed and sold in this specific market, following a process similar to that observed in the other more conventional markets. Here is the risk of mystification. Nothing to object to the existence of cultural goods , a consumer good like any other: shoes, a computer, a tourist trip. The problem lies in the attempt of the cultural commodity to usurp the halo of the authentic culture; that is, that what is done by price is presented to the public as having the aura of a dignity that does not correspond to it.

Let’s think about the book format. In the same shelf of novelties of a bookstore can live a collection of poems written over a long decade, delayed and delicately, by an author who lives in each verse and, with him, the latest historical novel signed by a presenter of a television contest and composed by a team of editors after taking into account the recommendations of the sales department of the editorial stamp and the surveys commissioned on the changing taste of the readers and the general tendencies of reading. Although their nature is opposed, before the public both present the same form of book. Moreover, they share the same distribution and sales channels, and sometimes even the same page in the literary supplement that reviews them.

Cultural policy

Cultural policy

The classic typology of the action of the public administrations distinguishes three modalities: actions of police, of promotion and of public service. Applying these three types to the cultural policy, the legislation on the matter, the surveillance of the sector and the sanctioning power are examples of police activity; subsidies, scholarships and sponsorships are for promotion; and of public service, the management of museums, auditoriums, theaters, libraries, orchestras and publicly owned companies, the care of historical-artistic heritage or the organization of fairs and festivals.

All public actions, in accordance with the legal system, must be presided over by the principle of general interest. The general interest, in this fourth meaning of culture, is defined in terms of the previous two. From this perspective, the mission of the different cultural administrations should be to propitiate the favorable conditions for the creation of cultural works (second meaning) and for their conservation, distribution and business diffusion (third meaning). Although forced to adjust to budgets, cultural policy, unlike the industrial one, is free from the servitude of economic profitability, because its focus is exclusively social profitability. If, on the one hand, this privilege gives it a space for independence, on the other, it is always at risk of losing it. Because the administrative action is subordinated, in fact, to the strategies and priorities of political partisanship, regulated by the law of friend / enemy, the short term of a legislature and the electoral rationality.

Cultural policy raises the interesting theoretical question of its own legitimacy: as long as there is only one unemployed in a society, why not increase the provision of public benefits for unemployment instead of subsidizing the opera house? As long as a single citizen lacks decent housing, how can we explain the restoration of medieval monuments or the financing of astronomical observatories? Before, home and food, then everything else, some will argue.

This objection, convincing to the naked eye, invites us to introduce the philosophical distinction between values ​​with weight and values ​​with height. Because in the context of personal life we ​​do not find a before and after , but the most important values ​​(the most elementary, economic-social, such as food or housing) coexist inseparably with those of more height ( beauty, perfection). It is not necessary exhaustively exhaust all the heavier values ​​to rise to the highest, because the latter are those who, with their dignity, lend existential meaning to the former. It is not only about surviving as a species, but about living as individuals with rectitude and nobility, which is what makes life worth living.

The State has to attend to this double dimension of its citizens at the same time, without allowing the urgent to take the noblest front with the alibi that the latter can wait. The largest share of public budgets, in all known states, is directed to satisfy basic needs, but without excluding other items of cultural policy. And this is because if cultural policy promotes the creation of works by their authors (second meaning) as well as their dissemination and distribution in society (third meaning), in the long term it favors the advance of -in terms of Norbert Elias- the process of civilization, leading to a more refined, more cultured and more intelligent image-interpretation of the world of citizens (first meaning). And among all imaginable public actions, none could exhibit greater general interest than this one.



Here, then, are the four main ways of saying culture . Of course, they are ideal forms and in experience we find people or institutions that embody with great purity some of those four forms, but more often a hybridization of several of them. We all know masters in one of the fine arts who prove to be additionally in the art of earning a living and self-promotion as the most industrious of entrepreneurs would do with one of their products for sale. There are those who feel their vocation, but this does not challenge them with an intensity that absorbs all their energies and consequently fill their lives with other occupations that do not result in their own work but revolve around that of third parties. Or those others who do experience a totalizing vocation, but their fidelity to it is cooled by the seduction of rapid success, a passing media notoriety or the anxiety of a good mercantile contract. It may happen that a work, the excellent fruit of a genuine vocation, obtains a sensational sales success: dignity is then linked to the price and the industry exploits the vocation until it almost exhausts it. An alliance of this kind is observed, for example, in the re-edition of the classics of universal literature, which are defined as authentic long sellers . Finally, the mention, as an eminent expression of this mixture of forms, of the activity carried out by cultural foundations and other analogous institutions of the nonprofit sector must not be absent: they participate in the techniques of industrial management but ideally they are encouraged by an interest general, not private, analogous to that which, by law, the administrations of cultural policy must follow.

