Reflections on South Africa, from an economic history perspective

Johan Fourie is professor of Economics at Stellenbosch University.

I teach economic history to undergraduate and graduate students and writes frequently on the topic, either by contributing to research or for a more popular audience, as columnist and blogger.

My greatest wish is to be cited in a Nobel lecture, preferably by one of my students.


Fourie, J. and Greyling, J., 2023. Wheat productivity in the Cape Colony in 1825: evidence from newly transcribed tax censuses. Agrekon.
Fourie, J. and Garmon Jr, F., 2022. The settlers’ fortunes: Comparing tax censuses in the Cape Colony and early American republic. The Economic History Review.
Martins, I., Cilliers, J. and Fourie, J., 2022. Legacies of loss: The health outcomes of slaveholder compensation in the British Cape Colony. Explorations in Economic History.


One of these authors has followed the exploits of Bennie Griesel over many years. The other is @deon.meyer.author.

Wat 'n voorreg om saam met Deon Meyer by 'n @media24 ontbyt oor boeke (en ekonomie) te kon gesels.
Ten non-fiction books I'm reading this summer.

Link in bio.

#midjourney prompt: A scribbled toddlers crayon drawing of a Portuguese Man o' War.
Who are the economic historians on the economics job market this year?

Link in bio.

#midjourney prompt: A pointilist piece depicting a young apprentice overlooking a vast plain where history unfolds with events such as the Industrial Revolution, missionaries, canals, monuments, globalisation, wealth and poverty, industry, manufacturing.
As sensible as many of Harvard's Growth Lab's recommendations for South Africa might be, the key question is this: will we, fifteen years from now, also only give the government a less-than-20% recommendation score?

Link in bio.

#midjourney prompt: An incomplete jigsaw puzzle of a woman in Sandton, where towering skyscrapers are crafted from stacks of colourful coins and banknotes beneath a swirling sky painted in hues of economic growth and decline that morph into key economic symbols.
Showing the way in front of a beautiful artwork by @mrchandlerhouse.
Each verse, a study of the ages,
pages turning, insights leaping from sages.
Past and present, a tangled thread,
where history’s lessons are quietly read.

#Econhist papers I (mostly) admire, Nov 2023. Link in bio. ($)

#midjourney prompt: Tilt-shift photography of Nigerian railway workers.
💡 The next phase of capitalism

As technology advances rapidly, our challenge becomes not only to harness its potential but also to ensure our societal structures evolve at a pace that can accommodate, regulate, and guide these transformations for the betterment of humanity.

Link in bio.

#midjourney prompt: A notebook scribbled with plans about the next phase of #capitalism, with detailed graphs and mindmaps to get to #biorobotics capitalism, #nanocapitalism, #cosmiccapitalism and #virtualreality capitalism.
Wonderful to see former student Thoko Gausi again and finally meet her family (who could not come for her graduation in 2021 because of Covid).
Banking on God.

Guest post by @stellenboschuni
postdoc @jakkalsenwol, sponsored by @ngkerk. Link in bio.

#midjourney prompt: Painting of 18th century Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.
How much education do you inherit?

Link in bio. With @daan_steenkamp.

#midjourney prompt: Intergenerational mobility in a series of panels reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's signature style.