Just over a year after the first shutdown, one of the clearest clues regarding the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy is the vast disparities in the effects it has had. While it is true, in fact, that the crisis caused by the virus has led to a decline in GDP and incomes of a global nature, it is also true that during this fall, there are significant differences that mean that not all of them have been affected in the same way.
The differences found are heterogeneous in nature. First of all, there are big differences between countries, mainly related to their different production structure. In 2020, for example, even in the context of a global recession, it appears that the decline in the GDP of the United States is equivalent to half that shown by Europe and the United Kingdom while a high-growth country such as China, despite experiencing a very strong slowdown, with It keeps expanding even during a crisis. However, there are also different speeds of recovery, not only through the different structural characteristics of the economies but also through the different development of vaccination campaigns and the different opportunities to maneuver the fiscal policy stimuli that characterize countries.
The disparities in the dynamics of the economies are accompanied by enormous differences in sectoral trends. On the one hand, for example, the production of manufactured goods, although initially hit by the epidemic, quickly recovered from the downturn it suffered. On the one hand, on the other hand, sectors such as tourism, passenger transport, restaurants and entertainment are showing great difficulty in recovery, linked above all to the intensity of personal contacts they produce.
Finally, there are still huge inequalities within economies related to per capita income dynamics, which show very different trends.
While, in fact, some types of workers have seen their income virtually unchanged, others have undergone deep cuts, with a sweeping development that has often further weakened the most disadvantaged, such as, for example, young or talented workers with a low level of specialization.
It is clear that the disparities described, while representing all forms of imbalance, have a different nature and also differ from the point of view of the way in which they can be treated.
Indeed, if differences between countries are not easily eliminated, because there are no solidarity mechanisms between economies, those within each economic system must be addressed through economic policy.
The recipes that must be followed are varied.
On the one hand, it is necessary to ramp up the refreshment policy, making it more effective and, above all, linking it to the actual reduction in your income.
On the other hand, a gradual resumption of activities must be initiated, which nevertheless avoids excessive acceleration, which will inevitably be accompanied by the risk of new closures. In this sense, it seems clear that the right mix of rules that continue to reduce unnecessary communication, for example in work activities that can, at least in part, also occur at a distance, appears to be an essential component. Tool to ensure gradient – essential.
Finally, the management of the resources derived from the recovery fund appears essential, the primary objectives of which are undoubtedly growth and development, which must nevertheless have wide-ranging effects on the economy and society.
Growth without inclusion is always a problem, but it will be more difficult after a period of growing inequality.
This is definitely a critical issue, and those planning interventions today and those who will manage them in the coming months cannot ignore whether the measure to be implemented is truly effective.
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