Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Into Africa: 3... 

This might come up when I talk with South African farmers.
The new minimum wage comes into effect on March 1.
The job losses could spark a repeat of the violence in which police had to use rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesting farm workers blocking highways and torching vineyards and warehouses in the agricultural belt east of Cape Town.
Trade union federation COSATU said the job losses were expected but blamed them on commercial greed.
"This is just the backlash we expect from the reactionary farmers," regional COSATU leader Tony Ehrenreich said. "That is why we are saying government must pay them out and take the land to give it to farmers that are serious about farming." [More]

One thing I'll be asking about is if there are any farms with Midwestern machine efficiency - reliant more on ever-larger machines and decreasing amounts of labor.

But in a wildly unequal pay setting, with labor extremely cheap, why would you spend big bucks to machine up? This was pretty common around me as lots of us liked just having operators and no hired labor. The paperwork was drastically lower, if nothing else.

Such a business strategy is expensive, but limits your exposure to this phenomenon. You can't have labor unrest with no labor.

The last line about "pay them out" is better read as "go Zimbabwe on them". 

I fear this will not end well.

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