2010: My First Trip to America: Comparing America to SA in various ways
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My Trip to America – Massive Petrol price hikes – S.Africa’s very bad Petrol price habits Versus the USA – Comparing Laws: S.Africa Versus the USA – Obama’s Healthcare bypassed
Original Post Date: 2011-01-02 Time: 04:00:05 Posted By: Jan
I see Grazy posted an article about a massive petrol price increase that is about to hit us. See: South Africa: Whopping petrol price hike to hit SA
In South Africa they have an “equalisation fund” where they do a lot of calculations on the price of petrol over a period of months. Then depending on whether the fund is gaining or losing money they then adjust the price of petrol, diesel, etc.
So in South Africa petrol prices everywhere are either exactly identical or they differ very slightly from the coast to the interior (correct me if I am wrong). In essence, petrol is highly controlled.
During Apartheid, the owner of the very successful supermarket chain Pick ‘n Pay decided to sell petrol on the premises and he wanted to undercut petrol stations. The Govt outlawed this.
In my view this was very, very bad. This flies in the face of free market capitalism. There should in fact be nothing stopping different oil companies from acquiring their own oil, carrying out their own manufacturing and distribution processes and increasing or decreasing the prices according to their own initiative and business practises. The same goes for individual petrol stations. And if these businesses want to team up with other companies or if other companies like Pick ‘n Pay want to sell fuel in conjunction with groceries – all this SHOULD BE ALLOWED. That is Free Market capitalism is all about.
At the end of the day the whole economy will benefit from this.
When I was driving around Oregon, California and Nevada during my trip to the USA you could see different prices at different petrol (gas) stations. The prices differed by a few cents, but that is how it should be. Let each business decide what it will sell for and when, and let the buyers choose when and where to buy. Even if it is a few cents.
Recently, First National Bank in South Africa introduced a scheme which claims that you can save up to 15% on your fuel costs if you buy fuel through them. They have a calculator on their website which allows you to calculate your fuel cost savings. I checked, for me it won’t amount to much – maybe 2.5%. But for people who travel a lot, the price savings could be significant.
The big thing this economy needs is: LESS RULES and LESS REGULATION – to allow all sorts of businesses to be CREATIVE. This is what Free Market Capitalism is all about.
Those (idiotic fools) who claim that Free Market Capitalism is all about greed and nothing more, keep forgetting that the GREED of Free Market Capitalism only works IF THE BUYER ACTUALLY LIKES THE PRODUCT. In Free Market Capitalism, you cannot be “greedy” without also providing EVEN BETTER SERVICE THAN ANYONE ELSE!!! In Free Market Capitalism it is virtually impossible to make any kind of headway unless you organise a monopoly, (which in America is actually illegal – which is very good). It is a complete lie, that the socialists want you to believe that Free Market Capitalism is this hideous engine that is destroying your country. Free Market Capitalism needs buyers – by the millions.
Unlike all these socialist countries, let me remind you of a very important fact that none of these socialists and control freaks will tell you. In Free Market Capitalism, and all across the USA and in Corporate South Africa, you have massive businesses with millions of customers and they operate on extremely NARROW profit margins. If their input costs change very slightly (e.g. like when the ANC Govt enacts these crazy Marxist Socialist Labour Laws), then those businesses technically head for bankruptcy immediately. They have to jump around and make structural changes IN ORDER TO SURVIVE – AND THEY DO!!
In America, competition is very tight. I observed those Americans at work, at home and in their businesses, and I can see very clearly why the economy makes Americans go mad and why the Americans are so locked into everything economic. I want to write about it.
I left there with a real feeling of respect for the way the Americans work and how they get their wealth. There is nothing to be jealous about those people and their wealth, whether they are the middle class or the rich. Make no mistake, those people work for their money and they work hard for it.
I now understand them much better and see them in a very different light. I see too how they manoevre, and I can appreciate the power of the rich in the USA and how they work.
Before going to America I often argued with Dr Richard Cummings, ex-CIA and author of “The Pied Piper”. He told me time and again that the Rich and the Super Rich in America actually have no desire to sell out capitalism or their own country.
In South Africa we have far too many laws which restrict the growth of our economy. If we had the same types of laws as the Americans have you would see this country grow faster than you can believe. The businesspeople of this country, especially the non-black businesspeople are EXTREMELY CREATIVE. This is demonstrated merely by the way they have survived the hideous ANC Socialist laws of this country.
