The Economy of words: The Reply

Time we did something new on Chronicles… I’ve decided that the wisest stuff usually comes from people who either agree or disagree with me, but who make valid points more eloquently than I sometimes do. For that reason, and based largely on my comments about Julius Malema and the economy below, I have permission from Warren de Souza to re-publish the contents of his e-mail to me last week:

Hi Gareth,

On your blog about Malema:
Central to your debate was the topic of wealth, i would like to elaborate on it to make a point about the difference between where we are and where we should be as a country.
Wealth is relative. Relative to whatever you want to measure it in. Whether it is value, money, things. Which are, in essence, the same. Let me explain. If 3 men sit at a table. The names of each man is A, B and C. And Each man holds R10. Each man is equal in wealth. Equal in money and equal in things. there is no measure of wealth as in terms of relativity it is equal. Now imagine A moves to another table where three men, D, E, F hold R20, R50, R100 each. Now because the man is only holding R10 he feels that he is less wealthy. Less being the key word here, a relative term. One cannot be less equal. It is not a relative term. However the way the ANC should be looking at it is, at the previous table there was only a total of R30, at this table there is a total of  R180 (if A joins the table). And has a potential gain of R170. but at the first table he has only a potential gain of R20. That is a potential gain of 1700% versus 200%. When he was well off he had very little. but when he joined a wealthier table his prospects of being wealthy grew exponentially. What the ordinary South African doesn’t realise is that relative to the rest of the world they are among the wealthiest people to step one this earth. They might not have money or things, but they have human rights, access to water, electricity, education and pension. These things are a measure of value, and have a money value too and are considered things.
What the youth league should be doing is directing their attention to issues of teaching and educating the people in ways that can utilise the extra R170, at the table, as potential. Instead of breeding ignorance and a sense entitlement.
Most South Africans have no idea that they live in such a blessed land, that such amazing people, like Ghandhi, Mandela and the many unsung heroes of the past century have graced our land. That includes the white boys from bryanston and the coloureds in the Cape. We are not aware of it. And the purpose for a march should be to create awareness, but the youth league is creating an awareness that points in the wrong direction. the march is telling the people look how much less money have, not look at how much potential you have.
I know this strikes home with you Gareth, you are such a well read person. Please put the demons to rest on this one and blog about the wealth that every South African holds.
Thoughts, suggestions, ideas?

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