HumanAction used to blog on economic freedom and state tyranny. Sadly, they don’t blog anymore, but you can still find some gems over at their site. I am reposting the following from their site, which will hopefully remain active for future reference.
In the first of their blog posts referenced here, they refer to News24 columnist Peet van Aardt and his article where he proclaims that all whites benefited from Apartheid. He seems to be one of those arrogant twats who thinks he has been given some right to make statements on behalf of other people and that his views are the correct ones. You know, the typical liberal leftist lackey mentality.
It is unfortunately for him and other socialist and Marxist-inspired revisionists of history not true that all whites benefited from the minority white government. Not all whites supported the National Party and certainly not all whites agreed with the specific laws and application of Apartheid. Some stood against what could possibly come into play when looking at the history of Africa. I am not going to debate the merits of which tribe was entitled to which land in what is South Africa today. There is enough information available for any person caring to look further than revisionist history and claims by groups of people who do little more than just claim entitlements in some form. You will certainly not find an accurate version of events in MSM publications.
As a simple starting point of the history of South Africa from the conception of the union in 1910, you will find that many laws intended to protect the interests of elite powers abroad, for instance in the mining industry. To this day, a significant part of the mining industry is controlled from outside the borders of South Africa. You can choose to believe a muppet like George Galloway that the majority of mines are owned by “Boers”. Or you can do some research and draw your own conclusions.
Blaming it on apartheid
By JGalt, on August 15th, 2011
The more the present regime blames absolutely everything on apartheid, the more people they are actually getting to believe them.
Peet van Aardt has written an article for news24 wherein he makes the case that because he benefitted from apartheid, that all white people should pay more taxes as per Desmond Tutu’s wish.
To argue on your superficial and topical level: How much did our sport stars, who weren’t able to get any exposure on an international level and hence not earn an internationally competitive salary, benefit?
In your proposed social engineering-restitution experiment should our past sport stars such as Danie Gerber not maybe also be compensated for this loss during apartheid? Are they not also “previously disadvantaged?”
If you benefited, while a guy like Danie Gerber didn’t, why don’t you pay a portion of your salary over to him every month? Why should all whites pay a redistributive flat-tax?
Also, why does no-one seem to ask the question of why the government should manage the great white-black redistribution? Why can’t the admitted guilty white apartheid benefactors such as Peet not manage the process. Wouldn’t this at least be a little more efficient?
Once, again, people keep overlooking the fact that apartheid was not a white vs black issue, but rather that it was the government vs all. Nothing has changed.
Forcing whites to pay higher taxes and redistribute to “previously disadvantaged” will only make our problems worse.
Apartheid didn't benefit whites
By freeman, on June 24th, 2011
It is a pervasive and entrenched narrative (accepted with the same confidence that we accept that summer follows spring and spring follows winter, and winter autumn) that white South Africans benefitted from Apartheid while black South Africans suffered under Apartheid.
This myth needs to be squashed and refuted for the nonsense that it is once and for all. I doubt a little story on Human Action will change the collective belief in the lie (yet), but at least let’s get the conversation going.
Firstly, let’s get all the necessary caveats out the way and pay homage to the reality of Apartheid so that some reactionary readers don’t have a fit on the spot. Yes, blacks suffered painfully under Apartheid. Yes, Apartheid was evil. Yes, whites were inordinately privileged compared to blacks. Yes, whites lived better lives than blacks. Yes, whites had infinitely better economic opportunities available to them than blacks. Yes, whites were 1st class citizens and blacks were 2nd class citizens.
We all get this and we don’t need to deny it or overemphasise it. It happened. It sucked. Period.
But the central question we are posing here is: did whites benefit under apartheid? That is to ask in another way: were whites better off under Apartheid and the White Supremist Fascist Nationalist State than whites otherwise would have been under a (imperfect) constitutional democracy as has prevailed since 1994?
To this the answer is emphatically NO!
How on earth can we argue that whites benefitted from forced autarky, trade sanctions, industrial subsidies, central economic planning, capital controls, restricted association, lack of freedom of expression, monetary debasement, group areas act, forced ‘morality’, a police state, excessive military spending, international travel restrictions, and goods rationing?
The Apartheid state, to maintain the grossly unstable status quo of oppressing the vast majority of the population, had to destroy the basic freedoms of whites as well.
