June 23, 2020
CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot participated in an event on June 13 as part of “Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left ideas,” organized with the United Kingdom’s Labour Assembly Against Austerity. Weisbrot was joined by fellow presenters John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington; Txema Guijarro García, an MP for Spain’s left-wing Podemos party and general secretary of its Parliamentary Group; and Ruth Hayes of the Unite the Union Executive Council.
Weisbrot spoke about the economic and health impacts of the pandemic in the US and globally, and the new political possibilities of the moment:
“The racism of the pandemic has really become evident as … people of color, have a vastly higher rate of dying from COVID in the US, and have been hit much harder by the deep recession as well,” Weisbrot said.
But, “Just as out of the New Deal we got a set of reforms, I think some of the reforms are coming,” he added. “You do have a change in macroeconomic policy … the Federal Reserve has … created $3 trillion in quantitative easing in just the past couple of months.”
But Weisbrot stressed that the US and other countries urgently need to act to avert a greater COVID-related humanitarian catastrophe around the world:
“The World Food Program is saying the number of people with … extreme hunger is going to double to 265 million this year.
“Most important right now … the International Monetary Fund itself has proposed creating Special Drawing Rights” so that developing countries can better respond to the twin health and economic crises. “This is something that really should happen.”
Watch Weisbrot’s presentation: