Posted inBusinessNews/Politics

Wall Street worries

The only thing one can predict about the financial crisis presently engulfing Wall Street and spreading outwards is that it will make us all rich in retrospective wisdom. Indeed, I forecast that the wisdom of hindsight will be in inverse proportion to the decline in the Dow Jones index. For the moment, few have dared […]

Posted inBusinessMediaNews/Politics

In memory of Deon Basson, a great forensic business journalist

South Africa lost one of its greatest investigative journalists and a fine thinker when Deon Basson died this week. What endeared him to me, aside from my admiration of his understanding of insurance companies and the determination that made him one of South Africa’s finest investigative business journalists, was a lack of obvious vanity. The […]

Posted inBusinessMediaNews/Politics

The joy of officespeak

Many writers decry office-speak such as “going forward” or “step up to the plate” as “useless” or “irritating”. Let’s celebrate it instead. There are many uses for office-speak, or biz-speak, or buzzwords. “Going forward” has especially come in for criticism as a kind of nervous tick in business speech, a filler phrase without any meaning […]

Posted inBusinessMedia

Yes, business news is boring

“Is it only me, or has economic news stagnated?” asks Arthur Goldstuck, my friend and colleague from the Weekly Mail days. No, Arthur, it’s not a new development. Business news is often boring. It has often been boring. And since it is often supply-driven rather than demand-driven, much of it is likely to continue to […]

Posted inBusiness

Is the rand’s decline overdone?

Is the rand overvalued in dollar terms? This graph, which compares the exchange rate for Australian dollars against the rand-dollar exchange rate, suggests that it is. The South African and Australian economies both depend on the exports of commodities, so it is not surprising that our currency and the Australian dollar have moved in tandem […]

Posted inBusiness

Coega and the Radiohead song

Every time I drive through the upgraded stretch of road around the turn-off to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), just before Port Elizabeth, a song floats unbidden into my head. The Coega IDZ is a multibillion-rand industrial development complex covering 11 000ha, centred on a new deepwater port. Nude is the haunting song, from Radiohead’s […]

Posted inBusinessNews/Politics

Nationalise Eskom now!

When the government backed off from selling 30% of Eskom some years ago I was relieved. I knew that the wheel would turn, as it always does, and Eskom would change from being loved to being loathed, as it was in the early 1980s. It emerged a stronger organisation from that time of intense animosity. […]

Posted inBusiness

Fronting = BEE?

The Daily Dispatch, a daily newspaper based in East London, has been running articles about allegations of companies “fronting” to get government contracts. By “fronting”, what is generally meant is falsely claiming to be a majority black-owned company, having black economic empowerment ownership in your company, or having black staff occupying top management positions. This […]