The upheaval spawned by COVID-19 has forced governments’ hands to wield counter-offensive measures, and one popular weapon has been fiscal stimulus. Although not everyone supports massive government spending as a tool for protecting and reviving economies hard hit by crisis, history confirms its successes and provides hope for recovery.
Monopolies pose dangers, and the one held by the world’s three top credit-rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch) is no exception. These heavyweights are influential enough to cause financial crises—and may have in the past, due to problems such as conflicts of interest. The only solution is a radical reform of this oligopoly.
A visit to New Zealand is a step back to a time before the pandemic, when large crowds still congregated at events. New Zealand has been amongst the most successful in beating back COVID-19 and is bearing financial fruits with its enviable, relatively positive economic performance. But a strong recovery is not guaranteed for the country—which, while an island, depends on the rest of the world for its prosperity.
“For the first time since the pandemic began, there is now hope for a brighter future.” That was the assessment given by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on December 1 following the news of progress being made with coronavirus vaccines.