Big Government isn’t just back in business, it is back for business, so get used to it

Crises such as the pandemic and climate change mean governments will intervene with businesses for years to come

A boarded up pub in Dublin’s city centre in March 2020. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A boarded up pub in Dublin’s city centre in March 2020. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Wednesday’s meeting of the Oireachtas joint enterprise committee to discuss the retail sector had some of the usual to-ing and fro-ing between employers and workers’ groups. But then a noticeable thing happened. By the end of the meeting, both sides had effectively joined hands to conclude that the State is the only actor with the power and resources to lead the sector out of crisis.

It is obvious by this stage in the pandemic that with almost-unrestrained public spending to ward off disaster, Big Government is back in business. But it is also now back for business. Whole sections of the market economy, such as retail and hospitality, are wobbling like drunks on stilts and politicians look like the only people who can intervene to restore some semblance of stability.

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