Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

You’re Right. Mariana Mazzucato Is Still Hopelessly Confused

Confused to the point of casuistry in fact.

Health is a sector that globally receives billions from the public purse: in the US, the National Institute of Health (NIH) invests $40bn a year. Since the 2002 Sars outbreak, the NIH has spent $700m on coronavirus research and development. The large public funding going into health innovation means governments should govern the process to ensure prices are fair, patents are not abused, medicine supply is safeguarded and profits are reinvested back into innovation, rather than siphoned out to shareholders.

Cool, government has been spending a fortune on preparing for coronavirus.

The world is in a critical state. The Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly spreading across countries, with a scale and severity not seen since the devastating Spanish flu in 1918. Unless coordinated global action is taken to contain it, the contagion will soon become an economic and financial one too.

The magnitude of the crisis requires governments to step in. And they are. States are injecting stimulus into the economy while desperately trying to slow the spread of the disease, to protect vulnerable populations, and to help create new therapies and vaccines. The scale and intensity of these interventions reminiscent of a military conflict – this is a war against the spread of the virus and economic collapse.

And yet there is a problem. The intervention needed requires a very different framing from the one that governments have chosen. Since the 1980s, governments have been told to take a back seat and let business steer and create wealth, intervening only for the purpose of fixing problems when they arise. The result is that governments are not always properly prepared and equipped to deal with crises such as Covid-19 or the climate emergency. By assuming that governments have to wait until the occurrence of a huge systemic shock before they resolve to take action, insufficient preparations are made along the way.

Government spending our fortunes on preparing for coronavirus has achieved sod all.

Therefore, obviously, we must abandon any use of the private sector in preparing for things and use more government and exclusively government. Presumably EU grants destroy the ability to deploy logic.

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4 years ago

It’s just utter nonsense. You can’t develop a vaccine against a new disease until you have that new disease. And by the time you develop one, if it’s actually a bit bad, most of the damage has been done. And what’s the actual problem here? China and its cultural habits, not what Western governments spend on research.

Oh and a “shock” is something we haven’t predicted, so what do we spend on what to avoid what we can’t predict?

4 years ago

And COVID “is spreading with a scale and severity not seen since…1918” only because we are suddenly able to DETECT its spread to the degree that we can state who infected whom. As we can detect impurities in the air and water to parts-per-quadrillion. There are not newly scary aspects to life on Earth; only new tools with which to scare ourselves.

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