Coronavirus kills off neoliberalism

The responses to crises come in two phases. First, governments respond in predictable ways, consistent with how they have acted before. But then crises have a longer-lasting power, and that is to shift our thinking about what governments should do. The coronavirus is a totemic case in this respect. It is likely to produce the biggest paradigmatic shift in economic policy that Europe has witnessed since the 1980s. So, as governments switch to new policy instruments, the biggest economic casualty of the coronavirus across Europe looks set to be neoliberalism.

Having spent several months in Italy and recently having returned to London, I am struck by how our national responses to the virus display many predictable characteristics. The laissez-faire instincts of the British prompted Boris Johnson to only "advise" the public on what they should do. It was as if the captain of the...

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