The development of the extractive system

The chronological arc from the Treaty of Tordesillas to the declaration of independence of the United States of America represents the first process – on a global scale – of the distribution and exploitation of the whole world by the European monarchies. During this period, the succulent income produced by the spoils of war or by the indiscriminate plundering of the native populations was transformed into an unprecedented binge of gold and silver, which was introduced into the European economy. For this reason, the construction of the first colonial empires was based on a mercantile economy that enabled them to live up to expectations.


From the outset, the European monarchies were convinced that all the territories of the world belonged to them by right of conquest. In this way, cartography allowed them to gradually extend and possess ownership of land, over which they legitimised themselves as possessors in order to impose – not always by force – their model of civilisation on the native societies.

This process of cultural supremacy was based on the religious certainty of questioning the true human nature of the natives. And the firm belief in this reasoning will motivate the European monarchies to project a geography of large spaces to be Christianised. The greed of the newcomers led to numerous abuses and genocides, but also to an unprecedented demographic catastrophe, as the territories of the new world were reduced to 80% of their native population.

The progressive development of maritime techniques – such as the improvement of the compass, the construction of caravels or the updating of world maps – will allow Europeans to be able to navigate all the seas and oceans that make up the planet in just a few years. This feat will result in the division of the world into two halves, two geographical lines which, drawn between the two poles, will give them the power, signed by the papal authority, to divide the world into zones for navigation, fishing and conquest. The first line will be 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, while the second will be set at 297.5 leagues east of the Molucca’s.

The discovery of important deposits of precious metals in America – between Mexico and Peru – or the arrival on the islands of Southeast Asian species, led to the foundation or re-foundation of important American, African or Asian cities, which acquired a different territorial role in order to ensure a regular flow of wealth to Europe. The European monarchies thus began to control all trade passing through their territories in order to protect their economic gains.

From the beginning of the 16th century until the mid-18th century, the first colonial empires would maintain a strict mercantile monopoly with their colonies, and trade with people or companies that were not subjects of or related to the Crown would be prohibited. Castile, for example, regarded the English, Dutch and French, not as competitors but as enemies and the cause of acts of piracy.


The colonial mercantilist system

Trade with the colonies was based on the premise that the colonists had to sell their raw materials – at a low price and with high taxes – exclusively to companies designated by the Crown. At the same time, the colonists would only be able to buy consumer goods manufactured by this select group of entrepreneurs. Therefore,  monarchies will favour the unlimited enrichment of companies and individuals close to the state, since they will be denied competition. This mercantilist system will create useless needs for the natives and will seek to perpetually maintain the colonies underdeveloped – whether American, African or Asian – in order to nullify possible direct competition with the metropolis.

And to make matters worse, the senior civil servants close to the king’s council will also play a very important role in this innovative economic system, since they had the ability to speed up or delay bureaucratic procedures in order to favour one or the other. The emergence of illicit and parallel trade between colonies was therefore inevitable and led many entrepreneurs, both large and small, to seek ways of circumventing the bureaucratic controls imposed by the Crown itself.

Acting as nouveau riche, the first colonial empires – mainly Castile – will spend an indecent amount of economic resources to build their concept of civilisation. This obsession – sometimes uncontrolled – will lead them to embark on countless conflicts of all kinds, such as theological disputes, family conflicts, commercial affairs or lavish megalomaniac constructions.

“This mercantilist system will create useless needs for the natives and will seek to perpetually maintain colonies underdeveloped – both American, African and Asian – in order to nullify possible direct competitors with the metropolis”.

Financing the empire with precious metals

Coinciding with the time of greatest economic extraction from the American colonies – between the late 16th and early 17th centuries – Castile spent more than 7 million ducats to maintain its fleet in the Mediterranean during the famous Battle of Lepanto. In approximately seven years, a staggering 11.7 million ducats would be spent to finance the countless campaigns in Flanders.

To commemorate the victory in the battle of Saint-Quentin against the French troops, more than 6.5 million ducats will be spent to build the magnificent Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Thanks to the construction and launching of the Grande y Felicísima Armada, the well known Invincible Armada, 9 million ducats were sent directly to the bottom of the sea. And of course, this Catholic and universal civilisation will need to build a new capital on the banks of the Manzanares River. For the reader who is curious about the conversion, the ducat of the 16th and early 17th century would currently be equivalent to around 167.1 euros. True, the figures are… shocking!

Therefore, between 1500 and 1650, the Castilian monarchy – and by proximity, the rest of the European monarchies – lived in a veritable economic bubble generated by the massive influx of precious metals. The latest studies estimate that the Castilian Crown extracted some 17,000 tonnes of silver and 70 tonnes of gold from the American colonies. This metal binge led the state to have a distorted view of the real economy.

The paradox occurred when, despite the huge inflow of gold and silver and the collection of high taxes, they did not cover all the expenses incurred by the state. We should bear in mind that the Castilian Crown would only use this extraordinary wealth to finance all the delusions of grandeur of the Castilian elites, which in most cases would come into direct conflict with the real needs of the population. For this reason, when the oligarchies of a country were more interested in working for lavishness than for the real possibilities offered by the reinvestment of capital, all this leads to the destruction of the productive fabric itself.


Indebtedness of the Castilian Crown

By the mid-17th century, the Castilian Crown was in debt to the tune of more than 100 million ducats. This gigantic debt forced them to declare successive suspensions of payments. To plug this hole, the Crown was forced to issue a large amount of public debt, which would end up in the hands of the main European banks, such as the German banks – the Fuggers and the Welsers – and the Genoese banks of the Spínola, Centurione, Balbi, Strata and, above all, Gio Luca Pallavicino. The Crown will pay the Welsers by granting them the exploitation of the mines in Mexico and the right of conquest over extensive territories in what are now Venezuela and Colombia. For their part, the Fuggers will obtain all the commercial concessions over the territories of Chile and Peru. Today, they are some of the most powerful families of the continent. And, all the luxourious palaces of the strada nuova de Genova, principal artery of luxury in the city, still today, they constitute the biggest concentration of aristocratic residences in all of Europe.

Faced with the successive financial crises that the Castilian Crown began to suffer, many European businessmen living in the American colonies preferred not to ship their precious metals to Castilian ports – a monopoly granted in Cádiz and Seville – for fear of the massive confiscations decreed by the Crown. They, therefore, sought to invest their assets in other emerging sectors of the colonial economy at the end of the 17th century, such as agriculture, livestock and manufacturing production.

