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Saliem Fakir

Saliem Fakir

Fakir is interim executive director of the African Climate Foundation –

Political economy of the just transitions in Africa

22nd January 2021 The term ‘just transition’ may seem a neologism, but in reality it is not so new. It originated from the depths of US labour movement struggles in response to the impacts of new environmental laws on the chemicals and other industries in the 1980s. Capital was complying with new environmental... 

The framing problem and judgment– how to be aware of how not to frame

4th December 2020 For the human mind to cope with the world, it has to develop a set of frames of the world, or what can also be called heuristics. These sets of frames are not all innate; many are a product of social constructs and cultural transmission. Logical reasoning is an intuitive and innate property of... 

Liberty, environmentalism and corporate power

6th November 2020 Individual utilitarianism is seen as primordial in conventional Western economic tradition. However, individualism does not always lead to better public outcomes. Extreme forms of individualism are not tolerated anywhere in the world, despite libertarian proponents holding that this is a better... 

Climate resilience: optimising strategies against uncertainty

9th October 2020 Climate resilience in Africa can only be optimised if other forms of social protection work in concert. This means you may not achieve success, entirely, with the scaffold of climate resilience when all other scaffolds of income and social protection are broken. An average Dane need not worry... 

Industrial development in Africa – from theory to practice

11th September 2020 I recently participated in a panel discussion on industrial development in Central and West Africa, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The panellists, drawn from diverse backgrounds, shared notes, if you like, on progress in industrial development on the continent.... 

When facts matter and when they don’t

7th August 2020 It is common wisdom that, if you have evidence, that evidence should speak for itself. But the history of knowledge and ‘factfulness’ shows that the causal relation between evidence and good decision-making is not a direct one. Prevailing social consensus on scientific or controversial issues can... 

Social engineering is not just a socialist thing

10th July 2020 ‘Social engineering’ is seen in some circles as a swear phrase and associated with socialism – meaning surrendering individual sovereignty into State control. In a recent heated interview with Redi Tlhabi, Gareth Cliff attacked the notion of collective wellbeing, arguing that it’s all about... 

The Michael Moore view of the world

12th June 2020 Michael Moore’s documentary, Planet of the Humans (a play on the Anthropocene age), following his namesake, Roger Moore, in the James Bond 007 movie, goes after the evil enemy, the Greens, and their obsession with renewables. Moore is widely regarded as a progressive filmmaker and critic of the... 

Economic lessons from Covid-19

8th May 2020 The current pandemic is not a black swan. Those who have been warning about it call it a white swan. Human history is replete with episodes of terrifying pandemics or plagues. London, for instance, suffered multiple episodes of plagues within the space of one century – in 1563, 1603, 1625 and... 

Economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic

10th April 2020 There is a lot to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic for climate change, both in terms of how systemic disruption in one part of the world can transmit to other parts of the world. Secondly, the magnitude of the reaction to Covid-19 just shows up the gap in response to climate risks – money can be... 

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