In 1991, Charles Simkins, the doyen of economic demography in South Africa, wrote an article in Theoria entitled ‘The Scope and Methods of Political Economy’. In this article, a reworked version of his inaugural lecture as the Helen Suzman Professor of Political Economy at the University of the Witwatersrand, Simkins made a powerful case that economics is, of necessity, a moral science. Through the years, a concern with the intersection of politics, economics and the moral dimensions of the ‘human condition’ has been a recurrent theme, and organising motif, of this journal. Many of its contributors have, in diverse and often resonant fashion, reminded readers of the importance of this intersection and of extent to which the understanding of the economy is embedded in an appreciation of its broader historical — that is to say political, societal and cultural — contexts.
Raphael De Kadt
Reclaiming Political Economy
Raphael de Kadt
David Reisman has written a book of extraordinary scope, depth and subtlety. It is at once both an impressive tour d’horizon, and a work of great insight and expository control. The ostensible subject of the book is the contribution of five seminal thinkers to political economy and, for want of a better term, ‘sociological economics’. While each writer’s contribution is portrayed in a rich, deeply informed, evenhanded and judicious manner, Reisman’s real achievement goes well beyond deft exposition and exegetical acumen. He succeeds in showing both the richness and the complexity of the thinking of the five, as well as in portraying the complexity of the substantive issues with which they deal. He succeeds, too, in situating their thought in the broader historical context both of its genesis and its reception. Thus, in addition to the accounts of the principal subjects of his study, he skillfully weaves accounts of the contributions of ‘notable others’ into the text. Thus Downs, Pareto, Hobhouse, Bosanquet, Green and Crosland are—among others—each given important, illuminating, ‘walk on’ parts. Their contributions constitute significant reference points for the engagement with the contributions of the ‘principals’.
Raphael de Kadt
Raphaël De Kadt
This edition of Theoria is being assembled at a time of war. The government of the United States of America is projecting, through force, its power in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq has been presented as a war of liberation. Its principal declared purpose has become the emancipation of the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule. Whatever the pretexts, declared and imputed, for the decision to go to war – which have ranged from the desire to disarm Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction to securing control of Iraqi oil supplies – there is little doubt that this is primarily an attempt to politically ‘reengineer’ an entire region. As such it fits neatly with the doctrine, articulated by the neo-conservative authors associated with the Project for the New American Century, which presses for the creation of an enduring, twenty-first century pax Americana of global reach. In their view, it is imperative that the United States does not lose the military supremacy it currently enjoys. No superpower that might challenge it should be allowed to emerge. To this end, the present war entails an attempt to erect a ‘coercive carapace’ across the Middle East, stretching from Israel in the west through to Afghanistan or indeed perhaps even India – a potentially ‘natural’ ally – in the east. Iraq is the centrally located landmass on which this exercise will first be tested, and from which it will be extended. This bold endeavour is concerned, in its own way, to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and, by extension, American interests.
Sherran Clarence, Raphael de Kadt, and Fabio Zoia
(Un)thinking Citizenship. Feminist Debates in Contemporary South Africa, edited by Amanda Gouws Sherran Clarence
Democracy and Exchange: Schumpeter, Galbraith, T.H. Marshall, Titmuss and Adam Smith by David Reisman Raphael de Kadt
The Making of Modern South Africa: Conquest, Apartheid, Democracy, by Nigel Worden Fabio Zoia