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The odour of capitalism rising up from the Ukraine war is ...

Ideas

The odour of capitalism rising up from the Ukraine war is unbearable

War-time lessons in the monetisation of morality

Dr Pali Lehohla

The odour from a shoe whose owner stepped in a cesspit cannot be removed by incessant swiping on the grass or mat. As the owner steps back into the bus the smell will make the trip an unbearable eternity for everyone. The shoe should be washed with soap and left to dry for days or thrown away.

The Russian-Ukraine war teeters the world towards a precipice and this provokes questions. Some secondary and consequential to primary ones. In the realm of the secondary, is Russia’s war on Ukraine raising interest rates or is it about supply shortages and value chain disruptions? Among the primary — is the war about the territorial integrity of the two countries and ethnicity? Is it a fight about superpower status between the US and erstwhile mighty Russia? Is it about rebalancing the multilateral system? Or, worse, is it about the appetite for testing the power of nuclear weapons on a grand scale? Or, better, is it about the progression towards the ultimate collapse of the capitalist economic system which has remained the prime mover since the two world wars and the Cold War?

On the face of it the war seems to represent a rise to the top in a competition of interest rates hike between national reserve banks. Across Europe and the US they have spiked an upward movement in the rates. Not to be outdone, the governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced an increase in the repo rate by 50 basis points, putting the rate at its highest in almost 25 months. The repo rate is now 4.75%. ..

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