Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Being rich isn't bad -- but being a leech is.

Kevin O'Leary has made a career out of pulling the chains of Canadians, especially those who watch CBC. Recently The Lang & O'Leary Exchange touched on an Oxfam report: Working for the Few. The report reveals that the 85 richest people on earth have a combined wealth equal to that of the entire bottom half of the world’s population. According to Oxfam: "Wealthy elites have co-opted political power to rig the rules of the economic game, undermining democracy."

O'Leary's unthinking, by rote response was to applaud the news. "What can be wrong with that," he asked. The small time business man, but big time self-promoter, went on to say it was wonderful to see this happening. It encourages people to work hard, to get ahead.

Mr. O'Leary doesn't seem to realize many of those in the third world already work damn hard. Many possibly harder than Mr. O'Leary. Millions of children in the Third World are Born To Work. This is the title of a book by GMB Akash, a Bangladeshi photographer.

It should be noted that the percentage of people living in dire poverty around the world has been declining over the past decades. It must also be noted that, contrary to O'Leary's statement, in countries with the greatest income inequality an expanding GDP does less to alleviate poverty than the same growth in a country with a more equal distribution of wealth.

Amanda Lang mocked O'Leary as she imitated a Third World worker getting up in the morning. I can get ahead, thinks the worker: "I just need to pull up my socks. Oh wait, I don't have any socks."

At least, Ms. Lang gets it. For instance, some 10,000 people, including over 2500 women and 1000 children, earn a living collecting stone and sand from the Piyain River in Bangladesh. The average wage is less than $2 US a day. Times may be tough for these folk while they are working but for four months a year it gets even worse. Work is suspended during the annual rainy season. Click on the link and check the pictures. Lang is right. Many of these workers don't have socks.

1 comment:

  1. Power photos… the rest of his portfolio is equally as arresting!