Post-COVID-19: The way forward

Post-COVID-19: The way forward

Friday, April 03, 2020

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Dear Editor,

COVID-19 has induced a big interruption to global trade as at least 40 per cent of the world's population remains in some kind of lockdown and is therefore not gainfully employed.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that about 25 million additional people will be unemployed globally during this financial crisis.

In 2008-2009 there were 22 million additional people unemployed due to the crisis of the global recession.

It's important to prepare because unemployment increases and persists. It then leads to deflation — like what happened during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Historically, the only way out of it would be government-created jobs, like the new deal in the United States in the 1930s. Hopefully, the private sector follows suit. And, not just in meaningless infrastructure projects, but projects that increase efficiency. For example, don't just build bridges to nowhere, but build bridges that cut transportation costs. Don't just pave streets, but create a more efficient network that improves connectivity and improve the quality of life. Create agricultural jobs that we can feed ourselves and export the excess. A more aggressive industrialisation programme must be pursued.

The fall is inevitable, but a rise is uncertain. If developing countries continue to react to circumstances and not create a better world for ourselves, whether it's the United States, China, or Europe, Jamaica will only be their vessel.

The future is fraught with danger, but ripe with opportunities. If this global crisis does not weaken Jamaica, it will make her stronger.

Brian E Plummer

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