In this working paper, I investigate what I see as the major themes for the debate that we need to have to be prepared for the next pandemic. These themes are developed against the background of a more thorough investigation in my monograph Pandemic Economics (van Bergeijk 2021) about the history of pandemic research. An addendum to the book is necessary, as the pandemic and recovery constantly unfold. Humanity cannot rely on modern medicine to beat the next ‘disease X’ and the world cannot afford the extortionate health and economic policy interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic again. Therefore, a major global investment project is necessary to reduce the vulnerability to and impact of pandemics. It is important to recognize that inequalities to a large extent determine pandemic vulnerability and hence, adjustment of SDGs is necessary. From the COVID-19 pandemic we learned that the international economic organizations suffered from disaster myopia and that the self-image of the advanced economies is distorted. It also has become apparent that ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ health care was generally practiced while global health care should have been the norm. A discussion on the related issues of rationing, triage and scarcity of health care during a pandemic is urgently needed.

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ISS Working Papers - General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

van Bergeijk, P. (2021). The political economy of the next pandemic (No. 678). ISS Working Papers - General Series. Retrieved from