Category Archives: Personal

Minimum wage?

A bit of background information on myself: I was born in Malawi (to South African missionaries), and spent my formative years there. I moved to South Africa at the age of 12, but still visited my folks in Malawi regularly over the years.

Malawi HungerMalawi is one of the top ten poorest countries in the world, so growing up I saw a lot of real poverty. Malawi is a country where, if the rain does not fall at the right time of year, then people literally die of hunger. It’s not even like they can beg for food from other people in the village, because no-one has food. In times of hunger, people would swarm in masses to the local missionaries, NGO’s, churches ect. in search of work. They will be willing to work a full day, doing anything required, if that means that they can feed their family a single meal at the end of the day. Now people like my parents, were forced to make extremely hard decisions in those times. Helping everyone was impossible, but how many people can you help with what you have?

Most of my reasoning on this topic stems from my actual experience in life. Growing up with extreme poverty around me, and later, working off study debt and starting a business venture with zero capital.

When it comes to the topic of minimum wage, those in favour (of the concept/law) tend to take the moral high ground and make those opposing it out to be cold-hearted oppressors, who only want to empower the rich at the expense of the poor. The problem is that, if you do not actually sit and run all the real-world scenarios through your head, you will probably tend to agree with those in favour of a minimum wage.

So let’s try a real-world scenario:
Imagine that you have R150 at your disposal, and there are 10 starving people outside your door, all of them are willing to clean your house/garden/car – if you can pay them – so that they can buy food. You are faced with a choice: Will you pay one person R150 to clean your house, and let the others starve? Or will you hire all of them, break the work up in smaller pieces, and pay each one of them R15, so that they all can eat something that night?
If you are pro minimum wage, then you will choose to help just one person, and let the other 9 people starve. How could you!?
Who has the moral high-ground now?

For minimum wage to work, the employer needs to have unlimited funding at his/her disposal, so that the only reason why he will stop hiring people, is because he does not want more expenses, and wants to maximize his profit.
But do all employers have unlimited funding? Or do they stop hiring because they can’t afford more workers? With 60% of our economy comprised of small businesses, I highly doubt that we have a market where employers have unlimited funding. So the only thing that a minimum wage law does, is to cut the amount of jobs. The facts speak for themselves. South Africa is loosing tens of thousands of jobs per year, due to forced wage increases from unions in the various sectors.

Mine workersSo what about the worker? Is it right to assume that they will rather die of hunger than work for what the employer is willing to pay? Are you in their shoes? It is very important to note at this stage, that the people who are protesting for higher minimum wage, are employed themselves. What about those who are not employed? What about those who lost their jobs due to the increase in minimum wage?

I can go on and on with the implications of all this: The entitlement mentality that flows from it, the decay of working ethics and even the complete collapse of an economy in the long run. In fact, I have been writing and rewriting this article over weeks, but as I try to write this blog for casual readers, I decided to rather leave it at that, the core principle.

Julius MalemaMinimum wage is an utopian concept that is incompatible with human nature and a real economy. It would have been nice if no-one had any lack, but due to human nature, this is not attainable in this world. You can’t force financial equality through government intervention, it will never be sustainable.

I will put it to you that citizens should rather be encouraged to help others from their abundance (earned through hard work), rather than being “forced to share”, as our hot-headed red beret puts it.

Deuteronomy 15:11 – “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”

For further reading on this topic, I really suggest this insightful article by Temba A Nolutshungu about the origin of the minimum wage laws in the world.

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Enter Politics

I grew up in a very non-political family. Politics was not discussed at the table. So my interest in politics was never developed as a youth. I was eligible to vote at the 2004 general election, but as I was moving to Stellenbosch the next year, I could not register to vote in the area where I moved to, keeping me out of the voting for a couple more years.

Vote Conservative

Come 2009 general election, I was registered and ready, I would cast my vote. And here the big question came up, “Who will I vote for?” I am an analyst and scientist at heart. I have to study something to form an opinion about it. And so, I could not vote without studying the different political parties and their policies, track records and candidates. This exercise also lead me to studying governmental systems, legislature, and general politics. I seriously considered voting for a couple of parties based on my findings, and in the end, finally casting my vote for the ACDP (for both national and provincial level). I believed in their policies and track record more than any others.

Come 2011 municipal elections, and I was a political junkie by now. I would follow polls and news in real-time, I would debate parties, policies, and the state of the nation with others. 2011 was probably the most exciting election since 1994, as the ANC started it’s great decent, with the DA slowly taking over more and more ground. 2011 was a sign of hope for South African politics, showing that we will not have a one-party government ad infinitum.

RepublicanWhen the 2011 municipal elections passed, I found interest in the USA elections. The republican primaries were happening. There were a lot of candidates competing for the nomination as Republican presidential candidate. I followed the debates and polls, and started studying the American conservative political viewpoint. I learned much from this. I started learning more about conservative politics not based on culture, race or religion, but on economical and world-view principles. This exercise changed my viewpoint more and more into conservative, right-leaning. I always used to be a dead-centre, socialist, but I started leaning more and more to right-winged capitalist.

ProLife GenerationIn 2012 I moved closer to politics, through activism. I started ProLife Generation to combat abortion in South Africa. Through this I started studying the constitution and legal bodies of South Africa. I started liaising with lawyers, experts, and other activists. I started challenging political parties on the issue of abortion.

African Christian Democratic Party ( ACDP )And now here we are, 2013, with the 2014 general election around the corner.
I have been observing politics, I have been studying politics, I have been commenting on politics, so it is only fitting that I now join in and become a contributor from inside. This week I submitted my membership for the ACDP, and henceforth I will be involved in politics more actively.

Why the ACDP?
The ACDP is currently the party in South Africa whose policies I agree with most. They are also the conservative party with the most representation in the South African parliament. My other options would be the FF+ or maybe the IFP, but it is well known that the FF+ is a Afrikaner party, and the IFP is a Zulu party. The ACDP is more inclusive than the other conservative parties, well balanced in the racial and gender representation, and with a near spotless track record. Yes, the ACDP is also exclusive, in being named a “Christian” party, but they are open to all sorts of life. In the past muslims were voting for the ACDP because their values are much the same. The ACDP will also have a Jewish candidate in the 2014 election.

Now I am well aware that the ACDP votes has been on the decrease, and that it is possible that the party might have to cease it’s existence if they do not get sufficient votes in the 2014 election. But I am going on principle, not on numbers. The ACDP has been upping it’s game tremendously, sporting a great, responsive Twitter and Facebook profile for one. Also the party leader, Kenneth Meshoe, quit parliament to do fundraising and campaigning for next years election. These are good signs, and I will see what I can do from my side as well.

There might come a day, when all conservative political parties in SA will have to go into one conservative coalition, to balance out the socialist left of the ANC, DA etc. But that time is not now. If the ANC go below 50% of the national vote (which may happen in 2019), then the political field will once again be open for any new conservative political party to have a go. I just don’t think people will start voting for an unknown conservative political party at this stage.

So ACDP it is, and politics it is for me. Here I am, Nico Smit – Enter politics!

South Africa Conservative

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