Inequality caused by macro-economic policies during overaccumulation crisis
Patrick Bond and
Christopher Malikane ()
Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 6, 803-820
The tendency of capital to ‘overaccumulate’ has on occasion been severe in post-apartheid South Africa, but has taken different forms. The neoliberal era since the early 1990s has witnessed overaccumulation-crisis displacement in a manner that exacerbates inequality. Such displacement includes financialisation (i.e. higher relative debt and share-portfolio ratios, as well as illicit financial flows), worsening uneven spatial development (within cities and between rural and urban livelihoods), and an amplification of environmentally-damaging extraction systems. Public policy accommodated, accentuated and displaced the crisis, rather than ameliorated, reversed or resolved these symptoms of overaccumulation, to the detriment of the poorest South Africans. Although government has made efforts to address social distress through fiscal policy (e.g. social grants and education), most macro-economic policies – especially in the monetary, financial and international spheres – are amplifiers of inequality. But the most important constraint is a deeper problem than public policy typically admits: capital's tendency to overaccumulation.
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