Some of them now want to cook their ideological soup on these decisions. The daily newspaper “taz” proclaims the “Corona twilight for neoliberalism” because of the state measures. And Juso boss Kevin Kühnert explains in a generous pose that howl of triumph is out of place. The suggestion that he brought corporate groups into play before the crisis was “small-minded”.
Small-minded is above all the attempt to start a fundamental economic debate from the corona crisis. The massive government intervention with a € 1.2 trillion rescue package is an emergency measure. In times of crisis with a massive disruption to the economy, the state as an active player is crucial. However, this is neither a new finding nor particularly controversial.
Even in the United States, unsuspicious of socialism, banks were nationalized without hesitation during the financial crisis. And now the government is back, as the gigantic stimulus package shows. In this respect, the many malicious comments in the direction of liberal economists and politicians, why the market does not regulate it in the corona crisis, miss the point. Nobody ever said what is assumed.
The crucial point is: From the measures in a crisis situation little conclusions can be drawn for the normal state. The state intervention, accompanied by massive debt, is currently justified to ward off permanent damage to the economy and prosperity.
However, this does not mean that it can serve to increase prosperity in the long term. An exception may not be the rule here any more than with the exit restrictions.
The reason is clearly non-economic in nature
Nevertheless, there is currently a strange tendency to seek knowledge or even benefit in the corona crisis in relation to economic policy. In a caricature of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” the “Covid-19” is drawn as a stone in the gears of “turbo capitalism”.
And green activists ponder the positive effects of the pandemic on climate protection. The virus then becomes nature’s revenge on the globalized economic world, as epidemics were once interpreted as God’s punishment. This is cynical in the face of fatalities, and cynical for those who are worried about their existence as entrepreneurs or who have to fear for their jobs as employees.
This crisis should not be used as a tool to settle economic policies, because the cause of the virus is clearly non-economic. Unlike the financial crisis, which actually exposed an unhealthy level of deregulation and misconduct in the banking industry.
The corona virus, on the other hand, is blind to economic systems; it affects both China and the USA. Differences can be seen in the performance of health systems. And German is not doing so badly, despite undeniable problems.
Contrary to what the critics think, the corona crisis does not reveal errors in the social market economy, but shows its strength. After years of upswing and the black zero, the state now has to counteract all financial strength and put together gigantic rescue packages for the economy. The social network is stable, the coffers of the Federal Employment Agency are well stocked to avoid possible mass layoffs with short-time work benefits.
Private companies are flexible and productive
And not only does the state work, it also works for many companies. Automakers like Volkswagen check the production of medical equipment, breweries produce cleaning alcohol and give it away as a disinfectant to hospitals, textile companies switch from fashion to mouth protection.
This shows not only the flexibility and performance of private companies, but also a sense of social responsibility. It is not a systemic problem that there are negative outliers in all positive examples, such as the sporting goods group Adidas, which uses a law for existential small tenants to cut their rent payments despite the profit of billions. The nice thing about a market economy is that customers can sanction such behavior. The damage to the image of Adidas is now greater than any rent savings.
Despite all the problems and shortcomings that arise in such a crisis, the bottom line is that Corona has shown not only the performance of the health system in Germany, but also the economic system.
More: “Life and health must have priority” – Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil warns of the hasty end of the shutdown.