We are witnessing a pre-election debate about whether the progressism that rules Barcelona is leading to decline. A debate that crosses with a second parallel idea, according to which Catalonia’s independence would also lead to economic paralysis. The latest unemployment figures seem to contradict this. In either case, I would say the problem is less economic vitality than natural. I’m going to take a lightning trip to Barcelona 150 years ago to show how difficult it is to reach consensus in turbulent times and how contradicting economic and social progress can be.