Economic Lessons from Past Pandemics



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It’s a weird time to be alive. A pandemic is sweeping the world and life as we know it has gone through a seismic shift in a matter of weeks. But this isn’t the first time humans have encountered an epidemic. Today, Danielle (from the safety of her Chicago flat) looks back at a few of the world’s biggest pandemics. From the Black Death of the 1300s to the 17th c. Plague and the 1918 Spanish Flu, Danielle explores the human and economic tolls of past pandemics and what we can learn to prepare for life during and after COVID-19.

Special thanks to our Historian Harry Brisson on Patreon! Join him at https://www.patreon.com/originofeverything

Created and Hosted by Danielle Bainbridge
Produced by Complexly for PBS Digital Studios


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Origin of Everything is a show about the undertold histories and cultural dialogues that make up our collective story. From the food we eat, to the trivia and fun facts we can’t seem to get out of our heads, to the social issues we can’t stop debating, everything around us has a history. Origin of Everything is here to explore it all. We like to think that no topic is too small or too challenging to get started.

Works Cited:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/humanitys-long-history-of-making-epidemics-worse/607780/?fbclid=IwAR10a41kpdJOSCVU8TDwSuz0BIiy0SOOOA7lPQaMghZVqKUMrVVMU4kKy6Q
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2020/03/coronavirus-crisis-economic-collapse-capitalism
https://www.stlouisfed.org/~/media/files/pdfs/community-development/research-reports/pandemic_flu_report.pdf
https://www.wsj.com/articles/lessons-for-the-coronavirus-crisis-from-six-other-disasters-11584719497
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/22/economists-pandemic-predictions-covid-19
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2020/03/12/throughout-history-pandemics-have-had-profound-economic-effects
https://voxeu.org/article/wars-plagues-and-europe-s-rise-riches
livescience.com/2497-black-death-changed-world.html
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=394606
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00324728.2018.1457794?needAccess=true
https://academic.oup.com/ereh/article/17/4/408/499216
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167629614000344
https://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/pages/publication708_en.pdf
https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic
https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i

https://maximumfun.org/episodes/sawbones/sawbones-quarantine/
https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/black-death
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/pandemic-timeline-1918.htm
https://www.history.com/news/pandemics-end-plague-cholera-black-death-smallpox
https://www.acep.org/how-we-serve/sections/disaster-medicine/news/april-2018/1918-influenza-pandemic-a-united-states-timeline/
https://www.cdc.gov/plague/maps/index.html

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