OPINION: THE UNCHANGING BLEATERS

The basic underlying truth of what Malta is: viz a very small island of only 17 miles by 9,
i.e. a country where use of one small square inch of land for one purpose automatically
implies that that square inch is totally lost to other usage/s (the basic “opportunity cost” economic truth). 

The bleating (“qrid” is the Maltese word for it) by several of the so-called local “constituted” bodies (e.g. Malta Chamber, MHRA, Chamber of SME’s, etc), for government to drastically reduce its controls and systems for ever more foreign workers to be brought in by them into Malta to work here, continues unabated.

Much of this is however factually motivated and underpinned by only one simple thing, viz that they and their enterprises continue to function and rake in the profits as they did when economic and social times were different. None of the recently read about requests exhibit any in-depth analysis and study not only of the labour market, but also of the now, the medium term, and the long term demographic and social realities of the country.

Take, for example, the overall population situation. Malta now has a registered locally resident population of around 516,000. If one sees how this figure has grown exponentially over the last five years then one very easily deduces that it is a development which has been a leading impetus of land and property development, loss of agricultural land, increased traffic on our roads, increased occupancy in our prisons by foreigners, and general environmental and social degradation.

There is in Malta a fixation about market growth and endless economic expansion which is at total loggerheads with the basic underlying truth of what Malta is: viz a very small island of only 17 miles by 9, i.e. a country where use of one small square inch of land for one purpose automatically implies that that square inch is totally lost to other usage/s (the basic “opportunity cost” economic truth).  More buildings mean less farmland, more and ever higher apartments mean less fresh air, more cars on the road mean ever more traffic jams, pollution, and lousier commuting systems, all totally irrespective of what Minister Aaron Bugeja, and Infrastructure Malta, may be keen on in their craze to spend the idiotically Euro funded €700 million spending chest.

Malta needs much less of most things and not more. It needs less foreign workers not more being brought in to work in our tourism industry, which badly needs capping measures in areas like the building of more hotels or the annual arrival of tourists numbers. Malta needs less operating building and construction companies, especially those who continue to exist only because they are fleecing alive so many foreign workers. Malta needs less supermarkets which take up ever more land and still rake up their prices ever higher, rather than competition forcing them towards substantial reductions.

On the other hand, we need more of certain things. We need more efficient Maltese-speaking doctors and nurses in all of our hospitals. We need more, and much better paid, and of course more competent, teachers in our primary and secondary school systems. We need much, much more, farmland, and attracting to agriculture and fisheries more young locals, and also ensuring that the loosing of valuable land to speculation and building drastically stops.

So the reality is one of needing much less of a lot of things, and more of other things. But, of course, the eternal bleaters never stop to make such considerations or distinctions.

June 24, 2018, Steve Bonello, The Sunday Times of Malta.
“Transport Minister Ian Borg seems intent on removing every last tree on
our roads in his (also mostly hapless) efforts to get us from A to B.”