“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness ...” In his opening elegy to the Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens captures the essence of the contradictions we experience 200-plus years later.

In Washington we see a presidency that has transformed the entire architecture of world diplomacy and economic order and in the process created an economic phenomenon — a 3%-5% unemployment rate. Across the Atlantic, in Pretoria, we see our cluster of chieftains, in their uninspired way, bicker over how to arrange the deck chairs on the SA Titanic.

In this Davos week we will see Donald Trump pilfer all the oxygen from those stuffy rooms and, in his tormenting way, again dominate the headlines. The Europeans will have their heavyweight puncher in the form of Time person-of-the-year Greta Thunberg, spouting her doom and gloom prophecies. Against this mismatched clash, the SA representatives will struggle to promote the supposed message that President Cyril Ramaphosa has perfected: that things in SA have changed (for the better!).

Those of us who are in the business of prediction for 2020 can claim, with a high level of confidence, that the IMF will have its appointed viceroy sitting in the Union Buildings before the year end, decreeing a fundamental restructuring of the postapartheid state, and that Trump will be the first impeached president to retain the presidency  for another four years.

John Catsicas
Via e-mail

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