A shopper wearing protective gloves pays for a purchase with cash at a farmers’ market in San Francisco in the United States [File: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg]

Desperate problems can sometimes justify extreme solutions, but leading economists fear financial interventions intended to ease the coronavirus crisis could cause even more fundamental problems. The cure might create a financial catastrophe of its own.

Just a few years ago, right-wing politicians were mocking left-wing rivals and warned voters not to believe promises of governments distributing “free stuff” in the United States; nor in “the magic money tree” in the United Kingdom.

Now those self-same right-wing realists seem to have discovered a whole forest of magic money trees in their quest to prevent COVID-19 from causing another

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