Losers from coronavirus

Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?

Tyler Cowen. Written as specific to Covid-19 but applies more generally I feel.

26 thoughts on “Losers from coronavirus”

  1. Well they may help in analysing and coming to terms with the Human Condition and, of course more generally they can help out with vocab.

  2. Humanities, law, inorganic chemistry, civil engineering, geology, ophthalmology – all sorts of fields aren’t going to contribute much in a pandemic.

  3. Dennis, Tiresome Denizen of Central Ohio

    What situation, exactly, would today’s “academics in the humanities” actually be equipped to offer a truly meaningful analysis, much less response?

    In all seriousness, I cannot think of one.

  4. @Rowdy
    Sociologists are social scientists not humanities scholars.

    @Dennis
    The philosophers are pretty smart cookies and historians offer us insights from the past. The ethicists in philosophy will offer us ways to think about the trade-offs involved in economic losses vs. Increased mortality.

  5. To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the value of human life, unless it is woven into the lives of our ancestors by the annals of history?

  6. Celebs. What’s the point of them? Our celebrity worship seems to be revealed for the waste of space that it is.

  7. “Losers From Coronavirus”

    I’m preying that they include grant dependent fuck-wit people like Spud.

  8. @Ken: The problem is philosophers and historians are nearly all lefties and hence ignorant and evil and so unable to offer anything but more efforts to impose communism on us.

  9. I’m finding that Hector Drummond is supplying a breath of fresh air to the frenzied number-torturing being performed by epidemiologists

  10. Ken said:
    “philosophy will offer us ways to think about the trade-offs involved in economic losses vs. Increased mortality.”

    Potentially yes, although I suspect Fred is probably right and they won’t. I should think that will be left to the economists (are they humanities or science?)

    Literature could offer us help with dealing with grief where needed, or history could help put things into perspective. But in practice I expect both will be too busy shouting about it all being Trump’s fault.

  11. Philosophers confuse themselves with what ‘should’ be, whereas we live in a world of what is. Being so clever they know they cannot be wrong.

    Living in their world of fantasy where up should be down and down should be up, they insist we should step off a cliff.

  12. Dennis, Etc., Etc., Etc.

    @Ken: The problem is philosophers and historians are nearly all lefties and hence ignorant and evil and so unable to offer anything but more efforts to impose communism on us.

    +1

  13. expect both will be too busy shouting about it all being Trump’s fault.

    If a Dem gets in after Trumps next term, it won’t matter how partisan and divisive they are. The media will faun all over them and they’ll be heralded as peace-makers, a stabilising influence, a calmer, gentler politician etc etc. Everything they do will be lauded and anything bad will be laughed off as ‘at least they’re not as bad as Trump’.
    It will make me really pissed off real quick.

  14. The ethicists in philosophy will offer us ways to think about the trade-offs involved in economic losses vs. Increased mortality.

    Have they done so, as yet? They had better get on it, since those decisions (or the decision to pretend that we are not collectively making that decision) are on-going. By the time the ethicists weigh in, they will be describing long-past actions. Worthwhile? – perhaps, but I am not holding my breath, given the overwhelming bias in the field noted up-thread.

  15. I read yesterday that a previous, Republican, Governor of California had built up a big reserve of equipment against epidemic disease: field hospitals, personal protective equipment, all that sort of stuff. Then his Democrat successor sold it all off.

    The (R) was the walnuts-in-a-brown-condom chap, the (D) was Jerry Brown.

  16. Does economics make testable predictions that can be falsified? No, so it isn’t a science. (Mind you, nor is a lot of what passes for science, these days – looking at you, climate science.)

  17. What about clerics? Having praised the medics and others the Archbishop of Canterbury revealed his vital contribution to the fight against the pandemic. He lit a candle.

  18. Missing link
    https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/03/who-and-what-will-rise-and-fall-in-status.html

    Losers
    The FDA, CDC, and WHO.

    Social justice warriors — who cares about your microaggression these days?

    Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York.

    The media. No matter what you think they might deserve, they just seem to keep on going down in status

    I’d add Social Sciences, China, EU, Dems/Left, anti-capitalists to list

    The ‘plague’ came from primitive, backward market & habits. Solution from capitalists

    “The media” – oh, yes indeed: C4 News another fear, panic, doom and tales of woe 90 minutes
    Plus the obligatory: NHS can’t cope, Nightingale Hospital no good – not enough staff or equipment, evil Tories

    Why aren’t C4, BBC etc interrogating NHS Trust procurement managers for not ordering more PPE etc back in December-February? They are paid a damn site more than PM Boris

    Nothing on:
    – Mercedes F1 and UCL breathing aid approved by MHRA for NHS use
    https://www.med-technews.com/news/mercedes-f1-ucl-and-uclh-manufactured-breathing-aids-approve/

    – F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly. F1’s unique ability to respond rapidly to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response
    https://www.racetechmag.com/2020/03/f1-teams-and-project-pitlance/

  19. Bloke in North Dorset

    dearieme,

    I’m guessing they expect the rest of the country to step in when “the big one” hits. That may or may not be a good strategy for an earthquake that won’t have an impact on the rest of the country, but of course nobody was planning on a pandemic.

  20. “the Archbishop of Canterbury revealed his vital contribution to the fight against the pandemic. He lit a candle”

    And acquiesced in closing all the churches even for private prayer.

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    Following on from yesterday’s discussion on % ICU deaths and Ken’s comments on Italy’s incompetence, I’ve just pick up these numbers off Twitter, no reason to doubt them:

    “ Coronavirus update, Italy:

    – 4,050 new cases in last 24 hours
    – 812 new deaths
    – 101,739 cases in total
    – 27,795 hospitalized
    – 14,620 recovered
    – 11,591 deaths
    – 3,981 in intensive care“

    A 40% death rate on hospitalisation implies at least that on ICU patients, unless a lot of them were just out on palliative care.

  22. “but of course nobody was planning on a pandemic”

    Actually, that was DM’s point, he was doing such planning.

    “Republican, Governor of California had built up a big reserve of equipment against epidemic disease”

  23. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Republican, Governor of California had built up a big reserve of equipment against epidemic disease”

    I stand corrected.

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