It is true that whites, as the owners of businesses, may have ‘benefitted’ from being able to hire black labour at below market prices, enabling more profitable businesses and cheaper production of goods for white consumption. But even here the assumption we are making is that by coercing blacks into forced settlement in the homelands wastelands, whites destroyed black living standards and economic opportunities to such a degree that they were able to offer very poor marginal labour opportunities to blacks that were readily accepted. But it could also be argued that by shunting blacks off to the wastelands, whites actually limited their available labour pool and therefore paid more not less for labour.
But even if the dubious proposition that labour was cheaper under Apartheid is indeed true, vastly countering this is the myriad of ways in which black subjugation created far more economic hardship than benefits for whites. The list is almost endless, but would include the following few:
- Disallowing blacks from gaining skills kept those skills more scarce than they would otherwise have been, making goods and services produced by those skills more expensive, thereby excluding more whites from consuming those goods and services and/or forcing more income to be diverted to those goods and services, thereby diverting income away from other goods and services, limiting those business opportunities.
- No blacks producing goods and services and running their own business meant competition was weak, allowing oligopolies to easily form and high prices to become entrenched, reducing real wealth and spending power.
- Forcing blacks to accept horrible economic opportunities and denying them education and the ability to up-skill, create value and earn good incomes, not only kept the pie from growing and all benefitting (after all blacks and whites would have freely traded), but kept the size of the consumer market small, meaning that white producers had limited selling opportunities compared to what they otherwise would have had. That they were then subject to international sanctions meant that exports were limited in addition to a limited local market, a double blow for white entrepreneurs.
- Whites could not legally take on black business partners and allow black ownership of their businesses, losing out on executive skills that blacks would have been able to offer.
- White employers, due to the Group Areas Act, had to jump through numerous red tape hoops to legally allow a black person to live permanently on their property for the purpose of work. In fact, the Apartheid state had to enact a pot of alphabet soup of regulations pertaining to interracial business and economic relationships that made life unambiguously harder for white business owners.
- Whites who spoke out against the government were jailed or killed.
- White anti-state associations were banned.
- Whites did not have legal or easy access to certain overseas products, books, movies etc. Choice for whites was limited under Apartheid.
- Commercial trade between black and white (barring the employment-labour trade) was usually banned or greatly curtailed by law and by spacial aspects of the Group Areas Act. Few opportunities for trade definitely made whites worse off than they otherwise would have been, because, by definition, more free and mutually agreed trade is utility-enhancing for everyone, while less or restricted trade detracts from welfare and wealth.
- Whites (especially Afrikaners) who were employed by the large Apartheid state, were generally employed in inefficient sectors, gained poor skills, and leached off the other white taxpayers. These folk may have appeared to ‘benefit’ under Apartheid, but when equal opportunity arrived, or technologies made their jobs redundant, these formerly state-employed protected folk were left destitute with little capacity to function successfully in a modern economy. Apartheid had benefitted them falsely.
There are certainly many other ways in which black racial subjugation by law, and the coercive statist rule that accompanied it, made whites’ lives worse than they otherwise would have been. We must understand that whites adopted Apartheid out of fear for what they PERCEIVED incorrectly as a potentially worse situation, that of black majority rule. But just because whites in South Africa were as economically illiterate as all other people anywhere in the world, and therefore derived a fallacial psychic benefit from black oppression, does not mean they ACTUALLY benefitted from it in an economic sense.
Blacks, or indeed anyone, who complain that whites are only in the prosperous economic standing they are because of Apartheid are completely wrong. Whites are where they are DESPITE Apartheid. Despite the bans and central planning. Despite the debauched currency and limited trading opportunities with blacks.
Since 1994, whites have been incredibly prosperous and are immeasurably better off than they were before (as indeed are blacks!), able to find better access to offshore markets, able to trade freely with blacks, partner with blacks in business, marry blacks, work for blacks, sell products to blacks, build houses for blacks, get good ideas from blacks, and generally live freely with people of all races (albeit an imperfect freedom).
The reality is that white South Africans’ living standards had fallen embarrassingly behind those of Americans and Europeans by the end of the 1980’s. White South Africans had become international country bumpkins, walking around offshore destinations wide-eyed as they gawked incredulously the living standards, choice, technologies, freedom, variety, colour and dynamism of overseas economies and societies. In short, Apartheid saw white South Africa stagnate and even begin to regress.
No my friends, Apartheid did not benefit whites any more than one would ‘benefit’ from never driving a car for fear of dying in a car accident: never dying in a car accident, but never driving anywhere either. In the same way, whites avoided black rule, but achieved nothing of true benefit. Apartheid stifled whites, yes to a wholly different degree to blacks, but stifled them nonetheless, and therefore it nonetheless was an economically irrational policy for whites to follow and retarded white development.
