Thursday, April 23, 2020

CONSEQUENCES OF AN ECONOMIC SHUTDOWN


One of the consequences of an economic shutdown is that of food destruction. A drop in demand results in a surplus. A farmer, whom is no longer being paid, simply does not have the ability to fund the harvesting, packing, transportation, storage and refrigeration costs to even give his resources away. Neither do food banks have the resources to collect the produce. So what is a farmer to do? He has to destroy his crop.

Here are some real life consequences of a shutdown...

US restaurant closings spur farmers to destroy food - April 21
https://www.ft.com/content/da5c2e66-c946-4726-b6a5-b1dbdd6b7f50

Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic - April 11
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/business/coronavirus-destroying-food.html

California farmer plows under lettuce after coronavirus shutters restaurant market
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-lettuce/california-farmer-plows-under-lettuce-after-coronavirus-shutters-restaurant-market-idUSKCN21Y02M?il=0

Those are just a few of many articles describing USA food destruction due to the COVID-19 shutdown. This is happening all over the world.

Milk thrown down the drain while millions go hungry: Lockdown puts increasing strain on Britain’s food system
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coronavirus-lockdown-uk-food-supplies-strain-supermarkets-a9469476.html

Virus choking off supply of what Africa needs most: food - April 22
https://www.zimlive.com/2020/04/22/virus-choking-off-supply-of-what-africa-needs-most-food/

3 tons of food were burned in Zimbabwe by police trying to enforce social distancing. Efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus could create a food shortages across the continent. - April 16
https://www.businessinsider.com/social-distancing-in-africa-could-contribute-to-food-shortages-2020-4

If you have less supply of a resource with the same demand for that resource then you end up with higher prices in order to ration the shortage of that resource. When people have to pay higher prices for one thing it means they have less money for other things, things like healthcare, housing, amenities etc.

Here is an article released by Feeding America...

The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity
https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/2020/03/impact-coronavirus-food-insecurity/

Here is a preliminary report released by the Food Foundation on April 14...

Vulnerability to food insecurity since the COVID-19 lockdown
https://foodfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Report_COVID19FoodInsecurity-final.pdf

At the following link you'll find a warning issued by the Executive Director of the United Nations World's Food Program...

As famines of ‘biblical proportion’ loom, Security Council urged to ‘act fast’
https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1062272

When people are against "ending the shutdown" because they want to "save lives" they are ignoring the economic impact of the shutdown and its consequences upon lives. This is not rocket-science.

U.N. warns economic downturn could kill hundreds of thousands of children in 2020 - April 16

<<<But the U.N. report warned that “economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in an hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020, reversing the last 2 to 3 years of progress in reducing infant mortality within a single year.”

With businesses shut down and more than a billion people told to stay home to avoid spreading the virus, the International Monetary Fund has predicted the world would this year suffer its steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The United Nations said an estimated 42 million to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019.>>>
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-children-un/u-n-warns-economic-downturn-could-kill-hundreds-of-thousands-of-children-in-2020-idUSKBN21Y2X7

People are going to die due to these shutdowns, millions of them I have no doubt. There will certainly be secondary and tertiary effects we cannot even fathom. Foreign aide programs will be effected due to the destruction of the economies of countries which provide such foreign aide as one example. Donations to charities will be effected because the people who make those donations will have been economically effected. The flow on effects are massive.

You cannot severely disrupt economic productive output all over the world, destroy food, wreck supply chains and not expect extreme and terrible consequences.

Yes the virus is serious for vulnerable people. Yes isolate and aide the vulnerable. Yes increase medical capacity. But NO, don't destroy an economy which under-girds the health of a nation, that is foolish and stupid. Yet here we are with so many people championing the shutdown from within their own little bubbles sadly having no real conception of the bigger picture and the real life destroying consequences.

Forcing people out of work and printing money to grant some purchasing power towards the remaining productive output is not a good means to preserve lives, it may aide people in the short-term, but in the long term it will prove very destructive.

Think about it.

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