Nos­trae cul­pae

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS - JP Fabri

ur sen­ti­ments of anger, grief, dis­ap­point­ment and sad­ness af­ter what hap­pened last Mon­day have been pointed to­wards our po­lit­i­cal class in line with demo­cratic be­hav­iour. This is a key el­e­ment of rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy that po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity is sought at the high­est lev­els. As vot­ers, we all de­mand that the high­est stan­dards of ac­count­abil­ity and in­tegrity are up­held by the very po­lit­i­cal class we elect.

The lat­est events in Malta and what has hap­pened on an in­ter­na­tional level fol­low­ing the elec­tion of Trump in Amer­ica, amongst oth­ers, got me think- ing.

Is the po­lit­i­cal class a re­flec­tion of our­selves?

Are we look­ing in the mir­ror when we are crit­i­cis­ing our po­lit­i­cal class?

If we re­ally want to see a change in our coun­try and our po­lit­i­cal class, maybe we should start chang­ing our­selves at an in­di­vid­ual level, in our own deal­ings.

As a pop­u­la­tion, in gen­eral, we are a prime ex­am­ple of arm­chair crit­ics and of throw­ing rocks from our glass houses.

We need to change from within and at all lev­els of so­ci­ety. Maybe we are the ones who have be­come truly self­ish and plac­ing our my­opic in­ter­ests ahead of ev­ery­thing else. We are fo­cused on wealth rather than ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Our fix­a­tion with GDP growth is a re­flec­tion of this. Maybe it is high time we start a dis­cus­sion on qual­ity of life; on hu­man-cen­tric de­vel­op­ment on qual­ity growth. Short­ter­mism does not guar­an­tee long-term sus­tain­abil­ity, ac­tu­ally, it erodes long-term growth. We there­fore need to start a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion and re­frame the growth de­bate mov­ing from quan­tity to qual­ity. Growth is not an end in it­self but a means to en­sure that we have an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety that is fo­cused on in­creas­ing hu­man de­vel­op­ment.

In par­al­lel, civil rights are not only based on equal­ity of mar- riage and mi­nor­ity rights. The strides we have made are to be com­mended but we must not lose sight on the very ba­sics. We need to en­sure that the ba­sics are truly there, that our demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions are in place and work­ing. We need to en­trench and deepen our democ­racy and our re­spect to the rule of law. We need well-func­tion­ing in­sti­tu­tions; in­clud­ing a pro­fes­sional civil ser­vice, an in­de­pen­dent and trust­wor­thy po­lice force and a strong ju­di­ciary. With­out these ba­sics foun­da­tion, our econ­omy will fal­ter and so will our stan­dard of liv­ing.

With­out these, talk of niche in­dus­tries will re­main an il­lu­sion.

Our own in­di­vid­ual self­ish­ness is ob­struct­ing us in our quest to achieve com­mu­nal har­mony. Yet, we all have the abil­ity to change this; each and ev­ery one of us has the pos­si­bil­ity of con­tribut­ing.

We are all lead­ers in our own way, in our own path of life and we can all start mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

If you are a par­ent, im­bue your chil­dren with val­ues, re­spect and a sense of right­eous­ness.

If you are an ed­u­ca­tor, en­sure that to­mor­row’s gen­er­a­tion has the ca­pac­ity to be crit­i­cal and an­a­lyt­i­cal and to have a sense of ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship.

If you are a youth, be­come crit­i­cal and an­a­lyt­i­cal of the en­vi­ron­ment around you. Read, re­search and widen your knowl­edge and thought. Form an opin­ion and do not be afraid to share it and de­bate it. Be ac- tive in your ap­proach to cit­i­zen­ship and act on things you do not agree with. Be the change you want to see.

If you are an em­ployee, re­spect your em­ployer in your every­day work; be dili­gent, give your due share and ful­fil your­self in your work.

If you are an em­ployer, treat your em­ploy­ees as hu­mans and not cost-cen­tres. Give your em­ploy­ees the right ex­am­ple by en­gag­ing in clean, hon­est busi­ness. Also, treat your cus­tomers hon­estly too and add value at each of your in­ter­ac­tion with them.

If you are a politi­cian, then lead by ex­am­ple and know that some­one is al­ways watch­ing you and the stan­dards you set.

Let us all be cat­a­lysts for change in our own daily life. Only then we will have a po­lit­i­cal class that re­flects the so­ci­ety we want to live in.

The po­lit­i­cal class is usu­ally a re­flec­tion of the broader so­ci­ety.

For that to change, we all have to.

JP Fabri is an econ­o­mist and a vis­it­ing as­sis­tant lec­turer at the Univer­sity of Malta

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