Archive for the Economy Category

Hurrah for a vaccine — but was lockdown actually worth it?

Hurrah for a vaccine — but was lockdown actually worth it?

The development of the vaccines has changed many things. It has even influenced the opinion of the Prince of Lockdown himself, health secretary Matt Hancock. Life, he pronounced at the weekend, would be back to normal by the spring and the “blasted regulations” abolished. But one thing

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Economics lessons from history: Don’t expect a post-Covid boom

Economics lessons from history: Don’t expect a post-Covid boom

Just over 200 years ago, the finances of the British government looked even more parlous than they do today. Since the mid-1790s, the country had been engaged in a titanic struggle with Napoleon’s France. To pay for the conflict, the government had borrowed on a massive scale.

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It is science, not lockdowns, that will save the world

It is science, not lockdowns, that will save the world

The various new vaccines announced over the past two weeks give real hope of a return to normal life. Of course, many practical questions remain. How will these vaccines be delivered? Do they stop the transmission or simply the symptoms of the virus? Exactly how effective will

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Lockdown 2.0: A creative destruction revolution, or the death knell of innovation?

Lockdown 2.0: A creative destruction revolution, or the death knell of innovation?

So Boris Johnson has failed to follow his own government’s guidelines on cost-benefit appraisal. Study after study by economists show that the costs of lockdown far exceed the benefits. The NHS — the “envy of the world” — has conspicuously failed to develop sufficient capacity to deal

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The government must take back control of the Covid narrative

The government must take back control of the Covid narrative

The word “narrative” is usually seen as being a posh way of saying “story”. But the idea of narratives is one which is gaining traction in economics. Last year, for example, Nobel laureate Robert Shiller of Yale published a book entitled “Narrative Economics”.  He argued that it

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Coronavirus fatality rates are way down – why has the government not taken this on board?

Coronavirus fatality rates are way down – why has the government not taken this on board?

King Canute has had a bad press. The monarch sat on the beach on his throne with the deliberate intention of demonstrating to his courtiers that he could not stop the waves from coming in. But in popular thinking, he is the deranged king who believed he

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Sweden shows us whether lockdown was worth the economic cost

Sweden shows us whether lockdown was worth the economic cost

Did Sweden get it right in its response to Covid? There is increasing interest in this question. Contrary to widespread belief, the Swedes did introduce a few legally enforceable restrictions on behaviour. For example, public gatherings of more than 50 people were forbidden in March. Private ones

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The costs of lockdown can no longer be justified

The costs of lockdown can no longer be justified

In an otherwise depressing week, two pieces of very good news emerged from India. In Mumbai, blood tests conducted by the city authorities on 6,936 randomly selected people found that some 40 per cent had coronavirus antibodies. Just 6,000 deaths have been reported so far in a

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The costs of lockdown could far outweigh the benefits

The costs of lockdown could far outweigh the benefits

Radical leaders such as Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand and Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland have gained plaudits through their relentless focus on eliminating Covid-19. But this comes at an obvious economic cost. Tourism is some 15 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP, and major destinations such as

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Get the Bank of England focused on the real economy

Get the Bank of England focused on the real economy

Economic policy is returning to its usual position of prominence. Fears of a major rise in unemployment are starting to worry the government more than fears around Covid-19. The chancellor’s imaginative schemes concerning furlough and other measures to protect jobs create potential problems elsewhere. So much money

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