http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.22Change: -0.23
R/$ = 11.16Change: -0.09
Au 1240.10 $/ozChange: -4.17
Pt 1243.50 $/ozChange: -18.70
 
 
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
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jan 20, 2012

China not the only threat to democracy

Back
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi speaks to Polity's Brad Dubbelman about the global crisis and the threat to democracy. Camera & Editing: Darlene Creamer.
Africa|System|Africa|America|Europe|China|Greece|Italy|South Africa|Stellenbosch Institute Of Advanced Studies|Easter|Energy|Product|Headache|Environmental
Africa|System|Africa|||||Energy|||Environmental
africa-company|system|africa|america|europe|china|greece|italy|south-africa|stellenbosch-institute-of-advanced-studies|easter|energy|product|headache|environmental
© Reuse this



In 2010, I spent a month at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS) as a research fellow.

That month was the best my brain has ever spent in any place. I was like a child in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory because I had the opportunity to engage with scholars and intellectuals from home and abroad, including a scholar who had written on the topic I was there to research, that is, historical memory and politics in postapartheid South Africa. Do not panic – I am not about to go heavy on you so early in the year with a treatise on historical memory. I will reserve that for Easter.

However, what I will tell you about are two interesting encounters I had at the STIAS because they influenced the content of this article. The first was over lunch with a group that studies complexity by taking a multidisciplinary approach. All I will say for now is that I had a headache for days after that encounter. The second was with a group that was looking at the theme of global crisis and democracy. What they were investigating is whether the global economic crisis would present opportunities for, or impose threats on, democracy. There was concern among some of them that an economically resurgent China would pose a threat to demo- cracy all over the world, including those parts of the globe that are already democratised.

During the last quarter of 2011, I spent a lot of time thinking about the connection between the global economic crisis and democracy. In December, I was part of a discussion during which an American warned that developing countries such as South Africa should be wary of China. He argued that China is a hegemon and that its narrow political and economic interests are the centre of its universe. Well, he did not put it this well, but I am certain you get my drift.

There is nothing original about these warnings. People warn us dim-witted Africans about China all the time. What I find amusing – I no longer have the energy for anger – is the fact that these words of wisdom always come from Europeans and Americans and South Africans who are part of the Western sphere of influence. There are many ironies that are lost on these people. Because they are too numerous to mention, I will share just a few. Firstly, it is extremely problematic that, as a man who has spent almost half a cen- tury on this planet, I thought, for most of that time, that the English-speaking parts of the West were the philosophical, cultural and economic centre of the universe. This is a product of centuries of cultural and economic domination which, in many cases, was imposed violently.

Secondly, I did not experience China as a hegemon. It is America and Europe that imposed themselves and their ways on us.

Thirdly, my experience of the hegemony of the West has largely been that of a gap between its liberal democratic aesthetic and the moral content of its relations with the ‘Third World’.

That said, as a democrat, I recognise the gap between China’s economic resurgence and its very deep democratic deficits. This article is, therefore, not about waving the Chinese flag in your face. As I have said before, the global economic crisis and shifts in the global system from West to East constitute an opportunity for us to reconfigure the content of global economic relations and work towards a less unethical or more ethical global cultural, environmental and economic order. If this does not happen, it is highly unlikely that sub- stantive democracy will become a reality for most people on this planet.

What this means is that the Arab Spring, instead of giving birth to a summer of freedom and democracy, will mutate into a winter of discontent and betrayal of hope. Three things are worth noting in this regard. Firstly, it is not a given that shifts in the global system will deliver a new economic paradigm and a more ethical international system.

Secondly, we should not rule out the possi- bility of democratic reversals in some parts of the democratic world.

Thirdly, it is not a given that the current democratic order will yield to one that allows a diversity of democratic expe- riments and experiences.

If the experiences of Greece and Italy are anything to go by, we should be very worried because the application of economic remedies that are based on the ‘shock doctrine’ of imposing unpopular and undemocratic measures on a paralysed citizenry may subvert the democratic rights of citizens and the sovereignty of nations. Therefore, it is foolish to think that China is the only threat to democracy. We must also be wary of the tyranny of technocrats acting in the interests of the market.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Aubrey Matshiqi News
Article contains comments
Where do the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) come from, and where are they going? In the lead-up to the 1949 national conference of the African National Congress (ANC), the Youth League tried to interest the then president of the ANC Dr AB Xuma in the idea of...
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Swedish Ambassador to South Africa Christian Meuwly will next week inaugurate the final roll-out of the new vertical shaft brick kiln (VSBK) at clay brick manufacturer Langkloof Bricks’ facility in Jeffrey’s Bay. The VSBK formed a part of economic, social and...
Hot on the heels of the launch of Rustenburg’s rapid transport system’s brand name and logo last week, a negotiation framework agreement (NFA) has been formally agreed to and signed by the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) and taxi and bus operators affected by the...
The runway at the George Airport, in the Western Cape, has been rehabilitated to improve safety, in terms of run-off and storm water drainage, and the structural capacity of the pavement surface. The scope of work comprised the extension of Runway 11/29, the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has partnered with Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) professor and founder and CEO of PanAvest Partnership Dr Douglas Boateng to publish a series of books on executive supply chain management aimed at...
MORNÉ DU PLESSIS Increased urgency and burgeoning awareness of the importance of these issues are beginning to change political risks and, thus, State responses to environmental concerns
The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010.
Rwanda has joined a number of East African countries seeking to import electricity from Ethiopia as its demand grows. After it became apparent several generation project it is implementing will not come on stream early enough, now plans to import 400 MW from Ethiopia...
Metrorail’s first new passenger train will arrive in November next year, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Lucky Montana. “Next year we will be able to put our hands around the infrastructure and equipment we have been talking about for so long.”
The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into what it says are “price fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components to original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs, or vehicle...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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