The Political Economy of South Africa: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialisation

The Political Economy of South Africa: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialisation

The Political Economy of South Africa: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialisation

The Political Economy of South Africa: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialisation

Synopsis

Democratization in South Africa has been accompanied by continuing & even deepening economic inequalities. Rather than proposing a blueprint for a more equable economic system, this book presents the results & implications of wide-ranging research on the history & current dynamics of the South African economy over the past fifty years. The authors analyze a range of strategic economic trajectories, linking these to the shifting balance of economic & political power, & they set the parameters within which the economic & political debates are conducted.

Excerpt

Research for this book was funded from October 1990 to October 1992 by the UK Economic and Social Research Council under grant R000232411 to study the South African minerals-energy complex and the capital goods sector. But the book's history runs longer and deeper than the term of funding. For one author it began in the mid-1980s when he was asked on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) to assess and make policy recommendations for the South African mining and energy sectors. These recommendations emerged as discussion papers under the now defunct group Economic Research on South Africa. For the other author, the second half of the 1990s, when he was directly experiencing the role of the MEC through his work as a chemical engineer in South Africa, was the crucial time.

Our paths crossed and eventually ran together in order to undertake this research, which began at Birkbeck College, University of London, and then removed to the newly-founded Centre for Economic Policy for Southern Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, also part of the University of London. Throughout this time we have continued to have close working relations with the South African democratic movement, with one of us acting as a contributor to the Industrial Strategy Project supported by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the other as a contributing editor to the Macroeconomic Research Group report, Making Democracy Work, and both of us serving in an advisory capacity at various times to the ANC's Department of Economic Planning. Once again, our paths have now taken their separate courses: one of us is continuing as an academic with strong ties to Southern Africa and the democratic movement while the other has served as policy adviser to the new South African Minister of Trade and Industry, before appointment as Director-General for Trade and Industry.

Throughout our collaboration, daily and close at hand or less frequently and at a distance, we have benefitted from critical support from a host of colleagues and friends, whether they be attached to the institutions listed above or otherwise. Special thanks to John Sender, who commented on the whole manuscript, and to the originating publishers, Hurst and Co. Others are too numerous to list. We dedicate this book to them and the . . .

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