“The leadership of NSW seems not to have considered any of these costs in deciding how to respond to the recent uptick in COVID cases. Where is the argument that the actions taken are expected to yield maximum total welfare? Why are we still focusing rabidly on COVID when the country hasn’t lost a person with that disease since last year and hundreds of people are suffering and dying daily of all manner of other things?
I deduce that total welfare is not the NSW government’s maximand. Consider that we are hearing disproportionately about counts of cases, rather than counts of people suffering symptoms or hospitalised. If we counted cases of all viruses that infect us, and treated them like the fearsome pestilence of the sort that COVID has been elevated to in the media, we would do nothing all day but hide under the bed. What matters is human suffering and death – not whether someone tests positive to a particular virus. …..
What is going on here is not the fight of our lives against a fearsome pestilence. It is politicians willingly sacrificing their people’s welfare, hoping the people see their actions as a sufficient offering. It’s the modern analogue of killing virgins in the hope of getting a good harvest.
We need to stop this madness.”
Professor Gigi Foster, UNSW Professor of Economics, in an op-ed piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 28 June 2021 ( https://www.smh.com.au/national/stop-this-human-sacrifice-the-case-against-lockdowns-20210627-p584o7.html )
My take on it
Professor Foster is asking the same questions – the right questions – that she raised at the outset. Where is the impact assessment that examines the case for such extraordinary policy initiatives? Where are the numbers? What metrics should we be using?
The absence of such impact assessment by government is a telling indictment.
Still the question is, Why?
One credible explanation is that a proper impact assessment would come out against these policies.
Does this mean that government is more committed to a particular course of action than it is to the public welfare? Ideological, rather than logical?
“There is a man who is wise in his own eyes. There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)
Has Professor Foster reached the only reasonable conclusion? “I deduce that total welfare is not the NSW government’s maximand.”