Post-apartheid South Africa is world's most unequal country

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by barbells.and.arrows, May 7, 2019.

  1. barbells.and.arrows

    barbells.and.arrows AH Senior Member

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  2. Vanguard2279

    Vanguard2279 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    At times, I don't think the future looks bright for South Africa. You can't help but wonder how this story will end.
     

  3. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    and how are the black africans in RSA by way of comparison to other african nations?

    "working hard" does not mean anyone should have a high income or be wealthy. that's the thoroughly discredited Marxist "Labor Theory of Value."
     
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  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    The poorest South Africans surely must come to the realization that their state of affairs is a direct result of corrupt government leaders who should have plowed every possible resource into education and infrastructure improvements over the last 25 years. Why didn’t they!? Because they lined their own pockets while at the same time mismanaging the rest of the capital at their disposal.
    So the people lack education that will improve their advancement possibilities and yep their sewers run in the streets. Because they allow it and fall for the excuses of their leaders who easily blame things on another generation and time.
    Cleaning someone’s home or working in a shop is not going to make you rich, true enough, but if you have the moxie to employ others to work for you in a cleaning business the future could be very promising. Probably will require some hard work along the way as well.
    I live in a town for example where 45 years ago a man who hauled trash for a living and drove the truck, worked hard enough, long enough, and garnered enough business to buy a second truck. He hired help. Then a third, fourth ......and so on until he had 500 trucks. He didn’t know how to keep the books so he hired someone to do that and someone to handle the payroll and the insurance. Oh he eventually owned and operated the regional dump also. Lots of hard work....no doubt! Enterprising and visionary yes he was. I bet he never complained that his hard work wasn’t valued enough. He passed away and the family sold the business he started for 1/2 billion dollars. That man didn’t get where he ended up by somebody giving it to him or by a government taking a business or property from someone else and redistributing wealth to poor people.

    My point is all those people in the article complaining about the work, they have crossing the bridge is foolish. They have opportunity if they will but see it and act upon it. If I could have gone to work at Warren Buffett’s office cleaning the place 40 years ago I might have learned enough to get ahead a little more in life. Maybe advance myself beyond the cleaning job. Who knows what the possibilities could have been. By the way my first real job right out of high school .....was as a custodian! Yep mopping the floors and cleaning the toilets. I learned from others at that business and the people I worked for. I stayed in school and advanced myself from being the guy who cleaned up the spills.
    I am blessed to have been born in the USA. admittedly my parents were under educated when they married but they advanced themselves through correspondence school to improve their chances. They demanded that I apply myself in school....even with 42 kids to a class. They dreamed that I would have a better life than them and they were willing to sacrifice their own dreams to see me get ahead. That was our “Greatest Generation” for you! So perhaps a couple of generations of poor South Africans will need to sacrifice to help the next get a little farther ahead. Nothing changes overnight and there is no free ride. Doesn’t matter what country!

    @sgt_zim the Marxist theory of which you speak is espoused even now by a congresswoman in here in the states. She is talking up that crap to every lazy under educated person who will listen. Wonder how far she will get with it? There is an audience here that will listen and blame their lot in life on what they see as the “corrupt and unequal” system. They will be convinced that their work, if they work, is worth more than what they are compensated. Oops sounds like the article on South Africa doesn’t it! Time to stop now!
     
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  5. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    RSA blacks got rid of apartheid 25 years ago because they thought they were being discriminated against. They have had 25 years to correct the system but have done virtually nothing except elect a bunch of corrupt thieves over and over. It seems to me they have had plenty of time to straighten out their own mess. Instead, they keep on with the same rhetoric and expect everything to be taken care of by someone else.

    I saw it there when on safari last month. The news was full of election coverage, but not one of the candidates gave any solid plan to improve the situation. It was all "We must do this and that." No reasoned or well thought out approach as to just how to do "this and that."

    The attitude of the masses was to blame whoever was in power and expect something to happen. A lot of emotional demonstrations, speeches and sign waving, but very little substance. Actually, the black government has only themselves to blame. They have no logical idea of how to run a country as is evidensed by all the corruption scandals and arrests.

    The black population has myriad options for improvement. It is virtually impossible for a white to get a job. It is set up that if a black expresses an interest in a job and has the wherewithall to be trained, he gets the job. Many have good employment with outfitters, business people. I noticed the plethora of black employees at Tambo and P E airports.

    One can draw a parallel to the slave mentality in the US. The blacks have been handed everything since the days of slavery and they expect to be given anything and everything they demand without lifting a finger to help themselves.

    Hopefully this election in RSA will garner some improvements and changes for the better.
     
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  6. steve white

    steve white AH Veteran

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    Tribalism is another elephant in the room, justifying corruption to the detriment of those "not of my tribe." It's all a hot mess.
     
