South Africa is a country where people love to be nice – but are we still nice, when we put down the beers, wave good bye, and take up the reins of our corporate or civic powers, or the steering wheels of our cars?
Iraj Abedian, founder and chief executive of Pan-African Investment and Research Services, deplores our tattered social capital in this article. (After tearing into corporate ethics, or the lack of them, he goes on to identify the lack of effective government as a significant problem, and among things, calls for the depoliticisation of the civil service.)
Over the past decade, a gradual but tangible rift has emerged between the country’s socio-economic “formal (professed)” as opposed to “informal (practised)” ethics. For example, in the business sector, business executives and corporations formally subscribe to the “codes of good corporate governance”. Their annual glossy reports are decorated with impressive evidence of their socially responsible citizenship.
Yet operationally they do not hesitate to collude and/or abuse their market powers.
Do you think South Africans are as nice in practice as we are in theory? How do we build the social capital of trust and mutual respect?