The New York Times Opinion Page has given us swivel-eyed loons like Nicholas Kristof, Tom Friedman and humility tsar David Brooks. But we’re forgiving people at AIAC and despite this we let them borrow T.O. Molefe to show them how it’s done. One of two dozen new “international” columnists, he made his debut on the website of the international edition of the The New York Times website yesterday and who has been a regular at AIAC for some time.
We saw plenty of people on social networks congratulating Molefe yesterday. This is a mistake of course: they ought to be congratulating the New York Times instead. For his first NYT column, he wrote about neoliberal politics in Cape Town, where he lives. Here’s an excerpt:
… despite evidence showing that the economy almost tripled in size over the past two decades and inequality worsened, pundits, business leaders and policy makers, including [the opposition Democratic Alliance, which rules Cape Town], continue to insist that growth heals all. It just needs to be made more inclusive, they say.
The solution, they say, lies in deregulating the labor market to get people into jobs — regardless of whether those jobs are secure or allow people to live with basic dignity — and relaxing exchange controls to give South African capital greater global mobility, because it will all trickle down to the poor in the end.
They are wrong. The solutions they propose have been tried elsewhere and have failed. But such arguments are particularly infuriating because they relegate to a side show the goal of remedying the racial and economic inequality created by colonialism and apartheid — those same forces that pushed … and millions … to the city’s periphery — out of sight.
We suspect the city fathers – who are quite thinned skinned about others pointing out their dodgy PR politics – won’t like the column.