Development with Social Justice? Social Democracy in Mauritius

Phaahla, Letuku Elias (2010-03)

Thesis (MA (Political Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the advent of independence in 1968, Mauritius’ economic trajectory evolved from the one of a monocrop sugar economy, with the latter noticeably being the backbone of the country’s economy, to one that progressed into being the custodian of a dynamic and sophisticated garment-dominated manufacturing industry. Condemned with the misfortune of not being endowed with natural resources, relative to her mainland African counterparts, Mauritius, nonetheless, was able to break the shackles of limited economic options and one of being the ‘basket-case’ to gradually evolving into being the upper-middle-income country - thus depicting it to be one of the most encouraging economies within the developing world. Indeed it is captivating that the fruits of the island’s prosperous sugar industry went a long way in meeting the island’s diversification agenda. Moreover, the ‘Mauritian miracle’ is glorified by the emergence and sustenance of a comprehensive welfare state which was able to withstand the harshest economic challenges the country ever faced. This thesis seeks to provide a broad historical over-view of the factors which aided the construction of the social democratic regime in Mauritius. It is of the premise that the social consciousness of the post-colonial leadership in Mauritius laid the foundation for the entrenchment of ideals of social justice into the Mauritian polity. Instead of letting market forces operate in their pure form, the state was propelled instead, to take the driver’s seat into the running of the economy so as to ensure the market and labour become partners in a bid to help the state meet its social development ideals. It is no wonder that current day welfare state in Mauritius is the one which is inextricably linked to elections, not just as tool to duck socio-ethnic disharmony.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert onafhanklikheidswording in 1968 het Mauritius se ekonomiese ontwikkeling gevorder van die van ’n enkel kommoditeit suiker uitvoerder as die basis van die ekonomie tot een met ’n dinamiese en gesofistikeerde tekstiel vervaardigingingssektor. Verdoem weens ’n tekort aan natuurlike hulpbronne in vergelyking met ander state in Afrika, het Mauritius nogtans daarin geslaag om sy tekortkominge te bowe te kom en geleidelik te ontwikkel tot ’n opper-middel inkomste staat. Suiker uitvoere het inderdaad ’n sleutelrol gespeel in die diversifikasie van die ekonomie. Die sukses van die ‘Mauritius wonderwerk’ is verder stukrag gegee deur die inwerkingstelling en voortbestaan van ’n omvattende welvaart staat wat gehelp het om die ergste ekonomiese uitdagings die hoof te bied. Hierdie tesis poog om ’n breë historiese oorsig te bied van die faktore wat die konstruksie van ’n sosiale demokratiese orde in Mauritius aangehelp het. Daar word gewerk van die premis dat die sosiale bewussyn van die na-koloniale leierskap in Mauritius die grondleggers was vir die vestiging van ideale van sosiale geregtigheid in die staat se politieke kultuur. In plaas van ’n ongebreidelde vrye mark ekonomie het die staat egter ’n sleutel rigtinggewende rol in die ontwikkeling van die ekonomie gespeel en om seker te maak dat die privaatsektor en arbeid vennote word om sleutel sosiale ekonomiese doelwitte te bereik. Dit is dus geen wonder dat die bestaande welvaartstaat in Mauritius nou verweef is met plaaslike verkiesingsverwagtinge nie en nie bloot ’n manier is om sosio-etniese onstabiliteit te verminder nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4123
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