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The coronavirus crisis is likely to be with us for some time to come and governments have been doing their best to manage the crisis, but it seems some countries are doing better than others.
The Morrison government has been dragging its feet, on the economic and health fronts, and it seems that it’s directing its actions based on ideological pursuits, rather than putting that all aside, and working out what is the best outcome for the entire community.
Economic action has been slow – there are two stimulus packages, but not a cent has actually been received by anyone yet, and government messaging on health outcomes have been contradictory and confusing.
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Governments of all persuasions need to rise to the occasion in a time of crisis but it seems that this government is going to exhaust all other options before embarking on the correct course of action. Is this the right government for the times, or do we need something different?
Whether we have the right government at this time is questionable, but neoliberalism as an economic philosophy has had its day and needs to answer some questions of its own. Modern history has shown in times of crisis, the world does have the ability to stop, reassess the direction it’s heading in and develop strategies for a better future. In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference resulted in the creation of the League of Nations – that failed in its primary purpose, which was to prevent further war – and after the Second World War ended in 1945, we saw the creation of the United Nations, instigation of the Bretton Woods agreement which set up news terms of monetary relations between North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan, resulted in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund.
The mode of thinking at that stage was there needed to be a control over speculative financial capital, a need to consolidate Keynesian economic thinking, and stabilise world economies – that was economic thinking that existed until the onset of neoliberalism in the early 1980s, and there have been calls for a new mode of economic thinking to guide us through this current economic crisis.
In 1945, the world has Churchill, Roosevelt and Curtin – among others – great national figures in their respective countries. Now we have Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Scott Morrison – we asked the question before if Australia has the right leadership right now – but internationally, do we have the right leadership to create a new financial and economic structure to guide the world through this crisis?