Case Study Questions
Pandemics do not just affect health, they also rip individual economies aspect too. For many people affected by the coronavirus, including those who do not fall sick, economic survival will be a primary concern. When businesses closeand workers no longer get paid, the bills for unpaid rents, mortgages and consumer loans quickly accumulate. Cities have already shut down of their transport services, shops, cafes and cinemas. Mass lay-offs are on the horizon. Unemployment insurance willcover some, at least for a time. But self-employed and temporary workers, and households that live pay-cheque to pay-cheque, do not have such buffers.The 2008 crisis should have been a reminder that debt is not a substitute for income. Likewise, ensuring households can afford the basics of everyday life by broadening access to loans and credit cards is no replacement for effective social policy. But instead of heeding these lessons, governments focused on fixing the financial sector, bailing out the banks to ensure they would lend again.As a result, we are now watching two overlapping crises unfold: the coronavirus pandemic, and the economic threat it poses to our debt-fuelled economy.
We urgently need debt relief –especially for households at the lower end of the income and wealth spectrum. Most interventions that governments have taken so far have targetedfinancial markets and businesses. Unless governments also implement measures aimed at indebted households and renters, such measures are unlikely to prevent a meltdown driven by rapidly falling demand for goods and services. The economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez have called for asocial insurance schemeto tackle the economic shock wrought by coronavirus. This would broaden the government’s role, making it not just a lender but a buyer of last resort. The scheme would compensate for the demand that has evaporated from the economy. With the airline industry, for example, if demand for flights drops by 80%, the government would buy 80% of plane tickets. Small and medium-size businesses, which are the least insulated against economic shocks, are most likely to benefit from this intervention. Still, on its own, this would not alleviate the stress of many deeply indebted households.
To be sure, it is not easy to tailordebt relief to only truly distressed households. There will always be free riders who will take advantage of debt relief packages without needing to do so. But this should not prevent governments from intervening now. There is no better example of an exogenous shock than coronavirus. The overriding concern today should not be moral hazards, but massive default rates that will leave millions of people destitute.To treat the economic fallout of coronavirus, governments should directly assume the debt of high-risk households. It is often said that the public health of the majority is determined by the most vulnerable in society. The same logic applies to a healthy political and economic system: its stability depends on how it treats its weakest members. Hedging our bets on an economic system that has neglected these truths and instead prioritised wealth creation at the top has put us all at risk. There is still a small window to rectify these past wrongs, by urgently granting debt relief to the households worst affected by coronavirus.
Source: Adapted and modified from The Guardian, 18 March 2020, Why debt relief should be the answer to this coronavirus crash, viewed on 26 March 2020, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/debt-relief-coronavirus-crash>.
Evidence the group of life-cycle stages being affected most during the Coronavirus crisis?(30 marks)
Discuss the financial concern encounter by household during the Coronavirus crisis (note: To answer this question, you need to ask at least FIVE (5) persons regarding the types of financial concern). (30 marks)
Diagnose the TWO (2) Malaysian social securities’ being assign by government to ease the financial burden for household? Discuss the mechanism functions on how to help the affected household. (40 marks)
Case Study Answers
Economy during Coronavirus
Evidence the group of life-cycle stages being affected most during the Coronavirus crisis?(30 marks)
The economic business cycle is an indicator of the tide the economy usually follows through time. It consists of six major potions namely expansion, boom, recession, depression, trough and recovery in cyclical order and the company business cycle, hence, derives stages from the macro business cycle namely launch, growth, shakeout, maturity, and decline. The coronavirus has become a global crisis in a very short amount of time, and where many economists had predicted a global recession in 2020, they now foresee a world depression because of the severity brought forward by the novel virus and what its solution entails for now. The ripple effect of the virus is extremely important to be studied and analyzed to understand the new situation that the world might face and for that product life-cycles are essential to be looked at. Once the problem has been targeted, it might be easier to deal with it with a focused solution.
It must be understood that in an economic system followed today, one person’s spending is another person’s income. Added to this phenomenon is the undeniable reality of the strongly interconnected world we live in today that entails that if some mega disruption is caused in one part of the world, other countries are bound to feel the impact. The financial indicators used to explain the position of the life cycle commonly include cash flow, sales and profit. Taking a closer look at these will enable analysts to predict which one is being the most negatively impacted by the virus.
Sales mean the sale revenue generated by the exchange of good and services, and because of the virus, buyers are not encouraged to purchase because they are bound to stay at homes and follow social distancing. Profit entails the surplus amount earned on the product by subtracting the total costs from the total selling price, and since the sales have gone down by a large margin, profits have fallen. The most hurt sector appears to be the cash flow as it forms the basis to allow the impact on sales and profits. It is important to remember that the economy is the most stable when it is the most liquid, in other words, when the money flow is continuous, and there are no pauses. However, the epidemic is of such nature that has become a significant barrier in the flow of cash. The global demand has plummeted drastically as a result of almost one-third of the entire world being in lockdown. This can be evidenced by the fall in the oil prices as a result of a fall in demand. Here although this might benefit the oil importers, the oil exporter will lose out.