The Castilian Crown was therefore forced to look for new and regular sources of income. For this reason, it set in motion the ambitious plan of the king’s minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares, known as the Unión de Armas, which would require each kingdom that formed part of the Hispanic Monarchy – that is, mainly Portugal and the Crown of Aragon – to contribute a certain amount of money and soldiers.

“By the middle of the 17th century, the Castilian Crown would have an economic debt of more than 100 million ducats. This gigantic debt forced them to declare successive suspensions of payments”.

Relaxing the trade monopoly

Portugal, which had been part of the Hispanic Monarchy since the end of the 16th century, refused to grant any further economic contribution, given that Castile exploited its colonies, which led to a war that lasted more than 28 years. Finally, with the economic support of England and Holland, Portugal managed to free itself from the control of the Habsburgs, but the price it had to pay involved the cession of important territories in Brazil and the change of ownership of the colonies of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Cape Town, Goa, Bombay, Macao and Nagasaki, among others.

As for the Crown of Aragon, the Castilian oligarchy did not gauge the situation correctly when it accepted that King Philip IV would swear the Catalan constitutions, a sine qua non condition for obtaining the desired funds. Ignorance of the laws regulating the king’s functions within the Catalan territories would be the focus of important institutional discussions, given that the king – within the Principality – was obliged by law to explain the use of the resources granted. For their part, the Catalans were more interested in having their proposals for new Catalan constitutions approved and grievances addressed than in engaging in absurd wars.

But at the genesis of the institutional debate – between Castile and the Principality – we find a much deeper problem. If, since the end of the 16th century, Castile had moved towards a political system of an absolutist nature, where power resided in a single person, who decided without being accountable to any parliament, the opposite was true in the Principality, where the General Courts of Catalonia were the legislative body representing all strata of society, including the king.

The constant inflow of precious metals into the Castilian economy would remain stable until the mid-18th century, but only a very small percentage would remain within the Castilian economic system since the rest would continue to be used to pay off the monstrous debt of the State. Historiography estimates that it was not until 1820 that the Spanish state recovered from this huge expenditure, largely due to the fact that it had annexed the productive economy of the whole of the peninsular Mediterranean strip at the beginning of the 18th century.

The system of privileges and monopolies developed by the Bourbon trade policy continued to fail, and new agents had to be introduced to guarantee the viability of trade with America. Therefore, with the Royal Decree of Free Trade of 2 February 1778, the monopoly of Cádiz and Seville was definitively broken and Catalonia’s direct trade with America was favoured, which provided a new way of doing business. Funnily enough, today, 34% of Spain’s GDP continues to be contributed by the productive economy of the entire Mediterranean peninsular strip. Therefore, nothing happens by chance…


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


The foundations of the extractive system

7 min read

The feudal monarchies impasse greatly strengthened.


History of crises: the ancient world falls (1/2)

13 min read

We review the history of the crises of the 17th, 18th and 19th.


Historical disagreements Catalonia-Spain

10 min read

The economy has been one of the main protagonists.

Confidence is the fundamental ingredient of the modern economy. Without it, markets tend to collapse like a house of cards. From 11Onze, we look back at 11 moments in history when hysteria has gripped investors and the economy has paid the price. 


The first episodes of financial panic can be found as far back as the Ancient Ages. However, it has been with the development of capitalism and modern financial systems that episodes of mass hysteria have multiplied, as confidence has gained weight as the cornerstone of the entire economic fabric.

The reality of the productive economy does not change radically from one day to the next. You can neither build nor destroy many factories in a short space of time, but a one-off event can completely alter investors’ perceptions and trigger a crisis of major proportions.

As long as everyone wants to buy, prices keep rising and the economy seems to be in iron health, but when, for some reason, selling fever sets in, the snowball effect can wipe out any economic structure. Here are some of the most paradigmatic moments of financial panic in recent centuries. 


Tulip fever

Tulips became very popular in the Netherlands in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. As they are seasonal flowers, a futures market was created and speculation caused prices to soar between 1636 and 1637, in what is considered the first economic bubble in capitalist history. Unsurprisingly, the bubble eventually burst, ruining many investors and almost leading to the collapse of the Dutch economy. In the following century the bubble phenomenon was reproduced in the UK with the South Sea Company and in France with the Mississippi Company.


The credit crunch of 1772

Optimism about the progress of the British Empire led to a rapid expansion of credit in the UK. The euphoria came to an abrupt end on 8 June 1772, when a bank collapsed due to losses on its investments and one of its partners fled to France. The news spread quickly and triggered a banking panic in England, with long queues outside banks demanding the withdrawal of their money. The crisis quickly spread to other parts of Europe and the British American colonies. The East India Company’s subsequent difficulties with cash shortages led the British government to pass a law in 1773 granting it a monopoly on the sale of tea in North America. Protests would eventually lead to American independence.


Panic of 1873

It was the cause of the first “Great Depression”, a name later associated with the crisis of the 1930s in the United States. In Europe, the collapse of the Vienna Stock Exchange was followed by bank failures in Austria and Germany. In the United States, the collapse of several banks caused the New York Stock Exchange to cease trading for the first time in its history. Countries on both sides of the Atlantic suffered prolonged economic stagnation. The demonetisation of silver in Germany and the United States, the rise of speculative investments, inflation and the Franco-Prussian War were among the causes of the disaster.


Recession of 1914

As war seemed increasingly inevitable, the appetite for selling in global markets increased. Eventually, panic set in as investors tried to dump stocks and bonds to accumulate gold. The US stock market and the London Stock Exchange had to close on 31 July and did not reopen until several months later. The crisis spread to dozens of countries and most of the world’s stock exchanges also had to close in the following days and weeks. 


Crash of 1929

The Roaring Twenties led to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. The economic boom had stimulated speculation on the stock market, often thanks to loans that were happily granted. In the first weeks of October of that year alone, stock prices rose 300%. But on 24 October, on what became known as Black Thursday, the New York Stock Exchange suffered the worst crash in its history. Thousands of investors lost everything overnight and panic ensued. In the end, the crisis crossed borders and triggered a worldwide economic depression. In the United States alone, some 15 million people lost their jobs in the years that followed.


1973 oil crisis

Arms shipments to Israel during the Fourth Arab-Israeli War led to an oil embargo on the United States and its allies by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which was largely made up of Arab countries. This led to a period of stagflation in Western economies, characterised by high inflation due to rising oil prices and economic stagnation. In the UK, electricity supplies were even rationed.


