South Africa's apartheid system was enormously costly and ultimately collapsed because the inefficiencies created by apartheid policies escalated as the economy's structure changed. Labor market regulation and industrial decentralization policy inhibited efficient resource utilization, especially as the manufacturing sector became dominant. Apartheid educational policies generated skill shortages. A mercantilistic development strategy distorted trade patterns, exacerbated dependence on foreign capital inflows, and created chronic balance of payments difficulties. The administrative and defense costs of implementing apartheid were onerous and rising. These internal weaknesses enhanced South Africa's vulnerability to capital flight, changes in world prices and business cycle conditions, and political changes abroad. Ultimately, apartheid was abandoned because its costs came to exceed its benefits to white South Africans. The internal dynamics of the system dictated the retrenchment of apartheid, which in all probability would have occurred even without foreign sanctions Copyright 1997 Western Economic Association International.
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