Two farmers in South Africa recently paid R4.9 million (A$490K) for a racing pigeon. A few years ago the Deputy President bid R18 million for a buffalo.
These fantastic transactions occurred in a country racked by the pain of the huge gap between rich and poor. Those are the premiums placed on leisure activities in our world today. The gap is prevalent in most countries of the world today and apparently has always been there!
The wealthy top 10% of the population own 85% of the world’s wealth; the poorest 70% own just over 3%.
Now that does suggest the failure of an equitable economic system. It is also testament to the success of the entrepeneur and the inability of the majority to get ahead.
However, is the real test not whether the quality of life has risen over the ages?
… the last few centuries have seen us banish starvation and famine from a large part of the Earth. In the most successful countries, the average citizen now enjoys a material standard of living that would have made the greatest king of two hundred years ago turn green with envy.
Even for the poorer areas of the Earth, the growth of the last fifty years has been quite remarkable. Excluding the developed nations of North America, Western Europe, and Japan and focusing only on the so-called Third World, we find that per capita economic growth, improvements in life expectancy, and declines in mortality from disease and malnutrition outstripped the performance of the most advanced nations of Europe, Britain, and France, during the Industrial Revolution of 1760–1860
So the noise about the gap is just squealers trying to get more without working for it? This is probably what I feel about the cacophony raised by all those groups claiming unfair discrimination and victimisation: there has been great progress in improving the position of the downtrodden, but don’t expect to change cultures overnight!
Unfair discrimination is now illegal in most countries.
It also says quite a lot about the Third World countries claims that they have suffered greatly as a consequence of colonisation which occurred just after the Industrial Revolution.
It’s about progress and improvement – not so much about the gap!
(Phew! Where did that all come from?)