We have the usual blindness of the expert here. Which is to be expert in one field and never bother to look up and consider the rest of the world.
So, why do foreign holidays exist? Because people like them. Hey, perhaps they shouldn’t, that’s a fair claim to make. Except that value is in the measurement of the recipient of what they think is value. Utility always being at personal and individual valuations that is. It may well be that you wouldn’t put out for a tenner but that you would, as with Demi Moore in that movie, for a $ million. Or even for freebie with Robert Redford and not for a fortune with Bernard Manning. They’re all personal valuations.
So, foreign holidays exist because people like them. That is, it increases wealth by being able to have them. Which is the point not being considered here:
Last weekend’s rapid government U-turn over travel to Spain has left both tourists and holiday companies reeling. Who can be sure of flying to any country if a quarantine can be imposed at such short notice? Arguments are now raging over whether the government acted too impulsively and failed to consider the consequences. Yet, for the most part, these all miss an essential point: that encouraging travel abroad in the middle of a pandemic makes no epidemiological sense.
With every arriving overseas visitor or returning holidaymaker, the risk of bringing Covid-19 into the country increases. The government has so far justified allowing this travel because it believes community transmission of the virus in the UK is inevitable until a vaccine arrives. It is not.
Great Britain and the island of Ireland are just that – islands. Other islands, such as New Zealand and Taiwan, have shown that the Covid-19 virus can be eliminated like the first Sars virus. In these countries, life is going on largely as usual with families gathering, full stands at sporting events, and internal economies almost back to normal. Shakespeare called England: “This fortress built by nature for herself against infection.” And now the Independent Sage committee (which shadows Britain’s official science advisory group) and other experts have called for a goal of zero coronavirus – elimination of the virus – rather than settling for suppression.
We can have zero coronavirus, just kill everyone. Do the Masada style lottery and get to it – I’ll take the Josephus place* in the ordering please. Or lock everyone into their own little bubble and wait a couple of months. But those solutions have costs, costs which we think might be higher than the benefits gained.
No foreign holidays is a cost. What is the gain to be had from that loss? Which is the question that isn’t being asked here. And that is the expert mistake being made. They are calling for the solution to be on their terms, to accord with their goals, without actually doing that necessary cost benefit analysis of the plan overall.
So, for British people planning their summer holidays, it would mean replacing trips abroad with UK travel.
Well, yes, but this is to entirely ,miss the point of why people don;t do this already, or all the time. Because foreign holidays are perceived to be more valuable than domestic ones. Thus the question should be, has to be, is the loss of this value worth it? Well, where’s your numbers then?
*Yes, I know, different incident. It was my great uncle who did the Penguin translation after all.