Palma.—Expert economists meeting at a conference in Palma yesterday recommended that businesses in Spain respond much more quickly to the demands of the public at a time of crisis and that the government should follow the “serious” example set in labour reform by countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Ariany University Centre was holding its annual business conference, this year attended by Luis Manuel Calleja and Rolf Campos, teachers of Strategic Management and Economy at the IESE Business School. Also present was Joan Mesquida, ex Secretary of State for Tourism and a former Balearic Minister for the Economy.

Calleja said that austerity and care with finance had to form part of important business strategy at a time of crisis. “Before it was easy to get funding, and now it isn't,” he said. “Business has to involve risk,” Calleja explained “but it's unwise to risk everything on one strategy.” What is needed, he said, was the ability to quickly pick up new trends in consumer demand. “The situation is changing and will never be the same again,” said Calleja. He claimed that an experienced business person knows how important it is to respond to what people need and want.

He said that nowadays, a business can only grow to the extent at which it can produce profitable products and if managers are “up to the minute” with consumer demand.

Calleja insisted that such a deep economic crisis creates profound changes in consumer expectation and that the shopping habits of the past are “gone for ever.” Calleja gave as an example the growth of “low cost” airlines. “They don't offer the same service as traditional airlines but they are cheaper.” Meanwhile, Rolf Campos, in a talk on global economy, said that Spain needs to make major financial and labour law reforms. He claimed the country had only taken some timid steps to undergo change which have not made it easier for employers to contract staff for limited periods of time. He said that although this might not be popular with those who are in work, it will give hope to the more than 5 million unemployed at the moment.