The business world talks frequently of ‘disruption’ but Covid-19 is viscerally showing us the true meaning of the word as our life, work, society, economy and civil freedoms are turned upside down. We are also seeing longer lifespans than in history which means this pandemic will have a staggering affect on our aging society. Whilst this awful virus is thankfully not the most fatal in human history it may distinguish itself by being the one with the most words written about it. As academics fnd themselves marooned at home expect a further torrent of articles to emerge.
My own motivation for writing is in response to numerous questions that I am being asked by current and former students. As an economist interested in business cycles and longevity my aim with this note is to produce an accessible overview of what Covid-19 is doing to the economy; what we can expect to happen; what governments can do about it; how firms should be responding and finally some conjectures on longer run changes that may result.
Health and the economy are both fundamental to our wellbeing and both of these right now make for grim reading. However, whilst we are at war with Covid-19 the situation is not as bad as an actual war and neither does this disease seem to offer the threat to mortality that Spanish fu did.
Bad times do pass. The Great Infuenza Pandemic didn’t stop a century long increase in life expectancy and enormous improvements in GDP. Humans and their society and economy are resilient. Stay safe.