Lessons unplanned: school shutdowns spread
hello and welcome to the intelligence on economist. Radio I'm your host Jason Palmer. Every weekday we provide a fresh perspective on the events. Shaping your world if you're the type to watch the markets the past couple of weeks have been enough to make you seasick regulators. The world over have been wondering whether to simply shutdown exchanges until the seeds call and one of the world's finest backgammon players got his start as a homeless man. Winning chess matches with suckers are obituaries. Editor recounts how came to dominate. The game why he was universally known as philosophy first up though today schools in Britain will close for the foreseeable future following closures in China South Korea and large parts of Europe and America. I've been doing online school. Since the beginning of February for four days now for weeks and now I make quit computer. Teaching the consequences of such a decision are huge from the social at annoying. Because I like getting taught by teachers and I love playing with my friend of things have been shut down because I missed chip. I'll Miss Mrs Jones. Mrs Johnson. No no my friend to the educational and Economic Mesko. I like school. It's a lot harder to retain information from a screen reading paragraphs or power points. The school workers as hard as no. It's really fun they can using. I'm not sure that if I had to do for more than a few months I would be able to take an exam at the end of the United Nations has warned that the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled at the moment almost a billion children worldwide. Not going to school. Any Hawkins writes about international affairs for the Economist and over one hundred countries shot at schools and many other countries have starts school in parts of the country even though children mostly on affected by covered nineteen that a fair that they could be spread of the disease. And and how much do we know about? How much kids are vectors? Yeah so it. Kind of unfair share the moment the extent to which children can spread covered nineteen in two thousand thirteen. Britain's Health Protection Agency at flu outbreaks coincided with school closures and they found that shutting them did the transmission of the virus but for nineteen. It's not exactly like influence and Michael Head of the University of Southampton who said that children may not be the main transmission so ministers and officials have kind of been reluctant to pull the trigger clothing school in the UK and the east prefer of the knock-on consequences but that that would cause which are which are what to the cost of clothing. Schools are basically huge. There's a social costs particularly for very poor children to rely on schools for that one or two meals a day and other place of safety and shelter for example in America. Twenty six million children. Roughly half all students qualify for free or reduced lunches some schools to the New York City of providing hope. Grab and go meals now. That school's closed for students. Who still rely on school for food. And Britain has said the fame so yeah. They're kind of social cost to close. Schools can be really massive and presumably economic ones too in that Who's going to look after them? You have to. When school's close parents need to take time off work or work from home to look after them. And some countries that China come school closure coincided with mandated watch from home policies and the government in Japan. For example the government closed all school but lots of companies have very hostile to the idea of working from home with paid sickly. And they're also very pronounced. Congenital expectation the few childcare so overwhelming the mother. He's take time off work and faith job loss or income loss while schools close and a study in two thousand and nine found that if schooled in America was closed for four weeks it cost between one percent and not point three percent of GDP was just looking at school close by themselves but the moment where he must worth economic situation and also most importantly if schools close children of how neither he after that same study found that up to ninety percent of key healthcare personnel would be Tennessee cat from walk to school places and for the kids who are doing remote learning distance learning computer based learning. Does it really work remote? Teaching can work in twenty eighteen. Refer to found out four and a half months via the Indian coal mines. Ach has basic math skills. Children in India made more progress in these areas in those he wanted me up but for that to be done while you need organization and prepare delivery rather than this kind of scrambled online teaching within at the moment. Even that when it's done while the poor up to talk through nine on average students fair worth when landing online especially the less strong academic background who need more support. I the lower but Brown university as you said the online teaching and better than nothing but sub optimal at most and for more children the education most often and I suppose some subjects. Some ages are easier to teach and others radio tease and other from age group to either take another possible online. Learning has been done to this alternative classroom learning material to be posted online cloth. A being conducted by video conferences. Afterwards one teacher in Italy who've been have posting that to Church dated on Youtube another professor in China have been using zoom STU video conferencing but there have been problems with this not ever assisted Internet in China for example fewer than fifty percent of the population of online on in the USA. Seven million school-age children live in households without any instant access and surely the degree to which the learning is interrupted. I mean the general habit of schooling is interrupted is going to have knock on affects those kids. Yeah definitely so one problem. That parents around the world about at the moment is school leaving exams for example in the UK the government just announced that Jesus even levels are going to be cancelled in China the Gow the university entrance exam which is hugely important now. The whole country goes into lockdown Sadat. Normally I like knowing how to June naureen happening without yet but a lot of people think it's going to have to be delayed because the education being so disrupted for the past few months. Sometimes it's up to America. The states have been lower because for example and university applications transcript Accused of year round appraisal. If more important than your exams but exams also important and the sat in Martin. May when most students at their