The hindrance in the cash flow has resulted in negative cash flow where the intake of money is lesser than its outflow. These can be felt by the governing bodies, especially as despite the cut down in spending by the people; the government has to support its people by giving out unemployment benefits, subsidies and easy loans.
Conclusively, the famous statement that “cash is king” is found to be evident in this scenario where the difficulty in cash flows are leading the world into an economic turmoil where many economists predict that it might be worse than the 2008-09 crisis. After analyzing this, decision-makers must introduce reforms and changes to fix the system to minimize the negative impact on the people.
Discuss the financial concern encounter by the household during the Coronavirus crisis (note: To answer this question, you need to ask at least FIVE (5) persons regarding the types of financial concern). (30 marks)
The economic impact of the coronavirus seems unparalleled as many economists are predicting an economic depression to come. Many households are worried how the effect will affect them, but the most stressed are the daily wagers, whose income is dependent upon the very places that are being shut down and due to the lockdown, they are unable to carry out their jobs.
Daily wagers include people who do not have a fixed income but whose wage is dependent on how many orders they receive for their individual assistance, such as plumbers, electricians and labourers who are not linked with any formal sector firm. Lockdowns have been imposed in many countries to reduce the spread of the virus, and resultantly, these people are getting no orders and hence, in essence, are unemployed. Unemployment is the most feared outcome many households might face because of this pandemic. In such cases, many governments have come up with unemployment benefits, such as in Pakistan the Prime Minister announced that 200 Billion Pakistani Rupees would be distributed among daily wagers during this trying period.
Another problem the households are facing includes the payments of loans and rents during this pandemic. Many wagers have received payment cuts due to the pause in production cycles. Hence paying bills, repayment of loans, instalments and paying rent can become a great source of stress for many households.
Moreover, another one of the primary concern for many households appears to be coping up with raised prices of necessary goods in their local markets coupled with the shortages of some products as a result of supply chain disruptions and panic buying.
Furthermore, those households that have a single breadwinner feel severely burdened during this pandemic. Especially the ones who are daily wagers and small business owners who are taking a severe burn from the crisis. The UN reports that 220 Billion Dollar loss might be faced in developing countries.
Additionally, the households that derive their incomes from those industries that are unable to adapt to the most suitable pattern in the crisis, in other words, are unable to convert their business and industry to a digital platform, such as spas, event, tourism, are facing a severe blow as well. Many businesses like the education sector and some medical advisory bodies have digitalized their structures and are rather capitalizing from this epidemic while the business that is unable to do so either because of their nature, or by the lack or skills, resources or structures, are suffering. This domino effect reaches the households of these businesses, and hence they feel the burden of the economic hardships under the covid-19 emergency.
Diagnose the TWO (2) Malaysian social securities’ being assigned by the government to ease the financial burden for the household? Discuss the mechanism functions on how to help the affected house. (40 marks)
The Malaysian government has taken plausible action to ease the economic hardships felt by its people. Many social security policies have been made in an attempt to minimize the financial fallout of the coronavirus. According to the Malaysian Inland Revenue Board some leniencies in the taxation department include the announcements that “No penalty will be imposed on late payment of taxes provided the payment is made by 30 April 2020”, “there is an extension of time—until 30 April 2020—to submit Form CP204B, Submission of Notification of Change in Accounting Period, which is due in the period from 18 March 2020 to 29 April 2020”, and “An extension of time until 30 April 2020 is allowed for submitting documents for tax audit or investigation, otherwise due within the period of 18 March 2020 to 29 April 2020”. Further, the interim government of Mahathir Mohamad also came up with economic aid, specially dedicated to the country’s tourism industry. About 4.8 Billion Dollars have been dedicated to supporting the tourism industry on top of the fringe benefits included in the package for the industry. These two policies targeted towards taxation and tourism will ease out the economic strife of many households.
The ease in taxation is an indication of the fact that the Malaysian government understands that health comes first and is the primary concern. Hence, the delay in tax payments granted by the government to its people will not only increase people’s trust in the government but will also encourage them to stay at homes and put their heaths as a priority as the date extension has bought them time. The Malaysian households have gotten hope that their government is with them during these trying times and hence has reduced the pressure of filing out tax returns in the middle of an epidemic.
The second policy that is solely targeted towards the tourism industry is an important one is stabilizing the households as tourism is one of the major industries of the country as evidenced by the fact that it forms about 13.3% of the country’s GDP (2018 Report). A large portion of the Malaysians are involved in this business, and many low-income families too are linked with the tourism industry. Hence, providing reliefs to the industry will target the people, low-income households, who are expected to be the most hurt during the economic struggle.
Hence, it can be observed that the Malaysian government is dedicated to standing together with its people in these difficult times by proving them with social relief policies in places where they need it the most. The taxation department and the tourism industry concerns many and covering these two entails that people related to these aspects will find some relief and find peace in their household to an extent.