Talking Point July 2020

A succinct discussion of selected topical, legal matters

Dear Friends and Colleagues

We wish you and your family health and strength in these difficult Covid-19 times.

I take great pleasure in submitting the July 2020 edition of  Talking Point to you.

We are still considering “retiring” Talking Point, and replacing it with a new publication.  I would appreciate your input in this regard.  Please email me at gunnard@walkers.law.

This edition is also on our website at http://walkers.co.za/.

Thomas Sowell (born on 30 June 1930) is a both revered (by his supporters) and reviled (by his critics) USA economist and social theorist.  He is at 90 still a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a prolific author. 

Sowell earned a BA degree in economics from Harvard University (1958), an MA degree in economics from Columbia University (1959), and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).

Whilst earning his degrees, he considered himself a Marxist.  However, after a year working at the US Labor Department, he became a free-market libertarian.  Studying the effects of a variety of government interventions in the marketplace, including minimum wage laws, led him to the conclusion that free competitive markets were the institutional avenues for betterment and prosperity, especially for the least well-off in society.  He found that those planning, guiding, and administrating the regulatory and welfare state had self-interested goals and purposes that often had little or nothing to do with improving the circumstances of those for whom such legislation supposedly had been passed.

Sowell is the author of some 40 books, and he makes his points in an erudite and witty manner: 

Sowell is the author of some 40 books, and he makes his points in an erudite and witty manner: 

“I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

“One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.”

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution’, the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

“The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.”

“Mystical references to ‘society’ and its programs to ‘help’ may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.”

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

More quotes from Sowell

In this issue:

To mask or not to mask

Clearly, Covid-19 is not a joking matter, but some of the regulations promulgated under the National Disaster Management Act have been distinctly odd.  We mention one aspect that has not been considered in the media.

The children are not the problem

We discuss the recent Constitutional Court decision regarding the dilemma at a private school of obstreperous parents.

Support thy neighbour

We discuss a recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision concerning Neighbour Law, the part of the law that regulates the concept of being a “good neighbour”, and property law.

Beware of meeting with competitors

A cartel exists when businesses agree to act together instead of competing with each other.  This agreement is designed to drive up the profits of cartel members while maintaining the illusion of competition.  We discuss a recent New Zealand case to illustrate the risk.

How close is too close?

We discuss a recent decision of the Western Cape Division of the High Court dealing with a claim for damages suffered due to personal injury.

Perception counts

The famous case in this issue is the source of the phrase “justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on Talking Point. Please email me at gunnard@walkers.law.

Regards

Gunnar Dahl

Chairman