Alistair Fairweather
Alistair Fairweather

An open letter to Patrick Craven and Cosatu

Dear Mr Craven

We are very different men, from very different generations, with very different views of the world. Nonetheless I respect both your opinion, and your contribution to the liberation struggle. But while I concede many of the points in your rather self-congratulatory letter to the ANC, I dispute many more. Not only are they bull-headed, intolerant and illogical — they are, on the whole, dangerously divisive.

I’ll skip over the proto-dictatorial, Bolivarian rhetoric about the “forces of reaction represented by the motley collection of opposition parties” and get straight to my main concern — your terrifyingly naive economic policies. You advocate a move away from primary goods like resources (or “raw materials” as you call them), and towards secondary goods. I agree with the first part of the sentiment, but when you call our manufacturing sector “key area for the creation of decent, sustainable jobs” I wonder if you’re living on the same planet as I am.

How, on earth, do you expect to be able to compete with the Chinese and Indian markets in manufacturing? They have enormous, relatively skilled labour pools and are largely unfettered by the kind of over-regulation and coddling of which your relatively unproductive membership are so proud. The hard fact is that manufacturing is a numbers game — there are few intangibles (except in luxury and high-end goods) and price is all important. Why on earth do you want us to bet our future on a race which we can’t hope to win? And as for the upper end of the market, the Germans, Americans, Swiss and other developed countries occupy that sector with some of the world’s finest craftsmen and women.

I am dismissing manufacturing completely? No — I’m just pointing out that it’s not the solution to solving our current unemployment crisis. And why ,on earth, would we want to bet the farm on energy intensive, high pollution, eco-destroying heavy industry when there’s a much more obvious solution: the service economy. From call centres to tourism to data processing, the world is crying out for millions of semi-skilled people to do these jobs. Let’s focus our resources on what we’re really good at — our absolute advantages — and not on the ugly battle of mass manufacturing.

Hand ups, not hand-outs

Then there’s the whole issue of social security payments to the poor. You point out that 15 million people now have access to such grants, and call for a “Basic Income Grant to provide a safety net for all citizens”. How do you expect the fiscus to support such a plan, given the strain our narrow tax base is already under? I fully support many of the current grants — vulnerable people should not be forced to live in abject and grinding poverty.

And yet in the next breath you say this: “The underlying tragedy however is that so many South Africans are solely dependent on grants. The priority remains to create work opportunities, with decent levels of pay, so that the poor can escape from their survivalist existence and enter the market as consumers.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, except for that weasel word “decent” which is only one removed from “fair” — another word that politicians (and, yes, Mr Craven, you are a politician) love to bandy about.

If you’re really so concerned about creating jobs, why are you and your colleagues so stubbornly blind to the fact that your policies are harming rather than helping job creation? Our current labour laws make hiring a new employee into a dangerous lottery. If they turn out to be incompetent, lazy, divisive, unreliable or even actively destructive and dishonest, there is literally nothing that an employer can do. They are stuck with this person for at least six months, or up to year, before all of the necessary red tape is completed. Even then, they are frequently summoned to the CCMA and stripped of yet more money. There are hundreds of cases where employees have embezzled large sums of money and, when fired, taken their employer to the CCMA and received yet more cash.

Killing our entrepreneurial spirit

Now while big established companies can largely absorb this sort of cost, it can (and does) ruin the small businesses that are the engine of new growth and job creation around the globe. Our labour laws are killing our entrepreneurial spirit — that’s a plain fact rather than merely my opinion. I am not in favour of repealing these laws and regulations completely, although Stephen Grootes’s refreshing suggestion has a lot of merit. I am simply in favour of taking a rational look at the unintended consequences of our current legislation and regulation.

