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A miner by any other name...

26 January 2013, 22:11

Recently, I posted an article on News24, asking when thought would be a part of the South African culture.

Since I mentioned miners, there were the usual kneejerk comments.

Most of you know what they are, but let's recap:

Miners earn too little

Miners in other countries earn more

Mine companies are exploiting their workers.

I'd like to point something out, that most of you are missing entirely.

Yes, mine workers in first world countries DO earn big salaries. However, when there's such a glaring disparity, it makes sense to ask why.

Who is the average South African mine worker?

Illiterate or functionally literate, did not complete high school, cannot find work anywhere else.

What about the average Australian?

Completed high school and usually an AQF II certificate. Skilled and insightful. Could easily choose a different job in a different field by virtue of their skills and adaptability.

When you consider the difference between the two miners, it's clear that the difference in their salaries are not that unjustified, right?

The simple fact is that people earn what they are worth. If they are educated, adaptable and flexible, they will earn more. If they are desperate, illiterate and militant, they will earn less.

That has nothing to do with racism, capitalism or anything else. It's a fact.

So next time you bring up wage disparities, make sure you look at skill disparities at the same time.

Trust me, if these were potential rocket scientists slogging away under ground, I'd be complaining too.

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