Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine flu and GDP

I have been thinking about this horrifying, very scary, death-dealing, murderess disaster and main killer of all humans that is Swiney flu. Do you remember that some cornflake economist and some smug politicians mentioned that this could be bad for the economy? Well, that doesn’t need to be the case. Imagine that unemployment is very high, which it already is, and the only ones, or a clear majority, of those that gets the Hog pestilence have no jobs. It would be fantastic! Doctors and nurses with more to do, more staff needed, machines and equipment being bought, more soap being used, enforcing quarantines with police and military, reporters being sent here and there, politicians need to travel more, forced inoculations, more pills being eaten and so on and so on. If this is done for, oh, let’s say, borrowed money, it means higher GDP! And since all that the enemy class talk about, in regards to the economy, is GDP numbers as being the magical pixie dust needed to cure us from reality and basic math, how can anyone be against such a scenario?

Of course this is contingent on that most people getting sick are the none working ones or that the actual cost for treatment goes over the cost of the alternative i.e. welfare or working instead. The later, regarding price tag, shouldn’t be an issue, those machines and doctors are pretty expensive. So a welfare-case being emitted to a hospital just for a couple of days will end up as a big plus in government’s book-keeping, but even a hard working individual, just laying there for a while costing mucho dinero, can very well be a huge boost to GDP. All the government needs to see to is that the actual cost of keeping a certain individual is higher than the alternative, and, of course, see to it that the money comes from somewhere exiting like borrowing from China, taking people savings to spend it or making use of that oh so funny printing machine.

And maybe, just maybe, since the interest rates are unnaturally low at the moment hence cheap to borrow, the government could urge people to borrow lots of cash to pay for such treatment themselves. This scenario would also boost GDP, and it wouldn’t nibble on politician’s spending-pile so the politician can have a nice dinner, take a trip to the countryside or buy a new jet, all of which would also increase GDP.
Another good thing, that we could learn from the past - that also would be great for GDP, is to burn clothes or even houses where that awful plague have been. Those things need to be replaced, well not straight away, people can stand a little cold or stay at a shelter for a while, but rebuilding is fun and it would improve GDP.

Oh, I could go on for a long while giving more magnificent examples, but I’m sure one of those cornflake economists or some journalists can cook up another scheme just as efficient as any of mine, because, Satan knows, they have been fantastic at it so far...

What did you say? People dying? Well, that can also be turned into something positive. As long as the person in question ended up costing more than the alternative which means, in the short run, that GDP still would flourish. Of course, in the longer perspective, the person might have been a productive part of society, but when that shows up at the state accountant department, the government may have been replaced (they can blame the successors) or they simply borrow more money to cover the potential loss. Also, GDP is often referred to according per capita, per head, so one head less isn’t necessary a bad thing. A paraplegic you say? Fantastic! How much doesn’t such a person cost each year? So keep taking those injections, if you (the government really) gets lucky, you will be needing a nurse and constant care for the rest of your life and the longer you live in such a condition (better start as a child), the better for GDP.

All in all, properly handled, the Piggy virus can be a virtual gold-mine for our elitists. Remember I said it first; I’ll be waiting for that Nobel Prize they usually hand out to suggestion like this.

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