We need this sector, that has as its engines individuals who go about solving the problems of their fellow man, to be as free as is reasonably possible. Instead of more state regulation, we need the private sector to grow and it can only do so if the public sector shrinks. The strength of the public sector is dependent on the already existing strength of the private sector, as the former is sustained by taxes, which are created by valuable economic activity, a domain of the private sector.
We need to make the entrepreneur's job - solving problems and meeting demands - easier. First and foremost, we need to make it less strenuous to hire South African employees. Remove the million hoops that burdensome labour laws make entrepreneurs jump through to create employment. Make established markets, like banking, the ICT sector, and energy generation and distribution, easier to enter and thrive in because there would be no state-imposed barrier to entry like regulations whose costs are a deterrent to potential new entrants. Easier by not taking a large part of entrepreneurs' wealth through taxation, so much so that we discourage their aspirations for growth because the more they earn, the more the state takes away.
Above all else, South Africa needs deregulation on such a large scale that it would make the ghost of Karl Marx come and try to haunt us.
The private sector is premised on two or more parties exchanging goods voluntarily. By nature, a regulation, which is a third party imposition, is alien to this sector. It is a virus, for if regulation was necessary as most proponents posit, it would have been part of the terms for the original trade between the two or more parties. The private sector can only thrive and prosper, therefore, if the public sector in all its manifestations, shrinks to the point of being a non-entity.
Instead of "more state" this, or "more state" that we need to, as a country, create an environment that allows for the best among us - the problem solvers - to do their job to the best of their abilities. For it is the nature of free trade that it is mutually beneficial. Instead of plundering the resources of private individuals for some state project, we need the scope of the mutually beneficial nature of private transactions to grow even larger.
The state must stop trying to kill the private sector, and ironically itself in the long run, for South Africa to prosper.This article was first published on City Press on 3 August 2020