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  7. Vanguard2279

    Vanguard2279 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Sgt_zim: I don't know if you're directing your comments at me, but we're not talking about other African nations. The only two that would be relatively comparable would be Zimbabwe and Namibia. It was an interesting article. Definitely slanted to put more blame on whites than on the corrupt government. Mandela at least had a plan. After leaving office, the people who were to further those goals sought to line their pockets. Mandela knew that stripping whites of land ownership would do nothing but cause the economic downfall of South Africa. And he was right. We only have to look at Zimbabwe to see how well that worked out. The video accompanying the article was interesting. I've often wondered how much of the seized land in Zimbabwe was actually distributed to "the people" versus Mugabe's cronies. I doubt much.

    To be clear, I agree with CAustin. Hard work will pay dividends. However, you can't give up. Just working hard will not guarantee prosperity. You have to be smart enough to make wise decisions. This brings up the topic of "generational poverty". Somewhere along the line, individual choice has to be blamed as opposed to society. I find it frustrating that our current Democrat contenders continue to feed the slanted version of reality to buy votes. "Free college", "free health care", "reparations", "economic security to even those unwilling to work".

    The ANC has had 25 years to make improvements, but they have failed to do so. They could have but it would have gotten in the way of them profiting. A friend described their tactics of staying in power. Every election, the ANC promises, jobs, clean water, infrastructure improvements, etc and preach that a vote for another party is a step closer to a return to apartheid. The target audience votes en mass for the ANC. Predictably, nothing improves. Malema and the EFF are simply preying on people's despair and promising them things that they will never get. Does this sound familiar?

    Several years ago, I read an article concerning younger people believing that they would not live as well as their parents. It mystified me. A generation that (should) know the value of education and/or skill and had the resources needed to succeed. My adult daughter shared something with me that I thought was interesting. In school, she and her age group were constantly told that they could be anything that they wanted to be. She thought that this was misleading. Her conclusion was that you could be anything that you worked HARD ENOUGH to be.
     
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  8. Vanguard2279

    Vanguard2279 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    One thing that I thought was interesting in the video was the Khoisan gentleman who feared losing his land. Of course, he was fine with whites having their land taken. Ultimately, it seems to be a case of keeping the Zulu and Xhosa happy. All others be damned.
     
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  9. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Not directed at you, chief, just making a general comment.

    I will quibble a bit with your idea that Zim is the only real comparator for RSA. Penury is the norm in Africa, whether there is a wealthy white population present or not. In fact, penury is the natural state of man. It is only possible to begin accumulating wealth when the overwhelming majority of people live by the idea that property rights are sacrosanct. Whether it's a thieving mob or a thieving government makes no difference. Where theft is the norm, or winked at, racking poverty is all that there will ever be.
     

  10. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    @CAustin - there are far more than just Occasional Cortex who believe such rubbish. Even the Keynesians are all in for it, though they won't openly admit it. The policies for which they advocate speak far louder than the lies and half truths they utter when the cameras are rolling.
     
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  11. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2019
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  12. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I would love to agree with this sentiment, but history demonstrates it as overly optimistic.

    When politicians promise "free stuff," it plays well to people who do not think things through. There is no such thing as something for nothing, and they never consider the ultimate cost to themselves down the road. "Free" today comes with strings attached, and one day, the guy on the other end of the line is going to start reeling it in.

    A healthy civilization is not, and should not be, measured by what the wealthy have, nor by what the poor lack. In every civilization that has ever existed in man's history, there were Haves and Have-nots. "How large is the middle class, and what do they have relative to the wealthy?" is the real question. When the middle class is small, or even non-existent, you may know that larceny and murder are the rule.

    When "the mob" approves (or doesn't disapprove) of theft, you end up with Somalia. When the government does it, you end up with Venezuela or PRC or USSR or NAZI Germany or Cuba or NK. And in all those instances, the great mass of people went along with it because they were not incredulous when told they were going to get something for nothing. They all lied to themselves, told themselves what fine raiment the king was wearing when he was indeed wearing no clothes.
     
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  13. Hearties

    Hearties AH Senior Member

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    Still struggling to understand why great inequality is worse than universal poverty.
     
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  14. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    'cuz if could only just get the right people in charge, there wouldn't be either one. ;)
     

  15. Hearties

    Hearties AH Senior Member

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    Yep - agreed. The urge to self-destruct seems strong though. Unfortunately.
     
