CAROL PATON: On racism, academic freedom and knee-jerk responses
Judgments are being passed from all sides on University of Cape Town professor Nicoli Nattrass’s article without even preliminary investigation
University of Cape Town (UCT) professor Nicoli Nattrass is free to write what she likes; everybody else is free to say she is racist. Yes, it is more complicated than that, though not a whole lot more.
Nattrass is a serious scholar. Her work on labour markets, employment and poverty is empirically rich, scholarly and well-argued. Her conclusions are not what those in the labour movement, government or the left in general want to hear. In her most recent book she argues for a differentiated or dual labour market as a pro-poor, pro-employment strategy, where regulation — such as minimum wages — in some sectors or areas is relaxed to enable labour-intensive industry to thrive. This is “inclusive dualism”, where the trade-offs between employment and wages are made explicit and weighed up, which is not often done by SA’s policymakers...