Why the Divorce Rates Are Lower in Spain – An Englishwoman Observes

I have lived in Valencia, Spain for 5 years. I am a twice crowned divorcee myself and I must admit to being rather surprised at how few divorcees there seem to be here in Spain. According to the ‘Separation CA divorce facts 2012’ the percentage of divorces in Spain sits very low at only 15%. If you take this as a comparison to the UK, where the divorce rate is around 42% it does raise questions in my opinion. Why are there such few divorces in Spain?

The first clue I believe is down to religion. Around 98% of Spaniards are Catholic and not only claim to be Catholic, they practise the religion as well. A good example of how religious the Spanish are comes from my own personal experience. When I first moved to Spain my youngest son was 6 years old. I enrolled him into the local primary school where he was the only English child. Religion was a compulsory subject in his education, but, after a chat with his school they said my son could be excluded as he was not Catholic. So far, so good, until my son became 7. Around the age of 7 Catholic children take communion and it’s a big deal. I’m talking presents, a church service, new outfits and a big party. My son, from a class of 22 students, was the only one not to take communion. In fact, from what I have since observed he is probably the only child in the entire school who did not take communion. As a non-follower of any religion other than a belief in myself I do find it hard to imagine that a faith can prevent a person from doing what makes them happy, but divorce is still frowned upon within the Catholic faith, despite a change in the law towards divorce that came into practise in 2007. Many Catholics believe that you only marry once and your vows ‘until death us do part’ really do mean that. Could it be that couples stay together as they believe divorce is bad in the eyes of God?

My next conclusion comes from spending lots of time with Spanish women and getting to understand their perspectives on family, marriage and children. Nearly all my Spanish friends are stay at home Mums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, but in comparison to all my UK friends, married or divorced, most of them seem to work and have careers. It seems that the general census here is you get married, have children then stay at home to look after your family. This led me to question if Spanish women stay married because they have no independence as such. There are no such things as family credits, housing support or single parent benefit here in Spain and if a woman has no job then she will have no money. Even if she wanted to leave her husband, how would she support herself? Perhaps a husband would feel a huge sense of financial responsibility to his wife and couldn’t leave her even if he wanted to. I wonder if some of my Spanish friends had careers and their own money if they would still be married. Most of them do seem genuinely happy but I often question if this would be the case if they went to work, had independence and a life away from the family. I personally think that you can’t miss what you have never had and if all you know is ‘keeping house’ then maybe one would settle with the life they had and not keep searching for the end of the rainbow as many of us English women seem to do.

I believe that leading independent lives out with our partner could be one of the reasons there are more divorces in the UK. Let’s be blunt here. If you are spending lots of time with other people at work, going to the pub with friends and seeing your single friends have so much freedom and choice of partners it does impact upon you. I know it did me. I hate to use clichés but that old adage of the grass is always greener pops into my head. If you imagine that you hadn’t really experienced going out to work, nights out on the town or had an opportunity to meet lots of different and interesting people while you were married would things be different for you now? I’m not saying that Spanish women don’t have a good quality of life because they don’t do these things and I’m not saying that we all got divorced because we had jobs, but it has to be said that women with independence seem more likely to leave their partner than a Spanish woman who has very little. Only my Spanish friends can say if they are truly happy with their life and answer whether they would leave their husband if they could afford to do so.

My final sense of reasoning as to why divorce rates are lower in Spain comes from the Spanish beliefs in family values and traditions. That might seem a strange thing to say as we all have a sense of family values but it is different here in Spain. Children are brought up differently here than an English child is brought up. For example, all Children will go out with their parents for a meal to a restaurant. Very often you will see a big family get together with adults and children all sat at the table. It’s very unusual for a married couple with children to go out on their own. Children are welcome in all the bars and restaurants unlike in the UK. Obviously they are not allowed into clubs but as mentioned before most married people are not in the clubs anyway. Spanish children are also very respectful of their elders. As they are integrated into adult company from a young age they are taught how to behave by many family members, not just the parents. It is very common for a few generations of families to live together in the same house as well and the Grandparents tend to have the control too. At weekends all the family get together to eat or go out as a group, even the teenagers! Boys are also very courteous towards girls and it’s a followed tradition that a boy will ask the parents of a girl he likes if he can take her out on a date. I was so shocked when I first heard that still happens here in this day and age, it seems so old fashioned to me, but maybe those sense of values and the respect given to others is why many couples stay married here in Spain. Maybe we have become selfish over time in the UK and think too much of our own happiness. If children are brought up to be so respectful to others and to listen to their elders they develop into kind and considerate adults who then make kind and considerate partners.

