n African Journal of Rhetoric - Speaking about South Africa's economic development strategies : the theoretical and rhetorical limits of the modernist approaches

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


This paper addresses rhetoric in relation to macroeconomic development and its ability to address the development challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa. These issues of rhetoric here are the definitions of the concept of rhetoric as understood in the field of Development Studies, the theoretical basis of the macroeconomic policies of the Growth, Employment and Redistribution program (GEAR) and New Growth Path (NGP); the contrast between these two macroeconomic policies; and the manner in which the 'there is no alternative' approach impacts development thinking. This paper argues that the theoretical underpinnings of the new macroeconomic policy are fundamentally those of modernisation for example neo-liberal growth theories. This paper therefore argues that, at the theoretical level, there is little difference between the old macroeconomic policy of GEAR and the newly adopted policy of NGP. Both policies are conceptualised in the very environment of neo-liberal thinking and characterised in particular by fundamentals of mass-propertylessness among the victims of marginalisation, dispossession and exploitation among other things. This paper further argues the modalities of the financing of the NGP. It concludes that the policies, as they stand, revolve around the rhetoric of growth, development and fight against poverty and inequality in South Africa informed by the thinking that there is no alternative to existing theories and or models of development.

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