Therefore, in experience we find the four ideal forms and their mixtures. However, the classification exposed maintains its usefulness. Because the answer to the question about the state of culture depends directly on which of the four meanings of the word is being used at that moment. Each of the four forms has its own rationality, its distinctive laws, its specific purposes. And also his tempo . The time of the cultural industry is marked by the annual balance; the one of the policy, the four years of the legislature; the one of the vocation, the whole life of the author that consumes to slow fire in the gestation of the work; the new interpretation of the world, finally, takes generations to crystallize.

From this multiplicity of meanings and tempos, many misunderstandings arise in the discourses on culture, which invites recourse to the discernment of intelligence. In what situation is the culture ?, they interrogate us. It would be necessary to answer differently according to the meaning with which the word is used. How did the economic crisis affect the culture? The same open response. The cut in the budgets of the public administrations has a negative impact on their promotion and public service activities (less subsidies and scholarships, less contributions for cultural institutions of public ownership). The cultural industry, meanwhile, in a time of general contraction of consumption, suffers the decline in demand, including that from the administrations (remember that a high proportion of the cultural industry is still subsidized).

On the other hand, the creativity of the author does not necessarily diminish during a crisis, sometimes even the negative circumstances, which strangle him by putting him to the test, fan his imagination. The collapse of the country would have been very severe for an inspired poet who lacked a piece of paper to sketch his verses with a pencil. Even a musician does not need more than paper laid down to compose a symphony. The difficulties arise in a second moment, at the time of publishing the poems in an editorial or, much more, of premiering a symphony in an audience. Other manifestations of culture, such as scientific research or film production, require by their very nature a high financial investment and this requirement adds even more budgetary and organizational difficulty to the complexity that is already immanent to the cultural work.

But who really live for culture and no culture, who, in love with the sensed work in his imagination, has agreed to devote the best of their existence something no one has asked, who maintains his fidelity to the vocation to Finally, without being discouraged by the thousand insults of fate, he never surrenders and ends up overcoming obstacles, because time conspires in favor of the perfect work, adorned with high dignity.

Poor but not delinquent

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If you lose your job or a significant part of your income and you see that you do not make ends meet, you can not afford all your expenses, insomnia, headaches and probably stomach pain. But having information on how to deal with those situations can save many other extra dislikes and facilitate survival while waiting for the situation to improve. Knowing which receipts can be postponed and which not, if it is convenient to give priority to some payments or others, if it is better to be crazy while nobody claims or warn the bank that we will not be able to pay can be very useful at a time when one is he feels overwhelmed and in a dead end.

The lawyer José María Marqués, whose office of Insolnet spend four or five people each week with solvency problems, says that “they arrive at the office sunk, suffering a lot, because the insolvency causes in those affected a real collapse similar to the one that goes into a large labyrinth without a defined plane: all the walls, corridors and doors seem identical; his life are long nights of insomnia and a lot of anguish returning again and again on the same thoughts of failure and pessimism . ” The first thing he does is reassure them and make it clear that, as bad as things go, even if they lose everything, they will never miss their bread, because even though they can not pay and the bank or other creditors seize them, there is a part of the income that the law declares unattachable and that no one is going to remove. Of course today there are also those who do not have any income , either because they have exhausted unemployment benefits or because their circumstances did not give them the right to them, and in that case the priority is to seek some kind of help. In any case, what is involved is to analyze the real situation of each one and to look for a strategy to avoid or minimize the defaults and the difficulties.

