BY SOLOMON BENATAR AND ROSS UPSHUR, 3 SEPTEMBER 2012
Poverty in South Africa shares common causes and manifestations with poverty globally. How we choose to address ongoing widespread poverty (local and global) lies at the heart of the potential either for tuberculosis to become untreatable due to total drug resistance, or for deliberate action to greatly reduce the burden of this devastating disease.
As severe poverty is the result of human agency we can choose either of these futures.
Efforts to address poverty, tuberculosis and many other pressing global problems have failed as they have been dominated by a 'development' agenda rooted in market-oriented policies that both reflect and reinforce the dominant neo-liberal discourse.
Critical reflection is required on how current economic policies can be changed. The use of new metaphors to re-shape thinking and action should include a shift from the idea of sustainable development to the more credible notion of developing sustainability.
Pursuit of change in the national and global distribution of resources will be essential and this will require acknowledging and addressing upstream societal and economic forces that drive the global political economy and aggravate poverty. The paper makes recommendations for a series of complex, interdigitating actions needed to reshape macro-economic forces over the short and longer terms.
The long recognized failures of socialism, now accompanied by recognition of radical failures in a distorted form of capitalism make it necessary to seek system change towards 'economic democracy' that could allow human ingenuity to generate and utilise resources to improve the human condition.
This is an abstract of a paper prepared for Towards Carnegie III, a major conference aimed at devising strategies to overcome poverty and inequality. Solomon Benatar and Ross Upshur are from the University of Cape Town
After service in the British SAS Regiment the author became a physician and then an orthopaedic surgeon.
He has held professorial positions in Canada, Vietnam and the United States, practiced and taught orthopaedic surgery in three continents and in several wars.
He has extensive experience as an expert witness in court. Somewhere along the way, time was found to operate a four hundred acre mixed farm, a one hundred seat restaurant and to obtain a licence as a flying instructor.
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