Patrick Bond

Bill Gates was set to deliver the July 17 annual Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg, justifying his philosophy of market-oriented, technology-centric philanthropy.

Last year, French economist Thomas Piketty’s speech on inequality attracted healthy debate — with even business notables endorsing his concerns — given South Africa’s intense social conflict.

To illustrate, South Africa’s Gini Coefficient measuring inequality is the world’s highest (at 0.77 on a scale of 0 to 1, in terms of income inequality from employment). Since 2000, social protests have numbered on average 11 per day.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on May 11 to 13 reinforced extractive industry and high-tech myths.

The gathering unveiled the elite’s exuberant imagination and its lack of exposure to the continent’s harsh economic realities. As an antidote, grassroots protesters all over Africa are questioning the logic of export-led “growth” and renewed fiscal austerity. Instead they demand policies that meet their basic needs.

A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite. Among the victims of this power struggle are vast numbers of poor people.

The poor are starting to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki sacked then-deputy president Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.


Wits students protest in Johannesburg against a proposed tuition fee hike tuition fees on October 15.

A historic victory over neoliberalism in South Africa was won on October 23, after the most intense three-week burst of mobilisation in the country since liberation from apartheid in 1994.

The great African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral offered the famous injunction 50 years ago: “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories.” This advice hits at the temptation of back-slapping vanity.

The leading spokespeople for the 41-million strong clicktivist team from the Avaaz NGO need to remember Cabral. They over-reached ridiculously in praising the Group of 7 meeting of seven rich nations held in Bavaria on June 7 and 8.

Avaaz wrote: “Many told us it was a pipe dream, but the G7 Summit of leading world powers just committed to getting the global economy off fossil fuels forever!!!

'Mandela led fight against apartheid, but not against extreme inequality.' Patrick Bond spoke to Real News Network on December 5. Read the full transcript.

There is no political will among rich nations to find funding for developing countries experiencing the brunt of changes in global weather patterns, South African Professor Patrick Bond, an analyst and activist on climate change, told the Inter Press Service as the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change met in Doha.

The talks took place in the capital of Qatar from November 26 to December 7.

“One of the things you learn as an anthropologist, you don’t come in and change the culture,” Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim told wealthy alumni when contemplating the institution’s notorious hazing practices, prior to US President Barack Obama’s request in February that he move to the World Bank.

Kim’s Harvard doctorate and medical degree, his founding of the heroic NGO Partners in Health and his directorship of the World Health Organization’s AIDS division make him the best-educated, most humane World Bank president yet.

The Mercury, Nov 22 -- There they fell during 2011, one after the other in past-their-prime domino descent.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from Tunis, Hosni Mubarak from Cairo, Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Muammar Gaddafi from Tripoli, Georgios Papandreou from Athens, Silvio Berlusconi from Rome, US football guru and sex-crime cover-upper Joe Paterno from Penn State University. Media baron Rupert Murdoch, soccer supremo Sepp Blatter, Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad and Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh looking decidedly shaky, too.

Will the host city for the November-December United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) clean up its act?

The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report,  Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban, offers a chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers.

Will they try to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as their predecessors did?

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