Exception / Exemption

^ Black vultures waiting for coming benefits via abc

Sadly, we read today on the news that Eurovegas, the doppelgänger of Las Vegas in Europe, is going to settle in Madrid periphery by the end of this year. Not underestimating the potential of more Venturis and Scott Browns that this tragic event might generate in the future, I am more worried about a Spanish political class that seems to have learnt no lesson from the recent financial and real estate burst.

How can Madrid regional government allow millionaire Sheldon Adelson to turn now 750 hectares of rural land into a mega-city with four resorts housing 3,000 rooms each, shopping malls, convention centres, and casinos…? Again? Didn’t we have enough? Madrid region has accepted to reduce the gambling tax from 40% to 10%, special offer for Mr Adelson. High-rise buildings without any height limit, special offer for Mr Adelson. And smoking allowed in his buildings, contrary to the law that is effective in the rest of the country. It is also very remarkable to see which landowners will profit from the sale of the site to build it (map below).

^ Landowners who would profit from selling the rural land necessary to build Eurovegas via burbuja.info

 

^ Casinos in the making, supervised by Mr Adelson via eurovegasmadrid

How do politicians dare to justify Eurovegas as the final solution to the crisis and austerity measures, just at the same time when the President of the country and several ministers are suspicious of having constantly received slush money from real estate investors during the past decade? [source> The Economist]

What if Spain had been living in an undeclared state of exception since 1997, date when the speculative Land Law that led to the current situation was passed? Urban planning legislation, meant to protect the urbanization of a territory, has not been officially suspended, but constantly shaped to certain interests of those in power.

As G. Agamben argues, the State of Exception rather than being a provisional measure became a working paradigm of government in the course of the 20th century. ‘The state of exception separates the norm from its application in order to make its application possible.’ He brilliantly begins his book with the Latin quote: ‘Why are you jurists silent about that which concerns you?’.

Could Madrid government be smart enough to oblige Mr Adelson to include high-tech research labs as a requirement to build his casinos instead of providing millionaire tax exemptions?

Nice evening to watch Berlanga’s Welcome, Mr Marshall! Franco died, yes, but we are still stuck in 1953.

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