Free Markets in the Wake of the Pandemic
The pandemic has disrupted our daily lives and changed our day-to-day activities. Who would have thought we could do so many things without leaving the safety (and comfort) of our homes? Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of economic turmoil, some free-market innovations have helped us weather the storm.
Many restaurants have ditched multi-use menus in favor of QR codes that allow you to access menus on your phone. Some even have dine-in customers order using new apps on their phones to reduce interactions between guests and staff. Most stores now have curbside or delivery options, gyms and restaurants are moving things outdoors, and socially-distanced concerts are the latest form of entertainment. There is also plenty of innovation in education, with pods facilitating or replacing virtual learning.
Not only are established businesses pivoting their operations, but new businesses are popping up to fill new demands created by the pandemic. According to the Census Bureau, business applications were up 77.4 percent in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the second quarter. Our new circumstances have created room for entrepreneurship; companies are making masks, creating fun backyards, or installing home-office setups.
There is no centralized, one-size-fits-all way for a business to survive a pandemic and economic shutdown, and there shouldn’t be. This is where the free market plays a vital role; businesses can experiment to find out what works best for them, and that could be totally different from the business next door. Unfortunately, not every business will make it through this economic downturn, but the freedom to innovate will help some survive. While we all try to get through these tough times, we can thank the free market for giving us these new options to enjoy (from a safe distance).