You bring up the quintessential example in your letter, blustering that “the ANC will harvest a rich reward from the voters if the government is seen to be acting decisively to ban this human trafficking called labour broking”. Leaving aside the reckless and irresponsible conflation of providing employment to willing citizens with the kidnapping and slavery of unwilling victims, had you considered the idea that you and your socialist buddies might have created the problem in the first place? Labour broking grew out of a need — just as everything in capitalism does. That need was to not have to be sued every time you needed to cut back on your labour costs during a tough period.

Are there abuses in labour broking? Of course there are. Are there abuses in the labour market in general? Definitely — particularly on farms and in rural areas, which you rightly raise as an area of concern. But both those examples illustrate my point: the very people our labour laws are meant to protect are not being protected, while the people who need no protection are riding the CCMA gravy train for all it’s worth. In my own experience many cases taken to the CCMA are taken by the “top 10%” you complain about who earn R111 733 a month. Even the people earning a quarter of that shouldn’t even be allowed to go the CCMA — they are educated and affluent enough to take care of themselves, and should be treated as such.

Blame the rich…how original

And while we’re on the topic of income disparity, there’s nothing more tedious and predictable than trotting out the salaries of the CEOs of large companies and then comparing them to the poor. Yes, Marius Kloppers, CEO of BHP Billiton “raked in R54 million”. Guess what, Mr Craven, he earned it. BHP is one of the largest resources companies on the planet. It employs nearly 40 000 people around the globe and is worth R1.75 TRILLION. The company could choose any CEO they wanted. And if they want to retain Kloppers’ obvious talents they need to pay him market-related rates.

Those numbers may sicken you to the depths of your Marxist core, Mr Craven, but they are realities of a global economy. Kloppers is only paid that amount because the people who own BHP — many of them ordinary shareholders and pensioners — agreed (via the board) to pay him that amount. And why would they agree such a thing? Because he and his executive team made the company R100 billion in profits last year. So his share is 0.054% of that. If I was him I would feel a bit hard done by!

As I said at the beginning of this letter, I agree unreservedly with some of your points. In particular: “We are still sitting on a ticking bomb. If we do not act fast to respond to the increasingly desperate calls from our poor communities for houses, schools, clinics, better service delivery and a better quality of life, there will be uncontrollable social explosions.”

And yet our solutions couldn’t be more different. I think this stems from a truth that may be uncomfortable for you to swallow: you don’t actually have the interests of South Africa at heart — it’s the interests of your members that are your top priority. And yet this coddled, fractious and divisive force is a tiny percentage of our population — just two million people. As long as you and your brethren wield such a disproportionate share of political power, the wage floor will remain unrealistically high, and the unemployment rate dangerously high.

Yes, the children are our future

Where we do agree is that education is by far and away the most important priority for the future of our country. But as long as the public-sector unions are allowed to ruin young minds by disrupting schooling for months, all for greedy and unreasonable demands, then we don’t have much hope of a better future for the next generation. And please, Mr Craven, don’t imagine you or the ANC have hoodwinked us with the suspicious rise in matric pass rates. Putting a plaster over a serious wound may make you and your ANC buddies feel better, but it doesn’t help the hundreds and thousands of matrics whose certificate is now of dubious quality or merit.

You can tell from my tone by now that I am angry. You might well dismiss my letter as the mannered blusterings of a typical, privileged white male South African — a neo-liberal apologist and a classist (if not a racist). The thing is, Patrick, I love this country with all my heart, and its people (rich and poor). I want us to do well. I want people to have jobs — dignified jobs — and to lift themselves out of poverty the way the Indians, Brazilians and Chinese are doing right now. I want to start my own business — to innovate and add value, and above all create employment. And, yes, I want to make good money out of that and give my children a better chance at life than even I had. That’s human nature — that’s what we all want.

If you and the ANC continue to view those kinds of dreams with scorn and aggression, and continue to put in place policies that block the ability of ordinary people to help each other, then I fear we will never rise out of this morass. Please, Mr Craven, take a long hard look at the facts. If you do you might see that we’re both on the same side.