The diagnosis

The important thing, when one faces economic difficulties, is to stop and think, analyze and diagnose the real situation of family finances, and then develop a plan and a medium and long-term strategy to face it and get out of it, avoiding acting on impulses . If there is something contraindicated when one lacks money to arrive at the end of the month, it is the flight forward, improvise each day what is paid and what is not, or choose to pay the payments as they arrive. We need foresight and planning. “The first thing is to clarify the situation in which one is, how we are of income and expenses and how it has gotten there; it is necessary to recognize reality in order to change it, “says Xavier Subirats, partner of Amsel Assessors and treasurer of the Col.legi d’Economistes de Catalunya. It is not the same that the unemployment benefit does not arrive to keep the gym fee, the weekend trips or the purchase of a new television, that to see that the income does not give to pay the quota of the mortgage or the rent, Domestic expenses and accumulated debt on credit cards. When it comes to getting an idea of ​​the situation, Marqués advises starting with the risks assumed with financial institutions. If one has doubts about which debts are pending and with whom, one can go to an office of the Bank of Spain and request a certificate issued by the Risk Information Center (CIR), which will include, for example, the total outstanding balance of the loan or loans you have in your name.

The alternatives

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Once you are clear about where your finances are flowing, the next step is to see what you can do to fix them. In the current crisis situation it is difficult to find immediate alternatives to an insolvency situation by means of income, since it is not usually in the hands of one to find work quickly, raise the salary or get more clients for the business. So the alternatives are usually always in the field of expenses: what can be cut. The first thing is to lower the life train: what expenses can be eliminated, what consumption can be reduced and, if not even so, what payments can be deferred, fractioned or renegotiated. At this point, each person and each family is one world, and if one will first cancel the gym fees, another may choose to forego certain insurance policies, or loosen light bulbs to spend less electricity. The question is to try to adjust the level of expenses to the new level of income and for this each one has to prioritize according to their situation and their interests, but foreseeing how those decisions may affect them in the future. “Renewing the maintenance fee for the pool is incompatible with going to the social assistance services of the City Council to ask for some kind of help; food, housing and education could be among the essential expenses, “says Marqués. And he adds that when it comes to prioritizing we must also take into account the receipts of gas, electricity, water and telephone, because some of the companies that provide these services are very agile when it comes to cutting off the supply due to non-payment ” and if you cut the light, the consequences can be serious and expensive, because you rot the food you have in the freezer and refrigerator, “he warns.

That is why it is so important to have information about what margin of maneuver there is over each expense or invoice when prioritizing and designing the strategy of what is to be paid and what is not. “When there is a drastic loss of income due to unemployment, illness or other misfortune, it is about facing the situation as soon as possible, to evaluate the obligations contracted and the periodic payments and to face them through negotiations, postponements or subdivisions, depending on the case,” they recommend. from the Spanish Confederation of Organizations of Housewives, Consumers and Users (Ceaccu). In general, experts suggest that there is usually more possibility of negotiating deferrals or split payments with the Administration (for example, when paying
taxes) or with banks that with service companies, although some also offer facilities for the unemployed or people with economic problems (see support information).

The strategy

Knowing how each creditor acts can make it possible to design the strategy of renegotiation, postponements, shortages, and so on. “It is not about seeing what I am going to postpone this month, but about specifying what I am going to change to adjust my expenses to the current income; We must focus on the essentials, and budget imbalances usually come from a high level of indebtedness or high levels of spending with cards; the priority should be to eliminate debts with higher amount and terms, renegotiate what affects the house, and lead an economy of grandparents, ordering the expenses and reserving a departure for each thing; there is an initial period of strong sacrifice but then, month after month, the situation is recomposed and can be lived, “sums up Xavier Subirats.

He warns, in this sense, that postponing payments does not solve anything, it is only a transitory tool “because if your income does not reach the level of expenses, postponing will only add more debt ” because you will not be able to pay when the time comes. Experts also warn about the high price paid for some deferred payments, such as those of credit cards, which carry interest rates of more than 20% per year in most cases. In fact, the advice of insolvency specialists is to cancel the debts owed to the cards as soon as possible, because they are very expensive and the monthly fee usually includes little capital and many interests, so that the debt is perpetuated over time. . That’s why it may be more interesting to negotiate deferments or reductions in mortgage payments or payments to the Administration, which have a lower interest, and release that money to pay off the more expensive debts.

