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The price of life … and the consequences on labour mobility and the wealth-income divide

Tong Kooi Ong and Asia Analytica
Tong Kooi Ong and Asia Analytica1/20/2022 5:26 PM GMT+08  • 8 min read
The price of life … and the consequences on labour mobility and the wealth-income divide
There is permanent fallout and the longer-term economic impact will differ across countries, some for better and many for worse.
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The Covid-19 pandemic will end. For sure, there remains much that we do not — and cannot — know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its future evolution. Yet, the world has to learn to live with it as an endemic disease — not ignoring it but mitigating the impact since we now have many more tools to manage the virus. That does not mean, however, that things will return to exactly the way they were, pre-pandemic. There is permanent fallout and the longer-term economic impact will differ across countries, some for better and many for worse.

We all know there is a trade-off between lives and livelihood — in managing the outbreak — on when to resume economic activities and reopen borders. And we posited that there is an equilibrium point of trade-off, which balances economic hardship (which affects health and well-being) against the risk of hospitalisation and, possibly, deaths. Chart 1 is a graphical representation of this trade-off.

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