Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - OPIN­ION -

Gov­ern­ments have re­sponded to the novel coro­n­avirus pan­demic and the so­cial and eco­nomic dis­rup­tion it has wrought with a range of ad hoc schemes, in­clud­ing paid fur­loughs, cash trans­fers, and fam­ily sup­port. While com­mend­able, th­ese re­sponses share two ma­jor lim­i­ta­tions.

First, many are tem­po­rary, short-term fixes, cov­er­ing lock­downs or a no­tional pe­riod un­til eco­nomic re­cov­ery kicks in. They do noth­ing to change the un­der­ly­ing cir­cum­stances that left many mil­lions of peo­ple vul­ner­a­ble, or put them in bet­ter stand­ing to face fu­ture crises.

Se­condly, the mea­sures sim­ply do not ad­dress the ex­is­ten­tial threats that face many of the world’s worst-hit com­mu­ni­ties. Al­though world­wide gov­ern­ment spend­ing on the COVID-19 re­sponse is more than US$11 tril­lion, by far the largest re­sponses have come from rich coun­tries. For ex­am­ple, the Euro­pean Union re­cently adopted a Euro 750bil­lion re­cov­ery plan (equiv­a­lent to six per cent of its gross do­mes­tic prod­uct [GDP]). While Ja­pan’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan equates to 22 per cent of its GDP (or US$1.1 tril­lion). But among low-in­come de­vel­op­ing

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