To kill a mocking bird

Corruption kills.  It's time for action in SA 

It's time for brutal honesty.

The recent COP 27 continued to shuffle the deckchairs while the band played its endless drone of irrelevance.  The two critical issues of global corruption and global leadership were not addressed.

Corruption is akin to a virulent sexually transmitted disease.  And it kills.  It infects rapidly regardless of race, gender, language or religion.

It kills hopes and dreams.

It kills families and societies.

It kills corporates, and ultimately will destroy our planet.

In SA it is killing the massive potential of 60 million people.

It's time to fix things.

The measure of corruption in SA - Three critical measures

Every human system has an 'energy' level, whether a sports team, a company or a country.  No human system can perform outside of its own 'energy envelope'.

The most honest way to measure this energy is to simply look at the outputs.  And there are three critical measures that determine the capability of a nation.

These are National IQ, National Human Capital Index (measures the economic well being of citizens) and Corruption.

If we combine this in my system energy algorithm we can see that SA's current system energy is close to a terminal level of 22%.  (Japan by comparison is at 80%.)

Again let's call a spade a spade.  The SA system is terminally ill.  It is the 'thickest of BRICS' with an IQ of 68 (the level of an imbecile), a Human Capital Index of 0,4 and a criminal and disgraceful National Corruption Index also of 0,4.  (This means citizens expect six out of ten government employees to lie, cheat or steal.)

SA as a country has all the potential to be the smartest and most successful of the BRICS countries.   Right now it is being run by what Carlo Cipolla in his wonderful book The Five Basic Laws of Human Stupidity describes as 'stupid bandits'.  These 'bandits' steal and then break what they steal - building a perfect entropic engine leading ultimately to the total and irreversible destruction of an entire economy.

Financial Costs of Corruption in SA 

 Economists in general agree that SA has the potential to grow by at least 5% per annum.  Translated this means the economy should have a GDP of at least an additional 100 billion dollars per annum (1,7 Trillion Rand).  Instead of having to listen to the endless political gobbledegook of 'transformation', the policy of which in its implementation is clearly corrupt to the core, government should have focused on building the expertise and integrity to manage a complex first world democratic and capitalist economy.

If the economy had been properly managed successful economic transformation could have been achieved by now.  

This 'mist of transformation' has led to tragic levels of unemployment, declining income per family, declining GDP, declining education and health care, a housing shortage, unacceptable levels of crime and police corruption, artery clogging appointments of ill-qualified 'comrades' to senior and critical posts, a rapidly declining infrastructure, daily blackouts, and no action against corrupt politicians.  

The list continues.  It is a recipe for total systemic collapse.

Instead the government chose a 'tribe first, people second' strategy, getting into bed with a triad of miserable thieves from India, which led to the now well documented evidence given to the Zondo Commission set up to investigate state capture. 

Every day we see more evidence of a low energy system in decline.  Rolling blackouts since 2008.  Eskom, the electricity supply company has been converted from a well respected investment on Wall Street, to a wreck of an organisation, public embarrassment and significant artery blocker to economic investment and growth.  And further sad confirmation that in Africa we 'cannot organise a piss-up in a brewery.'

More detailed review of the Zondo Commission reveals a pathway of national corruption and destruction from airlines and rail to education and health, to infrastructure and incompetent policing, to incompetent and corrupt parliamentarians, and worst of all a general disregard and abuse of, the rule of law, the very foundation upon which successful economies are built.

So where is SA now as a system? 

We can all have our own political views but not our own facts.

We know the following about the SA economy.

  • The GDP and income per capita have been declining for the past decade.  (World Bank data). Instead of growing by a minimum of 5% per annum, the virus of corruption and stupidity has been eating away at the very potential of 60 million people.
  • It is the 'thickest of the BRICS' with tragically low IQ and HCI and high corruption.  A poisonous and terminal cocktail.  You cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
  • The system energy level is heading dangerously close to maximum entropy at 22%.  (The next low energy crisis - we are about to be grey-listed.  Apparently we are now a haven for terrorist organisations and corrupt bankers.)
  • The current government has proved itself conclusively to be totally incompetent at managing a first world economy.  Expecting this government to solve the epidemic of corruption, incompetence and sheer stupidity is the same as asking Jack the Ripper to investigate himself!
  • Corruption is endemic throughout both the Public and Private Sectors.  Like any deadly STD it will continue to spread exponentially until a suitable antibiotic is injected throughout the system.  

A Radical Solution 

Complex human systems are like leopards.  They don't like changing their spots.  SA has taken three decades to grind itself into its current near death position.  It needs a heart transplant, but paradoxically it will fight to the last man standing to reject such a transformation.

But that's what it needs.  It needs to go under the knife to remove the rot, if it stands any chance at all of becoming a Top BRIC. 

The only way to change a system is to change the structure and change the rules.  Everything else is wishful thinking or belief in magic.  (Hint.  For those who think the next election in 2024 will dramatically convert the system from thickest BRIC to top BRIC - think again.  You are playing in the magic zone.  This is all about changing a system, not just government.)

The Vision 

To create an economy that fully maximises the potential of every single citizen of the 60 million population.

To achieve this by maximising national IQ, maximising the national Human Capital Index and eradicating the scourge of corruption.

To create an independent private sector organisation to achieve this.

