chapter  3
The Spanish financial sector
Debt crisis and bailout
ByEduardo Garzón Espinosa, Bibiana Medialdea García, Antonio Sanabria Martín
Pages 21

In this chapter, we explain the origins and development of the most recent economic crisis in Spain, as well as its management, focusing on the financial dimension. We start from several heterodox theoretical approaches, including Minsky’s financial fragility hypothesis and Keen’s contributions to the study of private debt as a central explanatory process of the crisis, as well as the works by Fisher and Koo on the crisis by overindebtedness or balance sheet recession. As these authors suggest, understanding the crisis requires analyzing the previous economic expansion, a private debt–led growth model. Our chapter begins with an analysis of the financial peculiarities of the Spanish financial sector, both in its internal and external dimensions, with the latter conditioned by membership in the EMU. We consider the financial crisis in the United States, the subsequent drought in the credit channels, and the resulting sudden stop in external financing. The dependency of Spain on that financing revealed the financial unsustainability of its growth path. Finally, we study how the deleveraging process is politically managed by prioritizing financial creditors’ interests. A counterproductive treatment of austerity and internal devaluation policies in a banking crisis made the recession deeper and longer, while the socialization of losses entailed by the bank bailout does not address the fundamental problems of the financial system.