26 July-26 October 2020
In the closing passages of Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons (1990) she states that the “intellectual trap” of much of … public policy is that scholars “presume that they are omniscient observers able to comprehend the essentials of how complex, dynamic systems work by creating stylized descriptions of some aspects of those systems.” The implication for public discourse is damaging because this enables the … scientist to assume the mantle of advisor to a government presiding over a society. “With the false confidence of presumed omniscience,” Ostrom continues, “scholars feel perfectly comfortable in addressing proposals to governments that are conceived in their models as omni-competent powers able to rectify the imperfections that exist in all field settings.”
It is not [ultimately viruses that kill us, or] our ignorance that kills us, it is our arrogance. This is Hayek’s “fatal conceit,” and it is not limited to the would-be socialist planner, but permeates modern social science and politics. Rather than trade-offs, we get one-size-fits-all solutions. Rather than binding rules, we get [arbitrary] authority …
(4 May 2020)
A Colossal and Destructive Overreaction:
An Investor Analyses the Global Viral “Crisis” (GVC)
In Parliament on 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said:
With the rest of the world, we face an unprecedented challenge; a once-in-100-year event; a global health pandemic that has fast become an economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. Life is changing in Australia, for every Australian. And life is going to continue to change. For many, young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives …
Forget the Cuban Missile Crisis, moon landings, 9/11 and GFC: in February and March the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became the most momentous event since 1945. Around the world, governments shuttered large segments of economies (and in countries like New Zealand, virtually all businesses), imposed draconian personal restrictions that in many places were tantamount to house arrest, and unleashed a tsunami (ca. $25 trillion and rising) of fiscal and monetary intervention. Only the Great War (1914-1918), Spanish Flu pandemic (1918-1920), Great Depression (its start and end remain arguable) and Second World War (1939-1945) adversely affected more people.
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