The crisis must not be misused for individual interests

Never waste a good crisis! Under this heading, political scientists Jack Blumenau and Benjamin E. Lauderdale describe how particular interests have used the euro crisis for institutional reforms.

There is a general problem behind this: In severe crises, politicians can no longer maintain the previous policy, but they also do not know which policy can be used to solve the current crisis problems.

That is why the times of representatives of individual interests come in times of crisis. They have policy proposals and bills in their pockets with which they have been working on politics for years. In the crisis, they put these proposals back on the table for politicians. They say with publicity: This is the medicine against the crisis. We have always asked for it. If only politics had listened to us earlier! Now is the time!

This pattern can also be seen in many places in the corona crisis. One hears the demand for higher minimum wages and a fairer wage in all social professions for the future.

This may be a legitimate demand – it does not help in the current crisis, neither in terms of breaking the chain of infection or treating the sick, nor in researching effective medicines and vaccines or rebuilding the economy after the crisis.

No supply without globalization

It is also the hour of globalization critics. They think they know that international links are the cause of the corona crisis and that we have to return to more self-sufficiency. It is undisputed that the virus quickly traveled around the world due to the high mobility of people.

However, without the globalization of the economy, we would also be much poorer and would be able to help those who are sick much worse. And a self-sufficient society would be quite helpless when an epidemic breaks out.

Where should the essential goods and food come from when the domestic economy is paralyzed by the disease? In a globalized world, at least the countries that are not (yet) affected and those that have already overcome the epidemic can provide important services.

One also hears the call for nationalization or partial nationalization of large companies, such as the Lufthansa – for transitional periods, but without a clear exit scenario. Is this a contribution to solving the corona crisis?

Lufthansa is a very efficient private company. The company and its employees are now facing uncertain transition times.

Is that a reason to really make Lufthansa a loss-making, state-controlled company along the lines of Alitalia? Airlines are not banks that pull everything down with them in an imbalance.

If necessary, they can be refurbished after the crisis by means of rehabilitation. And in the worst case, their airlines, routes and, above all, their well-trained staff would quickly be taken over by other airlines.

No empty shelves

Those who see neoliberal excesses everywhere are now demanding more state control for many goods. Will that lead to more security of supply and better product quality at lower prices?

If you didn’t get any penne rigate, arborio rice or Italian canned tomatoes in the supermarket two weeks ago, you might be a little disappointed and had to reschedule the menu for the evening. But there was no real food shortage despite the rush to the supermarkets, and just a few days later the retail logistics experts had filled the shelves with products from other pasta suppliers.

In the GDR’s planned economy, the shelves were mostly empty. And there were many goods only under the counter. They were exchanged as “goods in bulk” or moved to good friends.

Marcel Thum

The author is a professor of economics at the TU Dresden and managing director of the Dresden branch of the Ifo Institute. He also heads the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ministry of Finance.

(Photo: ifo Institute)

And product quality? In Berlin you can still see the elegance of a “Trabant S de luxe” (waiting time for a new Trabbi about ten years), the DDR jeans from the “Boxer” brand, a retro-look color television from the “Chromat” brand or a computer from the VEB Robotron marvel. After 1990, nobody wanted these goods anymore.

The newly sparked discussion about euro bonds also uses the “favor of the hour”. In view of the crisis, France, Italy and Spain are once again calling for the communitisation of debt in Europe – not just for the crisis now, but permanently, and as a symbol of cohesion.

No plea for national selfishness

So far, the core argument for euro bonds has been that they can cushion asymmetric shocks. Those who are unlucky and are hit by a negative shock, for example because a country’s most important industry is getting into a global crisis, will be supported and, as it were, insured by the other countries that are not affected.

It remains to be seen whether the argument bears. However, the corona crisis is a largely symmetrical shock, since all euro countries are affected.

