Long Overdue Policies that Look Obvious in the Age of Pandemic

I’m not usually a fan of George Packer. But I keep coming back to this column, We Are Living in a Failed State. The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken, which is something I might have written. It argued that this pandemic, to which the US responded like a corrupt poor country, was actually the third crisis of this century, and our responses to the previous two — 9/11 and the Iraq War, and the Wall Street crisis — simply brought this country to the place where Trump could loot it.

Like a wanton boy throwing matches in a parched field, Trump began to immolate what was left of national civic life. He never even pretended to be president of the whole country, but pitted us against one another along lines of race, sex, religion, citizenship, education, region, and—every day of his presidency—political party. His main tool of governance was to lie. A third of the country locked itself in a hall of mirrors that it believed to be reality; a third drove itself mad with the effort to hold on to the idea of knowable truth; and a third gave up even trying.

Trump acquired a federal government crippled by years of right-wing ideological assault, politicization by both parties, and steady defunding. He set about finishing off the job and destroying the professional civil service. He drove out some of the most talented and experienced career officials, left essential positions unfilled, and installed loyalists as commissars over the cowed survivors, with one purpose: to serve his own interests. His major legislative accomplishment, one of the largest tax cuts in history, sent hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations and the rich. The beneficiaries flocked to patronize his resorts and line his reelection pockets. If lying was his means for using power, corruption was his end.

Packer ends with a call for renewed solidarity.

But he might as well also call for a fix to all the failures of the past twenty years. Right now, mind you, Trump is failing, miserably, in part because he believes maximizing the opportunities for looting by his friends is all the policy he needs.

But the sheer scale of the crisis makes policies that long made sense for the United States more urgent and far easier to justify. I plan to keep a running list of those policies.

Medicare for All

No one has figured out how all the people put out of work by the shut-downs will pay for COVID-related health care. Trump has persisted in a plan to kill Obamacare, and some badly affected states never even expanded Medicaid.

Early reports suggested that Trump’s administration has claimed it is willing to pay hospital bill, so long as they pay those bills directly (thereby avoiding establishing a policy, I guess). But with so many people out of work and with hospitals reeling from the shut-down, the far better solution is to make Medicare available to all.

Universal Basic Income

The US government has been backing credit for big industry and tried, but failed, to provide free money for small businesses to keep their employees on staff. Instead, 26 million Americans have applied for unemployment, a sixth of all workers (and a third of all workers in MI, KY, and RI). Meanwhile, the Administration botched even a one-time $1,200 payment.

The government could better ensure that markets don’t crash entirely–and keep states from buckling as they try to serve all these unemployed people–if they simply gave a UBI to all people, as Spain has decided it will do. By keeping it, the US might be able to address the underlying inequality problems that have led to such a disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color.


Closed spaces, generally, amount for a huge percentage of COVID cases and (in the case of nursing homes) deaths. ACLU just rolled out a paper that argues the models for COVID (which were originally based off other societies’ social patterns, including their prison system) underestimate the total number of deaths because they don’t account for the spread in our prisons.

COVID will remain lethal for long enough that states and the federal government will need to achieve some level of decarceration to prevent the prisons from becoming a source of spread to the wider community (as they have become in the localities with harder hit prisons).

In this case, even before COVID hit, there was bipartisan support to wean ourselves from overincarceration. Prisons will become less lucrative in conservative communities, especially as some states begin to end prison gerrymandering (which gives rural communities representation for prisoners who can’t vote, just like slavery did).

So now is the time to end incarceration for minor crimes, and improve the humanity of incarceration for those who need to be jailed.

Deindustrialization of the Food System

We’ll be lucky if we avoid famine conditions. That’s partly because our food system has the same institutional/retail split our toilet paper supply chain does, meaning the market for half of the food out there disappeared when restaurants and other institutional buyers shut down. That’s partly because bottlenecks in our food supply chain — most notably, thus far, meatpacking plants, but there will be others — have further undermined the market for our plentiful food production. And that’s partly because Trump’s farmer support, thus far, has emphasized direct payments that are effectively a continuation of his earlier bribery of farmers whose markets his trade war screwed, rather than purchasing up surpluses to provide to food banks.

Trump hasn’t shown an ability to get any other needed supplies where they’re needed; it’s unlikely he’ll do better with food.

Meanwhile, food supplies that bypass these commodity markets remain. We need to make this food supply chain more resilient and one way of doing so is to bypass the industrial bottlenecks.

