Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, June 04, 2004

So Thabo is attacking the free market ideology at the African Economic Summit in Maputo the week. A great saucy headline from Independent Newspapers which is salaciously misleading. (No, Thabo's not brandishing the old hammer and sickle.)

Actually, I agree with Mbeki's point. Partly. Liberal I am, but I do feel that some state intervention is necessary, if only to redress financial imbalances that have been born from a direct result of past injustice. As pure liberals will tell you, the market's success will trickle-down to the poor eventually. It's the 'eventually' part that's gives me trouble. It takes time. And time is one thing the poor don't have in abundance.

There are certain causes that the private sector has no interest in, and whilst the market may lift the most deprived areas up when they've leveraged everything else, I do believe that the state has to assist in building up poverty-stricken areas so that they can at least take part in the market. As labels go, I'm not sure where that leaves me. Somewhere between liberal-democratic and social-democratic? I think I'll pin my flag more to the former!

Another point of interest was host African Economic Summit Joaquim Chissano's response to an assertion on behalf of business by Reuel Khoza that NEPAD's Peer Review Mechanism should have more teeth in order to deal with offending states. Chissano insisted that it would be wrong to try to drive a country into isolation. "You will never get a good system that way." Funny, I thought it was quite a successful way to force South Africa to reject Apartheid?