Did Man domesticate Plants or Vice Versa?

 Before the advent of the domestication of plants, man led a carefree existence. They roamed in groups from location to location in search of food. If food was readily available in an area, they might settle for a while but, being itinerants, they carried little. Furthermore, they sought shelter rather than built shelter. 

What happened when they elected to settle permanently in an area and to domesticate plants and animals? Will another orthodoxy be overthrown in this debate? 

Main picture: The false idyll of domestication

Continue reading

Can Medium Size Countries still afford Main Battle Tanks?

Given the fact that a modern Main Battle Tank such as the basic Abrams M1A2 now costs $10 million [R 150m], even a modest fleet of 300 tanks would today be prohibitively expensive at a cost of R 44 billion. 

If so, how can any self respecting nation with a pretence of having an army still afford them?

If not, what is the alternative?

Main picture:  Stridsvagn 103

Continue reading

What form will Zuma’s comeback in 2017 take?

Bereft of options, the guilty are at their most disingenuous, duplicitous and mendacious. Even the guile card is now useless. If they are in a supreme position of power, they are especially dangerous as they can abuse their authority and the levers of powers. 

It is instructive to recall that Zuma’s 2016 was an unmitigated disaster. From losing his case in the Constitutional Court to the ANC losing control in three Metros after the local government elections, Zuma has been on the defensive. Then came the most galling of all: an attempted vote of no confidence in his leadership within the NEC. 

As he surely will, what will the wounded Zuma do as a counter strike in 2017?

 

 Main picture: South African president Jacob Zuma (2nd R), the man with nine lives, poses for photographs with an assortment of his wives:  Sizakele Khumalo (R), Nompumelo Ntuli (L), and Thobeka Mabhija (2-L) after the State of The Nation address in Parliament, in Cape Town, on June 03, 2009. The rest were indisposed.

Continue reading

Graph to Explain Brexit & the Appeal of Trump

On my list of future blogs was this topic except that I never had a convenient succinct coathanger on which to hang it. That is, until this morning when I serendipitously discovered a blog on a little known backroom economist called Branko Milanović. 

First, there was Thomas Piketty, the rock star economist. Now, in the mould of the dismal scientist, comes Milanović, rescuing economics from irrelevance.  

Main picture:  Branko Milanović

Continue reading

SABC Chairman: Is he a Charlatan or an Alternative Reality?

Being retired, I had time on my hands to watch the Parliamentary enquiry into the SABC. Frankly, it was more riveting than many of the dramas on SABC, except that this reality TV show revealed current South Africa writ large. 

Apart from Minister Faith Muthambi’s deft blame shifting, the most interesting for me was a floundering Chairman of SABC, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe clearly out of his depth.  An articulate Grade 10 pupil – sorry learner – would have trounced his Varsity Professor with ease. 

Main picture: Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe 

Continue reading

Is the World of Abundance, No Work & Universal Basic Grants Dawning?

All revolutions whether economic, political or social, cause fundamental dislocations to society & in the case of political revolutions, such as the Russian Revolution, or the French Revolution for that matter, major loss of life.

 With the impending birth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the fate of the livelihoods of the bulk of the world’s population is in jeopardy. 

What does this imply for humankind? No work and hence no income in a sea of abundance or will this be ameliorated by the awarding of a Universal Basic Grant to all inhabitants on the earth? 

Let us open the Pandora’s Box. 

Main picture: A tiger shaking itself vigorously

Continue reading

The Pitfalls of Land Reform in South Africa

The resolution of the land question in South Africa is often touted as the solution to black frustration at the inequities of land ownership. For understandable reasons, I am in agreement that the issue has not been adequately addressed but it would certainly be wrong to suggest that this is a nirvana. Instead it could well be the road to perdition. 

In spite of a shining example on our northern border where agricultural production is now 10% of what it was 16 years ago, the ideologues and race baiters such as the EFF are impervious to the economic consequences of wholesale indiscriminate redistribution of land in South Africa. 

This blog reveals one instance where such a transfer led to disastrous consequences. 

Detachment is not option.

Main picture: Lukas Meyer, an employee who has not been paid for five months

Continue reading