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A Global Conundrum: Pausing the Economy While Avoiding Ruin

The coronavirus has produced something new in economic history. Never before have governments tried to put swaths of national economies in an induced coma, artificially maintain their vital organs, and awaken them gradually.

Some past societies, such as medieval Europe, abandoned economic activities as people tried to escape plagues, and suffered heavy disruptions to their social order. In other pandemics, such as the flu of 1918, economic interactions continued with only limited quarantine measures, as authorities accepted…

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