South Africa’s Salvation: The War over Gold

  • R. W. Johnson


After the great rise in world oil prices of 1973–4 it became common practice in political and financial circles to perform a peculiar conjuring trick with trade statistics. A country was said to have two sorts of deficit (or, more rarely, surplus). There was the ‘non-oil deficit’ — used as the significant indicator figure for all practical purposes — and its poor relation, the ‘oil deficit’. It was a considerable sleight of hand since, at the end of the day, the figure which really counted was clearly the one which was inclusive of the vital oil. Undoubtedly this habit is rooted, deep down, in a vague but pervasive belief that some simple mineral, merely raised out of the soil of the happy country in which it lies, should not be allowed to ‘count’. Count, that is, in terms of international trade against such works of human ingenuity and labour as cars, televisions and jet planes. But, of course, count it does.


International Monetary Fund Gold Price Gold Reserve International Financial System South African Economy 
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  1. 1.
    J. K. Galbraith, Money. Whence it came, where it went (London, 1976) pp. 223–4.Google Scholar
  2. E, Mandel, Late Capitalism (London, 1975) pp. 335–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. W. Johnson 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Magdalen CollegeOxfordUK

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