Broadband as a Utility

When schools shut down, it suddenly became acutely visible how many Americans — both rural and urban — don’t have broadband. While some areas have gerry-rigged solutions (like driving wifi-enabled busses to poorer neighborhoods) to get some kids online and learning, that’s not possible everywhere. And even for adults, it takes broadband access to be able to social distance.

Trump is already talking about using infrastructure investments to get America working again. Extending basic broadband as a utility should be part of that.

Update: Arne Duncan describes what needs to happen for existing efforts to expand broadband access to be really effective.

Industrial Policy

Two months after we first identified shortages in necessary medical supply, we’ve barely managed to switch production to those necessary objects, even as entire factories were otherwise shut down. We’ve got shortages of not just testing kits, but the underlying supplies. We’ve got drug shortages too (and had them, even before the President started pitching miracle cures).

It’s long past time to admit that we do have an industrial policy — but right now, it’s focused on building the troubled F-35, not ensuring that the United States has the ability to build the things we need domestically, even if we interact openly with the rest of the world. This story uses the failed lithium battery investments Obama made, largely in Michigan, to talk about how we came to be unable to supply our own medical equipment.

We have an industrial policy. We just need to be willing to match that policy to our society’s real needs, not exporting warmongering.

109 replies
  1. jo6pac says:

    Sadly the chances of doing even 2 of these is slim at best. The govt. is owned by corp. Amerika and 1% and they don’t like to share even if it was in their best interest. I don’t have answer to this problem other than a total remake of Amerika. That won’t be fun either since the powers to be have done an excellent job of getting all of us to hate one another. Sad days ahead.

      • Marc says:

        Back when some were spelling America with a k, they were protesting that this country was evolving into a failed quasi-fascist state. It seems they were just about right, except for the timeframe.

        • bmaz says:

          I’d ask you to not do that bunk here. This is just like the tRump, Drumph and other similar bullshit. It is petty, stupid and makes us look like idiots. This blog exists to create space and argument that is effective. You, and we, have a chance to do just that. Stupid garbage detracts from that goal. Don’t do that.


  2. bmaz says:

    Packer was on MSNBC Joe for a hit that got cut short because his connection was lousy. But think he, or one of the hosts, also mentioned Katrina as one of the failure points this century. And it should be in that list by my eye.

    • madwand says:

      Agree on Katrina, the consequences which were still ongoing when they were dwarfed by Covid-19, Packer wrote “Assassins Gate” which I thought was a remarkable book coming so soon on the heels of Iraqi Freedom, the operation that fundamentally and for the future made Iraq a failed state. These things have a habit of rebounding on the perpetrators, the law of unintended consequences always in play.

      Toynbee called it challenge and response, civilizations either meet the challenge, fade and die. The British in WW2, for example, went to war to free the Poles and ultimately to remove any potential menace to themselves. In the end they abandoned the Poles and the menace that arose was the Soviet Union, they failed at both, the British Empire being eclipsed in the end.

      We are at a similar inflection point and as Packer points out solidarity is needed. We don’t have to convince the third which is driving themselves mad, and the third that have given up can be recovered. The other third is more difficult. Fortunately Trump every night is making that easier. Less and less people are seeing him as credible in any respect.

      Marcy correctly uses the word “loot” and her policies here are a building block, I would include debasing the world (military bases) and bringing most of our military home, reducing the defense budget, going back to offshore balancing if we must, not fighting wars of choice.

    • BobCon says:

      Hurricane Maria is a more recent example. New Orleans at least got some hand wringing, but Puerto Rico got a few jokes about paper towels.

      Trump’s comments about the fantastic job he did were a warning sign — he obviously wasn’t referring to the relief effort, but the snow job he pulled off.

  3. Areader2019 says:


    Everyone gets a minimum. Then people who earn a lot, pay more taxes and give it back. But that way when some loses a job, they know in advance they will get a certain amount. The unemployment system is designed to be overly complicated for the express purpose of making it fail. Well, now it has failed.

    We used to have progressive taxation. It is simple and it works. The GOP hates programs that are simple and work.

    • BobCon says:

      The tax side is a no brainer, although the press reflexively jumps to horse race mentality to push the GOP position that any Democratic tax increase is poison.

      You saw it in the Democratic debates with regard to single payer premiums — the press had a lizard brain response that defaulted to the stupidest possible take.

