Economics Explored episode 68 COVID and Wartime features a conversation on whether COVID can be compared to wartime, which considers the different scales and scopes of the shocks, and what it all means for prospects for economic recovery. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny, an Australian professional economist and former Treasury official, speaks with businessman Tim Hughes, also based in Brisbane, Australia.
Gene and Tim conclude that a comparison of COVID to wartime isn’t valid. One reason is that World War II required a complete reorganisation of the economy to maximise production for the war effort, while COVID has involved restrictions that have reduced economic activity.
Links relevant to the conversation include:
Comparing COVID-19 to past world war efforts is premature — and presumptuous
US Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder on The National Debt Dilemma
Brookings on What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do?
Australia’s Boldest Experiment (excellent book on Australia’s wartime economy)
Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth (outstanding book by a leading US economist containing a great discussion of America’s wartime economy)
Aussies over-confident after being over-compensated by Gov’t for COVID-recession
Mint security lapse amazes judge (story about theft from the Australian Mint in early-to-mid 2000s)
Finally, the word Gene got stuck on at 6:55, irredentist, means, “a person advocating the restoration to their country of any territory formerly belonging to it”, according to Oxford Languages.
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