11Onze Recommends: Monthly Return, 22% in 2 years

We continue to expand the savings options for the community. After the good reception of Litigation Funding, the same provider proposes Monthly Return, how to make your savings generate an income every month.


A few months ago, 11Onze Recommends offered a savings product from a British provider, Litigation Funding. With an initial contribution of 10,000 euros, you could earn 9% at the end of the contract, i.e. 1 or 2 years depending on the case and the amount.

Since then, the community has demanded a product that would provide a monthly income from savings and, for this reason, we have worked on a new product exclusively for the 11Onze community. This is Monthly Return, designed for large savers and companies that contribute a minimum of 100,000 euros. Customers will see their savings grow by 22.5% over the duration of the contract (24 months). However, it is important to bear in mind that the monthly income begins to arrive after the seventh month.

Farhaan Mir, 11Onze’s Chief Financial Officer, says: “We listened to our community and tried to bring in what fits their needs. People had asked for monthly returns, so we talked to our supplier to get them on board”.

In this sense, the 11Onze Recommends slogan will have to be updated. Until now, we used to say If it doesn’t exist, we create it. If it exists, 11Onze Recommends. In this case, 11Onze has asked for this exclusive product to be created for our community.

There is no other product that offers these returns, combining security and liquidity.

So, in a context where banking remunerates savings very poorly and where inflation continues to depreciate money, Monthly Return is shaping up as an excellent option for those who want to make their savings profitable. And the returns are very high, 22.5% accumulated in 2 years is a figure unparalleled in the market. According to Mir, “As far as I know, there is no other product that offers these returns, combining security and liquidity”. All this while remembering that the initial capital is covered by insurance, so it is a low-risk product.


How is it possible?


For more information about Monthly Return you can visit the 11Onze Recommends webpage and if you are interested, you can contact the provider. To receive all the information you need to complete the self-certification as a qualified investor. It should be noted that completing the self-certification does not commit you to carry out the operation, as explained in this article.


Savings for all pockets


With this new 11Onze Recommends product, 11Onze offers saving products for all budgets. From 3,000 euros you can participate in Gold Seed or Gold Patrimony, from 10,000 euros with Litigation Funding and now Monthly Return is aimed at savers and businesses with capital from 100,000 euros. As we at 11Onze have been warning for some time, all to avoid losing purchasing power in a context of inflation that has become structural.


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The impact of climate change on the environment, the economy and society is becoming increasingly evident. To understand and cope with this phenomenon, scientists rely on complex predictive models that are crucial for assessing the risks of global warming.


Climate projections are essential for assessing the effects of global warming and the resulting risks. Thus, climate change prediction models are technical simulations of the future evolution of the Earth’s climate obtained by running and studying numerical models. These simulations can be performed on a global or regional scale based on the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and atmospheric dynamics.

Global climate models (GCMs) are carried out by a team of technicians and scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is based in Geneva and operates under the auspices of the United Nations. This is a multinational body that investigates the causes and effects of climate change throughout the world and is responsible for carrying out negotiations on the different scenarios that are foreseen, as was done within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

Although the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) is responsible for regionalised climate projections in Spain, since 2008 the Meteorological Service of Catalonia (SMC) has carried out several studies – jointly with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – to develop regionalised climate projections for the 21st century in our territory.


The methodology behind the prediction models


In order to achieve a reliable simulation, the different prediction models require as much input data as possible: concentration of greenhouse gases or aerosols in the atmosphere, solar radiation, emissions of polluting gases and other factors that can influence the climate.

Once a set of initial conditions based on observed data has been introduced, numerical models and fundamental equations governing fluid dynamics, energy conservation and others related to the interaction between the atmosphere, oceans and land surface can indicate the future behaviour of the climate system if certain scenarios unfold.

These scenarios define trajectories that represent concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, i.e. they are mainly anthropogenic in origin and therefore depend to a large extent on our global behaviour and policy decisions.


