It is also, I think, responsible for why Portugal remains largely stagnant while any Portuguese immigrant abroad seems to have a head start on excelling in their field (Yes, weirdly, I did too. The odds against even being published in the bad old days were overwhelming. And most literary careers last 3 books, not 30 something. And I’m not done yet. And in indie, maybe monetary success will come, too.)
You see in Portugal being seen to work excessively or at something dirty, or having enough humility to start again if a career goes bang would be demeaning. It would rob you of your dignity and leave you open
to predation or at least social opprobrium. Some people still do it, but
they’re rare and exceedingly strong-willed. Meanwhile the country, as a
whole, lurches about with no innovation, no enterprise worth the name.
And from my glimpses of Spain, it might be worse there.
Here, picking yourself up from failure and starting over is lauded.* And how many have wound up agonizing-to-the-socialists rich by having an idea and getting their hands dirty making it work?
I suspect that Portuguese attitude is connected somewhat to the "You must go to college OR YOU'LL BE A FAILURE GETTING ALL DIRTY AND SWEATY AT AN ICKY JOB!" attitude that's helped get so many people in debt to their eyebrows getting a degree worth less than the paper it's printed on.
Part of what we dealt with, in hell-journey through Spain was the fact
that every single bureaucrat, janitor, information booth lady, even the
security guards/police of which Spain has a lot in surplus to
requirements, was “holding him/herself up in their dignity.” Which
meant not bending enough to try to understand what two people going
through, who spoke no Spanish but only English and Portuguese might be
asking or wanted.
Ever dealt with a pissy bureaucrat who thought you expecting them to do their damned job was insulting? And they'd try to make you pay for it?
Interesting piece, go read it.
*Except from the socialist/nanny-state assholes who want you to see yourself as needing to be taken care of by the State.