One of the most destructive laws ever enacted in this country are our Labour Laws. These laws stopped multinational businesses from investing here. They told President Mbeki that the 2 things holding them back wre:-
(a) Labour Laws
I heard from a friend that Multinational Companies investing in South Africa are actually not forced to comply with Affirmative Action and racial quotas to the same extent as local companies. This is an example of how the Rich really operate. They operate like this in the USA and everywhere. In the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, the Japanese American millionaire author explains clearly (I paraphrase, but this is the gist): “Common people work according to the rules but the rich can get past laws which are enacted to destroy them and be to their detriment. Learn to be like the Rich”. This happens in America.
Obama enacted his massive socialist trash medical care law. And what has been happening since? There is now a long list of American corporations who have gone in and twisted the Govt’s arm to BE EXEMPT FROM HEALTH CARE LAWS!!!
Similar companies came to South Africa and twisted the Govt’s arm to BE EXEMPT FROM SOUTH AFRICA’S HIDEOUS RACIAL QUOTAS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION!!!
That is how big business operates. They do it, not because of some evil plot. They do it in order to survive and to deliver a profit to the shareholders. This is the creativity of businesspeople.
Why does the ANC agree to it? Because it needs the business, the employment and the taxes.
Sadly, South Africa’s oil industry is still rooted in the past.
In the past, oil was a strategic item. Sasol with its tremendously advanced oil-from-coal capabilities was producing oil much cheaper inside South Africa than we could get it from the Middle East. But for strategic purposes, in order to protect our coal supplies, which while massive, are still limited, the Apartheid Govt did not allow SASOL to completely undercut and destroy all the oil that we were getting from the Middle East. So they forced Sasol to sell oil at the same price as middle east oil, and Sasol made incredible profits. Sasol is a truly brilliant creation and prior to South Africa doing it, only the Germans had ever tried to turn coal into oil. But it remains an area where South Africa was way ahead of the world. Sasol was preserved because the Apartheid Govt was battening down the hatches to fight to the death against the rest of the world in a 25 year war – which never happened because they caved in because of American promises to protect South Africa from communism.
I am a deep believer in Free Market Capitalism, the competition and the incredible initiative it will unleash. If the capitalists of South Africa were freed from their shackles, you would see South Africa catapult forward with 10% growth per annum. I have no doubt of that.
If they can manage 3% growth in a recession with ANC laws pressing down, do not be surprised if they could pull off even 15% GDP growth per annum.
And do NOT think the ANC is responsible for the 3% growth. I can tell you where the 3% growth is coming from. It is coming from AUTOMATION and INTERNAL EFFICIENCES that corporations are applying all the time and that includes recruiting as few people as possible! Companies are becoming more effective with EVER DWINDLING STAFF LEVELS!!! The ANC does not tell you that!!
The ANC did a hideous thing with its labour laws. So now we have a situation in South Africa where the ANC gives multinational companies a chance to flaunt their labour laws while local businesses bear the crucifix fully on their shoulders. So the ANC is destroying local business and initiative while succumbing to foreign businesses!! How beneficial is that?
The ANC is an enemy of business in the way that ZANU PF in Zimbabwe are. The ANC does all it can to hobble and control business. In another example of capitalists adjusting – the LABOUR BROKER market exploded and prospered as a result of the ANC’s crazy Labour Laws. Now that this market bypassed the ANC’s original laws and is thriving (capitalists always thrive if you leave them to themselves), the ANC wants to destroy the Labour Brokers.
Guess what!? If the ANC destroys the Labour Brokers then the next step is for jobs in this country to be shipped off to other countries!!!
The ANC, with its Marxist Socialist outlook is far worse than the Apartheid Govt’s Afrikaner socialism was. At least Apartheid tried, to a large degree to remain capitalist with a tinge of “Afrikaner socialism”. The ANC strives for total Marxist Socialism. In order to save COSATU and to keep the workers as their personal chatels and slaves, the ANC is going to destroy this economy. The ANC has already done immeasurable damage to this country despite the whole world being open to dealing with us.
More than 5 years ago, the late Dr Chris Jordaan told me that South Africa had then already lost something like R90 billion in foreign investment because the ANC was driving away MOST OF THE FOREIGN INVESTORS WHO WANT TO COME HERE! The ANC and the newspapers won’t tell you that MOST FOREIGN COMPANIES WHO WANTED TO COME HERE RAN AWAY WHEN THEY SAW THE LABOUR LAWS!!!
The damage the ANC has done to this country is incredible. Many millions of black people who were employed during Apartheid for small wages are now sitting with NO WAGES AT ALL! You can thank the ANC for that!!
The ANC already has business in this country struggling to just survive. But now the ANC is going to make it much tougher.
But deep inside this country are lots and lots of highly educated or just plain people with lots of good ideas who are all motivated and keen to work – but they will never get a chance because the ANC continues to crush personal initiative and Free Market Capitalism. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, even the Third World is passing us by.
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