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Reasons to be cheerful in a pandemic

2 woman looking into a shop window

Businesses are built on positivity – a scarce commodity over the past year. If you’ve been struggling to spot the silver linings around the dark clouds of coronavirus, maybe this is a good time to remind ourselves of a few.

Right now we have not one, not two but three vaccines currently approved for use in the UK. At the time of writing, nearly a quarter of the adult population has received both shots, and infection rates are dipping back to levels not seen since summer 2020.

Of course, the watchword is caution. It’s all too clear from global data that some nations still have huge challenges ahead. The UK won’t be indulging in the wholesale removal of restrictions for some time yet, but with care, we stand a good chance of stopping the pandemic in its tracks.

Added to this we can take some joy from the fact that, yes, summer’s coming! At this stage, we still don’t know if we can book those much-missed holidays in the sun, but even if not, the evidence clearly suggests that outdoor socialising has a suppressing effect on the transmission of Covid.

And here’s another positive thought: yes, the government is spending huge amounts of money to keep as much of the economy afloat as possible; borrowing has reached record peacetime levels. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a bad thing.

The behavioural economist Roger Martin-Fagg recently addressed an FD Centre seminar on ‘Economic Recovery and Structural Change’. Roger’s thesis is that economic recovery will take less time and be less traumatic than we perhaps imagine. For a start, all that money we’re not spending hasn’t just disappeared. It’ll start to be released, probably around the time we can start to book those holidays.

His other insight was Modern Monetary Theory – the system on which the UK, in common with many leading world economies, bases its latest economic policy. The key to MMT is to keep the economy functioning, no matter how much cash it takes, and then to take time to pay back the debt until the country can afford it.  There will be more on Modern Monetary Theory in a future post, but for now, we’ll raise a glass (outdoors) to the power of positive thinking!

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