Behind every economic, financial or banking crisis are bad political decisions and deliberate actions by actual people. The idea that markets or institutions fail because of some mythical or supernatural force (or invisible hand) has become increasingly weak. The same applies to policy making. Political actors and agents intervene, deliberately, to make or prevent policies from being made or implemented. The next president of SA will be confronted by this reality. He will be expected to make political decisions to satisfy every sector of domestic and international society. A lot will hinge on where he starts (what the state’s priorities are), and what he does afterwards (how policy making and implementation will be sequenced). At home he will have to address the expectations of the unemployed, the poor, rural and urban dwellers, companies, unions and banks, as well as pressure from political opponents. My sense is that his greatest challenge, in and out of Parliament, will be the al...

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