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Any effort to promote democracy must take into account citizens’ aspirations for economic dignity. Appeals to abstract notions alone will not be persuasive. Arabs crave freedom and justice—but if democracy does not also deliver bread, Arabs will back political systems that do.
Overall, the Russian shock to the world economy will be nasty, but probably not all that nasty. If Putin imagines that he can hold the world to ransom, well, that’s probably yet another fatal miscalculation.
Clearly, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a defining moment in history. What that definition will be remains unclear. All bets are off if Russian nukes enter the picture.
ith the right steps, Brussels can implement such a strategy promptly and in an economically feasible manner. But it will need to act quickly. If it fails to do so, the European Union could face a growing energy crisis, leaving Moscow further emboldened to weaponize the world’s energy supplies.
Faced with creeping autocracy, Europe’s highest court has rendered a landmark ruling, along with a warning, intended mainly for Hungary and Poland: By flouting democratic norms, your economies might face a massive and potentially crippling loss of subsidies from your European partners.
During the pandemic, for example, we know that government benefits helped the poor, while stimulative monetary policy pushed up stock prices and benefited the rich in particular. The Berkeley economists calculate. that “Wealth concentration at the end of 2021,” they write, “was at its highest level in the post-World War II era.”
While there are exceptions, hyper-nationalism is usually disastrous for an economy in the long run. At a time when policymakers are confronting an ongoing public-health crisis, and in some cases the threat of violent turmoil, the economies that succeed will be those whose leaders keep a clear head.
When eurozone finance ministers recently issued a joint paean to the single currency on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of euro banknotes and coins, something remarkable happened: Nothing. No one joined in the celebrations, and no one cared enough to dissent.
Caring for an individual and protecting a population require different priorities, practices and ways of thinking. While it may sound counterintuitive, to heal the country and put our Covid-19 response on the right track, we need to think less like doctors.
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