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  16. Vanguard2279

    Vanguard2279 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Sgt_zim:
    The reason that I say that South Africa is most fairly compared to Zimbabwe and Namibia is because they all had "apartheid-like" systems. They all started at a similar baseline. Zimbabwe became majority rule in 1980 and quickly deteriorated. I am surprised that it took until 2000 to confiscate land from whites. Namibia gained it's independence from South Africa in 1990 and SWAPO has ruled ever since. Interestingly, they seem to be doing a good job of running the country fairly and are prospering as a result.
    The rest of what you've posted I agree with. There will always be Haves and Have Nots. The Have Nots will always look to blame somebody else for their plight. We see this in America. It is always somebody else's fault. It is easier to accuse the Haves of being oppressors or to resent them for having prosperity.
    I occasionally think to myself that I should be doing better in life. Ultimately, this always comes down to my individual choices. One of the benefits of my profession is that I encounter a lot of people that make me realize how incredibly well that I'm doing.
     
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  17. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Fair point, to which I'd add the following.

    All of Africa were under apartheid-like systems in the colonial days, if not in name, then certainly in practice. It's simply that apartheid in RSA outlasted the colonial period which all but ended around 1980. I think it's just splitting hairs to try and talk about the difference between RSA and Zim as opposed to RSA and anywhere else below the Sahara.
     
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  18. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    With respect, @sgt_zim, I don't agree with you about the "real question."

    There has always been inequality, however you choose to define it. Everything about humans (and nature) as a group tends to fall on a bell curve, more or less. Trying to force a bell curve into a flat line is virtually certain to fail, over any reasonable period of time, and is often a prelude to disaster.

    For our purposes though, let's stick to economic inequality. I would suggest that extreme inequality is almost never a good thing, because it tends to lead to ill-advised actions on the part of the many, usually led by those who are really only looking out for themselves under the guise of looking out for the many. As an aside, extreme inequality is often the result of those with power using that power to change the normal economic distribution of outcomes in their favour - with results very similar to those which are found when we try to flatten the curve (see my last paragraph).

    I believe the real question, though, is this: Do those on the left hand side of the economic bell curve see a pathway for themselves to the right hand side, or at least to move in that direction? If the answer is no, then you have a recipe for revolution. If the answer is yes, then I believe you have what we have in the West - relative stability and people prepared to work hard to get an education, a good job, etc., with the longer term goal, which they believe to be achievable, for themselves and their children, to have a better life than their parents had. If you have that, then you are much less likely to have people challenging the current economic (and social) order. If you lack that, then there is nothing left but to challenge the economic and social order.

    It is precisely this which is lacking in so many African countries (this is not limited to Africa). Given that many Africans, even if they or their children are personally on the right side of the curve when it comes to intelligence and work ethic, do not believe that have any chance of moving to the right in terms of economic outcomes, it's not at all surprising that we see both social instability and fertile ground for leaders who are happy to provide someone to blame.

    As another aside, I think it's for this reason that so many reacted so strongly to the recent elite university admissions scandal in the US. Since a good education is seen as one of the most important routes to a good and better life, we become outraged when those with economic power are seen to be tilting the system in their favour in this way. In other words, I'm OK with you being wealthier than me, but if you're going to make it impossible (or more difficult) for my kids to become wealthier, then you're imposing external constraints on what is said to be a merit based system, and that's unacceptable. (The point is not whether this is factually correct but this is how people react to the application of "external" forces to change "natural" outcomes.)
     
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  19. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    If we want to apply it to a Gaussian distribution, we can say the middle class occupies that area under +/- 2SD. How high and wide is that Gaussian peak?

    If the line from poverty to wealth is flat, with a sharp negative slope "down" to the wealthy...

    The idea of wealth and poverty are relative, are they not? Compared to my grandparents, I'm insanely wealthy, with an income they can't have imagined when they were my age. Compared to Bill Gates, I'm practically destitute. According to investopedia.com, if you have a household income of 32,400 USD or higher, you are in the richest 1% on earth today.

    So I come back to my point about the middle class. A large middle class is an indicator of a healthy civilization where property rights are largely respected.

    Looking at what the uber-rich have is not meaningful because they always have way more than everybody else, even if there is a large middle class, and most especially if there are only poor and rich. Looking at what the poor don't have is also not meaningful because they always have less than everyone else, irrespective of whether they're 1% or 99% of the population.

    Put another way - there will always be "the 1%." Do the other 99% live in grinding poverty? Now we're full circle: what is the middle class like? Is there one? If there is, how large is it? In Africa, there mostly isn't one, which is an indicator of any number of things, none of them good, and most of those are the fault of themselves.

    And while I agree with you that people behave as though their perception were reality, that doesn't mean their perception is actually reality. Unless and until their is an Italian-style Renaissance and Enlightenment in Africa, its black inhabitants will always be poverty-stricken.
     
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  20. TXhunter65

    TXhunter65 AH Veteran

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    Just got back to the states yesterday from SA, went through several towns that had shanty towns. One oddity stuck out to me, these people living in 12x12 cinder block houses or just corrugated metal sided sheds had satilite dishes and a lot I saw were holding or talking on cell phones. I could only guess these were provided by govt somehow.
     
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