Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

Jonny Steinberg is by far the most insightful commentator writing for Business Day. Each column published in the past few years has been characterised by his deep political knowledge of SA’s predicament, and by wise and insightful observations.

The phenomenon of white middle-class resistance to building public housing for the poor in the wealthy suburbs of the major cities is, however, an international phenomenon not restricted to SA. Across the world, the dynamics of class privilege and class resistance to change that materially affects their interests has meant a sensible and more egalitarian public housing policy has never stood a chance of succeeding.

Such is the nature of a capitalist system where the wealthy enjoy their privilege and the poor struggle to survive. As ancient historian Thucydides observed in his History of the Peloponnesian War, quoting the words of the Athenian delegation to the citizens of Melos who were reluctant to join them in their war against Sparta: “Among those who are unequal, the strong impose their will and the weak suffer as they must.”

Maurizio Passerin d’Entreves
Professor emeritus, UCT