Black Monday 1987

After five years of stock market fever, stock markets around the world collapsed in a short space of time on 19 October 1987. The crash began in Hong Kong and the financial hysteria spread westwards as European and US stock markets opened. The Dow Jones index lost more than 22% on the day. Turbulence over the next few days saw declines in many stock markets exceed 20 % and in New Zealand as much as 60 %.


Asian crisis of 1997

The crisis started in Thailand and quickly spread to other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Speculative capital flows in the face of high growth in the so-called “Asian tigers” had led to excessive debt in the economies of these countries. The fact that the Thai government was forced to abandon the fixed exchange rate against the US dollar in July 1997 triggered a wave of panic in Asian financial markets and the return of billions of dollars of foreign investment. The International Monetary Fund had to come to the rescue of the worst affected economies to avoid defaults.


The dotcom bubble

Does anyone remember Terra? It was floated on the stock exchange on 17 November 1999 and on the first day it rose 184%. After rising more than 1,000% in one quarter in early 2000, the value of the shares plummeted at Easter of that year. Three years later, Telefónica ended up buying back the shares at less than half the price at which they were originally issued. It was one of the many ‘dotcom’ companies that, with the emergence of the Internet in the late 1990s, saw their value over-dimensioned. It is estimated that in Spain alone, between 1999 and 2000, more than a thousand companies whose business model revolved around the Internet were launched. After the bubble burst in 2000, very few dotcoms survived.


Financial crisis of 2008-2009

On 15 September 2008 Lehman Brothers, the world’s fourth largest investment bank, filed for bankruptcy. It was the realisation of an unsustainable situation that caused the real estate and financial markets to collapse, also in our country. Until then, US banks had been lending to customers of dubious creditworthiness and repackaging them as “safe” financial products that were sold to financial institutions around the world. Meanwhile, here we were experiencing our own housing bubble, which seemed to have no ceiling. The party ended with the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression and a bill in the billions for taxpayers, who had to bail out the banking sector.


Pandemic covid-19

The emergence of covid-19 struck fear into markets around the world in the early months of 2020. What initially appeared to be a strictly Chinese problem became a global nightmare within weeks, encompassing two interdependent crises: a health and an economic one. In less than a year, millions of people died and global GDP fell by almost 6%, according to World Bank data.

All these examples show how euphoria or panic can condition the view of economic reality. History is full of bubbles and siren songs that should be avoided.


If you want to discover the best option to protect your savings, enter Preciosos 11Onze. We will help you buy at the best price the safe-haven asset par excellence: physical gold.

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:



4 min read

Gold’s resilience as a store of safe-haven investment value cannot be underestimated.


Economic downturn

5 min read

More than a third of the world’s economies are expected to shrink.


A triple threat hangs over the economy

4 min read

The economic gears are grinding ever tighter.

The political map of Europe at the end of the 15th century was shaped after the many conflictive social, political and economic events of the previous century and with a population reduced to less than 50% due to the Black Death. The new political landscape that emerged from this process showed a great variety of institutional forms of power. Alongside the two legacies of the Christian Lower Empire – the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy – the feudal monarchies that emerged from this structural impasse greatly strengthened, which legitimised them to govern differently and led them to construct a new concept of the State.


In order to sustain this new conception of the State, the European monarchies sought the basic mechanisms that would enable them to consolidate new state structures with a markedly centralising and unipersonal character. For this reason, they first fought energetically against all those powerful families – the Armagnacs, Lancastrians, Braganzas, Mèdicis and Palomas – who had the capacity to dispute their decisions. The fight would not always be through the use of violence, but plots were created to delegitimise them or a tight matrimonial policy of territorial anthropophagy would be applied to them in order to extend state property permanently, without the need for bloodshed.

The new political conception would lead to a clear cornering of the most representative organs of the citizenry – such as the Cortes, the Estados Generales or the Dietas – which would be replaced by a powerful and much more specialised council of the king. In this way, the State would multiply its presence in the territory through the creation of a powerful administrative network linked to the different activities of the new management system. Soon, the civil service would appear, with a life tenure at the end of the century, which would allow a segment of the population to become rich beyond limits simply by working in proximity to power.

Up to this point, the monarchies had been financed by their own resources through ordinary rents linked to manorial rights or the profits produced by their possessions, whether from the exploitation of forests, the stamping of coins or the slave trade. But this was no longer enough.

The new political conception would lead to a clear cornering of the most representative organs of the citizenry – such as the Cortes, the Estados Generales or the Dietas – which would be replaced by a powerful and much more specialised council of the king.”

An economic paradigm shift

The European monarchies would assuage their ambition by imposing a three-pronged strategy: firstly, they made the supplies of the feudal system regular and plentiful, which lead to the appearance of an infinite number of extraordinary financing funds for people and goods, such as taxes on trade, the famous tax on salt, or taxes on houses, fires, and so on; Secondly, they created the need for consumption, such as new eating habits or the introduction of fashion in the need to dress; and thirdly, they freed themselves from the usual need to ask for the consent of their subjects, who – were still represented in institutional bodies – coming up against the argument that “in peacetime, this request was completely unnecessary”. But the key and fundamental element that would allow all this new machinery to work perfectly would be the creation of a standing army, aimed at domestic control – between threats and persuasion – and projecting the monarch’s power outwards.

Gold would continue to be the main problem for the European economy, since it would still be absolutely necessary for trade. Since ancient times, the East-West relationship had gone through an infinite number of ups and downs, but its balance of trade had always been in deficit – with respect to gold – as the Asian continent was poor in deposits of precious metal. The only gold that reached Europe with any regularity – since the 10th century – was Sudanese gold, but this would never satisfy the needs of the feudal economy.

“The key and fundamental element that would allow all this new machinery to work perfectly would be the creation of a standing army, aimed at domestic control – between threats and persuasion – and projecting the monarch’s power outwards.”

The study and appreciation of the Greco-Latin classics

The atmosphere of strong economic dynamism pervaded the whole of this period, forcing the European monarchies to seek new fields of action and new sources of profit to maintain the new and very costly state structures. Europe was too small a space to satisfy the ‘grandeur’ of the nascent modern states, but above all, it showed a shortage of raw materials. It was then that the real desire to get closer to the sources of African gold or oriental spices would appear.

The worldview of medieval society was conditioned by religion, imaginary legends and geographical ignorance, but this changed radically from the Quattrocento onwards with the recovery of Greek manuscripts ignored by the Church – which controlled culture – as they were considered pagan texts. With the introduction of the basic rules of correct Latin translation – promoted by Petrarch and Boccaccio – these manuscripts were correctly transcribed and took on a new meaning. The rereading of numerous classical texts – such as Euclid, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Eratosthenes and many others – made it possible to construct new critical thinking that would lead humanist scholars to want to verify how much wisdom the ancient texts contained about the world.

