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Five Principles for the Pandemic

As a global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic demands a coordinated global response, both to contain the spread of the disease and to safeguard the economy. The challenge may be unprecedented, but governments can and should embrace certain guidelines.

BUENOS AIRES – The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into a health and economic crisis of a magnitude that few could have anticipated but that everyone must now confront – together. Unless all countries deepen global coordination and cooperation as much as possible, the social stability of the entire planet could be at stake.

On the economic front, many economists and policymakers seem to have convinced themselves that policies to boost effective demand will be sufficient to mitigate the downturn. In fact, the problem is much more complicated, and it will not be solved with the standard stimulus measures. Because reducing social interactions is crucial for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, most people cannot go to work (unless they are in essential industries). And, because people are not working, they will have less (or no) incomes to spend. Under these circumstances, the fear that economic activity will continue to plummet is justified, but that outcome is unavoidable in the short term.

But just because our situation is unprecedented does not mean that we lack principles that can and should guide our actions as we move forward. To stop the pandemic and rescue the world’s economies, we must abide by five in particular.