On the economy

Francecso Camminante, Somerset West

I enjoy and find interesting reading Norman McFarlane’s “opinions”, though, I confess, I do not catch most of the qualifying attributes with which he dresses his articles!

Talking about the economy I remember when I was – more than 60 years ago – a university student of “Economia Politica”, I did not agree with most of the theories I was supposed to learn written in a 5cm thick book. Too much of a complicated way to solve real economic problems; just theories and formulas imposed by hundreds of (luminaries) economists who, I was sure, only expect a forte profit by selling their book.

My very simple opinion is that our existence on this planet starts from our birth and it ends when we die.

Thence our needs are: sustainable food, housing, clothing, proper social services, education, health, entertaining, etc.

Our planet offers all elements to attain and satisfy that. No need to create anything: just to transform, accordingly, those elements. Even money is a product of transformation. (Someone said, in nature nothing can be created or destroyed, only transformed).

Of course, any kind of transformation requires a cost (money) which is a law established by homo sapiens. The produce of the transformation must reach the consumers, who need money to buy it.

Thence the real key to start this process is the consumer (as you mentioned, we live in a consumerist era).

The cycle is simple: if the consumer has got no money, he cannot buy; if he doesn’t buy, the shop does not sell; if the goods are not sold, the shop cannot place more orders; if the industries do not receive any more commissions, they must close the business. Thence unemployment and other living complications.

The way to make circulating the money is to create jobs; not accumulating it as wealth (Somewhere I read there are more than 200 billionaires; what a waste and damage for the whole of humanity). And the magic wand is the industry of building, which has always been the engine that drags all kind of big, medium and small enterprises; and mainly it originates jobs and feeds the economy.

In last year’s state of the nation address, the President of South Africa said he would create one million jobs. I took the liberty to send him my cue, suggesting a project to build in South Africa at least other three brand new towns: in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Free State. Plans starting from sewage, roads, parks, houses, shopping centres, schools, hospitals, etc. This would provide chances to create even more than one million jobs.

Hundred of thousands of South Africans living in the locations, in very poor conditions under steel/paper roofs, could be decentralised in those areas and starting to work at building companies, at the medium/small enterprises at the periphery of each new town, that will originate supplies needed for the new urban area, at the factories; from their wages/salaries could be retained a share to buying/renting their new house. And start to live a quality urban life.

The realisation of this big project would even help to stop crime. Crime most of the time is originated by desperate people who have no job.

The decentralisation of those people from the locations to the new urban areas would bring immediately also a better quality of social services to deliver and benefit by the permanent residents of respective existing big towns, which at moment are overpopulated because of the migration from rural areas.

And where will the money come from? If a serious, detailed useful plan is submitted to the International Monetary Fund