How our unemployment is not like that in the US

The US is in uproar. Their unemployment* rate is at 9.6% after having briefly flirted with 10.1% a year earlier. It’s predicted to stay around this level for years. The bulk of US unemployment is cyclical. Don’t let anyone tell you different (especially not in 1935). Cyclical unemployment arises when a shock (in this case, […]

No country (that matters) is moving to the gold standard

Don’t believe everything you read, everything you feel. Forget all the mad talk about moving to a new gold standard. It isn’t going to happen. It won’t happen even if the president of the World Bank suggests it might. Why not? Because it won’t work. It doesn’t solve our problems and creates innumerable other problems. […]

Nationalisation – two questions not one

Venezuela has just nationalised the local arm of a US bottling company. It shouldn’t be long before this example hits the political spehere in South Africa and enters our own debate on nationalisation. The debate really has (or needs to have) two quite distinct elements: Are nationally owned / publicly managed companies and industries better […]

Rare monopolies

China is the overwhelmingly major supplier of rare earth minerals to the rest of the world. (South Africa has a tiny share.) Rare earth minerals (or elements) are critical factors of production of many high technology items such as super-conductors, catalysts, rare earth magnets and batteries of the kind used in hybrids and laptops. With […]

The Power of Misconceptions

In broad terms, we are all mostly ignorant. Worse than ignorant, we have notions and views, firmly held, that are entirely incorrect. We only complain about what we don’t like Nobody complains to their boss that they are overpaid. Nobody complains that their pension or social security increases were above inflation last year. We don’t […]