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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

Is a Job Guarantee the Answer?

“It’s no wonder that people like the idea of a job guarantee, with the government as the employer of last resort, promising a job to anyone who wants one. It would avoid the catastrophic and well-documented social, economic, political and cultural costs of long-term unemployment on families, health, life expectancy and communities. And economists love that it’s an ‘automatic fiscal stabiliser’: it increases government spending when the economy is weak by funding the guaranteed jobs, and reduces it as the economy recovers. So, if the benefits of a job guarantee are so big, what’s the problem?”

Bailouts Pose an Economic, and Moral, Threat

“Suddenly in these times of the COVID-19 crisis, everything is ‘free’: stimulus checks, benefits, paycheck loans, and medical care. The government can spend with reckless abandon. Trillions of dollars of debt are rubber-stamped with little fanfare. […] The result of a government-rescue culture is not the flowering of capitalism but very much the opposite. As Ruchir Sharma writes in the Wall Street Journal, ‘the irony is that the rising culture of government dependence is, in fact, a form of socialism – for the rich and powerful‘.”

Companies Must Go Beyond Random Acts of Humanitarianism

“Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly struck a note of optimism on this website earlier this year, crediting a number of companies for moving early to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and calling on others to “lead with purpose and humanity.” The compassionate response of the business community was indeed impressive at a critical moment of crisis. But, as time has passed, people are calling for more than just random acts of humanitarianism. They want a sustained, thoughtful, and authentic response on the part of business, one that can deliver broader, long-term impact.”

It’s a Myth that Companies Must Put Shareholders First – Coronavirus Is a Chance to Make It Stop

“There is a general sense that a new form of social contract is urgently required, even from places where you might not have expected to see such arguments, such as The Economist and the Financial Times. But what has tended to be overlooked is how such a new social contract may also require fundamental changes to the nature of companies.”

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


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