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The economy is not only a numbers game – SA needs confidence


The economy is not only a numbers game – SA needs confidence

We need a plan to get out of our economic mess, but moreover we need dogged determination to stick to it

Mark Barnes

To say that inequality is on the global agenda is a vast understatement – in truth it defines the agenda. The rich nations of the world, like the US, Japan, and the OECD countries, have unemployment rates clustered between 2% and 6%. Imagine that?! Japan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 2.4% in April, the US is at 3.6% (and it’s been steadily declining towards that over the past four years). For all intents and purposes that’s full employment.

At the other end of the scale things are tumbling towards disaster, human tragedy even. We’re among the worst. Not quite as bad as Brazil (45.1%) or Venezuela (33.3%), but our 27.5% is high enough to be alarming. We’re still at the top of the Gini coefficient table, although other countries in similar predicaments have stopped updating their figures, making comparison difficult. Besides, as I was reminded in an after-dinner speech last week, correlation isn’t causality.

But there are causes, and there are cures...

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