Countries make historic mistakes and SA, which is faced with a new radical political discourse punted from the top of the political hierarchy, appears to be on the brink of doing so. Ricardo Hausmann — Harvard development economist, former Venezuelan minister of planning and long-time friend and adviser to SA’s Treasury — visited SA last week and says he fears the country is heading towards making a mistake. He served on the International Panel on Growth, which provided a rich set of recommendations to the Treasury in 2008. Looking back at their report, compiled by 20 of the world’s top economic thinkers from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is distressing to see how determinedly that advice has been ignored in the broad thrust of government policy. Among its recommendations were: growing exports to be made the top priority in order to tackle the current account deficit; running a tighter fiscal ship during boom years to allow expansion when things got rough...

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