The idea of nationalisation for certain industries keeps cropping up, mostly thanks to young Julius and his merry band of freedom fighters. Whenever Julius says he quite likes something, it normally means either it's a luxurious, expensive European item or it is something lots of people instantly disagree with purely on the basis of Julius liking it. This is certainly the case with nationalization.
We know full well what the EFF agenda is on nationalization. They only wish to nationalise shiny things - banks and mining companies. Things that they can sit around running in shiny suits, pretending to be JR Ewing.
Let us, for a moment, just take the EFF out of it. Let's pretend we have a regular, proper government in place, capable of running businesses, and examine nationalization of certain areas. Mindful, of course, that these are my opinions alone, ones you are welcome and indeed encouraged to disagree with and debate. Note, trolls - debate, not mass debate.
Banking - history tends to suggest that nationalizing banks is an excellent idea if you are in a great hurry to turn your country into a full blown banana republic. The situation we have with banks right now is not ideal, what with the excessive charges placed on everything you do with them. However, that's something that can be fixed by clients simply moving banks to get better charges.
State run banks are ill advised. Government needs income? Sure, let's bump up charges and interest rates. Government needs to be popular? Let's lend loads that we never intend to get back at super low interest rates. You don't need me to spell out the economic consequences of this.
Mining - mining is one of, if not the, most important economic sectors in South Africa. It provides high employment and as the rest of the world wants the resources it is of key export value.
An argument against nationalizing mines is that it would "drive foreign investment out of the country". My response to this is really? If that's an issue, why all the fuss about the foreign investment in our roads, which sees the profits going to Austria? The rest of the world is not going to stop wanting or needing the resources mined here if some American or English company is no longer making huge profits from it.
A wise, sensible Government (yeah, I know) would manage a nationalised mining sector very well. On the one side a slight tax increase would probably be needed to fund it. On the other, you would have guaranteed employment with salaries set by a Government, not by profiteering private businesses. That kind of balances out any tax increase, since it leads to increased and stable employment, and of course more of the wealth generated from mining remaining in the country.
Strikes? Very likely to continue, it is the way of things here. But then again if the mines were State owned, there's that option to simply vote out the incumbent bosses out every five years.
Infrastructure - a vocal number of people on here do not like me because I am not against tolls. I am, however, against the idea of the profiteering from them, and the money heading away from the country. Have the tolls in place, I say, but have them State owned. The money should go towards employment and infrastructure maintenance.
The major issue here with infrastructure is the lack of safe, reliable and affordable public transport. Julius, want support from all road users? Then say you will take on the taxi industry and you will win, and you will provide better, safer, reliable public transport for all.
Nationalized public transport would mean regulated prices for it all. By all means leave the taxis to do their thing, but provide a proper alternative.
Electricity, Water, Refuse Collection, etc - they must never fall into the hands of the private sector. In the UK I believe they are having hearings about the rival electricity companies all somehow managing to increase their prices to the same levels, meaning the idea of choice has gone in the face of commercial collusion. Staying with the UK, I am led to believe that most of the waste and refuse collection companies there are now owned by French businesses, who make business decisions like limiting collections to every two weeks, disregarding the environmental problem that causes as it is not their problem.
Telecommunications and Postal Services - throw it all at the private sector. With the post, issues of lack of service, "mail going missing" and outright theft go away in the private sector because the survival of the business depends on those things not happening.
Leave the phone companies to fight it out amongst themselves. Yes they probably charge far too much for services, but again consumers can fight that. Cell Company A charging too much? bin the SIM and buy from Company B. You are one tweet and one facebook status away from telling everyone your new number, it's not as problematic to do it and inform everyone as it once was.
I guess my point here is don't discount nationalization as a bad idea just because certain politicians think it is a good idea. A broken clock, after all, gets the time right twice a day.
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