Make infrastructure projects labour intensive
I agree with most of Margaret Legum’s argument (“Footloose Capital Must be Brought to Heel”, January 18), but I cannot agree with her conclusions.
A basic income grant (even if it is affordable to the country) is a passive remedy. Humans need work, not only to satisfy material needs, but also to fulfill their need for acheivement. Money given without a commitment by the recipient is not always wisely used.
South Africa needs infrastructure roads, sports fields, dams and water supplies, sanitation, school buildings and community centres, environmental care and beautification, and many other such developments.
Let these projects be undertaken, let them be labour intensive, let them be local in selection, planning and execution, and let each person earn a basic income.
The basic income grant should be reserved for the old and the infirm.
I suggest that the government examine carefully the steps taken by FD Roosevelt in 1933 when unemployment threatened to cripple the US. RB Noyes, Prince Alfred’s Hamlet
Margaret Legum’s excellent column is an exposition of the tenet “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. As she says, the impulse to change is deflected by repeated assurances that the status quo is not what it is.
Another antagonist to change is the belief that anyone might “make it” in this system. Powering this belief is the fact that a few do. Even more insidious is the moralist ethos that if you work hard you will get somewhere. This is untrue, but the lure of wealth keeps labour compliant. Barbara Loon, Orange Grove