Voices against lockdowns – 12 October 2020

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This is an archived version of one of Gigi Foster’s email missives. Some links may no longer be current.

Dear all,

Since I last wrote a month ago, a number of momentous events have signalling movement globally and within Australia away from economic lockdowns in response to Covid.  I have selected several to highlight here.  As always, please forward to others as you deem appropriate.

The WHO has changed its stance on lockdowns:

https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/global/coronavirus-who-backflips-on-virus-stance-by-condemning-lockdowns/news-story/f2188f2aebff1b7b291b297731c3da74

large group of medical professionals has spoken out against lockdowns, and is racking up signatures on its open letter, christened “The Great Barrington Declaration” (members of the public are also welcome to sign; I have signed):

Ramesh Thakur has put together this excellent webinar setting out the case against lockdowns:

https://youtu.be/NrA1K5jH8Xk

Sanjeev Sabhlok, the courageous economist who quit the Victorian Treasury on principle, has produced the attached paper (“PAPER FOR GIFFITH”) and published this book.  He and I will be appearing together in an event on the evening of Thursday 15 October, being organised by Beverley McArthur, Member of the Victorian Parliament for the Western Victoria Region.

Facebook group called “End the Lockdown Australia” has been organised – for details, see:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/endthelockdownaustralia/

Quoting from organiser Tim Flynn, “The End The Lockdown Australia Group was established in mid-April 2020 and was set up to allow ordinary Australians to feel comfortable debating the merits of government policy from an economic and societal perspective. My rationale for establishing the group is included in my submission to the Senate inquiry into the management of COVID (submission 377):  https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/COVID-19/COVID19/Submissions. The group now has 4,200 members; it would have been much larger but we have a policy of deterring conspiracy theorists and extremists. Two cross bench members of the Victorian upper house are active members, as are several prominent journalists.”

group of Belgian doctors has penned this Open Letter:

My fellow economist Henry Ergas published this beautifully written piece in The Australian last Friday.

Catholic bishop in America has spoken out publicly against lockdowns: https://www.ncregister.com/interview/bishop-paprocki-catholic-church-can-provide-a-clear-path-for-covid-19-response

Sibby Ilzhofer (sibby3@msn.com) is helping to organise small businesses that are interested in joining forces with others in a collective effort to lodge affidavits with the Victorian and New South Wales governments, affirming the damage of lockdowns.  If you or people known to you are involved in a small business and looking to re-open but are struggling due to governmental restrictions – including but not limited to lockdowns – please email Sibby for further information about how to get involved.

On a drier academic front, I have published the attached paper, documenting some of the costs of the lockdowns to the present and future Australian labour market, in the Australian Journal of Labour Economics.  I will also be giving an address at the Economic Society of Australia on 26 October, in which I will speak amongst other things about the failure of my profession in what should have been its finest hour – advertisement here:

https://esacentral.org.au/event/43536/2020-young-economist-address-and-2020-esa-awards-online-only

I have also been invited to give evidence on 22 October at a session of the Treasury of the United Kingdom, regarding the economic costs of lockdowns.  I will draw partly on my own cost-benefit analysis of the lockdowns in Australia (linked to in one of my earlier missives, to which you can scroll down), but if you come across any detailed, well-referenced costings of lockdowns here or in other countries, please forward them to me for possible referral in my evidence.

Finally, a brief word on the future.  As the world slowly turns away from wholesale economic lockdowns as the appropriate policy response to Covid, the raison d’etre of this “voices against lockdowns” group will inevitably fade.  I will continue to speak out in public forums against lockdowns and other blanket economic restrictions, and I will also speak in favour of what I consider to be positive future directions for the country, as the debate moves on and the focus intensifies on what to do to get Australia out of the economic mess that has been created.  I plan to stop using this mailing list once we see Australia ease restrictions, including opening borders.

It is an honour to fight with you against this staggeringly damaging policy fumble.  Thank you for your continuing efforts in service to this worthy cause.

gigi

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Author

  • Prof Gigi Foster

    Gigi Foster (Professor, UNSW School of Economics; BA Ethics, Politics and Economics, PhD Economics) works in diverse fields including education, social influence, time use, lab experiments, behavioural economics, and Australian policy. Named 2019 Young Economist of the Year by the Economic Society of Australia, she publishes in both specialised and cross-disciplinary outlets, and her innovative teaching was awarded a 2017 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. She has filled numerous roles of service to the profession and engages heavily on economic matters with the Australian community, as one of Australia’s leading economics communicators, in the media and at live events. She is co-author of The Great Covid Panic (Brownstone Institute 2021, with Paul Frijters and Michael Baker) and Do Lockdowns and Border Closures Serve the “Greater Good”? (Connor Court 2022, with Sanjeev Sabhlok).

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