In a few weeks the world will commemorate the global financial crisis, when huge swathes of the global economy slipped into a recession thanks to bad loans in the American system. And the question that arises is two-fold: how did SA fare, and are we ready for the next crisis? The origins of the crisis could be traced from February 7 2007, when HSBC announced losses linked to US subprime loans, according to an excellent timeline compiled by Mauro Guillen of University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute. However, it would only be in September that world leaders began to seriously worry about the global economy. On September 11 2008, Lehman Brothers reported $4bn worth of losses and announced that it was looking for a buyer. When it couldn’t find a buyer, it filed for bankruptcy. The panic soon reverberated into the real economy as the world was going through political transitions. In the US, untested senator Barack Obama was about to become president. In SA, the governing ANC had just...

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