Kind regards
Alistair

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  • Quoth the Craven by Chris Roper
    • Judith

      Great post Alistair which expresses the frustration of many struggling entrepreneurs. We would love to create more jobs but are constrained by labour law and have to be very careful

    • ae

      It is safer to play soccer on a mine field than to employ on permanent staff. It is much easier to carry an elephant over the N1 in peak hour traffic than what it is to get rid of an employee who has stolen your money. The result no one wants to employ thanks to the socialist and communist laws on our books. If you look at the number receiving grants as opposed to the number contributing to the tax of this country it is almost a 2:1 ratio every salary earner supports about two persons on grants. This is communist arithmetic by dividing the money it is supposed to becomes more.

    • Al

      Wonderfully-written letter. I look forward to the reading Craven’s answer and the debate that follows.

    • John

      WOW Alistair – WOW

      A quick note on creating Service Sector jobs.

      A guest on a SABC talk show recently claimed that over 20% of whites who were born in South Africa now live outside the country. If I use my family as a reality check, that seems low but lets use it for illustration purposes. Well over half my cousins and siblings have left South Africa, even though our family has San heritage and our Afrikaaner forefather arrived in 1654 or over 50 years before the first Xhosa colonists, LONG before the Zulus.

      They have created hundreds of jobs for other countries and other economies while those remaining in South Africa have created just 46 jobs.

      BUT – it is a disparate group of their children who have have spat in our faces. They have created a large CRM (Customer Relationship management) organisation, employing workers in Thailand and Indonesia. This system handles incoming telephone calls for large US and European corporates using the less expensive Thais. They’ll employ over 1000 “receptionists” this year.

      “Why not South Africans?” I asked.

      “Because of your employment laws and the link between your government and the communists and trade unions” was the answer.

      “C’mon” – I said – “it’s all just bluff and bluster by the ANC.”

      “We don’t know that and why should we take the risk. In addition, we are white and would have to deal with your anti-white employment legislation” was their quick answer.

      Try argue with that!!!

    • Sub Judice

      Well argued – economics always makes more sense than politics. SA has always been a society of elites and vested interests, and this is one of the reasons for our 35% unemployment rate. Who speaks for the unemployed? Nobody.

    • Tanqueray

      A great post. I believe that Patrick Craven and Cosatu know exactly how much damage their demands and the labour laws they helped make exact on South Africa – after all nobody can be that stupid. But they do not really care. Do the math – if they have 2 million members and each one is only paying R30 per month this means an income of R60 million per month (and this is besides provident funds, pension schemes, insurances, etc which they have going for themselves). Cosatu is a really good business! They hysterically shout out socialism for the masses but the real agenda is the direct opposite.

    • LS

      Great post. I don’t get you when it comes to labour brokers, to say they satisfy a need for employers to avoid getting sued. You don’t really deal about the negative impacts they have on job seekers and workers. Frankly, I’d rather deal with the employer than being exploited by the labour broker first; yes, they are in it for the money too. Apart from that, I concur with all else that you’ve said.

    • http://www.hughlendrum.com Hugh Lendrum

      Too polite. Will be ignored. Trade unions thrive on serious confrontation. All else is for sissies.
      I do not believe it is possible for Craven et al to shift their position. Country will have to experience really serious pain before someone at the wheel wakes up. Could still take a few decades. Took 23 years in Tunisia.
      Meanwhile take care of your own children so they do not become cannon fodder for COSATU.

    • Rythm n Kaos (GrassHut Dweller)

      Alistair

      I am a Black male South African and I share your sentiments COMPLETELY.

    • http://sketchesbyboz37.blogspot.com T Watkins

      An absolutely brilliant post, Alistair! Politely and sincerely, you expose the venality and stupidity of the current union leadership, and the disastrous path down which they drive us like cattle.

