Reg Rumney
Reg Rumney

The Economist gets it wrong — again

It’s easy to satirise the kind of journalism that led to the now famous October 20 “Cry, the beloved country” cover story of the Economist magazine.

There are two stories in the edition, a short “leader” article and the main story. This is the intro of the main story in the magazine:

“It has made progress since becoming a full democracy in 1994. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, South Africa is now going backwards.”

The magazine then lists a hodgepodge of new and old problems and economic indicators, including unemployment, inequality and education.

It’s an easy kind of journalism: make up your mind about the story and then find the facts to fit.

Apply this approach to the UK:

“It has made progress since it stopped being an imperialist exploiter in the 1960s. But a failure of leadership means that in many ways, Britain is now going backwards. Unemployment, economy at zero growth or worse, increasing xenophobia, youth riots, a troubled coalition government running an unpopular austerity programme, house prices that make home ownership impossible for new entrants, an ageing population that puts a strain on the fiscus etc, spell bad news for the green and pleasant isle.”

This is not to diminish our problems. They are real and need fixing.

One that the Economist devotes some space to is the failure of education to give many ordinary people hope of breaking out of poverty. This is more than sad, it is enraging.

Yet many of the problems the Economist cites, such as inequality, will take more than “leadership”, whatever that implies, to solve. At least some of those who chortled with glee in South Africa at the renowned international magazine having a go at the ANC are unlikely to want to make the sacrifices that greater equality demands.

Solving inequality through massive, quick redistribution of wealth would arguably level down rather than up, so that those who could not flee would be left equally poor. It is a problem faced by other countries, such as Brazil. The Economist should know this, so why it harps on inequality is a puzzle.

It is the central tenet of the Economist’s leader article that is most specious: South Africa is fated to fall behind the fast-growing African countries to its north because it is becoming a one-party state of the kind that used to be popular in Africa. Indeed, the Economist says Nigeria’s economy could eclipse South Africa’s.

There is a farrago of fallacies here; they start with the notion that South Africa is in danger of becoming a one-party system. There is no evidence of this. The ANC is in power because the majority of people voted for it in the last election.

The rest of Africa is growing fast, but even the Economist admits that this is often off a low base. Nearby Mozambique is a case in point. This used to be the poorest country in the world, and it is massively aid dependent. It will be some time before Mozambique can become a developed country.

True, both Nigeria and Angola have shown rapid, if erratic growth. Both have oil, which in an era of high oil prices is the explanation for that surge in growth. But Nigeria, though nothing like as grim as under the dictatorship of Sani Abacha, has its own troubles, namely religious violence and corruption, while Angola’s enclave economy has yet to see real democracy and its inequality could outdo South Africa’s.

And the oil price may not stay high forever, just as it did not stay low forever when the Economist famously ran a cover many years ago saying the price was too low. The Economist, which once ran a cover describing Africa as “The hopeless continent”, now appears to believe the opposite.

Most importantly, economic growth is not a race. If Nigeria and other African states see huge rates of growth, that is more likely to benefit South Africa than not. It seems to have escaped the magazine that the rest of Africa is our backyard. Our home-grown multinational MTN has its biggest investment in Nigeria. South African companies are present all over Africa. If they do well, so are we likely to do well.

Angola is a promising trade and investment destination. True democracy in any of our neighbours is to be celebrated, because it makes the region more attractive for investment, as well as preventing the kind of abuses ordinary Africans have suffered for so long at the hands of colonial governments and then their own people. Let’s not forget who left the mess of underpopulated, illogically carved out, underdeveloped countries that Africa is.

And incidentally, can we can that now haggard cliché of crying the beloved country?

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  • 50 Responses to “The Economist gets it wrong — again”

    1. Jack Sparrow #

      Funnily enough Reg, the UK is going backwards. Because this is true is the comment about SA true? Surely you can do better than this?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm
    2. I do understand that we need to stay in a positive frame of mind about our country’s future, despite it being run by a bunch of (mostly) incompetent people. The Economist, as you must be aware, tends not to express its own opinions, it usually puts both sides of the story to the reader, who is then left to digest this information. That is why it is such a great read.

