Friday, May 31, 2002

Constitutional Time?

It's taken constant battles - civil, international and now terrorist - not just open democracy, media and political debates - and over nearly 250 years to preserve the framework and goals of the US Constitution.

South Africa has one of the most advavnced, far-sighted and ambitious constitutional frameworks and bill of rights since 1776.

So less than 10 years on, how's South Africa doing in preserving this constitutional vision and applying its frameowrk to building long-term growth and the kind of economically open and successful society?

We should definitely have some hard comparisons, but some rough guides may be to how long it takes to leverager a strong national constitutional culture into globally dominant players:

  • USA only hit their stride after 150 years and European's self-destructiveness in the First World War (1914-18)
  • It took at least 200 years from the Bill of Rights in 1689 to fully express the full synthesis of maritime trade, Victoriania and the Industrial Revolution

How long will it take South Africa?

And can it avoid the pitfalls not just from the histories of promising constitutions (US, UK, France etc) but more critically from the critical problems it faces to preserving it's own good constitutional intentions:

  1. Terrible crime rate
  2. Very high HIV infection rates, especially among single mothers
  3. Incredible low rates of secondary & tertiary education and training
  4. Very high unemployment rates


Thursday, May 02, 2002

Evolution of the Commons

Also worth looking at: