“The idea is simple: the value to a husband of a vacation depends on whether his wife can take a vacation at the same time. If not, beyond a brief respite from work, each party would prefer the additional income to staying at home alone, or going on a trip alone. The problem is that the market does not provide a good mechanism for coordinating vacations. Many European countries have solved the coordination failure problem by having everyone go on vacation at the same time. There are costs associated with this system: capital is idle. But, arguably, the benefits exceed the costs.” Joseph Stiglitz, in Revisiting Keynes- Economic Possibilities for our Granchildren.
Maybe still many European countries, but not Portugal anymore. Among the several quick fixes – taken with little reasoning under the pressure of this useless crisis that could have been avoided – it looks like Portugal has been asked to reduce the number of holidays for workers. Attention: not any holidays, not the number of days granted by Portuguese firms, no. The holidays that were mandatory and thus could be enjoyed together. Not any holidays, the ones that have historic and cultural meaning for Portuguese people: the four days affected are All Saints Day on 1 November; Corpus Christi, which falls 60 days after Easter; 5 October, which commemorates the formation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910; and 1 December, which marks Portuguese independence from Spanish rule in 1640.
The I read the BBC quote: “It is hoped the suspension of the public holidays will improve competitiveness and boost economic activity”. I swear, they are not joking.
Here is Europe that disappears, the Europe of culture, of family, of values, of history. Little by little, detail by detail. For what? Well read the BBC quote and enjoy the sad show of a European project that dies day by day at the hands of the evil austerity.