http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.15Change: 0.05
R/$ = 11.55Change: 0.01
Au 1179.93 $/ozChange: -16.99
Pt 1185.50 $/ozChange: -12.00
 
 
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 Contact Us
 
 
 
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 27, 2012

Beyond leadership

Back
Africa|System|Africa|North America|South America|South Africa|United Kingdom|Building|Energy|James Robinson|Nelson Mandela|Power
Africa|System|Africa|||Building|Energy|Power
africa-company|system|africa|north-america|south-america|south-africa|united-kingdom|building|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
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Editorial Insight News
There is a sense of fatigue across South Africa as 2014 draws to a close. The year has been a difficult one for business and for citizens. The external environment remains problematic, with South Africa’s key trading partners performing unevenly and with commodity...
Some visibility may, at last, be emerging around South Africa's approach to the highly complex issue of beneficiation. It is understood that the Mineral Beneficiation Action Plan (MBAP), which is currently in draft form, should be finalised by the end of March....
Article contains comments
Given the attention, disproportionate or not, being given to nuclear energy in South Africa, it was interesting to see what the International Energy Agency (IEA) had to say about the future of technology in its World Energy Outlook 2014 (WEO-2014), released earlier...
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 3 hours ago Goldman Sachs Group has sold its controversial metals warehousing business to Swiss private equity group Reuben Brothers, the Wall Street bank said on Monday. The deal for Metro International Trade Services comes months after Goldman formally put the business on the...
Updated 3 hours ago Greenhouse gas emissions by the world's top 500 companies rose 3.1% from 2010 to 2013, far off the cuts urged by the United Nations to limit global warming, a study showed on Monday. The top 500 firms by capitalisation accounted for 13.8% of world greenhouse gas...
The cost of copper theft decreased to R13-million in November from R13.2-million in October, according to the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (Sacci) Copper Theft Barometer. "The November figure is 1.51% lower than a month ago and 36.8% higher than a year...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
TO BE PHASED INTO SERVICE The first MeerKAT dish, with another 63 to come
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
MATT BARKER Wireless networks should enable users to engage and must provide relevant information to them based on their activity and location
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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