Reliability of climate models


Firstly, it should be noted that, unlike a weather forecast, climate models are not intended to make exact, small-scale predictions of what will happen in the next few days, but rather to project climate changes over years or decades, but are by no means intended as a forecast of future weather.

In other words, these daily simulations are statistically interpreted to produce climate projections, leading to studies on the probability that particular weather conditions will be observed in the future. In this regard, an analysis of the reliability of 17 climate models dating back to the early 1970s concluded that most of the models were effective in predicting temperatures in the following decades.

Obviously, beyond an approximation, it is difficult for a climate prediction model to be 100% correct, but models are improving as technology advances and the scientific community is confident that these simulations are the best tool we have for dealing with climate change. In any case, regardless of their effectiveness, we know that we have the capacity to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit on our planet, and we have no reason not to do so.


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Households have drawn on savings and consumer loans to go on holiday and offset inflation, while banks have made short-term loans as expensive as credit cards.


Households’ financial situation has improved, with a gradual recovery of the purchasing power progressive recovery of lost purchasing power since 2021. Even so, more and more families are taking out quick loans to go on holiday or to finance fixed monthly expenses. The increase in consumption and the rise in prices due to inflation are eroding the savings accumulated by households during the pandemic.

The Bank of Spain’s (BdE) report on data from the end of July shows that financing through consumer loans has increased significantly between June and July. Specifically, it has increased by 2,000 million euros, reaching an all-time high not seen since 2009.

In this context, the banking sector expects that the end of the summer will lead many families to request more financing, among other things, due to the return to school, colleges and universities, further boosting the consumer loan business. And all this despite the fact that this type of financing has become significantly more expensive in recent months.


Banks continue to make consumer loans more expensive


The contractionary monetary policy applied in recent months by banks aims to reduce inflationary pressures in the economy. This translates into higher mortgages and credit to companies, but also affects credit to households, which are affected by the rise in interest rates on consumer loans.

Despite the sharp fall in mortgage lending – between January and June 2023, 14% fewer home loans were signed than in the same period last year – banks have granted loans worth 15,289 million euros in the first half of the year, making consumer loans the golden goose of the credit business.

The Association of Financial Users, Asufin, warned that consumer loans are not slowing down and are becoming more expensive in Spain with an average increase in interest rates that exceeded 13% in July. This type of financing has become much more expensive in recent months, reaching an average interest rate on short-term loans of 17.42% in August. However, the popularity of consumer loans is following a similar trend to that of the past, also due to high inflation.


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The 153 companies dedicated to immersive technologies in Catalonia have a turnover of 136.6 million euros and employ 900 people. In Europe, the sector is expected to reach an annual growth of 36% and a market value of 66,000 million euros by 2026.


Metaverse, holograms, virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality are some of the immersive technologies. The digital transformation has merged the physical and virtual worlds, transforming concepts that not long ago were considered science fiction into a palpable reality that is already part of many people’s daily lives.

All these technologies are experiencing exponential growth and promise to change how we perceive the world and interact with information. Sectors such as education, entertainment, medicine, design, industry and tourism will be transformed with new opportunities for creation and innovation.

This is an industry that globally has an annual growth of 38% thanks to increased investment in immersive technologies, the adoption of these technologies in the health sector, in education and the emergence of the metaverse and web 3.0. Catalonia is already part of this technological ecosystem, and a study by ACCIÓ details, for the first time, the situation of the Catalan immersive technologies sector.


Startups and companies less than 10 years old


According to the report prepared by the Agency for Business Competitiveness, the 153 Catalan companies specialising in immersive technologies have an aggregate turnover of 136.6 million euros, employing nearly 900 people. The study confirms that this is a growing sector since 58.2% of the total number of companies are less than 10 years old and a third (32.7%) are start-ups. In addition, 19% are exporters.

Specifically, 66% of the companies are dedicated to virtual reality, while 48.4% specialise in augmented reality, followed by 16.3% that focus on the metaverse. By sector, 39.2% of these companies work in the field of entertainment, 17% in industry 4.0, 11.8% in training and 10.5% in health.

