The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

Social classes

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 15 October 2020, 07:40 Last update: about 9 days ago

Somebody remarked how the concept of “social class” gets little to no consideration in academic study. It is seen as antiquated in a globalised world which depends on the internet for its comunications and where service sectors dominate the advanced economies.

I still need to check whether this is fully the case. If yes, I would think that doing so is a big mistake. Obviously, social class as conceptualised when Marx and Engels were around does not fit today’s equation. Yet the understanding promoted by Marxism of how distinctions between strata of a population could best be recognised according to differences in how people earn an economic living still make sense.

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Economies have been transformed and the make-up of man’s economic relationships has changed greatly. These are the same relationships which provide him then with a social identity. Which is why a given social class develops a sense of being and interests that differ from those of other classes. Today’s social classes differ from those anchored in nineteenth century realities. Yet, a “class” in the social profile of the community today is still recognizable as such however.

Possibly, in the commitment to show how greatly the world has changed, we fail to accept that it has also stayed quite “the same”. It is a pity that only the populists seem to have understood this.

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CAPITAL CONTROLS

Capital movements between different countries all over the world were liberalised as part of “reforms” undertaken when Reagan and Thatcher ruled the roost as godparents of globalisation. National authorities would cease exercising restraint over how companies, banks and individuals got millions and billions of funds inside and outside frontiers.

Eventually it was discovered that with the new procedures, among other sins, money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and  support for terrorism had grown mightily...

New controls started being exercised, which were no longer enforced across national borders but according to the nature of transactions. In the past, controls were national in scope and applied according to well-defined rules. Today they are applied project by project according to regulations that can be as restrictive as yesterday’s.

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PROSPECTUS

Small matters count... though one should take care not to exagerrate their capacity to provide needed backup.

As a way of encouraging the development of a single capital market in Europe, the European Commission had published a regulation that prescribes the setting out of a detailed prospectus whenever a company makes a call for people to invest new capital in it, as part of its shareholding or by way of debentures. In the prospectus, they would need to give many details about its operations and the outlook for its proposed investment.

Now, the need is being felt in response to the corona virus pandemic, to make such procedures less cumbersome, without diluting the protection being afforded to prospective investors. It is a commendable idea, intended as it is to encourage the mobilisation of more private investment in order to finance the economic recovery that has become so vital. Meanwhile however, questions cannot but emerge. At times of maximum stress, how sensible is it to reduce the reach of procedures that seek to inform investors about a proposed outlay?

 

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