Progress and Pressure


I’ve often thought about what is necessary to help South Africa, given the opportunities the country has available as the world’s most undervalued currency:

Although ppp (*purchasing power parity) is a poor predictor of exchange rates in the short-term, it stacks up better over long periods. An analysis of data going back to 1986 shows that currencies deemed undervalued by the Big Mac index tend to strengthen, on average, in the subsequent ten years (and vice versa). Something for investors to chew on.

This week I found a framework to categorise progress, namely Type I and Type II.

South Africa desperately needs Type II progress to catch up with Southern Africa on key issues like education.

In London, I’m mostly exposed to the noise that Type I creates, but that is possibly not where to look for solutions.

Certainly key is inequality, recent listenings on meritocracy speak to the start of the thread in unravelling the issue of inequality in the UK, and perhaps even SA. My key takeaway is that we should only be innovative in domains that further the greater good, i.e. carefully consider/limit/monitor Type I progress.


UK SMEs are relatively terrible (The UK’s Productivity Problem: Hub No Spokes):

A long and lengthening tail of stationary companies explains why the UK has a one third productivity gap with its international competitors.

Near-zero rates of productivity growth among the 99%-ers are a feature of all regions and almost all sectors

Even the best-performing region (London) and best-performing sector (professional, scientific and technical) in the lower tail has mustered productivity growth of only 2% and 4%.

This seems like a great opportunity, and speaks to Type II progress required as mentioned earlier. Funding access, something I know a little bit about, seems key:

Getting access to the necessary funds is an obvious barrier for SMEs in Britain and government schemes have largely failed to change this.

Who is Matt Arderne

I’ll be posting these here for further discussion