Another year of the sloth lies before us, I fear

29 December 2019 - 00:00

It seems a bit rude to deliver bad news while many of you are still merrily finishing off your leftover Christmas pudding. But it has to be done. It is possible that our country will be more prosperous and stable in 2020 than it was in 2019. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely. What is most likely to happen is that 2020 will be worse than the past year. It will mark the rock bottom of the age of decline that started in 2008.

That’s saying something, because 2019 is a very low bar to measure ourselves against. The momentum of our country’s downward spiral was still going strong in 2019. Few things worked. The economy faltered. Unemployment got worse. Our state-owned enterprises (SOEs) fell like ninepins. State spending remained huge as ministers bought themselves fancy cars or invented new tricks — such as claiming fictional car breakdowns — to milk taxpayers. Municipalities teetered on the brink of collapse. Disgraced politicians were rewarded with parliamentary committee chairs...

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