Business

Where should the rand be?

For those who see conspiracy in the steep plunge in the value of the rand against the US dollar, the graph below showing the decline of the Australian dollar can only mean a similar conspiracy against the Australian currency. If you don’t believe in conspiracies — which is not the same as acknowledging that traders…

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The poor economy is not all Zuma’s fault

Some lessons I have learned from reporting on economic crises: * Don’t fixate on any one cause. Economies are complex webs of interrelated phenomena. Interest-rate changes are not the whim of the central bank, ie the Reserve Bank. They depend on a range of other economic actors, including our government and other economies in the…

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The rand’s fall – it’s deja vu all over again

At around R13 to the dollar now, our exports must be quite competitive. They could get quite a lot more competitive soon. At the same time as being a temporary boon for the mines, a weaker currency should boost the trade balance because we’ll all have to cut back on imports. A weaker currency also…

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ILO mistakenly assumes that its old ANC pal is pragmatic

Voters elect politicians on the basis of their proclaimed ideology. However, it is not ideology that drives government effectiveness. Rather it is how ideology is adapted to resolving real-life problems. This week’s report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a reminder to what extent, despite all evidence to the contrary, African National Congress (ANC)…

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The microfinance delusion: who really wins?

I’m always amazed at how many students show up each year in the classrooms of the London School of Economics, where I teach, quivering with excitement about microfinance and other “bottom-of-the-pyramid” development strategies. Like eager young missionaries, they feel they’ve stumbled upon the One Idea that is sure to save the world. Would that it…

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Read Yanis Varoufakis’s “The Global Minotaur”!

Until recently, Yanis Varoufakis was the Greek Minister of Finance, who resigned after the Greek populace voted overwhelmingly against the imposition of more austerity measures against them in order to service the country’s crippling debt — resigned, because he believed that would give Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, more negotiating space with the representatives of…

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Bravo Greece!

The outcome of the Greek referendum on whether to accept the stringent conditions for another “bailout”, laid down by its creditors, should be applauded as an unambiguous manifestation of the democratic public spirit that refuses to continue allowing the neoliberal economic regime to put money before people. It also testifies to historical amnesia on the…

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Greece: What you think you know may hurt you

“Nescience”. What a lovely word. It means not knowing. Looking at reactions to the Greek crisis, outside Greece, before and after a somewhat puzzling referendum makes me wish more people would accept the state of nescience on some issues. For me, the Greek tragedy presents a fascinating study of how politics and economics are inseparable….

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So what is income inequality? How is it measured?

Income inequality in Africa is wide and persistent, particularly in South Africa. Will the country’s proposed national minimum wage lessen it? South Africa suffers from a large income gap between rich and poor. A 2013 survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggested that “no progress towards income equality has been made since…

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Why we’re wrong to celebrate CEOs for simulating poverty for 12 hours

By Natasha Skoryk and Caitlin Spring We’re a generation of clicktivists, incessantly raising awareness for a wide assortment of causes and social justice issues. But we rarely follow through with any tangible action or put our money where our “shares” are. So, logically, when initiatives do attempt to physically address societal problems, we should be…

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