Good for ME.
Global south countries have continuously been affected by the many doings of other countries, particularly in the global north. Policies in these global south countries even though sometimes unwanted, are usually influenced by the more developed countries whether the citizens of the global south countries wanted to accept their intervention or not. Neoliberalism is just another way in which more developed countries affect and influence the economy of these developing countries once again. The initiation of neoliberalism was as a result of political leaders in developed countries feeling threatened by the fact that there was now improvement in the economy of the developing countries (Kalim 2012). Selfish to say the least. So therefore these political leaders thought that it would be best to have some kind of control over the government and economy of these developing countries. However, as our class text puts it, their control over the economy is “inefficient and corrupt”.
South Africa is one of the developing countries that have been affected by neoliberalism ever since its movement towards democracy. The political leaders in the country have been conspiring with other leaders in the global north to form a solid relationship that would be beneficial to them. Even though South Africa itself had been making strides towards a stronger economy with both an advancing middle and upper class, the political elites weren’t too enthused about this since it wasn’t benefitting them personally. This therefore led to the formation of more unstable jobs in the economy with most of them being temporary or part-time. While the few jobs that were full-time, which are occupied by approximately a third of the working population, have extremely low wages of approximately R9.68, where R1.00 is roughly US 10₵. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize how low these wages are. As said by their Minister of Social Development, Zola Skweyiya, “The consequence is the rich are getting richer and fewer whilst the poor are increasing in number and getting even poorer.” This statement couldn’t have been truer. A neoliberal economy doesn’t necessarily benefit those on the poorer end of the spectrum. This is due to the fact that those in power tend to glance over what may be beneficial for the people of the country but rather what is good for themselves. They turn services more into businesses and increase the cost for consumers, then once the consumers cannot afford to pay for these services, they are often disconnected resulting in roughly 10 million South Africans without water or electricity as a means of ‘cost-recovery’ for the service providers. Therefore, the only ones able to benefit from this ‘recovery’ are the already wealthy individuals.
This doesn’t bother the political leaders of the country however because the implementation of these policies in South Africa is all a win-win game for them. They obtain benefits such as lower inflation, tax concessions, asset exchanges from ‘white companies’ as well as esteemed partnerships with wealthy foreign investors. These political leaders get the opportunity to downsize government, privatize public or state-owned enterprises and expand international markets, as stated by our class text. However this doesn’t necessarily improve basic living conditions for the citizens of that country which is truly heartbreaking.