The crisis and co-operation: this time may indeed be different

29 March 2020 - 00:06 By Hilary Joffe

One of the iconic books of the 2008 Lglobal financial crisis was This Time Is Different, in which economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff argued that it really wasn't, reflecting on a long history of financial crises. But as the pandemic continued to wreak global havoc this week, Reinhart wrote that "this time it truly is different" - a "whatever it takes" moment for large-scale, outside-the-box fiscal and monetary policies.

As SA went into lockdown people focused on how to survive the 21 days. Except it may not be just 21. When the lockdown ends, the economy will not be back at full steam. And once the pandemic is brought under control, the damage to SA's already ailing economy could be catastrophic. Leaders in the public and private sectors are just starting to get their heads around what this pandemic might mean here. It is, as Absa economist Peter Worthington puts it, a health shock that has mutated into a supply shock, demand shock and financial shock...

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