Arcadi Oliveres, economist and tireless activist for ‘a different world’, dies at 75

Catalan economic expert became a revered figure for younger generations in the wake of the financial crisis

The late Catalan economist Arcadi Oliveres (by Pere Francesch)
The late Catalan economist Arcadi Oliveres (by Pere Francesch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 6, 2021 03:55 PM

Arcadi Oliveres, a revered Catalan economist who worked tirelessly for myriad causes, such as the anti-globalization and anti-war movements, and who went on to inspire new generations of activists as a leading anti-austerity advocate in the wake of the economic crisis, has died at the age of 75.

He died of pancreatic cancer, as confirmed by his relatives.

News of his terminal illness two months ago led to a string of homages from grassroots organizations, thousands of messages from friends, supporters and former students, and several media interviews where he laid out, once more, his utopian yet urgent world vision.

In an interview with, he was asked for a common thread uniting all the causes he has joined: "The desire for human well-being. To me, making the world population happy is an obligation, considering that our planet has enough resources [...] for people to live a decent life," he said. 

Born in 1945 in Barcelona, he joined several clandestine organizations during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain, such as the Democratic Students’ Union and the Assembly of Catalonia.

He graduated in economics from the University of Barcelona and later got a PhD. For 36 years, he was a professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where he taught around 17,000 students, according to his own estimates.

As an activist, he joined Christian organizations defending humanist values, such as Pax Christi and Justícia i Pau, of which he was the president from 2001 to 2014.

In the spring of 2011, when Catalonia was in the midst of a severe economic crisis, Oliveres became a revered figure among new generations of activists taking to the streets for the first time, and videos of his interviews dissecting capitalism and advocating for a social economy went viral and earned him widespread recognition.

An advocate for Catalan independence, Oliveres joined the doctor and nun Teresa Forcades in 2013 to create Procés Constituent, a platform aiming to bring together local assemblies to "democratically and peacefully” discuss what kind of country Catalonia should be.