holidaysIt is very difficult for a single person, a single project or a single idea can change a society, a region, a country. But when the whole of society shares the same dream, this dream becomes a collective challenge and joint efforts can make it achievable. In Spain we have managed to make our collective dream come true. But what if that dream was nothing but a nightmare?

What was this collective dream? Our elders dreamed of a serene place, without changes. Young people with a stable job and a place to put down roots; many dreamed and dream of being civil servants. Politicians dreamed of a country that “was doing well” even if it was only at the expense of bricks, sun and sand. Entrepreneurs dreamed of traditional, low-risk businesses; with bricks and buying and selling. The University dreamed of itself as a watchtower of perennial thought, oblivious to the problems of society and business. And of course, a good number of Spaniards dreamed of winning the World Cup.

In 2010 the collective dream came true. We have not only won the World Cup. Our retirees have peace of mind, and many of our young people are civil servants. The University maintains very little contact with reality. Entrepreneurs have become millionaires with the brick.

The dream, however, has been that of a few. It has left out the more than four million unemployed, and the thousands of Spaniards below the relative poverty line. To thousands of companies that have closed the gate and to millions of future young people who may have to emigrate. The dream of this society was too comfortable and conformist, unsustainable and selfish. A blue sky with a cloudy horizon; a society that did not think about future generations.

The Spanish society of the last twenty years has not done its homework. We have lacked entrepreneurs and solid businessmen; long-suffering workers and visionary investors. We have needed to assume some risk and adventure. We have built a beautiful dream, but fleeting, and in which only a few fit. A sandcastle that the crisis can completely erase…

However, signs of a certain awareness of the need for change are beginning to be seen. They talk about changing the production model, about science and innovation, about another way of moving forward. There are many things to change: our way of working, the shape of our companies and our relationship with the world; our university, our researchers, the mobility and training of our young people. Let’s take advantage of the holidays to create a new collective dream of prosperity and renewed values. I want to think that we will be able to make these changes, if we are able to dream.

Vacation time is ideal for dreaming. Happy Holidays.

Creative Commons image on Flickr by Felipe Gabaldon