« Tail risk in policing | Main | Why so little anger? »

June 09, 2020


Kevin Carson

It could also have been dumped on public finances in a much more painless way. The idea that government spending has to be covered either by tax revenue or the sale of interest-bearing debt, rather than simply spent into existence, is Walpolean/Hamiltonian bullshit. There's no reason the state couldn't simply create enough new money, interest-free, to support furloughed workers' minimum necessary consumption and deposit it into their checking accounts every month. There's also no reason they couldn't simply cancel rent and mortgages for the duration, let the banks take the hit, and convert any banks that default into public institutions.

The truth

Your article is premised on the assumption that the lockdown has saved any lives so it should be maintained.

The dawning reality is that lockdown has damaged the economy and has not saved any lives. No government will admit that obviously hence the new rhetoric

Ralph Musgrave

"The furlough scheme is good"?? I fail to see the logic or fairness on one lot of people getting bog standard unemployment benefit, while another lot, whose circumstances (like number of children) are just the same as the first, get a lot more thanks to be being "furloughed".


'the truth' would seem to be correct here.

The government had a plan. The media and assorted people with anti-government axes to grind launched a hysterical onslaught which forced the government to change policy from one with a logic to one with no logic. And now those same people are complaining about the consequences fo the policy for which they are responsible.

The performance of most of the media and many left-leaning academics has been absolutely lamentable, so bad that many of them will never be able to express a view in public without the failure of their Covid rants coming back to haunt them. To be specific, at the point where many are claiming that easing restrictions will cause a second wave, we have many examples from Europe of lockdowns being eased much more than the government here are planning without any cases of a second wave. If your job is to be a pundit, then one massive error sinks it forever. Well, here's hoping anyway.

And Ralph is right too. Teaching unions should not think that their cunning plan to spend three years not working but receiving full pay has not been noticed by the wider public. But then a certain kind of lefty thinks we can have massively high standards of living as a right without anyone doing any actual work.


Talking about 'other countries' easing lockdowns faster without a 'second wave' seems immune to our reality which is we would be/are easing from a worse position than many other countries, so making a long drawn out continuation of this wave more likely. And with almost daily u turns and target gaming being implemented by this hapless government a sizeable number of people can't or won't trust a word they now say.
The schools issue isn't simply unions (yes sadly for righties it isn't a complete free for all for employers in the UK ala Dickens era) being greedy and stubborn. My wife works in an East London (11 to 17yr olds) school. The head (who is quite antagonistic toward the unions on other matters) and the governors agreed weeks ago not to reopen before autumn term as it is impossible to socially distance in a Victorian built school with narrow corridors and only one main entrance. Blaming unions is at best a partially irrelevant indulgence.

Dave Timoney

"But then a certain kind of lefty thinks we can have massively high standards of living as a right without anyone doing any actual work."

This is pretty good example of the tenacity of the Protestant work ethic.

Wealth is cumulative (the Earth is a closed system), which means society has far greater resilience than in the days of Adam Smith ("There is a lot of ruin in a nation"). As the pandemic has proved, we can stand down a large part of the workforce without suffering a major reverse in aggregate wealth. It has also shown that the workers of most value are often the worst paid.

Going forward, the point is not to aim for a workless society of lotus-eating & robots, but one in which work & income (& accumulated wealth) is more evenly distributed and environmental & other externalities are reduced. The Protestant work ethic is probably the greatest impediment to achieving that.

George Carty

Dipper: "The government had a plan. The media and assorted people with anti-government axes to grind launched a hysterical onslaught which forced the government to change policy from one with a logic to one with no logic."

1. Wasn't the UK government coerced into introducing a lockdown more by President Macron's threat to close France to UK citizens (with the implied threat that other EU states would follow suit) than by any action on the part of the media or the government's domestic critics?

2. Wasn't the actual original strategy a test-and-trace one, which was dumped on March 12th (perhaps due to the influence of a document from 2007) because there were too many cases for the testing infrastructure to handle?



@ George Carty

1. Maybe. But lots of pro Lockdown people used that as a stick to beat the UK Govt with.

2. Originally tried but became clear the virus was already here in quantity.

Is seems odd for the author to simultaneously claim the UK economy is being trashed by the Lockdown, and that the government should have deepened the lockdown more.


Oh and 'Simon' is as usual making statements without any evidence, or frankly, any clue about the science.

Economists think they can do science. As this pandemic has shown, they really can't. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Economics, passes the threshold test for valid scientific observation.

When at the turn of the 19/20th century Classical Physics was having problems with high speeds, it wasn't solved by the majority opinion of reasonable people, it was solved by one very unreasonable person proposing something very unreasonable and intuitively ridiculous: That if I am stood stock still and you are overtaking me at a speed v, and light is coming towards us, then the speed of that light as it appears to both of us is exactly the same. So if I see the speed of light as c, you don't see the speed of light as c+v, you also see it as c. It is intuitively and obviously completely stupid, but is the explanation that explains all we observe. And that is why science is not like the humanities or economics.

Bert Schlitz

lol, the protestant work ethic was the jews printing money and giving it to the Aristocracy who then hired a nice nice fleet of indentured servants and slaves to do all the work. The tradition of the Germanic/Celtic people is tribalist by nature. Not individualist. Right Wingers need to give it up. Stop the conspiracy theories and stop acting like your "white saviors". We ALL know who finances you. Who runs you and who moves you for power. Your the New World Order's version of special forces. Make sure the good little house slaves continues to be that. Keep on printing the money, keep on thinking your "strong workers".

The con of a con........of a con. Listen, mitigation should have been the only real option. This isn't "Contagion" style super bug, but it still is a bug. When the UK celebrates its 100000 death next March, lets all give a grand welcome to shitty governments that weren't screaming "mitigate" in February. Not one country would have ever shut down.

Bert Schlitz

dipper give it up. maybe Boris can hide some more immigrants from Africa his rich friends want. he already is doing that like his buddy Donald the jew Trump.

Robert Mitchell

> is it fair to pay some people not to work whilst NHS workers are working flat out and risking their lives for low pay?

Just pay everyone a $3000 per month inflation-protected basic income and let those who want to, work.

> "the failure of contingency-planning for a recession is unacceptable." This, I suspect, is a symptom of a widespread error - the neglect of tail risk, and failure to prepare for it.

The central bank has a vertical supply curve on reserves, which should be used to address tail risk. Private banks rely on the central bank as tail risk insurance. Policy makers however maintain the fiction of "no free lunch, which has the opportunity cost of not using the central bank for tail risk. The private sector experiences no such opportunity cost ...

Bert Schlitz

Central Banks can vertically supply all they want. That just devalues capital. Once its devalued enough, the market plunges.

Capitalism died with WWI essentially. The low hanging fruit from the scientific revolution was over and capital expansion was simply not possible anymore without getting into full blown ponzi finance(which was the feature of the system since 1700's anyways, but all the new tech eventually created a rebound). The Michigan banking panic in the US, that started in February 33 was the next global contagion. It would have deep sixed it for good.

Robert Mitchell

The market only plunges so far before the Fed starts printing again to revive it ...

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad