Creating ideas vs harnessing White Monopoly Capital
University of Witwatersrand sociology Prof. Roger Southall begins his recent piece on “White Monopoly Capital” (WMC) stating that “many” want to unjustifiably marginalize a notion he maintains is politically “indisputably good for the country’s politics”. He attributes the tactics of its critics to the actions of ardent anti-communists who employ ad hominem arguments, e.g. dismissing WMC advocates as “mischievous political manipulators”.
He neither identifies some of the “many” critics as astute politicians and internationally respected economists (academic and Real-World) nor addresses their reasoned criticisms.
Then he points out an obvious continuing inequity in South Africa: highly polarized, ‘racially’-linked distribution of wealth that persists despite the existence of a democratically-elected, politically monolithic, ‘black’ (actually ANC) controlled government for nearly a quarter-century. He then provides another obviosity: 91.5% of South Africa’s population is Verwoerdian ‘nie-blanke’.
Then he connects this information by concluding (without providing evidence) that this “continuing inequity” is caused by ‘blanke’ “domination” of “the most productive parts of the economy” and is “an affront to social justice”.
He makes no mention of the existence of competing ‘black’ and non-racial parties who could have governed differently from the ANC or ‘real’ justice accessible to all emanating from post-Apartheid laws and a judicial system emanating from arguably the world’s most non-racial and socially just Constitution.
He then links the “implementation” (widely condemned by ‘racially’ diverse people within and outside of all non-ANC political parties) of ‘micro-waved’ Black Economic Empowerment with “employment equity”.
Then he focuses on the ‘socially justifiable’ anger of “black people at the bottom of the heap” and the actions of questionable “politicians who, for reasons good and ill, are willing to exploit that anger and mobilise around it”.
Other than by voting out a government that fails to deliver, he provides no “good reasons” to exploit the “anger” of oppressed ‘black’ masses.
Next, he specifically criticizes the DA’s and ANC’s (now passed) call for addressing the “continuing inequity” through economic development as a “mantra that … will lift all boats”, but only after “the tide has long been out”. In short, economic development is “stuck in the mud” and “the rise of the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)” is “a major plus” that has “shake[n] the major parties out of their complacency by espousing a revolutionary assault upon WMC”. This is followed by a short history of the real WMC that existed during Apartheid and the inadequate efforts post-1994 that have failed to address the “continuing inequity”. This notwithstanding, he admits that “growth in black pension funds reflects the strong upward movement of black people into the higher ranks of the public service” and that “it makes far less sense to refer to [WMC], uncritically, as ‘white'”.
Nevertheless, he still asks:
“But, is the main issue here the racial patterns of ownership and control – or the growing power of financial institutions and their lack of accountability?”
Some ‘good news’
Fortunately for all South Africans, he dismisses calls for increased “nationalisation of WMC [a]s profoundly bad economics” and calls for “citizens” to “pose profound questions” and provide “innovative”, “inventive”, “de-racialised but democratised” solutions “to tackle the brutally unequal nature of its economy”.
Finally, he wisely concludes that this cannot be achieved simply by “overthrowing white monopoly capital”. It requires ‘careful thought’ that creates a viable replacement that actually stops the “continuing inequity”.
Sadly, other than “citizens”, the author provides no suggestions as to who (the EFF, his academically/ideologically suicidal Wits colleague Chris Malikane or inchoate Fallist students/academics?) can or should provide these solutions.
May I suggest to him that the people to do the job exist at South African research universities and NGOs and focus on economic theory that works in the real world. However, this potential is rapidly being vaporized by unbridled ‘decolonization’ driven by Critical Race Theory.