Fetalvero: Economy, please

Noemi Fetalvero

I HAVE a different take on the concept of flattening the curve. I give reference to the graph pertinent to the data regarding social inequality. While it is my greatest wish to lessen the disparity between the rich and the poor, the latest information that I got gives us a grim picture. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “top economists found that the vast majority felt the Covid-19 pandemic will worsen inequality.” The IMF added: “The toll on the poorer and vulnerable segments of society will be several times worse.”

Richard Partington of The Guardian believes that the greatest antidote to inequality is a stronger economic growth.The Economist asserted that over half of the world’s population now belongs to the middle, working class as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterizes the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary fund. “The poor started entering the middle class when subsistence farmers started working in factories.”

Covid-19 has disrupted the earning capacity of the working class, with thousands of overseas Filipino workers coming home uncertain as to whether they will still be holding their previous jobs abroad.

Peter Mandelson, a labor peer, was described to be “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes.”

“The main weapons for tackling inequality have been the tax and spending tools available to governments. Progressive taxation and welfare transfers are key, but are by no means the only ways to combat the division of income and wealth in society.” It is common knowledge that tax collection has been the problem faced by our government.

In the world’s least developed countries (LDCs), 900 million are at risk from the coronavirus. Despite the lack of economic resources and medical infrastructure, LDCs can learn lessons from their developed counterparts and benefit from their support.

To slow down the coronavirus outbreak, there are five suggestions I hope Cebuanos will heed amid Cebu Province and the city being declared as an “emergency hotspot.”

- Early coordinated social distancing is absolutely essential to risk mitigation.

- Make plans now for the expansion of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing capacity.

- Invest in hospital capacity everywhere.

- Connect frontline health workers with their technology PPE products and protocols they need.

- Ensure early and equitable access to vaccines and medications.