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What's up, Europe? Insecurity in Spain

A euro coin with the Spanish national flag in the background. Although Spanish culture frowns upon talking about money, a financial crisis there is teaching everyone a little more about economics.

Kai Ryssdal: We've got a theory that goes something like this: Man, all those European debt crisis stories sure start to sound the same after a while.

So today -- and for the foreseeable future -- something different, in which we make the rounds over there to figure out what the actual news is-- what really matters.

First, to Spain, where there's new talk of a multi-billion-dollar banking bailout that the government can't quite figure out how to pay for. We got journalist Miguel-Anxo Murado on the phone this morning in Madrid and we got to talking about what matters more to Spaniards right now -- bond yields or who's winning in the La Liga soccer standings?

Miguel-Anxo Murado: Well both things are important. I think for the first time, bond yields are almost as important. Even if people didn't know much about it until recently -- they didn't know the meaning of these arcane terms, but now they are becoming commonplace part of our everyday life.

Ryssdal: What's more in the headlines over there? Is it Spanish problems or Greek problems?

Murado: Actually the irony is that Spain's crisis has very little to do with that of Greece, but we are of course very conscious that if something goes wrong with Greece people will immediately look to Spain to see what happens here and whether we are next. This doesn't make a lot of sense in economic terms, but in psychological terms it does. We know that and we know that everything that happens in Greece affects, immediately affects, Spain's bond yields and borrowing costs.

Ryssdal: Yeah tell me about that psychological effect. Are people walking around talking about this all the time?

Murado: Well they do, of course. This is quite new for a country like Spain in which the economy has never been very important. Even culturally, talking about money in Spain was frowned upon, has always been frowned upon. So having to talk about the economy is something new, but it has now become as I said commonplace. Well, they say economic crises is god's way to teach us economics, so it seems we are learning the hard way.

Ryssdal: I hadn't heard that one before. Miguel Murado in Madrid. Miguel, thank you so much.

Murado: My pleasure.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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