The ANC as a proxy for the nation?

It’s tempting to focus on the ANC as if its history and prospects are a proxy for the history and prospects of the country as a whole. The party’s centenary celebrations this week will strengthen the sense that this is indeed the case. The last hundred years of South African history has been about theContinue reading “The ANC as a proxy for the nation?”

‘Economic Freedom’ debate rescued from hijackers

Two brief thoughts – on a rainy Cape Town Sunday: Firstly – a by-product of Malema’s (possible) retreat I have a feeling that debates ranging from mine nationalisation, land distribution and continued white economic dominance in the South African economy have just been saved from the gangsters in the ANC Youth League who have beenContinue reading “‘Economic Freedom’ debate rescued from hijackers”

Pravin Gordhan and the Labour Market

You might have picked up from warm and welcoming statements by the Democratic Alliance and a flood of beaming news stories that our Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said something slightly more exciting about economic policy than the bland pap from the policy kitchen of the increasingly awkward compromise which is the Ruling Alliance. ButContinue reading “Pravin Gordhan and the Labour Market”

Of course Cosatu wants to nationalise the mines!

Wouldn’t you want to have a job for life as a public servant, with guaranteed medical and benefits in a parastatal company that government would push up borrowing and taxation to keep afloat no matter what? Of course you would – any of us would … just like the Greeks did up until very recently.Continue reading “Of course Cosatu wants to nationalise the mines!”

The labour market is not a charity auction

Capitalism, at its most basic and unbridled, is a system that says: okay, the king is dead and therefore no longer owns all this stuff; take what you can … if you can hold onto it, it’s yours. Oh yeah, and you can pay the people who don’t manage to hang onto any stuff toContinue reading “The labour market is not a charity auction”

Cosatu, Zuma and the New Growth Path

Busy, busy … and everything is slower; the brain and hands struggle with what they did with alacrity before the December holiday. Anyway … It is becoming clear that South African Investment Risk is going to be all about the New Growth Path (NGP) this year. So picking up from where I left off fromContinue reading “Cosatu, Zuma and the New Growth Path”

If this is the New Growth Path what’s the Old Growth Path?

This is the second of three articles about the New Growth Path (NGP) Framework released last week by the Ministry of Economic Development. One of the architects (I must assume) of the NGP, Neva Makgetla  (an economist long associated with Cosatu and now deputy director general in the Department of Economic Development) recently examined bothContinue reading “If this is the New Growth Path what’s the Old Growth Path?”

New Growth Path Framework bloodline

This is the first of three articles that look at the political and policy bloodline of the New Growth Path and the main criticisms that have emerged about the policy in the public domain over the last few days. This first post is a summary – using quotes and paraphrasing – of Ruling Alliance statementsContinue reading “New Growth Path Framework bloodline”

Cosatu’s plans for full employment

Cosatu has released its long awaited document in which it provides the facts (as it sees them) and theoretical underpinnings for “A Growth Path Towards Full Employment” – and in doing so attempts to align its views with those emanating from Minister Ebrahim Patel’s Department of Economic Planning (the Two Year Strategic Plan) as wellContinue reading “Cosatu’s plans for full employment”

Sink or swim

Here is the summary of South Africa’s performance in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010 – 2011. The highlights are mine and the seriousness of the problems is obvious.. While we quite rightly bemoan health, education and labour market failures it is interesting to note we were top ranked – in the whole world! – inContinue reading “Sink or swim”

Politicians tend to hate markets – for good reason

… politicians and chief executives of all political colours become angry when anonymous markets do not take their assertions at face value. The anonymous market cannot be dictated to or defeated in debate. Leaders cannot shout down, fire or arrest the nonexistent Mr Market. This from a fine piece of commentary from John Kay inContinue reading “Politicians tend to hate markets – for good reason”

Unemployment growth is a deep systemic threat

The quarterly Labour Force Survey from Statistics SA is a timely reminder of what really matters when assessing political risk associated with investing in South Africa. Julius Malema’s predations,  Jacob Zuma’s extraordinary sex life, Cosatu’s and the SACP’s millennial economics would just be irritating noise, unless they relate to the country’s chronic levels of unemployment,Continue reading “Unemployment growth is a deep systemic threat”

The ANC is (still) the prize

Why setting back Julius Malema is important Julius Malema has received a body blow and is reeling about the ring. I mostly want to discuss why this is important – beyond the obvious reasons that drive the obsessive media focus on the grandiose little ANC Youth League President. But first a bit of context: AsContinue reading “The ANC is (still) the prize”

London Calling

Herewith a note I wrote a week ago for a South African client concerning a recent whip around the London fund management industry Foreign fund managers perceptions of South African political risk I recently had an opportunity to interact with a few London-based global emerging market fund managers. These were generally from long-only equity funds,Continue reading “London Calling”

Highly recommended …

Two very recent articles: The first by David Brooks from the New York Times entitled The Return of History (a dig at Francis Fukuyama’s deeply mistaken The End of History and the Last Man – 1992). He constructs the history of Economics as a play in 5 acts. Act I is about a  discipline thatContinue reading “Highly recommended …”