Articles & blogs on the COVID-19 crisis

Is the COVID-19 crisis an opportunity to revisit capitalism to make it more green and equitable? What will be the future and meaning of work in the post-COVID-19 economy? Does the crisis change our ideas about concepts underlying our current economy, such as on freedom and well-being? Are big companies taking their responsibility, or are they taking advantage of the crisis? And what is the ethics of online shopping in these times?

Moral Markets is hand-picking the most interesting and insightful articles and blogs on such questions from around the web. We try to make sure to include a variety of perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis, to aid your own reflection on ethics and economics.

Tag: the COVID-19 crisis

Jobs Crisis: The Case for a New Social Contract

“COVID-19 has revealed the problems with this paradigm. In doing so, it has showcased the ‘real key workers’ keeping society functioning and supporting human life. What is now required is a new social contract with a moral purpose. It would be based around strengthening public services and other human necessities sometimes known as the foundational economy, while creating green jobs aimed at cutting carbon emissions.”

Economists versus Epidemiologists

“This Paul Krugman column helped crystallize the weirdness of the ongoing economists versus epidemiologists spat, perhaps more accurately described as the ‘some economists, especially those with libertarian politics, versus epidemiologists spat.’ Different theories, in turn below the fold. […] (1) The theory that economists actually are superior […] (2) The theory that economists’ superiority is a sociological construct that economists desire to maintain. […] (3) The theory that economists and epidemiologists have different motivations or values. […] (4) The theory that epidemiology challenges the basic ideological presuppositions of (some) economists. This is what Paul’s column points toward”

Republicans Keep Flunking Microbe Economics

“Econ 101 has lots of good things to say about free markets […], but no rational discussion of economics says that free markets, left to themselves, can solve the problem of ‘externalities’ — costs that individuals or businesses impose on others who have no say in the matter. […] Pollution is the classic example of an externality that requires government intervention, but spreading a dangerous virus poses exactly the same issues. Yet many conservatives seem unable or unwilling to grasp this simple point. And they seem equally unwilling to grasp a related point — that there are some things that must be supplied through public policy rather than individual initiative. And the most important of these ‘public goods’ is probably scientific knowledge,” so Paul Krugman argues

The Return of the Labor Question

“Has the pandemic brought the labor question back to life? It may not have achieved the salience of the public-health-in-the-time-of-pandemic question, but it’s surely the most prominent subset of it. The coronavirus has brought a new visibility to a huge share of America’s working class—treated as both essential and disposable—that was previously invisible to much of the nation’s political elite.”

Post-COVID Economics: Toward a Paradigm of Social Collaboration

“Unlike the economic crises of the past, ours is one predicated on trying to slow the spread of a virus — a goal that involved curtailing consumer spending on purpose, whether through individuals staying home or more institutional efforts to constrain ‘non-essential’ corners of the economy. Yet in terms of economic policy, the government’s response looks just as it did in the 2008 financial crisis, focused mostly on top-down tweaking and arbitrary juicing, while ignoring the range of bottom-up factors at play. As economist Arnold Kling explains at National Affairs, this growing disconnect only illuminates the need for a more general reckoning with how we think about the modern economy.”

Toward a New Fiscal Constitution

“With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing governments to spend on an unprecedented scale to sustain businesses and households, there has never been a better time to restore the state to its proper role as a rudder for the broader economy. The market alone is simply no match for the challenges of the twenty-first century”, so Mariana Mazzucato and Robert Skidelsky argue.

Coronavirus Recovery – The New Economic Thinking We Need

“based on the experience of the past decade, it’s hard to say that economic crises are truly abnormal. Heterodox economics, an approach to economics that I belong to, says economic crises are an inherent feature of capitalism. […] More government spending on public investment projects and public services, as well as greater oversight of how market activity influences society, must be the focus going forward.”

Big Pharma Wants to Pocket the Profits From a COVID Treatment You Already Paid For

“Our data suggests that Gilead’s considerable accomplishment in securing authorization for use of remdesivir in treating COVID-19 represents only the culminating step in a cumulative process of innovation that involved the collective action of public, as well as private, enterprise. While Gilead will likely invest several billion dollars in bringing remdesivir to market, our data suggests that the public sector, in aggregate, has already invested much more. Patent law and the USPTO recognize the role played by Gilead in the discovery and development of remdesivir. There is, however, no mechanism for similarly recognizing the decades of foundational, basic research that made this discovery possible.”

This Pandemic Has Exposed the Uselessness of Orthodox Economics

“Economic orthodoxy supports the narrative that this pandemic is a unique disaster no one could have prepared for, and with no wider lessons for economics and politics. […] There is an alternative: the pandemic provides further evidence that to tackle the climate emergency, inequality and any emerging crises, we must re-think our economics from the bottom up”, says Cambridge economist Jonathan Aldred, author of License to Be Bad; How Economics Corrupted Us (2019).


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