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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Playing with my Bio

Afoe is about to launch a new format site, so I thought I'd do a new version of my bio. Playing around I came across the 'Catalan question'. I mean who am I? Part of me is British, and always will be. But that country plays little part in my life as it is now, and I don't even follow the economy there. If I had gone to live in the United States I guess by now I would be saying: I am American. So I thought, what the hell, I am Catalan, that is what (or who) I am. Somewhere along the line I think there is a lesson for the whole of Europe here.

Edward 'the bonobo' is a Catalan economist of British extraction based in Barcelona. 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".

He is currently working on a book with the provisional working title "Ageing, Fertility and Global Imbalances".

Apart from his participation in A Fistful of Euros, Edward also writes regularly for the demography blog Demography Matters. He also contributes to the Indian Economy Blog . His personal weblog is Bonobo Land . Edward's website can be found at EdwardHugh.net.

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", since this is now his main culture of reference. Catalans, it should be noted, are not a race, but a culture, and Catalanism is not a nationalism but simply a polite request for a culture to have the right to go its own way and be left in peace. The Catalan culture, like all European cultures, is in reality a culture of mongrels. According to one popular conception of citizenship, whoever lives and works in Catalonia and takes the trouble to learn Catalan has every right to feel themselves a part of this culture. Edward has simply availed himself of this right. He has done so since he feels the Catalan idea of citizenship is in fact one of the most modern and to the point in a Europe which currently finds itself in the throes of a rapid and ongoing change in cultural values, one which poses a constant and inevitable challenge to the our basic feelings of belonging and identity.

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