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BRICS crumble, commodities crash and Africa's climate changes, 20 November

Speakers: Patrick Bond and Toendepi Shonhe
Date: Friday 20 November 2015
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal

The world commodity price crash that began in 2011 gathered pace in 2014-15 and with it, has left massive mining houses in financial chaos and commodity-dependent emerging markets in recession. China's demand for raw materials has plunged, and its U-turn into export of its glutted steel output is destroying South Africa's industry. The majority of the BRICS countries are suffering economically, and Africa Rising is now last-decade hype. Seen from above - e.g. the BRICS' futile appeal to the G20 to reflate the world economy last weekend, and the GoldmanSachs closure of the BRIC investment fund last week after 85% losses - this represents the demise of hopes to forge an 'alternative' to global economic injustice, especially in relation to African development finance. Seen from below - e.g. a local tobacco market in central Zimbabwe which had shifted production from large-scale white plantations connected to British wholesalers and the auction floors, to small-scale land redistribution beneficiaries newly reliant upon Chinese tobacco buyers - the disaster is just as obvious. From both above and below, climate change is exacerbating these crises. If the BRICS self-evidently are not replacing - but instead amplifying - global capitalist uneven development, what are peasants and others seeking a transformed world to do?

Patrick Bond is CCS director and co-editor of BRICS: An anti-capitalist critique (Jacana, 2015); Toendepi Shonhe is a CCS PhD student surveying the post-2000 social, political and accumulation processes in Wedza, Zimbabwe.

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