ne out of every five South Africans lives below the food poverty line.”
Analysis of inequality
From a moral point of view this is not okay. It will never be okay even if the numbers were to change to, 1 in every 50 people lives below poverty line.
Principle 1 – Greatest Equal Liberty
Fist of we need to look at the majority of people living below poverty line, 64% 1 of these people were blacks in 2015, this people were Historically denied the basic rights (the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech, the right to own property etc. Basic non-negotiable human rights). Making getting out of poverty very difficult for them. An argument to this principle would be 1% 1 of the people living below poverty line are white whose equal Liberty was never affected, yet they still lived below poverty lines in 2015. Therefore equal liberty alone cannot be a solution to the poverty issue
Now looking at Nicky Oppenheimer’s wealth proves the principle of John Rawls, Nicky is a grandson of Ernest Oppenheimer who is the founder of Anglo American in 1929 2, Nicky wealth may be argued as a result of Unequal Liberty, mainly build in the oppression times when his grandfather had advantage over the majority of the population, which he also enjoyed until 1994, the wealth continued through the family Tree. Question is What about the 1% whose family tree lived in the same opportunity as Ernest Oppenheimer and still continue to be poor today, and what about the other 36% of blacks who are not leaving below poverty lines, and they went through the unequal liberty. This questions will then suggest we need to do more than just following John Rawls principles.
Principle 2a – Equality of Fair Opportunity
Now looking at the poverty numbers, it is not okay for the number of people living below poverty lines to be this high, it is very clear that not everyone was given the fair opportunity, the question we need to ask is had Nicky been Black, would he have achieved the same amount of wealth through “Hard Work?” Patrice Motsepe despite being black is massively rich, suggesting that hard work is the key and one can still achieve more even with the absence of equality of fair opportunity. We still have Education being very expensive and if you don’t have the minimum amount which is about 30% of your fees UNISA will simply cancel your registration and you can’t equip yourself with skills required to avoid being part of the statistics. Of course we must not forget that education is not the only way to progress in life, looking at the fact that some of the wealthiest people on earth did so without any college or university qualification. However giving equal a fair opportunity of education may help reduce the poverty numbers.
Principle 2b – The Difference Principle
Taking into account that the number of people living below poverty line, it will seem fair for the wealthy to pay more taxes to support the less fortunate. However this may also encourage the lazy to just sit back and wait to be rescued, this is evident by the number of protest we are seeing in this country, some people are using the excuse of protest to just be criminals nothing really to get out of the poverty line.
Veil of Ignorance
If we look at the people living below poverty line and ignore the past and the economic imbalance, we may fast track the alleviation of poverty as more people may be encouraged to work hard, if we can have people sitting and feeling sorry for themselves and blaming their circumstances we will continue to see the high numbers of poverty. The key to solving the poverty issue in this country is to apply the principle of ignorance while we have the likes of Oppenheimer helping out by mentoring as many people as possible.
Fair is UNFAIR
We need to forget the past and fast track the development of the rural area, forget about service deliveries in Estates and were the wealthy resides, let them hire private companies for service deliveries, and still tax them high. If we continue to be fair and give equal services to the rich and the poor the gap between the wealthy and the poor will continue to grow. So being fair and giving equal opportunity in this regard is unfair. Student from wealthy families should be charged 10 times more than the poor in universities, this money will then be used to aid subsidies the poor, and when applying this we must ignore color and only focus on wealth.
The main contributor to poverty in this country is the previous injustice, feeling of entitlement and greed. There is no need to explain the previous injustice that topic is overly discussed. Many people mostly amongst the poor they expect the government to do something for them. Not forgetting that we still have people who face a huge challenges, I recently attended funeral in a rural village in Limpopo called Motsane, they have no cellphone reception at all (Zero), tar road is about 20 KMs away. Imagine a student from that village completing matric and being given free education to UCT or UNISA, the amount of change will be overwhelming to a point of failure or might just surprise everyone. Now question is why the likes of Vodacom and MTN wouldn’t put network towers in such areas, simple answer not profitable and Community service investment is only done if it will be seen by everyone and the CEOs will look good. Now putting a computer lab in such villages will benefit many, but won’t be seen, hence we see free WiFi services in Gauteng and not in the rural areas of this country, because the TV cameras and journalist are always in Gauteng to report in this. If Anglo American goes and put a WiFi service at the village above who will know? Who will report in the media? So is it community investment or is it advertising?
Reason behind my opinion.
Many blacks spend time discussing the injustice of the past and not coming up with solutions to improve their lives (before the comments go on fire, I’m Black Myself from a rural village at least with cellphone reception, raised by unemployed parents). Most of the wealthy benefited from the political injustice and trying to determine who benefited and who didn’t will take up more time that can be used reducing poverty. An increase in price of fuel to R60 a liter will not be felt by wealthy, but it will bring chaos in the lives of people living below poverty lines