A Key Characteristic of a Banana Republic

Over at The Money Illusion, fellow EconLog blogger Scott Sumner lays out 21 characteristics of a banana republic. He points out that it’s not a complete list. I agree.

In particular, there’s one characteristic missing, a characteristic that has been quite relevant in the United States and in major parts of the world since early April.

It is this:

Does the government prevent people from practicing their occupation and shut down huge parts of the economy based on the idea, not that people are sick and might spread their sickness to others, but that people might be sick, even though most of them aren’t, and might spread their sickness to others? And relatedly, does it threaten people who could easily prove themselves not to be sick with fines and/or jail sentences for not complying?

Also, related, does the government keep changing its rationale for the shutdowns.