By Charles H. Feinstein

Charles Feinstein surveys years of South African fiscal background from the years previous eu settlements in 1652 via to the post-Apartheid period. Following the early part of gradual development, he charts the transformation of the economic system a result of discovery of diamonds and gold within the 1870s, and the quick upward push of within the wartime years. eventually, emphasizing the methods through which the black inhabitants was once disadvantaged of land, and brought on to provide exertions for white farms, mines and factories, Feinstein records the advent of apartheid after 1948, and its effects for monetary functionality

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The rate of increase in output responded favourably to these overall conditions, and in most parts of the world was much more rapid than in earlier decades of the nineteenth century. Following the discovery of gold and diamonds, South Africa was a full participant in this extended phase of growth and trade, with significant inflows of capital and migrants, and increased foreign trade. 1 shows the standing of the country, measured by GDP per capita, at the end of this growth phase. In 1913, at a level in 1990 dollars of some $1,600, South Africa was in twelfth place, a long way behind the three other dominions, each with per capita incomes in excess of $4,000, and also behind most of the European latecomers.

In other words, there is a choice between investing more or less labour in soils that will yield bumper crops under optimum conditions or sowing drought soils that always produce, but do not produce in quantity. The calculation can be even more complicated. Of the two major traditional grain crops . . 14 The poor quality of the grassland, and the great distances between sources of water, also necessitated extensive pastoral farming, with seasonal movements of livestock over a large area. 15 By contrast, a more co-operative relationship permitting a man from one area to use someone else’s land in a distant region was required by the more capricious rainfall and less varied vegetation and soil types in the vast western territory.

The war fought by a third tribe in the mid-1670s was the last occasion on which Khoikhoi in what is now the Western Cape offered organized resistance to white expansion. After that it would take another 100 years before the Europeans expanding eastward from this initial settlement made their first contact with the vanguard of Xhosa farmers moving westward along the coast. From that time forward the economic life of Africans and Europeans would be indissolubly bound together. One fundamental reason for the slow pace at which the settlers increased both their activity and their numbers, and thus the area over which they operated, was the policy of the VOC.

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