by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
The “reopenings” underway in 30 states in the US might be in words only just as the ballyhooed “open” Swedish economy is not open in fact and has been closed by non-participation. The Swedish Riksbank reports that attendance at cinema, events, and sports is off 90%. Business at restaurants and cafes is down 70%, and the hotel occupancy rate is a meager 10%. The overall Swedish economy has declined 11%—more than the current estimate for the US—and consumer confidence surveys have plunged more in Sweden than in Europe as a whole.
In other words, whether an economy is open or not is not up to the government. In Sweden people self-isolated even though the economy was nominally open. Obviously, people in Sweden perceive the virus as a threat and are responding with caution to the threat. If Americans, or enough of them, perceive the virus as a threat, reopening the economy will not reopen it.