In this context, the study points out that the Catalan territory is endowed with an ecosystem of support that complements the business fabric of immersive technologies: technology centres and research institutes, universities and training centres, associations and equipment, clusters, public administration, as well as world-renowned trade fairs and conferences such as the MWC, the ISE, the IoT Solutions World Congress or the Advanced Factories.

ACCIÓ also highlights that at the European level, annual growth of 36% is forecast and that the sector will reach 66 billion euros in 2026. Likewise, on a global scale, the study anticipates immersive technologies will consolidate their annual growth of 38% and have an aggregate market value of 605 billion euros in 2028.


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Since time immemorial, what the Greek geographers defined as the Iberian Peninsula has been the basis on which Spanish history has been constructed, forging different realities. But with the development of Spain – at the beginning of the 19th century – different political conceptions have sought a way of structuring it to their advantage at any price. Therefore, some have insisted on establishing a fictitious historical and territorial uniformity, simply because they share the same geography. Catalonia has shared this plot of land, but its historical reality is different and it is important to remember this, now that the debate is once again open.


Oriol Garcia Farré, historian and 11Onze agent


The traditional history of Spain has been constructed based on the premise of giving a unique protagonism to Castile – extended with Andalusia and Extremadura – which has been exclusively identified with Spain. The periphery, especially the eastern Mediterranean and the northwest of the peninsula, has been allowed to play either a secondary role or to acquire a certain relevance from time to time, especially at times when Castilian decadence was most evident.

Thus, Castile – always from a negationist point of view – has made people believe that there is a “Spanish nation” and a “peripheral” identity that it has defined as nationalities. But the reality is different. The Spanish nation, like the Catalan nation or the Basque nation, exists because it is acknowledged by those who claim to be part of it. Therefore, trivialisation is once again used to confuse public opinion and try to avoid any legitimate process of self-determination. In this sense, the construction of the identity of the Spanish nation often becomes a systematic destruction of the “peripheries”, that is to say, Spanish nationalism ends up constructing its identity by repressing the differences between the territories it considers to be national.

This vision has highlighted the serious problem of Spain’s historical reality. Firstly, it has highlighted Spain’s imperfection as a political project, given that it has repeatedly shown the continuous problems of adaptability to Western standards, especially in terms of the dynamics of adopting capitalism, liberalism and rationalism in the triple aspect of the economic, political and cultural realities. Secondly, and even more importantly, Castile’s utter failure in its task of making Spain a harmonious community, fully satisfied with itself and tolerant of the other territories that make it up. If the plurinationality of the state is hidden, the past is distorted.

Spain’s imperfection as a political project has become evident, given that it has repeatedly shown the continuous problems of adaptability to Western standards.

Dismantling “the unity of destiny as a universal fact”


Within the Francoist school system, historiography was articulated according to the concept of “Reconquest”, which is a historiographical concept – still used in the secondary school curricula of Castile – that describes the process of recovery – since the Muslims were not the legitimate owners of the Hispanic territory – of the feudal world over the Muslim and Jewish world. This process would begin shortly after the arrival of the Arabs on the Iberian peninsula (8th century) and would end with the Catholic Monarchs (15th century), who would eventually unify “Spain” as an integral state. This Reconquest would end up forging “the Spanish spirit”.

In the middle of the last century, a group of historians – in order to legitimise the victors of the Civil War – undertook the task of constructing historical arguments to support the new regime. The theoretical corpus was based on finding “the essence of Spain”. Thus, Spanishist historiography came to “prove” that there were indeed distinctive characteristics of continuity between the prehistoric past and the present which define this “Spanish spirit”.

Currently, research tends to break the territorial homogeneity of the provinces. It shows an increasingly clear predisposition to carry out research that emphasises social and territorial differences, such as the latest studies on the 8th century Hispano-Goths, which show significant differences between the peninsular societies, mainly conditioned by the habitats where they carried out their activities. The archaeological evidence -without shying away from documentary sources- shows conclusively that the process of Romanisation affected them in very different ways.