There are probably other contributing factors as well and of course this is just my perspective on it but as long as the marriage is a happy one and both partners are content and fulfilled then long may they stay together and continue to keep the divorce rates down.

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The Sociologic Of Political Silence: Explaining A Discourse In Jamaica’s Society

The hegemonic categorization of the Jamaican landscape is primarily the justifiable reason for the sophisticated demonstrations and social hemorrhaging. Many of those happenings are caused from the lack of monologue of the business constituents. This group of elitists has exponentially benefited from playing the proletariat class. They have not offered their clientele the respect of voice on matters of social concerns or political mismanagement. The present government’s socio-economic policies are chiefly responsible for the erosion of much of the social fibre and economic livelihood of the Jamaican people. The poor are not only suffering but they are also hemorrhaging while the business class offers the society stillness as a tool of needed social change. PIOJ (2004) report, Economic and Social Survey Jamaica, report confirms that the national poverty stood at 16 per cent. Of the 2, 650,900 inhabitants, there are 424,144 poor people, which absolute valuation seems not to perturb the hegemony of this society. In order to attain that social society that we all desire, justice through actions and deems must be a hallmark of the leadership.

The categorization of Jamaicans as poor has been declining (Henry-Lee, 2001) but the economic indicators of growth are not impressive as our Caricom counterparts. Looking at the absolute figures, the social realities of the peoples are not marginally measured or understood. Despite the fluctuations in economic growth valuations, rural poverty continues to be higher than the national figures and of those for other towns and cities. Coupled with the economic hardship of poverty, rural Jamaica over the last six months is seeing a dwindling of economic activities. As a social scientist, I believe that the current tidal waves of price increases are eroding the economic livelihood of many of the poor. This situation means that the economic hardship of the people within the context of the hegemony – silence, is destroying the moral and other social fibre of the poor. «What are poor to do?»

‘Once economic growth was taking place, it was that poverty would be reduced’ (Henry-Lee, 2001, p.202) but this orthodox phenomenology may be changing in Jamaican as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at constant prices have been increasing (PIOJ, 2004, p.3.1) with a simultaneous change in economic hardship of the poor while the hegemonic class expand their physical surroundings and amass European amenities. To date, the constant salary, the MTTP (Ministers Tricking the Poor), the minimal bus fare increases (only 67 % – what!), the huge increases in prices of basic foods and increase in political leadership are making the ‘poor’ poorer. Those hurdles are not the challenges of the poor as they wrestle with ‘prince’ and ‘guards’ for sanity. The electricity increases, instructional materials increases, the last blatant disdain by the Prime Minister, ‘Rt’ honourable Percival James Patterson, for the intellectual mindset of the ‘black’ academic is frightening and speaks volume of the private sector’s silence.

The private sector, despite ‘recognizing’ the challenges of governance and policies formulation of the government, continue to hemorrhage in silence, which, I construe, indicates the tenants of the PNP over the economy. I realize that there is no longer a unified Jamaica but a PNP, a JLP group and a business class. This situation was unfolded to me over time as there is not core concern that may create unison in order that Jamaicans can forge around with the interest of all. Instead, we are ‘Ps’ and a ‘B’. The socio-political arena has changed globally and nationally for the JLP but the reality is, the average citizenry of this society are still clamouring for hegemony and social transformation though development.

