Written for students, laypersons, and scholars who seek a deeper understanding of the roots of apartheid in South Africa, this book focuses upon the relationship between apartheid and capitalism. The author argues, in contrast to prevailing views held both in South Africa and the West, that rather than resulting from capitalism, apartheid is the antithesis of capitalism. In short, Williams asserts, the evolution of apartheid can be seen as a struggle against market forces in order to confer privilege and status on South African whites.
Williams begins with a brief overview of South African history, the racial and ethnic diversity of its peoples, and the development of thinking about apartheid. He then highlights some of South Africa’s legal institutions, particularly its racially discriminatory laws, and traces the historical forces behind racially discriminatory labor law. Subsequent chapters apply standard economic analysis to apartheid in business and the labor market and consider market challenges to apartheid and governmental responses. Finally, Williams summarizes recent changes to apartheid laws and offers a general discussion of the lessons about racial relations that can be drawn from the South African experience.