In this book, Mario Scerri provides the reader with a novel and sweeping rendition of South Africa's economic history from the early part of the twentieth century to the present. He applies a broad innovation systems approach to this history spanning the period from 1916, which saw the drafting of South Africa's first Science and Technology plan to the first fourteen years of the post-apartheid period.
The introduction of the book lays out the scope of the work and its focus on the identification of continuities and ruptures in the economic history of South Africa. The first part of the book deals with the theoretical foundations of the approach. The first chapter in this section looks at the emergence of evolutionary economics and innovation systems theory as the basis for the main countervailing argument against the neoclassical/neoliberal orthodoxy. The second chapter covers the main debates on the economic history of South Africa and looks at the several varieties of the liberal and Marxist renditions of this history. The theoretical section lays the foundation for the history that is covered in the four chapters which follow. These cover three broad periods since 1916.
The first runs up to 1948 with the election victory of the National Party. The second covers the apartheid period and the last follows with an account of the post apartheid political economy. An endnote provides the basis for the analysis of what may possibly be the emergence of a fourth main period in the evolution of the South African system of innovation.