“Not everyone can redo their finances , because there are people who have lived with a level of income and expenses that can hardly be recovered in the medium term, but there are many others that simply go through temporary difficulties and banks, in those cases, they show willing to negotiate and to admit solutions of deficiency or deferment of quotas to obtain that that person pays less, but pays, in hope of which it finds employment or improves its situation “, indicates Subirats. He adds that what is not easy is to get new credits or that the bank lets you group debts contracted with other entities.

The execution

The negotiation with the creditors and the application of the savings plan can not be improvised either, one must think carefully about the strategy to follow. If one is clear that with a deficiency, rebate or deferment could pay your creditor, it is worthwhile to warn you that you have problems paying and to raise alternatives and negotiate possible solutions. But when you know that no matter how much you tighten the belt can not pay a debt, it is better not to anticipate the problem to the creditor and, on the contrary, it is convenient to try to buy time. The latter is of vital importance in the case of the mortgage, because all the time that can delay the start of the enforcement and the embargo is time that person will continue to enjoy their home, admit legal sources. But, eye, that to give long is not to ignore the requirements that the bank or any other creditor does, because that can complicate the things. “Collect all the correspondence that comes to us, be warnings, demands, etc., will allow us to have precise knowledge of how the different procedures are developed; we must bear in mind that judicial processes are not paralyzed by the debtor’s non-location, but continue in his absence, “explains José María Marqués. In fact, your advice is to take advantage of that time to put yourself in the hands of a lawyer, going to the corresponding Bar Association to request one of the free justice service if you do not have money to hire one.

Another caution that no expert says out loud but do address with their clients is that, if they see clearly that they will not be able to pay the mortgage, they bet for the bank diversification: that is, that they do not enter the payroll or the unemployment benefit in the same bank to prevent them from blocking or withdrawing their money automatically. According to some affected, a practical solution when foreclosures are foreseen is to enter the money in a current account in the name of a trustworthy and solvent relative in which he appears as attorney-in-fact, from there, to pay the payments that are considered important, as the receipts of light, water or others.

Other possible measures of planning when one foresees that in the medium term it will run out of liquidity and may end up being foreclosed is to anticipate some payments that it creates as priorities , such as the fees of the children’s school. If the foreclosure is in the process, these advance provisions could be considered as an asset raising, “Marqués warns, although he acknowledges that when it comes to expenses related to the education of children it is more difficult for a judge to question them.


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For those who go through serious economic difficulties can be moderately reassuring to know that if banks, Treasury or other creditors take legal action against him may lose their assets but, while you have income, you will not be without food because there is a part of these that can never be seize.

“Article 607 of the Civil Procedure Law lists a series of perceptions that, due to their small amount, are unattachable; you can not seize even one euro of the income equal to or less than the minimum interprofessional salary, fixed at 641 euros; and if the affected person’s income exceeds this amount, only 30%, 50%, 60%, 25% and 10% of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and following sections of the minimum interprofessional salary can be seized, “explains the lawyer José María Marqués. The amounts refer to net income , that is, once the withholdings of the Treasury and Social Security contributions have been deducted, and if a marriage has separation of assets, they are counted separately for each one of them. In addition, if the person whom they seize has children under their care or other family responsibilities, the sections that can not be seized can increase between 10% and 15%. “All this means that a person with two children and spouse who is unemployed and who earns 21,500 gross euros a year (1,516.65 euros net per month), even if they garnish it, will be able to keep 1,338.59 euros available every month to maintain . And if the salary is 50,000 gross euros per year, the unattachable part of the payroll would be 2,074.27 euros, “exemplifies the Insolnet specialist.

Marqués points out that it is important to bear in mind these unattachable amounts when negotiating with the bank a refinancing or an extension of the term of the mortgage, so that the amounts that are going to be paid are lower and can be satisfied even if there are other debts that trigger a judicial execution. And he points out that if one is seized above these limits, he can immediately request procedural nullity.

For some years now, the law allows insolvent people to suspend payments as if they were a company . At the time it was thought that to be able to apply the judicial contests in the insolvencies of the individuals would facilitate the reorganization of the domestic finances of those families that cross problems.

