The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 16 August
Mladina: Slovenia missed opportunity to thrive on elderly care
STA, 16 August 2019 - The latest editorial in the left-wing magazine Mladina blames politicians for Slovenia missing the chance to make elderly care a business opportunity as a result of which the system is falling apart, while the initiative is being taken by foreign multinationals.
In a piece headlined Old Age is Business, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž recalls how a decade ago Mladina proposed Slovenia take up the business called old age, turning care for a quality life of an ageing population into a whole new industry.
"That we should have started building adjusted housing developments, created a supply and care sector, developed specialised hospital services and healthcare centres. This way we would have created a whole new business and job sector, which unlike tourism lasts throughout the year and not just a few summer months."
Repovž argues that even less qualified workers could find jobs in such a sector, which would create high value added and provide a boost to the architecture and construction business as the country could become a specialist in construction for the elderly, a sizeable, active and financially strong population, especially in places like Germany or Austria.
He says that Slovenia has plenty of lovely spots where residential estates for senior citizens could be built, giving an impetus to the services industry catering for a "very agile population, incredibly inquisitive and brave".
Instead, Slovenia is a country in which 25,000 people are waiting for a room in a pension home, while nurses and carers are leaving for better paid jobs abroad, poor pensioners are leaving for pension homes in Croatia and foreign multinationals are building pension homes in Slovenia.
"This is because our politicians are ignorant, tending their own little garden patch and incapable of a single ambitious act outside their safe zone of the existing (...)
"Slovenia has done nothing in the field for more than 20 years. The last pension home was erected by the state 15 years ago, which piece of information is horrifying, but telling."
Demokracija: Worried about social surveillance
STA, 14 August 2019 - Governments in Western democracies, including Slovenia's government and NGOs, would be happy to legislate the ghastly Chinese system of social surveillance termed Social Credit System, the right-wing magazine Demokracija argues in its latest commentary.
It says totalitarianisms have always wanted to have total control of their citizens' lives, which was technically impossible until the end of the 20th century.
But this has changed with the dawn of artificial intelligence, surveillance cameras and social networks, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak says on Wednesday.
"Although the situation in Europe is not as bad as in China yet, there are signs that citizens are being pigeonholed to bad and good ones."
The Slovenian government rewards, that is pays with taxpayer money, those NGOs which spy on co-citizens and report on them, says the weekly.
It notes the Faculty of Social Sciences is already tasked with reporting on people on social media, and recalls that those taking part in the ZLOvenija portal during the 2015 migration crisis were labelled racists, Nazis and xenophobes.
Biščak also takes issue with the recent broad interpretation of hate speech by Supreme Court judges, saying it is worrying, whereas the left welcomed it as a step in the right direction.
"What is missing is a public government system which will record heretic deviations of free-thinking individuals and undermine the bad ones in everyday life.
"The Chinese reality is not far from Slovenia any more, with a public and government-approved black list of disobedient and too freedom-loving people as state enemies already knocking on the door."
If such surveilance is put in place, "there will be no place to hide, even the panic room will be under surveillance", Biščak says under the headline Panic Room, wondering whether "we will let this happen".
Other articles in this series can be found here