FightInequality Week Next week (19th to 26th January 2018) has been declared

FightInequality week in the UK (by The Equality Trust). They chose
this week to coincide with The World Economic Forum in Davos as they
are concerned that although Inequality will be discussed in Davos,
nothing will be done about it afterwards.

To give readers some idea of how bad Inequality has become in the UK,
the Chief Executives of the top FTSE100 companies earned the National
Average Income (of FULL time employees) by lunchtime on Thursday 4th
January. (Monday 1st was a Bank Holiday – so it did not count in their
calculations – so in less than 3 days these top-executives earned more
than the AVERAGE FULL time employee.)

I have already mentioned (in a previous article) the negative effects
that such Inequality has on our societies, so I won’t mention them
again now – except to urge you to read The Spirit Level, if you have
not already done so.

Living where I am (and at this time of year – our busiest) I am not in
a position to organize a mass protest; nor do I “do” social media, so
I cannot send out a Facebook or Twitter campaign. I thought what I
would try and do is to discuss the problems of Inequality in the
Zambian context.

I started by Googling the top richest people in Zambia and Forbes
claims to have come up with a list. Like EVERYTHING one finds on the
Internet, one has to be very critical of what you read, and this list
is no exception. For a start, it has the GENDER of the 4th richest
person wrong; apart from that, I believe it also has the facts about
HIS wealth incorrect. (I happen to believe that the asset wealth that
he manages, he manages on behalf of a family trust, which is not the
same thing as his own personal wealth.)

With that caveat in mind, it is interesting to see the extremely rapid
acquisition of wealth that certain names on that list seem to have
been able to achieve. One of them, earned the Agricultural Minimum
daily wage in just ELEVEN SECONDS.

A friend told me that, when the news of the Cholera outbreak in Lusaka
was announced, somebody in her acquaintance posted a photograph of
their swimming pool on Social Media, with the title “This is how WE
live in the Tropics”

I believe that, whether it is a wealthy person accumulating wealth at
a rate that is three thousand three hundred times the rate of an
Agricultural worker, or whether it is someone arrogant enough to brag
about his swimming pool in the middle of a cholera epidemic, such
Inequality will only end in tears – or rather, blood and tears.

As the Inequality Trust is arguing in the UK, Inequality if NOT
Inevitable. Although it may seem impossible at times, it IS true that
we can choose to create the sort of society that we want and I believe
Zambians should choose to build a more Equal Society. We will ALL be
better off as a result.

Bruce Danckwerts
For further reading Google Fat Cat Thursday UK Guardian; The Equality
Trust; 10 Richest Zambians