The Problem with Blind Obedience…and what of Religion?

A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.

Facts of recent history and observation in daily life suggest that for many people obedience may be a deeply ingrained behavior tendency, indeed, a prepotent impulse overriding training in ethics, sympathy, and moral conduct.

The German Officer Corp were brought up in the most rigorous code of obedience in the name of obedience they were party to, and assisted in, the most wicked large scale actions in the history of the world. The Nazi extermination of European Jews is the most extreme instance of abhorrent immoral acts carried out by thousands of people in the name of obedience.

These inhumane policies may have originated in the mind of a single person, but they could only have been carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders.

The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and assault may find himself performing these acts with relative ease when commanded by authority. Behaviour that is unthinkable in an individual who is acting on his own may be executed without hesitation when carried out under orders.

The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another persons wishes, and he therefore no longer regards himself as responsible for his actions.

….and what of religion?

ministry

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Muslim protesters take part in a demonstration outside the Danish embassy in London, Friday Feb. 3, 2006. Hundreds of people protested against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

 

 

 

 

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source: Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo (ISBN: 9781905177325)

For Women to be equal in work, they need to be equal in society

Women are under-represented in India’s economy. At 17 percent, India’s women have the lowest share of contribution to GDP in the world, lower than women in China (41 percent), Sub-Saharan Africa (39 percent), and Latin America (33 percent). Women in India make up just 24 percent of the workforce, compared with 40 percent globally.

Currently only, 17 percent, India’s women have the lowest share of contribution to GDP in the world, lower than women in China (41 percent), Sub-Saharan Africa (39 percent), and Latin America (33 percent).

Women in India make up just 24 percent of the workforce, compared with 40 percent globally. Closing gender gaps in education and expanding skills training could boost India’s female labour force.

Girls’ enrollment in secondary education was 62 percent in 2014, identical to that of boys, indicating no gender gap but signalling a need to raise enrollment levels for both girls and boys.

In tertiary education, female enrollment was 19.8 percent in 2012, while male enrollment was 22.3 percent. Women with skills training in urban areas are more than twice as likely to be in the labour force as those without such training, and about twice as likely in rural areas.

For women to be equal participants in work, they will need to be equal partners in society.

Screenshot 2016-08-15 16.18.33

 

 

 

 


source: The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in India, McKinsey Global Institute, November 2015.2) Based on data from Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, 2012. MGI -India’s ascent: Five opportunities for growth and transformation picture:http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/37564-solo-travel-indiaaccessed04/08

President of South Africa – Cyril Ramaphosa?

He is one of South Africa’s richest men, with Forbes estimating his wealth at $675 million.

Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa (born 17 November 1952) is a South African politician, businessman, activist, and trade union leader who has served as the Deputy President under President Jacob Zuma since 2014. He was elected as Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) at the ANC National Conference in Mangaung in December 2012. He is also the Chairman of the National Planning Commission, which is responsible for strategic planning for the country

Respected as a skillful negotiator and strategist, Ramaphosa built up the biggest and most powerful trade union in South Africa—the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)—and played a crucial role, with Roelf Meyer of the National Party, during the negotiations to bring about a peaceful end to apartheid and steer the country towards its first democratic elections in April 1994.Cyril_Ramaphose_greeting_President_of_Chile

He has been criticised, however, for his business interests, which include a seat on the board of Lonmin. On 15 August 2012 he called for action against the Marikana miners’ strike, which he called “dastardly criminal” conduct.

Among other positions, he is executive chairman of Shanduka Group, a company he founded. Shanduka Group has investments in the Resources Sector, Energy Sector, Real Estate, Banking, Insurance, and Telecoms (SEACOM). He is also chairman of The Bidvest Group Limited, and MTN. His other non-executive directorships include Macsteel Holdings, Alexander Forbes and Standard Bank. In March 2007 he was appointed Non-Executive joint Chairman of Mondi, a leading international paper and packaging group, when the company emerged from Anglo American plc. In July 2013 he retired from the board of SABMiller plc.

He is one of South Africa’s richest men, with Forbes estimating his wealth at $675 million.

 

 

 

 

 

 


source: Ferreira, Emsie (25 May 2014). "Few surprises in Zuma's new Cabinet". News24. SAPA. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
David Smith (24 October 2012). "Lonmin emails paint ANC elder as a born-again robber baron". the Guardian. London.
 [The Guardian|http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/20/cyril-ramaphosa-return-nelson-mandela]
http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=666599
News24, South Africa's premier news source, provides breaking news on national, world, Africa, sport, entertainment, technology & more.". News24.
Reuters.com". reuters.com.
Return of a prodigal son". The Economist. 22 December 2012.
South Africa: Fool's gold - The Economist". The Economist. 27 April 2013.