Therefore, the crises of late antiquity from the 3rd to the 8th centuries would provoke much more profound changes, which would affect the different peninsular territories unequally. Consequently, the arrival of the Arabs in the Iberian Peninsula would also affect these societies in different ways, so that the idea of continuity between the Visigothic kingdom and the subsequent political formations would be diluted like sugar.

Archaeology has confirmed that the penetration of the Muslim world into peninsular territory was not as traumatic as it was made out to be. The archaeological remains reveal that, after the conquest, the peninsular territory was never abandoned. Therefore, all this would show that many Hispano-Goths professed the new Muslim faith, not so much out of conviction, but in order to maintain ownership of the land. And this land would be transformed by the introduction of new systems of agricultural production, based mainly on the management and power of water.

Research tends to break down the territorial homogeneity of the provinces and shows an increasingly clear predisposition to carry out research that emphasises social and territorial differences.

Delegitimising the origins in order to cancel out the differences


From the 9th century onwards, most of the peninsular territories were organised as kingdoms, with the king as their highest representative. In contrast, in the northeastern territories of the peninsula, the county would be the administrative structure to be implemented, and the count – imposed from Aachen – would be in charge of administering justice, guaranteeing public order and managing taxation.

This differentiating element – such as the Carolingian organisation of the Catalan territory – will be widely combated by Francoist historiography through a policy of diminishing its relevance. For this reason, it will be considered a government structure with little historical relevance and, for this reason, there will be a lack of will to disseminate it – both in academic circles and in school curricula – which will impact its knowledge.

Therefore, we should not be surprised that these historians do not want to understand that our singularity is the result of a legal framework different from the Hispanic matrix. The Catalan territory was assigned following the Carolingian policy of the Renovatio Imperii. This was probably the reason for its lack of diffusion since the essence of Spain was so far away!

Certainly, the title of king is one of the oldest and best-known political offices. The oldest ruling term is found in the Indo-European REG (to rule/rule) which evolved into Latin as REX. In the context of the political transformations that took place from the 4th century onwards in Western Europe, large territories were governed by Germanic military leaders, who gradually freed themselves from Roman domination and organised themselves as kingdoms. The new territorial leaders – whether Goths, Franks or Suevi – followed their legal tradition and adopted the title of rex as the highest political figure.

Therefore, all the peninsular rulers would be perpetuating their juridical legality. While the Astur-Leonese, Navarrese and Castilian dynasties would continue to use the title of king, the Catalan sovereign would use the title of count, given that he would continue to be legally linked to the French dynasty – heir to Carolingian legality through the Capeta family – and legitimised by the Pope, until the signing of the Treaty of Corbeil and ratified at the Treaty of Anagni in the mid-13th century. In practice, all will be sovereigns with the same power, whether kings or counts.

The most paradoxical fact about the history of Spain – built on the historiographical concept of the Reconquest – is that it is constructed on the false premise of assigning a continuing legitimacy from the Visigothic kingdom to the Astur kingdom.

It has been widely concluded that this maxim is not true. Historians have shown that the indigenous Cantabrian populations – be they Astur, Cantabrian or Basque – always maintained a very distant and warlike relationship with the Roman, Visigothic, Arab or Carolingian world. Therefore, their isolation was due more to a problem of a poor administrative framework than to fierce resistance against Roman, Visigoth, Arab or Carolingian conquerors. Consequently, the propagandistic pamphlet that the three chronicles of Alfonso III of Asturias represent – especially the Albeldense, which in fact is where the famous concept of Reconquest comes from – must be read for what they are: a legal legitimisation before public opinion (and God) of the aggression carried out against a part of the Hispanic population whose only difference – compared to the rest of the population – is that they profess a different religion.

The history of Spain -built on the historiographical concept of the Reconquest- is constructed on the basis of a false premise.

The will to alter reality

“In Dei nomine. Ego Ramirus, Dei gratia rex aragonensis, dono tibi, Raimundo [Berengario], barchinonensium comes et marchio, filiam meam in uxorem, cum tocius regni aragonensis integritate, sicut pater meus Sancius, rex, vel fratres mei, Petrus et Ildefonsus…. ” is undoubtedly one of the key fragments of the history of Catalonia that has aroused the greatest historiographical hostility, especially on the Aragonese side.