This is not a plea for national selfishness. Countries that are not (yet) affected by the epidemic should make part of their emergency infrastructure available to citizens of their EU neighbors. Temporary intergovernmental loan support can also be useful. For example as part of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Kai Konrad

The author is a director at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

(Photo: David Ausserhofer / WZB)

The EU could also play a stronger role in coordinating national policies. Unilateral border closures, which hardly change the epidemic but threaten the supply and employment opportunities of the population, show how sensible Europe-wide coordination would be.

But the crisis does not provide convincing reasons to now and quickly change the European public sector financial architecture for decades after the crisis.

So how should you prepare for pandemics and other rare disasters in the future? Do you really need more government control where there are shortages in the Corona crisis?

The next catastrophe is likely to present completely different challenges. Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling once advocated primarily increasing the economy’s ability to react to crises: this happens through more knowledge, better technologies, and through greater economic power and prosperity in the economy, so that sufficient resources can be quickly directed towards dealing with an emerging crisis.

More: The hour zero – How a responsible restart of the economy succeeds.


One pot pasta: the 3 best recipes

Everyone is talking about one pot pasta – pasta dishes where all the ingredients are cooked in a pot. We’ll tell you our favorite recipes

Cook lightning-fast pasta dishes in a saucepan with little effort – That sounds promising, because actually we prefer to cook rather than wash for hours. The One Pot Pasta, in which all ingredients are cooked in one pot at the same time, comes from the USA by Martha Stewart, the mother of all housewives. This method is good for the aroma and practical because you have to wash less. We’ll tell you three recipes for one pot pasta that you should definitely try.

And here there is pasta without any calories.

One pot pasta primavera

For 4 people: 250 g penne rigate (tubular noodles with grooves), 2 carrots (in thin slices), 150 g broccoli florets, 150 g mushrooms (depending on size, halved or quartered), 250 g green asparagus (approx. 2 cm long) Pieces), ½ fennel bulb (diced), 450 ml vegetable broth, 100 g peas (frozen), 70 ml cream, grated ½ organic lemon, salt, pepper, 1 small handful of basil leaves


1. Bring the pasta, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus and fennel to the boil with the vegetable stock while stirring. Then simmer for about 6 minutes.
2. Add peas and cook for another 4 minutes.
3. Mix in the cream and lemon zest and season the pasta with salt and pepper. Arrange with basil leaves.
Preparation: 25 minutes

Asian style: One pot pasta with peanuts and spinach

For 4 people: 250 g mafaldine (short, wide pasta), 150 g baby spinach, 150 g carrots (diced), 150 g red bell peppers (diced), 1 shallot (finely diced), 1 tbsp green curry paste, ½ tsp salt (+ salt to taste), ½ tsp honey, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 150 ml coconut milk, 350 ml vegetable broth, pepper, 4 tablespoons peanut kernels (roasted and salted)

We all make these 5 mistakes when cooking pasta


1. Boil the pasta, spinach, carrots, peppers, shallots, curry paste, salt, honey, peanut butter, coconut milk and vegetable broth and simmer for approx. 12 minutes with the lid closed. Stir occasionally.
2. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the peanuts.
Preparation: 25 minutes

Fine for guests: one pot pasta with chicken and rocket

For 4 people: 300 g chicken breast fillet (in fine strips), 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, salt, pepper, 250 g Fussili (spiral pasta), 300 g zucchini (finely chopped), 1 shallot (finely chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 40 g of dried tomatoes (finely diced), 5 tablespoons of basil pesto (finished product), 1 pinch of sugar, 450 ml of vegetable broth, 75 g of arugula


1. Sear the meat in a casserole in oil for about 4 minutes, stirring. Take the meat out of the saucepan.
2. Boil the pasta, zucchini, shallots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons pesto, 1 teaspoon salt and sugar with the vegetable stock in the saucepan and simmer with the lid closed for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Add the meat and the remaining pesto and cook again for 2 minutes while stirring. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve with arugula.
Preparation: 25 minutes