Business Books

Give a man a fish (because not knowing how to fish isn’t the main problem)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed James Ferguson, author of “Give a man a fish”.

Ferguson spoke about his book which examines the rise of social welfare programs in southern Africa.

Scroll down to listen to the audio for more detail.

Description on Amazon

In “Give a Man a Fish” James Ferguson examines the rise of social welfare programs in southern Africa, in which states make cash payments to their low income citizens.

More than 30% South Africa's population receive such payments, even as pundits elsewhere proclaim the neoliberal death of the welfare state.

These programs' successes at reducing poverty under conditions of mass unemployment, Ferguson argues, provide an opportunity for rethinking contemporary capitalism and for developing new forms of political mobilisation.

Interested in an emerging "politics of distribution," Ferguson shows how new demands for direct income payments (including so-called "basic income") require us to reexamine the relation between production and distribution, and to ask new questions about markets, livelihoods, labour and the future of progressive politics.

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Social grants do a lot of good in terms of poverty relief.

James Ferguson

Social grants haven’t taken the place of wage labour.

James Ferguson

People are worried about dependency. However, we’re all dependent on other people!

James Ferguson

What’s the point of creating incentives for work when there simply aren’t jobs? Maybe there just aren’t going to be jobs for everybody?

James Ferguson

The South African system is sustainable.

James Ferguson

The amounts are tiny, but allow people to do things like go out and look for a job or to take care of their social responsibilities.

James Ferguson

Destitution makes people passive, not these tiny social grants.

James Ferguson

Production is steaming along. However, the fruits of production aren’t being distributed well.

James Ferguson

Without social grants South Africa would be a fundamentally different place today.

James Ferguson

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