Is Africa’s success story over?

The most impressive person I met in Botswana barely said a word. She was an older woman, small in stature. We were sitting next to each other at a table during lunch at a conference about Botswana’s economic model. In a quiet voice, she told me that she was a former government minister. We talked briefly about the conference, neither of us saying anything particularly memorable. Then we were both drawn away by other conversations. I learned later that Gaositwe Chiepe was the first woman to serve as a government minister in Botswana, the large but sparsely populated country just … Continue reading

Basic income: communism for capitalists

Last week, it was announced that Finland is set to introduce a citizen’s basic income. It’s said to be around €800 a month, which would be provided universally and without any conditions to all Finnish citizens. It will replace all previous benefits. This is just the latest experiment with the idea. Several Dutch cities are about to introduce the measure too. Many European countries are debating this notion. The case can be understood by anyone who has ever lived off of a student loan. A guaranteed baseline can free up individuals to pursue their own endeavours, whether they be cultural … Continue reading

A master of everything

The title of Bukowski’s second novel is actually stolen property, pilfered by the English, like so much else, from Latin. The implications are worth noting for a factotum is a “master of everything” and in the case of Henry Chinaski this means not just repairing bicycles and factory work, it means gambling, drinking and womanising. Just as Karl Marx viewed production as a sensuous human activity, as much a part of our species-being as it is our alienation, Bukowski seems to take a more literal line – he is production. Henry Chinaski makes his way across the States often penniless … Continue reading