“Government control gives rise to fraud, suppression of truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity. Above all, it unmans the people and deprives them of initiative; it undoes the teaching of self-help…“
While Mahatma Gandhi was referring specifically to British rule over colonial India in the early part of the 20th century, his words have a strong resonance in the current crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Governments across the world have had to take drastic measures, including enforced lockdowns, travel restrictions and the temporary closure of businesses. Such wide-ranging restrictions are justifiable steps to mitigate the spread of a deadly virus and the loss of life. However, the inevitable side effects of the steps that governments have taken include a number of issues to which Gandhi was referring, particularly a noticeable increase in fraudulent activity.