This humanism would favour a definitive break with medieval tradition and would exalt the qualities proper to human nature. It would allow the discovery of the human self and give a rational meaning to its existence. This anthropocentrism would free the human being from metaphysical wonder and place him before the gates of empirical curiosity. The dissemination of this innovative thinking was made possible by the invention of the movable type printing press. But this mental change would also enable a small group of people – settled in both Sagres and Nuremberg – to begin to experiment and apply modern scientific methods based on mathematics and astronomy, which would alter the universal worldview.

“The worldview of medieval society was conditioned by religion, imaginary legends and geographical ignorance, but this changed radically from the Quattrocento onwards with the recovery of Greek manuscripts ignored by the Church – which controlled culture – as they were considered pagan texts.”

Colonial conquest and exploitation

Ambitious businessmen set out in search of maritime routes that would lead them to new territories where they could find abundant products to satisfy the growing demand of European markets. And in this context, the State would favour this expansive economy by participating – indirectly – in the commercial adventures of these daring entrepreneurs, who would boast a great deal of audacity but little Atlantic experience.

Chance and the trade winds led the first navigators to the most populated area of the American continent. The territory of the “New World” – both north and south combined – is 42.5 million km². Before the arrival of Europeans, an estimated 100 million people lived on the entire continent, as opposed to the 1 billion who live there today. Of these, some 80 million people lived in the strip between Mexico and Peru. On the other hand, in the gradual southward descent of the African continent, Europeans discovered that the Muslim world had penetrated much further than they thought. Beyond the equator, they entered a totally unknown world and discovered black Africa. With an area of 32 million km², current estimates speak of some 60 million people who could be living on the entire African continent by the end of the 15th century.

From the very beginning of the westward voyages, the first navigators were certain and aware that where they had arrived was not the East Indies, but a completely different territory. And in embellishing this fact, the state deployed all its modern legal and administrative machinery to possess it legitimately. Without entrusting themselves to anyone and by the right of conquest, the European monarchies began to claim ownership of those territories while ignoring the indigenous population. At this point, religion played a key role in justifying the destruction, annihilation and extermination of the ancestral cultures that lived harmoniously. A similar path would be followed on the African continent, although this process would begin some one hundred years later.

As the newcomers – already in the name of the Crown – moved into these new territories, they would discover that precious metals were not the only source of wealth. In less than fifty years, European markets would be supplied, in quantities unthinkable until then, with countless tropical products such as pepper, sugar, cotton and tobacco. The Atlantic coast would see the growth of a major port network stretching from Cádiz to Antwerp and would form the backbone of a new economic area. And then, the Crown would define itself as an Empire, always, with a shining sun!


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Hysteria in financial history

7 min read

Confidence is the fundamental ingredient of the economy.


History of banking

4 min read

The first modern banking society in Catalonia was founded in 1844.



2 min read

It was at the end of the 11th century that feudalism finally took hold.

The conflict in Ukraine is the latest example of the growing importance of economic sanctions as instruments of coercion in international geopolitical relations. We analyse how SWIFT, a communication protocol between banks, has become a strategic weapon of the West.


The origin of telecommunications between global banking networks dates back to the mid-19th century, when the newly developed electric telegraph enabled more agile communications between stock markets. The telegraph established a continuous, near real-time trading system that reduced the differences between the prices of securities in markets separated by large geographical distances.

In 1872, Western Union used its existing telegraph network to launch the first widely used wire transfer service. A sender paid money to a telegraph office, and the operator transmitted a message to allow the transfer of money to another office, which was verified by passwords and code books so that the funds were released to a recipient.

In the early 20th century, the telegraph was slowly replaced by teletype or telex machines, a system developed by Germany that took advantage of telegraph lines and allowed users to write a message somewhere and have it printed on the other side of the world. Although telex provided the banking sector with a basic platform for business, and an operational medium through which they could begin to expand, the need to ensure that messages were secure and accurate added much complexity to the system, which soon found itself unable to cope with the pressures of an increasingly globalised financial world.

As the increase in transactions made it clear that the limits of this communication system were a constraint on the expansion of the banking business, banks, especially European banks, decided to explore other options. A decision spurred by a subsidiary of the American bank, the First National City Bank (FNCB), which wanted to force other banks to use its proprietary telex system. This ultimatum horrified the European banks, which saw a change from a system based on cooperation between rivals to a monopoly at the hands of the American partner.

The banks of 15 countries created a private company, SWIFT, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication, based in Brussels and run as a global cooperative enterprise. SWIFT simplified procedures and minimised errors by using a standardised messaging format that was adopted globally.


Communication networks and state coercion

The tug-of-war between the new and old continents over control of a global interbank communications system highlighted a phenomenon that had already been seen with the emergence of the telegraph during colonial times. While these communication systems were not created with geopolitics in mind, it was inevitable that the big players in the global economy would use them as tools to control, spy on, and punish other states competing for the same interests.

A fact that is not without irony in the case of SWIFT, created by Europe to maintain its sovereignty vis-à-vis the United States, but which has ultimately been unable to resist obeying Washington’s orders, even when they run counter to European interests, as happened when President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the Iran nuclear deal.

Political scientists Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman define this as “weaponised interdependence“. As for SWIFT, they explain: “In this world, the networks that enable global interdependence no longer serve as neutral means of transmitting information or money. Instead, they are becoming the power projection tools of large states“.

The use of sanctions by the US government, against enemies and allies, purely for economic and geopolitical interests, did not begin with the administration of President Donald Trump, but it is true that Trump made an unprecedented expansion of punitive economic measures to promote his administration’s agenda. An abuse of a position of privilege that initially yields good results, but is counterproductive in the long run when other states question alliances with the United States, and seek alternatives to monetary tools linked to the hegemonic power of this country.


Alternative systems and cryptocurrencies

The latest economic sanctions against Russia, and the exclusion of some of its banks from the SWIFT system, follow the same trend of recent years, and only consolidate the efforts of China, Russia, and even the European Union, to seek alternative systems that can shield their economies. A new blow to the system that could trigger a chain reaction of change.

In 2017, Russia launched the Financial Messaging System of the Bank of Russia (SPFS), equivalent to SWIFT, and in 2015, China launched a similar system called The Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS). Two alternative systems that are still far from being able to fully replace SWIFT, but which at least help to reduce the effectiveness of the possible sanctions imposed on banks in these two countries to exclude them from the interbank communication protocol established by Western banks.

