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Thomas Piketty und das Massaker von Marikana

Peter Alexander

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Schlüsselwörter: Piketty, Marikana, Massaker, African National Congress, Lonmin, Bergleute, Streik, Südafrika


Thomas Piketty and the Marikana Massacre.


Thomas Piketty opens his bestselling Capital in the Twenty-first Century with the spectre of South Africa’s 2012 Marikana Massacre. He uses the example to illustrate the awful realities of contemporary inequality, the way these throw up “distributional conflict”, and the threat that is posed to democratic societies. This article responds to Piketty’s “telescope of historically grounded economics” with the “microscope of forensic sociology”. What Piketty finds is a conflict over production of value, not just its distribution, and the way this is rooted in a capitalist crisis. Moreover, the massacre arose from a commonality of interests linking the victims’ employer, a major mining corporation, and South Africa’s social democratic government. Despite loss of lives, workers continued their struggle and won a significant victory. It is proposed that, in keeping with Piketty’s account of historical reversals in inequality trends, and in contrast with his latest proposals, the creation of egalitarian society will involve massive social struggles, of which Marikana is a small yet important example.

Keywords: Piketty, Marikana, massacre, African National Congress, Lonmin, miners, strike, South Africa


Bibliographie: Alexander, Peter: Thomas Piketty und das Massaker von Marikana, PERIPHERIE, 1-2015, S. 12-28.