This organisation will only employ professionals of the highest levels of intelligence, experience and integrity.

The Philosophy 

Every society needs a foundation built on aspired values and a philosophy that will best achieve the vision.

This is actually quite simple to establish thanks to the Stoic philosopher, Arius Didymus, two millenia ago. 

He declared that there are only two types of people that walk this planet.  

Worthwhile and Worthless

Worthwhile people show wisdom, emotional maturity and intelligence in their thinking and actions.  They have integrity and can be trusted.

Worthwhile people have excellent self insight.  They 'know themselves.'

Worthwhile people show excellent judgement in decision making.  

Worthwhile people, above all, have the courage and the 'guts' to say and do the right thing.

(If you want a shorter version - worthwhile people have both the 'brains and the balls'.  Worthless people have neither.)

Injecting a new Brain of the Firm into the SA economy 

Our experience with large systems over the past three decades has taught us the following.

  • Every system evolves an equilibrium energy level.  High energy/high intelligence nations will always be more successful than low energy/low intelligence systems.
  • Ultimately the only practical way to change the energy of a system is to change the way leaders behave or change the leaders.

Our goal here is to inject a new organisational structure that will dramatically raise the level of intelligence and performance of the SA economy, through maximising the potential of 60 million citizens.

In this blog I am outlining the blueprint of such a structure.  Naturally there will be many details to iron out.  However I must emphasise that this is a novel and game changing solution. 

Structure of the new 'Brain of the Firm' for SA 

The proposed new Brain of the Firm will be a radically new organisation, will be privately funded and exist in the private sector.

Imagine this new Brain of the Firm being injected between the Public Sector and the Private Sector.  (See diagram above.)

It will be structured to do two basic systemic initiatives.


The task for the Brain of the Firm will be to analyse all performance on a regular basis that drives performance in key portfolios that matter most to the citizens.

For example:

  • Education
  • Jobs
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Infrastructure
  • Crime and safety
  • Local service delivery
  • Environment

The task will be to measure performance in all key areas, present the data in a logical, meaningful and transparent manner.  All data to be online and available through all social media, updated daily, and without influence from either public or private sectors.

Explore high intelligence solutions 

The second and critical role of the new Brain of the Firm will be to design new practical strategies and innovative execution plans to remedy the current failings in each essential performance area, such as education, jobs, health, crime, service delivery, innovation, international competitiveness etc.


The new Brain of the Firm will need to connect with both government and the private sector, working directly with all intelligent, willing and honest individuals regardless of their politics.

Organisational Structure 

Initially I see a 'Club of Rome' group to set up the framework, protocols and explore all new possibilities.  (Fifty years ago the Club of Rome was set up by twelve highly intelligent and experienced individuals to investigate how to manage our planet of finite resources.)

Any suggestions on a name for this?  My tongue in cheek one would be the BB Club.  (Brains and Balls.)


The new Brain of the Firm organisation must be built on the basis of 'go big or go home.'  The target will be to increase GDP by at least 1,7 trillion Rand per annum, so this new structure will need funding in the billions of Rand per annum.

Role of Corporates - the Top 500

It is a sad fact of life that most corporates avoid contributing to the small band of courageous activist organisations in SA.  In most cases they hide behind pathetic and cowardly excuses.  However the incentive to participate in SA's new Brain of the Firm will be to gain a slice of a new vibrant and growing economy, rather than an ever declining slice of a rapidly shrinking economy.

I suggest that the top 500 corporates in SA be invited to be founder members of the new Brain of the Firm.  Apart from financial growth incentives, it will be good branding.

What Corporates can start doing today 

CEO's with intelligence and integrity can start contributing financially to the incredibly brave and privately funded activist groups.  

We know that whistleblowers are being murdered, hounded, and their families threatened.  All of this is part of the game of the corrupt bandits.

It is time for the corporates to stand up and be counted.  Let's not fall for Hitler's power game of the 1930's, allowing cowardice to lead to subservience, then submission and obedience.

It is time to stand up and be counted.

Teachers, Preachers and Prostitutes 

Our three oldest professions symbolise society's reluctance to change.  What we need now is a revolution in education to successfully drive the new Brain of the Firm.  In SA all the Business Schools need to get together, put their BB hats on, step outside their comfort zones, and initiate a game changing revolution to transmogrify the ancient comfort zone of academic theory and appeasement into high intelligence and revolutionary economic action.

Are the Business Schools geared for this?  Do they have the requisite courage?

Changing the game.  From two-player to three-player 

The new Brain of the Firm needs a radically new and realistic economic model that lifts thinking out of the old and now clearly inadequate and unsustainable two-player game of geopolitics and economics.  Clearly on a finite planet this model is as ludicrous as it is terminal.

Michel Serres (see my previous blogs for more detail) has the intelligent three-player solution, the perfect framework for the Brain of the Firm.  He advocates a three-player game that integrates the environment, science and technology and society.

South Africa can clearly leapfrog other nations still stuck in the sticks and stones/flat earth way of two-player thinking.  South Africans are smart.  Really smart and creative.  The country has an almost infinite supply of BB potential. 

There is no doubt that South Africans have both the brains and the determination to inject the Serres three-player model into a new Brain of the Firm, to create a beautiful new dawn of economic and social success for all sixty million citizens.

We just have to release it now before it is too late.

Have Business Schools Passed Their Sell by Date?
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