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Thread: An interventionist state

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    An interventionist state

    This morning I was listening to Jeff Radebe on SABC2 discussing the upcoming ANC policy meeting. He was talking about the need for more intervention from the state.

    He stated that under the ANC we already were an interventionist state, but needed to become even more aggressive in taking action.

    The motivation? Well now, that's where it got really interesting. Because apparently, despite our wonderful economic boom, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has widened.

    As per usual, in the face of such a boldly positioned statement, a few thoughts came to mind.

    First off, when has this gap widened? Pretty recently it seems. In fact, the more meddlesome the government has got, the wider that gap has got. Curious coincidence?

    Another thought. The gap may have widened, but I'm pretty sure the haves have changed - At least, judging by the average shade of Merc, BMW, Lexus and top-of-the-range Sang Yong driver nowadays.

    I'm starting to wonder if the state has not intervened enough already in some parts of the economic spectrum and spend a little more time (and money) where it might make a lasting and meaningful difference to the poor. Primary health and education.

    And perhaps it's only curious coincidence too that these are the two sectors at the forefront of the civil service strike.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It looks like I'm not alone in thinking the profile of the elite has been changed:
    Johannesburg-based Centre for Policy Studies research manager Omano Edigheji said the ANC seemed torn between its different constituencies.

    "In a country like South Africa, where there is a constitutional provision for social justice, it is morally reprehensible if the promotion of equity is not prioritised in public policy," he stated in a review of the conference agenda.

    Vast swathes of South Africa's 47-million citizens, 80% of whom are black, are still poor.

    On the other side of the spectrum is a burgeoning black elite benefiting from empowerment deals criticised for leaving the masses on the sideline.
    from a story on M&G here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    The playing field that the government has created by introducing the BEE regulations is weighted in the favour of creating a super–rich black elite. The focus (incorrectly) has been on ownership. Even though some of the regulations have changed, this is still how BEE is perceived.

    Smart business people will always choose to play on the side that has the rules weighted in their favour, and that is what we have been seeing happening. Instead of being distributed (as desired) wealth has shifted.

    It is only really going to change when the government starts looking at the rules of the game critically and connecting the dots of action–to–consequence. It is so often said that you shouldn't expect a different result if you keep doing the same thing — so why intensify the same action?

    I believe that the only way we will really see large scale impact is to train people. That starts at the most basic level, namely school.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Sexwale shares his thoughts on job creation

    The corporate sector is the primary creator of jobs and work opportunities, said businessman Tokyo Sexwale in a speech released on Tuesday.

    "The extent to which this sector is treated or maltreated, welcomed or unwelcomed, by far determines its continued appetite [for] and commitment to capital expansion and job creation," he said.

    Sexwale, who has confirmed to being lobbied to join the African National Congress (ANC) presidential succession race, was addressing an ANC fund-raising dinner in Cape Town on Monday night.

    He said the process of economic growth is premised on an uneasy partnership between labour and capital, but it is a function of the state to create an enabling environment for growth.

    An additional role of the government together with its partners in the economy -- workers and capital -- is to put in place a social plan to support those who are on the fringes of the economy. "But it is the corporate sector that is the primary creator of jobs and work opportunities."

    Sexwale said it should be stated at the same time that workers are the primary creators of value. Without them, natural resources, tools and machines cannot by themselves create commodities. "It therefore stands to reason that the capital-labour partnership is uneasy for the reason that it is the quintessential example of the unity and struggle of the opposites."

    While labour's objective is to maximise wages, capital aims to maximise profit, Sexwale said. "The growth of our economy therefore lies in the ability of all parties to manage these production relation tensions while government develops and maintains the requisite climate."

    Sexwale said it stands to reason that the continuous building of human capacity is a key driver of economic growth. This is something to which the developmental state has to pay special attention.

    "However, again on its own, government cannot adequately achieve all the milestones of development towards providing a high and better quality of life for its citizens," he said.

    The extent to which the state, labour and capital make common cause will determine the success in creating conditions for sustainable employment and growth.

    "A word of caution. The developmental state in its application of interventionist measures ought to avoid being instructionist and/or obstructionist, a situation which can easily result in market failures, and consequently greater impoverishment of the very people we intend to liberate from the clutches of poverty," Sexwale said.

    "This calls for wisdom and a proper understanding of where and how in our world such state intervention resulted in successes or where it ended in dismal failure."
    from M&G here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There was "broad consensus" at the African National Congress's (ANC) policy conference in Midrand on the need for a developmental state with more government intervention, but ratings agencies need not worry, the party said on Thursday.

    "We're not sending out a threatening message. That's not what we intend to do," ANC national executive member Jeremy Cronin told a media briefing at the conference.

    Cronin, who is also deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party, and fellow national executive committee member Joel Netshitenzhe were reporting on the 1 500 delegates' behind-closed-doors debates on the draft ANC strategy and tactics document.

    "There is broad consensus that we need to construct a developmental state," Netshitenzhe said, adding that the ANC is "not satisfied with the current order of things". Such a state should have the capacity to intervene in the economy in the interests of national development, higher rates of growth and social inclusion.

    There was no resistance to this sort of leadership from the labour movement or capital, "so the ratings agencies have got nothing to worry about", he said. International ratings agencies issue assessments of countries' risk, which affects how much their governments pay for loans.

    Though the so-called Asian tigers are generally seen as models for a developmental state, Netshitenzhe said a local version would have a South African character informed by local realities such as the legacy of what the ANC termed colonialism "of a special type".

