The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has been swift and substantial. Unemployment numbers are reaching Depression-era levels and nations are clamouring to unveil stability packages intended to lessen the economic impact. Will these measures work to restore the economic status quo, or is this an opportunity to rethink our economic structures?
In this episode of Big Tech, co-hosts David Skok and Taylor Owen speak with Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate economist and a professor at Columbia University, about lessons from past economic crises and how they apply to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
This time around, tech companies command much of the market, and many of them are experiencing stability, if not growth. Zoom and Netflix, for example, have seen surges in their share price. Unfortunately, the tech industry introduces new labour-market issues: digital platforms often require fewer employees to operate than other industries like manufacturing or air travel. With comparatively small staff numbers, tax breaks and growing monopolies, technology companies have an outsize effect on society. Stiglitz argues that taxing these companies in “an adequate way” could have a positive social impact. “The fact is: we lowered the corporate taxes rather than trying to capture back for the public some of the enormous profits that are accruing to the tech giants,” he explains. These companies could emerge from the pandemic more dominant than ever.