INTRODUCTION: THERE’S HOPE YET
South Africans: The freest and richest people on earth?
It’s possible, given the right economics. And it wouldn’t take long. South Africans could be free overnight, rich in a generation.
By the time a baby born today in Soweto’s Baragwanath Hospital graduates from medical school, every South African could be earning more than the average American or Swiss earns now. Tomorrow’s township doctor could have the richest patients in the world.
Soweto itself could be bigger and more bustling than today’s Johannesburg, with skyscrapers, shopping centres, and sparkling neighbourhoods. The Soweto-Johannesburg-Pretoria metropolitan area could be a world financial and trade centre, cosmopolitan and vibrant. All South Africans could be prosperous and secure. Farfetched? Not if we understand what’s keeping South Africa poor: destructive government involvement in the economy and in people’s lives. Black South Africans should be seen as millions of potential consumers and entrepeneurs; if set free, they would make everybody richer. Yet the government sees them as a mob to be controlled.
Why? Because many white voters don’t understand the difference between surrender and allowing blacks to enjoy the fruits of a free economy. Blinded by horror stories of swart gevaar, Just look at the rest of Africa, whites reject change and turn to repression, only to find that their own freedoms are disappearing while their living standards decline.
With this book, I offer a way out of the morass. My goals to shatter myths, overturn conventional wisdom, stir debate, promote radical free enterprise, champion individual rights, and paint an optimistic picture of what South Africa could be. There’s something here to irritate everybody. Those who stop reading the book the minute they’re offended won’t get too far. Those who stick it out might find that there’s still hope.
The main argument of this book is that South Africa’s problems stem from bad economics, but in Chapters 1-8 I also discuss politics and philosophy. Chapters 9-13 debunk economic myths about: taxes, nationalisation and privatisation, inflation, the balance of payments, and foreign trade. Chapter 14 wraps up the politics of free enterprise. It’s followed by a short conclusion and a longer postscript, which takes a look at the nonsense that passes for economic commentary these days. There are chapter notes at the end of the book.