Innovating beyond Racial Capitalism: A Contribution towards the Analysis of the Political Economy of Post-Apartheid South Africa

Abstract: This dissertation provides an economic history narrative which analyses the accumulation path underpinning the development of racial capitalism in South Africa. The specific objective of this narrative is to analyse the degree to which the adoption of a national system of innovation (NSI) analytical framework by the first post-apartheid government led to science, technology and innovation (STI) policies and strategies, which were appropriate for the development objectives of the new democratic political economy. The dissertation first explores whether the NSI framework is sufficiently theoretically robust to offer the possibility of a rupture in the reproduction of the relations of production inherited from apartheid. It then proceeds to analyse the specific articulation of the NSI framework in South Africa in terms of these transformational possibilities. Consequently, one of the focuses of this work is on the co-evolution of the political economy and institutional conceptualisation of the NSI, especially with respect to post-apartheid history. This narrative is located within a theoretical framework synthesised from the literatures of evolutionary economics, systems of innovation and regulation theory. The main tenet of this dissertation is that the limitations of transformation under a capitalist mode of production prevent the achievement of a sustainable and equitable growth and development path for South Africa. This study concludes with an exploration of alternative interpretations of the systems of innovation approach to economic planning and their varying capacity for engendering the type of structural transformation required for sustainable development.