In non-trivial ways, the COVID-19 crisis is different from the climate emergency: it is sudden and unplanned, likely short-term rather than a regime shift, meaning people’s apparent acquiescence to it may rest on their hope to return quickly to normal. In other ways, though, the COVID-19 moment may allow us to draw longer term lessons.
This gas considers government economic policy. After several missed steps, two features of this have shown us a potential different future. First, the designation of key sectors and key workers imply a reshaped economy with very different underlying value bases. Second is the huge expenditure to support sectors, firms and workers affected by public health measures, principally physical distancing. Together these suggest a radically different role for the state than we have seen for decades. Could and should this role continue?