The Marikana Massacre, labour and capitalism: Towards a Ricoeurian alternative
The Marikana Massacre, labour and capitalism: Towards a Ricoeurian alternative


Marikana massacre
economic philosophy
Paul Ricoeur


The purpose of this article is to critically discuss the tragedy that occurred between 11 and 16 August 2012 at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, South Africa. Although the events leading up to the Marikana massacre were complex and not one single factor was responsible for the tragedy we will focus on the philosophical and anthropological aspect that may have influenced the breakdown of engagement between the management of Lonmin and workers. It will be argued that this breakdown may have been the result of reductionist anthropological trends that arise in capitalism. These trends selectively utilize modern economic principles to advance the profit motive of business and dehumanises workers. This dehumanisation is clear in the view of workers by the Lonmin management and breakdown of communication. In order to provide an alternative anthropology the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur with special reference to his work Fallible man (1986) is explored and applied as an alternative anthropology for the reductionist trends related to labour that sporadically arise in capitalism. This offers a balanced view that incorporates the aim of responsible business to make profit with that of a sustainable labour market.

Keywords: Marikana massacre, economic philosophy, anthropology, Paul Ricoeur, respect
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