 

How can companies and retailers succeed in South Africa?

Over the past decade, more than three and a half million South Africans have been lifted out of extreme poverty. As of 2015, the country’s consuming class grew to encompass about nine million households, accounting for $191 billion in private consumption.

Private consumption in South Africa has been growing at a fairly subdued annual rate of 2.8 percent over the past five years and a mere 1.6 percent in the past year slower than Africa’s other major economies.

The recent survey of 1,000 South African consumers confirms that most of them are indeed concerned about their financial prospects and thus holding back spending.

Almost 70 percent of respondents said they worry about imminent job loss.

The South African survey was part of our global survey involving more than 22,000 respondents from 26 countries .3 Our aim was to understand how consumers feel about their financial prospects and how these sentiments are affecting their buying behaviour.

 

Even if their financial situation were to improve, South African consumers wouldn’t necessarily loosen their purse strings.

Among consumers who said they’d spend a portion of their extra income, most 60 percent would buy everyday necessities.

The survey responses brought to light a set of behavioural shifts among South African consumers.

Companies doing business in South Africa would do well to keep in mind the following four traits of today’s South African consumers.

Seventy-five percent of South Africans agreed that they’re increasingly looking for ways to save money.

1

 

In the survey, 21 percent of South African consumers, compared with only 12 percent of consumers globally, reported trading down that is, buying cheaper brands or private label products instead of their preferred brands.

 

It is perhaps also a testament to the powerful allure of aspirational brands for South African consumers.

South Africans claimed to have shifted a considerable fraction of their spending toward modern retailers and away from the small independent retailers collectively known as the fragmented trade or informal trade.

Indeed, South Africas modern retail trade continues to grow at the expense of the fragmented trade, as big-name retailers expand into more local markets and as more consumers demand the breadth of products and low prices that large modern retailers provide.

2.png

Getting credit for value requires companies to pull several levers for example, consistent value communication across all consumer touchpoints, price investments in the items that consumers are most likely to shop around for, and targeted promotions.

3
Based on such insights, companies devise granular strategies for their brands, portfolio, pricing, and promotions and tailor these strategies to each channel, customer segment, and geographic region.

In addition, to boost the effectiveness of its promotions it not only doubled the return on its promotional investments but also improved consumers perception of the affordability of its products.

4.png

For instance, manufacturers often provide informal retailers with an inferior offering when it comes to product, promotions, and in-store investment.

By contrast,  companies that serve the informal trade in a distinctive but cost-efficient way providing customised pack sizes, regular consumer promotions, and an appropriate level of in-store investment are rewarded with higher sales and margins.

 

 

 

 

 


Source:http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/south-africas-cautious-consumer about the authors -Damian Hattingh and Karl-Hendrik Magnus are partners in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office, where Sidhika Ramlakan is an analyst.

Land redistribution as a poverty alleviation strategy

Redistribution is one version of land and agrarian reform, but it has not been the most common historically. Many of the major land reforms of the world have been of the ‘land to the tiller’ variety, affecting one dimension of agrarian structure – the ownership of property – but leaving others relatively intact, as former tenants or peasants end up cultivating the same, or somewhat expanded, plots as before.

At a very general level, land reform, like most politico-economic policies, can be said to be driven by considerations of either efficiency or equity, and sometimes both.

Efficiency-biased arguments for land reform are typically driven by notions of economic transformation and are associated politically with well-established regimes whose aspirations go beyond the agrarian sector – this typically implies taking on’ landowners or producers in the agricultural sector, be they feudalistic landlords or peasants: Prussia and Ireland in the nineteenth century come to mind, as do the communist examples of China and the Soviet Union in the twentieth, and the capitalist cases of Taiwan and South Korea.

Efficiency arguments are rarely concerned with equity within the agrarian economy, as their promoters typically have their sights on broader objectives, e.g. extracting food and value for the urban-industrial economy or enhancing the power of the state.

Redistribution is one version of land and agrarian reform, but it has not been the most common historically. Many of the major land reforms of the world have been of the ‘land to the tiller’ variety, affecting one dimension of agrarian structure – the ownership of property – but leaving others relatively intact, as former tenants or peasants end up cultivating the same, or somewhat expanded, plots as before. What has changed is the relationship of the producers to the land and to other classes, with enhanced opportunities for accumulation.

Only in very exceptional cases – such as parts of eastern Europe in the wake of the First World War, and Spain during the civil war – have large productive farms been turned into worker or peasant collectives with little or no involvement by the state, and these have rarely lasted for long after the exceptional conditions that brought them about have passed.

