mfioretti: south africa*

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  1. We covet diamonds in America for a simple reason: the company that stands to profit from diamond sales decided that we should. De Beers’ marketing campaign single handedly made diamond rings the measure of one’s success in America. Despite its complete lack of inherent value, the company manufactured an image of diamonds as a status symbol. And to keep the price of diamonds high, despite the abundance of new diamond finds, De Beers executed the most effective monopoly of the 20th century. Okay, we get it De Beers, you guys are really good at business!

    The purpose of this post was to point out that diamond engagement rings are a lie - they’re an invention of Madison Avenue and De Beers. This post has completely glossed over the sheer amount of human suffering that we’ve caused by believing this lie: conflict diamonds funding wars, supporting apartheid for decades with our money, and pillaging the earth to find shiny carbon. And while we’re on the subject, why is it that women need to be asked and presented with a ring in order to get married? Why can’t they ask and do the presenting?
    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-di...facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer&r=US
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  2. Piketty’s book has two central messages. First, that we should be cautious of economic determinism in debates about inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth. He argues that, rather than just economic factors, it is political factors that have driven patterns of inequality.

    The reduction in inequality in much of the developed countries in the interwar and immediately post Second World War period was the result of deeply political forces and choices. Similarly, the rising levels of inequality after the 1980s is driven by political shifts, especially with regard to taxation and finance.

    Second, and more important for South Africa’s purposes, Piketty cautions that left to its own devices, the economy is likely to generate forces driving toward inegalitarian and highly destabilising outcomes. His research shows that there are no natural conditions pushing the economy away from the normal pattern where the returns to invested capital tend to be higher than the rate of economic growth. This increases levels of inequality.

    Only two factors – a rapid burst in economic growth and government intervention – can be relied on to shift the economy away from this ‘normal’ pattern of development.

    the question the country needs to answer is: what political forces are needed to generate more equality in the opportunities available to South Africans?
    https://theconversation.com/what-sout...tty-about-addressing-inequality-47658
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-12-24)
    Voting 0
  3. Because economic conditions allowed looser fiscal constraints, the rapid growth of the new Child Support Grant, a means-tested social grant that now goes to 11m children under the age of 18, reduced poverty greatly. But because the income gains of the poor were lower than those of the black middle class, income gaps amongst blacks widened. The Gini coefficient of 0.66 amongst black people is even higher than Brazil’s.

    Income inequality within the white population also grew, but for quite a different reason. Most white people now also have higher incomes than at the end of apartheid – though high school fees, medical costs and costs of maintaining security eroded these gains, and white incomes are actually growing relatively slowly.

    Poorer and less well-educated whites were the only clear losers. They lost the job protection they had enjoyed under apartheid, while the value of their social pensions and other grants was reduced when grants were equalised. White inequality has therefore also grown.
    http://theconversation.com/south-afri...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  4. My feeling is that a large percentage of South African males of whatever hue, class or political persuasion are suffering from extreme forms of stress.

    In the higher-income groups of the politically “disempowered” white Afrikaans community this amounts to vast reservoirs of underlying resentment, fear and anger.

    The white male has nowhere to go with his obsolete patriarchal baggage except maybe to the shooting range or the rugby match. At best, this becomes manifest in a general attitude of suspicion, distrust, barely suppressed aggression and a readiness to defend bodily integrity with every means at hand.

    At the worst it flares up during incidents of road-rage, temper tantrums and public fisticuffs or racist shooting sprees and family murders.
    Shadow of a proto-fascist state

    In the case of traditionally brought-up middle-class Afrikaners socially formed during the apartheid, one must add to the mix the effects of living in the shadow of a proto-fascist state and a uniquely effective state church, the Dutch Reformed, inside a well-oiled educational propaganda machine.
    http://theconversation.com/glitz-blin...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  5. Earlier this month Seemahale Telecoms and CZ Electronics entered into an agreement to manufacture smartphones and tablets in South Africa. As far as Seemahale CEO Thabo Lehlokoe is aware this will be a first in Africa. “It’s not right that out of a billion or more phones in Africa, none are made or assembled in Africa. Some are designed here, but they’re then made in China,” he said. The 100% black-owned company will manufacture...
    http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2013/10/d...a-need-to-produce-its-own-smartphones
    Voting 0
  6. Today I received a copy of a Circular S9/2013 from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) that made me as angry as I have ever been in my life. In effect it destroyed any initiative in schools that offer the subjects "Computer Applications Technology" (CAT) and "Information Technology" (IT) and that use open source software. For CAT, the DBE has indicated that only Microsoft Office can be used and that this will only be MSO2010 and MSO2013 as from 2014. I learned that in IT they have dumped Java, effectively from 2013, and have prescribed Delphi, a language that is not in general use today and is basically Pascal with a Graphical User Interface
    http://dkeats.com/index.php?module=bl...e0_40332_1381256759&userid=7050120123
    Voting 0
  7. African innovation goes way beyond mobile money. Whether it’s ecommerce in Nigeria, price comparison in South Africa or mobile advertising in Tanzania, African startups are not only changing their continent, but the world.
    http://mashable.com/2013/06/06/african-startups
    Voting 0
  8. Two makers on opposite ends of the globe, Ivan Owen in Bellingham, Washington and Richard Van As in South Africa, teamed up to build a custom robotic hand and publish it on Thingiverse. The best part? They built it for Liam, a five-year-old South African boy who was born without fingers on his right hand, by collaborating online between continents.
    http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/04/two-...robotic-han-for-a-boy-in-south-africa
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2013-05-20)
    Voting 0
  9. Without PAIA there is no clear process for how data can be obtained and PAIA requests are often ignored. Also data requests are sometimes dealt with suspicion.”

    Currently, Statistics SA and the Independent Electoral Commission are the best known publicly funded organisations that release data regularly. The South African Police Service releases its crime statistics once a year.
    Despite the paucity of available data from government, open data activists such as Eyal are choosing a less aggressive approach in trying to convince government why releasing data can be to it and the public’s benefit.

    Eyal explained: “Open data has not yet permeated into the mindset of government, which is why civil society needs to push the issue. Antagonism is not the approach we should take…. I think we should lead through example, developing useful applications that demonstrate the utility of what data and government cooperation with civil society can achieve.
    http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/05/08/a-...-for-open-public-data-in-south-africa
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2013-05-13)
    Voting 0
  10. his favorite destination is the annual sardine run off the coast of South Africa where most of the photos you see were captured over the last few years
    http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/12...-scenes-off-the-coast-of-south-africa
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