Archives for June 2020 | Josie Pagani



New podcast: Bjorn Lomborg

Bjorn Lomborg is an author and political scientist who first came to international prominence for his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. He is the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre. His new book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet is available from July on Amazon.

He says the real political challenges that will be faced in very poor developing countries will be the cost-benefit question of stamping out the virus versus having a virus that kills many people, and is very serious. He compares the costs and benefits of preventing deaths from HIV-AIDS in Malawi where an estimated 4000 people could be saved from HIV AIDS for every one saved from coronavirus.

Bjorn believes a moderate lockdown probably makes more sense in the rich world compared to an extreme lockdown, which would be much more costly and probably won't save many more people --although it may turn out to be the right policy in New Zealand as a remote island. But if we don't have a difficult conversation about costs and benefits of the choices we face, that doesn't mean priorities and choices go away.

Listen to him below and subscribe to Josie's Post-Covid Politics podcasts through any of the links here.

The Huddle: Quarantine failure and health reforms

Coronavirus is back after two UK visitors were let out of quarantine without being tested.

And proposals for reform of our health system.

Josie joined Heather du Plessis-Allan on the Huddle to discuss.

Post-covid politics: Jim Murphy

"There has never been a crisis in my lifetime where the poor have come out of the crisis better off."

Josie talked to Jim Murphy about progressive politics in the post-covid world.

Rt Hon Jim Murphy is a former secretary of state for Scotland, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, a member of both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown cabinets, and a minister for Europe, technology, employment and welfare. Today he runs Arden Strategies, providing advice to progressive political parties and corporates.

He talked to Josie about the economic crisis ahead, the impact it will have on politics, and the way progressives should respond to populists who offer nativism and nationalism. Jim says the politics of identity may be important but has never changed the life chances of someone born into a poor household.

Listen to the podcast on Anchor or Spotify here or head to the podcasts page for more listening options.

How we made covid decisions

Josie's commentary in the New Zealand Herald

"We were asked to trust only the experts - not scientists, because they couldn't agree – but public sector experts. They may have been right, but they were making decisions based on assumptions. And that's something we're all qualified to make. These were always political decisions – not party political, but decisions based on values rather than science.

In level 1, the values of those making the decisions have become apparent. Which businesses stayed open, which closed. Who's in your bubble who's not. And how long we stayed locked down. We went along with these rules even when they felt arbitrary. These were not decisions that should have been left to public health experts alone because what do they know about the risks we're prepared to take?

That's why the constant reminder to "be kind" jarred. Not to downplay kindness. It's an uncontroversial quality that we can agree makes everyone better off. But imagine you've been made redundant. You're driving home, worried how you're going to pay the mortgage, or find another job when no one is hiring. You feel irrelevant in the "new normal". Then you see a neon motorway sign flashing "be kind". Nothing that is happening to you feels kind.

Meanwhile the "experts" in the public sector are more in demand than ever. They don't doubt their worthiness. It's easy to be kind when your job is guaranteed.

President Trump's cynical speech

US President Donald Trump has decided to meet violence with violence, and it has come with heavy criticism.

On Newstalk ZB's The Huddle, Josie Pagani told Heather du Plessis-Allan Trump's methods are frightening.

"It's also deeply cynical, and clearly Trump is running what in effect is an ad campaign for re-election."

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