This has since occurred to some extent in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but usually in the form of ‘accumulation from above’, making it quite different from most historical land reforms in the absence of any claims to equality or poverty alleviation. Lack of clarity around the aims of land reform and a lack of reliable information about its performance, make it particularly difficult to evaluate.

This, in turn, can be traced back to contradictions at the heart of land reform policy in South Africa – that extends to the relationship, if any, to poverty alleviation.

 

 

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source:Griffin, K. 1974. The political economy of agrarian change. London: Macmillan.REDISTRIBUTIVE LAND REFORM AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA byEdwardlahiffinhttp://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/ESRC_DFID/60332_Lahiff_Redistributive.pdf

Redistribution – of assets and other forms of wealth p2

he main potential to reduce rural poverty and inequity lies in the development of overall frameworks providing social security, education and training as well as health care, and in developing adequate infrastructures in rural areas.

In a review of poverty and policy in South Africa in the first ten years of democracy, Bhorat and Kanpur (2006: 12-13) identify five main trends, which are largely hostile to the poor, albeit with some ameliorative effects:An increase in both absolute and relative income poverty.

An increase in both absolute and relative income poverty

An increase in income inequality

Increased unemployment rates (as growth in the labour force outstrips growth in employment)

A large fiscal resource shift that has engendered wider access to assets and basic services for poor households

‘Tepid’ economic growth rates, which have failed to keep pace with population growth.

“The first ten years have seen rising unemployment, rising income poverty and rising income inequality, all in the context of a lack lustre performance in economic growth” (Bhorat and Kanpur 2006: 1).

Policies to increase participation in the rural economy and diversify incomes are key to addressing rural poverty. Rural poverty in South Africa appears to differ from other countries in three ways:

  1. among the rural poor, income generated directly from agricultural activities and food consumed from own farm production are minor components of household resources (estimated at 10% to 20% of the total);
  2. many households continuously rotate between rural and urban base;
  3. and rural society is closely linked to the social and health problems of urban
    areas.

 The main potential to reduce rural poverty and inequity lies in the development of overall frameworks providing social security, education and training as well as health care, and in developing adequate infrastructures in rural areas. There is a need to examine how recent and ongoing sectoral and economy-wide policies contribute to poverty reduction by integrating poor population in broader economic activities.
OECD 2006: 25

Redistributionof assets and other forms of wealth – has been a prominent feature of the economic and political debate in South Africa both before and after 1994, captured in the competing slogans of ‘growth through redistribution’ and ‘redistribution through growth’. Redistribution was at the heart of the 1955 Freedom Charter, described by Seekings and Nattrass (2005) as the closest the ANC had to an economic policy prior to 1990, and the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which was effectively the manifesto on which the ANC came to power in 1994 (ANC 1994).

Debates about the relationship between redistribution and growth, and the means by which redistribution should be brought about, have not abated, despite the ANC’s decisive turn in favour of growth (now seen as a precondition for redistribution) from around 1996 (Marais 1998). Nonetheless, important forms of redistribution have occurred. Notable amongst these are significant increase in government spending on infrastructure, welfare and social services aimed at the poorest sections of the population, significant increases in earnings for those in formal employment, and opening up of opportunities for share-holding and business opportunities in the corporate world for previously disadvantaged people through the BEE programme. While this has led to a substantial de- racialisation of the upper and middle socio-economic classes, it has had remarkably little impact on overall income inequality or poverty.

Redistribution of assets – notably land – has a special place within the discourse on redistribution, both in South Africa and internationally. Land redistribution (including the associated processes of restitution and tenure reform) has been an important component of policy since 1994 and features prominently in the 1996 Constitution. Yet, an explicit link between land reform and poverty is difficult to find in official policy pronouncements, especially since the change from the Mandela to the Mbeki presidency in 1999.

The arguments for land reform in South Africa have been dominated since the outset by a discourse of restorative justice which seeks to return land to its previous owners and redress racial imbalance in landholding, with relatively little attention to the economic dimensions of land use, in general, and the links between land reform and poverty alleviation (or economic growth) in particular.

It is important to consider the theoretical arguments for land reform and the ways in which redistribution is linked to poverty alleviation, both in South Africa and internationally.

 

 

Source:Bhorat, H. and Kanbur, R. 2006. ‘Poverty and well-being in post-apartheid South Africa’, in Haroon, and Kanbur, R. (eds), Poverty and Policy in Post Apartheid South Africa. Cape Town,: HSRC Press.2.Seekings, J. and Nattrass, N. 2005. Class, Race, And Inequality In South Africa. Yale University Press.3.Marais, H. 1998. Limits to Change: The Political Economy of Transformation. London and New York: Zed Press.4.http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/ESRC_DFID/60332_Lahiff_Redistributive.