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Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The G20 Agenda, As the Pandemic Continues

| Aug. 28, 2021

Italy hosts the G20 this year.  The 2021 Summit of the Heads of Government will take place in Rome in October. Officials of member countries, including the finance ministers and central bank governors, are preparing.

The G20 meeting will come at a time of great uncertainty as concerns the health and economic effects of the pandemic, midway through its 2nd year.  Although the mechanisms of international cooperation have been badly bruised by events of recent years, they are more important than ever, in light of the interconnectedness across nations that the pandemic so vividly demonstrates.

Of what, specifically, should international cooperation in such bodies as the G20 consist?  To begin with, by “cooperation,” I am not in this case referring to the coordinated setting of national monetary or fiscal policies.  For the most part, countries can, on their own, move those levers in the directions that are right for them.

Areas on which the G20 should focus include three: financial stability, trade, and vaccination.  This is in addition to other important areas, especially the existential issue of global climate change, which should and will receive a lot of attention.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The Virus, Vaccination, and Voting

| July 26, 2021

Ever since the 1960s, we have heard the cliché, “If they can put a man on the Moon, why can’t they do X?” where X is usually some goal like eliminating hunger — technologically simpler than the scientific miracle of space flight, but harder to accomplish in practice because it involves human behavior.  In 2021, the salient question is, “If we can accomplish the scientific miracle of developing vaccines capable of ending the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed millions, why can’t we convince enough people to get vaccinated?”

In lower-income countries, jabs are often limited by the availability of the vaccines.  But this is not the case with countries as fortunate as the United States, where the problem is primarily vaccine hesitancy, or even outright vaccine hostility.

America's Republican Are Killing Their Voters

Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

America’s Republicans Are Killing Their Voters

| July 22, 2021

Despite mounting evidence that vaccination leads to lower COVID-19 mortality rates, many in the US remain skeptical, if not downright hostile. An analysis of the data that isolates the causal effect of voting patterns clearly shows the heightened danger Republicans face.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

The Covid-19 Death Rate Looks Less Bad in Historical Perspective

| May 30, 2021

My preceding blog post pointed out that excess mortality statistics show Covid-19 death rates to be much worse in most countries than are reported by official statistics.  In this sense, the pandemic is even worse than one thought.

But the news all around us is already depressing.  A consideration of longer-term history allows a more encouraging perspective on mortality — provided we handle the statistics properly.