Business

Why the new sustainable development goals won’t make the world a better place

The world’s governments are preparing to finalise the sustainable development goals at the United Nations this month. It is set to be a major international event, and the goals will be ushered in with tremendous fanfare. They are widely regarded as a historic step toward building a better world, and toward eradicating poverty and hunger…

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How long can the ANC keep winning elections?

The discussion documents that have recently been released by the ANC in preparation for its national general council in October reveal renewed intention to have a serious discussion and reflection on a number of key issues, which if unresolved, can accelerate the demise of the organisation. In reality the fundamental question is about what is…

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Scotland 5. Donald Trump 0. What price America?

Author and humourist PG Wodehouse once wrote that “it is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine”. He was absolutely right when it came to American presidential hopeful and property mogul Donald Trump’s attempts to insinuate himself into the Scottish culture with his £750 million (R15.9 billion) golf estate…

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Give your car a hug

So here we are, little more than a century later, and the car is as welcome in every home as the chamber pot was before inside toilets arrived. It wasn’t always so, though. When the first adventurers took to the roads in steam and electric and clockwork and petrol-engined cars in the 1890s only the…

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Let’s call a spade a spade, the EFF is marching towards a socialist dictatorship

It was an ordinary February morning in 1989, for most in Berlin, but not for 21-year-old East German Chris Gueffroy. It would be his last day alive. The cold metal force from a border guard’s gun would rip through his jacket and shirt and pierce his heart — pouring deep red warm hope out onto…

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Where should the rand be?

For those who see conspiracy in the steep plunge in the value of the rand against the US dollar, the graph below showing the decline of the Australian dollar can only mean a similar conspiracy against the Australian currency. If you don’t believe in conspiracies — which is not the same as acknowledging that traders…

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The poor economy is not all Zuma’s fault

Some lessons I have learned from reporting on economic crises: * Don’t fixate on any one cause. Economies are complex webs of interrelated phenomena. Interest-rate changes are not the whim of the central bank, ie the Reserve Bank. They depend on a range of other economic actors, including our government and other economies in the…

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The rand’s fall – it’s deja vu all over again

At around R13 to the dollar now, our exports must be quite competitive. They could get quite a lot more competitive soon. At the same time as being a temporary boon for the mines, a weaker currency should boost the trade balance because we’ll all have to cut back on imports. A weaker currency also…

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ILO mistakenly assumes that its old ANC pal is pragmatic

Voters elect politicians on the basis of their proclaimed ideology. However, it is not ideology that drives government effectiveness. Rather it is how ideology is adapted to resolving real-life problems. This week’s report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a reminder to what extent, despite all evidence to the contrary, African National Congress (ANC)…

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The microfinance delusion: who really wins?

I’m always amazed at how many students show up each year in the classrooms of the London School of Economics, where I teach, quivering with excitement about microfinance and other “bottom-of-the-pyramid” development strategies. Like eager young missionaries, they feel they’ve stumbled upon the One Idea that is sure to save the world. Would that it…

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