Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The white aphids of africa

While I'm on the topic of insects I'm definitely starting to feel a bit like how an aphid must feel.

Sunday afternoon I was doing some handyman chores at the sisters-in-law and walked outside to leave only to find ... nothing! My brand new Fortuner, she was gone! Eish! Go back inside and have another drink. Walk back outside ... still gone. Sh!t.

Phone the Tracker people, report the incident to the police, start gathering all the boxes and invoices of what was stolen - we're getting quite efficient at this now having done it so many times. I know I should be more upset than I actually am but really, what does getting upset achieve other than a raised blood pressure. I have low blood pressure so maybe I should be more upset, even if only to raise the pressure a bit.

Coming back to the aphids, and I really hope I aren't maligning the incorrect insect here, but they are husbanded by ants and milked for food. That is pretty much how I feel at the moment, all I seem to do is to work hard to earn so that someone else can enjoy the fruits of my labour. It's not quite like I don't enjoy the fruits since I simply get the toys back from insurance so I'm not really losing out, other than for the inconvenience and, of course, I have to pay for the insurance and a little bit of danger.

It's a little bit of zero sum game really. Salaries in Johannesburg are a bit higher than elsewhere in South Africa and, I'm sure, partly as a result of crime. So here we sit, earning a little better, so we can afford nice toys so that other people that don't earn or work hard can also enjoy nice toys. The government one would think would be intensely interested in protecting it's citizens because after all, that is where the pot of gold that they enjoy spending so much comes from. It certainly doesn't come from tax on criminals! So while one would think they should be interested in protecting it's citizens, all of them, they clearly aren't interested; maybe they're too busy spending the pot of gold. Of course it may not be that they're uninterested, they may just be hopelessly incompetent but either way the net effect is the same.

So, what to do. Of course if one earned less, one couldn't afford the toys so people without toys wouldn't be able to take them. Then the government also wouldn't earn so much so they wouldn't have to make a pretense of being actually interested in their citizens which would solve that little conundrum. So the answer to crime is ... become a pauper which holds about as much attraction for me as I'm sure it does for you, the reader, i.e. absolutely no attraction whatsoever. Damn!

The real question, of course, is not about having a few things stolen but what the risks are that one may not survive to enjoy anything thereafter at all! This, unfortunately, isn't such a low probability here that it doesn't warrant a bit of thought. Essentially, one takes a risk staying in S.A and the reward is a slightly higher salary (or lower expenses) than elsewhere, earning the slightly higher salary and spending it attracts the less savoury members of the population which makes it riskier which makes the salaries higher ... Phrasing the question the other way around, would one be happy with the lower salary as found elsewhere with the attendant lower levels of crime?

It's all in the net income ration vs the risk and this varies from location to location not to mention from individual to individual both in terms in income potential and risk aversion.

Quite a conundrum. I haven't solved it but writing about it somehow makes things slightly less murky.

1 comment:

Heidi and Darrell Bergesen and kids said...

I gather from the lack of blogs that you've not been robbed lately - is this progress or inertia?