Sugar Coating Exploitation

hullettesSouthern Africa has become well known for being one of the cheapest places on earth to produce sugar. Consequently, million of tons are produced in the region every year. Two companies have come to dominate much of this lucrative industry: Illovo Sugar and Tongaat-Hulett. It is little wonder (given how profitable the sector is), that in 2012 these two South African headquartered sugar giants once again declared massive annual profits . In fact, Illovo and Tongaat-Hulett have been reaping the rewards from their operations in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland over the years.

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What Constitutes the Next Economy? (prt2)

Today there is no lack of ideas of what may be alternatives to this casino economy – they range from the obvious – banning the most pernicious forms of derivatives and re-regulating capital flows; to the little more comprehensive - neo-Keynesian methods of reconstituting the welfare state and state management – what some have called an “investment in civilisation” - to establishing green economies and investment in renewables; to a revived vision of socialist democracy. 

A late 2011 Cape Times editorial carried the excellent suggestion that states should be able to borrow money at the same near-zero interest rates that banks are charged by public authorities (which money the banks then proceed to lend at exorbitant rates – actually make that play the stock and bond markets where they make enormous profits). In one fell swoop the sovereign debt crisis would be solved!!

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What constitutes “the next economy”? (prt1)


With the ongoing global crisis of capitalism one hears so much about the need for some kind of economic fix that will take the world out this morass. Similarly in South Africa, where 18 years after our victory over apartheid we now have the widest wealth gap in the world, there is an understandable desire to forge some kind of “new economy”.

But that desire may be a case of barking up the wrong tree…The problem of our times is not a lack of “economic imagination” but our political marginalisation. We can design any number of plans … but governments have their gaze elsewhere – to the “markets”, the bankers and the speculators.     

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The Crisis, Class War and Imperialism in Greece

7769-greece-protestAs the crisis in Europe has intensified, class war and imperialism have deepened in Greece. Indeed, the Greek working class has been subjected to further attacks from the local ruling class – comprised of capitalists and high ranking state officials - and imperialist powers. In order to receive the latest ‘bailout’ from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB), a bailout that goes straight to the banks that own most of the Greek state’s debt, the Greek state was told by the German, French and US ruling classes to once again reduce pensions by more than 15%, to fully privatise public utilities, to yet again cut social spending, and to implement more wage cuts, including a 22% reduction in the minimum wage. By 2014 it is planned that the Greek state would have cut spending, mostly on social services, by a further 12 billion Euros. All of this has come on the back of earlier rounds of austerity measures and the Greek working class has been under severe pressure: homelessness has been growing rapidly and the unemployment rate has shot past 20%.

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The Root of All Evil? The Dollar, the BRICS and South Africa

evil_dollarSouth Africa (SA) is attending its second meeting of the BRICS group of countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA. The summit, which took place today March 29 2012, in India, is themed "BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity".

In his address to the BRICS summit, India’s Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh said, “We have agreed to examine in greater detail a proposal to set up a BRICS-led South-South Development Bank…”

A March edition of the Financial Times noted that “During the upcoming BRICS summit, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are due to sign an agreement to grant one another loans in their national currencies…The move is almost certain to weaken the position of the dollar.”

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