This fragment corresponds to the famous “Capitulaciones Matrimoniales de Barbastro”, which were ratified with the “Renuncia de Zaragoza” – both from 1137 – by which King Ramiro II of Aragon, the Monk, publicly informed his subjects that he was giving his daughter, his kingdom and his honours to Count Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona and that this donation would be sealed through the marriage between the Count of Barcelona and his daughter, Peronella.

As a result, the Count of Barcelona was named Crown Prince of Aragon, and Ramiro – despite retaining the title – was returned to the monastery of San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca, from where he left in haste to be crowned king. For her part, Peronella – only one year old – was sent to Barcelona to be educated as the future Countess Consort of Barcelona and Queen of Aragon. Thirteen years later, Count Ramon Berenguer married her in Lleida, once she was legally old enough to do so, that is, fourteen years old. It would then be the first-born son of this union – Alfonso el Trovador – who would become the first person to hold both titles – count and king – which would legitimise the new political conception that arose from this donation.

Unaltered historical reality confirms the fact that after the “Public Renunciation of Saragossa”, the kingdom of Aragon remained in the political background, given that it had voluntarily dispossessed itself of its succession value, a key element in the 12th century. Despite this, the successive Counts of Barcelona would always respect and maintain all the Aragonese institutions, marking the beginning of the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation.

It is therefore essential not to fall into the political trap that circulates among certain Spanish circles, who argue that Peronella of Aragon was the key element that allowed the Catalan counties to be annexed to the kingdom of Aragon. It would be foolish to believe that a one-year-old princess would fall in love with a twenty-four-year-old count of Barcelona and that the latter – at the height of his dominions – would offer his territories to Aragon in exchange for “a more prestigious title”. Likewise, the fact of constructing two parallel genealogies – Alfonso I of Catalonia is the same as Alfonso II of Aragon – shows that there is malice and a desire to distort reality.

The real problem facing Aragon at the beginning of the 11th century was to find a legal solution in the will of King Alfonso I “el Batallador”, who, having died without descendants, had given all his territories to the military Orders, and this caused an institutional debacle. The Castilians – taking advantage of this power vacuum and legitimised by the king’s repudiated ex-wife – began the invasion of Saragossa, followed by the disconnection of Navarre through the figure of García Ramírez, known as “el Resaurador”. As a result, Aragon was severely weakened economically, with the consequent risk of disappearing.

Contrary to what Aragonese extremists would want you to believe, the union of Aragon with the Catalan counties was the only viable solution for the Aragonese oligarchy. It was the only way to put a stop to the pressure exerted by both Castilians and Navarrese and thus be able to boost its agricultural and livestock economy with a clear outlet to the Mediterranean markets.

It would be foolish to believe that a one-year-old princess would fall in love with a twenty-four-year-old count of Barcelona and that the latter – at the height of his dominions – would offer his territories to Aragon in exchange for “a more prestigious title.

Setting limits to power


At the end of the 11th century, a new mentality appeared in Barcelona society, based on work, business morals and friendship. Thus, Barcelona was able to develop its own form of capital accumulation, based on increasing and improving agricultural production in its territory, which enabled it to become the administrative epicentre of the Catalan counties. The notions of profit, investment and capital crystallised throughout the 12th century and led the Counts of Barcelona to conquer the cities of Tortosa, Lleida and Balaguer, and the frustrated attempt to conquer Mallorca.

And all this was possible thanks to a climate of social stability that, after the political disaster of the feudal revolts, led to the imposition of the convenientiae or feudal pacts between equals. From then on, the culture of the pact became generalised throughout the Catalan counties and became one of our peculiarities. As a result of this pact, the first version of the Usatges de Barcelona, the basis of Catalan customary law, was drawn up.

