Central to the argument is that:
- Protectionism (like company bail-outs and import tariffs) protect jobs for certain interest groups only
- But they force South African consumers to pay higher prices for the goods so produced.
In the South African context of extreme poverty, my opinion is no. Workers, however vulnerable, are nevertheless less vulnerable than the unemployed and poorest South Africans. Such workers should not be entitled to protect their interests at the expense of the poor and unemployed.
I thought this piece of the article was balanced:
"...the broader costs to society far outweigh the short term sliver of benefits to a narrow interest group. The ANC government needs to accept that the figureheads of its so-called developmental state, the parastatals, requires urgent attention by way of privatisation, and that labour market rigidities needs to be solved in order to make it easier to employ job-seekers. Until this is done, efforts to step up protectionism are at best attempts at distraction, and at worst interventions that would achieve the direct opposite of the sustainable, job-creating economic growth we need."