      Referring to the final paragraphs: It must not be forgotten that business (investment) revolves around the so-called “bottom line”, never mind the politics. Take oil for example. No one could, with any honesty, call Russia a well-run state, or for that matter the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (a misnomer if ever there was) or Iraq. yet BP and other oil majors clamour to get a slice of these country’s oil pies. It’s business first, politics second.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    3. Niall Hags #

      Agreed with Jack Sparrow.
      What was Reg hoping to achieve with his little diatribe – to bring down the mighty Economist?
      And just by the way, if Reg is not concerned where we in SA are headed right now, then I think he is living in cloud cuckooland.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    4. Charles #

      Nice article, and true.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm
    5. Bubba #

      The Economist’s editorial intention in every respect is to call attention to serious problems, with the clear intention of spurring action, saying SA has challenges but otherwise everything is hunky-dory is not going to do it. One could argue that Sub-Saharan African governments took notice of “The Hopeless Continent” article years ago, and it has been policies implemented since then (together with booming commodity prices) which pulled Africa back from the direction it was headed then. One can only hope these current headlines and articles on South Africa have the same effect over time. One thing for sure, they’ve woken the ANC from their self-imposed stupor!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm
    6. Russ Russ #

      Reg is in charge of the Centre for Economics Journalism in Africa, sponsored by the South African Reserve Bank and the Standard Bank of South Africa. The aim of the centre is to improve the coverage of economics, finance and business on the continent.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm
    7. Warwick #

      The Economist’s article is not an attack on South Africa – don’t take it personally. Their newspaper expects more from SA and so it should. Articles like its latest are good for our country, they put pressure on the government and remind SA that the rest of the world has real expectations of it. Its central premise is correct – the economy is under performing and our woeful education system is failing and not due to a lack of investment.

      In the same edition, the lead article, The Economist ridicules the UK’s immigration policy. It also points out failings in France, Spain, Turkey. Russia and the US. If the Economist praises a country it is usually because the country is small, troubled or hopelessly under developed and has done something right. Its article of 20 Oct reminds SA and her government of her position in the world.

      Take the criticism on the chin and help deal with it, stop moaning.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm
    8. John #

      Reg, who paid you to ignore the obvious truth The Economist, stated?

      October 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm
    9. hilly1963 #

      you can relevate your own existance into nothingness as well. lets put it this way, zimbabwe is still doing great, about half the population has evaportated into thin air, and the people that are left have no peace if they do not speak the government speak. nice, SA is not far behind, turkey and many other countries are the same, you can tell everybody how great those countries are doing, except nobody wants to live there, have fun playing on your own in your little dunghole.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm
    10. Lucy #

      Thank you for pointing this out Reg, I always wonder why the Economist is often quick to highlight African problems considering the dire situation in other countries. The economist is a good read if you constantly like seeing African, Arabic countries always on display for their failures. I am not in any way a fan of the current leadership but i do not advocate thought leaders who constantly lean on one side of the story. Unfortunately their magazines influences how we see the world.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    11. MLH #

      But it is logical that a non-SA magazine would give a broad overview rather that drill down to specifics and I thought exactly that when I read the article. If coverage needs to be improved, perhaps Reg should provide it without going off in hissy fit.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    12. Global Observer #

      Sorry, Reg. Read the Economist article, unpack the level of intelligenceand analysis, the level of global thought leadership in it, and the very high standard of intellect and integrity it sets. Then read the response from the Presidency: “The strikes should not be exaggerated, as intimated by the Economist, to conclude that South Africans’ economic fortunes will decline majorly against its African counterparts…South Africa is moving forward towards prosperity, under the very able leadership of President Zuma and his cabinet.”

      The Economist is right. The response to the article is utter rubbish. Your comments about the UK are interesting asides and may be valid, but are irrelevant.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm
    13. Global Observer #

      The Economist to their credit, and being offshore, are able to comment without fear or favour. Most people in SA are so intimidated by the new One Party State that SA has become – as described by the Economist – and its culture not only of stifling political correctness but also of outright lies and intimidation by the ‘vampire state’ , that they are simply unable to comment. It takes an outsider to state what has been glaringly obvious for some time.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm
    14. Global Observer #

      There are a few other subtle ironies. The Economist was Mandela’s favourite read while on Robben Island and he relied on its sober, balanced insights to get a view of the terrible apartheid system and of SA’s place and role in the world. It remains puzzling to many that Mandela, a global icon rather than a provincial party politician or closed-minded loyalist, should have so little to say about the current decline of the ANC, as despite his age he is still assumed to be aware and interested in events. It has in a way diminished the mythology, and certainly made many wonder why this revered figure seems unable to comment or break out of the thinking of the past. In a sense it may be that the world has come full circle, and when those leaders in SA who may be expected to leas are not able to, it is up to outsiders to remind us of the realities, and that ‘rainbow myths’ may be over in more ways than one.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm
    15. Global Observer #

