PETER BRUCE: Forget about thriving export industries while protecting plodding companies
From ArcelorMittal SA and SAA to Hulamin and Daybreak Farms, where the state goes failure follows
The more I learn about what central planning does to industrial policy the less hope I have for it. I know my views are not important, and that, as the CEO of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) put it the other day, I am “a campaigning man who writes with presumed authority on a wide range of topics”.
Quite. The head of Seifsa is a former journalist who, as a newspaper editor, would on occasion publish his own poetry on his pages. It is odd reconciling him then with Seifsa now, but both his chair and the chief economist formerly worked for ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa, formerly the steel part of Iscor), our only primary steelmaker and the beneficiary of constant protection by government, so he would not share my distaste for trade restrictions...