    "It would need to look not only at issues pertaining to economic growth, but also how to restructure the economy to ensure participation by black people at all levels of the economy, to ensure that the kinds of industries we develop absorb labour, allow for higher rates of export and so on."

    He said a South African developmental state should be underpinned by "popular democracy with a social content".

    Netshitenzhe said virtually all the commissions -- the conference's debating forums -- believed that monopoly capital does things, such as constraining higher rates of growth and social inclusion, that have to be dealt with.

    "These would be issues such as barriers to entry ... undermining competition in the economy. There would also be resistance to some of them to policies of black economic empowerment," he said.

    There was agreement that the developmental state should be used to ensure they conduct themselves in a "socially beneficial manner", so that the benefits of growth are shared by all. This can be done through regulation, taxation for redistribution, and strengthening competition authorities.

    Cronin said South Africa is not undeveloped in terms of an advanced capitalist sector. "What we're dealing with is a problem of underdevelopment, of growth inequalities, of a legacy of racial oppression and exclusion and marginalisation."

    The ANC understands that it cannot wish away capitalist forces, and that it has to "manage that reality". He said: "We're saying that it's too simplistic to say monopoly capital equals the enemy.

    "That monopoly capital by and large is not always going to be spontaneously sympathetic to what we're trying to do, I think is a given, and is well appreciated across the board in the ANC.

    "But the problem in South Africa is that you've got an extraordinarily concentrated, highly advanced capitalist sector, which has squashed out and squeezed out small and medium capital."

    Compared with other developed countries, South Africa is peculiar in that it has only four major banks and one brewer. "An emerging black capitalist class or stratum, if they just form part of the existing monopoly capitalist setup, they're liable to behave in a similar way. We'll have similar challenges in dealing with them.

    "But if one's seeing a different form of organic emergence of small and medium-sized capital which is more rooted in national markets, creates more jobs, is more labour intensive -- those are clearly progressive forces."

    The notion of a developmental state is less a U-turn by the ANC than an acknowledgement that it has to "sharpen up, become clearer on a number of fronts".

    Cronin also said there was a strong feeling in commissions that the strategy and tactics document should reaffirm the Freedom Charter, not in a fundamentalist sense, but in understanding of the document's spirit and "popular resonance".

    Referring to an item in the strategy and tactics document dealing with the white community, Netshitenzhe said commissions agreed that the ANC needs to identify opponents in the context of constitutional democracy "and not simply attach labels of counter-revolution simply because people might not agree with the ANC".

    "That we need to appreciate that we are operating in a democratic environment, and opponents who operate within the context of the Constitution are opponents, and we should not necessarily attach the label counter-revolution to them," he said.
    from M&G here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Personally, I'm hoping that the end of Day 4 will produce a more reliable "last word" on the ANC's true policy positions. Some of the stuff coming out might be considered manipulative positioning. Clearly there is some divergence of opinions here.

    In following it, I am reminded of the difficulty of riding two horses at the same time.
    South Africa was open to business as usual and it was unlikely that the current ANC policy conference would shift to a more left-wing stance on economic management, ANC executive member Cyril Rampahosa said yesterday.

    Ramaphosa, who chaired a commission session of the ANC policy conference that started on Wednesday and ends tomorrow, was asked about his position on discouraging monopoly capitalism in South Africa.

    He supported the position of ANC policy maker Joel Netshitenzhe and said it was important to harness private sector forces to achieve the democratic revolution objectives.

    Asked if he sensed that there would be a shift to the left on economic policy as a consequence of the policy conference, he said he did not. The man, touted by many as the next possible candidate for the ANC presidency, said he sensed South Africa was open to business "as usual".
    full story from Business Report here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Here is a cynical perspective: the ANC has to fund itself somehow. Where does that come from? The business owners who are ANC members (or not?). Where will they take their money if the ANC shifts to the left? Somewhere else, where it is more beneficial to them.

    Am I wrong? Where do political parties get their money from?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    This morning, once again, we have Jeff Radebe giving some sort of summing up of what we might be able to conclude from the ANC policy conference. Not much more news than has come out already, really.

    They are really harping on about increased intervention, though. Personally, I've got mixed feelings about that.

    As an aside: That 6.35 a.m. spot on Morning Live sure has been pretty busy with gov folks of late.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It's got to be wonderful to be a politician. You can flip flop all over the place.

    Here is yet another headline spawned from the utterings of Mr. Jeff Radebe - who has been making a fair bit of news of late.
    Business must chip in, says Radebe
    The private sector has been criticised for not coming "to the party" in providing public infrastructure, but transport minister Jeff Radebe has urged business to share the risk with the government.

    Speaking on behalf of the minister at a transport conference in Pretoria yesterday, the acting deputy director-general for research policy and economic analysis, Jabulani Mzaliya, said the government would "continue to champion the cause" of public-private partnerships in infrastructure provision.
    full story from Business Report here
    Now we don't have to roll the clock back that far to recall who put the brakes on the (private sector proposed) monorail between Soweto and Jhb! A very clear signal to the private sector.

    Of course, Mr. Radebe's latest gripe is that there are not enough skills available to implement government's wonderful policy. Hmmm. I wonder who's policy created that situation in the first place. And can a policy framework that does not take cognisance of its resource limitations be considered wonderful?

    Mr. Radebe has been lauding the progress of an interventionist state, and calling for even more intervention. At some point I can only hope that Mr. Radebe will realise that if it is your intervention, then YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #10
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Here is yet another headline spawned from the utterings of Mr. Jeff Radebe - who has been making a fair bit of news of late.
    Duncan's theory of politician work quality: The quality of a politician's work is inversely proportional to the number of times they are recorded in the media.
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