Ethnic business and economic empowerment: The afrikaner case, 1915-1970
The struggle for racial or ethnic group worth is an important socio-political issue in societies where a minority ethnic group, like the English-speaking whites in South Africa or the Chinese in Malaysia, dominates the economy but not the political system. There are two routes to the empowerment of an economically backward group. In the Afrikaner case, economic mobilisation formed part of a general ethnic mobilisation. While the Afrikaner-controlled state after 1948 massively aided all whites, Afrikaner business increased its market share through serving a niche market. It received little ethnic patronage from the state or assistance from English corporations. A quite different from of advancement is that driven by the state, which imposes on large corporations the obligation to promote the economic empowerment of a racial group. While the first form facilitated the rise of the ethnic group as a whole, the latter one benefited mainly a business and middle class elite that may remain dependent on continuing sAtate support. © Journal compilation © 2008 The Economic Society of South Africa.