The Malta Independent 16 May 2021, Sunday

Tradition contrasted with the new

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 12 April 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

At all times, confrontations arise between old customs and ones that might not be new but which already seem different to those of old. The clash is frequently experienced as a tension between traditional and new approaches, or as an inter-generational stand-off.

Among living organisms, “man” has been upfront to experience such transformations. Other beasts, even if close to “him” in the evolutionary tree, maintain their ways of doing things for long generations and they change them mostly in response to changes in the environment where they live.

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The likelihood is that with the development of a complex social life and then the arts of speech,  “man” condemned “him”self to an ongong confrontation between the traditional and the new.

But was this really a condemnation or to the contrary, an approach that ensured the predominance of “man”...  as well as one which underwrote “his” potential to secure a better life?

In the absence of competition between the traditional and the new, it is likely that human society would have ended up stagnant or worse, without a future.  

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A MINIMUM TAX RATE

Establishing a minimum rate of corporate taxation on profits across countries might appear as a serious and powerful measure by which to rein in tax evasion. It is described as a counter to the general damage caused to all by countries which allegedly compete in setting different taxation rates.

Although the overall majority of views expressed by the financial gurus of the West seem now to favour such theses, it is still the case that the measure creates dilemmas which cannot be completely skimmed over.

Like for instance: Will a minimum rate of taxation create a state of affairs where all will have to follow the example of a country like France say, by which government expenditure as a proportion of the national economy has continued to rise, and correspondingly, the tax burden?

Or: Will the measure increase the spread of inequalities between the south and the north – the periphery and the centre – of Europe, because it curtails the ability of less advanced zones to compete across the board?

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TOO PRONE TO SECRECY

In our society, it is a problem (about which I have already written) that in even “ordinary” social and economic management, we allow too many developments to remain hidden. Or at least if not hidden, shuffled to the side so that few people will be able to get to know about them.

My view is that the most effective management is one that operates “openly” – in the sense that all those who are participating in a project know well what others employed in the same business are doing and  how the input of those involved ties in with that of all others. So, all can pursue the same direction according to the situation they are in and thus collaborate in an informed and intelligent manner with the rest.

However the model frequently followed is one based on the idea that one should only know what one needs to know – most times estimated minimally.

For dubious or secret activities, this method presumably makes sense. Not for valuable projects that carry a wide significance. 

 

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