South Africa: Question of Basic Income Grant Raises Some Big Issues

opinion

In response to SA's looting spree, the idea of a Basic Income Grant (BIG) is gaining traction. Some of the ideas about a BIG I think are kinda wacky, but the idea of a BIG is gaining currency around the world and frankly, in my opinion, rightly so. But I also have some reservations, particularly as they concern SA.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

The reason the idea of a BIG is gaining traction is because any objective analysis of wealth patterns over the past half century show the world's enormous gains have been disproportionately dispensed. Until recently, the world unhappily tolerated the rich getting richer, so long as the poor were getting richer too and getting richer faster - which, by the way, they were. But the situation changes when median wages remain static while the rich make out like bandits, which has been more or less the case in many parts of the world for the past 30 years or so.

It's worth noting here that the rich have got richer mainly by virtue of the blossoming, worldwide, of stock markets. For the past century until about 1990, the market capitalisation of stock markets...

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