Coronavirus business update
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Tim Harford writes the Undercover Economist column, and was previously an economics leader writer for the FT. He first joined the newspaper as Peter Martin Fellow in 2003.
Tim is the author of seven books, including the million-selling The Undercover Economist and most recently Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy. He is also a regular presenter for BBC radio.
He was made an OBE in the 2019 new year honours list “for services to improving economic understanding”.
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‘If we are willing to go with our brains rather than our guts, any of us can think clearly about things’
A mass programme is needed because we cannot wait for an effective vaccine
In an age of disinformation, the value of rigorous data has never been more evident
Lockdowns called for ingenuity to meet the challenge of staging in a post-Covid world
Simply existing in a country where the virus is suppressed but circulating is not so risky
The shambles of UK exam grading caused distress to pupils and has a lesson to be learnt
There is good reason that we have such vivid memories of our holidays
Cutting edge technology can blind us to the enduring value of workhorses like the 747
But some predictions are false, no matter how much we wish they were true
Vivid stories swamp probabilities of Covid-19 infection — and young and old have different views
We do learn from bitter experience, of course. But we also have a great talent for forgetting
Randomised trials can be a danger but even when innocuous they can make us uneasy. Why?
The lack of co-ordination on the response to Covid-19 has cost lives
Reversing lockdown is perilous, but we cannot sacrifice our children’s education indefinitely
The history of innovation has plenty of lessons on how to fight the corona crisis and transform our future
Activities that were already marginal are likely to struggle to return
Laws cannot cover every situation but common sense is not always enough
The virus picks us off unevenly, and an effective response must recognise that
A bloody if minor accident in the middle of the pandemic provides valuable lessons
We need more and better surveys from across the globe to help us take the right course
We could crush livelihoods to prevent ecosystem collapse — but that would be a last resort
Economic distress is contagious too and we need a plan to stop its uncontrolled spread
In truth, most people act in the public interest during difficult times
Catastrophes such as coronavirus are all too predictable. What makes us do nothing in the face of danger?
The blessed release of forgetting comes when you know a task is complete