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Conservative times April 24, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Speaking of fatigue how there are noises off in a range of areas now that we’re well into the crisis, and the accompanying lock-down, about various matters. As noted by EWI in comments yesterday Michael McDowell was quick off the mark to talk about:

Experts speak of the precautionary principle. It has applicability to the sciences of public health and epidemiology. But it also applies to wider society and the economic wellbeing of the people. The social and economic effects of prolonging the lockdown are matters which should also attract the application of the precautionary principle.

And:

Can we wait for a vaccine before easing substantially or ending the lockdown? I very much doubt it. Is there a drug which is about to radically improve treatment of Covid-19 in a transformative way? We have not heard of it.

So while he states:

It isn’t a question of lives versus wealth. The economic life of Ireland as a community is itself in issue.

Clearly if the previous quote holds true… and tellingly he doesn’t quite articulate how that ‘wealth’ comes back into operation in a context of the virus still circulating in the community. Even in ‘liberal’ Sweden it is telling from all reports how social and other life has diminished because, well, people aren’t stupid. If the alternative is between going to the pub and staying in and increasing ones chances of remaining healthy then most (if not all, as we saw earlier in the week there’s a small strand of complete fools) will opt for the second. I know I would. I imagine pretty much everyone here would too.

What I find irritating is that he doesn’t spell out the logic of what he is saying. Complaining about the lack of debate about exiting the lock-down and the damage to the economy is all very well. But it’s only half the equation. What does he envisage would be the scenario during and after that exit? What does he think ‘living with the virus’ entails?

I wouldn’t be comfortable going to a pub if the situation was say reversed to the point we were at in the first week and a half of March. Or a restaurant. Or a cinema. Or… and I wonder how many would.

Of course it’s not just that side of things. There are other voices, familiar from a previous crisis (one which never ended, let us keep in mind, even if economic growth diminished its impacts).

The “generous terms” of the Government’s Covid-19 unemployment scheme and a lack of rigorous checking has created a strong financial incentive for people to leave work.
This is according to Davy Stockbrokers chief economist Conall MacCoille who suggests the pandemic unemployment payments scheme is proving particularly attractive to part-time workers.

And:

Writing a day after official figures revealed the Department of Social Protection issued unemployment payments to 584,000 people this week, Mr MacCoille said the contraction in Irish employment is now worse than in either Britain or the US.

Well yeah. Our society has had a different form of lock-down to either of those states (one could actually ask whether the US as such is in a general lock-down). It has also had a longer lock-down than either of those states.

The move came after employers said that some of their part-time and low-paid staff were not working because they could earn more from the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment.

That’d be worth parsing. Is that a function of the nature of the jobs? Is it a function of the risk those jobs might entail? I don’t know. But with nothing to go on as regards motivation I’d be a bit dubious about the widespread nature of any particular gaming of the payments (and I’ve heard curious stories about companies who have gamed it in a different way).

Anyhow, these are the days we’re in.

Comments»

1. EWI - April 25, 2020

We are all fully aware that we cannot have it all, and that every policy choice (just like every personal one) involves weighing up competing objectives to reach an overall decision. As we think about future strategies on physical distancing and infection control, which will involve judgments about which groups of people to “release” first and in what ways, we need to see the gainers and losers in terms of both mortality risks and misery hits.

Do the health and wellbeing effects of recommending older adults to take outdoor physical exercise outweigh the infection risk arising from this? Are the wellbeing effects of physical social contact among younger people worth potential infection risks in different scenarios? Answers to these questions are matters of judgment not fact, but facts on both mortality and misery are urgently needed if we are to make ethically defensible decisions. Governments must formally embed mental health impacts into their scenario planning.

Liam Delaney is professor of economics at UCD and Paul Dolan is professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/we-need-graphs-for-coronavirus-misery-as-well-as-mortality-1.4237140

This at the end of a piece which seems to suggest that the working classes ‘idly’ spending their time at home has a bad moral effect, breeding laziness, surliness and indiscipline (as well as inconveniencing their betters). The middle-class liberal impulses of the IT are starting to outweigh the public good (yet again).

