Something Worse Than Covid This Way Comes

Something Worse Than Covid This Way Comes


According to Dr. Sunita Gupta of Oxford University, 130 million people are at risk of starvation due to lockdowns.

The UN states that between 42 and 66 million children around the world will be reduced to “extreme poverty”. UNICEF predicts the death of 1.2 million children due to lockdowns. Other sources have observed that an unprecedented number of “deaths of despair” from alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide are resulting from the lockdown. Fear is not a just arbitrator of data, and it seems most people are not as afraid of lockdown deaths, as deaths from Covid-19.

When it comes to the masses though, it seems that what we are battling against is not a philosophy, but rather the fact that work is unpleasant and staying at home is easy. Econ 101 teaches us that people respond to incentives. The government has removed the disincentives with magic voodoo money that they have materialized out of thin air. The poverty and immiseration that will result may not be felt for a year, but it may last for years.

If we are lucky people will take on the lesson that if you want stuff you have to make stuff and that halting the economy only makes everyone poor. Otherwise people will blame eeeevil capitalism, and the non-existent free market. If so, things will get a lot worse than they are now. I don’t see any easy way out of this based on the current thinking I am seeing from pro-lockdown people. Many of them seem completely immune to reason.

However, we must do our best to turn the tide and convince others of these basic facts:

1) If you want stuff (ie. wealth and not poverty) people have to actually Make that stuff. It doesn’t come out of thin air.

2) It’s nice to think that with a magic wand all we have to do is appropriate the wealth of “the greedy rich” and redistribute it, but the fact is almost all the money they have is invested in the machines and factories that make a modern standard of living possible, and the technology that promises to improve it in the future. Moving it from capital investment to consumption will make everyone poor not rich. They will go out to the shops and spend it, the price of goods and services will shoot through the roof, and we will be no better off. Spending does not create wealth saving does.

3) If you stop people working for the best part of a year don’t be surprised when everyone is poor in the future. It’s going to take years for people to recover from the poverty, possibly decades.

4) If people blame the on eeeevil capitalism they will end up killing the goose that laid the golden eggs that bought all the privileges they are lamenting having lost from shutting the economy down.

5) It may be nice to fantasize that some benign gods will come along to take over and run everything in the interests of “the people” (whatever that means) – but we are infinitely more likely to end up looking like Venezuela.

6) If you’re not more scared of this outcome than Covid-19, you probably should be.






Antony Sammeroff  is a writer and contributor to the Mises Institute. He is the Author of ‘UBI For and Against’ and Co- host of the Scottish Liberty Podcast.

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1 Comment on "Something Worse Than Covid This Way Comes"

  • george morton says

    Not only the poor are at risk due to lockdowns; animal charities are suffering too.

    While i deny the automatism of the trickle-down theorem, clearly charity from the better-off dries up when they can no longer afford to donate.

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