Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Sunday, 21 june 2009 | Financial Times


Pere Punyetes també respon al Financial Times

El català Pere Punyetes, que sovint respon a notícies aparegudes en la premsa internacional, també va respondre a l'article del Financial Times Language policy: Linguistic diversity may be too much of a good thing.

El Financial Times va publicar la resposta en la seva edició de paper i per Internet.
A scarce linguistic commodity is, of course, more valuable

From Mr Pere Punyetes.

Sir, In his article “Linguistic diversity may be too much of a good thing” (Wednesday, June 10), Victor Mallet states that “local language tests can discriminate against doctors who do not speak the local language”.

He describes a hiring practice in the Spanish Basque country, whereby physicians seeking work are subject to a point system for language skills. Those who speak English, French or German receive five points; those who speak Basque are awarded 17 points; and those who speak only Spanish receive no points.

Mr Mallet presents this as evidence that Spanish speakers are being marginalised in Spain. But as any economist knows, we pay a premium for those commodities that are most scarce.

In a market where every applicant speaks Spanish – as Mr Mallet acknowledges throughout the article – what would be the purpose of giving credit for that ability? Should doctors also earn points for being human?

The Basque system does not, in fact, discriminate against Spanish speakers. It does acknowledge those who, in addition to speaking Spanish, have more scarce, and therefore more valuable, abilities.

Pere Punyetes,
Silver Spring, MD, US

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

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