The rising trend of inequality that threatens the middle class in Namibia.
What do I mean by capitalist state, it is not only when rich people hijack policy decisions to suit them but it is when state officials socialize votes and privatise gains, benefits and public spending at the peril of the poor. Capitalist go by one ideal “privatise the gains and socialise the losses.” We cannot blame capitalism for creating the gap of inequality, because survival is tantamount to us all. The extremes of inequality exist to allow certain league of executives to raise the bar and squash the hopes of others from reaping from societal benefits. There are three sentiments to this, it is the governments duty to facilitate an environment for prosperity, it is the duty of the wealthy to make money and the duty of the middle class and impoverished members of society to weight their defensive position while being resourceful at the same time. There are tremors of awakening to tackle inequality because the middle class and the poor stimulate the biggest slice of the trade economy as they make vital contributions to the composition of the labour force and consumption. The middle class need to be safeguarded and treated with caution and not wiped out extreme costs of consumer goods, rising standard of living and while hooked to low salaries.
The seismic shift in Africa’s wealthy and political capitalism is more like a copy and paste of western ideals that will marginalise more than half a billion people if access to basic needs are not prioritised. Nick Hanauer mentions in his report titled “Pitchforks are coming for us Plutocrats” that compensation for CEO’s grew 500 times more than the wages of average-workers since 1950, yet no company has thought of sourcing cheaper executives from China or outsourcing their work to the east, yet cheap labour supply is outsourced to the east. He emphasised that middle class is equally important ant relates to how Henry Ford, when he realized that his employees cannot afford the very same cars they manufacture, he boldly doubled their wages to safeguard their welfare. Many people clean hotel rooms they cannot afford, fix cars they cannot drive, prepare luxurious meals that accounts to 20% of their monthly income, build houses while living in shacks, and many others that are guarding expensive buildings, teach at private schools, work in private hospitals, run errands for executives but are slowly drifting backward into income despair.
“We like our customers rich and our employees poor” – Nick Hanuer. In this “copy and paste” plutocratic era workers are reporting to the board while the board is never held accountable by the workers. The prosperity and economic potential is in the emergence of the middle class and hence the government should offer devotion to them, because many emerged strongly after the apartheid era. In African context most middle incomers are breadwinners for the poorest next of kin. Capitalism is not the problem because it is a tool for stimulating wealth, but it must not permit power diversion when a “minority owns the most” and “majority owns the least”. According to Oxfam’s paper called “even it up” it is recorded that there are only 16 billionaires in Sub-Saharan Africa living alongside 358 million poor people.
In the recent news George Soros known to be worth US$ 20 billion was hacked and it surface that some of his emails are linked to riots and political instabilities in Europe, which was defined as Euro-state-capture. It just clarifies how plutocrats can easily destabilise Africa and cause a catastrophic financial hailstorm to suit their interest. Similar to how Israeli born Dan Gertler runs DRC’s diamonds as his mini cartel. The composition of Demographics in Namibia is that 23% is 14-24 years old, 36% is 25-54 years old and only 9% is more than 55 years old – “oops”. Thus the majority of 60% is aged 15-54 and are young people and this vividly mean that the nucleus for wealth policy must be targeted at this age group. The NSA reported in 2014 that the Namibian average wage is N$ 6 626 per month and using this figure I can but speculate majority of the middle class in Namibia is non-existent or threatened by extinction. I assume their income is saturated by rental rates which is averaged at N$ 8000 per month (FNB housing index), not to mention other extreme costs such as vehicle loans, vehicle insurance, high consumer price inflation rate, high medical costs, transport expenses, etc. Society has different building blocks where each area and standard needs a different customized approach.
If we look at youth, they are the vanguard for dynamic strength. Youth are inclined to modernized jobs, for example marketing, graphic design, services, technology, they want to work on sectors that relate to their daily lives and where they can be fruitful. Middle aged people are driven by empowerment and desire positions where they can be supportive enough to senior executives, because they see themselves as potential henchman. The mature age group is attracted to senior positions with authority where recognition plays a role. If each recognizes their role there will be a better relationship to effectively tackle inequality, without feeling threatened because of the knowledge gap, tribal or cultural differences, corruption, nepotism, etc. In conclusion the per capita expenditure on education in Namibian allocated for persons aged 14-54 is N$ 8300 per person/per annum, and as our former Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Hon. David Namwandi believes there is much prudence in education to break the yoke of inequality. God bless.
Rodney Dan-Ao !Hoaeb is a Trade and Investment Researcher Committed to seeing a radical economic shake-up in Namibia.