Monday, July 21, 2008
We've blogged the Doom Industry before (see also Scared to death by Mssrs Booker and North). This morning we have its latest offering - a report from the House of Lords Intergovernmental Organisations Committee. It tells us we face an "inevitable pandemic" which will kill 50m people worldwide.
Now, unlike the people from the Doom Industry who've clearly scared the pants off their lordships, we make no claim to being Experts on pandemics. But we're left wondering why this "inevitable pandemic" should cause so many more deaths than the last two?
50m deaths is 50 times worse than the last pandemic in 1968-69 (Hong Kong flu), and 12 times worse than the the one before that (Asian flu in 1957-58). It's even worse than the devastating Spanish flu in 1918-19.
Yet science and medicine have advanced immeasurably, even since 1968. And in general, we're all so much healthier, which is why life expectancy has gone through the roof: in 1919, life expectancy in Britain began with a 5 - today it begins with an 8 (see this blog).
So what gives?
Other than the Doom Industry pitching for yet more taxpayers' cash.
PS Tyler has personal experience of flu pandemics, having lost his three-year old sister to Asian Flu in 1957. So he's very much in favour of spending on vaccine development. But global quangos like the World Health Organisation have shown themselves to be gigantic self-serving health and safety bureaucracies, whose main activity is to extract more taxpayer cash by scaring us to death. Their problem is that the more often the wolf fails to materialise, the more hysterical they become. They need a good slap.