The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Capitalism

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 7 December 2023, 08:00 Last update: about 4 months ago

Like it or hate it, one has to admit that capitalism possesses an extraordinary ability, according to circumstances, to develop and spread the activities in which it has (successfully) established itself. A long time ago it used to be considered as a very powerful tool for the use of members of the monied classes in order to increase their wealth and enhance their social power. It was also seen as an effective means by which the poor and the oppressed could continue to be exploited by the strong and the rich.

Today governments are practising capitalism according to the dogma of the free market. Among them are governments run by communist parties which up to some decades ago were among capitalism’s most bitter foes.

On the other hand we get to hear arguments by economists and diplomats (most of whom... true... are liberals or neo-liberals, but not all) who with statistics to show, argue how having been given a push by capitalism, billions of people who were living in the depths of misery were helped to reach more decent levels of living.

Without accepting eyes closed all that  we get told, it is evident that discourse about capitalism can no longer be phrased in the same language that was employed when I was a young man.

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LITERARY CONTROVERSIES

I was surprised by the controversy that was recently in the news about modern Maltese literature. Indeed, as far as I know, this has been a very tranquil area, which lost much of the interest it used to attract because the number of active readers has greatly contracted.

That young people emerge who are sufficiently interested in Maltese literature to write about and criticise it, anonymously or quite openly, is for me a very important step forward, no matter how the criticism is expressed. I cannot understand why the National Book Council -- if I understood correctly what took place -- sought to censure them in any way. All criticisms that might be made of Maltese literature, especially if it is done with “commitment”,  serve to promote an interest in contemporary writing which unfortunately is now seen mostly as a hobby and a pastime.                    

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SLAPP OR NOT

Some time ago, a Maltese financial services agent brought a court case in France against the France 2 TV station due to how they had shown him in a programme dedicated to investigative journalism. He was portrayed as a person illicitly using his “political” connections to peddle influence. I had seen the programme and truly that was what one could conclude from what was presented.

Initially the French courts accepted France 2’s claim not to have to show the full sequence of the interview as recorded with the agent. The latter continued to insist  that this be done. The courts relented and when they saw and heard through the interview, they concluded that in fact, the Maltese operator had been set up in a completely false manner.

France 2 is hardly a small-time journalist. Even so, I believe the question still arises: This was not really a SLAPP action but it could have been one. We cannot on all issues unfailingly have trust in the good faith of journalistic reports, can we?

                       

 

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