My guess is that most people who come here aren’t all that worried about themselves. But they are concerned for their families. A man alone who gets killed isn’t necessarily all that upset about it. A man who might have to watch his family die is someone who has reason to be upset.
Self defense is usually a very personal, in-your-face thing. It often involves bad breath, body odour, and someone’s blood all over you (yours or theirs or both). But instead of only worrying about punching and blocking and knife attacks, I like to avoid trouble whenever possible. This is why, as well as writing about hijackings, it’s just as important to know where the hijacking hotspots are in your town.
Trouble’s a lot easier to avoid when you can spot it coming.
Quick warning: If you’re into feel-good emotions and don’t really like thinking about unpleasant stuff – skip the following dialectic, and go back to your usual rhetoric. This is one of those conversations that kills a dinner party and gets friends to stop talking to you.
The “South Africa issue”
So today, instead of focusing on the micro (the crimes you’re likely to face right now), I got the urge to think about the macro (the types of crimes you’re likely to face in the future).
Not having a crystal ball, we can’t predict the future. But while history might not repeat, it sure does rhyme. So what are the historical trends that face South Africa? What rhymes are we likely to repeat? Well, there aren’t too many, so let’s take a surface look at the ones that rhyme the most with modern day South Africa.
For most people, this is the one that jumps to mind first. This is because of the talk of taking away people’s farms. Everybody remembers what happened in Zimbabwe when the farmers left: No food + hyperinflation. Everybody is also seeing what’s happening in Venezuela: No food + hyperinflation.
Combine international sanctions with minimal food production with a collapse in the ability to import food, and you get Zimbabwe/Venezuela.
If the farmers leave South Africa, or just stop farming … Well shucks.
Heck, even if they just sell all their equipment and sell off their livestock to get money to pay for whatever they’re going to do next (if you knew your job was ending wouldn’t you want a nest egg to dip into), then whomever gets the farm next can’t be productive on a large scale for a couple years.
Type of crime?
Lots of contact crime due to desperation. We all know what drug addicts can do to get their next high. Well, imagine a country full of food addicts that need to get their next meal.
We’ll see. Depends on if the “land issue” is just to get votes, and then the whole thing falls by the wayside after the 2019 elections.
But looking at the land grabs that are happening before such a thing become legal … Let’s call it 50/50.
Here’s the annoying thing just about everybody is getting wrong. While it may be useful for propaganda purposes in the media, it’s not just white owned land that they’re talking about “nationalising” (because when the state does it, it’s not illegal). It’s all the land. And it’s not necessarily going to be expropriated case-by-case, it might be done by default.
And it’s not going to be given to anyone else. The state will own it all. Communist paradise overnight. (Although I’m sure in 20 years they’ll all be saying “Well, they didn’t do communism right this time either.”)
As in, instead of identifying a piece of land to take, then filling out some forms to “switch” ownership, there might be a decree from on high saying “From here on, the state owns everything”.
And then we’re in Soviet Russia where you have to apply for a place to live. Through the world’s biggest and most incompetent bureaucracy. But in Africa.
People think going to Home Affairs to renew their passport is a terrible experience. Imagine if everybody in the country went to Home Affairs at the same time. And this happened any time you needed to move houses because of work or an annoying neighbour.
Type of crime?
Well, with absolutely no-one wanting to invest money in the country, expect price inflation. A lot. It’s the Central Banker playbook – shit goes wrong? Print money until the problem disappears. Because the problem disappears quickly that way (see: Weimar Germany; Zimbabwe; Venezuela; etc.).
Beyond that, I guess huge job losses, desperate people, lots of homelessness. And that’s assuming the food supply holds up.
Any problem that would cause you to move to live somewhere else just doesn’t get resolved. You have a new job (lucky you to have one at all), but you can’t get a new place to live nearby. Annoying neighbour? Better polish up on your people skills ’cause you can’t move away. Stuck in a crappy neighbourhood? Tough shit.
Again, we’ll see.
We all know no state can do anything fast. Or even do anything without screwing it up. Owning everything wouldn’t turn out well.
(Europe is almost an exception. The causality is backwards in most minds. The European states didn’t get more efficient and then things got groovy. The people of Europe got efficient, then they pulled the state up with them. Well, that’s not here, so forget about Sweden you fucking communist.)
This is an interesting one for me. Like the rest of the world around 2008, South Africa’s banking system is heavily in mortgages. If everybody stopped paying their mortgages at once (say, if the state confiscated all land simultaneously), then the banks collapse. Fairly straightforward affair that.
But here’s the rub. The banks aren’t really South African. ABSA (one of the bigger SA banks) for example is owned by Barclays, a big-time British bank. And one thing we know about large multinational corporations and banks – they don’t like it when their business tries to collapse under them.
So the question here becomes: Will the powerful multinationals lobby their government to “do something” to protect their investments? If so, then we face either sanctions (see the Russia consequences), or we face regime change. Because the one thing the western states know how to do is to cause shit and get some dude or another overthrown.
In which case, we end up a failed state with a power vaccuum. The most recent example I can think of is Libya. Libya the success story. Libya with its renewed slave trade out in the open for the world to see. Libya where everybody would rather risk drowning in the Mediterranean than stick around.
This one depends on whether land expropriation without compensation happens all-at-once, or if they drag it out bureaucracy-style. If you take just 1 or 2 properties at a time, then you can make an example out of those people that don’t pay their mortgages. This might frighten everyone else into paying their mortgages for as long as possible after their land is taken. (How long anyone can afford to pay for a property they don’t own and can’t make money out of? Who knows.)
Based on the historical patterns of sub-Saharan Africa, this one is less likely than turning into Zimbabwe. But the effect of pissed off multinationals losing billions and billions can’t be ignored.
Ask the other regime change paradises. Libya. Iraq. But add in the T.I.A. factor.
Well shit. This is the big unknown isn’t it. The one everybody likes to scoff at because their emotional brains don’t want to have to confront the possibility, so the emotional brain hijacks the logical brain to find reasons why this “is just silly”. (Same process as when you talk yourself out of taking a cold shower, or jumping into a cold pool, or anything else unpleasant.)
We all know what happens when you take farms and give them to people who can’t farm. You get Zimbabwe. (And so far in SA, the redistributed land is apparently either unproductive, or the people getting the land rather take the money and the land just sits there … unproductive).
But what happens when you do the same thing after you’ve convinced the entire population that all they need is land, and if things don’t then turn into paradise, then it’s the fault of one specific minority group.
Finding a group to blame for all your problems has been done before. It helps prevent your government being overthrown in a coup d’etat, because instead of blaming the state for the trouble it managed to cause, the state manages to shift the blame to another group (and we all know how much governments like to own up to their mistakes and take the blame right?) Instead of attacking the state when thing turn to shit, the majority attacks the minority.
This one depends on the rhetoric in the run up to any land confiscation.
If there’s a big hullaballoo about one group being the source of all everyone else’s problems, then I’ll worry.
I hope this isn’t the particular bit of history that South Africa’s future will rhyme with. But hope never put food on the table or changed the oil in the car did it? A person did that. And only a person that didn’t think the situation would magically fix itself.