van Bergeijk, Peter A.G. Pandemic Economics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021. x + 224 pages. EBook, $40.00..

AuthorEzerin, Ian

Pandemic Economics is the most recent monograph from a scholar of international economics and macroeconomics, Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, published on March 12th, 2021. While the scope of the study encompasses the role, contribution, and functioning of economic science and practice in the context of pandemics, including an overview of cases of viral infections from the past and a brainstorming of ideas for tackling future international epidemics; the main argument is focused on the criticism of underpreparedness of mainstream economics and economic policymakers to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The critical tone is patent from the outset. The first section explores the state of institutional knowledge and preparedness before the outbreak of coronavirus, and then offers a disapproving account of governmental policies. Van Beregijk shows that the possibility of future pandemics and the ensuing repercussions had been well under the radar of healthcare and national security authorities in various nation-states. However, the international economic organizations and the global scientific community were not sufficiently involved, and hence, the prophylactic activities were developed around the "policy free" scenarios that also lacked a substantial input from social sciences.

Thus, unlike the later reaction of the healthcare sector that followed the emergency protocols, the diagnosis and treatment of the economic condition during the COVID-19 crisis was, as van Beregijk puts it, "haphazard, monopolized by health policy considerations, influenced too much by overly pessimistic expectations, and confusing with a clear risk of self-fulfilling predictions." The terms 'pandonomics' and 'pandonomics virus' are shorthand that van Beregijk uses for the multifaceted cluster of policies, that spread quicker than the coronavirus itself among the decision-makers in developed and emerging economies, and "enhanced the destruction of the pandemic." (p. 43) Morphologically speaking, the 'pand-'part stands for the contagiousness of the measures, and the '-onomics' represents the adoption and impact on the economies of nonpharmaceutical intervention (NPI) measures, fiscal, and monetary "bazookas" and other forced ways of the massive negative use of economic apparatuses to contain the pandemic.

Overall, van Beregijk's criticism is constructive and thoroughly substantiated by the facts and data from publications by academics and independent professionals, as...

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