Tuesday, August 29, 2006

'Whiter than White' ANC?

South Africa's Daily Mail and Guardian reports on wilting criticism by journalist John Pilger against the ruling African National Congress. In his new book, Pilger accuses the one-time liberation movement of selling out to corporate bosses.

"It was as if the ANC aspired to be whiter than white in its relations with the rulers of the world," Pilger writes. "Low tariffs would entice foreign imports; low inflation would preside over low wages and high unemployment ... and the rand would be subjected to the vagaries of the market."

Even pro-business economists have questioned such fiscal austerity in the face of pressing social needs, notes The DM&G. But the government says that wealth cannot be redistributed if it is not generated and that macroeconomic stability is needed for growth, which in turn will create jobs and provide a tax base to expand social services.


At 2:40 AM, Blogger Fontaine said...

It's easy for some folks to criticize the ANC for its fiscal policies. Still, the government's policies seem to be working. More people (of all races) have more money than ever, the economy is blazing, foreign companies are investing money and jobs in South Africa and, meanwhile, the ANC is building thousands of homes every year. The inequality gap was so great from the beginning, it's going to take a while to close it.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Fontaine, you're right it is easy to criticize them. But I'd rather live and work in the ANC managed South African economy than the one managed by that other ex-liberation movement in Zimbabawe. At least ANC policies are trying to build up employers rather than destroy them.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger TheMalau said...

I believe that ANC did falter on its ideals and principles a bit, and I can definitely se how one could say that they are "selling-out". But as Brian said, it's definitely better than ZANU-PF. Maybe we have to learn to live with less than perfect solutions.

Brian, is The Salon too boring and inadequate to add to your list ;).

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Fontaine said...

I lived in ANC-run South Africa for a while, and it very much had the feel of the dot-com '90s in the United States -- lots and lots of people were making more money than they ever thought, including people who traditionally had little money. There was one difference than the dot-com '90s, though: the South African economy is based on sound principles.

If the ANC truly lived up to all its campaign promises, the economy might go the way of, well, almost every other post-independence African nation: foreign investors get scared, the currency begins to spiral out of control and life for everyone, from the rich to the poor, is worse.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Maybe Malau. But maybe their ultimate principle was improving the welfare of the South African people and I think they've done that.


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