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22 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

The West must transform its economic logic in light of the coronavirus

By Samuel Horti

Against a life-threatening virus and a shortage of medical equipment, neither the free market nor socialist policies can be made to work. What we need is a different set of principles: a set of principles that transforms the economic logic of the West, writes Robert Skidelsky – author of a three-volume biography of J M Keynes, a cross-bench peer and emeritus professor of political economy at the University of Warwick – in the New Statesman today.

“Since we have no ethically accepted principle of choosing between who is to live and who to die, we should take exceptional pains to ensure that we do not face acute shortages of life-preserving equipment. It is a scandal that the developed world was caught so short of tools to deal with the pandemic,” he writes.

“We need to restore what used to be called ‘the precautionary principle’. In all those situations in which we can rationally anticipate a severe life-threatening event, ‘just-in-time’ thinking needs to be replaced by ‘just-in-case’ thinking.”

You can read the full article here.

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