One possibly overlooked aspect of the global responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic has been the role played by large businesses. Economist Tyler Cowan has not overlooked it, however, and made it the focus of this column.
Whether Americans like it or not, Covid-19 is ushering in an era when big business will be more important than ever.
As people start reacting to Covid-19, they are looking mostly to the larger businesses for assistance. Costco and Walmart are packed. Amazon and UPS are delivering our packages. For entertainment at home, Americans are relying on Netflix and the cable companies. For information on Covid-19, Twitter is a very useful stop. As hospitals become overcrowded, CVS and Rite Aid may become important as local health centers and sources of community information.
It turns out that the larger, more profitable businesses are the ones that have the talent, the command of public attention and the financial resources to adjust to these changing conditions.
Right. These large successful firms, some based here in Washington, also have the resources to support their employees and communities in times of crisis.
Cowan also notes the changes going forward as the nation responds to the financial crisis. For example,
Whatever you think of the forthcoming bailout of the major U.S. airlines, logistically it will not be very difficult to pull off, since the targets are large and obvious and relatively easy to monitor. Banks are willing to lend to them, because they know the government does not contemplate a world without major airlines.
…when Americans need answers or simply a useful good or service, they are increasingly going to turn to the one institution that can reliably provide them: big business.
Small businesses have closed because of the novel coronavirus crisis, workers are getting sick and bleeding income, Seattle’s budget is in trouble and two politicians say they have an answer: Tax big businesses.