So the next time you’re sitting around a braai and someone pipes up that whites benefitted from Apartheid while blacks suffered, ask them to explain how then whites have done so well in the post-Apartheid world, and show them how whites too were disadvantaged by Apartheid and the evil system it was.
Maybe with this understanding, we’ll be able to think more clearly about our present and our future as well.
An Inconvenient Apartheid Truth
By freeman, on July 6th, 2011
This is a short follow-up post to our June 24th post “Apartheid didn’t benefit whites“, which has got under the skin of a few people.
As readers will have noticed by the general lack of reader comments on this site, HA is not the most widely read blog on this planet, but our Apartheid post certainly seems to have generated a little ripple in the Twittersphere (definitely not a wave yet:)).
Now it appears that for some black South Africans in particular (and possibly some folk in Oranje) the truth that whites didn’t benefit from Apartheid is a rather uncomfortable one. It seems to shatter their sense of injustice and sense of blame. It needn’t do this. White supremist nationalists perpetrated Apartheid and blacks got the raw deal of raw deals because of it. Period.
But it does remove from blacks their monopoly on Apartheid victimhood, which blacks have clung to rabidly for 17 years and more. The brutal truth is that ALL South Africans were victims under Apartheid, and our post simply showed that whites, the most privileged of unfree classes by far, were also victims of the Fascist-Socialist state. In fact, whites were peculiar victims, because they for the most part didn’t even know it at the time, such was their brainwashed, darkened stupor.
So we mustn’t conflate separate issues. It is two completely different things to talk about who was worse off under Apartheid and who actually benefitted. As far as I can tell, the genuine beneficiaries of Apartheid, as under any dictatorship, were a narrow state-centric elite, and even those of this clique who lived to see the democratic revolution in 1994 have had to live their days out in the greatest of shame, which must have rendered a fairly considerable psychic loss for all but the most callous bittereinders.
One Tweeter indignantly tried to argue…”it still doesn't mean that whites didn’t benefit in comparison to blacks.” By this we take this Tweeter to be arguing that somehow being relatively better off than someone else confers an absolute benefit. By that sloppy logic Indians and Coloureds also ‘benefitted’ from Apartheid right?
Our post was actually less about Apartheid and race, and more about economics, which is what this blog is about. It was about showing people that if you apply sound economics to our history you can start to draw different and interesting conclusions that can change your perspective to a truer one. Having a clearer and more accurate perspective of our history means we can live more constructively in the present and make better decisions about our future.
It’s high time we de-racialise and de-ethnicise economics and economic policy. Racio-ethic groups are always blabbering on about how they don’t want x, y, or z culture’s economics foisted upon them but want to forge their ‘own’ economy. So we hear about a uniquely ‘Latin economy’ suited to the ’specific culture’ of the Latinos, or we hear about a uniquely ‘African economy’ for African’s (which 9 times out of 10 you can take to mean “for blacks”), or about how unique and special ‘Chinese economics’ is. Usually this is nothing but a cheap front for adopting get-rich-quick-rape-your-capital-base economic policy.
This is nothing short of nonsense, pure nationalistic and cultural pride and, quite frankly, arrogance. Good and bad economics transcends race, culture and nation. Doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, pink or purple, saving more than consuming is still a good idea, free trade is still a good idea, individual liberty is still a good idea, freedom from state oppression is still a good idea.
If you want to disagree with our Apartheid post, prove with good economic argument that whites benefitted from Apartheid. We doubt you will be able to though with any credibility, because whites most certainly didn’t benefit.
In fact, in a great and tragic irony, many blacks, by arguing that whites benefitted from Apartheid, are actually doing the freedom they fought for such a great and debilitating disservice. They are arguing that state subjugation of certain identity groups benefits to the broad identity group of the state perpetrating the subjugation. It might not be a far step to use this logic to enact a ‘reverse Apartheid’ (some would say already well under way in a ‘lite’ form), in the hope of redressing the injustices of the prior Apartheid. All this would do, and indeed is doing, is keep blacks mired in their own mud puddle of poverty.
To the dissenters among the Twitterati, please stop conflating your retro-anger over Apartheid, with blacks getting the worst deal by far, with relative suffering between races, with sound economic reason. These are distinct issues and confusing them is getting in the way of your better judgement on these matters.
Cheers, and here’s to a better present and future where hopefully all race groups in SA can be allowed to steward their own property freely without interference, reap the full fruits of their own labour, take advantage of and create economic opportunities freely, live free of state oppression, trade feely, associate freely, and ALL BENEFIT from the fruits of genuine liberty.