But, according to specialists in bankruptcy proceedings, this has not been the case. “It has failed because it is an excessively rigid, expensive and lengthy process to be able to solve the problems of the individual debtor; and the foreclosure of housing is not paralyzed by the presentation of a creditors’ contest, “summarizes José María Marqués. The bankruptcy process allows to open a negotiation with the creditors and can avoid cuts in the supply of light or water while the procedures last, but it has important costs, and not only economic ones . Among other things, because all the assets of that person are controlled and managed by a judicial administrator, who has to ask for authorization for any daily expenses, and creditors can know every euro that person enters or spends, so lose all privacy

Economically, the process requires paying a lawyer and an attorney, administrator’s fees and court fees, among other expenses.

 … the banks

If you can not pay the receipts of a loan, especially the mortgage, it is convenient to negotiate with the financial institution a deferment or a grace period. The negotiation margin depends on the bank or fund in question, the relationship it has with each client and the economic situation of each one. The solutions are usually tailored in each case but, in general terms, banks and savings banks currently offer a period of depreciation – that is, only the part of the interest corresponding to the interest is paid – and, sometimes, a total lack, that is to say, that for a time no fee is paid. The range of solutions varies from one entity to another. In BBVA, for example, the options range from the possibility of deferring two installments and adding them to the outstanding amount of the loan (a maximum of ten receipts can be deferred for the life of the loan), until 30% of the capital is left for a final fee which is paid at the expiration of the operation, extending the term or a shortage of up to 36 months in the amortization of capital, or a moratorium of half of the interest for 18 months. In La Caixa, for their part, they explain that some of their mortgages allow deferring the installments up to one year or re-dispose of the money that had already been amortized to meet the payment of current quotas. And Santander proposes unemployed customers or those who have lost more than 25% of their usual income a three-year moratorium on the mortgage’s capital, so that during that term only interest is paid and thus the fee to pay low significantly.

From consumer organizations, such as Ceaacu, warn that any of these measures increases the total cost of the mortgage, so they should only be used in case of need and after having given numbers on which is more advantageous or which facilitates more to be able to rebalance the family budget in the medium term. The economist Xavier Subirats points out that, regardless of the cost that the moratoriums and deferrals end up having, we also have to assess the relief that can result in a significant reduction in the monthly fee until one finds a job.

 … Treasury

Being unemployed does not mean to stop paying the Treasury. In fact, in the coming weeks will have to present the income statement for the income obtained last year, in which perhaps some families were not yet unemployed or charged more than one payer and now the IRPF settlement comes out to pay . In this case, they can split the payment and pay 60% when presenting the declaration and the remaining 40% before November 5. If they do not even have the liquidity to pay, or it is another tax that they must liquidate (for example, the inheritance tax for an inheritance), there is the option of asking the Tax Agency for a postponement before the voluntary payment period ends. .

From the consumer organization Ceaccu clarify that in the inheritance tax there are five months to request the postponement or fractionation, but in the donation and in the transfer of assets only 30 days. You must submit an application at the offices of the Tax Agency (or online if you have an electronic certificate) explaining the reasons why you can not pay. If the debt is less than 18,000 euros, there is no need to provide guarantees or endorsements, but interest will have to be paid -5.5% per annum- for the duration of the deferment , which is usually between six months and one year unless it is large amounts. But if the debt is very high you have to present real estate or other guarantees.

When what can not be paid are municipal taxes -the IBI (old tax), the circulation tax, the construction tax, the real estate surplus value or the garbage and sewage rates, for example-, the first thing that must be done is to inform oneself who manages them to know where the deferment can be requested and under what conditions. In Barcelona, ​​for example, there are more than 300 city councils that have delegated the management and claim of their taxes in the Provincial Council, and in that case it is with this administration that they have to deal with when they can not be paid. Ángela Acín, director of Tax Management of the Diputación de Barcelona, ​​explains that for debts under 1,500 euros the criterion is to grant installments or a deferral of up to twelve months; If the debt ranges between 1,500 and 6,000 euros, it can be postponed until a year and a half, and if it exceeds 6,000 euros, up to 24 months.

“If the person requests a longer term then we talk to the affected municipality to study the specific case of that debtor,” says Acín. The delay interest charged this year is 5%, unless the person submits an endorsement , which drops to 4%. In general, they do not ask for guarantees when the debt is less than 3,000 euros and it is wanted to defer less than 18 months.