On the other hand, the blockchain-based cryptocurrency revolution is another tool that countries such as North Korea and Iran have already used to circumvent economic sanctions, and the exclusion of their banks from the SWIFT ecosystem. The digital rouble is just one of several digital tools through which the Russian government can boost bilateral trade with allied countries, as China has already done with the digital yuan.

Nevertheless, the use of economic sanctions will undoubtedly have a significant impact on Russia’s economy, and to a lesser extent on that of the European Union. Even so, it is also clear that the abuse of this tool of persuasion or punishment is reducing its effectiveness and promoting the creation of alternative systems, which are ultimately inevitable in a multipolar global geopolitical scenario, which is no longer content to be subject to the impositions and interests of a single country.


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


The conflict in Ukraine

6 min read

The geopolitical adventurism between the United States and Russia in Ukraine is far.


Digital sovereignty

3 min read

We look at how technological power is distributed around the world.


The age of Pegasus

6 min read

We can address the challenges of cybersecurity in the age of Pegasus.

Gold is certainly not from this planet. Scientists agree that it was brought to Earth by a meteor shower. Its origin may lie in the explosion of a supernova or the collision of two neutron stars.


Gold as we know it is too precious a mineral to have an ordinary origin. In fact, it comes from something as bright as stars and arrived on Earth about four billion years ago, long after the formation of our planet’s core.

In its early days, some 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth was basically a ball of magma. During the cooling process, the denser materials sank towards the centre. As a result, they were drawn into the core, which is composed mainly of iron, most of the heavier metals.

This is why the large amount of gold and other precious metals in the Earth’s mantle today is not understood. Several scientific investigations have concluded that the presence of this gold can only be explained by the impact of meteorites loaded with gold and other precious metals.

One study, published in the journal ‘Nature’, estimates that the meteorite storm may have brought some 20 trillion tonnes of material to Earth. And another study, published in the journal ‘Science’, considers that our planet would not have been the only recipient of these minerals, as they would also have reached Mars and the Moon in a similar way. 


Where did the gold come from?

Scientists believe that gold, like most elements heavier than iron, is produced by both supernova nucleosynthesis and the collision of neutron stars. But it is not known which of these two processes originated the gold that we can currently extract from the Earth’s mantle.

Nuclear fusion processes are constantly taking place inside stars. The most abundant and simplest element is hydrogen, whose atoms contain one electron and one neutron. When two of these atoms fuse together under pressure and gravity, a helium atom is produced. In turn, the fusion of helium produces lithium. And the fusion processes continue until iron is produced, which begins to form when there is no more fuel left in the star to fuse.

Supernovae are massive stars that can no longer develop thermonuclear reactions in their core. The pressure causes them to suddenly contract and collapse. It is in this process that many scientists think that heavy materials such as gold are formed, although some astrophysicists doubt that the neutron flux inside the supernova is sufficient to form the necessary amount of heavy elements. 

The other possible origi for our gold would be a collision of neutron stars, which form after the collapse of supernovae. Very recently, on 17 August 2017, one such cataclysmic event was detected. It is estimated that two neutron stars of only about ten kilometres in diameter collided, containing as much matter as the Sun. 

Scientists believe that such an event could have generated as much gold as the mass of the Earth. This requires iron to be in a very neutron-rich environment in order to capture neutrons very quickly. As some of these neutrons undergo rapid radioactive decay and are converted into protons, iron, which has 26 protons and 30 neutrons, can be transformed into gold, which has 79 protons and 118 neutrons.



Gold precipitation

According to the main theories, the great meteorite shower with the precious metals caused an upheaval of the Earth’s mantle, which eventually led to the appearance of the deposits of these minerals. The asteroids would have been introduced into the Earth’s mantle by massive convection processes.

Gold is mainly found in areas with seismic or volcanic activity, which brings the gold to the surface. During earthquakes, variations in pressure along the fault can cause water in the rock to evaporate rapidly. And substances that dissolve in the water, such as gold and silicates, later precipitate on the surface. In the case of volcanoes, many minerals found in deeper layers of the earth’s mantle are ejected during eruptions, and one of them is gold.

Although gold can be found all over the world, the geographical distribution is very uneven. The United States, Canada, Australia, China, Russia and South Africa are the countries with the highest concentration of this precious metal.

The first chapter of the series The Golden Thread, which deals with the importance that gold has in different areas of our lives, focuses on the fundamental role that this precious metal has played in the exploration of space.



If you want to discover the best option to protect your savings, enter Preciosos 11Onze. We will help you buy at the best price the safe-haven asset par excellence: physical gold.

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


How gold helps create oxygen on Mars

4 min read

NASA plans to send a manned mission to Mars.


The gold industry

3 min read

Responsible gold mining contributes to the economic and social development.



4 min read

In the face of the climate emergency, the economy is tending to decarbonise.

In the European Union, women earn on average 13% less than men. And the pay gap in Catalonia is even wider, reaching 20%. Latvia and Estonia are the only EU states with a higher pay gap. Fortunately, the problem could be reduced thanks to the new pay transparency rules.


According to the latest data from Idescat, women in Catalonia earn 20% less than men. While the average gross annual salary for men was over 30,000 euros in 2020, the average gross annual salary for women was less than 24,100 euros. This is significantly worse than in the European Union, where women earn on average 13% less than men per hour worked. In fact, Latvia and Estonia are the only EU states with a wider pay gap than Catalonia.

The principle of equal pay is enshrined in article 157 of the founding text of the European Union. However, the gender pay gap has barely decreased in a decade, from 15.8% in 2010 to 13% in 2020. This is why 22 February marks European Equal Pay Day, which aims to put the spotlight on the problem so that EU members take action.

It should be borne in mind that there are a number of inequalities underlying the pay gap. It is not only that women earn less than men when doing the same job. In addition, women are over-represented in relatively low-paid sectors such as care and education, while the so-called glass ceiling leads to the under-representation of women in managerial positions.


Transparency against inequality

Fortunately, the Czech presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on pay transparency rules in December. This will empower women to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work through a set of binding measures on pay transparency.

To avoid discrimination, companies will have to ensure that their employees have access to the criteria for determining pay and possible pay increases. Employees and their representatives also have the right to request and receive information on their individual pay levels and on the average pay levels of employees performing the same work or work of equal value, broken down by gender.

