Delphi on Zoom: Was the Lockdown a Blunder? With Alex Kinmont CEO of Milestone Asset Management.
Friday, 3pm, May 22, 2020 on Zoom
Cost: 2,000 members; 5,000 non-members
Was the global lockdown the greatest policy mistake since Britain’s return to the gold standard in 1925?
Yes, let’s all Google that incident…! Our speaker CEO of Milestone Asset Management Alex Kinmont, a brilliant autodidact in economics (he actually studied Classics at Oxford), is a keen observer of government blunders. Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to crush the British economy by forcing up the exchange rate was one such.
A long-time Japan resident and former Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, Alex’s target is often the anti-growth policy mindset which kept Japan close to a death spiral in the 1990s.
However, at this event he will turn his gaze on the lockdown, which was supposed to stamp out the virus.
In fact, the lockdown has misfired, medically, politically and economically. Medically, the lockdown failed through policy blunders. In the UK for example, government policy was to force care homes to accept discharged Covid 19 patients – without testing. As a result, 40% of the UK’s Covid 19 cases are concentrated in care homes. In Japan, under the Infectious Disease Law, Eiju hospital was forced to take patients despite being unprepared. The toll was almost 200 cases and 27 deaths, including health care workers.
Politically, as our last speaker Lawrence Repeta pointed out, the rule of law has been undermined by a coercive lockdown, which many people resent or believe is illegal.
Economically, many countries are preparing huge corporate bailouts to compensate for the lockdown. But buying distressed bonds, for example, does not help the company – it saves the investors who bought the bonds. Alex fears that the bailout will degenerate into the crony capitalism that an excessively financialized system brings with it – with insiders being protected at the expense of the public.
The stakes are high. The last bailout of the banking system brought the first generation of populists to power. Wild men, maybe, but who are basically insiders – like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. The second generation of populists, should they be brought to power by an even more angry electorate, could be far more destructive.
Please run the video, at least for the first few minutes. And feel free to use the Zoom chat to comment on the proceedings and ask questions. You can also raise your hand physically, or use the equivalent digital function.