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    Armchair Economist
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    Pinelands 7405, Cape Town, WC
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  1. Soros will never fund this, he wants to see South Africa (and the world) burn, he wants the economy to crash and people to be poor, in face he wants everyone to be equally poor. His agenda is the opposite, he wants more people to be unemployed, this guy wants to help, this don't fit their narrative.
  2. Gumtree has gotten significant worse to use. The page loads forever and every time you hover something to click then it goes to a site off Gumtree. Even if you click on the Gumtree logo you can end up on the Vodacom website.
  3. "Meal prep" businesses are big in the US, although its more the prepared "Dial-A-Chef" style meals than meal kits.
  4. I personally will not be paying for the simple fact that I don't think it is worth paying for. I was surprised at their statement of extensive investment in journalists as most of their articles are so bland that I thought it was just syndicated wire copy. I went through some of the articles that was locked after the announcement and there is nothing that I would pay to read, some was real nonsense like Zuma's finance minister and his damaged G-Class (the perks of public office I tell you) there was some other content that I just Googled and found a free article. I have also noted a problematic pro-government slant in news24 articles, their fawning of the weak and ineffective Ramaphosa. I would pay for real investigative journalism, that being said, investigative journalism by its very nature benefits more from being free so as to reach as many as possible. So no, I will not pay. I think people are willing to pay for content that is exceptional and can not be procured somewhere else, or as in the case of financial news procured the fastest. news24 is fits neither description.
  5. While the cost of doing business has certainly increased with all the precautions needed and restrictions imposed, I think on a macro level there is simply less money in circulation, people have lost their jobs, people are earning less, and what they have they are far more frugal with only spending on essentials (new clothes, fast food even pet food can be done without), so what is happening here is what happened in Lebanon with their economy. But our population almost ten time larger (and GDP 6x) so it will take a bit longer. As for why medical companies are struggling, the government used emergency procurement to bypass existing suppliers to divert contracts to members of the ANC and their families. This set of a feeding frenzy as ANC cronies waited for their turn at the trough, these covidpreneurs just used outsourced the procurement to their cheapest suppliers they could find with no regard for quality, so existing medical companies lost out.
  6. That does make more sense than the ANC actually enriching their constituents. I wonder if it's part of their "100 black industrialists" program, instead of having the arduous task of growing businesses from the ground up they can now buy distressed companies on the cheap.
  7. The main target is the white community; everyone else is just collateral damage. The ANC says the economy is in "minority" hands, so in their mind the ends justify the means. The incoherent levels strategy is just to muddy the waters so they cannot be accused of targeting specific people. The endgame: a controlled "inclusive" economy. However this will fail, because the ANC is too incompetent to control a puppet and there are too many structural deficiencies - a dysfunctional ANC-built system that traps people in unemployment and poverty priming them for economic dependency - and that is why even if they burn the country to the ground. What will emerge from the ashes will be an economy that is demographically similar what we have today, except on a much smaller scale with much less jobs available and much less taxes to pay grants with.
  8. Takealot's rationale is economic, and that minimum wage buys a higher calibre foreign worker than what it does a local. That is why you see Mr.D is almost exclusively foreign. Foreigners live thin in SA so they have a lower cost of living, oftentimes many of them share a house and when you come from a dysfunctional state like Zimbabwe where you have a worthless currency you are far more grateful for the pittance than Takealot pays. Whereas with a local pay him crap money and you usually get crap work, also a local with a licence and a vehicle is not going to want to work for what they would consider pocket money. Locals in that position usually already has what the foreigners are working for: a roof over their heads and food for the pot so they don't see it worthwhile to get out of bed for what Takealot pays.
  9. I've noticed the same thing is happening with thefts. The police at the station think all you are there for is to get a case number for insurance purposes rather than wanting the theft to be investigated. I think the state is in way over their heads with crime in SA, they can't even cope with violent crime and rape, how can you expect them to pursue less serious crimes with any type of vigour? I see that MTN had to hire a private security firm to investigate the theft of cell phone tower batteries. So it is not outside the realm of possibility that we in future would have to hire private investigators to do detective work and if you can't afford to, too bad, don't expect justice. South Africa is a boon for criminals.
  10. I think we are seeing a lot of stupid decisions being made that will have long term ramifications for both government and business. For government hidden agenda or not they will pay the price, businesses that are open are doing stupid things like let people stand in long lines but only let a few in the shop makes no sense to me either, they are following the government into bankruptcy.