Companies with more than 100 employees will also have to report on the pay gap between male and female workers. Where there is an unjustified difference in the average wage level between men and women of at least 5%, the employer must carry out an assessment including measures to correct the unjustified pay gap.


Penalties for violators

Employees whose employer has not respected the principle of equal pay are entitled to claim compensation. The courts may order the company to put an end to the infringement and take corrective measures. Both equality bodies and workers’ representatives will be able to act on behalf of one or more employees to enforce the principle of equal pay.

Hopefully, these are the first steps towards real equality between men and women in terms of pay and job opportunities. All that remains is for the EU member states to bring their legislation into line with the new directive. They have three years to do so.

It is curious that Luxembourg, the country with the highest average wage in the EU at more than 70,000 euros per year, is also the country with the smallest gender pay gap: women earn only 0.7% less than men, according to Eurostat.


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Women and business

4 min read

The wage gap between men and women is 12.1% in Catalonia.


21st-century feminism

7 min read

We end the journey through five women who have marked the course of history.


Why does Spain have such low wages?

3 min read

One of the highest rates of job insecurity in Europe.

The sun set. A long, cold and decadent night spread across Spain for almost forty years. Finally, the guns had imposed “me over you”. But the conviction and tenacity of many women made it possible to change the situation as the century progressed. We continue with the historical exercise proposed by Oriol Garcia Farré, 11Onze agent and historian, on the history of contemporary women with the contribution of Maria Aurèlia Capmany.


The drama increased when some 500,000 people crossed the border into France between the end of 1938 and January 1939, fleeing the horror. In fact, it had been suspected for months that this would happen. The victory of fascism in Spain became a reality in April 1939, when the hopes and illusions of a social majority that had worked to create a fairer and more egalitarian society were finally dashed. From then on, peace would be imposed under the constant threat of imprisonment for dissidents against the new order.

The regime imposed by force of arms was based on national trade unionism, but after the Second World War it was forced to move towards a different conception of power in order to ensure its survival. The world that emerged after 1945 would no longer be the same as at the end of the Spanish Civil War, since historical reality would be constructed on the basis of the confrontation between the capitalist and communist countries.

It was then that Francoism decidedly opted for National Catholicism as a social articulation. Catholic rhetoric would be more acceptable to the Western allies, the winners of the world war. And the most visible manifestation of this conception of power would be the return of hegemony to the Church, which would control all aspects of public and private life in society. The state would put the clergy on the payroll and provide the Church with a broad tax exemption and, most importantly, it would once again be given absolute freedom in the management of education.


Involution of the role of women

Franco’s dictatorship would destroy all the achievements of the Republic. The Church would legitimise the redefinition of the role of women in society. Thus, Franco’s regime would put the brakes on all the female achievements of the previous period by arguing an anti-feminist discourse, in which women would be perceived as inferior to men, both spiritually and intellectually.

Under this pretext, the new regime would relegate women to household chores, as mothers and wives. Many women were repressed by the regime, especially in the period 1939-1945. Feeding, helping or curing Republican combatants was considered a crime for which many women were imprisoned, sent to concentration camps or even shot. Others, conditioned by fear, silenced their participation in the battlefields, making it a purely private memory.

Even so, the regime legitimised two youth organisations, the Women’s Section and the Youth Front, which were set up to indoctrinate all young people in the principles of the ‘movement’. In this way, the aim was to build a new society that was obligatorily articulated by the new values that underpinned Francoism.


A new political turn

Towards the end of the 1950s something began to change. The failure of the autarchy and the tense international situation, with the Cold War in the background, led the regime to a forced reorganisation of forces in the power families. The Falangists, who had dominated the political scene until then and were the guarantors of fascist symbolism and rhetoric, were replaced by young technocratic politicians linked to Opus Dei.

This change allowed the regime to generate a new ideological discourse and project a more modern social image to the outside world. In this way, ‘developmentalism’ would favour the growth of a Spanish middle class that would sustain the regime for a few more decades, but would also cause its annihilation. This controlled openness, for example, would tolerate the publication of works in Catalan, but it would also allow demands for social gender equality to be rescued from the attics of memory.

Women in Catalonia

It was in this context that Maria Aurèlia Capmany i Farnés (1918-1991) published her famous essay ‘Women in Catalonia’ (1966), one of the key works for the recovery of feminist demands in Catalonia. She was the daughter of the folklorist Aureli Capmany and Maria Farnés, and granddaughter of the journalist and Catalanist politician Sebastià Farnés. From an early age, Maria Aurèlia Capmany showed an innate ability for writing and literary activities in general. The impact of her essay allowed her to give up teaching to devote herself entirely to literary activities and theatre.

The main thesis put forward by Maria Aurèlia Capmany in ‘Women in Catalonia’ hinges on the idea that no progress can be made on the problem of gender if the social and political problems of Catalonia are not solved first. And this is written by someone who was a woman, a Catalan and a socialist. In other words, the devil for the Regime!


A palpable problem

For Capmany, the gender problem exists and is palpable within society. Her essay reveals two major problems: on the one hand, the definition of women as otherness and dependence; and, on the other, social inequalities and women’s access to the public world. In this sense, the conclusion reached by Maria Aurèlia Capmany is very clear: women have the same social status as men, but only in appearance, because the reality is that they are all aware of their lack of integration, their state of evolution and the instability of their insertion in the society in which they live.

A working woman can easily discover the objective conditions of her marginalisation, since she works the same as a man, studies the same subjects, obtains the same qualifications as a man. Still, with these qualifications, she will do a second-rate job. Therefore, if a woman wants to dedicate herself to something beyond the walls of her home, she will have to do it discreetly and without giving it any importance.

As a result, Capmany would once again put forward the thesis of the 1930s, which fiercely defends the “me just like you”. Even so, throughout her long career, first as a writer and then as a politician, she worked tirelessly for the equality and integration of women in society. Through her prolific work, she fought against the stale ultra-conservatism of the Franco regime, coming to the conclusion that the key word for women’s liberation is emancipation. As her song ‘Teatro de cabaret’ says, she was an emancipated woman who had to think and decide, solemn and sensible, and she did it from freedom and dialogue.


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Francesca Bonnemaison

6 min read

The struggle of contemporary women to achieve full equality.


Carme Karr

6 min read

A key role in the establishment of universal women’s suffrage.


Female leadership

5 min read

Women hold only 34% of managerial positions in Spain.

The Catalan economy is made up of a veritable “great spider’s web,” as Roger Vinton calls it in the title of his book. Faced with this idea, and with the suspicion that the knots and actors in this web are poorly explained, a good number of books have appeared on a recurring basis that attempt to untangle it. We review them in La Plaça.