It is the business class that is the engine of growth in all societies and not the public sectors. This group dictates the terms of economic activities and stipulates the atmosphere of governance but the Jamaican group is hemorrhaging from fear and political conformity. Hence, the present proletariat class, the underclass, is left to view the heavens for a haven. When the business class fails to provide that leadership for the society, the ‘labourer’ class will gradually venture in deviant acts as a medium of grappling with political mismanagement. ‘Too many people are comfortable with the present affairs (Bourne, 2005) and silence of the ‘underclass’ is becoming increasingly deafening. If the business class continues with this dialectic silence, the poor may resort to revolution in an effort to understand and come to a rationale of their social space.

The old philosophical construct of poverty is primarily food consumption of the poorest quintile but this definition fails to recognize that poor people are social beings with children. One researcher (Henry-Lee) forwarded a slant that; the poor spend the largest proportion of their earnings on food, which means that the business class must begin to offer a position against any erosion of their economic base. If there are presently 424, 100 absolutely poor people any increase in food prices will see them living how?

According to Rapley (1996, p.7), «state interventions to relieve poverty would inhibit initiative, and would stifle investment because they would rely on increased taxes.» Dr. Rapley’s cited perspective is a clear indication of the stance taken by all traditional economists. This stance sees development as solely an economic growth phenomenon that is driven by the free market but many post World War II economists differ on a theorizing for this construct. Lewis concurred with classicalists like Smith and Keynes that development is primarily economic. Rapley (1996, p.16) stated that, «Lewis argued that in a Third World economy, the wage rate was set at a constant level as determined by minimum levels of existence in traditional family farming.» This ensured a virtually unlimited supply of cheap labour, which has an advantageous factor in industrial development (Rapley, 1996 p.16). As a social scientist who is concerned with development and its determinants, the researcher is cognizant of the different discourse on the issue but will analyze both schools of thought before coming to a consensus.

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS, 2002) wrote, «while material poverty affect a large number of households, the Report points to the impending dangers of more widespread and subtle forms of poverty that include poor health, inadequate levels of educational attainment; lack of economic assets or access to markets or jobs that could create the unsafe physical environment; and various forms of social exclusion.» This report forwards the core of the post-1950 scholars’ viewpoints on development that is broader than the Classicalists theorizing that was once the epistemological framework on development thoughts. The article points to other non-economic growth theorizing such as health care, education and other psychosocial conditions. Hence, the author will not seek to continue in the pre-1950s epistemological mindset as it is a one sided theorizing but will seek to quantify any validity of the contemporary developmentalists’ perspective on the issue as this include social, political and economic factors. This paper surrounds the social aspect to development in the form of expenditure on health care and expenditure on education with the intention of using those two (2) determinants of contemporary development in order to ascertain any causal and/or associational relationship between expenditure on social programmes and their influence on levels of development.

Spikes (2002) posits: «poverty can be regarded as the inability to obtain the essentials of life; for others it is a matter of low income; for others a problem of social inequality». He goes on to say that «poverty can be explained in terms of material conditions, that is basic needs, food, clothing, and shelter; however limited resource interfere with the ability to acquire the essentials. Poverty can be seen as exclusion; the European Union defines the poor as persons whose resources (material culture and social) are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life in the member state in which they live depending on benefits as equivalents as claiming social assistance».

It is frightening to say the least that despite efforts within the technological age people are living in abject poverty that retards the process in which many of these issues should have been addressed. Haralambus (1995)»poverty implies an undesirable social problem that a solution should be found. Basic amenities, for examples, shelter health and nutrition: the latter according to Drewnowski and Scott in Haralambus «is measured by factors in relation to the amount of calories and protein consumed by the individual. Shelter is measured by the quality of living arrangements (dwelling etc.) and health is measured by factors such as infant mortality and the quality of medical treatments available.

