Business consultants know what Theory ‘X’ and Theory ‘Y’ are all about. These concepts were developed by management guru Douglas McGregor in 1960 so that their respective basic assumptions would serve as powerful behavioural models in the organizational structure of a trading corporation.
As I look from outside the periphery of local party politics I cannot help concluding that McGregor’s assumptions could fit in comfortably if adapted to Malta’s political scenario. Let me explain.
Theories ‘X’ - Most citizens distrust politicos and try to ignore their utterances whenever possible. Citizens are continually coerced and often need to be lied to, at times even threatened with sanctions if they show the slightest disagreement with government actions. As a result they become so disenchanted that they tend to feel indifferent and insouciant about whatever happens in the country even when happenings are not really that bad. In short: pessimism.
Theory ‘Y’ - Most citizens respect politicians and enjoy conversing, even debating, with them. Moderate and balanced in their criticism, they expect no more than what is normal and reasonable from politicians, particularly those in government. They feel that life generally treats them fairly, providing them with opportunities for improvement, independently of their voting inclinations at general elections. In short: optimism.
Now, ask yourself these two questions: (1) is today’s scenario in Malta consonant with Theory ‘X’ or with Theory ‘Y’? (2) Even more importantly, which of the two theories appears likely to prevail if and when we do have a change of government?
Here is my own answer:
(1) Spinning is already wrong in politics. But lying? Unforgiveable. GonziPN has camouflaged the truth about the real state of the economy and government finances so often and for so long that thinking people these days hardly believe any government statement on anything, and when they do, it’s always with a fistful of salt. By way of illustration, take the recent malicious allegation by the Prime Minister concerning Labour and minimum wage earners being singled out for deprivation from the annual COLA award given to all employees to compensate somewhat for cost of living increases over the previous year. And all this when Labour secured the agreement of the trade unions!
This was followed by a sally forth of Gonzi’s heir apparent, Simon Busuttil, with a preposterous prediction that inside a year or so a Labour government would be driven to go cap in hand to the EU, the ECB and the IMF seeking a bailout to rescue it from a certain sovereign debt default. In trying to provide his calculations (The Times 3.10.12) , exaggerated as in fact they were, Busuttil’s total did not even reach an amount exceeding his government’s budget deficit this year alone.
No surprise that the Maltese electorate nowadays can be classified in Theory ‘X’‘s category.
(2) Today’s PL is a lot different from the MLP of a generation ago. Certainly more progressive and in tune with global and European realities which were then impossible even to conceive as likely to happen. But they did.
It is a party which has experienced a number of electoral defeats partly due to internal strife, No more now. Its only loyalty is to the nation, not to cliques nourishing the party’s coffers.
It still believes that the social redistribution function of economic management comes a very close second to growth.
Clearly the ingredients of a Theory ‘Y’ citizenry.
Note for ‘THE LARK ‘who found last week’s contribution difficult to understand. It tried to bring out differing, yet balanced, views extant on the subject of the statutory minimum wage quantum. I trust that today’s piece is lighter in style.