Working Paper 10: The Political Economy of Corruption (open access)

February 18, 2019

The political economy of corruption: elite-formation, factions and violence.

Prof. Karl von Holdt 

 

You can access the paper here

(If this link does not work on your browser, please go the SWOP Working Paper's section under publications on the website).

 

The paper looks at the prevailing public narrative about corruption that tends to present it as a matter of moral failure on the part of a number of individuals (and perhaps an organisation) and legal failure on the part of state institutions. In the paper, von Holdt attempts to reframe 'corruption' as an important element in processes of class formation in post-apartheid South Africa, and 'looting' as a form of primitive accumulation on the part of a nascent elite. These practices are embedded in moral orders through which they are rendered legitimate and justified in the South African context. The paper explores the question of whether this constitutes an alternative accumulation model to that presented by globalised 'neoliberalism', and discusses also the necessity for Ramaphosa to establish a stable elite coalition within the ANC, and likewise the challenges that make this an unlikely prospect. Finally, the working paper considers the prospects for an alternative counter-movement for embedded development.

 

 

 

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