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The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has fomented a moral crisis for administrations struggling to choose between “lives” and “livelihoods”, i.e. between mitigating the public health fallout and averting an economic depression. The challenge is being met, and public value trade-off addressed, using a variety of approaches across countries. This working paper draws attention to this dilemma of lives v. livelihoods, arguing that attitudinal, developmental, and structural factors weight down upon the administrative praxis of maintaining two conflicting opposed public values.

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