• Dominic Berry posted a comment on ?Public Health & the Corona virus 2 weeks, 3 days ago

    ?Public Health & the Corona virus

    “Herd immunity” is part of an ongoing and increasing theme English neoliberalism since Thatcher. It started with a shift away from traditionalism among the Conservatives and away from nationalism in both parties, towards a libertarian, Ayn Rand type individualism.

    This ideological shift was engineered, because the other side of this was the ascendant financial power of global corporations, their immunity to taxation and their lobby based dominance over the policy agenda.

    Hence the widespread privatization of public services, despite their comprehensive failure to deliver value in terms of cost efficiency or service delivery to the public. It has just become a religious item item of faith that business is more efficient and less corrupt than government, despite all the gathering counter-evidence and the enormous social costs.

    So what reaction is the Westminster willing to make, or capable of making? They’ve been getting rid of a nation’s ability to act collectively for forty years.

    Herd immunity, is a polite way of saying, “Let’s do evolution”, “We plan to do nothing” or,
    “Don’t worry. A lot of you will probably die, but the species is going to be stronger than ever. Lots of muscular young people running around in an AI- managed Garden of Eden. Trust us, this is going to be great”.

    Actually this has already been the healthcare and benefit strategy for some time now. We already see thousands of sick and vulnerable people dying because the government told them they’re “fit for work”. The less fit for work you are, the more likely they are to tell you this. They’re probably weighing up how much coronavirus is gong to save them in pensions and universal credit payments.

    It’s important to notice that this mode of eugenic cleansing of the population isn’t an active or aggressive genocide. It’s more of an indifferent leaving people to the wolves and the mercy of the elements. The dispossessed freeze or starve to death, or commit suicide to minimize the overall suffering and humiliation. In each case, the administrators can always say their hands are clean. No-one can say, as they used to, that we have a Christian duty of care towards each other.

    So I’m betting the response to the coronavirus isn’t led by models. It’s led by an aesthetic, or an ideology of, “Every man for himself and devil take the hindmost”, the social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer. If we can’t build herd immunity, or even individual immunity, the herd immunity strategy is going to be a nuclear hit.

    It’s very early days right now. We’re seeing the first signs. The exponential factor is major. The game theory is very different to ordinary economic resource, social risk or healthcare problems, because cariers are often unaware and have no symptoms. So in terms of economic payoffs and externalities and there’s a diriect contradiction between self-interest and social interest. Any community which lives by an ethic of selfishness is going to get destroyed. We will have to remember the wartime ethic, that your safety depends vitally on the safety of other people.