Derek Thompson+ Your Authors @DKThomp Writer at @TheAtlantic. Host of podcast CRAZY/GENIUS. Author of book HIT MAKERS. Talker on NPR's @hereandnow and @CBSNews. derek[at]theatlantic[dot]com Apr. 02, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

I wrote about the 4 new rules of pandemic economics.

Pandemics turn all economic logic on its head. Outdoor activity becomes viral pollution. Deep recessions are necessary evils. Willing workers must be paid to stop working. 

1. Without a healthy population, there can be no healthy economy. In the short run, the tradeoff between "saving GDP" or "saving lives" simply does not exist.

2. Once normal economic activity is effectively outlawed, the government has no choice but to pay millions of people—likely, tens of millions of people—a living wage to go home and do nothing.

Productivity? Forget it. We literally want them to be as unproductive as possible.

3. To quote @JustinWolfers: Hundreds of thousands of companies urgently need a time machine—a financial technology to shift their expenses from the pandemic present to the post-pandemic future.

IOW: A massive program of dirt-cheap, easily forgiven, govt-backed loans.

4. The first 3 rules will keep alive our incapacitated economy for now. But if we can’t contain the virus, there won't be a normal economy to return to.

The only way out is science: More tests, more PPE, new contact tracking technology, and anti-viral/vaccine research.

You can follow @DKThomp.


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