      There are a few other subtle ironies. The Economist was Mandela’s favourite read while on Robben Island and he relied on its sober, balanced insights to get a view of the terrible apartheid system and of SA’s place and role in the world. It remains puzzling to many that Mandela, a global icon rather than a provincial party politician or closed-minded loyalist, should have so little to say about the current decline of the ANC, as despite his age he is still assumed to be aware and interested in events. It has in a way diminished the mythology, and certainly made many wonder why this revered figure seems unable to comment or break out of the thinking of the past. In a sense it may be that the world has come full circle, and when those leaders in SA who may be expected to lead are not able to, it is up to outsiders to remind us of the realities, and that ‘rainbow myths’ may be over in more ways than one.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    16. Explain #

      “It is the central tenet of the Economist’s leader article that is most specious: South Africa is fated to fall behind the fast-growing African countries to its north because it is becoming a one-party state of the kind that used to be popular in Africa.” But you need to comment on this – because that is exactly the point. SA certainly IS becoming a one-party state of the kind that was popular in Africa in the 60’s – Idi Amin’s Uganda or Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire come to mind – and there is no evidence at all – none whatsoever in fact – that SA is becoming a true democracy or vibrant, modern state. The rest of Africa – yes. But SA is 40 years behind the rest of Africa – and many wise people in the Economist have seen this story play out many, many times before. So you need to explain why you consider the argument ‘specious’.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm
    17. bewilderbeast #

      So tell me, Reg, what was it that the Economist got so horribly wrong?
      Cry, the Beloved Country, Reg. I don’t give a shit if Pommy is going down the tubes. I do care about what we’re doing to SA.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm
    18. Wally #

      Not so long ago The Economist had a cover entitled “Africa: the hopeless continent”. Expecting a balanced article on SA (or Africa) from a bunch of Poms still convinced that the British Empire was the best thing since sliced bread is an exercise in futility. Leave them off to point out the specks in other people’s eyes whilst they conveniently ignore the log in their own…

      October 22, 2012 at 10:08 pm
    19. robert in sydney #

      gosh when i last looked – the uk didn’t have:

      – 25% official unemployment
      – highest income inequality in the world
      – 3 to 1 ratio of welfare recipients to individual taxpayers
      – 2/3rds of children living in poverty
      – 5 million children are hiv positive
      – doesn’t account for 28% of the world’s TB-HIV co-infection rate

      when are you guys going to wake up to the fact that sa is facing a major upheavel if something is not done very very soon to solve these issues. i myself think it is too late mainly because of the complete dearth of decent leadership – which of course is the scourge of africa since african countries started becoming independent

      October 23, 2012 at 4:30 am
    20. Paul #

      Oh please, current trend continuing SA is in a basket on its way to hell. It amazes me how some people think that the same systemic problems that plague Africa are going to produce a different outcome in SA.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:06 am
    21. Jacaranda Tree #

      Too late Reg.

      The Economist has been published, distributed, and read by millions; not in your case though.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:22 am
    22. Zeph #

      The economist article will cause damage. But maybe, just maybe, it will make the powers that be realise that we are not operating in a vacuum.
      The economist did what it set out to do – draw attention to our floundering. Good. Maybe our leaders will take note.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:27 am
    23. ian shaw #

      This article represents the usual obfuscation and denial so characteristic of those who have a personal stake in doing so.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:42 am
    24. maus #

      am sending this to all my doomsayer friends overseas rubbing their hands with glee at that economist article!!!! well said Reg…

      October 23, 2012 at 8:50 am
    25. South African is not an mere “economy”, it is a nation… the economic problems we face are but one of the complex challenges of the infant constitutional democracy that is SA.

      As citizens, what we must ask yourselves is, “are our leaders doing right my their people, and with the governing mandate they enjoy?” A brief glance at the trends; politically, economically, socially, environmentally, and especially in terms of social cohesion, indicate that our leadership is struggling, if not failing, at least in some instances. Service delivery, corruption and ethics, consensus-building… to name a few.

      This is the responsibility of the leading elite, not just government, but across the sectors. And it is to this that I, like the Economist, say Cry the Beloved Country! Why, because is is beloved, and it is outright lamentable that self-interest and narrow political agendas can hijack the national agenda, and compromise the national interest.