The reflections that follow, whether in the form of memoirs, such as those by Josep Pla and Cristian Segura, or in the form of journalistic essays, such as those by Roger Vinton, Gemma Garcia Fàbregas, Jordi Amat, Pere Cullell and Andreu Farràs, describe how the productive and financial economy works in the hands of elites who prefer to remain in the shadows.

  • ‘Homenots’, by Josep Pla. ‘Homenots’ is a series of 60 profiles by Josep Pla on figures of his time. They were published between 1958 and 1962 by Editorial Selecta and between 1969 and 1974 by Editorial Destino in four volumes. In the preface to one of the volumes, Pla stated that, for him, “a ‘homenot’ is a singular, unusual type, a person who has been significant, in any activity, in a remarkable way.” Among these profiles are those of Prat de la Riba, Jaume Bofill, Joan Miquel Avellí and Ramon Godó, among many others, who make up the economic and political substratum of the country.
  • ‘L’oasi català’ (2001), by Pere Cullell and Andreu Farràs. The Catalan oasis refers to the close relations that developed between the Catalan bourgeoisie and the centralism of the Madrid court in the 19th century. The term seems to have been coined by the journalist Manuel Brunet. And it seems that, today, there would be some 400 people who would represent this Catalan elite spread across cultural and economic centres. With this expression, the journalists Pere Cullell and Andreu Farràs titled their essay, in which they explain the family, educational and summering relationships of a good part of these leading figures of Catalan society, who embrace the entire Catalan political spectrum.
  • ‘Els senyors del boom’ (2014), by Gemma Garcia Fàbregas. The journalist touches in depth a very sensitive story, that of the real estate gold rush experienced in the Catalan Countries and its social, political and economic impacts, with first-hand information and a highly documented analysis that opens a new perspective on the reasons for a catastrophe foretold as was the real estate bubble.
  • ‘La gran teranyina’ (2017), by Roger Vinton.  ‘La gran teranyina’ reveals the opaque structure from which certain agents exercise the power through which they control events and situations that affect our society on a daily basis. This book allows us, in Vinton’s own words, to “open our eyes and become aware of the immense power of the individual.” A profound investigation that changes the perception of Catalonia and that some have considered a true reference manual or compass in the jungle of power.
  • ‘El fill del xofer’ (2020), by Jordi Amat. Following the dark figure of Alfons Quintà -journalist, lawyer, merchant navy officer and judge, who on 19 December 2016 murdered his wife and then committed suicide with a hunting rifle-, Jordi Amat reflects on power. Behind a dazzling journalistic career, which spans from the direction of TV3 to the talk shows of Intereconomía, a dark trajectory is hidden, full of blackmail, sexual persecutions, abuses of authority and various tricks, which shows how the sewers of power work in Catalonia.
  • ‘Gent d’ordre’ (2021), by Cristian Segura. Halfway between an essay, a memoir and a journalistic chronicle, Cristian Segura writes an exhaustive portrait of Barcelona’s elites. A society in transformation due to globalisation, the consolidation of the welfare state and also the hegemony of Catalan nationalism. Elites do not disappear, they are transformed. And Barcelona is the paradigm of this.

11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Books about greed

6 min read

We have taken a look at some of the books that have been written in Catalan about greed.


History of banking

4 min read

The first modern banking society in Catalonia was founded in 1844.


Disagreements Catalonia-Spain

10 min read

The economy has been one of the main protagonists.

Accused of having eaten an apple. Stigmatised for men’s sin. Controlled by confessors. Purified through redemptive fire. Attacked by misogyny. The history of women paints a bleak picture, given that they have had to abide by a reality imposed by the male gender. We begin a journey through history with the first of six articles, by Oriol Garcia i Farré, 11Onze agent and historian, on the struggle of contemporary women to achieve full equality.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Catalonia made the definitive leap toward modernity. The generation of 1900 worked hard to modernise Catalan society to the point of transforming all areas of daily life. Everything from culture to politics was redefined and, even today, those profound changes are still very much alive in our collective memory.

Modernity longed to change the previous patterns through culture, science and education, and it was in this last area that it came up against the Church, which for centuries had held a monopoly on education. The debate then focused on whether, in order to be modern, it was absolutely necessary to move towards a fully secular society, or whether there was another option.

Conservative Catalan society at the time expected the wife of one of the most important figures on the political scene at the time – the lawyer and founding member of the Regionalist League, Narcís Verdaguer i Callís – to remain on the fringes of all the social and cultural effervescence of the country.

The social model of the time understood that women – with sufficient economic resources – had to limit their activity to being a housewife and social activities, including charitable work in the parish. Therefore, the whiter her skin was, the more important her social status was.

The reality was different when Francesca Bonnemaison y Farriols (1872-1949) – of deep religious convictions, passed down through her mother’s line – embarked on a revolutionary project that would change everything. Without realising it, she would shake the most conservative foundations of the Catalan society.


Democratising access to education

Gathered around the parish church of Santa Anna in Barcelona, the so-called ‘cooperating ladies’ met in a vicarage, on a Friday in May 1909. Long gone were the heated discussions as to which was the most suitable option for setting up the new organisation within the parish: either to create a social work for wealthy young women or to found a literary circle exclusively for women from high society. But neither of these things happened.

With the support of Father Gatell, the option suggested by Mrs. Bonnemaison prevailed. On that Friday 28 May 1909, the first public library for women in Barcelona was set up. Yes, for all the women of the city and open to both well-to-do and working women.

In this way, the renaissance ideology defended by Francesca Bonnemaison was put into practice, which believed it was essential to bring culture closer to women, social regeneration, and the economic development of the country. A year later, the Institut de Cultura de la Dona was founded, thus laying the foundations for training women from all social strata to move towards their personal liberation, the recognition of some of their basic rights, and equal employment opportunities.

The ideology of the new institution – so revolutionary in its time – was based on three essential pillars: The first was based on the promotion of reading and the sensible practice of Christian doctrine. The second understood that the intellectual learning acquired by women – through education – was necessary to help men and not to compete with them. And the third hinged on the understanding that women had to be good domestic managers who could collaborate in the economic support of the family and in the transmission of knowledge to their children.

The setting up of the Institut de Cultura and the Biblioteca Popular de la Dona was an unprecedented success, as can be seen from the registers of women readers who met every Sunday after mass and the sharp increase in demand for teachers. They soon had to leave the parish to move first to Elisabets’ street and then to what is now Sant Pere Més Baix street in Barcelona. It is documented that until July 1936, the library had a collection of more than 23,000 volumes and the Institute taught some 6,200 pupils.


