Growth scepticism – South African style

In: Uncategorized

8 Aug 2006

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa provides an eloquent example of growth scepticism in the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture (PDF) at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand on July 29. Mbeki’s argument is involved but essentially it is an attack on the emphasis on economic development in the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme of the African National Congress. He even goes so far as to identify the acquisition of material wealth as a value embodied in white minority rule under apartheid. Instead he argues today’s South Africans should recognise the value of the biblical injunction that “man cannot live by bread alone”. In a country where massive social inequality is still evident such talk is presumably designed to lower the expectations of the impoverished majority.