10 April 2014

South Africa: Naidoo, Jim and Abedian At the Gathering - Time for an Economic Reboot?


The Gathering hosted a discussion on the country's political economy that proved the dismal science could be a passionate affair.

An economics discussion coming just after lunch and deep into the afternoon of a long day's talkfest could easily have been a recipe for that gentle easing into a postprandial nap for many at this year's Gathering. But, surprise, it wasn't. Instead, it became a vigorous, even passionate exchange on the current - and dangerous - state of South Africa's political economy - and what needs to be done in order to fix it.

Prominent economist Iraj Abedian of Pan-African Capital Holdings, National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) General Secretary Irvin Jim, and Cosatu cofounder/former cabinet member and now international human rights activist Jay Naidoo formed an awesome speakers' panel. Meanwhile, political analyst Prince Mashile, eNCA news presenter Jeremy Maggs and The Daily Maverick's J. Brooks Spector then put some tough questions to the speakers, following their initial presentations.

Firmly setting the cat among those metaphorical pigeons, Abedian crisply set out the pressing dilemmas of today's South African economy. He began with the sobering fact that the country currently is only putting aside half the...

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