I spoke to Giulietta Talevi and Stephen Gunnion about the African consumer income slowdown on BusinessDay TV last week.
I had a mini-debate with Thabi Leoka, RenCap’s SA economist, on SABC Business Review last night. It was only 15 minutes long so I couldn’t get into the real meat of the debate, but I ended the conversation with a hint of where we need to focus: the central banking, fractional reserve monetary system that’s the biggest bubble in the history of the world – and this by its very nature is a credit bubble.
I’ll be writing an article about SA’s credit bubble in coming days where I will back up and strengthen Jesse Colombo’s credit bubble call further. I am busy with three separate research reports at the moment, and this article will take a back seat, but I hope to publish early next week.
I did an exclusive interview with The Daily Bell last week that was published yesterday.
Here’s a snippet.
Daily Bell: We previously interviewed South African analyst Leon Louw on South Africa, who runs the Free Market Foundation in South Africa, and we’ll ask you some of the same questions we asked him. He was remarkably positive about South Africa and its future, especially if it adopts free-market reforms. Are you similarly positive?
Chris Becker: I would be if the South African government was indeed adopting free-market reforms. But it isn’t. This government continues to introduce policies and legislation that restricts personal choice and liberty, inching the country more toward socialism than away from it. The minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies, is a sitting member of the South Africa Communist Party, while the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, used to be a member of the SACP. Other key ministries are littered with Communist Party members or sympathizers. The pervasive state ethos is socialist with ‘red ideals’ clearly pushing the country in that direction, which leaves me less optimistic than Mr Louw.
That said, I am positive about the fact that the ANC government is inefficient and disorganized, enabling the private sector to flourish in parallel to public utilities that can’t serve the public’s wants. We’ve seen huge growth in private education, private security and private medical industries in recent years, without which we would have seen rapidly declining living standards of South Africans. In a micro sense this inefficient and disorganized state leaves the space for quite a lot of personal liberty and allows people to get on with things outside of government control. With this strong central planning and regulatory ethos, if the government could actually follow through with its grand plans, South Africa would be a very unfree place. I call it ‘dangerous efficiency.’
We talk more about South Africa and whether we are headed toward a Zimbabwe style collapse, the long-term Africa play, a gold standard for Africa, and about the Ludwig von Mises Institute SA, among many other things.