- Richard Poplak
A new book by a French economist and a nearly-book length report by two American political scientists, the first on who controls the wealth of the world and the second why the powerful are, well, powerful, have catapulted into the limelight in both academic and public discourse on who runs what and why. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a first look at this evolving debate.
Any way you look at it, this isn’t the brightest or most beautiful time for South African mining – if there’s ever been one. Strikes in the platinum sector are costing the industry an estimated R197 million per day. On Tuesday, as all the major players in African mining gathered at Cape Town’s swish Convention Centre for the annual Mining Indaba, SAPS had to disperse 3,000 “violent protestors” at an Amplats shaft. But the industry was putting on a bullish face – despite some nostalgic references to the “good old days”. By REBECCA DAVIS.
On 5 December 2013, Eskom announced the resignation of its CEO, Brian Dames, three years after he had assumed the position following the controversial axing of the previous CEO, Jacob Maroga, who also held the position for only three years. Whatever the reasons for their early departures, clearly both Dames and Maroga failed in their missions by leaving before their job was done. Whoever comes next, will have a massive task at hand. By CHRIS YELLAND.
The announcement of the 'early retirement' from Independent Media of longtime employee and group executive editor Chris Whitfield will inevitably set tongues wagging again about the internal dynamics within Iqbal Surve’s newspaper group. Whitfield’s staying mum at the moment – but it’s hard not to suspect that his departure is linked to the controversial December removal of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois. By REBECCA DAVIS.
In June 2009, investigative journalist, Rob Rose, exposed the largest financial fraud case in South African history in a Financial Mail article. In bold lettering and accompanied by a hazy photo of alleged mastermind Barry Tannenbaum, the magazine posed a question: “SA’s Madoff?” The Grand Scam is Rose’s narrative as to how, and crucially why, Tannenbaum’s name will forever be etched in infamy. By STYLI CHARALAMBOUS.
Project Isizwe, a new initiative from Alan Knott-Craig Jr, seeks to bridge the great digital gap, bringing the Internet, with its cat memes, Zwelinzima Vavi Twitter rants and yes, the best of Daily Maverick to those South Africans struggling to connect. An initial stage of the project was unveiled in Pretoria last week. Quite the Dezemba bonus for the Capital. By KHADIJA PATEL.
We live in a world that embraces - no, virtually demands - rankings. Rankings of virtually everything and everyone. Top tennis players, highest scoring percentage or batting average for soccer, basketball and baseball players, richest men (or women), most frequently cited scientists and economists in other people’s publications, the world’s highest grossing films, television shows with the most viewers, songs with the largest number of cover versions and sales. J BROOKS SPECTOR trawls through the Forbes rankings of world most powerful.
Last year, the equities market experienced the debacle of the Facebook IPO, in which a botched day on the trading floor left a bad taste in the mouth of those who had pumped $16 billion into the social media company. With that no doubt securely in mind, the folks behind Twitter are going for a somewhat different approach. Will it work? By RICHARD POPLAK.
Michael Jordaan won plaudits for his time at the helm of First National Bank. When he said earlier this year that he’d be stepping down from his role as FNB CEO, he said he might be interested in getting involved with “innovation technology”. On Monday, he announced his first post-FNB role: as the new chairman of the board of directors for cellphone-based social network Mxit. REBECCA DAVIS asked Jordaan what he had in mind for the position.
This week has proved a landmark in the history of the videogame industry. First, the fifth entry in the notorious Grand Theft Auto franchise grossed a staggering $800 million in its first 24 hours. And the man who transformed Nintendo from a playing card company into a revolutionary electronic gaming icon, Hiroshi Yamauchi, has died at 85. From Donkey Kong to beating hookers with a lead pipe, gaming has come of age. By RICHARD POPLAK.
There could be no winners in the high-stakes poker game over who will head the United States Federal Reserve when the current chairman, Ben Bernanke, steps down in January. That’s because in characteristic fashion, President Obama fumbled the cards, flipped over the table, accidentally choked out the dealer and set the casino on fire. The good news, however, is that the man who helped implode the global financial system will not become the most powerful economist in the world. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Financial website Moneyweb announced late last week that they are taking the Media24-owned website Fin24 to court for what they term “systematic plagiarism on an industrial scale”, for Fin24’s habit of repurposing stories first published on Moneyweb. From their side, Fin24 argues this kind of content aggregation is now standard practice internationally for sites like the Huffington Post. It’s a very interesting case, and the first of its type in South Africa. Are sites like Fin24 parasitic, or is Moneyweb failing to keep up with the times? By REBECCA DAVIS.
If a new project is rolled out as widely as planned, Tshwane residents may find themselves able to get online while strolling down public roads. Last week, Tshwane became the second municipality in South Africa, after Stellenbosch, to announce that it was rolling out free Wi-Fi for the use of its citizens. While this will initially be restricted to certain sites, the aim is for the entire Tshwane landmass to be Internet connected within the next three years. Those behind the project believe that Internet access has an increasingly indispensable part to play in Africa’s economic development and education. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Here’s a business idea for ya: Instead of schlepping foreigners around in covered 4x4s, handing them endless bottles of petroleum swathed water and feeding them strips of our locally dried meat product, how about taking them where the really dangerous animals lurk? Prague’s CorruptTour is tailor-made for the South African milieu. Someone could make, ahem, a killing. By RICHARD POPLAK.
Henry Ford was born 150 years ago this week (30 July 1863). He didn’t invent the automobile; he didn’t invent mass production or the assembly line; but by harnessing these together he put country behind the steering wheel of an affordable motor vehicle that helped revolutionise society and manufacturing. Famous for saying the customer could have their Model T vehicle in any colour they wanted, just as long as it was black and his hopes for world peace through mass consumerism, he was nearly as infamous for his notorious anti-union strikebreaking at Ford assembly plants and his virulent anti-Semitism. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a look backward over Ford’s world.