Showing posts with label Public health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Public health. Show all posts

COVID-19 Economic Growth vs. Public Health

 




Many have found instances of sectarianism that occur when government actors adhere to divisive ideals or partial interests in support of or opposition to COVID-19-related public policies. However, there is another problem that we would like to consider in the light of collective justification: the relationship between various democratic ideals. That is, policies can be irrational not because they are based on sectarian ideals, but because they unreasonably balance various non-sectarian political values. 

In liberal democratic cultures, there are sometimes conflicts between broadly held political ideals. While this does not exclude democratic justification, it does necessitate that those arguing for or against specific laws and regulations have arguments that "reflect a plausible balancing of political principles." Even if it is founded on a political principle that stands alone, a statement struggles to be a legitimate public rationale if it does not plausibly resolve other political values that might be at stake.' Different interpretations of how the same shared category of political value can be better realized are one example of balancing. Consider the basic principles of democratic liberalism and civic reason, the "values of the common good." 

There has been continuing discussion within the framework of COVID-19 on the possible trade-off between public health and economic development, arguably two policy agendas that advance the common good. People have conceptualized the harms caused by COVID-19 in various ways as a result of the conflict between public health and economic development, with some prioritizing the damage to health and others prioritizing the long-term harm to the economy and livelihoods. Any countries strongly adopted a public health-oriented agenda from the start of the pandemic, including the almost inevitable economic costs. 

For instance, in March, Working from home is not easy whether you work in a hotel, drive a taxi, plan parties, or freelance to cover your bills, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If you work in the oil and gas industry, or the tourism and seafood sectors, you're undoubtedly concerned about the global economy's instability and worrying not just how long it will last, but also how long your investments will last. This is a moment when you should be concerned with your own welfare as well as the health of your neighbors, regardless of who you are or what you do. Not whether or not you'll risk your career. 



Just if you'll run out of money for necessities like groceries and prescriptions. Similarly, before implementing strict lockout measures to combat Australia's second outbreak of COVID-19 pathogens, Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria demonstrated to the public: "As Premier, I've spent every day fighting for employment and fighting for employment." I completely understand: a career provides financial support, but it also provides continuity, meaning, and a basis on which to develop the future. To be honest, I never imagined I'd be in a situation where I had to ask people not to come to work. Still, if we're serious about bringing this thing down – which we must be – we'll have to take unprecedented measures to limit people's mobilization, and therefore the spread of the virus. 

It's crucial to note that Trudeau and Andrews, like other politicians who recognized the urgency of putting public health priorities first, could not ignore the pressing economic situation they were in. In addition to recognizing the potential job cuts and economic consequences that stringent lockdown policies would entail in order to save lives, these officials took steps to assist companies and employees threatened by government responses to the pandemic. 

Other government figures, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of putting the economy ahead of public health results from the start. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for example, downplayed the pandemic's seriousness, calling it "just a little fever" and insisting that "the economy must come first." ‘[l]ife must go on, employments [sic] should be retained, people's income should be maintained, so all Brazilians should return to normal,' Bolsonaro said in late March. Similarly, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in the same month, "My message is that let's get back to work." Let's get back to enjoying our lives. Let's do it the same way... For those of us who are overweight will look after ourselves. So don't put the nation in jeopardy... I just imagine there are a lot of grandparents out there like me—I have six grandchildren—who are concerned with the same thing... And while I want to live wisely and see it clearly, I don't want the country as a whole to be sacrificed. That's what I'm doing... No one approached me and said, "As a senior citizen, are you ready to risk your life in order to save the America that all Americans cherish for your children and grandchildren?" 

And if that's the deal, I'm on board. Even in Italy, one of the first countries to enact a near-total quarantine at the start of the pandemic, the propensity for certain segments of the population to prioritize the economy led to the delay in closing down main industries and factories, arguably aiding the virus's dissemination in its early stages. This was especially true in the Bergamo province, which is one of Italy's wealthiest and most prosperous, with a strong work ethic. Confindustria Bergamo, a trade association representing, companies hiring, workers, sent a reassuring letter in English to the region's international export partners in February and launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #BergamoisRunning. Stefano Scaglia, president of Confindustria Bergamo, delivered the central message that "research continues, we remain free." 

As a result of the above scenarios, there seems to be a trade-off between public health and economic development targets as two distinct means of achieving the greater good. However, a closer examination of the scientific reality reveals that there could be a synergy between public health and economic security. Contrary to the concept of a trade-off, we find that countries that saw the most extreme economic downturns – such as Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom – are generally among the countries with the highest COVID-19 death rate. The opposite is also true: countries with a small economic influence, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Lithuania, have managed to keep their mortality rates low. More scientific research could be required in this field, and policymakers are likely to face difficult trade-offs in the future, particularly when policies like lockout and stay-at-home orders put companies under more pressure. 

The more general argument is that politicians should partake in some kind of reflection to ensure that the policies they adopt follow the expectations of justifiable civility by considering all of the relevant democratic interests at stake, as well as various conceptions of them. And, of course, things aren't quite as they seem. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, for example, said in October when announcing new measures to combat a second wave of infections, "[w]e must act, deploying all the measures possible to prevent a new generalized lockdown." The nation cannot risk another loss that will put the whole economy in jeopardy.' Public officials will almost certainly have to change policies in response to emerging conditions, thus balancing public health and economic challenges. From the standpoint of justificatory civility, it's critical that they understand the trade-offs that come with prioritizing any target.