http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.87Change: 0.01
R/$ = 13.30Change: 0.00
Au 1133.54 $/ozChange: -1.31
Pt 1018.00 $/ozChange: -2.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 27, 2012

Beyond leadership

Back
Africa|Building|System|Africa|North America|South America|South Africa|United Kingdom|Energy|James Robinson|Nelson Mandela|Power
Africa|Building|System|Africa|||Energy|Power
africa-company|building|system|africa|north-america|south-america|south-africa|united-kingdom|energy|james-robinson|nelson-mandela|power
© Reuse this



The clamour for leadership in South Africa has become so loud as to be deafening.

For that reason, I sat up and paid serious attention when Professor James Robinson – the Harvard academic who co-authored the acclaimed book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty with Daron Acemoglu – downplayed leadership as a major determinant of a country’s economic and developmental success, or otherwise.

Speaking in South Africa recently, Robinson argued that “leadership is great when you can get it, but seems hard to rely on” to explain systematic facts around the comparative advances made, for instance, in North America, as opposed to South America.

“Sitting in South Africa, you tend to think about Nelson Mandela and his amazing leadership,” he mused. “But Mandela can only do so much . . . he can push in a particular direction, but he can’t determine any kind of future.”

Instead, Robison and Acemoglu fixate on “institutions, institutions, institutions” and, in their book, they describe two kinds of political and economic institutions: extractive and inclusive.

The former involves a narrow distribution of political power and economic institutions that fail to create the incentives needed for private citizens to save, invest and innovate.

Inclusive political and economic institutions, by contrast, involve a broad distribution of political rights across society, a State that is sufficiently centralised and strong to be in a position to provide basic public goods and economic institutions that harness the talent, innovation and energy of the broadest spectrum of the citizenry.

The details vary, but the book shows that many of the world’s prevailing extractive institutions have direct links to the colonial period and the course that colonisation took in different countries. It also shows that these institutional patterns can persist (even re-invent themselves) following political conflicts designed primarily to remove such constraints.

For South Africa, where the policy of apartheid is arguably an archetypal extractive model, this raises many questions.

Will the move toward political inclusivity ensure greater economic inclusivity? Or, will the formal restrictions be replaced by a series of informal, or underground, institutional arrangements that further entrench inequality.

Will black economic empowerment compensate for past discrimination and serve to deracialise and broaden the business milieu? Or will it simply result in a new oligarchy, whereby the new economic elite captures the political system?

The main safeguard against the worst, Robison and Acemoglu argue, is the creation of a broad societal coalition that is able to defend inclusive institutions from attack by predatory elites.

The example held up in the book is the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 in England, where more pluralistic political institutions laid the foundation for a State that relied more heavily on talent than political appointments and, in turn, fostered more inclusive economic institutions. These institutions favoured innovators and entrepreneurs just at a time when major advances were being made in transportation, metallurgy and steam power.

Without question, the task of building a broad-based coalition that is supportive of inclusivity over extraction is easier said than done. But it is arguably a more realistic, and ultimately a more rewarding, endeavour than one that obsessively hankers for one messianic leader after the next.

Edited by: Terence Creamer
Creamer Media Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Editorial Insight News
Few would argue that South Africa has failed to take advantage, since 1994, of what should have been a demographic tailwind, as its working-age population grew at a far faster rate than those who should, theoretically, have been dependent on them. Over the period,...
The Presidential Business Working Group, which took place in Pretoria earlier this month, agreed that steps should be taken to address regulatory impediments to economic growth and investment, including processes to deal with “unintended consequences” associated with...
South Africa’s leading steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has made a strong case for increasing tariffs for an industry that is somewhat unique among its global peers in not enjoying import protection. Its argument, articulated forcefully by CEO Paul...
More
 
 
Latest News
A preliminary investigation by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) into the derailment of a Shosholoza Meyl train in Kimberley earlier this month, found that Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) had failed to communicate with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)...
Three of home improvement company Illiad’s major shareholders – Sanlam, Visio and Coronation, which held 69.25% – have agreed to vote in favour of a takeover by Steinhoff, with the company’s remaining shareholders to vote on the deal on September 29. Seventy-five per...
Government should face the fact that South Africa’s full-blown jobs crisis is a matter of urgent public importance, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Friday. MP James Vos, the DA shadow minister of tourism, was responding to a letter by Baleka Mbete, the Speaker...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Training company The Intelligence Transfer Centre will host the fourth yearly Environmental Crimes Conference at the Indaba Hotel, in Fourways, Johannesburg between September 9 and 10. Confirmed key regulatory bodies that will attend the event include the Department...
The government of Egypt has said it is ready to provide technical assistance to Malawi in the development of the Shire–Zambezi waterway, which is designed to link landlocked Malawi to the Indian Ocean by opening the two rivers for navigation. Egyptian ambassador to...
Kenya is finally set to start building a new multipurpose petroleum pipeline, after securing a $350-loan from a consortium of banks, including South Africa's Rand Merchant Bank. The other banks in the consortium are the Cooperative Bank of Kenya, Citibank's Kenya...
MARAIS VAN HEERDEN The owner/operator should be able to view the overall project design and progress made at any time
Three-dimensional (3D) engineering design models can now be viewed on tablets, which enable stakeholders to view the design without having to buy the design software used to create it, says engineering design firm 3DDraughting executive Marais van Heerden. The...
Ford’s newest offering in a long list of newcomers to the local market in the last two years is the B-Max multi-activity vehicle (MAV). The B-Max will play in the so called B-MAV segment, or the small MAV segment, currently dominated by Toyota’s Avanza, which sells...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96