Mario Vella (Born 1953) is a major Maltese philosopher, economist and political theorist. His area of specialisation in philosophy is chiefly critical analysis.[1]

Mario Vella
OccupationPhilosophy, Economy, Politics



Vella was born to a Maltese family at Tripoli, Libya, and lived his boyhood within an Italian community there. He started his education at a Catholic school in Tripoli, then returned to Malta with his family and attended De La Salle College at Cottonera.

Higher studiesEdit

Vella studied philosophy at the University of Malta, social economy with a major in sociology at the University of London, and international economic politics at Berlin’s University of Humboldt, in former East Germany.


In Malta, after teaching Italian and sociology in public elementary schools, Vella taught political economy and social development at the University of Malta.

Vella is also a living lecturer in foreign direct investment and development at the University of Urbino, Italy. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Development Corporation, and is Director of the foreign direct investment consulting services at Grant Thornton in Malta. Vella is further a member of the international faculty of the Postgraduate School of Economics and International Relations. He is politically active, serving, for some time, as President of the Labour Party in Malta.

In 2013, Vella was appointed Chairman of Malta Enterprise.[2] In June 2016 it was announced that Vella would be taking up the role of Governor of the Central Bank of Malta.[3]


Vella’s philosophical publications are few but significant. The following might be considered his most representative

Magnum opusEdit

The following is Vella's major philosophical book to date. When published, the book was quite exceptional for it uncharacteristically dealt with the analysis and criticism of another Maltese philosopher, and a living one at that. Apart from Angelo Pirotta's investigation into the philosophy of Anastasio Cuschieri in the early 20th century, it seems that Maltese philosophers are reluctant to so take on, at least so directly, other living philosophers (or even dead ones, for that matter). Vella had certainly created an encouraging precedent.

  • Reflections in a Canvas Bag (1989)[4] – First and foremost, this book is a critique of the philosophy of Peter Serracino Inglott in general, and of his book Beginning Philosophy (1987) in particular. However, it is also a sort of invitation (or instigation) to do philosophy by starting from history (as Vella does) rather than from theory (as Serracino Inglott does). History here is understood in the sense of Marx’s historical materialism.


Of course, the following are not the only articles published by Vella. Nevertheless, these might be the most philosophically engaging. On must bear in mind that Vella is a regular contributor to The Times of Malta[5] and also has his own blog.[6]

  • Wara r-Repubblika (Subsequent to the Republic; together with Lillian Sciberras; 1979)
  • That Favourite Dream of the Colonies (1994)
  • Minflok Dahla (Instead of an Introduction; 1995)

Poetry and short storiesEdit

Sometimes Vella ventures to publish some of his poetry or short stories in Maltese or in English. One example would be those in Wara r-Repubblika (1979).[7] However, this does not seem to be very common. Here is one of his poems:[8]

The Time has come
for the fire eater
to empty himself
on the crowd.
The time has come
for the high wire artist
and the flying acrobat
to fall and fertilize the ground,
the burnt ground, with their blood.
The time has come
to burn the circus top
and crucify the clown
and to release Barabbas,
the lion, from his cage.

Editorial workEdit

Though Vella sometimes contributes something of his thought to the following editorial works, of course his personality is seen more in the style and content chosen of these publications.

  • Pitazzi Homor (Red Copybooks; 1989–90)
  • Fl-Antiporta tal-Millennju (On the Threshold of the Millennium; 1995)


In part, Vella’s philosophy is deconstructivist, tenaciously exposing the internal conflicts that tend to undercut the asserted meaning of any text. But this is not all. It is also contextualist.[citation needed]

To Vella’s mind, in order to be acceptable, philosophy must begin from, and build on, the socio-political and historical context. Neither philosophy nor the history of philosophy can rise above power and history. Doing philosophy means taking political positions for or against historically concrete structures of power, and the forces struggling for power within society.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mark Montebello, Il-Ktieb tal-Filosofija f’Malta (A Source Book of Philosophy in Malta), PIN Publications, Malta, 2001, vol. II, pp. 246-247.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mario Vella to be appointed Central Bank governor". Times of Malta. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  4. ^ Ibid., pp. 134-135.
  5. ^ See
  6. ^
  7. ^ Particularly pp. 69-138.
  8. ^ Wara r-Repubblika, op. cit., p. 84.


  • Mark Montebello, Il-Ktieb tal-Filosofija f’Malta (A Source Book of Philosophy in Malta), PIN Publications, Malta, 2001.

External linksEdit