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COVID-19: Are government resources better spent on public health or stimulating the economy?
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The role of the state is to protect its citizens

Human life is sacred, the economy is not. The government should look after the health and safety of citizens first. If everyone is too sick to work, the economy's health won't matter.
America Coronavirus Economy Health Politics Trump
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The role of the state is to protect its citizens. Sacrificing their lives for the sake of profit violates this social contract.

The Argument

The uniting element in the many theories of what makes a state, is that it exists to protect its citizens. On this basis, there is no debate about policy priorities when millions of lives depend on a single action being taken.

Counter arguments

The role of the state is unfixed. This is no clearer than now, as democratic countries have instituted emergency measures curbing freedoms to deal with the coronavirus. In China, for example, phones now log whether their owner is suitable to be outside and go about their daily business. In France the government can now control people's movements as well as ' manage prices and requisition goods...As the pandemic proceeds, it is also likely...[many will] exploit [their] unique power to monitor people using their data'[1]. The role of the state is therefore dependent upon manifold contexts more than anything else. During an unprecedented global health pandemic therefore, we certainly cannot expect the state to conform to centuries old definitions.


[P1]The state exists to protect its citizens [P2] Prioritising public health is necessary to protect citizens [P3] Prioritising the economy would endanger citizens

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1]The state does not have a fixed role


This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 14:36 UTC

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