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Skills Inequality in South Africa

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studying with book04 June 2012. I write this article out of concern that the national debate has shifted to cosmetic band-aid fixes for problems instead of getting to the heart of the underlying causes, and working on those.

Skill Inequalities cause Wage Inequalities

Although there are some noteworthy exceptions, by and large wage inequalities are caused by skills inequality. On average, accountants earn more than those with only a matric. Sure, over the short-term people are sometimes overlooked for reasons other than their skill, but over the long-term the level of skill somebody has almost always wins out.

Why Redistribution of Wealth & Nationalisation don't work

Those calling for nationalisation & the redistribution of wealth are often well-intentioned; and I share with them the aim of giving more people the opportunity to share in the wealth of our great country, and indeed in the wealth of the world.

BUT without closing the skills gap, wage inequalities will persist no matter what other government policies are implemented. You can redistribute wealth as much as you want, redistribute land, nationalise companies, but still those with higher skills will earn more and accummulate wealth faster. There is no workable system which rewards people with more if they are adding less value. There is no lasting solution to economic inequalities other than uplifting the skills of people.

Let's focus all efforts on removing the Skills Inequality

Once we understand the above, we can focus all our energy on the one thing which does work, and that is upskilling people. I don't have all the answers, but here are some ideas:

This isn't an easy path - I know, I have spent many years of my life studying, and still do, but the rewards are immense. For the sake of the advancement of ourselves and our great nation, let's walk this path together.

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