The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Minimum wage

Alfred Sant Thursday, 20 June 2019, 07:57 Last update: about 2 months ago

The leaders of the EU’s Mediterranean states did well during their Malta meeting to focus on the minimum wage in Europe. Their discussion showed that they consider it as a powerful tool to at last start reducing the social divergences that have been allowed to increase in the EU during recent years. This has happened between regions in the same country, as well as between different areas in the north, south and east of the continent.


However perhaps the emphasis at the meeting did not need to be put on the introduction of the minimum wage concept in the EU. Actually, few are the countries which still do not have it.

It might have been better to focus on the need for all countries, in coordinated fashion and simultaneously, to raise their minimum wage by say, 5 per cent. Certainly, there should not be established one minimum wage covering all of Europe. But all member states should have an own minimum wage. Then it would make sense to have this increased at the same rate for all. That would truly go in the direction of giving priority to social justice in Europe.


Computer problems

From what I hear, it seems like I am not the only one to get bothered and angry when for every little nothing, the computer system I use takes off on its own to introduce the most recent so called “updates”. It would have been doing well, but somebody... who knows where located... would decide for it and for you as the user, that it needs to improve performance. That implies a waste of one’s time and not infrequently, some mix-up or other.

Meanwhile, often in order to keep on track work that spans different computer systems, you find it imperative to navigate with a plethora of passwords. They need to be complex, otherwise they will not do. Just make one mistake as you deploy them, and the problems that arise will drive you to the extremities of confusion. One just cannot tell any longer who is actually causing the problem – yourself? the computer? or the directives that regulate how the latter operates as they issue from thousands of kilometres away?

Is there some way by which we can go back to the times when “your” computer was allowed to become obsolete in peace, so long as it continued to give an acceptable level of service?  


American hegemony?

In the manner by which international relations have been developing since Donald Trump became President of the US, it seems as if the rest of the world must decide whether to go along with the efforts of this country to assert  global hegemony, or if not, how to respond.

Among others, the treatment accorded by the Trump administration to the international agreements on climate change and on Iran’s nuclear potential show clearly that the US are prepared to ensure that their word goes, even when a big majority of the world’s other states range against.

This situation can become extremely dangerous, not least because the US economy is hardly doing badly – which might fire further the confidence of the American government in its own power, in the end provoking tough responses. Given such a climate, it becomes easy for grossly mistaken decisions to be made, by those who feel provoked or by the US.

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