You know, apart from the fact that he is a conniving, opportunistic, hypocritical, lying, ignorant, superficial wannabe, Julias Malema has a few valid points. And maybe that is why he is still a fly in the ointment of South African politics. Apart from chasing police vehicles and ambulances to impart his condolences and beatified presence on selected recipients of modern-day government orchestrated apartheid, he does seem to listen to a few things that the shack-dwellers have to say. And out of the vacuous-ness of his fanatical rantings, I would like to extract and make sense of some things that I think would benefit a new, more inclusive economic model for South Africa. He is right that the small man needs a better deal.
It is no secret that I have socialist leanings. I am certainly not a communist though. Everyone knows that that system could never work… Ek is nie die rooi-gevaar nie en jy kan rustig met my praat oor ons land! I like to borrow as an analogy a concept from biology (my other great love!) and it regards the behaviour of a very simple animal, very low down on the food chain, a type of amoeba called Volvox.
Volvox live in colonies of up to 50 000 different individuals. They form a spherical shape that rolls around in water. Each individual specialises to do a particular ‘job’ for the colony, such as producing male gametes or female gametes or digesting a particular protein or producing a particular enzyme. Each individual makes its product available for the rest of the colony. Now, the interesting thing about Volvox is what happens when you tease the individuals apart and isolate them: they re-awaken the ability and take on ALL the cellular activities that are normally ‘delegated’ and shared in the community! Not only that, another fascinating thing: they will seek out other Volvox individuals and re-form into a community as soon as they are allowed to do so. Here, they will then ‘lose’ all their capabilities and specialise again to doing only a specific task for the newly formed spherical community.
This is called commensalism in biology. So I guess you can call me a commensalist instead of a communist because I believe in a society where everyone benefits from the labour of all.
And that brings me back to some of the distasteful truths that our equally distasteful, red-beret wearing, fascist brethren are spouting.
One of these is that the riches of the land should belong to all. Yes, sure it costs a boat-load to get a major mining operation off the ground and they deserve to be rewarded for the endeavour. But, that neatly side-steps the issue of ownership of the very ground and metals therein. I contend that it actually belongs to every naturalised South Africa citizen. As does every wild animal, every butterfly and every rhino. Any action against any of the natural, wild riches that we have here should have the blessing of every citizen. We as a species, cannot justify utilising any natural resource without the express approval of those to whom it belongs, ie everybody who lives there. It is easy to see how that goes for perlemoen, rhino and elephant but, I say, it goes equally for ANY natural resource, including gold, platinum, chrome, uranium, etc. And this applies especially in the case where a natural resource is going to be utilised at the expense of any people. Or even a large risk that any community will suffer as a result of such utilisation.
Another point is the idea that all workers should benefit from the endeavours of their company. I see that as a truism if taken against the backdrop of Nature and natural law. Why not have a mandatory profit-share system for all workers in any business? It can be rank-correlated so that higher positions earn a bigger share but even the coffee lady should get a share. It would act as a big incentive to work harder and produce a bigger take-home slice of the pie. And it would distribute the wealth more equitably throughout the company so that no individual or group would feel exploited.
I would love to go on but I have to get back to the latest episode of “Juliarse vs SARS in Zoomerville”- I can’t wait to hear who he embezzled to get the money for EFF registration…But, the larger picture that he so colourfully emblazons, is that the poor and low ranked workers get a pretty shitty deal and we, as a nation, have to think of and create pro-active solutions that address the needs of every individual, no matter how lowly or down-trodden. A good start would be re-structuring our economy to be more inclusive, compassionate and environmentally aware.