Manufacturing capital and the apartheid state: The case of industrial decentralisation

Glaser, Daryl
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The relationship between manufacturing capital and the policies of the post-war apartheid state has become a focal point of contention in debates between "conventional" and "revisionist" analyses. A growing corpus of literature from both camps now recognises that organised mining and agricultural capital collaborated, both before and after the war, in establishing many of the institutions of labour and political control today associated with apartheid. But accounts diverge widely when it comes to the role of manufacturing capital. Liberals have conventionally viewed the interests of manufacturing with its frequent demand for semi-skilled, settled, occupationally and geographically mobile labour, and for an expanded domestic market, as incompatible with the restrictive and coercive labour regime of apartheid. Marxist writers of the early 1970s challenged this orthodox view, arguing that apartheid played a functional and supportive role in South Africa's generally impressive record of post-war industrial growth. More recently, Greenberg and Lipton have argued that manufacturing capital has little vested interest in post-war structures of racial domination. Lipton, reasserting the old liberal orthodoxy, argues that secondary industry actively opposed apartheid; Greenberg portrays industry as passively conforming to its strictures. The following study of struggles between capital and the state over industrial decentralisation policy since World War II takes issue with these various accounts.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented August, 1987
Industrial policy. South Africa , Capital. Political aspects. South Africa , Apartheid. Economic aspects. South Africa