Recently, Barry W. Bussey spoke with Paul Frijters, Gigi Foster, and Michael Baker, authors of The Great Covid Panic: What Happened, Why, and What To Do Next (2021). Joining the interview from Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, the three economists shared their perspectives on the past two years.
In their book, the authors looked at the pandemic in terms of a wellbeing analysis. Understanding the psychology of crowds can help us make sense of what happened in 2020, as an emotional wave of human panic swept the world. Recognizing the dynamics of power, and the political and corporate opportunism that followed, can help to explain why that state of panic has continued for so long, despite the harms caused by government interventions.
Looking ahead, we can expect a lengthy recovery. Trust in our institutions has been broken and will be very difficult to repair. Although we may hope for justice – or even an apology – we are not likely to see any official acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Instead, we can already observe a changing of the narrative as the focus shifts to new crises.
Where does that leave us? First, Gigi reminds us that evil triumphs when the good stay silent. Let your voice be heard. Second, practice stepping back from the crowd to examine your own behaviour; don’t outsource your conclusions to the crowd. Finally, Paul recommends bypassing failed institutions by forming local groups to rebuild a productive civil society.
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Please note the views expressed by the individual(s) in this video are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or principles of the First Freedoms Foundation.