WHAT IS POVERTY
Many times I fight with people on my page when they define Zimbabwe as being a country in poverty. The reason being poverty is when one has no surplus or other means of sustenance other than having to wake up every morning to be labor for industry.
Some can also say it’s a state of having no surplus and owning no factors of production such that you are forced to buy your food, clothes, home,
education and all your basic needs on debt. Then you spend your whole life working for industry to pay off that debt.
The fact is Zimbabwe is said to only have 10% formal employment. With most in formal employment being paid in RTGS and salaries being as low as $300/mth for doctors.
Now contrast this with Zimbabwe’s record year of car importations in 2018. We have also seen a record boom in housing construction, live stocking, cropping, mine developments, investment in farming assets, farming implement ownership etc in both rural and urban areas, which is mainly financed by surplus and not debt.
All these developments hardly driven by the 10% RTGS earning employees, most of whom don’t have any surplus to buy forex.
This illustrates to me that Zimbabwe is driven by people who have surplus or factors of production like land, minerals, raw materials, machinery, equipment or seeds to produce outside selling their labor to industry. Albeit, there are also those who are exporting their skills, expertise and labor into industry in other parts of the world to earn foreign currency too.
Now compare that with most of us who live in countries driven by debt. Countries where people have no surplus, they own nothing so they have to buy food, clothes, cars, accommodation and their needs on debt and then spend the rest of their lives working in industry to pay off the debt.
We have also seen the governments of such nations take on huge sovereign debt to build freeways, power stations, nuclear plants and beautiful infrastructure and then mortgage their gold, uranium, land and other strategic resources to western countries and China for the maintenance of that same infrastructure.
This in turn will see the unfortunate assetless and production factorless citizens slave away in industry owned by westerners and the Chinese (who gave them the debt) for generations to pay off that debt. THAT IS POVERTY!
Now imagine. In most of those countries the western owners of assets and factors of production are planning to replace workers with technology, robots and machinery. How will those citizens survive then when they can’t sell their labor to industry to survive? That is going to lead to ABJECT POVERTY. Owning your labor, land, seeds, water and resources is true wealth.
What we as Zimbabweans now need to learn to do, is to produce more than we consume using the land, minerals, labor and education that we have, to take our nation out of lack.
Written by Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare