Round Table with Oscar
June 9, 2015
The citizen wage

It is foolish to concentrate on poverty eradication, i.e. cutting down the numbers of poor people around. What we must concentrate on is wealth creation.

That is the way to cut back on poverty; by increasing more wealth. This idea sounds reasonable and attractive, but the facts from most studies tell us that, as Richard Quest of CNN puts it,{{more}} “the number of billionaires has more than doubled in the past 10 years,” while at the same time, the numbers of persons in poverty, and the depth of poverty have also become swollen. It seems to suggest that poverty and wealth grow together; and what we see as examples and cases of poverty, as in “boat people” on killing voyages across the seas, who meet frozen faces on the other shore, have clear connections with those who extort wealth, monopolize it and reproduce it in their own enterprises. They run the poverty and wealth machines.


One of the jokes that the wealth mongers play on us – and we swallow it without chewing – is what I call the ‘jobs joke’. It goes like this: ‘Jobs provide people with income and a means to maintain and develop their livelihoods and circulate money in the economy and society; so, whoever can help deliver jobs is the great deliverer in any society. It sounds so true and noble that we begin to look at investors and other job providers as God’s angels. We run behind them, lavish them with love and even feel like praying to them, especially when they come from overseas. The game they play is called ‘FDI’ – Foreign Direct Investment, and it is supposed to be the great and prominent engine of development!

It is useful to get an idea of how many of our jobs or businesses here are ‘owned’ from overseas. Employed on a farm or in an air-conditioned plant, examine how much of your month’s income goes abroad. The content of your meals and the kitchenware you use, most of it is available from overseas countries and large companies. You wear clothes and cosmetics to work, you travel to work… you use work place objects… for every $100 that your job gives you, the international economy takes its portion. Every job in SVG enriches the global economy.

FDI Scam

Those who tell us that jobs build our national economy are telling us less than half the truth. The same is true about Foreign Direct Investment. When a business person from overseas, whether an individual or company, invests in our country, they want workers who come cheap, and they want land space that is cheap and they want preferential governmental treatment. With those facilities, and we have all of these, an investor is bound to make good profits, even if s/he runs an inefficient business. Jobs and wages do not count for much of the expenses or output for a foreign investor. Already, it is clear that the outside economy is where money is spent by the investor, and that the part of the profits which go back to the investors is likely to be several times the amount that the workers get. Perhaps the workers collective or sectoral agency should be entitled to a portion of the profits. What can be seen here is that wealth from the investment remains with the wealthy, and SVG, by virtue of cheap labour, cheap space, low environmental requirements, is host to poverty. The global economy, while producing wealth, produces poverty. It does not target SVG; it is the game that is called globalization. This global wealth machine, commanding governments like ours to give it room to play, produces poverty, disintegration, boat people and criminal opportunity.


The activity and the processes of producing wealth worldwide is a social operation. The use and abuse of the world’s labour power, as well as other resources and administratives, are used by our world’s economic actors to generate wealth as well as poverty. Every citizen is involved in this network. Every citizen should be paid. That is why Andre Gorz and others recommend a CITIZEN WAGE for every person in the world. That is part of the globalization we ought to envision and promote.

Capital investment is protected and has rights worldwide; citizen livelihood, on an equitable basis worldwide, must be protected and have legal substance also. Producing wealth must not produce poverty on and on, or things will become more absolutely unstable and unjust. Livelihoods must be guaranteed worldwide in a Global Wage Organization (WGO).