Irony of Schumacher quote lost on Bryer

It is ironic that Keith Bryer chose to quote EF Schumacher in his article “Perhaps small is beautiful enough for nuclear power” (Business Report, April 3). The same Schumacher warned against nuclear energy saying in Small Is Beautiful: “Of all the changes introduced by man into the household of nature, large-scale nuclear fission is undoubtedly the most dangerous and profound… radioactive pollution is an evil of an incomparably greater dimension than anything mankind has known before”. This great thinker warned of the destructive power of the resultant radioactive products of nuclear energy production, pleading for “… a harmonious co-operation with nature rather than warfare against [it]”.

Is the author of this article’s limited appreciation of his subject demonstrated in his idealistic visions of mini nuclear stations which are “sabotage proof” and that “no tsunami or earthquake can damage”?

These sorts of supercilious industry claims, so typical of the nuclear lobby, are inevitably proved false. When uranium can be cleanly mined (without spreading carcinogenic dust and poisoning watercourses)… When energy can be produced without routine radioactive emissions… When a solution is found to deal with radioactive waste (despite it being mutagenic for centuries)… When a free market finds the costs viable… When all this is done we will rationally consider nuclear power as a solution to our energy needs.

Janda Macdonald


Fanon’s thoughts a warning for SA

Retracing Frantz Fanon’s spectre to resolve post-apartheid pathologies: “At the core of the national bourgeoisie of the colonial countries a hedonistic mentality prevails because on a psychological level it identifies with Western bourgeois from which it has slurped every lesson.

“It mimics the Western bourgeois in its decadent aspects without having accomplished the initial phase of exploration and invention that are the assets of the Western bourgeois” (Fanon, 1963).

This is a veritable admonishment found in the chapter on Trials and Tribulations of National Consciousness in French polymath Fanon’s seminal book, The Wretched of the Earth, which is still relevant today.

Recent episodes in South African politics, animated by the Nkandla controversy, are a stark reminder of the need to retrace Fanon’s spectre. They should serve as a reminder to South Africans that the Fanonian praxis of popular mass mobilisation against injustice remains a relevant tool of addressing the unethical ethos exhibited by the national bourgeoisie who are proxy managers of a client state produced by neo-colonialism.

What makes Fanon’s thoughts relevant for the resolution of post-apartheid pathologies is that his thought became not only a treatise for revolutionary praxis against colonialism, but remains a critique of the decadence of the national bourgeoisie who assume the reins of state power after “independence” and the neo-colonial edifice that shaped Africa’s trajectory in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The negotiated social contract in South Africa has brought numerous contradictions, many of which centre on the unreconstructed philosophic assumptions of the national bourgeoisie, systemic deficits and challenges of uneven development brought by the hegemonic ideological structures of Western modernity.

All these contradictions were forewarned by Fanon.

Khaya Mayile

Indipendent Political Analyst

Scholar for Interdisciplinary studies

University of the Western Cape

India becomes a sheep but SA remains a goat

Gary Shilling’s piece published on April 1 on emerging markets is not up-to-date in so far as India is concerned. I’d say the goat is in the process of changing into a sheep.

Since Raghuram Rajan took control of the central bank, the rupee has strengthened, inflation is on a downward track and the stock market has broken to the upside. We have an election coming up in which the main opposition party, led by Narendra Modi, is likely to make huge gains, being a business-friendly party.

All this is in stark contrast to poor South Africa, which is going to be stuck with more of the same come May 7, under the corrupt administration of Jacob Zuma. This country is going to remain a goat for some time to come, I’m afraid.

Peter Hill

St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal

Check your facts before criticising SA

Before columnists write articles describing my country as a “goat” (a critical term) and publishing them on Bloomberg, they should check their facts first.

The JSE all share index is up 1.7 percent in US dollar terms so far in 2014, ahead of the 1.3 percent of the US Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index. Since the end of 1999, the all share has returned 223 percent in US dollars (excluding dividends) versus the puny 32 percent return of the S&P 500, despite the latter being at a record high.

By the way, our JSE is at a record high in rand terms, refuting again what you say about “falling stock markets”.

Paul Hansen

Director: Retail Investing, Stanlib