That’s the title of an article I published in Independent Australia last week. An important part of it was support for the German Kurzarbeit scheme, which pays most of the wages lost by employees when working hours are shortened due to the recession.
Articles from John Quiggin
Back again with another Monday Message Board.
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Although my book-in-progress is called The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic, a lot of it will deal with changes that were already underway, and have only been accelerated by the pandemic. This was also true of Keynes’ Economic Consequences of the Peace. The economic order destroyed by the Great War was already breaking down, as was discussed for example, in Dangerfield’s Strange Death of Liberal England.
Amid all the strange, alarming and exciting things that have happened lately, the fact that real long-term (30-year) interest rates have fallen to zero has been largely overlooked. Yet this is the end of capitalism, at least as it has traditionally been understood. Interest is the pure form of return to capital, excluding any return to monopoly power, corporate control, managerial skills or compensation for risk. If there is no real return to capital, then then there is no capitalism.
One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the realization that reliance on the ready availability of imported goods may be a problem in a crisis. This isn’t new, particularly in relation to oil, which plays an outsized role in geopolitics. The supposed need to protect sea lanes, and particularly oil supplies against disruption has been a major part of the rationale for naval defence spending. And we have repeatedly been criticised for failing to maintain stocks of refined petrol.