With risks intensifying as the elections near, why are none of the political parties or influential actors able to offer comprehensive, workable solutions? Or rather, how did politics crowding out evidence-based analysis become the norm? The prefrontal cortex, the area of our brains that manages judgment decisions, is the last to develop — it takes about 25 years. According to Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University, a leading authority on human decision making, this provides evolutionary advantages as gradually deciphering the world makes us more adaptable.

Rather than focusing on understanding the world, SA’s 25 years of universal adult suffrage has been decidedly self-referential. Geography’s partial explanation is overshadowed by South Africans having grown up with politics and politicians shaping perspectives. Objective analysis and global awareness have been routinely overwhelmed...

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