A worker inside an electronics factory in Qingdao, Shandong province, China. Picture: REUTERS
A worker inside an electronics factory in Qingdao, Shandong province, China. Picture: REUTERS

One has to applaud Tom Eaton’s recent column: the endless litany of profiteering, graft and looting we see around us does indeed arise from a disconnect between work and remuneration (Will a Flaming Plane Finally Spark Outrage?, October 8).

There was a time when people had to produce something useful for their remuneration. Technology and production advances can’t be denied, but we see an increasing remoteness between management and production.

In the past, where our companies had the inestimable advantage of risk-exposed owners, we now have corporations owned by funds and institutions whose boards must rely on executives who themselves require better corporate political  than production skills. That is the source of bloated executive packages in the private sector and corruption in our state-owned enterprises, where the problem is many times multiplied.

We commit vast resources to red tape and box-ticking, but it is as futile as weeding your garden when all around new seeds are waiting. We are in desperate need of  breaking down a cultural admiration of the suit over the overall.

We have to challenge a belief system that sees the way to success through schemes and influence and appearances, and which envies and is resentful of others’ success. In the face of our daily exposure to billion-dollar scams, civil servants who are neither civil nor of service and Bentleys in the townships, that task is immense.

Every government document should bear the words “do your job”. But then we need to build faith in that job.

Barry Hay, Parktown North

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