Continued Strong Policy Action to Combat Uncertainty

By Kristalina Georgieva As G20 leaders meet virtually this week, the global economy faces a critical juncture. Countries have started to climb back from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis. But the resurgence in infections in many economies shows just how difficult and uncertain this ascent will be. The good news is the significant progress […]

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Digital Financial Inclusion in the Times of COVID-19

By Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Purva Khera, Sumiko Ogawa, and Ratna Sahay The COVID-19 pandemic could be a game changer for digital financial services. Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services, and online banking. Financial inclusion as a result of digital financial services can also boost economic […]

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Closing or Reopening the Economy

That the expressions “closing the economy” or “reopening the economy” are widely and unthinkingly used suggests a deep problem: the state—governments at all level—has become so incredibly powerful that it can open or close large parts the complex and multifaceted network of exchanges between millions of individuals. It’s like if the government were a store owner and we were its store employees.

As I pointed out in an earlier post on this blog, even the Wall Street Journal writes unblinkingly that “countries,” by which it means national governments, can “reopen their societies.” If the state is so powerful as to open and close “its” society, perhaps it’s time for society to close its government—or, certainly, big chunks of it?

This language acknowledging Leviathan- or Hydra-like power of the state should worry even those who think that there was some justification for government measures to combat an epidemic such as Covid-19.

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