n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Is groeiende welvaart teenoor armoede 'n nul-som spel? - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


This paper tests the following hypothesis : is increasing wealth vis-à-vis poverty a zero sum game? This hypothesis is tested on the basis of the statement that "the rich gets richer and the poor poorer". This statement leaves the impression that increased wealth for an individual or group is only possible at the expense of another individual or group. Varying conclusions are reached when the hypothesis is tested in terms of economic growth, government conduct and the Barcelona Consensus.
Criticism is often levelled at a perceived unfair distribution between the rich and the poor, or an increase in wealth, or increasing wealth for individuals, hence creating an impression of increasing wealth at the expense of the poor. The basis for this assertion is that any benefits accruing from economic growth are not automatically distributed to the poor in the community, as their skills are often of such a nature that they cannot secure employment opportunities in the economic system. In reality economic growth and increased wealth do not necessarily result in an increase of poverty among the poor, implying that the hypothesis cannot be proven as if it were an economic law. Responsible actions by governments do not confirm the hypothesis, as responsible conduct by any government reduces poverty, even if the wealth of the rich increases. On the contrary, oppressive governments that do not recognise the principles of democracy, market forces, property rights or the rule of law often make a zero-sum game of growing wealth vis-à-vis poverty, hence confirming the hypothesis.

Hierdie artikel toets die hipotese :

  1. Is groeiende welvaart teenoor armoede 'n nul-som spel?
Die hipotese staan teen die agtergrond van die stelling :
  1. Die rykes word ryker en die armes word armer.
Hierdie stelling laat die indruk dat groter of groeiende welvaart vir een individu of groep net moontlik is ten koste van ander individue of groepe.
In die praktyk is die noodwendige gevolg van ekonomiese groei en toenemende welvaart nie 'n toename in armoede nie. Regerings wat verantwoordelik optree, dra by tot 'n vermindering van armoede, selfs al neem die welvaart van rykes toe. Onderdrukkende regerings maak egter van groeiende welvaart 'n nul-som spel.
Die slotsom nadat die hipotese getoets is, laat twee met mekaar botsende antwoorde. Onder sekere omstandighede word die hipotese bevestig, maar onder ander omstandighede word dit verwerp. Die uitdaging wat die wêreld in die gesig staar, is om te verseker dat groeiende welvaart tot almal se voordeel is. Dit sal enige indruk van 'n nul-som spel beëindig. Die keuse lê by ons, en te midde van toenemende polarisasie in die wêreld is ons waarskynlik die laaste geslag wat nog die voorreg van 'n keuse het om 'n verskil te kan maak.

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