Contradictions in consumer credit: innovations in South African super-exploitation: Patrick Bond
In a bit of a spot and need some money? It is so quick and easy to get access to cash these days – you hardly even have to leave home. If you’ve been employed for two months or more and are over 18, you can get a loan from Qwiek Loans even if you’ve been blacklisted. Walk into Standard Bank and the tellers are wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Need A Loan?’ Worse, if you earn as little as $100 a month, the blue bank suggests that you can qualify for ‘up to $30 000 with a Standard Bank Personal Loan.’ Turn on the TV and a Cash Converters commercial asks: ‘Do you need instant cash? Payday Advance™ is an instant cash loan against your next salary.’ Cheery music plays in the background of the ad which invites viewers to SMS ‘CASH’ to a number to get information on how to get ‘instant cash’. (De Waal 2013)
Does the South African economy – especially its retail circuit of capital – depend H[FHVVLYHO\RQFRQVXPHU¿QDQFH",VWKLVGHSHQGHQF\WHQDEOHLQWKHZRUOG¶VPRVW unequal major society (Bhorat 2013; World Bank 2014) where the world’s highest per capita protest rate over the past quarter century is found (Alexander 2010); generating the most militant working class as judged by the World Economic Forum (2013); hosting the most fraud-riven corporate class according to Pricewaterhouse &RRSHUV+RVNHQZLWKWKHWKLUGKLJKHVWSUR¿WUDWHDPRQJVWPDMRUFRXQWULHV (IMF 2013), shaped by ubiquitous advertising and peer pressure aimed at Westernstyle conspicuous consumption?