      What is to be done? We desperately need to demonstrate the consequences of different policies, like the Western Cape has done for service delivery. Establish free enterprise zones near current townships, remove labour legislation within these zones, and watch employment, incomes, prosperity flourish – no matter how poverty stricken the area.

      No doubt the ANC would be as enthusiastic about this idea as they are about Helen Zille. Perhaps one could start in the Western Cape?

    • GC

      In defense of Craven and the unions.
      I don’t agree with exploitation of labour.
      I would like to see the trade unions police the emerging “labour only” contractors in the construction industry. Never have I seen more abuse by employers of employees than by emerging black entrepreneurs.
      At this level the employer pays himself first and spreads the change among his employees. To hell with records, tax, UIF or any other statutory requirement.
      I discussed this with an academic who maintains that the union – overkill demands – action, is justified because it is given that those who do not work in formal employment will be exploited by their employers. If the difference in employment conditions differ too greatly, the informally employed will migrate to the formal employers as soon as they can and ultimately force the exploiters out of business or, at least, force them to improve the lot of those who cannot find formal employment.
      A complaining worker is likely to find himself in hospital.
      Contract law exists to the effect that the emerging entrepeneur must be registered etc. but the policing thereof is shabby – to say the least.
      This sounds harsh to the formally employed, but I can assure you is a reality. I deal with it daily.
      I wonder how much formal “big business” break the law by contracting such emerging contractors to make themselves more competitive.

    • MayaMaya

      So true! Our small NGO which btw works for human rights has spent 3 years and tens of thousands of rands trying to get rid of an administrator that lied about her qualifications; could not do any aspect of her job; stole money; created discord and dissent in the office; verbally abused fellow workers and that’s just a small amount of the destruction this person caused. Yet we had to follow three years of procedures to try and get rid of her which we finally managed to do at the end of last year. We have now employed on a temporary basis a young woman just out of varsity who is managing to do her predecessor’s full time job in a quarter of the time (she comes in three days a week) and at a quarter of the salary. We have also now got the money to employ another two staff members which we desperately need. If it was not for our insane labour laws we would have been able to provide stable salaried employment to these 3 women a long time ago and we would not have had to pay someone who was not doing their job. I really don’t understand how we can expect employment to grow when our laws protect those who are not willing or able to perform and thus are a drain to the economy.

    • http://www.mzzansidesigners.co.za Lesego

      Alistair

      I wish your letter can reach the leadership of the tripartite alliance’s hearts & rightly so, as you’ve indicated, we’re sitting on a time bomb.

      I can’t help but mention that, I was watching news on TV over the weekend & there were very, very violent protests in one country, apparently the citizens are fed-up with self enriching politicians & a thought striked my mind, as to how many other people are watching this & that, what if thoughts are starting to develop in their minds.

      At the advent of the new school term this year, I received a sponsorship appeal from an organization that house destitute children & their appeal was for school registration fees.

      If Mr Craven & his people are serious about education being first priority, I’m sure these kids are supposed to be beneficiaries of such, isn’t it?

      From time to time we go feed destitute people, with some living at dump sites & when you ask them why they decided to come live there, 99.9 %, the answer has been, there aren’t employment opportunities.

      This, indicate to me that people are willing to work. Therefore, the grant system must be revised & perhaps job opportunities be created. In this way, you reduce the number of people loitering, unless this dependency syndrome works better for the tripartite alliance.

      I must say that I’m equally angry at the scourge of poverty in our country.

    • Arie

      I have noticed Patrick making live comments on TV, I have even read comments made by Patrick on the Cosatu daily newsletter amongst others regarding the taxi drivers strike recently regarding AARTO on demeritpoint scheme.
      It became very clear that Patrick has absolutely no cooking clue on the mechinations of economics and general control of the country.
      NO COOKING CLUE !!!
      A relatively intelegent grade twelve student probably nows more about these issues.