thirties had been cancelled. So universities have been hiring having to adapt to these disruptions in the students education and so taken together then with these sorts of delays and less than optimal teaching situations. And so on. What do you think sort have overall? Long term impact is going to be. I think the longtime by the really significant not least. Because I've lots of students she turned. Would YOU TO FIT crucial example? Feel hard done by but more than that. I think the fact that parents might lose their job if they're in precarious where I can have to take time off to look. After their kids for poor children even more severe than eat properly and for many children become crucial time in the educational periods and depending on how school for that could be quite serious longtime impact. Thanks very much for your time. I think the intelligence and want to get a lot. More analysis like this subscribe to the economist trusted source of information and well intelligence for one hundred and seventy five years just go to economist. Dot Com slash radio offer twelve issues for twelve dollars or twelve pounds the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as we're brokers traders and market makers. Come together in truth. It's role is largely symbolic these days. Most trading on the exchange is actually conducted elsewhere. And soon all of it will be this afternoon's closing bell will be the last for well. It's unclear for how long the exchange will move to all electronic trading in response to the corona virus epidemic. That's happened before most recently in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in two thousand twelve. The market has again been swinging wildly this week. The so-called circuit breakers that automatically pause trading when the swings are two wild just keep popping seesawing markets have prompted some countries to question whether to post trading entirely until things. Settle down. Well. It's been pretty much the craziest week on stock exchanges that we have seen since the financial crisis and in fact in many ways crazier than the Financial Crisis. Stanley Pignon European business and finance correspondent based in Paris. So what we've seen are two things. The first is radical seesawing of Markets. Usually down and the second thing is questions over whether the markets should even remain open. Given the extraordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in what's going on actually on the trading floors well. Investors are having to react to extraordinary new slow. The the cove in nineteen situation is causing economic havoc. It's causing financial havoc. It's causing corporate havoc so all of a sudden shares are needing to be re priced radically what regulators might be worried about is our markets moving so much because there's a glitch in the market for example there's not enough liquidity or they're participants that are behaving erratically for some reason or are they moving for real underlying reasons. I E people just want to own different things in their portfolio because the world just looks different and so far how have Exchanges reacted to this. What sort of policies are in place for these crazy time so the exchanges are very clear that they are working properly? What we've seen are some closures of physical locations bought a most trading. These days obviously has done by by computers as matched by computers so the hope is that these new restrictions are going to be unsettling for markets. But that they should be able to take them in their stride. The bigger question is whether regulators politicians are going to want to curtail the working of markets And we've seen we've seen two things. Manila in the Philippines closed its stock exchange at at the start of the week only to reopen it. A few days later after investors seemed to be more spooked by that than by the markets remaining open. And the US Steve. The treasury secretary suggested shorter hours. I've been on the phone with the major banks with the New York Stock Exchange. Everybody wants to keep it open. We may get to a point where we short in the hours. If that's something they need to do which I think spook. Investors thought. Well wait a SEC. Maybe I won't be able to sell the stuff that I might want next week so maybe I should just sell it now. So the question is whether it's more uncertainty by letting things just come and go as they currently are or whether they're actually trying to shut things down would actually spook the markets more so clearly. It is the prospect of markets not working which speaks investors. More we've seen that in the past actually stock market. Closures are extremely rare. They didn't happen. Ah during the last major financial crisis in two thousand seven to two thousand nine when they do happen it tends to be because the physical infrastructure is compromised. That Greece is a telling example. It closed its stock market in two thousand fifteen summer of two thousand fifteen when capital controls came in and when they reopened when the stock market reopened of course a cratered closing the market does not mean that investors are all of a sudden going to be happy to own stuff that they would otherwise want to sell. What tends to happen. Is They then sell something else? And that in turn can set a chain reaction where you're selling less liquid things so a bigger discounts causing bigger dislocation and market so really. What the sensible approach is. And that's what what market makers and market participants are saying as long as the markets. Themselves are functioning. Well which is currently the case. Keep them open. Well what about the case though if it's not the physical infrastructure that that's damaged that's That's unworkable but the human capital. What about when there are enough people sick that the markets can't run? Yeah so that I think is going to be the next big issue. There are trading floors all over London all over New York which so far hasn't really been impacted but if enough people are missing you start wondering how some of these asset classes work different assets are going to require different amount of human intervention so far that hasn't been the case people are able to work from home. It's clearly challenging. They're clearly people who are off very mundane reasons like they don't have child care and so on we we all have these issues. We see them at the economist. Magic Goldman Sachs and J. P. Morgan up exactly the same issues as we have with an added twist that there are regulatory constraints that that trading floors need to deal with so for example conversations between traders are meant to be recorded. What happens if everybody's working from home