There is not enough for everyone (or is there?)

WEDNESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2011

There is not enough for everyone in South Africa – not enough nutritious food, not enough cash for everyone to have some money in the bank, not enough homes for everyone to sleep safely and warmly, not enough clothes for everyone to feel good about how they appear in public, not enough jobs for everyone to earn a decent income, not enough hospital beds for all the sick and injured, and not enough well-equipped classrooms for all the children to get a good education. A hundred years ago, there was not enough for the British and the Afrikaners, or the Boers. Fifty years ago there was not enough for the whites AND all of those who were not white. And today there is not enough for ALL the people who suffered under the previous dispensation.

So, if you made money during the previous era – regardless of race, and you managed to hold on to it, you’re in. So too if you’ve built up the right business and political connections over the last 15 to 20 years and the cash is flowing uncontrollably into your bank accounts. You have clearly done the right things, and/or knew the right people – you, too, are in.

For the rest, white and poor in a squatter caravan park, black and poor in squatter camps or in hamlets somewhere in the countryside, and all other colours that are not white or black but still poor, there is simply NOT ENOUGH.

There will be talk. Bandages will be applied to broken bones. But at the end of the day, this reality remains: There is simply not enough for everyone. (Or is there?)

THURSDAY, 29 DECEMBER 2011

I get that there isn’t enough for everyone. But that’s not the only problem. Even if you manage a more just distribution of resources, a portion of the populace will end up squandering resources and opportunities, due to lack of training and education, or will, or talent, or a combination of these.

Then there’ll be some people who will be more industrious, more resourceful. These people will, within a generation or two, be at the pinnacle of society, as both rulers and prime beneficiaries of opportunities.

One or two generations later, the descendants of those who had performed less well will protest injustice, and will ready their protest banners in a call for a more just society, for a more equal distribution of resources.

Counter-argument: Do the lazy, talentless and unimaginative offspring of successful earlier generations deserve better education and opportunities than the hard-working, talented, and industrious offspring of less successful earlier generations?

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