    • Kwame

      Ja Allister! Your tone of anger (as you describe it) will not help two cents in resolving the challenges that SA faces. If anything you would be no different from the union members whom you complain of poor conduct during strikes.

      The other concern is that I sense that you genuinely believe that your thoughts and arguments are a ‘miracle’ pill and unique. Well, you are dead wrong! Your idea’s have done the rounds world over and failed in many respects. For example, why don’t you complain when the US and Britain are capping CEO salaries? How do you justify the retrenchment of workers, when the CEO’s earn such money?

      In case you forgot, thx to apartheid, the skills set of this country is not geared as yet to take up mass employment in the service industry. You’ve also commended China for poverty elliviation, well if you did’nt know, the Chinese model is undemocratic and slave labour. The workers there don’t have a right to strike or express themselves. Surely, CCMA is needed!

      As for labour brokers, I’m quite sure that this issue does’nt affect the white population that largely has permanent jobs and profits made from such industries. To put it simply, would you apply for a bond in the bank as a casual labour?

      Everyone has dreams, but pls don’t pretend to be the master of those dreams!

    • MLH

      Jolly good post Alistair.
      I’d like to remind Craven that the initial trade unions trained apprentices to become highly effective professional people, gave them general education regarding health, hygiene and working behaviour and referred them to companies looking for new talent, which put the unions on the line. Our unions do little more than set salary increases, stir the pot and encourage violence and lockouts during strikes. By comparison, they have little in which to take any pride.
      Perhaps the unions should become the new labour brokers and we’ll soon see how long the system lasts under them and which side: unions or their members, create the fall.
      Cosatu may have a broad power base, but every non-member (a far larger proportion of the population) suffers due to it, especially the poverty stricken. While the CCMA serves a function, there is no doubt that its very existence denies the responsibilities workers should make themselves aware of: the salary is in exchange for duties agreed, it has no relation to a social welfare benefit.
      Even those employed as domestic workers are far fewer today than 20 years ago, where the mother may have lived well, but had little to send home for the upbringing of children. Nowadays, homes that employed domestic in full-time positions then, cannot afford any or use someone only once a week, making the ratio of travel against earnings higher and increasing the home grocery bills. Believe it or not, fewer people starved then.

    • brent

      Thank you for the forthright and good article, pity we have to always shout at each other, when will we ALL realise that it is us vs the rest of the world.
      Be warned if Craven replies it will be more than 360 degrees off subject and you will be attacked for causing every ill that SA has.
      Another view on manufacturing, we are one of the best resource rich countries and must use this to our advantage. For example if Toyota/Kia/China or other want iron ore give them an exclusive 40/50 year fixed good/fair contract with following stipulations: after 5 years must put up a steel plant, after 10 years must put up a steel/metal parts processing plant and after 15 years must put up a car manufacturing plant. Coming with these upgrades is training/expertise/investment in SA plus investment in other local down line industries – a win win win win win.

      Brent

    • anton kleinschmidt

      A brilliant letter.

    • Michael Liermann

      Obvious neoliberal kool-aid drinker is obvious, as 4Chan would say.

    • Geoff

      Could not have said it better if I tried!

    • Gail

      Brilliant and restrained letter. Sadly Craven and his crew don’t want to hear what you are saying. They areenjoying wielding power and seeing and encouraging the destruction of jobs in our country because they are well paid liberal communists. They talk the talk but they do not walk the walk. Above all they do not realise that owning a business means reinvesting profit and maintenance etc of infrastructure and that pushing up labour costs and strikes ultimately put businesses which used to employ skilled people and train unskilled to become skilled right out of business. The Chinese don’t allow unionism because they are realists. There are more people than jobs and the people are grateful to actually be employed at all. Clothing factories in SA have shut down because they can’t compete with the prices of Chinese manufactured clothes due to wages and strikes which have destroyed the industry here and forced it’s closure. Shoes too factories have had to close because they can be manufactured cheaper in the Far East. What the unions are doing is giving more and more work that used to be done by people in SA to China so more Chinese people now have employment because they work harder for less and are grateful for it. I planned my life before I even met my husband so that my children would not be cannon fodder. My husband has died and I have stayed because I believe in education of the disadvantaged.