Gradually, Catalan sovereignty would be distributed among – counts, nobility, clergy and upright citizens – who would represent a large part of society. This constitutionalist policy would therefore be one of the distinctive features of the Crown, which from the 13th century onwards would be extended as the expansionist policies of the counts continued to be implemented. These new territories would be configured as states, where the Crown would ensure that the particularities of each territory were maintained. Catalonia would then be defined as a Principality, given that its highest authority would be the figure of a prince or the first among equals.

In contrast to the rest of the peninsular territories – where the problem of power was centred on sacralisation – in Catalonia, the conflict was centred on its use. The constant evolution of Catalan law would end up granting power to the count by cession (between equals). He would therefore be obliged to manage his expenditure correctly and to respect the different privileges, customs, privileges and usages of his territories. Therefore, pactism between equals will be encouraged, in order to balance the economic interests between the nobility, the clergy and the bourgeoisie, in order to maintain social stability.

As a result – and long before the English – the Catalan Courts would be the perfect model of parliamentarianism, which would constitute the nucleus of the Catalan pacifist tradition that has survived to the present day. Unfortunately, with the defeat of 1714 and the implementation of the Decree of Nueva Planta, the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation was fulminated and broken up into different provinces of a new centralised monarchy that would govern the entire Iberian Peninsula without legal differences.


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The Organisation of Consumers and Users, OCU, calculates that families have to invest €530 for each child at the start of the school year. The whole school year will cost €2,728 in Catalonia. But going back to school can cost just €57 thanks to Better Shelter and 11Onze Rolls Up its Sleeves.

1.3 million pupils have already returned to the classrooms in Catalonia and, although the number of pupils is down, there will be 1,200 more teachers. Everyone is getting back to their work and educational routine in a school year in which many families have been able to benefit from the school voucher for materials.

Even so, the start of the school year is always a financial challenge for families, at a time of lower savings due to increased spending during the holidays. This year prices continue to rise due to inflation and the OCU has calculated that each family will need €530 to face the start of the school year. We are talking about the cost of enrolment, materials, canteen and extracurricular activities. In total, the average cost of the school year in Catalonia will be €2,728 per child. If we break down this average, it turns out that in public schools the cost will be €1,060, in state-subsidised schools €3,045 and in private schools €7,030.

These are figures that make anecdotal the cost per pupil of the Shelter Schools that 11Onze Rolls Up its Sleeves promotes with Better Shelter. These are classrooms to be built in a refugee camp in northern Syria for pupils who lost their school in the February 2023 earthquakes. The aim is to raise €100,000 to create 50 schools to cater for 1,750 children. The cost per pupil is therefore €57, including the construction of the classroom.

Catalan families are facing a major expense at the start of the school year. From 11Onze Rolls Up its Sleeves, we ask for this extra effort so that these students can also have a school year, like any other student.


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Social exclusion, job insecurity and difficult access to housing are some of the factors that generate anxiety and depression in a large part of the population. This deterioration in quality of life is related to one of the highest consumptions of anxiolytics in Europe and calls into question the sustainability of the current socio-economic model.


Despite losing positions in the ranking in recent years, according to foreign organisations, Spain remains among the nations with the highest quality of life index among developed countries. Not only this, but all the expats- an euphemism for immigrants from ‘first world’ countries – who live and work in Spain continue to choose it as the country with the highest quality of life.

This optimism, however, does not seem to be shared by the country’s autochthonous residents. This conclusion is drawn from a recent eco-social study by the FUHEM Foundation on Quality of Life in Spain. In fact, after analysing Spanish society focusing on three areas – expenditure, resources and work – it concludes that the quality of life of Spaniards has worsened significantly in recent years.

Specifically, the report points out that almost half of Spaniards feel lonely and that 27% of the population, or one in four people, are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The social researchers who drafted the report state that this social isolation generates anxiety and depression, and connect this with the increase in the consumption of anxiolytics in Spain, one of the highest rates in Europe.


Decent work, access to housing and social protection


The prevalence of job insecurity is reflected in the fact that around 15% of the employed population in Spain is also at risk of poverty or social exclusion and that child poverty affects one in three children under the age of 16. In this context, two out of ten Spaniards live in substandard housing conditions, unable to maintain an adequate temperature in either winter or summer.

