The BRICS summit 2013 Reply

This week the BRICS summit in Durban is in the news and we thought that we would also throw out a few views. The theme of the summit is Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation. Ellis Mnyandu puts together some of the highlights for the IOL Business Report:

  • Transnet and China Development Bank agreed to co-operate, explore and identify opportunities for the Chinese bank for future collaboration in Transnet’s infrastructure upgrade programmes.
  • Sinopec and PetroSA signed an agreement yesterday that boosted the possibility of building a crude oil refinery at Coega in the Eastern Cape.
  • Representatives from the two nations’ central banks signed an agreement yesterday enabling the SA Reserve Bank to invest about 3 percent of its reserves of $50.4bn in Chinese assets.
  • In addition, China and Brazil agreed to create a swop line allowing them to trade the equivalent of up to $30bn a year in their own currencies.

There should be more news about much-reported on development bank today. Yesterday the TV news made some vague statements about the bank allowing members to implement policies more effectively, but that does not make much sense. The Mail & Guardian explains that the role of the bank is still up for debate. Developing countries hope that it might be a way to access Chinese savings, specifically for infrastructure projects. China would like for the bank to invest in trade multiplying projects. More…

Nuus uit die Skool Reply

Ons is bietjie stadig met verlede week se nuus (in hoofsaak omdat die gastehuis waar Prof Krugell die laaste paar dae in die Kaap gebly het, droewige stadige internettoegang gehad het). Dit was egter ‘n opwindende week met ‘n paar personeellede wat akademies gereis het:

  • Prof Saayman het verlede Maandag by Universiteit van Pretoria se seminaarreeks gepraat oor Tourism demand modelling. Daar was lekker interessante bespreking en ons wil graag vir Prof Steve Koch en Manoel Bittencourt bedank vir hulle reëlings en gasvryheid.
  • Mnr Requier Wait het weer ‘n gaslesing aangebied by NMMU. Hy is ook ‘n eksterne moderator en eksaminator daar en die besoek was ‘n groot sukses.
  • Prof Krugell was by ERSA se ekonomiese geskiedenis werkswinkel in Kaapstad. Dit was ‘n uitstekende werkswinkel met baie idees vir nuwe navorsing. Daarna het hy nog saam met TREES kollegas Proff Melville Saayman en Peet van der Merwe ‘n draai gemaak in Robertson vir vergaderings oor die opname (en “groen”-eksperiment) wat hulle hierdie jaar by die Wacky Wine fees wil hou.
  • Prof Riaan Rossouw is terug in die gang na sy besoeke aan Maastricht en Amsterdam.
  • Die Risikobestuurdosente was gister by Wits se PhD colloquium en het daar vergader met Prof Christo Auret.
  • Dr Henri Bezuidenhout reis op die oomblik in Europa vir die IAES konferensie in Wenen, Oostenryk.


Lessons from apartheid Reply

Following the ERSA workshop on the Economic History of Apartheid, Johan Fourie has an excellend summary of the lessons that today’s researchers and policymakers can draw from from the era.

Johan Fourie's blog

On Friday, I joined Andile Khumalo and Lumkile Mondi as panellist during the ERSA workshop on the Economics of Apartheid (held from 20-22 March in the Slave Lodge Hall in Cape Town). Our topic: Solutions to the legacies of apartheid. Each panellist had 10 minutes to state his case. Here is my introduction:

It is impossible to think about a set of policies that will, within a short space of time, eradicate the apartheid legacies of poverty, unemployment and inequality. I say this because history provides an excellent guide: the poor white problem, already fervently discussed in policy circles during the 1910s (as Lindie discussed this morning), only really ‘disappeared’ from policy discussions during the 1960s (even though, as Edward John Bottomley shows, it still persists). Even though the poor white problem was about a third as severe as black poverty today, it required 40 years of 5% annual economic growth for it…

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Why Apartheid will continue to haunt the economy 1

This week we celebrate Human Rights Day and ERSA’s Economic History working group is hosting a workshop in Cape Town on the Economics of Apartheid. Johan Fourie has assigned us some interesting reading for the workshop and has already made a blog post on why Apartheid ended. Reading through the different articles I was struck by the different ways in which Apartheid policies shaped the economy. When people talk about the legacy of Apartheid they often mention only the obvious consequences, like inequality, but there is much to say about how Apartheid shaped the very nature of production today.

SA map

Do you remember the Bantustans?

Grand Apartheid was about “seperateness” and moved blacks to the urban periphery, or tried to keep black people in traditional homeland areas. The key point in the literature is that the social and spatial distance between the races was aimed at protecting white workers. Lowenberg (1997) writes: “Precisely because employers possessed a compelling interest in replacing expensive white workers with cheaper black workers, the only way the white workers could protect their privileged position was by capturing the power of the state to enforce racial discrimination”. Hazlett (1988) outlines the different labour market interventions undertaken by the Apartheid government. Job reservation policies were used to protect unskilled and semi-skilled white workers from black competition. Maroitti (2012) details the workings of the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924. Both authors argue that “the revisionist Marxist view that job reservation benefitted White capital is incompatible with the evidence”. Apartheid policies aimed to protect white labour from black labour and as such the economic roots of Apartheid did not make business sense. It hindered the allocation of resources. This had far reaching consequences.

Firstly, it made white labour relatively expensive. Secondly, reducing the supply of black labour encouraged capital-intensive production. Thirdly, it created skill bottlenecks. Mariotti (2012) shows that increases in white educational attainment did help them to move into skilled jobs and the black workers into semi-skilled jobs, but it did not end racial segregation across occupations because of the failures of the black education system. More…