Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lockdowns, curfews. Troops on the streets. Governments handing out free cash. This utter madness was entirely avoidable

By Norman Lewis - March 21, 2020 at 11:10AM


What happens when governments confuse worst-case scenarios with reality? They transform a health crisis into a social crisis and an economic tsunami, with consequences more severe than the virus could produce in the first place.

As I write, hundreds of thousands of people across Europe and the world have already lost their jobs, in the leisure and entertainment sectors in particular. As sector after sector is impacted by global lockdowns, mass unemployment is not a possibility, it is definite. And the social costs are going to be severe. How severe no one really knows. But past experiences show that when people lose jobs, they can also lose homes, their marriages, their health – and our social fabric is pulled apart.

However, we should be careful not to obsess with trying to second-guess what the huge costs to society will be of the panic. Otherwise there is a danger of one form of apocalyptic scaremongering being replaced by another.

There are two related problems. The first is that the global economy was already in the emergency ward before the impact of Covid-19. Whether the economic actions being taken across the world – from unprecedented interest-rate cuts through to eye-watering trillions of dollar state spending – will stem the flow or not remains to be seen. Perversely, it could help to shake out many non- or under-performing sections of the economy, which could be a good thing in the long-term.

The second problem, and the more important one in the short-term, is that economic rationale is not what is driving policy; apocalyptic doom-mongering is. Provoked by the media, governments have been forced into a macabre competition of being seen to be acting. The ‘do something… anything’ approach has resulted in new performative displays aimed at placating the doom mongers, rather than address the health problem rationally. Many governments have been driven less by a reasoned, evidence-based strategy of limiting both the spread of the disease and the disorganisation of economic life, than by an urge to be seen to be taking action.

This is the real problem. In Europe, we have seen an historically unprecedented peace time clampdown on everyday life and social engagement, particularly in Italy, Spain and France. It seems that the responsibility of behaving as true moral leaders who might galvanise the public in a collective mission against illness and a concerted effort to protect economic life, has been jettisoned in favour of being seen to act.

Normal life has been put into quarantine. Carrying signed and dated forms, declaring a reason for being outdoors, is now obligatory across much of the continent, with the threat of heavy fines being imposed if not completed. Even in the UK, where the government has attempted to act rationally and appeal to reason, rather than apply top-down enforcement, there is a move in the draft Coronavirus Bill to give the police and immigration officers powers to detain anyone suspected of carrying the virus and force them into quarantine. People are facing a fine of up to £10,000 or three months’ jail if they refuse to be tested or to remain in quarantine. This week’s first arrest of a man in Britain for failing to self-isolate is likely not to be the last.

This is disastrous on almost every level. The panicked lockdown in Italy, for example, led to a mass migration from Lombardy which ensured the virus spread faster throughout Italy. Now their once robust health system is on the verge of collapse. The economic fallout now threatens the entire social fabric, which, in turn, threatens to destroy the social solidarity and resilience we will need to effectively defeat this health threat.

The justification gaining ground and increasingly being wheeled out by governments is that this is a war, comparable to the kind of mobilisation and sacrifices necessary during the Second World War. But any high-school student of history knows that comparison is fatuous and demonstrates that we are not at war.

Yes, the virus is invisible and threatening. But let’s not lose sight of what it is: it’s a health emergency. One which is causing real hardship and threatens the lives of the elderly and those with underlying health problems, yes. But developing solutions to deal with this should have been relatively easy to accomplish.

The real problem is that governments have politicised a health crisis and transformed it into a social and economic crisis. A more measured approach, especially after understanding China’s experience, would have been to treat this as a medical emergency for the people most vulnerable, and to have taken appropriate measures to isolate and protect these groups. This would have disrupted things, for sure. But it would not have caused the global market meltdown and disastrous recession we now face.

If there is a declaration of war, it should be on the apocalyptic scaremongering which has transformed what was a challenging health crisis into an economic crisis that is already worse than the virus itself.

Reprinted with permission from RT.

from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles


No comments:

Post a Comment


Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group


Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services


#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace Peace and Prosperity politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube