by Thabo Owen Mokwena

Publisher's Note

Capturing the zeitgeist of the moment

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German scholars have argued cohesively that each era has a unique spirit—a nature or climate that sets it apart from all other epochs. We live in an era of rapid technological advancements, artificial intelligence, digital economies and governments. The world is awash with information, integration and diminishing sovereign boundaries.

It is imperative to keep the finger on the pulse, mood and spirit of our era. Not to do so is to become outright irrelevant.

”No man can surpass his own time, for the spirit of his time is also his own spirit.” Hegel

The global economic dynamics will define the mood and spirit of the moment. The trade wars between the United States of America and China coupled with the Brexit saga and the faltering currencies in Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa have a significant impact in terms of shaping both the present and the future.

The warning signs regarding the soaring debt and the possibility of rising interest rates are flashing. The rising debt and interest rates are a toxic combination to be avoided, however, it looks as though that ship has already sailed. For South Africa with its low growth, high unemployment, rising poverty and inequality, this toxic combination must be mitigated at all costs.

The search for the zeitgeist of our time is possibly best captured by the warning of luminaries such as Stephen Hawking, “to warn of a turning point when humanity risks losing control of the technology it has created, generating problems rather than solutions”.

As we are shaped by our epoch, we also play our part in reshaping history. Sheldon Cooper, a fictional character in “The Big Bang Theory” sums it up when he exclaims, “Well, my existence is a continuum, so I’ve been what I am at each point in the implied time period.”

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