Amancio Ortega will increase his fortune in 554 million euros today. It is half of what is in 2016 in respect of dividends by its 1.848 million shares in Inditex, that it will be taxed at 23%. The news comes a few days after the celebracion-sorpresa of his 80th birthday and once again provokes pitched battles between his fans and his detractors in the social networks.
Why the Galician entrepreneur generated so much controversy? It may have little to do with their money and with the beliefs of both sides.
How our beliefs do us want (or not) to Amancio Ortega
On the side of the fans of the entrepreneur dominates the faith in the equal opportunities of Western society, in the “If you like and you efforts, you can”. It is an optimistic world view, since it puts your future in your own hands: you can control your life, in fact the only thing that controls your life is your own will.
However has a dark side, because it can mean that If you’ve not succeeded it’s because you’ve not wanted and you’ve not worked enough. In this view there is no bad luck that, unfortunately, there is. (Maybe that you’ve been a student of architecture bright, intelligent and hardworking, but if you’ve finished the school in 2008, it is possible that you follow out of work despite all your efforts).
On the side of the detractors dominates a contrary view: nothing is in your hands, everything is the fault of the system. Which is born rich always will be rich, who was born poor, will always be poor. Not worth making efforts so that this will not change. First you have to build a just world can guarantee us the results and then already will not work.
Amancio Ortega contradicts this narrative: He succeeded despite the system, in a world even more unfair than the today, starting with a situation much worse than ours. Precisely in order to resolve this contradiction it resorts to the usual argument: he is an exploiter, honest people is not rich.
But Ortega has done much more to confirm the beliefs of some and put in doubt others.
How has the creator of Inditex contributed to the liberation of women
The Galician entrepreneur has created a company that has released the woman. As well as the inventor of the washer has allowed our grandmothers and mothers spend less time washing clothes, Zara has allowed them to stop sewing and knitting for need. They have dedicated the surplus of free time to read us stories, which has resulted in the increase of level of training for all of us. Which are still sewing or knitting now already do so for pleasure.
Inditex has created and continues to create much employment. Only in 2015 the template the company to increased 4.120 workers. The textile industry requires labour-intensive, so its growth always carries with it a significant increase in employment. Currently around the world every sixth worker is employed in the fashion industry.
The employment created by Inditex arrives to the sectors that fewer job opportunities have and need it the most: women with low level of education, in countries with high rates of poverty. Obviously, textile employment reaches these countries not by the kindness and the charitable spirit of Amancio Ortega. It is because there it can be produced at a lower cost. But this job causes a chain reaction: a greater demand for labor is wages begin to rise. For example in Bangladesh, where the minimum wage in the country is 16.50 euros, the minimum wage in the textile sector is 60 euros. In China, one of the first countries that began to make European and U.S. firms salaries grew an average of 12% a year since 2001. 15 years of double-digit wage growth.
The higher salaries mean more money to invest in the education of their children. In the documentary The True Cost, whose objective was to show us the miseries of the fast fashion, we see the example of a mother who works in a textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. According to, his 10-year-old daughter goes in the morning to school and afternoon has classes with tutors. You can pay them thanks to his salary. Means a better education for this girl a better job than her mother in the future.
The perverse effects of the fast fashion
The model fast fashion that has helped build Inditex has done much for employment, women’s liberation and the increase of the level of education in many countries of the world, but it has also created problems.
Textile production is very polluting. The model buy – use – pull to which we have become accustomed has further increased the pollution which will be responsible for him. The abundance of clothes in our closets leads to us, kindly people not exploiting anyone, to donate computer more and more NGOs. Excess clothing we donate can not be sold in Europe or United States, that ends up in Africa. There you arrive at such low prices that It’s made to disappear almost the great African textile tradition. Who will go to a fashion designer if you can buy 10 kilograms of clothes for half of what it is worth a dress?..
An imperfect world
Don’t we have lived in a perfect world. Our business people (and politicians) are mixtures of Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Mandela. They are normal people, like us. Like us, they do what they understand that most benefits to them and their children. We learn to recognize the merits that have. Then our criticism will also have more ground.