This short essay will address three questions. First, what do political economy theories tell us about the relationship between the economy and democratic outcomes and how would that apply to the current COVID crisis? Second, what are features of a democracy that make it particularly good (or bad) in responding to an economic crisis? Third, looking at the government policy responses to COVID-19, how can the Indonesian society participate to ensure that the policies will be effective, i.e., channelled to the appropriate targets?
We argue that while democracies have many different features that could both hurt and help during an ongoing crisis, democracy works better when there is a well-informed and open society. Now, more than ever, Indonesia needs guardians of economic policies to be critical citizens that help ensure that policies formulated to handle the crisis are truly in line with public interest.