      To not bemoan the state of things is to renege one’s Constitutional duty. So, Mr. Rumney, we can split sentimental hairs, or say it as it is.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:06 am
    26. maggielou #

      Thanks Russ Russ – this explains the diatribe. I wonder whether he is in the income bracket of those on the Boards of Eskom and Transnet. (http://www.sundayworld.co.za/news/2012/08/27/pays-to-be-on-board—pay-freeze-reviews-in-the-offing)

      October 23, 2012 at 9:08 am
    27. shaun #

      Whilst i have no comment on the actual article, i would say the Economist is a rubbish magazine. One only had to read its writings on SA in 2009/10 and compare it to what was actually happening to know this. Cancelled my subscription and have never looked back.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:01 am
    28. Bottom line: It’s not the Economist who downgraded our debt rating, and neither is it the Economist who went on wild cat strikes that spooked investors.

      South Africa is in serious decline. The problem is not so much economic as it is political. Zuma’s leadership has too many debts with the wrong people, and is trying his utmost to be everyone’s friend so that he does not have his day in court.

      Will the strikes be resolved? Or will we have a temporary agreement that will be null and void come the next ‘strike season’ next year?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:27 am
    29. The Creator #

      Look, while the Economist are right-wing Afropessimists and are necessarily going to pretend that the countries which historically suck up to the West like Nigeria are doing just fine while the rest of us are headed for Doomsday, it makes sense to pay attention to what they’re saying. Even a blind pig can find an acorn now and then.

      Personally, I think our economic policy is madness and is putting the country in the toilet. Mr. Rumney, being a neoliberal, understandably disagrees.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:32 am
    30. Mbonisi #

      Western views of Africa are irrelevent, they are the cause of most of the global problems today. They are not what some South Africans like to call “World opinion” or “Global opinion”. Look East policies are the way to go these days – forget the racist west!!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:31 am
    31. beachcomber #

      I thought I might pick your sadly protesting diatribe apart, but I’ll leave it to STEUART PENNINGTON ( the man behind “South Africa: The Good News”.) in his interview with Moneyweb’s Alec Hogg.

      “I think The Economist is accurate. I think that the rebuttal from Zuma focuses only on one side of the coin, and there’s nothing in the article that was written by Mac Maharaj which one can say is not true. The sadness is that it only deals with half of the story. And if one looks at the global competitiveness report, which he runs to in his defence of President Zuma’s leadership, he leaves out the fact that in virtually every really important area of state responsibility South Africa ranks in the bottom five countries out of the 144 countries that are surveyed in the global competitiveness report …..

      continued…

      October 23, 2012 at 11:33 am
    32. beachcomber #

      … ” And furthermore the areas where our ranking is deteriorating the fastest is in the area that I would call state capacity. So if you look, for example, at wastefulness of government spending, we’ve gone from 38th a few years ago to 62nd. So we used to do quite well when it came to state capacity, but in the last year or so state capacity has deteriorated sharply. I think we live in a country where from a private sector point of view and from a civil society point of view, we’ve got a helluva lot we can be proud of. But also live in a country where I think the challenges of education, health, labour relations and state capacity are just not being met. And I think that’s what The Economist is on about, and they are right.”

      And this from a man who runs “South Africa the Good News”.

      Sigh …

      October 23, 2012 at 11:34 am
    33. Zeph #

      @Mbonisi – been to China lately? Please read wider…

      October 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm
    34. Stephen #

      What a puerile article. Defending the indefensible. SA is undenialbly heading for ‘toilet nation’ status. Physiological well being is beyond a vast majority of the population; hence it is dangerous, corrupt, poor and dirty. Something like 80% of the tax base does not vote for the ANC, over three quarters of the ANC’s support base is unemployed. The Economist has it spot on.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm
    35. BeenThere #

      I find that most of these publications (Economist, FT etc) always have something bad to say about African politics, economics etc and ignore Wetsern shortcomings. This lack of balance aside what they point out about Africa is mostly true. All that went wrong in Zimbabwe is happening in SA now. De ja vu for some of us.

      The other inconvinient truth that these publications ignore is that SA is becoming a one party state by the choice of the voters. In a free and fair election ANC will still get most votes. If people choose ANC, for better or for worse respect their choice. Who out there believes DA or any other party has a better shot?

      October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    36. Perry Curling-Hope #

      “Solving inequality through massive, quick redistribution of wealth would ‘arguably’ level down rather than up, […]”

      Good grief Reg, there is scarcely latitude for ‘argument’ on that issue.

