Today the Ebola virus is big news but people are not yet scared. Why would they? It is happening in far-far away countries in a far-far away continent. Who are those people anyways? They are nothing to us, the civilized, the developed, the almighty and powerful socialist countries. Why should we bother with Ebola? It will burn itself out or kill a ton of useless people (we are too many in the world in any case) or the governments and international organizations (such as the WHO ) will clean it up. Why bother right?
Did we get it right? Isn’t this what the “average” person in “developed” countries think, if they think at all? We think so. Now that the baseline has been established, to task.
Let’s begin by avoiding duplication of efforts. If you want to get a gist of what’s going on, head to Wikipedia and search for “2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak”. In there you will find all the gruesome and scary info you may wish for.
What’s not very clear from there is that Ebola is spreading. It has not spread out too far yet (check the map in Wikipedia), but it is most definitively spreading. This is definitively bad.
Now consider this.
The first responders on the ground were from private organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross, and Samaritan's Purse and only then governments provided some support and some personnel (the the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Commission). The front lines however are still mostly staffed by volunteers. Let’s re-state this in common terms. While the politicians of the most powerful countries on earth were ignoring Ebola and hopping it will go away, private enterprise and private citizens jumped-in with both feet exactly where and when needed. They mobilized first and got straight to the point. They were the ones that prevented Ebola from becoming a massive epidemic in the first place. Some of them even paid with their lives. Only then governments provided some support and personnel.
A top official from Doctors Without Borders said "the World Health Organization can't handle [the outbreak]" and called for countries to send military medical units. Private organizations are being overwhelmed. International efforts are being requested. Fat chance. Again, most “developed” countries have made ludicrous token donations to the effort. For example:
- ECOWAS: 250000 USD
- EU: 750000 USD
- Australia: 1 million USD
- Canada: 5 million USD
- China: 5 million USD
- Japan: 2 million USD
- UK: 3 million USD
And the list continues. As of July 31st, the WHO announced that it will add 100 million USD to the issue. OK. Seeing is believing.
Now consider this:
- Grand total to fight Ebola (even being ludicrously optimistic) = 150 million USD.
- Grand total to prevent insolvent banks from being punished by the market in 2008 = 30 Trillion USD.
In other words, for every dollar that was spent fighting a disease which can wipe out the entire human race (and quite a few other species), politicians spent 200.000 dollars to sustain insolvent banks.
Again, the ratio is 1 to 200.000 survival to greed. In the current system, survival loses.
Is then a surprise that “it is not enough”?
And then we have “the cure”. Several vaccines and serum-like injectables have been developed and at least one tested (ZMapp). Many of the technologies or components of these products have indeed been developed by countries in government labs. Other came from private companies.
There you have it, the government-private sector partnership at work, right?
If you consider that every single technology that came from government labs was paid for through tax, borrow and spending practices, you will realize that you paid for them. This effort was indeed “private” because you paid the cost, whether you liked it or not.
Furthermore, thanks again to ludicrous government regulations stating what can and cannot be done, delayed the development of these products by 5 or more years; being still in the experimental phase.
Furthermore, these products have been released into the Ebola affected zones very slowly due to “ethical” reasons. While “ethicists” debate the ethical rules of giving untested medicines to Ebola patients, patients are dying horrible deaths without any hope whatsoever. Let’s be clear; all those government ethicists and bureaucrats are responsible for the vast majority of Ebola deaths. What kind of ethical theory disallows one to make life-or-death decisions by oneself regarding one’s body? This is called CYA or Cover Your Ass and politicians are exceedingly good at it.
But in the end, the true solution to the Ebola problem is something that nobody is looking at. It is not news, it won’t make the front page and it won’t be solved because it is not sexy and it does not purchase votes. The true solution to the Ebola problem is old-fashion sanitation (and some education). Strange as it may seem, Ebola is not a well understood disease, but its propagation is known well. It happens mostly due to poor (or non-existent) sanitation.
Traditional solutions to sanitation issues involve the massive intervention in governments in other people’s lives through the implementation of sewages, clean water, hospitals, pavement, garbage disposal, etc, etc, etc. The problem is, of course, that the countries with lower sanitation levels are also the countries with lower income levels. Some of them even deal with “extreme poverty”. As such, there is no chance in hell that the governments in charge of those countries will be able to afford even modest sanitation in the near, mid and far future.
But then the question becomes: how do these countries become wealthy enough to afford sanitation? And the answer is, of course, let the free market reign. Governments in these countries had anything between 30 to 200 years to achieve this and failed miserably. People simply cannot trade freely, they cannot migrate freely and hence they cannot progress. Is then there surprising to know that these people cannot get out of “extreme poverty”?
In the end Ebola is nothing but a direct effect of government action. Most of current Ebola deaths and the many more to come are directly assignable to politicians and bureaucrats. Yet, you won’t see this truth in the mainstream (and not so mainstream) media any time soon. It is not news-worthy. It is not eye-catching. Yet, it is as personal as life-and-death, your life-and-death. This is as real as it gets.
But then again, you may believe that governments are there to help you. We wish you good luck with that theory. We will keep relying on personal initiative and self-interest which in the end are the ones that created civilization in the first place.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.