Adam Smith and Coronavirus

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. [1]

Basically the idea is that in a free-market democratic capitalist society everyone acts purely in pursuit of their own material interests and by some kind of magic this will lead to the best possible outcome for everyone.

It appears that people who are embarrassed by this naked attempt to legitimize morally empty egoism point to other aspects of Adam Smith’s writings where he talks about justice and so on. To be honest; I don’t know. I’ve never read Adam Smith. What I do know is that in classical economics this principle is taken as axiomatic. This principle really is the bedrock of classical economics; the kind which governs Western societies. True; there is an acknowledgement that ‘demand’ represents purchasing power and not need but once acknowledged the whole edifcase is in fact built around Adam Smith’s principle. Everyone is presumed to act in their material self-interest at all times. This is seen as normal. From another point of view it is not normal at all and what is happening here is that it is being normalised. Continue reading “Adam Smith and Coronavirus”

The UK government’s inexplicable inaction on cornonavirus

This is an article in The Guardian by Richard Horton, Editor of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet

Key points:

  • There are going to be avoidable deaths because of the UK government’s inexplicable inaction in the face of the coronavirus
  • The government has performed a complete u-turn. Faced with actual casualties they have done a volte face. They are no longer aiming for herd immunity. They are now, belatedly, adopting WHO recommended social distancing measures.
  • The BBC is propagandazing this as the “science has changed”. It hasn’t.
  • Had the plan for herd immunity gone ahead unchecked this would have resulted in nearly 400,000 deaths. (They are now aiming for 20,000). This figure was available to any schoolchild as a simple calculation: 0.01 x 66,000,000 x 0.6. (Mortality rate x UK population x percentage needed for herd immunity).
  • The UK is now, very late, adopting the correct strategy.
  • Richard Horton cannot see an explanation for the government’s previous inaction.

Continue reading “The UK government’s inexplicable inaction on cornonavirus”

Still not enough

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/17/there-is-a-policy-of-surrender-doctor-on-uks-covid-19-failures

The above is a link to an article by a front-line UK doctor who explains as clearly as possible why testing, tracing and quarantining is at the heart of a determined strategy to tackle an epidemic such as SARS-CoV-2.

UK government still has not grasped the basics. Their policy remains a disastrous mixture of social distancing – brought in purely under pressure – and a recklessly casualness to testing.

The WHO says test and trace and quarantine. A schoolchild knows this is how you beat a virus.

At one point there were going for the lunatic and unscientific “herd immunity” idea. Now UK policy is nothing in particular. Just a mess.

It is like the First World War; brave nurses and doctors being led by incompetent and reckless generals who themselves are far from the frontline.

 

The pressure mounts on the government over its dangerous herd immunity plan for SARS-CoV-2

This is just a link to a Guardian article which lists the growing calls from scientists and professionals bodies in the UK to drop their lunatic (my word) herd immunity strategy and start (already far too late) the testing and quarantining strategies which the WHO recommends and which have been shown to help control the virus in other countries.

Notable in the long list of conscientious objectors to the government’s mass-sacrifice scheme is the British Society for Immunology – who one would have thought might be well-placed to comment on this topic. This group points out as other experts have that the idea of herd immunity is based around proven vaccinations – not mass exposure to an unknown virus. The government’s strategy increasingly looks like it has been informed by people who do not understand the science.