    • Lynette

      Well-written and well-balanced. Sadly, although your points are excellent and reflect the views of many who love this country, they will have no impact on the cancer that is Cosatu.

    • Peter L

      The most serious problem with our high unemployment rate is the fact that the vast majority of the unempoyed are not only unemployed – they are also unemployable.

      For the last 25 years in SA there has been an ongoing trend for capital to displace labour.
      The cause is pure economics – as labour cost per unit of production increases and capital costs come down (interest rates are at a 30 year low)- ie the cost of capital intensive production becomes cheaper relative to labout intense production.

      A large proportion of the unemployed have no or very few marketable skills and very little and / or very poor education.

      There is simply no demand in the market for these potential workers – technological advances have greatly reduced the need for unskilled work. Add labour laws on top of that (domestic work, farm work) and you have a recipe for high unemployment.

      COSATU’s call for “decent” work – which is never defined, of course – is also a joke.

      It is a fact of recent economic recoveries that over 75% of the new jobs that are created are in the services sector – what COSATU would no doubt describe as decidedly “not decent” work.

      Just what is COSATU’s sugggestion for the awful but neccessary work that *someone* has to do.

      ie: emptying the sluices in hospitals, repairing and cleaning our sewers, sweeping the streets etc

      Someone from COSATU please help me and define exactly what is meant by “decent” work.

      Also, please explain how it is better

    • Peter L

      ………..continued

      Also, please explain how it is better to be unemployed than to do *not decent* crap menial work at joints like Wal-Mart?

    • Peter L

      Some sobering statistics (sources: SARS, Stats SA and Dept labour):

      Total number of taxpayers: 7 million (5 million individuals, 1.7 million companies and 300,000 trusts)

      Total number of welfare / grant recipient: 13.8 million

      Total number of people in employment (not all remunerated): 12.8 million

      Total number and percentage of workforce unemployed: This number varies depending on which definition is used, but 33% is a reasonable number, giving 6.3 million unemployed out of a total workforce of 18.6 million.

      COSATU membership is reported at 2 million.

      I fully respect COSATU’s right to hold their opinions on labour matters, but surely we should at the very least give equal exposure and reproting time to the view of the 3 milllion NON Cosatu employees, as well as the 6 million unemployed?

      How about it, thoughtleader?

    • http://www.ekh.co.za Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen

      Hi Alistair. These are well rehearsed arguments that many make about Cosatu. I have a different take on the Cosatu proposals, and have argued these elsewhere. Many small business owners and their organisations support the Cosatu proposals. It is not as easy as changing the labour laws to boost entrepreneurial activity, especially because our economy is a very concentrated one. We need more entrepreneurs, and I am thinking about what policy package is needed, but there is no silver bullet. The major challenge that your argument does not address is the reality of inequality, in the sense that improving economic inclusion must mean widening opportunities. Your proposals do not offer anything to widen the economic base and support economic inclusion. I share your concerns with manufacturing as a major source of job creation, but some of the proposals from industry and in the New Growth Path have got me thinking that manufacturing can certainly contribute to job creation. It might be worth looking at the Cosatu support base. Yes, it has 2 million members, but has wide support and strong coalitions in civil society and in the emerging business sector. As such, Cosatu works hard to win arguments in society. Other organisations in society should do the same, to influence on economic policy. Your arguments will not be dismissed on racial or ideological grounds, but they require more evidence to persuade.

    • David W

      Well that pretty much sums it all up in one letter!
      If only Craven and Cosatu could read it threw our eyes.
      Excellent post Al.

