Debt, Uneven Development and Capitalist Crisis in South Africa: from Moody's macroeconomic monitoring to Marikana microfinance mashonisas

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54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The power, vulnerability and destructiveness of financial markets are out of control in South Africa, now among the most unequal, economically volatile and protest-intensive countries worldwide. While debt made itself felt in many sites, of interest in both criticising and promoting solutions is the 'scale jumping' required from South Africa's national insertion into the world financial system, entailing the Reserve Bank setting very high interest rates, in turn leading to unpayable levels of consumer debt, and at a time when microfinance is suddenly discredited as a development strategy. Macro- and micro-financial problems fused in the course of the Marikana Massacre of August 2012, reflecting the local and global powers of the Moody's rating agency and 'mashonisa' loan sharks. The over-indebted Marikana mineworkers, who led a strike which catalysed many wildcat strikes elsewhere, confronted the local crisis by displacing it into the national economy. This only heightened the contradictions that Moody's punished with its September 2012 credit-rating downgrade. Without a genuine 'debt relief' solution at both scales, society will continue to unravel, as financialisation reaches its limits within one of the world's most extreme cases of uneven and combined development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-592
Number of pages24
JournalThird World Quarterly
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development

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