When individuals are malnourished, the health of these individuals would affect them in terms of their physical and mental states. A medical practitioner, Dalzell-Ward (1974: 23), commented that «The deprivation of energy foods’ will result in excessive fatigue which will in turn diminish social and work performances and interfere with well-being.» There is however, the indication of a level of development, where as if an individual is not in the best of health, this will contribute to fewer hours worked and reduced production. The economist Adam Smith states that this would be an indication of reduced economic growth. Professor Todaro (Todaro, 2000) from his perspective, that development envelope social, political and economic changes in peoples lives. Another medical practitioner concurred with Dalzell–Ward (1974) when she said:

In fact many of today’s problems with students are actually health related. Kids are not able to learn sufficiently if they are hungry, tired, hung-over from alcohol, or worried about violence. We need to eliminate barriers that affect students’ readiness to learn. A variety of physical and mental conditions impact students’ attendance and their ability to pay attention in class anger, and restrain from self-destructive impulses.

Eurocentric beliefs have so conquered the epistemology of world ideology that it becomes difficult even for the ‘honest’ advocate to be effective. Individualism-profiteerism drives the engine of social existence that humans only protect themselves, even if it appears that another is being helped in the process. Christianity is a by-product of the Eurocentric system and so helps to explain its true tenet. Europe in an effort to corner all epistemologies of the ontology of man’s existence and creation offered spiritualism. Christianity operates as though it has the sole authority to the ontology of creation. Despite its stance, the ideological phenomenology of Christianity subsumes individualism. Unlike the other traditional epistemological construct of man, humanitarianism is a tenet of their doctrine but they are not the iconic thought because they were fashioned prior to Europe’s delineation of world ideology. The social reality is such that we cannot afford to mute a position, the people are being ‘Saddomized’ by the political structure, and it is in the hegemony’s best interest to ensure that the poor and less fortunate are protected as they have nothing to lose in the event of a revolution.

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Sheffield United v. Liverpool | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 9/28/19 | NBC Sports

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Getting Out of Debt With Zero-Based Budget

After accepting you must change your behavior to get out of debt, you are ready to look at relevant financial engineering tools. Again, I stress that without behavior change, tools and techniques will not improve your financial affairs. You must change your behavior because you choose to spend; money is merely the means to the end.

Zero-based budgeting is an important financial engineering tool for the household, particularly if folks are in debt. Developing and using a zero-based budget will help you sift your expenses. Traditional budgeting starts where you are as a base and then increases current dollar figures. Generally, the focus is on money, not activities, and the process assumes you need the status quo.

On the other hand, zero-based budgeting starts with a clean slate. For a household, it identifies a realistic lifestyle that will lead to minimum expenses in a defined period. It excludes discretionary items, but includes debt repayment plans. Most of all, it does not focus on money but on activities.

A proper zero-based budget for a household should show clear answers in these three areas: goals, plans, and monetary estimates (budget).

Goals

  1. What are the goals for the budget period?
  2. Is each goal necessary? Why?
  3. What if you do not do them now?
  4. Should each needed goal continue the same way?
  5. Suppose you stopped it?

Here, you are trying to identify your minimum lifestyle level for the period. Will you cut goals and activities so deep that you focus almost entirely on debt reduction? For example, will you eliminate buying clothes, taking vacation, children’s hockey, dance, or other activities?

For an item to qualify as a legitimate goal or activity, you must be satisfied that not doing it will cause major unavoidable disruptions to your lifestyle and household. How important are your daughter’s ice skating lessons?

Plans

  1. Is there a plan for each surviving goal? Is there a plan to control spending on your son’s football activities?
  2. Should the plan change to require less expenses? Should you carpool to go to your daughter’s soccer games?
  3. Could you defer the plan and the goal until a greater portion of your debts are repaid?

Monetary Estimate (Budget)

  1. Notice that financial calculations are just now being discussed, and only in the context of approved goals and plans.
  2. You will not look at last year’s budget because you will build this budget from scratch, focused on specific needed goals.
  3. You have to calculate what it will cost you to do each task and activity as if you had never done them before.
  4. The budget will exclude frills unless they have goals and plans. It will include debt repayment based on your debt repayment schedule.

Zero-based budgeting, done properly, is an effective tool that could benefit households and businesses. However, it is difficult to use because it involves much work. Besides, folks become insecure as it forces them to think unconventionally and creatively, to question the present state, and to embrace change. In short, zero-based budgeting will take you outside your comfort zone.