Forced exile and change of political paradigm

Francesca Bonnemaison believed that history offered her a second chance to amplify her women ideals, and began to campaign after the proclamation of the Second Republic. On the advice of Francesc Cambó, she set up the women’s section of the conservative Regionalist League. From then on, she worked tirelessly to spread her model of womanhood, based on religion, knowledge, and family.

But everything changed in July 1936. After the failed coup d’état and the subsequent outbreak of the Civil War, everything became polarised. Members of the Regionalist League – let’s remember, a conservative Catalanist party – would become collaborators of fascism through internal espionage and press offices abroad – such as the one in Paris – which would devote themselves to producing content to explain Franco’s new narrative to the world.

The “proletarianisation” carried out by the anarchist insurrection at the beginning of the conflict at the Institut de la Cultura and Biblioteca Popular de la Dona made Bonnemaison realise that her life was in danger. That insecurity took her to Paris, where she became the personal secretary of Francesc Cambó, whose godmother she was. Abroad, she worked tirelessly to spread the ideals of the insurrectionists, as she was confident that they would once again guarantee order and social stability, with which her ideal of a woman fitted in perfectly.

When she returned to Barcelona in 1941, she realised that the Franco dictatorship had organised society around the family and along Catholic lines, but that most women had been forced to give up their jobs to devote themselves exclusively to domestic and family tasks. In this way, women were considered inferior to men and had no autonomy whatsoever.

Discovering that the victors practised this ideological sectarianism, together with an unprecedented aggressiveness towards anything Catalan, plunged her into a deep depression from which she never recovered. Even more so when the Institut de la Cultura and the Biblioteca Popular de la Dona were controlled by the Falange and the latter devoted itself to completely distorting the founding spirit of that Friday in 1909.

Although it is true that Francesca Bonnemaison’s ideal of woman was of conservative and paternalistic inspiration, we must never forget that she gave wings to thousands of Barcelona women with the creation of her institutions, long before the mythical ‘Fawcett Library’ in London or the ‘Biblioteque Marguerite Durand’ in Paris. Francesca Bonnemaison was a pioneer in her time, creating the necessary elements to empower women, an essential step towards social equality.


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Female leadership

5 min read

Women hold only 34% of managerial positions in Spain.


Leading with empathy

5 min read

The leadership that has stood out is that of the charismatic leader.


Catalan instagramers

4 min read

There are hundreds, and at 11Onze we have selected just fifteen of them.

Food prices are still skyrocketing and have grown by 15.4% although the overall inflation has decreased. Is it possible to eat well and well priced? At 11Onze we propose 11 dishes to get the most out of your budget.


Data from the INE (National Statistics Institute) reveal a fact that people had already noticed, for sure, when shopping: that food prices do not stop rising. This has caused, according to the OCU, that 90% of the citizens modify their shopping habits, that they buy 23% less food, that they have reduced by 18% the purchase of fruit and vegetables and that 3 out of 10 have limited the purchase of meat and fish.

This may cause families’ diets to shift towards cheaper and perhaps less healthy purchases. Reviewing the data, there are basic products such as milk that have risen by 33.4%, eggs by 22.9% or potatoes by 18.9%. Meats went up between 13% and 25%, while legumes and vegetables went up between 11% and 15%. Fruit has risen by 4%, but it should be borne in mind that it is one of the most expensive products.


Freezing, the great ally

So what to do? There is a risk of tending to a diet based on processed foods, pasta and flour, which have better prices but are worse for our health. For this reason, it is advisable to take advantage of the offers to buy in bulk, which allows to reduce the cost per unit and to freeze the leftovers. Obviously, it is necessary to take advantage of the offers of fresh meat and fish at a discount due to a near expiration date, because we can freeze them directly. But this can also be done with other products. Cheeses such as cheddar or mozzarella can be frozen if you plan to use them for melting. You can also freeze butter, or boiled eggs. And as far as fruit is concerned, it is best to use it to make compote or cakes that can be frozen.


Traditional recipes against inflation

If you don’t want to give up traditional flavors or healthy cooking, you can dive into the Corpus of Catalan Culinary Heritage. You’ll find recipes that make the most of the most expensive ingredients. We have selected 11.

  • Omelette with juice. An omelette stuffed with vegetables or potatoes and accompanied by sofrito. A simple dish, to dip bread.
  • Chicken with chanfaina. One of the least expensive and healthy meats, accompanied by one of the most common resources of Catalan cuisine.
  • Chickpeas with cod and spinach. The legumes are the base product, the cod and spinach complement them.
  • Onion soup. A good way to take advantage of the dry bread and make a tasty soup.
  • Sausage with pears. With some ripe pears we can prepare a dish of contrasting flavors with one of the classic meat dishes in Catalonia.
  • Scudella of pumpkin and beans. Little meat and a good spoon dish.
  • Escudella Montserrat. Conger eel (or similar) and cauliflower are the stars of this dish that also has rice, chickpeas and noodles.
  • Rice in the casserole. A classic of Catalan cuisine and a good way to serve very good dishes with a modest investment.
  • Cut-up rice. If you buy a whole chicken to roast, take advantage of the trimmings to make this dish.
  • Rice a la Piula. With a base of anchovies, a good rice with a seafood flavor.
  • Sardines with potatoes and smashed eggs. If you like the famous “huevos estrellados”, here you have a version with sardines.

This is just one of the thousands of recipes in the Culinary Corpus of Catalan Heritage. Very often, our ancestors used to cook making the most of a small portion of meat or fish. Accompanied with legumes, potatoes, vegetables or rice, the portions that could be served with that more expensive ingredient multiplied. What they did not know then, perhaps, is that this also made the dish a nutritionally more complete and healthier meal.

Now, with food inflation rising to 15.4%, perhaps it is a good time to recover this way of cooking. Surely, in addition to saving money, we will gain health.

And you, what recipes do you prepare at home?


11Onze is the community fintech of Catalonia. Open an account by downloading the super app El Canut for Android or iOS and join the revolution!

If you liked this article, we recommend you read:


Learn to cook

4 min read

The important thing is to learn to cook repurposing each of the ingredients.


Christmas cooking

2 min read

We can improve our meals with a more balanced and economical cuisine.


Catalan products

3 min read

Our hyperconnection goes far beyond the digital realm.

App Store Google Play