We homo sapiens are hard wired for pessimism. Until very recently in our evolution being optimistic was an existential threat. For most of mankind’s existence, the smart option on hearing a rustle in the reeds was to automatically assume a prowling predator – and run for your life.
This reality is probably why so few of our species consciously chose entrepreneurship, a path that requires extreme optimism. Few business builders will honestly admit had they known of challenges ahead, they would anyway have opted for self-employment.
While invaluable in a business-creating sense, my optimistic streak does put me on the opposite side of the fence to much of humanity. Especially when it comes to projecting the outlook for South Africa, a country whose history has created many unique challenges for those trying to guide it to economic prosperity.
More than once, Nomura’s emerging markets investment economist Peter Attard Montalto has raised the idea of publicly debating SA’s future with me. Thanks to the SA Chamber of Business here in London, on Thursday he will get his wish. Peter will paint the low road for SA. My task, naturally, is to offer the optimistic view. My material looks sparse, so all suggestions gratefully accepted.
This being a duel of honour, there’s no cash involved. But I have been offered eight tickets to the coliseum – Nomura’s head office at 1 Angel Lane, about equi-distant between the Cannon Street and Monument stations in the City of London.
Jeanette has claimed one which means we have seven other seats available for the Biznews Saffer community. If you fancy an early start (7:30am) next Thursday (April 27th) send my better half an email to [email protected]. And remember who invited you. Looks like I’m going to need all the support I can get.