 … basic services

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The margin of maneuver with companies supplying basic services such as electricity, gas, telephone or water is scarce and depends on each company. All ensure that, before cutting off the supply , try to talk to the customer to offer alternatives depending on the amount of debt you have and your history as a customer, if it is a habitual default or not. In the case of Aigües de Barcelona and Gas Natural-Fenosa, they point out that the alternative is usually to split the unpaid bill . This last company also offers a fixed payment plan so that the customer pays the same on each invoice, without surprises, and at the end of the year the difference between the amount paid and the amount consumed is settled.

Movistar, meanwhile, allows postpone the payment of the fixed telephone bill up to a maximum of 25 days, or divide it into three months paying interest provided that no other deferrals or subdivisions have been made in the last year. It also has specific rates for the unemployed, and allows one to three months to suspend the fixed telephone service so that the client only pays half the cost of the line, half the ADSL fee and the rest of the services that he has. But during that time you can not make or receive the calls . In the case of mobile, you can suspend the service for up to three months without paying a fee.

And what happens if someone does not pay? In the case of landlines, the line is suspended 12 days after the invoice is issued. Between 45 and 60 days later a final warning is given and, if the debt is not paid within two weeks, the line is canceled. According to Ceaccu, in the case of electricity , the company can suspend the supply two months after requesting payment from the customer, but must inform about the date from which the electricity will be cut off. If the debt is then settled, they must reconnect the service within 48 hours. In the case of gas, the deadlines to cut the service are the same but the refund must be in 24 hours. Aigües de Barcelona explains that when a customer has two consecutive invoices without paying they notify him by mail that they will cut off the water and if he does not pay in two days, the two pending receipts will cut off the supply, unless in the meantime there is any claim or claim.

 … the landlord

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Failure to pay rental fees means that the landlord will begin the eviction process. From Ceaccu they explain that the tenant can only stop this process by paying the pending rents if it is the first time, but not when he is a repeat offender.

… pension plans

Spending economic hardship is not incompatible with having money in a pension plan. The law only allows you to withdraw this investment in case of retirement, disability, severe dependency , death, serious illness or long-term unemployment. So in order to have the money invested in a pension plan because they have economic problems must be unemployed and have already exhausted the contributory benefits of the INEM or competent body. Only in that case can you go to the management entity of the plan, show that the requirements are met, and withdraw the funds.

… insurers

Regarding insurance, from consumer organizations explain that only fire insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage on the house , and the vehicles that circulate. The rest of the policies, be they home, health care, studies, etc., can be abandoned when desired.


2.8% is the default rate of loans for home purchases

66% of Spaniards have cut the budget for holidays

7.91% is the bank default rate

62,366 million euros owed by mortgages to banks and savings banks

140,027 million euros add up to consumer loans

64% of households now buy less clothing and footwear

70% of households now consume less gas, electricity, water …

70% of families have reduced their spending on leisure

934 people declared insolvent (bankruptcy) in 2011

The CAU supports the license fee, freeze the price of the degrees and lower the master's degree

The plenary session of the Andalusian Council of Universities, meeting this Monday in Seville, supports the strategy of public prices on the downside of the Board

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The Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, chaired the meeting of the Andalusian Council of Universities (CAU), which has supported the public price strategy to the detriment of the Junta de Andalucía, aimed at a free university model. It will mean starting “immediately” for the next academic year 2017/18 the bonus of 99 percent of the credits approved in the first enrollment, equalizing the cost of the qualifying and non-qualifying master’s programs and keeping the prices of the degrees frozen.

Ramírez de Arellano has ensured that these decisions constitute a step forward in the policies applied by the Junta de Andalucía, which has kept the prices of the degrees frozen for five consecutive years and has maintained them in the lowest area of ​​the fork established by the Central government “while other communities raised them”. Likewise, the cost of the qualifying masters has remained practically unchanged during the last three years and the costs of non-qualifiers have been progressively reduced, the prices of which are now equalized.

This is linked to other actions such as the possibility of splitting tuition payments up to eight installments, introducing exemptions as in the case of gender violence or enabling additional aid for international mobility or obtaining foreign language qualifications for students with lower rents.