      If South African household incomes were to be leveled by ‘redistribution of the wealth’ the mean take home pay would be about R4,500….the striking miners are demanding 4 times that and regard such as the minimum wage which enables a humanly decent life to which all supposedly have a constitutional right, and to which many nod in agreement.

      Where do these people think the goods which they want in exchange for their minimum wage are going to come from?

      The economy needs to grow fourfold to satisfy such a demand for ‘equality’ at the minimum level considered ‘decent’ and The Economist article is bringing attention to prevailing governance which is unfavorable with respect to the accomplishment of such an objective.

      “The ANC is in power because the majority of people voted for it in the last election.”
      So, officially anyway, is ZANU PF…. so we are to assume by this definition that Zimbabwe is a fully fledged multi party democracy, not a one party state?

      October 24, 2012 at 6:06 am
    37. abrham #

      reg – see, hear and do no evil!

      October 24, 2012 at 7:31 am
    38. Peter #

      The Economist was not as inaccurate about a one party state as this article implies.

      Wait until the ANC loses an election, then we shall see how democratic they really are. They have too much to lose if they are thrown out.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:27 am
    39. As an economist i have been a regular reader of the Economist for more than 4 decades and would certainly agree that it has become a tad sloppy over the past few years, perhaps as more socialist types produced by its home country’s education system come to proliferate in its editorial domain.

      Nonetheless they tend to err on detail rather than the big picture. Most of the critics of this extremely unbecoming thoughtleader are pretty much on target, in my view… The RSA big picture is not a rosy one.

      Our growth rate is anaemic and in decline. By some accounts as much as 20% of the budget is being ‘hijacked’, most municipalities don’t merit clean audits and notwithstanding the country is solvent while many others aren’t the overall trend is downward. Productivity levels too are in decline.

      This is of course all normal… This is why we are regarded as a risky investment destination, and why, notwithstanding that we are in credit, our financial status has been downgraded and not by the Economist.

      As for the argument you present against ‘one party statism’ …. it is inherently facetious… If you think there is more than one party here then you live elsewhere. Rats and mice really don’t count for much when there is a big pussycat locked in the room with them. Right now too, the Pussycat is cloning itself and who knows what we’ll have after the consequential November cat-fight is over…

      October 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    40. Bruce #

      Unlike the Economist article this is a very poor article. The Economist article provides constructive criticism. The UK no doubt has its own set of problems but that is irrelevant.

      South Africa is performing well below its potential because of poor leadership, corruption, cadre deployment of incompetent people and a government which is hostile to business. The consequences of this manifest themselves in the collapse of many government services such as education and health and municipalities.

      Instead of being dismissive and defensive we should acknowledge the problems and campaign for change.

      October 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    41. After reading your unhappy blog i went online and read the article that has offended you and found that it was unpleasantly accurate, particularly the closing statement about our beloved Pres’ JZ, about whom it says:

      “He owes so much to South Africa’s vested interests that it is difficult to imagine him embarking upon radical reform. If he is simply re-elected without promising anything new, it will be a worrying sign that the ANC has failed to grasp what ails their country.”

      When one considers that the alternate leader being touted: K.M. is associated with a lady recently accused of attempting to scrounge a R100million bribe from some wannabe trader in the east it is difficult to see what you are unhappy about…. After all didn’t a well known ANC cadre once famously observe: “I didn’t join the struggle to remain poor”. The whole point of being in power is to steal as much as you can before your turn ends… isn’t it?.

      The Economist has simply collected all the current realities and collated them into a single portrait and while there are undeniably “good” stories to tell the fact remains, as Shakespeare observed via Marc Anthony ” The evil that men do lives after them… the good is oft interred with the bones:”

      So it was regarding the random “good” done by the evil [so-called] [and rapidly disappearing] “Whitey”, and so it is with the present clutch of self-lubricating struggle cadres.

      Lighten up: read what they said about Greece: that…

      October 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm
    42. MrK #

      ” It’s an easy kind of journalism: make up your mind about the story and then find the facts to fit. ”

      Unfortunately that seems to be the journalism of choice, not only from The Economist, but pretty much most of the reporting on Zimbabwe too from CNN, the BBC, etc.

      On The Concentration Of Wealth Through ‘Globalisation’

      Most reporters do not do any research of their own, and accept whatever the cliches of the day are – it is also good for their job security.

