A lot has been said so far regarding the strikes among the farm workers, miners and even COSATU pushing for a minimum wage.
So far I've seen a lot of comments being repeated by copy and paste brigades all shouting the same line of close minded thinking, "watch the unemployment rate rise now" or "mechanize/automation".
It's all interesting concepts and surely a fast way to save a few pennies in the short run. Now my question to all those "highly intelligent" commentators is, If thousands and thousands of people sit without jobs because of automation on the farms, mines etc who is going to be buying the produce? Do you then genuinely think you'll still roll out a profit catering and farming for a society that has no people that can actually afford to buy anything that you're producing?
Like I commented in another section, companies in fact need people more than the people need the companies. It's our money that gives them profits after all. Now that people request to capitalize their labor, talks of unemployment, mass retrenchments and automation must come into play?
Mining industry: Let's take the Platinum industry quickly, a reference from Wiki(if it's good enough for most things, why not for this) shows that:
"Of the 245 tonnes of platinum sold in 2010, 113 tonnes were used for vehicle emissions control devices (46%), 76 tonnes for jewelry (31%). The remaining 35.5 tonnes went to various other minor applications, such as investment, electrodes, anticancer drugs, oxygen sensors, spark plugs and turbine engines."
Going by just the first two it suggests a stunning 77% goes into products sold to consumers en masse. Common fact that the Automotive industry would take up the 46% for the catalytic converters in the newer cars built these days. It is estimated that 503,000 people are employed in the mining industry. If we are to let these people go in favor of automation/mechanization it would mean a staggering 503,000 less possible customers to actually buy the cars or jewelry that they mined for in the first place. That is just in South Africa! That is a lot of potential car sales down the drain, possibly a lot of actual sales as well, which in itself causes a chain reaction in Europe, America & Asia. If they don't get the green on the sheets, the automotive industry starts to retrench people as well, some more customers to lose. At the end of the day, the only feasible thing left to do is to close down shop before it's too late. If the automotive industry loses this amount of business and it loses its need for platinum, that leaves the mining industry without business(46% goes to Automotive industry). Company closed!
Farming: With the excessive amount of people losing out on jobs from the big companies(See mining above) fewer and fewer people are left without any income to buy anything. Farmers, after laying off most of their workers in favour of automation/mechanization(Thousands more without jobs) will start to lose out on the need to produce in huge quantities. Farms will start to become barren and wastelands. Farms will close!
Small business: Let's take a grocery shop for instance, in a shop like that your biggest customer might even be your own employees! You laid those employees off in favour of automation, that's a loss of income(Just from those employees, not even talking about family/friends that might boycott you). Soon you'll be starting to stock fewer and fewer goods(See above for the mass unemployed so far,, thanks to automation/mechanization), eventually your little shop on the corner will close!
As can be seen already, companies NEED the people just as much(if not MORE) than the people need the companies/farmers etc. After all, will Apple really be able to have half of the cell phone market in the US if nobody bought the cell phones in the first place? That's a convenient thing that people on here seem to willingly neglect and forget.
Now comes the issue of minimum wages, is it fair? Well like I mentioned previously, it's kind of hard for a person to justify a wage of R100 a day when he's driving a R1,300,000.00 Mercedes Benz, or is it because he drives it that the rest should suffer? I also mentioned in another post(A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright) " If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor." That is why unions is a necessary entity in a capitalist society, it is a countermeasure and a balance against the extreme forms of exploitation that WILL inevitably follow a capitalistic company with a "billion dollar profit" mentality.
What is the cost of living in this country? Let's take a look at the bare necessities for a day to day living with nothing fancy like rice or meat. Where I live a bread goes for R12.67, Fresh Milk 1Liter, R18.99, R20.00 for transportation R10 to work and R10 back home. That already amounts to R51.66, leaving a farmer(previously made R65.00 a day) with only R13.34. To live off dry bread and a liter of milk a day would amount to R949.80 (For 30days) and an additional R520.00 for transport(for 26 days, assuming of course that he doesn't work Sundays), making a total of R1,469.80 out of a possible R1,690.00 (Again 26days of work) leaving him with only R220.20. That's just assuming that they can eat dry bread and consume 1 liter of milk a day. Is that really a living?
The man with the R1,300,000.00 Mercedes-Benz says it is! And to suggest higher wages to improve their living conditions is tantamount to treason against the Capitalist ideal, retrenchments and automation should surely follow!
Now I've read plenty of comments from people that suggest that if they wanted a better living they should have educated themselves, or they should still educate themselves. I already commented on some of them but it seems that the simple truth there eludes some people and offends them so, they felt the need to report it as offensive and have my post removed! I'll retype it here.
When last has anyone had an actual look at the tuition fees these days? Going with the above example for the R65 a day minimum wage earner, left with only 220.20 a month, how long should he save up before he can enrol into an "entry level" course to "improve" his living conditions? Let's say that it costs R6,500.00 for that course. The man would then(assuming he doesn't use any of the R220.20) have to save for 30months(Coming to R6,606.00) that's 2 and a half years that he has to use all of his "peanut savings" to save up for an entry level course that by the time he saved up probably rose to over R7,000.00. So again...How does he improve his life by using the little he has to save up for over 2years in the hope that he MIGHT get an education?
This brings me to another point...A society full of managers. If you haven't seen "Interstate 60" yet, do yourself a favor and watch the movie, one scene in specific. Where the "star" in the film gets to a small town called "Morlaw" where every citizen in the town is a lawyer. The logical question then had to be asked, "Okay, so if everyone, who lives here, is a lawyer, how do you live? I mean, who runs the grocery store. Who does your dry-cleaning? Who fixes the sh!tter when it breaks?" The same can easily be suggested here. You lot say that if they wanted better living they would educate themselves leaving us with a society full of managers and no one to actually manage.
Think about that for a second the next time you pour yourself a glass of Henri Jayer Richebourg - Grand Cru.
If that is how little our society thinks of the struggling class being forced by simple minded people to live a life in poverty, then is it really any surprise to any citizen of this nation that the poverty stricken in return also thinks little of your life? Capitalism = Crime. I'm pretty sure the latter is as a direct result of the former, or perhaps vice versa too?
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