After doing your zero-based budget, you must get an accountability partner and then set up a reliable review process so you can see quickly effects of your lifestyle choices, compared with the zero-based budget.

I repeat, this is an exceptionally useful tool to help you get out of debt, but first, you must change behaviors that led to your indebtedness.

Copyright © 2012, Michel A. Bell

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The Top 5 Aussie Netball Players of the Modern Era

Netball has been a popular sport for over fifty years, and has become one of the major women’s sports in a number of countries. Traditionally, it has been dominated by commonwealth countries, especially Australia and New Zealand. Australia has won ten of fifteen World Netball Championships – including the most recent in 2015 – and has dominated almost every international competition they have played in. It makes sense therefore that the Aussie team contains some of the best netballers in the world. Here are the top five Aussie players of the modern era*:

1. Caitlin Bassett

Often considered to be one of the best goal shooters in netball history, Caitlin Bassett has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. According to most netball experts and major publications, Bassett is the most valuable player in world netball. She has been a part of the Australian Diamonds international team since 2008, and is renowned for her accurate shooting.

Probably the best example of this was in the 2011 World Netball Championships, where she missed just four goals for the entire tournament. Her final score of 151 from 155 shots, going at 97.5%, is considered one of the best individual tournament performances ever. She has a best score of 49 goals in a game, reached twice during her career.

In 2015 Basset was the first goal shooter to win the Liz Ellis Diamonds award, which recognizes Australia’s player of the year. Her 2015 campaign saw her shoot 964 goals in both international and domestic competition, which was a career best. She was also the first Western Australian to be awarded the Liz Ellis Diamonds award.

2. Sharni Layton

Sharni Layton is one of the Diamond’s defensive stalwarts, having held down a position at wing defence, goal defence, or goal keeper since her debut in 2010. She has consistently been among the best players for the New South Wales Swifts, winning their Player’s Player Award in 2014. In 2010, Layton was crowned the best young player of the MARS ANZ championship.

Layton took her game to the next level in 2015, as she was crowned the ANZ Championship Player of the Year. She finished her year as the top Australian defender, with 49 intercepts, 112 deflections, 85 gains, and 36 defensive rebounds. This led to her first selection in the ANZ Championship All-Star team.

Following her break-out 2015 season, Layton has enjoyed a stella 2016. As the Diamond’s acting Vice-Captain for much of the year, she has helped lead the team to a number of important victories, including a those over fellow world heavy weights England, New Zealand, and South Africa. With Layton’s leadership from Goal Keeper, Australia recently bought home the inaugural Netball Quad Series title with a five goal win over New Zealand.

3. Natalie Medhurst

Medhurst has been a part of the Australian team since 2007, and is among the most capped players in history, with 80 international games to her name. She has been a part of three Netball World Championship winning teams, and has won both a gold and a silver medal at the Commonwealth games.

At 32 years old, Medhurst is one of the oldest international players in the world. However, this hasn’t stopped her from continually improving, and it could be argued that she is a better player now than she has ever been. A good example of this is the fact the she was named the Most Valuable Player in the Diamond’s last match, the final of the Netball Quad Series.

Although Medhurst has forged her reputation as one of the world’s best goal attackers and goal scorers over the past decade or so, she has recently begun to play in wing attack more regularly. However when she returns to goal attack, she continues to show why her and Caitlin Bassett form one of the best attacking combinations in the world.

4. Kim Ravaillion

At just 23 years old, Kim Ravaillion has rapidly progressed through netball rankings to become one of the world’s premier centers. She is the only player to have ever made her international debut before her ANZ Championship debut, a feat she achieved at just 19. She has become one of the shining lights of Australian netball, playing important roles in Australia’s wins in the recent Netball Quad Series, the 2015 World Championship, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Ravaillion is one of world netball’s most consistent and exciting young players, and barring injury, we can expect her to take the title as the world’s best at some point in the next few years. With her strong influence in the center of the court, expect the Diamonds to be extremely difficult to beat in the near future.

