A future with Corona
Freedom can only be preserved if it is defended not merely for reasons of recognisable usefulness but as a fundamental principle. (Friedrich A. von Hayek)
Even after months, the statistics clearly support the sceptics of the state-imposed shutdown.
For the first time in human history healthy people were forced into quarantine!
Switzerland would have done well from the outset to position itself as an island of freedom during this crisis, which was predominantly staged by the state and the media, and which was clearly triggered by exaggerated and wrong measures at every stage of the process: open borders for business travellers and tourists, no lockdowns, but major events, etc.
Because of its central location in Europe, Switzerland would have been far better able to attract travellers and economic activity - and even supposedly postponed major events - than Sweden, which was already very open. This would probably have compensated for the slump in the economy (Sweden +0.4% economic growth in the first quarter of 2020) and would also have had a free marketing effect for Switzerland worldwide in the coming years.
A public discussion about best practices, about the mistakes made by the Federal Council and the institutions must now be held! Silence and whitewashing, with the help of the - so it seems to the observer - almost synchronized media, will only worsen future reactions to such incidents. How can we ensure that the Swiss institutions definitely hold back in the next and all coming crises? What is needed is a neutrality that is also inwardly oriented and relies on the existing insurance models (keyword short-time work) and the problem-solving skills of citizens and companies. This would give citizens and companies the necessary space and the important freedom of movement to solve problems effectively, responsibly and rationally.
A little more courage for private initiative and self-responsibility, instead of the illusion of state-planned prescribed "security", would have helped this crisis. Starting with the irritating, contradictory media conferences, the recommendations for conduct that would have been sufficient, the forced closures of operations, and even harmful bans in some cases (hospitals are preparing for recourse to the federal government), the federal government - financed with taxpayers' money and debts - has done a great disservice.
So there can only be a future with corona if the workup is done and not possibly annually recurring, hysterical shutdowns are ordered - whether because of corona or some other future disease.
A legally secure, future-proof, sustainable and corruption-free handling of pandemics and crises - without destructive coercion and without state mistakes and arbitrariness - can probably only be achieved in a liberal, federalist and self-responsible manner.
By Johann Thusbass
Johann Thusbass, Member of the Board Hayek Club Zurich