Government CannotCannotCannot Stimulate An Economy It Has Simultaneously Shut Down

It’s impossible.

There is no conflict between humanitarian and economic concerns. A poorer country will be a much less healthy country, one more vulnerable to illness and disease. Technology, modern medicine, and market signals can address a virus, and already we see entrepreneurs producing cheaper ventilators and doctors using inexpensive generic drugs with excellent results.

Government cannot stimulate an economy it has simultaneously shutdown.

I repeat: Government cannot, cannot, cannot stimulate an economy it has simultaneously shut down.

In 1850, the French economist Frédéric Bastiat aided the world in understanding the seen and unseen costs of authoritarian policies. It is simple to see how the state giving someone a five-thousand-dollar check will buy that person groceries and pay her rent. It is not so simple — and yet even more critical — to see the costs and harms of where that money came from: the trillions in pointless spending that accumulate, the unprecedented amounts of new money created by the Federal Reserve, and the countless other destructive legal precedents set.

Millions of small businesses shuttered, just as many large employers have as well. Millions of service workers unemployed already, but many more jobs will be lost. The effects cascade.

Government cannot stimulate an economy it has simultaneously shutdown.

Purportedly intelligent people howling for the nationalization of industry, the socialization of production, the imprisonment in our homes — I promise you they don’t know what they’re howling for.

It is not possible to stop and start an economy — just as it is not possible to distinguish between essential and nonessential businesses — because the plexus of industry is an incomprehensibly vast web in which everyone and everything is connected.

It’s naïve to think that people won’t adapt to the perceived threat. It’s equally naive to think businesses won’t either — just as businesses deemed “essential” have. Restaurants can seat patrons several meters apart. Bartenders, servers, chefs, can wear masks and gloves. But most important of all, people with freedom can choose to patronize the business or not. Precisely as people have with businesses deemed essential. There are virtually limitless innovative ways free people can and will adjust to crisis, including the crisis of Covid-19. The fact that some politician cannot imagine a voluntary solution does not mean that one does not exist. South Korea is an example to emulate. Instead of an authoritarian lockdown of its people, it took a much freer approach — allowed the free flows of information and knowledge and testing — and it worked. We MUST move away from this destructive bunker mentality and consider the numerous less disastrous alternatives.