Monday, 5 March 2007


Read this interesting (and short) entry in Johan Norberg’s blog which made me think a bit.

Fear Itself

from Johan Norberg

It's an old truth that the greatest harm rarely comes from terrorist acts and diseases, but from our fear of them and our reactions to them. The greatest cost in human lives from SARS and bird flue in the affected countries so far has come from less visitors and less trade, because this deepens poverty and reduces living standards.

I just learned an interesting example of this from John Mueller: After the terrorist act on 9/11 2001, many Americans avoided flying and preferred the (much more dangerous) car. Until the end of 2001 around 1 000 more Americans died because they drove rather than flew.

I wonder to what extent our public policies are allowed to perpetuate, driven by our fear of inequality and social unrest, and ironically result in greater inequality, social division and global economic

Perhaps it is time for us to face our fear and embrace the future.


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