Nobel laureate Vernon L. Smith, Chapman professor of economics and law, poses with the bronze bust of moral philosopher Adam Smith on the Chapman campus. A $15M gift will establish the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman, honoring both Smiths.
Nobel laureate Vernon L. Smith, poses with the bust of moral philosopher Adam Smith on the Chapman campus.

Economic Science Professors Make the Case for Balanced Reopening of Society

Chapman University economist and Nobel laureate Vernon Smith and Gabriele Camera, a Chapman professor of economics and finance, wrote an article featured on the front page of La Stampa, one of Italy’s leading newspapers.

A portion of the article translated into English appears below.

“Current policymaking suffers from a kind of tunnel vision. First, it is focused on reducing to zero a single risk factor (virus infection) ignoring others. Second, it targets primarily short-run aspects of the pandemic by means of extreme and open-ended interventions, ignoring long-run dynamics. Third, it has taken the form of central command-style action, inimical to the freedom that energizes the core of human social and economic betterment. Public expectations are hyper-focused on social distancing and the gloom and doom of contagion and yet, prosperity, not only the ability to survive, must be part of our vision of the future. Our proposal is to first, consider policies that minimize survival risks while reinstating some of the freedom markets require to do their work. Second, embrace a more dynamic vision, accounting for the long-run ramifications of short-run interventions. Third, step back from top-down, paternalistic policymaking that, historically, has not been very successful. We should trust that businesses and individuals can self-organize their activities efficiently and address novel risks effectively.”

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