Regarding the enrollment bonus, it is the first time it has been applied in Spain, and its objective is to bring the higher education system closer to European countries – Germany, France, etc. – that have free or symbolic registration, a measure that depends on the State and in which Andalusia advances while claiming the change at the national level. In this sense, the Minister stressed the conviction of the Andalusian Executive that higher education should be incorporated as a right, ensuring that “in Andalusia we believe in young people, we trust in their talent and we bet that they enter a career without considering whether their families they have more or less resources. “

Thus, for the next academic year 2017/18 the Andalusian public universities will offer tuition fees “very tight” and the bonuses will be applied, two elements that will imply an important change for the family economies when facing the university education, given that despite being one of the cheapest in Spain in absolute terms, compared to family income is the second most expensive in the country.

Specifically, students who are not scholars of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Minecyd) and who join the university system must pay the first year of enrollment and from there will be applied the bonus for each approved credit. The decree of Prices, that will soon approve the Council of Government of the Meeting, will activate this system and in addition it contemplates the maintenance of the costs of the degree in 12,62 Euros by credit in first matrícula by fifth consecutive year; In addition to equaling the price of non-habilitative master’s degrees with those that do qualify for professional practice, reducing them to 13.68 euros per credit, just one euro more than the degree.

Ramírez de Arellano has ensured that the Andalusian Regional Government will make the necessary budget modifications this year to cover these costs, which are estimated at around 30 million euros, and will also work “shoulder to shoulder” with the universities to know the exact costs that generates its application in order to incorporate the corresponding items in the budget for the year 2018.

The Andalusian Minister of Economy has been satisfied with the support of the Andalusian Council of Universities, the collegiate body of consultation, planning and advice of the Junta de Andalucía in matters of universities and which is composed of the rectors of the ten Andalusian universities, as well as as by representatives of social councils, students and the Andalusian Parliament.

For his part, the rector of the University of Cádiz and president of the Association of Andalusian Public Universities (AUPA), Eduardo González Mazo, thanked the Board’s initiative “to stay down in the forks because we considered that it was the best for the Andalusian public university system “, whenever he applauds the enrollment bonus that” favors the work and effort “of the student, but insists on the issue of funding, because” it would be very good for us to give the best service “.

Thus, he is “worried” because the increase in last year’s budget “has been minimal and there have been serious difficulties among the universities when it comes to reaching an agreement in the distribution of this money for operational financing”, and he assures that “they will have it very difficult if we continue with the reduced budget increase so that we can offer the service of quality and excellence and not only the enrollment bonus”.

“I would also like to say that the university community works hand in hand with the Ministry,” says González Mazo, who says that with the bonus “we have asked for help not only economically but also with some staff to carry it out.” “Positive assessment but concern for funding and the means to carry out this whole set of measures,” he says.


Image result for bonusThe bonus will be applied both in degrees and in habilitative and non-habilitative master’s degrees, to those students from centers belonging to the public universities of Andalusia that do not meet the requirements to obtain the scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (MECD), although In each type of study, certain unique conditions will apply.

So in the case of the grades, those credits approved in the first enrollment in the previous year will be rewarded, so the students will have to pay the first course of each grade and the bonuses would operate from the second and subsequent courses. The bonus will also be possible in case the student changes the grade.

Taking into account that the cost of an academic course of 60 credits in Andalusia amounts to 757 euros, the student who would have approved all these credits of his first course in first enrollment, between the June and September exams, in the following academic year could save 749.4 euros. Thus, if the student approved with equal performance the four years of a degree, this would be practically the cost of a single academic year, assuming this bonus a saving of 75 percent of the cost of the entire degree.

Regarding the qualifying master’s degrees (those that are compulsory to practice a profession) and not enabling, the bonus will be applied taking into account the credits approved in the first enrollment in the two previous academic years, and in the degree that gave access to the corresponding master’s degree.

The bonus will also be applied in the case of studies carried out within the Student Mobility Programs, in the case of the Erasmus, the Seneca or others within the framework of the European Union, or made through specific agreements between universities.

Students who may come from transfers of files from other national or foreign universities may benefit from the bonus from the second year in which they study at any of the centers of the Andalusian universities.

In addition, students with a MECD enrollment scholarship who lose this condition during their studies may also benefit from these bonuses.