Because of high unemployment and poverty levels, all South African municipalities have been tasked to promote local economic development (LED) as part of their integrated development plans (IDPs). Various central and provincial government departments, organizations such as SALGA as well as consultants provide LED guidance and support to the municipalities. And academics do research on LED and small towns in South Africa and publish their results in scientific journals. Yet, given the above, there is an aspect that really puzzles us.
In two recent publications in the South African Journal of Science, we explored the enterprise richness, defined as the number of different enterprise types, of South African towns:
Remarkable and enduring regularities were observed between the number of enterprise types and the total number of enterprises in towns.
Log-log relationships which endured over 70 years were recorded and these relationships raise important issues about the nature of entrepreneurship and its dynamics in different-sized South African towns. The figure shows such a relationship that covers a range of villages with fewer than 10 enterprises to towns with 350 enterprises.
Orderliness in enterprise development in South African towns has been observed as statistically significant correlations between different characteristics of South African towns. One of the first correlations noted was a statistically significant positive relationship between the population of South African towns and the number of their enterprises. This was observed in the Free State, the Northern Cape, the Western Cape (see graph) and the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve. In fact, towns in the Eastern Cape Karoo exhibited such relationships over a period of a century. One can conclude the relationship is ubiquitous in South Africa. Continue reading “Of people and enterprises in South African towns”
On an early morning walk years ago a friend told me about Eric Beinhocker’s book, The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics. In a review of the book, William Grassie said: “The genius of the book is Eric Beinhocker’s grand synthesis of diverse fields of research, including physics, evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, game theory, information theory, and economic history, all to tell the big story about why traditional neo-classical economic theory fails, and how “Complexity Economics” works.”
Tourism is not a clearly defined industry in the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC). The key factor in the Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa is to relate purchases by tourists to the total supply of these goods and services. Quantification of tourism enterprise numbers does not form part of the national assessments; yet it was necessary to know how many tourism-related enterprises could be impacted by shale gas production in the study area of the Karoo.
So how did we endeavour to solve this problem?
Continue reading “Challenges in assessing the potential impacts of shale gas production on tourism in the Karoo”