This week featured articles specifically about neoliberalism ideals and their role in development, and the economy of South Africa. The three articles looked at three completely different businesses and the implementations these businesses have used to succeed. One article Skin Lighteners, Black Consumers and Jewish Entrepreneurs in South Africa by Lynn M. Thomas discusses the business empire of the Krok brothers and their use of wealth. They were able to create a business in Skin Lighteners in a post-Apartheid South Africa. The fortune was also used to finance an apartheid museum, where the museum was part of a theme park though. This article shows that western neoliberalist attitudes that actually work to turn profit for few South Africans. This idea of a purely western idea of capitalism is fairly evident in all the articles and connects with last week. Where there were advertisements that shared a more western cultural ideal, rather then an African Cultural advertisement. The second article Death ‘on the move’: Funerals… By Rebekah Lee shows this same aspect again where a western idea is shown, such as death insurance and funeral planning, plots, and financing. This article like the first shows an exploitation of certain people, whether Black Africans in a post-apartheid world, or the lower or poor class needing help to bury their dead. The last article by Teppo and Houssay-Holzschuch speaks clearly to this idea of exploitation, whether it works or not is not important, rather that it discusses the need for developers of a mall to appeal to the masses, which in this case is the growing black population in Gugulethu. This article clearly states that to sell this mall and its stores as a viable market for business owners and consumers, there would have to be an exploitation. This case there is an attempt to re-brand and focus on post-apartheid South Africa, and romanticize it as well.
Is the exploitation that is present in Africa in neoliberalism also present to developed countries around the world? The three articles all touched on exploitation and it is clear that this is an important factor in neoliberalism working. The Western ideologies in culture, race, gender, and other factors has proven to be powerful in any situation. Where there is capitalism there is the west. The problem with it is that it creates the hierarchy of western business, and the gap ever increasing between the elites and the poor. As seen in the articles as well is that the revolution of neoliberalism far outmatches any revolution against. The fight against global and local, is usually won with the power of persuasion and global is winning that fight.
Another important aspect that is seen over all, is the idea of circumstance and its effect on success. The idea that success is based on circumstance is interesting because it is clearly seen in the neoliberal ethic. Success in Africa is the work of the western neoliberalist ideas, but there seems to be a selling of western culture (skin lighteners and funeral plots) only, rather then using the ideas of neoliberalism to sell African Culture. The circumstances for wealth in Africa is also following the neoliberal method, were wealth generates wealth. Thats to say it seems that again the giant capitalist, the one that came from middle/high class, the one that sells exploitation rather then a particular product will be the only people successful in Africa. Again the gap becomes larger between the elites and the lower classes. Can neoliberalism in the western sense succeed in selling anything other then western cultural items or exploitations?
Thomas Knoops – 100693640