Rock star French economist, Thomas Piketty, who touched down in South Africa for the first time reckons it’s the most unequal society in the world.
Piketty says the top 10 per cent of the population’s income generate 60 to 65 per cent of South Africa’s total income. He gave a comparison to the United States saying it’s not as extreme at 45 to 45 per cent and Europe 30 to 35 per cent of their countries total income generated by the top 10 per cent.
“Indeed South Africa is at the top of the list and in a way even out of the Map,” says Piketty.
Piketty, who’s the author of the best seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, reckons that a very high tax rate should be applied to the wealthy.
On the wealthy taking their capital elsewhere because of inflated tax, Piketty says there are lots of people in South Africa who’ll occupy their buildings and build sustainable businesses. He says that in every country in history, the elite try to resist paying tax, adding that it’s a human reaction.
“This level of inequality has not been conducive to development anywhere in the world. The successful development experience in Asia, Europe, in North America are always involved in lower inequality than what we have in Brazil, and even more in South Africa,” says Piketty.
“Extreme inequality tends to lead to violence and violent fighting if it’s not addressed,” says Piketty, pointing out the Marikana massacre where 34 mineworkers lost their lives at the hands of the South African police.