David McWilliams: How to avoid an economic depression

The new government must make saving small businesses its top priority

Small business owners are heroic. They are the people who take the risks, and without them there is no economy.  Photograph: Getty Images

Small business owners are heroic. They are the people who take the risks, and without them there is no economy. Photograph: Getty Images

Whether or not we can avoid an economic depression will be determined by what we do now. Amid the pessimism it is crucial to appreciate that it is possible to avoid this outcome if we deploy all the right levers of economic policy. The European Central Bank (ECB) has underwritten the economy at borrowing rates below zero. As a result there should be no hesitation in borrowing more to tide us over.

We can also reprice existing debt to dramatically reduce the cost of outstanding debt, and we can boost demand to cushion the slump by putting money directly into people’s and businesses’ accounts.

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