Last week, I was at a fine conference put on by the School of Development Studies here at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Among the presentations was one by the splendid Jonathan Michie, who reports a July 1980 debate about the link between wages and inflation.
A comic press release from the World Bank today, which warns us that Alien Species On The Rise. The World Bank is very concerned about invasive alien species because of the threat they pose to biodiversity and development. In some cases, alien species have been introduced to a country by people with good motives in mind, but they lead to disastrous results.
Poor night’s sleep last night. In no small part due to being pounced on at 3.30 by the neighbour’s cat, which climbed in through an open window.
This has prompted some reflection on the national characteristics of cats. In the US, I notice that cats tend initially to be friendly until they discover that I have nothing of interest to offer them. Here in South Africa, they look at me as if I’m an axe-murderer, dart for a corner, and then creep through the house in the dark of night so that they can sit on your head. Admittedly, this is an unscientific poll – my N of South African cats is too low to be able to make statements of any real statistical significance. But I do think that this is an under-explored avenue of enquiry, and look forward to seeing a paper on it at APSA.
Harare has been gray and overcast for the last five days but the sun broke through the clouds as Morgan Tsvangirai (MT) was acquitted in the High Court. Supporters who came to witness the appearance of MT were barred from being close to the courthouse, or they were aggressively moved on by the black booted riot police who were out in full force.
Following years of threats, the World Bank foreclosed on the World Farm, a 64,000-square-mile plot of arable land in Dodoma, Tanzania that provides wheat, cattle, and goats to much of the Eastern Hemisphere. “This farm has been in my family since Zanzibar was a British protectorate,” World Farmer Mwana “Clem” Mazooka said Monday, angrily waving a pitchfork. “I’ll be damned if I let some world-city creditors get their grubby hands on it.” In spite of Mazooka’s protests, World Bank representatives said the World Farm Auction will take place on Oct. 24.
Seems I’m not the only one with a potty mouth. The good comrades of Jubilee South Africa went on a march against the World Bank and the IMF on Thursday, with slogans such as “International Mother Fucker”. More here. Seems, alas, that the World Bank didn’t pay much attention to their demand that the Bank withdraw from South Africa within 12 hours. It might be time to move on to something stronger than stiff language, and at the Social Movement Indaba tomorrow, I suspect they’ll be talking about precisely that.
Actually, in the bigger scheme of things, six days isn’t so long not to have blogged, especially since I’ve been doing things like seeing Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. But I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry recently. I ought to be directing you to a sheaf of fine South African poetry, and soon I will, but in the meantime here’s a very digestible nugget from Agha Shahid Ali.