5. Laura Geitz

Although she has recently taken an indefinite break from netball, as she is expecting the birth of her first child, former Australian Captain Laura Geitz deserves a mention as one of the best players of the modern era. In her 29 games as captain of the Diamonds, she has lost just three. In that time, she has led Australia to gold medals at both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Netball World Cup. She has shaped the Australian team into the near unbeatable force that they are today.

In 2011 Geitz won the Liz Ellis Diamonds award as the best Australian player, and has probably deserved to win it again since. She is (or was) the second most capped player in the Diamonds squad, behind the evergreen Natalie Medhurst. She is also just the second Queenslander to reach 50 test caps and to captain Australia. Hopefully we will see more of Getiz’s great game in the future!

*Rankings are based on The Guardian’s end of 2015 player rankings. They were judged by a panel of international netball experts, including international coaches.

English Premier League Players to Watch For This Season (2008-2009)

Season on season stars are born in the most prestigious and glamorous league of the world. Be it goal-machine Cristiano Ronaldo or the prolific Chelsea scorer Didier Drogba or Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, everyone plays for a reason. Fame, money and substance follows the best in the breed.

Now let us look at the players who are favorites for this season of Barclays Premier League :

1 – Cristiano Ronaldo

Club: Manchester United

Position: Winger

The best and safest bet to put your money on is Cristiano Ronaldo. He has been the buzz of the summer regarding his transfer to Spanish club Real Madrid. And why not, we are talking of a player who scored 42 goals in a season, winning his team both Premier League and UEFA Champion’s league. With the news that he’s going to stay ateast for one more season at Old Trafford ManU fans can expect their third consecutive Premiership title this season.

While Sir Alex Ferguson is yet to sign a striker for the team (most proabaly Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov), Ronaldo along with Wayne Roonay and Tevez forms one of the most lethal forward line-up to face with. If he continues his scoring streak, he surely is the best that Premiership can offer this season.

2 – Didier Drogba

Club: Chelsea

Position: Striker

He has done it before and he can do it again. To win big games for Chelsea. A prolif striker of the ball Didier Drogab is the only player whose presence gives Chelsea any hopes of winning titles this season.

With both Premiership and UEFA Championship’s loss to rivals Manchester United being very close, Drogba will be accompanied this time by ex-Barcelona

playmaker Deco to fill up th gaps. World Cup wiining coach Luis Felipe Scolari will also accompany them for the titles this season.

3 – Fernando Torres

Club: Liverpool

Position: Striker

Right man in right time at wrong place describes ace Liverpool striker Fernando Torres the best. After his wonderful season in 2007/08 Liverpool couldnot afford any titles as they lack players in other sections of the field.

This year, with Robbie Keane partnering him towards the goal post Liverpool can hope of any miracles. But Torres is the key player, and if he scores 40+ goals and Keane adds some then who knows, they might pull off something. Afterall football isn’t always prediaction.

4 – Cesc Fabregas

Club: Arsenal

Position: Central midfielder

Young and refreshing, Cesc will return to Arsenal with winning memories of Euro Cup winning. Arsenal has lost its top players this summer, but Samir Nasri’s inclusion in the team could do some young-wonders for Arsenal.

Cesc Fabregas’s performance, both in international and club football has been promising, but comparisons of him with Thierry Henry is like expecting a lot from the young legs.

5 – Jo

Club: Manchester City

Position: Striker

This Brazilian International is no easy customer to deal with. All of 21, the product from South American soccer giant Brazil, Jo will have to play a huge role in Man City because of their financial problems to bring in good players.

6 – Peter Crouch

Club: Portsmouth

Position: Striker

The tallest player in EPL with 6’7″, Crouch is considered by many as a under-rated player. With a goal per game ratio of 2 for national team England, his presence in Liverpool was nothing more than a substitute. He surely has found a right place to play in.

This was our list of some players to watch out for this season. Let us know which players found a place in your list of favorites.

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