Interventionism, authoritarianism, and the liberal state in south Africa

Philosophia Africana 5 (2):53-70 (2002)
The liberal constitution in South Africa, which entrenches a certain kind of socio-economic organisation, renders systems of socio-economic organisation traditional to Africa dysfunctional. These traditional communitarian systems contain within themselves structures endorsing harmony, mutuality and reciprocity as ground rules or values which distribute significant resources (both material and moral) to all agents in accordance with their socially determined deserts. The absence of these structures in South Africa contributes to a condition, inflamed by liberal structures, of rights paralysis under which agents are unable to translate rights into substantial benefits. In this article I examine this condition with reference to two traditional systems of socio-economic organization to exhibit their advantages as correctives to the paralysis of rights, and to compare them in order to establish which one is preferable.
Keywords African philosophy  Communitarianism  South Africa  Socio-economic rights
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