Joe Farrugia, who is also Director General of the Malta Employers’ Association gave this contribution to the discussion on Saturday. Scroll down for the economy chapter in Repubblika’s new manifesto.
4. A New, Honest and Sustainable Economy
Rather than proposing a specific economic theory, we are hereby listing all those values that we feel should guide economic efforts.
Repubblika considers that economy is not an aim in itself but a means to allow the Maltese people to move forward and to have a good and sustainable income.
Just like public life, the economy should be kneaded with ethical values, guided by a moral compass, and inspired by a number of values that include honesty, integrity, sustainability, inclusivity and responsibility.
We do not want an economy where the few become rich by taking the wealth of the many, such as the country’s landscape, village and town cores, public space, social capital and reputation.
We do not want an economy based on a programme that is designed for a single legislature with the intention that on the eve of the election it can paint a pretty picture without any real consideration for what will follow later.
We do not deserve an economy that is pumped up with steroids in order to grow quickly but which some time later, leaves us all the poorer.
We believe that it is the Government’s duty to govern and to act less like a salesperson; a Government that is less set on selling our riches and more focused on improving the common good.
The crisis of the past two years has shown that our country needs to focus on creating an economy that no longer depends on economic activities that exist mostly or only because of the dishonesty of those who want to hide their identity, nationality, or legal or financial obligations.
Malta cannot act as a shelter for the world’s pirates. It has to fight against Mafia infiltration which has taken up proportions that have never been seen before in our country. Repubblika calls upon social partners, the entrepreneurial community, expert academics and the Government to think creatively of new economic initiatives which provide sustainable development to our country’s economic future.
We maintain however that we mature in our culture when we plan out Malta’s economy and present these considerations in preparation for this type of planning:
- Economic growth that is measured by the traditional expression: ‘More always means better’ is not sustainable. The common good has to be measured by other means such as people’s quality of life, physical and environmental health, mental health, the limitation of inequality, equal opportunities, access to cultural and intellectual wealth, and so on.
- The use of imported human resources should not be considered as a simple economic transaction. The needs and human rights of all persons who play an active role in our economy must be considered, as well as the right to family life, the right to participate in the social and economic life of the country. In this sense, the “integration” of persons who come to Malta to work is not the forced transformation of people who were born outside Malta in an imaginary idea of what a Maltese should be like. It should open up the idea of Maltese identity through the participation of all those who live in Malta.
- Maltese culture, environment, customs, language and values are not victims of the economy and should not be considered as its rivals. On the contrary, they themselves provide opportunities.
- We must appreciate that part of Maltese reality that remains unchanged. Malta is small and crowded. An economy that depends on construction, on the exploitation of land and property, on the payment of unsustainable debts on empty or yet unbuilt properties, is a bubble that once burst, will leave irreparable consequences which will seriously handicap future generations. Property development should stop being one of the essential elements of the country’s economy and earnings from property should be re-invested in new and sustainable economic activities.