Before coronavirus made its appearance, the decline of liberalism from its highwater mark of the late 1980s was already the focus of attention (see blog of January 2019). The massive outlay of public finance and explosion in public debt associated with mitigating the economic effects of the coronavirus, together with social distancing measures to control the spread of the virus, and direct government interventions in the production and allocation of scarce items, means that the role of the state has now expanded dramatically. If liberalism was teetering before the coronavirus, it now seems on the floor. Some economists claim to have found a new 'paradigm' for market organisation in the post COVID 19 world.
Of course, liberalism does not deny the need for the state to try to provide reassurance and social protection in times of emergency. It represents an aspiration for a political system in more ‘normal’ times. The question remains about the validity of this long-term vision.