Friday, February 05, 2021

A different kind of war

I wrote before on the connection of the economy to warfighting. If we think of the struggle against epidemics as a kind of war, then we need to think about side effects too. In this case most of the price is being paid by other people who had nothing to do with our choices.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I recall nearly a year ago re-posting in comments to AVI's blog some 'news' reporting from the Guardian about pressure-groups in the UK being really mad about UK high-street 'fast fashion' retailers cancelling orders from Asian clothing factories - the unwritten assumption being that the heretofore occasionally profitable UK enterprises should spend on stock in spite of being required to close their own stores, because the consequences of being laid-off as a clothing worker in Phnom Phen can be very dire.

It wasn't even a week before some of these retailers were themselves were seeking bankruptcy protection, so perhaps they weren't the fount of money that the campaigners thought.

Not that 'no lockdown' would necessarily have been significantly better -- even Sweden found that retail sales of clothing were way down -- and hence orders from clothing suppliers -- even with the freedom to shop freely, many people chose not to, and perhaps when working from home did not feel the need to keep wardrobes updated so much.

I've somehow ended up with good friends who are 'anti-capitalist' as they describe themselves, and so occasionally our conversation will get real enough for them to ask something like "how could anyone with good intentions not support price controls on prescriptions?", "how could anyone not support a minimum wage?", or "How could anyone be against lockdowns".

This is my opportunity to point out what I refer to as "second order effects", or as Mises said "The seen and the unseen". It's not very polite to point out that they seem to be OK with policies that sacrifice people who are distant, differently pigmented, or speak a different language, so long as the suffering is out of sight for themselves.