Whew, these past weeks have been a roller-coaster ride of note. They started with co-teaching the Globalization, Governance and Development module with Prof Gael Giraud, from Paris. Gael is an extra-ordinary mix: up until a few weeks ago he was Chief Economist of the French Development Bank, he is a University Professor and CNRS Senior Researcher, and he is also an active Jesuit Priest who lives in a Jesuit community in Paris. He has a PhD in Mathematics and he has just completed another PhD in Theology focused on the commons. Although we have very different intellectual histories, we share so much in common when it comes to economic theory, sustainability, climate change, transition, spirituality and many other issues. We had tremendous fun co-teaching the module, which covered a huge canvas from the global financial crisis, to long-wave theory, governance, the commons, the problems with macro-economic theory, and many other issues. The large class of 45 students gave very positive feedback. The following week I taught the Applied Economics module, which is a weird name for a course that focuses on the political economy of South Africa from colonization to ‘Ramaphoria’ via state capture. After spending the whole of the first day on the evolution of the South African political economy based on the article by Hart and Padayachee, we had four sessions with four extra-ordinary women: on Tuesday morning Dr. Vuyo Mahlati (Chair of the panel on land appointed by Ramaphosa) did a morning on why rural development has been a failure since 1994; on Tuesday afternoon Tash Ismael-Saville, Director of the Youth Employment Service (YES), spoke about youth unemployment, entrepreneurship and the role of YES; on Thursday (morning and afternoon) Dr. Nthabiseng Moleko (lecturer at Stellenbosch Business School, Commissioner on the Commission of Gender Equality, and poet) provided a grand overview of the nature and structure of the South African economy and the challenges we face; and on Friday morning Amanda Gcanga (PhD researcher at CST) shared her research on water governance with a case study of Cape Town. With a small class of 17, we could have rich wide-ranging discussions, including a session I facilitated on toxic masculinity based on Chapter 9 of my new book Age of Sustainability. Student feedback was fantastic, and most rewarding. I must say, I have taught this course for a few years now, but this was the first time I felt it delivered on my own expectations. Then the following Monday and Tuesday, I facilitated a gathering of 20 researchers who are contributing chapters to a new publication called Anatomy of State Capture (not the final title, I hope). Hopefully this will be published later this year. It will bring together detailed case studies of each of the institutions that were fundamentally harmed by the corrupt practices of a wide range of elites in the public and private sectors. The publication will include chapters on state capture during the apartheid era, plus chapters on what happened to key SOEs like ESKOM, DENEL, TRANSNET etc, plus the hollowing out of institutions like SARS, security agencies, NPA, local government, etc. Furthermore, there will be several chapters on how elites subverted major private sector institutions, including Steinhof, KPMG, Bain and Net1/CPS. Such exciting stuff, and we generated new thinking about the nature of state capture and the struggle for democracy. Somehow I made it through the rest of the week, including delivering on Thursday a public lecture at the Sociology Department at Stellenbosch University based on my new book Age of Sustainability – and then that night I left for for the Limpopo Province. The plan was to go with Mamphela Ramphele who is playing a leading role in strategising how to develop around 2000 hectares of land that her community won back via the land reform process. She was so excited to be returning to where she grew up before her community was forcibly removed. Unfortunately, she fell ill and I had to go alone. I met the reps of the Community Property Association in the foothills of the grand Soutpansberg mountains, west of Louis Trichardt. Sad and exciting: sad to see how challenging it is to make land reform work; exciting because there are so many possibilities!! I stayed the night at Lishiba, the stunningly beautiful piece of paradise on top of the Soutpansberg mountain owned by John Rosmarin – I have been there often, and it was a deeply moving experience to return to the place where my family was together during many very happy moments.
- Can economic policy escape state capture? on
- Reflections on Experimentation, Futuring and Incrementalism, with special reference to the African context on
- Global trends, SA context – the centrality of the global renewable energy revolution on
- Renewables, oil peak and the crisis of banking on
- Weight of Cities, Experimentation and Transdisciplinarity on