On the other hand, while 58.1% of young people had access to home ownership in 2007, today this figure has dropped to 25%. Today, it takes seven years of income to buy a home, a far cry from the 2.8 years required three decades ago. Furthermore, although the cost of renting a home should not exceed 30% of income, four out of 10 people spend 40% of their salary and one-fifth more than 60%, 6 points higher than in 2018 and 12 points higher than in 2014.

The cuts in public spending have been reflected in the lack of supply of social rental housing, which in 2020 represented only 1.1% of the total, a clearly insufficient percentage to cover the 4.5 million people who are in a situation of residential exclusion. This is a real estate model that not only makes it difficult for citizens to access housing but also gives preference to large investment funds and banking corporations.


The urgency of changing towards a more sustainable model


The study also questions our model of production and consumption that “has placed life under the tyranny of efficiency and performance”. Living an unhealthy life leads to higher levels of “permanent fatigue”, especially for poorer households that cannot afford a more varied and quality diet.

This is a problem that has been exacerbated by the rising cost of basic foodstuffs and the growing tendency to shop in large supermarkets, which the report links to the rise in obesity in Spain, one of the European countries where it has increased the most in recent years.

The NGO also stresses the need to stop the territorial fragmentation that causes social and ecological deterioration, pointing out that the mobility model based on private vehicles and roads is “highly inefficient”. In this sense, they warn that the public investments that have been made for the construction of large infrastructures respond more to private interests than to the public interest. In short, it is an unsustainable production, investment and society model that facilitates inequalities, castrating social cohesion and environmental balance.


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A decade after the People’s Republic of China launched the Belt and Road Initiative with the aim of developing a global infrastructure for trade and international cooperation, the project faces new geopolitical challenges that will shape its future.


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the New Silk Road, was launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping. It is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived and was originally intended to increase trade and economic cooperation between East Asia and Europe. Over the last ten years, the project has been extended to Africa, Oceania and Latin America, exponentially increasing investment in infrastructure.

In addition to this logistical structure is the Maritime Silk Road, which includes ports and coastal infrastructure from China’s western seaboard to Europe, India, Africa, the Pacific and Latin America. This is paramount considering that China currently has 95 ports, six of which are ranked in the world’s top 10.

Aiming to connect 65% of the world’s population and a third of the world’s GDP to China by creating a network of sea routes and land links, it has captured the world’s attention for its global reach and economic, political and social implications. The Chinese government announced that the initiative is “ushering in a new era of globalisation”, and will facilitate a “golden age of trade that will benefit everyone”.

As of July this year, total investments under the project exceeded $1 trillion, to the point of competing directly with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This money comes mainly from the New Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).


An unstoppable multipolar world


While the initiative has been praised for fostering economic development and cooperation between countries, offering win-win conditions that were not available under the monopoly of Western powers, there have also been some critical voices. Some participating countries have expressed concerns about the transparency of the projects, whether they will be able to cope with the debt burden or what their dependence on China will be if they cannot repay the loans.

Much of this criticism and pressure for certain countries to refuse to collaborate with the Asian giant comes from the United States, which sees its hegemony as a global economic and geopolitical power increasingly fading in favour of other emerging actors, such as Russia and China, which want to maintain their sovereignty free from the tentacles of the West.

The success of the project makes it a perfect tool to expand China’s political and economic influence even further, with preferential access to new markets and natural resources hitherto dominated almost exclusively by Western powers, which are watching in despair as economic cycles and financial markets focus less and less on them.

In this context, the latest BRICS summit, where it was announced that six more countries will join the economic bloc, has created a great deal of expectation. Even so, it has highlighted the difficulty of unifying interests given the sensitivities of all member states. The expansion of the BRI may be the rallying point that bridges the cracks, especially among African countries that have called for China to move from infrastructure construction to local industrialisation, and India, which is also interested in financing flagship projects in developing countries in the global south, as a counterpart in the West.


