The basic tenet of a socialist analysis of capitalism is that it is a class divided society, with the owning class owning all the means of production and the working class forced to work for a wage or a salary because of their non-ownership. The contrast between the lives of workers and capitalists is huge, but a recent example in India shows just how great the contrast can be in one city.
"Mumbai is desperately overcrowded. More than half its 18 million inhabitants live in shantytowns, many, like Mr Prakash, paying significant rents for the privilege. ..."We ask God to help," said Mr Prakash, who earns about 7,500 (£94) rupees a month, "but in this city I don't think good property is within the grasp of ordinary men."
Contrast that pitiful existence shared by about 9 millions of his fellows in Mumbai with that of a capitalist in the same city.
"Look out across the skyline of south Mumbai and it is not hard to pick out the new pad being constructed by Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man - a building said to have been inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and said to be the world's first $2 billion (£1.2 billion) home. The 27-storey glass tower, named Antilla after the mythical Atlantic island, is said to feature three helipads, nine elevators a cinema, a health club, a crystal-encrusted ballroom, several "safe" rooms, a garden level half way up and 168 car parking spaces. The structure will have about 400,000 sq ft of interior space and will require about 600 servants to run it." (Times, 24 September)
A 27 storey house for him and his wife and three children may seem a bit excessive and we wonder about the 168 car parking spaces, but with that sort of loot to spend no doubt Mr Ambani has a lot of friends visiting him! RD
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