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Riaan de Lange

Riaan de Lange

This economic and trade-focused column is prepared by Riaan de Lange – The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views

Trade facilitation versus protectionism

7th August 2020 In the instalment of this column published on July 3, which was titled ‘Protectionism on the increase’, I expressed my concern at the intensification of the protectionist mentality. Those old enough would acknowledge that the underlying reason for the start of the Second World War was the ‘R’... 

We need to fix our education system

31st July 2020 Education is the single definitive Why is there a tendency to believe that the solutions for all our present economic ills lie in the present? Could this tendency be attributable to Albert Einstein’s assessment: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”?... 

You’re on Mute!

24th July 2020 If only I could get a cent for every time that I have been on a ‘lockdown’ video call hearing someone saying “…, you’re on mute”, only for the person implicated to answer after an uncomfortable pause, “I’m sorry, I was on mute”, I would be a very rich man indeed. 

Two economic hat-tricks

17th July 2020 Two economic hat-tricks A hat-trick is the achievement of a generally positive result three times in a game or in another endeavour. Well, not in this instance, I am afraid. But before we get there, the term was coined in 1858 to describe cricketer HH Stephenson’s feat of taking three wickets in... 

Slow train coming?

10th July 2020 On March 20, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the ratings of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation rating, two of South Africa’s State-owned enterprises (SOEs). Eighty-six days later, on June 25, the ratings agency announced another downgrade of... 

Protectionism on the increase

3rd July 2020 Contrary to popular belief, economists are not oracles, and neither are they clairvoyants, even though they make frequent reference to their crystal-ball insights. They are mere trend spotters – no more, no less. Should you be interested in becoming a trend spotter, and by default a... 

Déjà vu as another SOE Council is announced

26th June 2020 To genuinely appreciate South Africa’s State-owned enterprises (SOEs) – the infamous 131 – while retaining a positive demeanour, it would be best if you were prone to regular bouts of amnesia. If not, you would but echo the memorable Yogi Berra expression: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” On... 

Internalise an external cost

19th June 2020 If you know nothing about sin taxes, then your salvation lies in the mere expression of the four words in the headline. Merely mentioning them will elevate you to the status of a tax expert, and slipping in a reference to Pigovian taxes (also spelt Pigouvian taxes) will elevate you to tax... 


12th June 2020 This could well be the most apt one-word summary of government’s approach to the South African economy – a dislike of what is new or represents change. How else can one explain government clinging to State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and its “I think I can, I think I can” mantra. This is, of course,... 

End of print magazine era?

5th June 2020 In a world obsessed with extinction, where the instinct is seemingly to protect anything and everything from extinction, an extinction is seemingly occurring unnoticed in South Africa. Is the lack of a protest against this extinction indicative of an acknowledgement that doing so would be a lost... 

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