The economic demography of South Africa

Sadie, J. L. (Johannes L.), 1918- (2000)

Thesis (DCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is remarkable that population, which is at the centre of the economic problem - the Wealth if not the Poverty of Nations - has received scant attention in economic research in South Africa. Which is probably why we can have a NEW - so designated in the Draft Report - population policy propounded by government (in 1997) which manifests little appreciation of the economics of population. This dissertation is an attempt to demonstrate why the void should be filled and to bring to light specific topics within the broader subject matter that could be fruitfully researched. The demographic scene in South Africa lends itself to a telling demonstration of the economic effects of population movements by way of contrasting the experience of the high fertility, youthful Black population - with a total fertility rate of around 37 after having been 6,75 in the 1950s - and that of the demographically older non-Blacks, among whom the Whites exhibit a fertility level way below the replacement rate of 2,1, while that of the Asians (Indians) and Coloureds has almost reached that rate. Since the former has a share of more than a dominant three-quarters in the aggregate South African population, the emphasis is inevitably on the economic consequences of rapid population growth and its attendant demographic magnitudes: fertility, mortality, migration, age and sex composition, spatial distribution and, what is called "economic quality" of the population as manifested in its supply of enterprise. The analysis is presented in the traditional supply and demand paradigm. Supply is examined by linking demographic forces to the five factors of production whose co-operation is responsible for the generation of the national product: entrepreneurship, (ordinary) labour, natural resources, technology and capital. The population has to generate an adequate supply of entrepreneurs, and the two human factors of production have to have one or more of the non-human factors at their disposal to accommodate the population economically. Proliferating human numbers can be destructive of natural resources, and in conflict with the formation of capital, the accumulation of technology and their potential economic welfare-enhancing operation. The demand aspects are analysed by linking on to the four macro demand components in the national accounts system: Household consumption, Government consumption, Investment (visa- vis saving) and foreign trade. Some of the issues discussed are: the stability deriving from a population elasticity of demand close to 1,0; the comparative significance of the population versus the affluence factor; the role of high fertility in the acquisition, at the election polls, of economic power via political power, and its consequences for the diversion of demand; the capital absorbed in "demographic investments"; and the significance of the South African factor endowment for its foreign trade. From the above analyses conclusions could be drawn about econormc growth, poverty, unemployment and the economic value of a life. In human populations, in sub-Saharan Africa at least, quantity is the adversary of quality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit is merkwaardig dat Bevolking, wat aan die middelpunt staan van die Rykdom van Volkere indien nie van die Armoede nie, so weinig aandag in die ekonomiese literatuur van Suid-Afrika geniet. Dit is waarskynlik waarom die regering in 1997 'n NUWE bevolkingsbeleid - so gespesifiseer in die konsepwitskrif - kan voorstel wat weinig aanduiding toon van 'n waardering vir die Ekonomie van Demografiese tendense. Hierdie dissertasie is 'n poging om te demonstreer waarom die leemte gevul moet word, en om spesifieke onderwerpe, binne die breëre raamwerk, vir verdere ondersoek aan die lig te bring. Die demografiese toneel in Suid-Afrika leen homself tot 'n treffende demonstrasie van die ekonomiese gevolge van demografiese tendense by wyse van 'n kontrastering van die ondervinding van die snelgroeiende, jeugdige Swart bevolking - met 'n totale fertiliteitsyfer (TFS) van nagenoeg 3.7, nadat dit gedurende die vyftigerjare 6,75 was - en dié van die demografies-ouer nie-Swart bevolking, onder wie die Blankes, met 'n TFS wat reeds ver benede verplasingskoers van 2,1 is, en Asiërs (Indiërs) en Kleurlinge wat alreeds byna daardie peil bereik het. Aangesien eersgenoemde etniese groep ook nog 'n oorheersende aandeel van meer as driekwart in die totale SA bevolkingsgrootte het, is dit onvermydelik dat die nadruk sal val op die ekonomiese gevolge van snelle bevolkingsgroei met die daarmee samehangende demografiese groothede: fertiliteit, mortaliteit, migrasie, leeftyd- en geslagsamestelling, geografiese verspreiding en ook "ekonomiese kwaliteit" soos dit in die aanbod van ondernemerskap gemanifesteer word. Die analise word in die tradisionele vraag en aanbod paradigma aangebied. Aanbod word ontleed deur demografiese faktore te koppel met die vyf produksiefaktore waarvan die samewerking vir die skepping van die nasionale produk verantwoordelik is: ondernemers, arbeid, natuurlike hulpbronne, tegnologie en kapitaal. Die bevolking moet 'n voldoende aantalondernemers verwek, en die twee menslike produksiefaktore benodig die bystand van een of meer van die niemenslike faktore, om die bevolking ekonomies te kan akkommodeer. Vermenigvuldigende mensegetalle kan vernietigend inwerk op natuurlike hulpbronne en kan in konflik verkeer met kapitaalvorming en tegnologie-akkumulasie en hul ekonomiese welsynsbevorderende werking. Die vraag-aspekte word analiseer deur aan te sluit by die vier makro vraagkomponente in die nasionale boekhoudingstelsel : huishoudelike verbruik, regeringskonsumpsie, belegging (vis-a-vis besparing) en buitlandse handel. Aangeleenthede wat onder die loep geneem word, sluit, onder andere, die volgende in: stabiliteit wat voorspruit uit 'n bevolkingselastisiteit van vraag wat nagenoeg 1 is; die vergelykende invloed van ekonomiese oorvloed teenoor die menslike getallefaktor; die rol van hoë fertiliteit in die verkryging van ekonomiese mag deur middel van die stembus en sy gevolge vir die omleiding van vraag; die kapitaal wat in "demografiese beleggings" geabsorbeer word; en die betekenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse produksiefaktorbegunstiging vir sy internasionale handel. Uit bogenoemde ontledings kan gevolgtrekkinge gemaak word ten opsigte van ekonomiese groei, armoede, werkloosheid en die ekonomiese waarde van 'n menselewe. In menslike bevolkings - minstens sover dit sub-Sahara-Afrika betref - staan kwantiteit in 'n adversatiewe houding teenoor kwaliteit.

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