and you don't have enough lines for all the conversations to be recorded? There is a sense from the people I've spoken to the regulators are going to be understanding. They want the overarching. Ambition is for markets to keep working and if there needs to be a bit of flexibility while systems adapt. Nobody is going to look too closely. So what what is your own view do you? Do you think this this relentless pushed to keep the markets open. A unless they physically cannot be kept open is is this the way to keep things the most stable sensible balanced and it seems to be the way things are going. The long is investors are not going to be reassured if you close trading venues on the country. They're just going to find other ways to raise money and those are going to be less productive than doing it. Through structured liquid markets where people buy and sell in the usual way markets are working. They are going through extraordinary dislocation. But that's not because there are problems in the market is just because the world has changed and people are trying to adapt to that. Change Stanley. Thank you very much for your time. Thank you to follow. All of the economists coverage of the covert nineteen pandemic and how it's swiftly reshaping the world visit economist Dot Com Slash Corona virus. Matt Matson is legendary in the world of backgammon. But he was known to everyone by different name. I was really fascinated. Find a man who was called and I felt I had to get into the story and find out why he was cool. That what his life was. What he was doing is our obituaries enter. His story really begins when he left his town of Buffalo Way. He'd been living since he was fourteen. Having moved from Israel he left because he couldn't find a job and really didn't much want to find a job couldn't bad as OTA Wacky in an office he decided he would go and make his fortune in New York and off. He went with no money and the only things in his backpack was a chessboard. And a chest coke because he had always enjoyed playing chess and being pretty good at it and thought well. I make an impression in New York if I carry on doing this. But then he arrived in New York with no friends no contact nothing until and found. He had to sleep where he could so at one point he found himself having to sleep under a table in Washington Square Park and he'd had a meal of fil the night before and he's Fed sleep with this philosophy on his face. In fact Philadelphia was the only thing he managed to eat because it was actually not too expensive and he just about managed to afford that so that he was lying there and with the dohrn that came along. Chuck Code Russian Paul. Who Liked to play chess? How this particular table and was one of the leading chess hustlers in the park. Chess Hustler is someone who is trying to get any passes by you. Try to get them to play with you for money. And that way you vanish to get an income. So Russian poll wanted his table back for us and he decided he would get this chap who sleeping underneath it to God for him every day. Give him two dollars and so they became friends got his two dollars endorsed. Sarah quiet his name because he just went on buying philosophy that was still all he could afford meantime. He was sending an awful lot about chess from Russian pole. And incidentally forgetting to notice fact common too. He became very fascinated with backgammon because he niches that when the hustlers in the park managed to snare these week of players to come and play with them. They made a lot more money from backgammon than they did from chess. The thing about backgammon was that is a game of strategy on the one hand and it's a game of complete. Random is on the other way throwing a dice so he gradually got more and more interested in that game rushing. Paul taught him backgammon to and in the beginning he lost almost all his games but he felt there was somehow a deep true slacking with him by Gammon because it was so like life. One moment you were planning one you had all these strategic moves. Set up how you were going to get your check us home before your opponent could on the other hand with one. Throw the dice in US through the dice with every move. You could suddenly find yourself leave using an awful lot of money and losing the game. This seemed to hand rather exactly what his life had been up to. Now instill was so. He took up the game of Backgammon and began to practice practice and practice. He's still didn't really have anywhere live. He was moving to flop-houses sometimes he could rent a room. Whenever he could rent room he would just sit in front of the screen all day playing backgammon online and tried to get better and better and gradually he did a move to into the big time of back and playing. He managed to get a great deal of success because he had so honed his talent and his skill that he could beat anyone hands down by the end. He went in for a great many games because he realized that this was going to be his income. It wasn't just a leisure activity. He's again to make a living at it and he sometimes managed to make tens of thousands of dollars in a game. That would not even take an hour. He was extremely good at did so good that by twenty seven he was actually crowned by the giants. Have Backgammon. Which is a rather unscientific group of World Class Backgammon players? He was crowned the best player in the world and he was most extraordinarily gifted acid but he was still living like a homeless past Nazi extraordinary thing about him. He never did settle you know. He seemed to spend his time even when he had money to sitting in hotel rooms playing online but he was never satisfied with what he could do. He always felt. It was something more discovered in the game he was. I think Honda mentally someone who found it very difficult to operate in society. By all accounts he was gregarious and sometimes fun cracking jokes and so on but he found it. Intensely difficult decision lies with people was very shy with girls. He was longing to get married and to have a family. He was longing not to be alone but most of his time was spent alone playing online and he went back to Israel. I think really hoping that he'd find warmth in closeness there but never quite finding that family lives that he hoped will do anything to get and I found it very ironic that the whole point backgammon is to get yourself home to get off the board and be home and somehow he never was. He was setting. You never at home in America and possibly not really anywhere. Amro on awful who's died aged fifty one That's all for this episode of intelligence. If you'll like us give us a rating on apple podcasts. And we'll see you back here on Monday.