      For instance, there is no reporting on the effect of economic sanctions on the economy and people of Zimbabwe, or even the existence of economic sanctions at all. Now how do you give an economic assessment of an economy without knowing or reporting on something as essential as the government’s access to international lines of credit, especially in this globalised economy. Even though we are supposed to have ‘free trade’, right now even Iran cannot sell it’s oil to China or Russia, even though China and Russia do not have economic sanctions against Iran.

      When was the last time that The Economist or Reuters reported in detail on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001?

      How about the connections of both to the Rothschild dynasty, which by the way shaped the geography and history of a country called South Africa, through their funding of Cecil Rhodes and De Beers, with the “provision of funding for the creation of De Beers in 1887″?
      http://www.rothschild

      October 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm
    43. MrK #

      (Continued 1…) Guess who is on the board of The Economist – that’s former NM Rothschild head sir Evelyn, Baron de Rotschild and his wife Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

      What I am saying is this – the world’s economy is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Five corporations dominate US agriculture, 6 banks dominate the US GDP, and also happen to own the IMF, World Bank and Federal Reserve. Just the same for the media.

      What I am saying is that with the hyperconcentration of power and wealth, we are seeing complety captive industries that do not act in the interest of the general economy or population, but the interests of their owner.

      Count on more anti-South Africa stories to appear whenever it seems like more of the wealth of the country is going to distributed to the general population, instead of ‘the shareholders’ of De Beers.

      Don’t hold your breath on The Economist, BBC, CNN or any mainstream corporately owned media outlet reporting on the fact that Zimbabwe owns 20% of the world’s known diamond reserves and has more platinum reserves than South Africa.

      Right now, ‘economic growth’ or GDP is measured regardless to actual economic development. In other words, if say Shell goes to Nigeria and drags out billions of dollars without paying taxes, sharing profits, cleaning up it’s ecological disaster or has it’s executives go to jail for using the military to suppress the local population – all of this counts as ‘economic growth’ and…

      October 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm
    44. MrK #

      (Continued 2…) See former WB Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz on why GDP is not a sound measure of economic development.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUaJMNtW6GA

      This is the economic growth that is happening in the context of the people not benefiting from this ‘economic activity’ by law.

      Exploitation = Growth.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm
    45. dr.zeek #

      If you disagree with the Economist’s article about SA, simply look around you – at the potholes, the power outtages, the proliferation of security companies and electric fences, the ubiquitous medical aids, the private schools etc etc – all the services which Government is supposed to supply as its half of the social contract have been outsourced to those that can actually deliver them (at great cost, though).

      Anyone who wishes to argue the opposite, including Messrs. Maharaj and Rumney, must please advise whether they send their kids to government schools and whether they frequent public hospitals (which are only two examples of Government failure).

      I find it particularly galling that those with Swiss bank accounts and homes in Hyde Park (that’s YOU, Mr Maharaj) see it fit to defend Government’s service delivery, despite never having used one of those services in the last 20 years.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    46. Afrocentric #

      Question is, is it wrong? No! Was it pessimistic? Yes. Irrespective of who left the mess, we have the opportunity to work it out, unfortunately there does not seem to be any willpower. Time we wrote our own future,we know our past,let’s not use it to hold us back, lest we forget the lessons from it. We are not doing a good job of going into the future that is a given, anyone that says other wise is either an apologist for mediocrity or a saboteur of our potential!

      October 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm
    47. Carl #

      Everything Reg ays about the UK is true. The UK is in decline – it is wallowing in debt, has massive social problems, not to metion a welfare and entitlement culture. Emigration from the UK of educated, ambitious people is also massive, even if it is offset by a lot of imigration of skiled workers from the third world.

      The UK is by any account a diminishing nation. A bad choice to discredit the article!

      October 26, 2012 at 8:38 am
    48. GrahamJ #

      The problem is not the state we are in, it is the state of the people who are supposed to get us out of it.

      October 26, 2012 at 9:30 am
    49. Hey there,

      If you’re interested in this subject, you might like to check out this infographic I just finished working on. It explores the cultural, economic, and human rights development in Africa from a visual perspective. Here’s the link: http://www.master-of-finance.org/africa-economy/

      Best Wishes,
      Jack

      July 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

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    1. And so it begins… | Diary of a Wannabe Researcher - December 17, 2012

      [...] some have argued against the points made in the article more of the criticism has been focused on the tone rather than the content (patronising, unhelpful [...]

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