Why we should care about Global Inequality

When betting is a business activity and petty crime is rampant enough to require setting up an ‘anti-mugging’ unit then the level of poverty is telling.

The Kenyan capital is already crawling with uniformed police since the tense election last year but will now require clandestine anti-mugging unit ‘disguised as hawkers’ according to Nairobi County Chief Security Officer Tito Kilonzo.

British charitable organization Oxfam International says that while the richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of the wealth created last year, the poorest half of humanity got nothing.

It takes just four days for a CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International.

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns while ensuring workers receive a living wage.

Kenya has specifically been fingered for not enforcing the minimum wage which is set at Sh10,955 after President Uhuru Kenyatta bumped it up 18 percent last year.

In a study, Oxfam established that workers at flower farms were earning as little as Sh3765 per month and were forced to work night shifts.

“Workers said they did not want extra hours and would prefer to be paid a decent basic wage, saying that compulsory overtime and night shifts disrupted family life,” Oxfam said.

John, interviewed for Oxfam’s study, is married with a three-year-old child. He works an eight-hour day as a flower worker and earns Sh6,755 per month, including a housing allowance.

Despite the combined wages of John and his wife, who earns Sh150 a day, their monthly expenses exceed their income.

Oxfam calculated that wages could be doubled to Sh12,000 if just 5p (Sh7) were added to the price of a £4 (Sh571) bunch of flowers, or 2p (Sh2.8) to a pack of green beans –earmarked for wages.

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