  11. The nitpicking as to what constitutes an "essential service", micromanaging, restrictive lockdown and super strict social distancing (when we are already wearing masks) will create long lasting impact that will far outweigh the virus itself and it certainly adds credence to conspiracy theories that there might be more at play here such as an ANC attempt at a Chinese style planned economy once all free enterprises have been choked to death. Many lockdown restrictions make no sense and it appears to be the aim of government for companies to shut down. Examples such as food deliveries which only make up a small fraction of the fast food sector industry. I can't see struggling firms like Edgars survive under these conditions, the restrictions are also done in such a manner as to terrify people making them even less likely to spend or even go to shops but for the bare minimum required. Disposable and discretionary income is what keeps many businesses alive and people in jobs. Friday May 1, I went to N1 City mall, the shops that are closed and severely strict social distancing (on top of masks) they are imposing is just crazy. Only a very few people is allowed in a shop at the time, you have to stand in a line outside the mall, once inside you can only go to one shop, and have to go stand outside again in a line if you want to go to another shop. Inside the shop "non-essential" goods are closed off, in Dischem this meant some miscellaneous items, I mean God forbid I need a travel pillow to use on my La-Z-Boy for my Netflix marathons. But Dischem could have made a sale, which would have resulted in more orders being placed for that product and hopefully jobs being preserved. I have no problem with social distancing and wearing a mask, but at this rate there won't be much left when this is over. I can see why some companies don't even bother to open under these circumstances. We are already wearing masks at least keep business flowing to a reasonable level, when you allow only a few people into a shop at a time, the lines will keep many people away. I feel very sorry for the staff, their bosses are comfy at home, as is the politicians imposing the rules. The staff will bear the full consequences of these disastrous actions. As for the mall owners, I will say nothing about them as I don't have a lot of sympathies - except for pensioners depending on REITs investments. Not only is the R500b rescue package not enough, and not only don't we even have the money, but every day on this lockdown will require us to have more and more money to lift ourselves out of it. As to what the governments endgame is I have no idea, how will they get themselves out of this hole they are digging I have no idea either. My biggest concern is that South Africa descends into anarchy as people struggle to survive due to the lasting effects on the economy. Prophets of doom are saying the endgame is demolish the middle class to make everyone poor and dependent on state assistance but I can't see that happening as where will the money come from to pay for the food parcels for tens of millions of people?
  12. It's obviously not possible to give a product away for free without any strings attached unless the companies are "pivoting" into a NGO model, taking donor funds and using that (and of course paying themselves large salaries as NGO directors do). The article is confusing and ambiguous as to how these companies will sustain themselves giving away their product for free and I feel some quotes might be taken out of context. That being said, it appears to be a PR piece for a gin brand as to how they are using their facilities to make hand sanitiser, Inverroche appears to be passing them off to CNN more prominent than what they are. In 2017 they had 25 staff and in 2019 50 according to articles so hardly a "key driver of economic growth in our local municipality" as they claim. The holiday accommodation industry in Stillbaai adds more value to the local economy than they do. It also seems to me like an unnecessary expense to give away free hand sanitiser in expensive glass bottles that is used for a R500 bottle of gin when plastic will be far cheaper. New Harbour Distillery which also makes "artisanal" or "craft" gin is also making sanitiser to stay in business at a far more sustainable price of R85 for 200ml. Which is pricey but has all fancy ingredients and they are donating sanitiser as well. I have no idea what the owner means with all these buzzwords, but she might just be milking the situation for all its worth or it could just be rich people giving away their money, maybe they started with a lot, now they have more and can afford to give it away. But it's not something that a normal business can do, especially not under these circumstances when you probably won't even have profit to benefit from any tax incentives. Keep your powder dry, the economic repercussions will take a long to recover from.
  13. I think there are a still lot of uncertainties around how to best combat the virus and balance the health and economic aspects of it (with some countries still disagreeing on the best way forward). Many richer countries can afford to sustain their citizens during lockdown. What is certain as you point out is that economically South Africa was already in trouble before the virus and lockdown hit, we have been going nowhere slowly in the last few years. Unlike wealthier countries we have risk factors far more dangerous that the virus: millions of poor and hungry people. Not to mention the long-term ramifications that will come from businesses closing and the associated job losses. “Every society is three meals away from chaos.” - Vladimir Lenin "I am a decent person. But if you have not eaten in 3 days, you do shameful things to survive." - Edward Gualberto (typhoon Yolanda survivor) “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy. If there were an interruption in the supply of food, fear would set in immediately. And, if the resumption of the food supply were uncertain, the fear would become pronounced. After only nine missed meals, it’s not unlikely that we’d panic and be prepared to commit a crime to acquire food. If we were to see our neighbour with a loaf of bread, and we owned a gun, we might well say, “I’m sorry, you’re a good neighbour and we’ve been friends for years, but my children haven’t eaten today – I have to have that bread – even if I have to shoot you.” - Alfred Henry Lewis
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