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Part 2: Fiscal Dimensions of South Africa's crisis

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Part 2: Fiscal Dimensions of South Africa's crisis

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13th July 2021

By: Econ3x3

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In the first article in this series, we examined the history of SA’s economic policy and some of the roots of its current fiscal crisis. We looked at how economic growth in the country has consistently depended on the global economy and how a commodity-fuelled boom created a mirage of permanent economic growth in many developing countries, which were left without fiscal buffers once the uptick had stagnated or swung downward. In SA’s case, there were also self-inflicted blows, both economic and political, which began after 2007. But despite this, fiscal policy was expansive relying on the hope of increased growth, without sufficient planning for where it would come from. In Part 2 of this series Michael Sachs explains how austerity was implemented, almost by stealth, but without the necessary fiscal consolidation needed to avert a crisis.

In the first article in this series, we examined the history of SA’s economic policy and some of the roots of its current fiscal crisis. We looked at how economic growth in the country has consistently depended on the global economy and how a commodity-fuelled boom created a mirage of permanent economic growth in many developing countries, which were left without fiscal buffers once the uptick had stagnated or swung downward. In SA’s case, there were also self-inflicted blows, both economic and political, which began after 2007. But despite this, fiscal policy was expansive relying on the hope of increased growth, without sufficient planning for where it would come from. In Part 2 of this series Michael Sachs explains how austerity was implemented, almost by stealth, but without the necessary fiscal consolidation needed to avert a crisis.

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