Monthly Archives: February 2013

Weekend reading…

Are you letting the fear of being wrong rob you of being confidence?

  • SA’s Child Gauge 2012 – Suffer the Little Children (Daily Maverick article) – the lived experience of too many South African children is simply unacceptable. But life goes on.
  • Servaas van der Berg (my supervisor) takes on Adcorp “Adcorp’s employment and unemployment figures are not taken seriously by researchers – yet they can do much harm” and see Loane Sharp’s reply here (and Wittenberg and Kerr repeat the most important reasons why we shouldn’t take Adcorp’s figures seriously – see here)
  • Trevor Manuel and Lindiwe Sisulu crack down (at least on paper) on incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats.
  • When Churches act like businesses they shouldn’t be surprised when they get consumers (see here).
  • The ABSOLUTELY shocking state of infrastructure in Limpopo schools – pictures tell a thousand words
  • Interesting newsletter from “Governing Body Foundation” discussing ANA results and some advice for schools (citing our interview with M&G)
  • Bill Easterly brilliant as usual – discussing “The Ideology of Development” from which I draw the quote of the day:
    • The ideology of Development is not only about having experts design your free market for you; it is about having the experts design a comprehensive, technical plan to solve all the problems of the poor. These experts see poverty as a purely technological problem, to be solved by engineering and the natural sciences, ignoring messy social sciences such as economics, politics, and sociology”

Latest presentation on education in SA…

SALDRU presentation

Here are the slides for my recent SALDRU presentation titled “An overview of South African schooling: Understanding inequality and underperformance” (15 Feb 2013) – it has some of my more recent research…

Cool links from the intertrons…



  • Course outline for the course I co-lecture: Economic and Development Problems in Africa. The course is for international exchange students at Stellenbosch.
  • Well-written NYT article calling for more attention to boys-schooling. Basically we neglect male proclivities at our own educational peril.
  • A nice Economist article on why Scandinavian countries are succeeding across the board (and another one –  clearly the Economist has gone gaga for the Nordics, and rightly so)
  • Interesting Economist article on grit and why children need more than smarts to succeed:
    • But new research from a spate of economists, psychologists, neuroscientists and educators has found that the skills that see a student through college and beyond have less to do with smarts than with more ordinary personality traits, like an ability to stay focused and control impulses
  • Angus Deaton writes a book review of Stiglitz’s latest book and asks What’s wrong with inequality? (Lancet): “In effect, when inequality becomes large enough, the very rich no longer live in the same society as everyone else.
  • The essence of Cape Town hipsterism – The Woodstock Exchange (I love this place)
  • Quote of the day: “If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already – it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power – you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart – you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.” – David Foster Wallace