Ilu żmien jintqal kif l-ideoloġija mietet mal-waqgħa tal-ħajt ta’ Berlin u bil-firxa tal-globalizzazzjoni. Qatt ma emmint din il-ħrafa għalkemm nibqa’ impressjonat b’kemm nies jemmnuha.

Ħsibt f’hekk din il-ġimgħa waqt seduta f’kumitat tal-Parlament Ewropew fejn intqal kif ħaddiema u impjegati sfaw bla protezzjoni fid-dinja tax-xogħol. It-trade unions tilfu mis-saħħa tagħhom. Il-liġijiet li kienu jħarsu lill-impjegati ddgħajfu bil-kbir. B’riżultat, il-prekarjat żdied. Is-sigurtà tax-xogħol naqset għal kulħadd.

L-ideoloġija kienet/għadha mod kif in-nies tifhem x’inhuma l-interessi tagħha u kif tista’, f’koperazzjoni wiesgħa ma’ membri oħra tal-komunità, tħares l-istess interessi.

Ħaġa stramba kif fiż-żmien li l-ideoloġija ġiet dikjarata mejta, l-interessi tan-nies tax-xogħol qalgħu daqqa qawwija.

Fl-istess żmien, l-inugwaljanzi fl-Ewropa u f’postijiet oħra tad-dinja baqgħu jiżdiedu.

Jekk veru li l-ideoloġija mietet, ikun jaqbel li naraw kif se nerġgħu nagħtuha l-ħajja.

***

L-ambjent

Qed insibha kurjuża l-konklużjoni ta’ ċerti nies li l-ambjent ħa fl-aħħar post essenzjali fil-kontroversja politika Maltija. Mhux għax ma jixraqlux. Il-ħniżrijiet li twettqu matul is-snin biex jimminaw u jeqirdu l-ambjent naturali ta’ pajjiżna f’isem il-qligħ tal-flus huma fost l-agħar skandli li ġarrabna.

Imma ili s-snin ninnota kif meta l-ekonomija tkun miexja tajjeb, il-kontroversji jqumu l-aktar dwar l-għoli tal-ħajja. Meta anki l-għoli tal-ħajja ma jkunx qed iqanqal wisq tgergir, il-kummenti jqumu dwar il-korruzzjoni u/jew id-droga. Forsi l-għajta tal-ambjent ħadet ir-riħ għax anki dawn l-aħħar tnejn donnhom żvintaw dan l-aħħar bħala kawża għall-battalji?

M’hemm xejn aħjar milli l-ambjent jibda jiddomina x-xena. Imma li minn hekk tqis li sar element essenzjali tal-politika lokali jidhirli sa issa li hu pass kbir wisq.

***

Bejgħ u xiri

Fejn għandha tħallas it-taxxa tagħha kumpanija li topera f’numru ta’ pajjiżi? Jista’ jkollha diversi stazzjonijiet f’pajjiżi differenti fejn tipproduċi partijiet mill-bejgħ tagħha. Jista’ jkollha uffiċċji tal-marketing, tal-finanzi, tal-istokkjar fi nħawi diversi.

L-argument li qed jitqanqal hu jekk kumpanija bħal din għandhiex tħallas it-taxxa tagħha fuq fejn qed tbigħ u tagħmel il-profitt. Jew xi mkien ieħor?

Hawn iqumu mistoqsijiet dwar kif qed jiġu kkalkolati l-ispejjeż tal-kumpanija, speċjalment meta partijiet tal-prodott jinħadmu f’pajjiż u jintbagħtu fil-pajjiż fejn qed jitlesta l-prodott finali. Min se jivverifika li l-ispiża biex tinħadem dik il-parti mhix qed tiġi ċċarġjata bil-għoli jew bil-baxx minn pajjiż għall-ieħor, ħalli fejn il-prodott jispiċċa jinbiegħ, il-profitt li jsir jintwera hemm bħala ftit jew ħafna skont il-“bżonn”?

Huma konsiderazzjonijiet bħal dawn li qed iqajmu pressjoni biex fl-Ewropa, il-pajjiżi kollha jużaw l-istess bażi ta’ kontijiet dwar dħul u spiża għall-finijiet ta’ taxxa.

English Version – IDEOLOGY

We’ve long been told that ideology died when the Berlin wall fell and globalisation spread. I never believed this fairy story but have always been impressed by the fact that so many did.

I remembered the claim during a sitting of a European Parliament committee at which speakers described the loss of their rights by workers and employees. Trade unions have been drained of their strength. Laws that safeguarded workers’ positions were largely diluted. As a result, jobs became more precarious. Job security declined for one and all.

Ideology was/still is a way by which people understand the nature of their interests in society and how they can protect these interests through a widespread cooperation with other members of the community.

It is strange that just when the interests of working people came under strong attack, the death of ideology was being proclaimed.

Meanwhile, inequalities continued to increase in Europe and elsewhere.

If it is true that ideology has died the death, the time has come to see about resurrecting it.

***

THE ENVIRONMENT

I find curious the conclusion arrived at by certain people that the environment has at last become a central feature of Maltese political activity. It certainly deserves that spot. The crimes committed over the years to undermine and destroy this country’s environment in the name of profits constitute some of the worst scandals that we lived through.

However, since way back, I noted how when the economy is doing well, controversies revolve mostly around the cost of living. When inflation too is less likely to trigger complaints, next in line by way of negative attention come corruption and/or drugs. Could it be that since even the last two have damped down as battle cries, the environmental call has taken over?

It would be an optimal scenario were the environment to start dominating the political agenda. However to conclude from this that it has become an essential element of local politics still seems to me to be a leap too far.

***

SELLING AND BUYING

Where should a company which operates in a number of countries pay its tax dues? It could have work stations in different places to produce parts of its output for sale. It could have offices to manage marketing, finance and warehousing in different locations.

The question being asked is whether such a company should pay taxes according to where it is making sales and profits, or somewhere else?

Which raises questions regarding how company expenses are being calculated, especially when say, components manufactured in one country are transfered to the country where the final product is being finished. Who shall verify that the transfer price being charged from one country to the other is not being set high or low in order to ensure that the profit where the product is being sold can be declared high or low, as the “need” arises.

Such considerations are putting pressure on European countries to all use the same base to establish company accounts covering receipts and expenditures for tax purposes.