    • spoiler

      Spot on. Craven and his chommies make me sick. Hypocrits just like the SACP morons in their mega buck cars.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com/ The Creator

      This is far from being clever; it is simply a photocopy of corporate propaganda, cribbed from the universal message passed on to us in the newspapers, on the electronic media, and every other arm of corporate propaganda which exists. It is not surprising that Fairweather is incapable of thinking for himself; few rich white South Africans are. However, it is morally disgusting for a rich white South African to unblushingly proclaim that the primary problem with our country is that poor people are asking too much, and that if we can only crush the working class harder, everything will be all right.

      Now, this doesn’t place Craven above criticism. On the contrary, he is a hypocritical toady of the element of the corporate power-elite which dominates COSATU. (In case you are unaware of it, COSATU’s leadership are predominantly from the rich investor class.) But the challenge which he raises is not invalid because he is himself a scoundrel.

      If we do not radically change our economic policies away from the neoliberalism into which we were locked in the 1980s (and which, regrettably, the Zuma regime seems to endorse — Kgalema Motlanthe’s denunciation of the social grants system was every bit as stupid and contemptible as Fairweather’s) then we are headed for socio-economic crisis and probable collapse.

    • Peter L

      @ The Creator
      Your ad hominen attack on the author is uncalled for and unwarranted. You also assume many “facts” that you have not placed into evidence.
      By all means advance you own arguments, backed up by facts, statistics and emprical evidence, and use the same facts to counter Alistair’s arguments, if you so desire.

      How do you define “rich”?

      By most accepted definitions, people like Alistair are middle class salary slaves, far from being “rich”.

      Compared to an unemployed squatter, yes they could be describerd as rich.
      Compared to Julius Malema and Z Vavi, he cold be described as being dirt poor.

      By the way, Motlante did not denounce the welfare grant syatem – far from it.
      Most people in the country – including rich whites, by the way, fully support the social grants system.
      A recent Cambridge University research study provided the evidence and facts.

      Motlante simply warned against the dangers of an attitude of entitlement and the concept of the state as a nanny state that must supply virtually everythng free to the user (but not actually free – someone pays – the taxpayer normally).

      In the spirit of thoughleader, can you please supply more evidence, facts and reasoned argument, and less rhetoric, ad hominen attacks, political sloganeering and hyperbole.

      Pretty please.

    • brent

      Interesting article and yey most bloggers have given thoughtful replies, tks Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen for yours.

      Another idea which i wish to throw in, we are behaving like a 1st world developed country and thus the solutions pro or con big business/labour reflect this narrow tired view.

      In the early 90’s a German think tank did a well reserched but not strictly scientific survey of different youth groups, randomly picked and included western 1st worlders, former Soviet countries, China/Japan/Korea plus a few African/S American countries. Innovation was measured and the top group worldwide was SA TOWNSHIP BLACKS.
      Big business/industry/labour unions are just not equipped to take adbvantage of this pool of sheer ‘GOLD’, in fact it scares them. These innovative people plus the millions of others need to be assisted in starting their own businesses (organised labour would immediately fight this concept as it does not develop union members and big business would be indifferent until the innovaters became rich and consumers) thus wiping out unemployment. I dont have the exact figures but over 70% of people employed in Japan are by small companies of less than 50 people. We have the innovative people plus the example of how to do it so lets embrace the correct policies (develop the small innovators) now and move away from the old tired 1st world solutions.

      Talking is over time to do

      Brent

    • John

      @ The Reator.

      Your response was hardly creative – just standard Black Elite Blabber Blabber…

      I challenge you – Take a wade through the Stats SA website. Please explain why the Aparheid Nats created so many black jobs while the ANC have destroyed so many. We are back at 1984 employment levels.

