February 2010

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The Silence of the Lambs: What Has Happened to the 'Developmental State'?

Picture: JP-Flanigan Leonard Gentle - I have vivid memories of Budget Day as a child. Everyone in the house, particularly noisy children, had to be quiet when the radio broadcasted the budget speech (there was of course no TV then). Maybe it was because my parents were schoolteachers and the matters of teachers’ salaries and tax rates in the budget were crucial to their livelihoods. But they were not alone in this regard. In the build-up, every newspaper and every radio station would alert readers and listeners to the...

Budget 2010: How Are We To Do It?

Picture: American Chamber of Commerce Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - What is to be done? Minister Pravin Gordhan asked the question in his inaugural budget speech. There was a slight pause after he asked the question. He then broke from the written text to say, "Some of you will know where that comes from." The obvious reference was to the title of a political and theoretical article written by Lenin, and in so doing suggestive of a leftist orientation to the budget. Minister Gordhan then went on to eloquently explain the exemplary objectives that...

World Economic Forum, Take Two

When it comes to "improving the state of the world" - the goal of the World Economic Forum - CEOs and politicians have been known to disappoint. But, prankster filmmakers found a solution that helps them say all the right things, writes Brook Jarvis. Each year, political and business leaders travel to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss “improving the state of the world.” The Yes Men (the prankster duo that has been re-writing corporate history...

Marine and Coastal Management: Change is Needed But Not the Changes that Government Proposes

Picture: N. Gomes Glenn Ashton - The Department of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. First came news of the breakup of the department when President Zuma announced his cabinet reshuffle. Second was the proposal to triple licence fees for recreational fishing activities without any consultation. The proposal to hive off the fisheries aspect of MCM to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), while MCM continues to manage and oversee environmental...

Will the National Planning Commission Survive ANC Politics?

Picture: IMF Saliem Fakir - The need for a national planning body that plans for a longer horizon goes without saying. Planning has to involve an understanding of the present, what is needed in the future as well as what conditions prevail in the future that may affect what needs to be done now. In this regard, the NPC Revised Green Paper talks of a grand visioning exercise called Vision 2025. Let’s hope this is not just another grand plan with many words and no legs. The basis of the NPC is the recognition that...

Internet Privacy: Is Your Search History Really Anonymous?

The Institute of Ideas hosted a panel discussion on "Rethinking Privacy in the Age of Disclosure and Sharing." They say,"The increasing reach of information technology into all areas of life, from social networking websites to data sharing in public services, has thrown up a number of questions about privacy. Information about our medical records, financial circumstances and shopping habits is increasingly likely to be stored in electronic media that are out of our...