ISAAH MHLANGA: Short-termism and its unsustainable outcomes
Interim solutions are made permanent without solving the underlying structural issues
Short-termism pervades almost all aspects of SA’s psyche, from how we fill potholes with loose soil, construct tarred roads without solid foundations and provide a two-month fuel price reprieve without a permanent solution, to major fundamental policy shifts, as to social security and human settlements design. At an individual level, conspicuous consumption is visible through low savings rates and too low post-retirement income.
This short-termism results in three main unsustainable outcomes: short-term solutions are made permanent without solving the underlying structural issues; the segment of society the short-term solutions were intended to help are permanently left behind, with little prospect of ever catching up; and the panicked and reactionary suspension of institutional arrangements in favour of interim solutions destroys the foundation upon which society stands...