Author: Jean Pisani-Ferry | Bruegel | Published 28 July 2020
Instead of regarding growth as the ultimate solution to inequality, advanced economies will need to tackle distributional issues head on. It is to be hoped that they will be spared the convulsions that often accompany structural and policy changes of such magnitude.
There is a growing possibility that the COVID-19 crisis will mark the end of the growth model born four decades ago with the Reagan-Thatcher revolution, China’s embrace of capitalism, and the demise of the Soviet Union. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of human societies and fortified support for urgent climate action. And it has strengthened governments’ hand, eroded already-shaky support for globalization, and triggered a reappraisal of the social value of mundane tasks. The small government, free-market template suddenly looks terribly outdated.
History suggests that transitions between phases of capitalist development can be harsh and uncertain. The postwar growth model took shape only after the Marshall Plan catalyzed its emergence. And the transition from the stagflationary 1970s to the market-dominated growth model took a decade. The years ahead will most likely be tough ones.
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