Business

Eskom simply has no clue…or does it?

Eskom. Just mentioning the name results in a flurry of negative emotions coursing through the veins of just about every South African. This energy crisis is probably the single most devastating event in the past 20 years, it’s destroying the confidence of the country as a whole and places our entire economy in a chokehold….

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Ignoring the Oliphant in the room

During her Budget speech this week, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant extolled the virtuous circle of wages and economic growth. Workers needed to be paid decent wages to drive economic growth, she told MPs. “At the risk of sounding too simplistic” this made sense because South Africa’s economy is largely consumer-driven. “When workers earn a living…

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What is the ‘logic of sufficiency’ in economics?

Imagine a world in which people, wisely, remind themselves that there is a tomorrow – if not for themselves, indefinitely, then for their children – and that the manner in which they enter into a relationship with their physical environment WILL unavoidably make a difference to the kind of tomorrow their children, and their children’s…

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Hey, relax, South Africa isn’t THAT bad!

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that South Africa has many problems. Our economy buckled due to the protracted platinum strike last year, violence and rape remains disturbingly high, poverty and inequality is on the rise and our politics are, well, underwhelming to say the least. One of the consequences is that we have…

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Dear government, you’ve let things slide too far

My previous letter to you seemed to strike a chord with some of my fellow South Africans, hence this letter to you. Once more, I will use a point form approach. 1. We need decisive leadership. That does not mean holding a press conference. Apart from making you out to be perennial underachievers, they bear…

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Labour-intensive growth strategies key to reduce unemployment

It is generally accepted that unemployment at current levels of about 25% (using the narrow rate) is the most critical and pressing of our socio-economic challenges as it directly impacts how successfully we can reduce poverty and inequality. The problem assumes crisis proportions if we consider that the broader unemployment rate sits at about 43%…

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The delusion at the heart of the sustainable development goals

This is a big year for the development industry. In September, the world’s heads of state will gather in New York City to decide on the new sustainable development goals (SDGs), which will replace the millennium development goals as they expire. This process might sound mundane and wonky to people who don’t follow the development…

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Africa’s China dream hangs in the balance

Voices coming out of Africa and China’s state departments describe relations between the two as based on mutual interest, cooperation, equality and respect. Two-way high volumes of trade, investments, development aid, infrastructure and resource deals are cited as evidence of this win-win relationship. But Afro-Sino engagement has many narratives and deep introspection reveals power, cultural…

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SA needs low-wage, labour-intensive growth strategy to boost economy

Faced with an economy that has been in decline for more than a decade and given the slowing demand from our trading partners, the State of the Nation address should have pointed in an emphatic way, to a radical and fundamental policy shift in strategies that are aimed at economic regeneration and the way we…

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South Africa in the age of austerity

While the battle against austerity in Europe has entered a decisive phase — with the election of the radical-left Syriza in Greece — the term is seldom heard with reference to South Africa. Despite this, and the global discrediting of austerity, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s recent budget can only be described as austere. Austerity refers…

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