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CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Worst-hit

April 03, 2020

Dante, our plumber, and Dondon, our carpenter, who have been doing work for our household over the years, approached me separately last week, both on a desperate plea for help after weeks of idleness and absence of income due to the Luzon lockdown. They may not be the last to do so. I know there are great numbers of others like them now being pushed to the edge of desperation, for whom assistance from local governments on food and basic needs has been woefully inadequate, or even entirely absent. We're already seeing on TV news of local rallies by hungry residents turning violent. It seems that the specter of social unrest is becoming more real with each passing day. There are those who believe that these could be staged or instigated by "fear-mongers" out to embarrass the government, or for whatever other ulterior motive. Others suspect it could be the work of government operatives out to set the stage for imposition of much-dreaded martial rule. In this age of alternative truths and fake news, and especially under current circumstances, suspicions and conspiracy theories run high, and for the ordinary citizen, it's next to impossible to know what and who to believe anymore.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128578/worst-hit#ixzz6JpNgvv2O


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: A new normal

March 31, 2020

Much like the aftermath of the so-called 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lead to fundamental changes around the globe. Air travel changed worldwide after 9/11, and it seems everyone has already adapted to rigid airport security screenings as a fact of life.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128473/a-new-normal#ixzz6JpNW5qcz


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

[OPINION] A matter of mutual trust

March 28, 2020

The emphasis on enforcement suggests that government places little trust on its citizens or wants even more power over them Pressure for quick action against Covid-19 should not prevent authorities from pausing to align strategies along the best practices discovered by frontline experts.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/views/imho/256106-opinion-matter-of-mutual-trust-coronavirus


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Of sheep and goats

March 27, 2020

We've heard it said that disasters and crises have a way of bringing out the best in people. But there's another side to it as well: It can also bring out the worst in others. Times like this bring out people's basest instincts and true character, and reveal whether selfishness or true caring and sharing rules in their hearts and minds.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128358/of-sheep-and-goats#ixzz6JpNORO9d


RONALD U. MENDOZA, KENNETH HARTIGAN-GO AND MADELAIN ONG

Emergency Financing to Prevent the Collapse of the Healthcare Sector due to COVID-19: Is there a Case for a Health Sector Bailout?

March 27, 2020

This note briefly reviews the emerging evidence as well as develops the case for a possible health sector bailout that: a) benefits public and private hospitals already badly hit by the COVID-19 health crisis; and b) supports private hospitals "repurposed" to join the frontlines against COVID-19. The general argument is akin to a financial sector bailout for private banks during a financial crisis-these institutions cannot be allowed to fail given their broad positive externalities supporting the economy and society. A similar argument is possible for bailing out private hospitals to support their continued operations and provide access to universal healthcare as a national public good.

Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=17808500400212502601406911510901002406008206702006805009


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Focused fiscal fix

March 24, 2020

Governments are now pursuing economic stimulus packages to meet the COVID-19 threat, as if preserving economic growth is paramount. But there's hardly any economic activity to stimulate under circumstances where "enhanced community quarantine" (a virtual lockdown) and suspension of nonessential activities are in place to prevent total catastrophe. The patient is sick, and the prior concern is survival and recovery, not growth. We in the Ateneo economics faculty have released a statement urging government to set aside its growth targets, and firms to do the same with this year's profit targets. It's not economic stimulus but an emergency fiscal response we need-a focused fiscal fix, I'd call it-to arrest the clear and present danger of twin disasters looming before us: a breakdown in public health, and breakdown of the social order.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128287/focused-fiscal-fix#ixzz6JpNDNLrb


MANUEL M. DAYRIT AND RONALD U. MENDOZA

COVID-19: Countering the Economic Contagion

March 24, 2020

At the rate it is spreading across the world, COVID-19 has become a global nightmare. Since China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a cluster of 41 patients with mysterious pneumonia on December 31, 2019, the world has seen COVID-19 cases balloon to 334,981 across 189 countries and territories, with 14,652 deaths, at the time of writing. In the Philippines, from the first case confirmed on January 30, 2020 (a 38-year-old Chinese national), COVID-19 cases have since shot up to 462 confirmed cases, with 33 deaths. Based on big data analysis, there is evidence of undertesting and under-reporting in the Philippines, raising concerns that undetected cases could number in the thousands. COVID-19 produces two waves of contagion. The first is a disease-based contagion that can swamp domestic healthcare and social protection systems, as well as cripple workers and factories through adverse health outcomes. The second type of contagion refers to the "chilling effect" of COVID-19 on both the economic demand and supply sides of a growing number of countries, notably those in "factory Asia." Adequate and coherent policy responses on both fronts will be necessary to prevent this health crisis from turning into an even bigger economic crisis.

Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/covid-19-countering-the-economic-contagion/


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

[OPINION] Conflicting instincts during the coronavirus

March 21, 2020

One expert dismisses travel bans as 'a complete and utter waste of time,' while another says that 'restricting movement does not help' Crafty and cruel, the coronavirus attacks people by exploiting intuitive human responses. How natural it is to visit loved ones who are sick and to greet them with a kiss, a hug, a touch. But contact spreads contamination; people must suppress this instinct to show love and concern through expected physical signs.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/255270-opinion-conflicting-instincts-coronavirus


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: A fragile world economy

March 20, 2020

Stock markets are plummeting, and the world economy is fast heading toward recession (translation: sustained decline in production and incomes). Is the fast-spreading COVID-19 mainly to blame? Pundits are saying no. Even before COVID-19 emerged, analysts already warned that the global economy and financial system were headed for another crisis similar to what we all saw in 2008. According to this view, COVID-19 has merely hastened it. One might ask: So what does it matter, when what's important is that economies are in a downspin and we need to find solutions fast? The answer, of course, is that we can only come up with the right solutions if we clearly understand the fundamental causes of our current economic troubles and these could lie well beyond the coronavirus we're all dreading now.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128188/a-fragile-world-economy#ixzz6JpN2sFlH


RONALD U. MENDOZA AND MANUEL DAYRIT

Social Cohesion vs COVID-19

March 18, 2020

The control of particularly virulent communicable diseases such as COVID-19 can be considered a global public good. Its benefits are non-rival and non-excludable. Stopping or at least slowing the spread of COVID-19 could better protect the health and lives of literally billions of people across the world who could be vulnerable to infection. More effective control could also prevent severe social and economic disruption. Controlling the spread of communicable diseases within and across borders requires strong social cohesion, or a unity of purpose around this collective action challenge. This article elaborates on some of the main elements of counter-COVID-19 responses, drawing on emerging international good practice. While a full evaluation of policy effectiveness is still forthcoming, it is critical to review and synthesize the emerging lessons even this early. In reviewing the emerging evidence and good practice, this paper also emphasizes areas for policymakers to consider in their evolving crisis response.

Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=16612108410108409601207511006401103103702003405201005002