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sonofstan - April 25, 2020

‘Starting’?

I’ve lost count of the number of ‘when will the rugby start?’ or ‘thinking about buying a new house when this is over?’ pieces I’ve seen in the IT.

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2. tomasoflatharta - April 25, 2020

James Connolly in 1915 ridicules “Medical Authorities” advice on combating a TB Epidemic – 105 Years Later, in 2020, Irish “Medical Authorities” Follow the Same Script. It is the same in most other countries. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/25/what-use-is-it-to-teach-people-about-the-evil-of-overcrowding-when-their-wages-will-not-permit-them-a-decent-house-james-connolly-in-1915/

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3. “What Use Is it to Teach People About the Evil of Overcrowding When Their Wages Will Not Permit Them A Decent House?” – James Connolly in 1915 | Tomás Ó Flatharta - April 25, 2020
4. tomasoflatharta - April 25, 2020
5. tomasoflatharta - April 27, 2020

American Activist Dan La Botz offers a sobering and depressing analysis of the Coroavirus and the Great Depression of the 2020’s in the USA. My question is : the author rules out any support for TweedleTrump or TweedleBiden in the November 2020 USA General Election. He observes many DSA supporters will be drawn into the TweedleBiden swamp, led there by the Pied Piper of Vermont, MiniTweedleSanders. It seems to this outside observer that an alternative electoral strategy is necessary for the American Radical Left, which offers a practical alternative, today, for the November 2020 Electoral Contest. Left Critics of the “Vote Sanders” strategy have, in the main, been shown to be correct. But, can all those critics, today, get behind a progressive left and eco-socialist campaign to fight the November 2020 Contest? https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/an-evil-king-rules-an-afflicted-land-coronavirus-and-the-depression-in-america-new-politics/

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yourcousin - April 27, 2020

Hate to sound like a broken record, but this cannot be emphasized enough. Biden and Trump are not equivalent. So the whole Tweedle analogy is erroneous. I mean, FFS Trump is suggesting folks inject disinfectant. When Neo Nazis were on the rampage he said that, “there were good people on both sides”. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

That being said, fully support the whole mutual aid angle mentioned in the post. Again build strong movements, not candidates. And IF electoralism is the path folks choose to put their energy into then start locally.

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tomasoflatharta - April 27, 2020

https://mronline.org/2020/04/25/joe-biden-no-lesser-just-evil/ Tweedle is an an extremely mild, kindly, adjective, describing the Trump-Biden offer “The only thing Joe Biden and Donald Trump should be battling over is the top bunk of a prison cell. Instead, these two crooks are vying for the presidency of the United States. If Biden is this year’s lesser evil, he is sorely testing the meaning of “lesser”. No Democratic politician has worked longer and harder to turn the U.S. into the nightmare it is today.

While many are alarmed that Biden’s brain appears to be melting, left-wing academic Steven Salaita pointed out on Twitter that his incoherence is “actually his most likeable quality”. That is borne out by Branko Marcetic’s book Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Biden, which details just about everything this scumbag has ever done.” I recommend the full MR Online Article.

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yourcousin - April 28, 2020

Read the full article, still disagree.

The Tweedle reference implies equation. There is no equation. Because Joe Biden has literally had to come out and say, “don’t drink bleach”.

This is not to be confused with some sort of defense of Biden or the Democratic Party although I know it often comes across as such.

The April Holcomb piece misrepresents Biden’s relationship with Strom Thurmond, and lives and dies on the hill of busing. I’ve no shortage of critiques on either of those positions but I’d also note how Biden also pushed Obama forward in terms of gay marriage.

Again it’s just not that simple. But want to emphasize the point, mutual aid, and communal solidarity outside of the state house.

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