The Malta Independent 7 December 2019, Saturday

Economic prospects

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 11 November 2019, 07:11 Last update: about 25 days ago

In reality, the European Commission’s autumn 2019 report on Malta’s economic prospects had next to nothing new to say. As we knew, the economy has continued to grow at a very satisfactory rate. Even the question regarding as and how it will be throttling down in coming years to a slower, still sustainable speed, appears to be non-problematic.

By all standards, this is an encouraging state of affairs. The government would be correct to claim that a main factor in the progress being registered has been the economic direction it pursued.

What is also good to note, as the Commission did, is that invesment in the island has been carried forward at a fast pace. When investment declines, the foundations from which future progress can take off are not being laid. In the present scenario though, it seems as if the possibility of such an outcome can be excluded.

Yet I see one disquieting feature in the overall situation. Is it true or not that our economy has gotten too tied perhaps to financial and related services? Do we have too many motors of activity propped into one basket?

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HAPPINESS AND THE MALTESE PEOPLE

Statistics published last week about how satisfied European peoples are with their life, showed that the Maltese are among the most satisfied with their financial situation; and most satisfied among Europeans with their existing personal relationships.

Don’t you find this curious? I asked a friend of mine who happens to be an expert in social media. For despite all the satisfaction that the Maltese feel, on their social media they’re all the time criticising, accusing, disparaging, undermining, name calling each other...

There’s no contradiction in that, my friend replied. It’s happening everywhere. People see nothing wrong in using verbal violence against other people. They have gotten accustomed to it and they all find it acceptable.

But as far as we’re concerned, shouldn’t it be different once we’re so satisfied with our lives?

He did not deign to respond.

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CONDEMNED

The Nobel prize for literature accorded to Peter Handke gave rise to controversy because, while recognized as a very good writer, Handke continued to publicly back Balkan leaders who were found guilty of serious war crimes.

Should the opinions and positions adopted by writers – by all artists actually – affect the ways by which we appreciate their output? Should this output not be evaluated on its own, and not simply sidelined because of facts relating to the unacceptable behaviour of its creator?

Personally I do not see a clearcut reply to the question.

Perhaps one can arrive at some clearer view after having investigated the life and works of artists who ended up outside the pale... like the poet Ezra Pound... the novelists Knut Hamsun, Ernst Junger, Celine and Robert Brasillach (executed by firing squad for having given full help to the Nazis when they took over control of his country)... the composers Respighi and Carl Orf... the sculptor Arno Breker...

Among these, some are still given full attention. Others have been totally shunted aside. Up to now, that is.

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