Posted by on November 1, 2005

…or something.

Mrs. Pilgrim and I have been watching this thing for a while now. We keep hearing about how bad this thing could be…millions dead…pandemic. Then we hear the current “Butcher’s Bill”…somewhere well below 100 victims WORLD WIDE. Golly.

And now this from the Internation Herald Tribune by way of Alec van Gelder of the Boston Globe:

With all the hysteria surrounding the possible mutation of the avian flu virus into a form that puts humans at risk, policymakers have subjected us to everything – except common sense.


It seems that only the incredibly poor are threatened by this thing and even then they pretty much have to swap spit with the foul fowls.

Those most at risk are people who work closely with poultry in unsanitary, cramped conditions: By definition, these people are poor.

And then there’s this bit that is a GREAT comparison:

So far, there is no proof that a strand of H5N1 can spread between humans, nor that it will. Yet the hysteria surrounding avian flu far surpasses that which accompanies the yearly arrival of a new flu strand, which regularly kills hundreds of people. And it far surpasses the attention given to other diseases, such as diarrhea, which claim at least 3 million lives a year in poor countries.

Mr. van Gelder goes on to make some excellent points on how we should best deal with this not quite emergent threat. Currently the hysteria is about “possibility” of a cross species infection and the attendant threat to the human species. His bottom line point, after much excellent groundwork, is that the pharmaceutical companies working on antivirals for this thing should be encouraged to continue their work. How? Well, for starters we make it clear that no governmental entity will violate their patents of their product.

But the most important role for government is to uphold private property rights and ensure that the rule of law applies – which means protecting rather than breaking patents. The alternative – the rule of the mob – would truly be devastating.

Gee…the most important role for government is to uphold the law? Novel idea.

Last modified on November 1, 2005

Categories: General
1 Comment »

« | Home | »

One Response to “Avian Flu! WE’RE ALL DOOMED!”

  1. Singlemind Says:

    The sad part is that van Gelder even HAS to say these things.

    Protecting property rights includes not just upholding patents but also protecting companies from frivolous lawsuits.

    Right now, we have a fraction of the companies today that we had 30 years ago. Our capacity to mass produce vaccines and antibiotics has been hampered by liability law.

%d bloggers like this: