I was reading Simon Wren-Lewis’ The economic effects of a pandemic, who makes good points about what the Feds ought to be doing, and aren’t:

If I was running the central bank or government, I would have already started having conversations with banks about not forcing firms into bankruptcy during any pandemic.

But economics can also influence health outcomes, and not just in terms of NHS resources. For a minority of self employed workers there will be no sick-pay and those without a financial cushion will be put under stress. One of the concerns as far as the spread of the pandemic is concerned is that workers will not be able to afford to self-isolate if they have the disease. So if I was in government I would be thinking of setting up something like a sick-leave fund that such workers could apply to if they get coronavirus symptoms [at the very least].

The government also needs to think about keeping public services and utilities running when workers in those services start falling ill. In fact there are a whole host of things the government should now be doing to prepare for a pandemic. It is at times like these that we really need governments to act fast and think ahead. Do we in the UK, and US citizens, have confidence that the government will do what is required? One lesson of coronavirus may be never put into power politicians that have a habit of ignoring experts.

[at the very least]: see my post Time for Federal Sick Leave Law

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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