Fuelling fires of inflation

As the left flexes its muscles before the ANC conference in December, we can only hope that a few masters of our economy stranded without petrol this weekend, used the time for a bit of serious contemplation.

As the left flexes its muscles before the ANC conference in December, we can only hope that a few masters of our economy stranded without petrol this weekend, used the time for a bit of serious contemplation.

An economy is a fragile thing, all interlinked in a myriad of obscure relationships. One reason ours has forged ahead to the benefit of all is that the treasury has so far successfully stared down the unions and insisted on containing inflation below 6percent.

Those appalled by the poverty ravaging South Africa can hardly believe we suffer from too much money chasing too few goods. But that is the inevitable result of demands for double-digit wage hikes in an environment where inflation hovers at about 7percent.

Unless we do something fast to boost our dwindling productivity we face the same prospects as our neighbours to the north; for the laws of economics know no masters, whether they be populists or bourgeois fatcats indulging their conspicuous consumption.

Where Cosatu and its allies on the left once indulged the ruling party as it staggered to implement a brighter future for all, they are now prepared to bring down the whole frail edifice just as they think power is within their reach.

Let us not look back in 20 years and rue the year when frustrated unionised workers pushed us all over the edge.

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