Signs of industrial decline


Turret lathe operator machining parts for tran...

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Driving around the industrial estates in and around Madrid these days is not so encouraging. The polígonos industriales of Coslada, Argranda del Rey, Alcorcón etc., etc. used to be bustling with activity. In these areas, you’d find trucks maneuvering up to the docking bays for loading or unloading. In the streets you would have to drive with much care to get by all the commercial vehicles, double-parked cars…

Now the story is a quite different one. You don’t have to drive with that much attention to trucks loading or unloading, because they are not there anymore. Impressively big shares of the lot of warehouses are empty, abandoned, with big signs that read “FOR SALE” or “FOR RENT”. Observers or passersby will soon see that some of these  buildings are brand new, probably constructed in an optimistic light and with hopes for the future, and sadly enough they have not even been put to use.

Paper and dirtballs blow down the streets in the sunny heat, while the owner of the once so popular cafeteria at the corner lingers behind the bar. His familiar place is one of hundreds, maybe thousands, where blue-collar workers flocked for their breakfast coffee, a reasonably priced set-lunch at mid-day, or a glass of beer before setting home after work, where the tired owners now are reaching their most extreme limits of business difficulties.

Banks that keep making money, loads of money, do not give credit anymore. Small businesses get strangled. Mismanaged municipalities cannot pay the bills caused by their faulty and egoistic, sometimes criminal officials. Globalization is taking its toll. Big business and politicians are lowering their pants to get a piece of the business with the rising Asian star. Meanwhile, the average Spaniard has a hard time realizing that he will have to change his way of life. The 50-years old will have a tough time learning new ways that he never was attracted by, the younger one will most likely  be looking for a job as further away from his mum than any of the two would like.

2012 and the changes in our ways, as the Mayas predicted, is coming. Meanwhile, the industrial estates, the polígonos industriales, of Coslada, Alcorcón, Aganda del Rey…. will never again be the same.

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