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New Left Review I/50, July-August 1968

Giovanni Arrighi

‘Political Economy of South Africa’

Ralph Horwitz: Political Economy of South Africa. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. 63s.

One of the most interesting features of South African capitalism is the ambiguous position of large-scale capital vis-à-vis the white nationalist regime and its ideology. In the book under review, massive evidence is presented to support the assumption of a conflict between the interests of large-scale capital, on the one hand, and those of the white workers and small-scale capital (operating mainly in agriculture) who form the power base of the regime, on the other. The former upholds the supremacy of market forces as a principle of resources allocation and income distribution, while the latter favour an administered capitalist economy directed to preserving their privileges relative to the African population and to improving their bargaining position in dealing with large-scale capital. An analogous situation was illustrated in my article on the Political Economy of Rhodesia (in nlr 39). and it is gratifying to find the assumption further corroborated.

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Giovanni Arrighi, ‘'Political Economy of South Africa'’, NLR I/50: £3

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