Quarantine State of Mind
By Amy Willis
How are you satisfying your urge to connect in these strange new times in which we find ourselves? What are you worried about? What will be the economic impact of the coronavirus? The social and cultural impact? These questions and more were the core of a special conversation between EconTalk host Russ Robert and Tyler Cowen in this bonus episode.
We’re all in this together, and we want to hear from you now more than ever. Please share these prompts with your friends, perhaps at your next Skype or Zoom coffee, as Russ suggests. We’d love to see your responses in the Comments. We know it can’t take the place of a face-to-face interaction, and most of all we hope you’re staying well.
1- What are you doing more of since the coronavirus struck? What sort of mental readjustments have you made to get yourself into a “quarantine state of mind?”
2- Why does Cowen think ought to have greater concern about COVID19 as a major worldwide event? To what extent has he convinced you?
3- How likely do Roberts and Cowen think a recession is in light of the virus? What sectors of the economy do they think will be hardest hit, and why? What sorts of government interventions will we likely see first, and how effective do you think they can be?
4- Roberts notes that private voluntary reaction to COVID19 has been rapid and impressive. What examples does he cite, and what examples can you add? (David Henderson recently pointed to one here, for example.) What makes Roberts more optimistic about the effectiveness of private, bottoms-up responses to COVID19? To what extent do you share his optimism?
5- What sort of responses to COVID19 does Cowen suggest as promising? With which did you agree, and why? What would you do if you were the “corona virus czar”? Would there be bail-outs? For whom? Should the state’s response be more palliative or stimulative? Explain.
6- What does Cowen mean when he says that a great deal of “organizational capital” is likely to be lost as s result of COVID19, and why does he believe that no fiscal stimulus can solve this problem?
7- Both Roberts and Cowen believe we can expect to see some shifting in our social norms. What larger cultural changes should we expect? Which are net positive? Net negative?