Thursday, January 24, 2013

The haves, the have-lots and the have-nots

When Apartheid ended in 1994, South Africa moved from an era of institutionalized racial separation to what many believed was an equal society. But today, the rich-poor divide is starker than ever before. What has been happening is that as businesses have pushed down wages, profit margins have been increasing. The World Bank showed the country to have a Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) of 63.1 –  which is among the worst globally.

 South Africa is now ‘‘the most unequal country on earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid,’’ said a Oxfam report released just ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Oxfam predicts that if nothing is done at both government and the international level to address the situation, in South Africa alone one-million more people could be pushed into poverty by 2020.

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