The family and the market, the perfect mix to overcome the pandemic
It is true that we were not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, but neither were we prepared for the quarantine – which, in countries like mine, has already become as lethal as the coronavirus. For this reason, while the majority of the population waits for a return to their daily life, the States speak to us of a “new normal”, of social distancing, of a resurgence of the disease and of an imminent economic crisis.
Now, since poverty is the natural condition of humanity, only constant production is what allows us a better standard of living. Logically, a slowdown in the economy is taking us to the starting point again. And that is not a theoretical speculation, but a palpable reality. For example, in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, economic indices show bankruptcies, massive layoffs, recessions, and product shortages. Sadly, the Keynesian policies of governments will make the situation worse.
But, in any case and with the complicity of a terrified population, different governments around the world used the pandemic to implement the state of exception, use force on their citizens and increase the number of powers and powers of the State over the economy -measures that would have caused the envy of Mao Tse-Tung or Joseph Stalin.
That presents some serious dilemmas. There is no realistic way to run a complex and interconnected economy for an extended period of time when a country – or even large portions of it – is shut down. A similar problem arises if the coronavirus proves not to be a one-time visitor, but instead turns out to resemble influenza epidemics that come and go each year, but never fully go away. In addition to the economic hurdles, forcibly locked populations will suffer deeply, with good reason, if their lives are repeatedly interrupted by bureaucratic mandates. We should also be concerned about the precedents we are setting. We do not want overly cautious or egomaniacal public officials to be tempted to impose drastic measures in response to minor health or other emergencies. And it is not about goodwill or honesty, but about ontology, since States have a repressive nature, therefore, they will never be able to create wealth or get us out of misery, but they can enslave us in the name of a good cause.
So what should we do to overcome the economic and emotional crisis in which they put us?
First, to return to take refuge in the family, which as the Nobel laureate in economics James Heckman says:
The family is the Main source of life and growth. Families Increase their values, encourage (or discourage) their children in school and outside. Families, much more than schools, create or inhibit life chances. A wealth of evidence shows the powerful role of families in shaping children’s lives.
Today we are at home, some longing for the presence of loved ones that we cannot see, and some others, perhaps, tired of the tight family life. But, if this quarantine has taught us anything, it is that this is the time to love those close to us more, and value those who are far away.
The pandemic can be, for everyone, an opportunity to get closer to the other, to exercise virtues -and be patient with defects-, so that family life is not only tolerated, but enjoyed, so that parents listen to their children and children learn from their parents, this can be a time to learn something new, to help, to show solidarity, and to make family ties more solid and authentic. On the revitalization of the family, society will rest, which will emerge from this quartering stronger, more united, with greater identity and harmony. I do not pretend to show a pink world without problems, because as soon as we return to the streets, the disease and the problems will still be there. But it is necessary in the face of difficulties, which are announced to come,
And second, to demand a package of economic measures that liberate markets, strengthen private property and limit the action of the States.
For example, greater labor flexibility. Many workers would rather sacrifice a portion of their pay temporarily than have to lose, perhaps permanently, their job. Additionally, for companies to retain their employees, the tax burden must be lowered and incentives must be created.
The tax on corporate profits, in the case of Bolivia, for all companies should drop to 15%. Additionally, for those that retain 90% of their employees for the next 3 years, a tax of only 5% could be applied.
Finally, since consumers will see their pockets hit by extra expenses in the face of the crisis and lower income – in addition, they will face a shortage of certain products. Governments can help by removing all import tariffs. In short, you need less state and more family.
Now we go for the children