Thursday, 25 October 2012

More on the beloved country

Yesterday I weighed in on The Economist's "Cry, the Beloved country" article on the School blog: What if leadership matters?  The point that I try to make is that that there are many different ways of reading “the evidence”. There are indicators of progress and signs of decline. The challenge is to look for clues to the long-run path of growth and development. These clues, I argue, lie in the way that we try to implement our plans, i.e. market-lead vs developmental state. I favour the pragmatic market-lead mixed-economy approach and the post goes on to explain that it requires a working relationship between government, business, labour and civil society. This, in turn, requires some leadership. Not the speechifying, big-man type of leadership. Rather, the inclusive type that can outline a vision, build trust and get disparate groups to work together. 

If we can find evidence of this, South Africa will be fine and The Economist would be wrong. At the moment though, it seems that our political institutions are extractive and the economic institutions look set to remain so as well.

Since writing the post I have stumbled across a few interesting links:
Another example was discussions on nationalisation. At the ANC’s policy conference in June, delegates queued up to voice their support for nationalisation, not wanting to be seen to speak out against the idea. "That is policy-making by vuvuzela," Mr Manuel said.
"Sloganeering around policy" was not in the interests of either the living standards of working people or industry, which would see underinvestment or excessive profit-taking by owners if they feared that nationalisation was a real possibility.
Too true. Another example to the above is President's Zuma's new 5-step land reform plan. Analysts are calling for more detail, but they forget that he is not really speaking to the farming community - the proposals are bait for those that will end up supporting him in Mangaung. What really happens with land reform we'll only learn later. Inclusive, or extractive?

No comments:

Post a Comment