      Explain to me why countries like Brazil, India and China, as they move towards a free market economy suddenly become economic giants while Venezuela, Argentina and Russia, as they control their economies become stagnant? (Use the UN, IMF, World Bank or any other CREDIBLE economic indicators to back your argument)

      While you are on the Stats SA site (an ANC Government official website), please explain why our average life expectancy has declined from 72 years under the Nats to just over 50 under the ANC. Don’t be stupid enough to challenge the ANC Stats SA statistics because there are at least 2 studies that show the Nat Figures to be fairly accurate while the ANC figures have some considerable discrepancies – the situation is probably worse than reflected.

      Of all the things we should expect from any government, three are essential:
      A Right to Life – Doesn’t happen here in SA
      A Right to Security – The Police are our organised Crime.
      A Right to Work and receive wages – We are out to lunch on this one.

      This article addresses one of these essential topics in a restrained and logical way.

    • spoiler

      Perfect Mr Creator – but what then is the economic miracle model you propose? The have’s funding the have nots ad infinitum?

    • Gary ry

      Awesome article Al. Truly brilliant. Your rebuttal please, Mr Craven…

    • Jonas Barbarossa

      Two sides to this coin though. The ‘financial crisis’ i.e. the demise of capitalism was precipitated by those cozy capitalists at the expense of the general population. Those same companies who were GIVEN money to keep them afloat are now hoarding cash and not putting it back into the economy i.e. no more jobs created. Sales in Louis Vuitton and Cadillac are up by 20% and 29% respectively while 20% more people are out of jobs and living on food stamps. And the corrupt governments have done NOTHING to bring those corrupt and unscrupulous maggots to book. The system is broke and broken – morally and financially. What are we going to do about it? It appears to me that only socialism can save us. So, scream your head off Mr. Craven; as long as you condone political parties to operate businesses and to make profits by using their leverage then you do not exist to me. Jonas the Socialist.

    • John

      @ Jonas

      If Cadillac sales were to double, it would mean little. Double 0.001% market share is 0.002% market share – totally insignificant. Haven’t you read. General motors is dying. Like socialism, GM will soon be dead, both relics of ill-concieved and unrealistic ambitions of our misguided forefathers.

      On a more realistic note:

      Business No 1 Priority is to look after Business and see that it survives.
      Leave business to business.

      Governments’s No 1 Priority is best expressed by an excerpt of a speech by American President Harry Truman during his opposition to American socialism:-
      Governments duty is “… to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves. Any government that attempts to do for the people what they can and should do for themselves is both cynical and immoral. It entrenches evil regimes and kills the individual man’s desire to improve himself.”

      So let us have a government that does what our people cannot do for themselves, like keeping them alive, providing security and providing an environment where business can create employment.

      Socialism – The world has been there, failed trying to do that, and lost both our shirts and caps in the process. It is time for new, more realistic ideas.

    • Jonas Barbarossa

      @John

      Cadillac market share is irrelevant. You missed the point. The point is that sales in this expensive automobile have gone up by 29% while there are many more destitute people living on welfare.

      Re business should be left to look after business: we’ve done that. It left millions more in poverty. Yes; business did survive…and only because those millions in poverty paid for them to survive – with their own livelihoods. Those same businesses are now hoarding cash and thereby keeping those millions out of jobs. It is shameful! Support of such corruption is unconscionable.

      Your statement that socialism is dead is garbage. Socialism is gaining ground all over Europe. One really needs to get one’s information from more than one source before making sweeping statements like that.

      With regards to Mr. Craven: he is also a puppet quasi politician with little to offer because he has demonstrated his corruptibility and willingness to be co-opted into a corrupt and fraudulent system.

      Your reference to Truman is out of context (your context) and appears to have been put in there to illustrate your willingness to read.

    • David Brown

      Never forget teh first election posters that the ANC used was a simple manipulative slogan jobs ,jobs ,jobs it read. well 17 years on fellahs lets hear it one more time. There is massive inflation of certification a youthful population that makes Tunisia look like a gerontocracy — its going to be a tough tiger to ride without good ideas. Service sector perhaps many more creative things need considering and freeing up