The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a firehose of information (much of it wrong) and an avalanche of opinions (many of them ill-founded). Most of us are so distracted by the everyday awfulness that we don't see the broader issues in play. In this "hastily written" guide to the pandemic economy penned during self-isolation after a flight from Australia, economist Joshua Gans
steps back from the short-term chaos to take a clear and systematic look at how economic choices are being made in response to COVID-19. Economics in the Age of COVID-19
(MIT Press, 2020) shows that containing the virus and pausing the economy—without letting businesses fail and people lose their jobs—are the necessary first steps. He outlines the phases of the pandemic economy - containment to reset to recovery and enhancement - and warns against thinking in terms of a “tradeoff” between public health and economic health. Once the virus is contained, we will need to innovate come together to protect ourselves from future pandemics.
Tim Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors (FT Group) in London.