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The myth of “neutrality” and the rhetoric of “stability”: macroeconomic policy in democratic South Africa

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  • Isaacs, Gilad

Abstract

This paper offers a comprehensive review of macroeconomic policy in democratic South Africa. It does so with two distinctive features. First, macroeconomic policy is analysed on four interlocking, and sometimes conflicting, levels: [1] policy as provided “on paper” in government plans and programmes; [2] the scholarship upon which policy is (purportedly) premised; [3] the rhetoric/ideology that surrounds policy and sometimes obscures its true nature and even intentions; and [4] policy as actually implemented in practice. Second, the manner in which macroeconomic policy has facilitated the restructuring of the South African economy is carefully examined. This runs contrary to the orthodox assertion that macroeconomic policy only plays a “neutral” and/or “stabilising” role. It is shown that the restructuring that has occurred has not reoriented the economy away from its traditional reliance on minerals and energy, mineral-related sectors and finance; rather it has consolidated this structure and corresponding dynamics, albeit with novel features. Macroeconomic policy has, thus, played a leading role in facilitating particular forms of restructuring that, rather than reorienting the economy towards the needs of the impoverished majority, have reinforced the pre-existing dominant sections of capital while incorporating a newly emerging black bourgeoisie.

Suggested Citation

  • Isaacs, Gilad, 2014. "The myth of “neutrality” and the rhetoric of “stability”: macroeconomic policy in democratic South Africa," MPRA Paper 54426, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:54426
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/54426/1/MPRA_paper_54426.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Michie, Jonathan & Padayachee, Vishnu, 1998. "Three Years after Apartheid: Growth, Employment and Redistribution?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(5), pages 623-635, September.
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    6. Jeffrey Frankel & Ben Smit & Federico Sturzenegger, 2008. "South Africa: Macroeconomic challenges after a decade of success," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 639-677, October.
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    8. Neo Chabane & Simon Roberts & Andrea Goldstein, 2006. "The changing face and strategies of big business in South Africa: more than a decade of political democracy," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 549-577, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; Macroeconomic Policy; MEC; Financialization; Neoliberalism;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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