Laissez-Faire, Laissez Mourir — Developing Economics

The spread of the coronavirus epidemic around the world in the past few weeks has exposed not only differences in the lack of preparedness of various public health systems, but also differences in reactions to the crisis. Some governments imposed an early lockdown in their attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ while others have taken a […]

via Laissez-Faire, Laissez Mourir — Developing Economics

3 thoughts on “Laissez-Faire, Laissez Mourir — Developing Economics

  1. To me, the article is an irresponsible piece of propaganda not worthy of this quality blog.

    It is particularly annoying at a time when careful and sophisticated analyses of the public policy reactions to Corona are of the essence.

    Instead, the author tries to instrumentalise the increasingly refuted, totally unreasoned and uncritical knee-jerk hysteria (with which the regressive left loves to dramatise its importance and goodness) just to send a trite anti-capitalist message.

    Learning lessons from the corona bungling is what we need to do, instead of perpetuating the sensationalist distortions so loved by the regressive left.

    Characteristically, the article’s conclusion shows no concern for facts and proportion and an overflowing desire to hype one’s case by grotesque overdramatisation:

    “… we cannot sacrifice ourselves to the short-term ‘economic freedoms’ of a minority. If we do, we are ALL DEAD, even before the long-run.”

    Laughable. The authors seems inebriated by his own unfounded excitement.

    I cannot go deeper into the following issues: the austerity that the author deplores happened under the watch of the American left, just as the US health system is a collaborative project of alternating power mixes between Republicans and Democrats.

    The Europhile left celebrates the EU’s austerity regime that has indeed gutted the health systems in places like Italy and Spain.

    Also, it is absurd to suggest that the US health care complex is a case of laissez-faire, when in fact, it is highly regulated.

    It seems that to the reactionary left the reasonableness of a policy is directly proportionate to the extent of its totalitarian reach. I have no other explanation for the left’s entirely uncritical, even fanatic endorsement of the lockdowns.

    • Thanks for your reaction to this repost. A careful re-reading of the original can for me find that it is more anti-market fundamentalist than anti-capitalist, praising FDR, the New Deal and the collective action undertaken in the wake of WWII. I admit that parts of it show that the writer allowed himself to get a little carried away, and if I prevent myself from getting too carried away while reading it, I can begin to see some of what you mean.

      The US healthcare system may be highly regulated, I don’t know, but it seems to create worse outcomes than those in many rich European countries, both in aggregate and in terms of equity, despite it taking up a larger share of GDP and being more market-based. This should be called out for its inefficiency and unethical nature.

      Has the left in Europe celebrated austerity? At least in the UK, I think that goes a bit far. Until Corbyn came along (admittedly anti-EU), the pro-EU Labour left seemed unable to counter the right’s simple, appealing but poorly informed argument that austerity was necessary, despite the damage it did.

      Austerity in the US went less far, but Obama was mostly held back by the largely destructive and obstructive Republicans in Congress. The author of the repost makes a good point about corporate influence on US politics in the form of handsomely funded lobbying. Going further back, there was a kind of austerity under Clinton which led to budget surpluses while the economy boomed, and proved unsustainable as they were accompanied by the excessive accumulation of private debt. But Clinton was again hamstrung by Republicans in Congress from taking a more progressive line.

      Thanks once more for your impassioned response.

  2. Thank you, Nick.

    Your reply strikes me as reasonable and informed.

    As always, you help me see more than I have seen before.

    I admire your circumspection and your keeping cool in the face of rather an aggressive comment on my part.

    Thank you!

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