By Ediane Tiago*
Zeina Latif, one of the most influential economists of the country, talked to Laura Karpusk about the economic scenario, the reactions of the federal government to the pandemic, and the challenges of the country to restoring economic growth.
In this episode of Brazilian Women in Ecominics’s podcast, Zeina depicted a lucid view about the conflict between Economics and Health, created at the beginning of the pandemic. According to her, this a nonsensical debate. In the end, this opposition doesn’t exist, neither a choice between two things. “It is necessary to take care of people to shield the economy”, she said.
Zeina explains that social distancing hasn’t damaged the economy. “We would feel the same impact even if there wasn’t a quarantine”. According to her, the pandemic has scared people, which affected the consumer’s confidence. “Isolation has been the civilized manner that we found to deal with the Covid-19”, she strengthens.
International examples which were studied confirm this view. In relation to the Covid-19, the analysis made by the United States about the economic impacts in Minnesota (that chose the isolation) and South Dakota (that didn’t choose the isolation) demonstrated that there was no difference in the economic performance. “The historical context shows that, during Spanish influenza, the crisis reached all countries, no matter what were the strategies adopted to protect people. These data are demonstrated in academic research”, reminds Zeina.
Zeina assesses that the tipping point in Brazil is the lack of coordination between the Federal, State, and Municipal governments to establish more effective strategies to combat the pandemic. “A joint work to understand which measures should be implemented in each case and moment is missing”, she affirms.
In this episode, the economist also talks about the female presence in the labor market and arguments that it is necessary to attract more women to Economics. “Less than 30% of enrolled undergraduate students in Economics are women”, she comments.
*Ediane Tiago is a journalist specialized in science, technology, and innovation. She is also a Brazilian Women in Economics’s collaborator.