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Australia is the world’s second-largest producer of gold, which has become one of its main export commodities. With major exploration investments and numerous projects about to enter production, Australia is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for gold.


Australia accounts for 10% of the world’s gold production, the second-largest gold-producing country in the world after China. Furthermore, according to Statista data from 2022, it is the country with the largest gold reserves (8,000 metric tonnes) in the world, the vast majority of which are located in Western Australia and account for 68% of total production.

Australian gold exports to more than 55 countries generated revenues of $25.8 billion in 2022, and production from new mines and expansions of existing mines is expected to boost Australia’s gold mining output to 305 tonnes in the 2022-2023 period to meet the growing demand for the golden metal.

This increase in production has been spurred by geopolitical tensions between the US, Russia and China, and the revitalisation of the investment and jewellery markets. This is largely due to the search by governments, investors and citizens for stable assets on which they can rely in times of crisis.


New gold mining projects


The country has two of the 20 largest gold mines in the world and reserves totalling more than 380 million ounces of gold. This is an industrial sector that is in the process of consolidation on a global scale, especially by mining companies with holdings in minerals essential for the energy transition.

This trend was confirmed last May when the board of Australian miner Newcrest Mining approved a 17.5 billion euro takeover bid by US rival Newmont, paving the way for the world’s largest gold mining company to strengthen its grip on the sector.

The gold mining sector, as with other minerals, faces rising extraction costs as deposits become less accessible. Even so, according to Mining Technology, there are around 100 gold mining projects under development across the country, of which 11 are already under construction and expected to be operational by 2025, increasing the production capacity of Australian gold mines by more than 36.2 million metric tonnes.

At the very least, the Australian case exemplifies how collaboration between the government and the mining sector is essential to address stagnating production and to ensure that the gold industry continues to play a key role in the country’s history and economic prosperity.

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Unlike fiat currencies, Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that is not subject to the control of a government or central bank. Its value is not defined by an entity but is derived from consumer confidence. But what underpins this trust?


Despite the differences, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin share some similarities with the traditional fiat currencies we are all used to. Therefore, it is important to understand what gives fiat money its value before analysing why there are a large number of people who see Bitcoin as a store of value.

Long gone is a monetary system in which the value of currencies is underpinned by their convertibility to gold and this week marked 52 years since President Richard Nixon assembled his team at Camp David to announce that he was suspending the dollar’s convertibility to gold. The dollar went from being a currency that based its value on the existence of a gold counterpart, to being a fiat currency, with its value derived from the relationship between supply and demand and the stability of the issuing government.

Thus, governments and central banks can create money to expand their money supply and stimulate spending through economic mechanisms without worrying about having sufficient gold reserves, at least this is the theory. Therefore, although these fiat currencies are not backed by tangible assets, their value is given by the collective confidence in the currencies. On the other hand, the monetary policies of governments and central banks, as well as economic developments, can cause this confidence and the value of the currency to fluctuate.


Decentralisation, security and limited supply


The Bitcoin monetary ecosystem is fully decentralised, i.e. no central authority regulates the monetary base, eliminating the need for intermediaries and giving users more control over their financial transactions. By eliminating central authorities, the creation of currency is democratised, giving more power and freedom to the user community.

The creation of Bitcoins follows detailed rules in a very strict protocol that is based on blockchain. This blockchain technology uses cryptographic algorithms and makes it more secure than physical currencies and highly immune to crises. Moreover, if the user wants to make a transfer or a payment, he has total freedom, neither the bank, VISA, nor Mastercard have to authorise it. These characteristics and the fact that thousands of merchants already accept Bitcoin as payment for goods and services, have given it a helpful value.

On the other hand, since its introduction, a maximum limit of 21 million coins that can be mined was established, which introduced an element of intrinsic scarcity that also contributes to its value, when we consider the relationship between price and scarcity. This is why many people regard Bitcoin as a store of value, despite its volatility. Global regulation of crypto-assets and competition with other digital currencies will shape the future of Bitcoin, but ultimately it will be people’s trust that will ensure, or not, its existence.


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