      • Willis J Warren says:

        I have a graphic on one of my hard drives (probably the dead one) that shows how higher tax rates forced the rich to invest their money back into the economy, which was good for overall wealth and growth.

        If left to their own devices, the morons will kill their own wealth by destroying the economy in the way that some rats will eat themselves to death

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      My two centimes: If you’re the author, it would be more polite to say here what you have to say – or summarize a long piece in a few sentences – rather than provide a blind link to somewhere else. Thanks.

      • Njrun says:

        Sorry, my bad.

        Basically, the emergency measures used to deal with the pandemic have permanently and dramatically shifted the budget debate IMO. The deficit-scold view has been losing steam as Republicans took power and increased the debt. Now there’s agreement that the government needs to aid large parts of the economy, and the deficit-scold view has been left for dead.

        Everyone is a modern monetary theorist now.

        I don’t say this in the piece, but I think we can look forward to more activist government in the future (I’m writing for the commercial real estate market, not a political venue). For one thing, the example has been set. Also, I expect Democrats will control at least two and maybe three branches of government next year. And if Republicans are in control, they’re going to want to juice the economy.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          No worries. And thanks for the comment.

          My view is that the GOP has gone feral in favor of the 1/10 of one percent. It will take a blow torch and chainsaw to whatever bits of democracy get in its way. Not being hindered by hypocrisy, it will joyfully resurrect its deficit scold view for the next Democratic president.

          One question will be whether GOP will have the votes in either house to obstruct legislation and investigations. That leads to the more important question. What sort of governing party will the Democrats be: a safe pair of hands, desperate to reclaim a fantasy status quo ante, or a government in which Warren, Brown, and AOC help set priorities and get stuff done.

          Personally, I’d be happy if AOC were the most conservative member of Congress. Wall Street, of course, is busy mounting a well-funded campaign to replace her with a Blue Dog, because the world is not enough. Like Dave Eggers’s translucent shark, its task is to grow and multiply, and to eat anything in its path.

        • Njrun says:

          Mostly agree, earl, but I think the Democrats are moving “left” and will press for more progressive policies to the extent they have the votes. Of course, the Senate can stop a lot of stuff. If McConnell remains majority leader, passing anything will be hard.

        • rip says:

          Not sure how I see the Democrats being able to control all three branches of government anytime soon. Perhaps the executive and legislative, but the courts have been pretty well packed, especially the SCOTUS.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          They will need more packing. What’s fair is fair, non? Or, they will bury the country in their fundamentalist neoliberal views for a generation, just as the Lochner era courts did.

  4. SVFranklinS says:

    Hear Hear!
    A commendable list, although it seems these are not really of equal weight (lack of WiFi is nowhere near the same magnitude as a food famine).
    This crisis has only emphasized just how insane it is to have an employer-based health insurance system. This is defense of the people against death and destruction, and the current setup makes about as much sense as an employer-based military would.

    The frustration is how to get there from here. Bill & Hillary tried universal health care; it didn’t fly. Obamacare was the great right-wing compromise, and look how well that went over. It’s one thing to make a list, and it’s good to have a destination, but the actions to get there are a real concern.
    How to actually make it happen?

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Many thanks. An overdue discussion, as well as a vivisection of what Trump has done – albeit at the end of a fifty-year neoliberal assault. (Trump has no ability to invent anything, but he is superb at destroying whatever he finds.)

    Your list is a good start. It should be the foundation of what this November election is about. RFK’s famous exhortation – “I dream of things that never were, and say why not” – needs to be on a lot of lips. He was not lamenting the impossible, but daring us to achieve things that were within reach, if not our grasp. We badly need them.

    We face a Republican Party indistinguishable from Trump. It refuses to govern, and is vehemently opposed to anyone else’s governance. Presumably, that’s because they are in thrall to the one-tenth of one percent. Much of the Democratic Party’s leadersheep munches grass along with them – and farts in the same general direction. But there are many who disagree with both of them. They are the ones who most need government to work for them – and to stop it from punishing them for being human.

  6. harpie says:

    With regard to industrial policy, see this story from today [via bmaz]:
    They lived in a factory for 28 days to make millions of pounds of raw PPE materials to help fight coronavirus
    April 23, 2020 at 6:22 a.m.

    At his factory just off the Delaware River, in the far southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, Joe Boyce clocked in on March 23 for the longest shift of his life. […]

    For 28 days, they did not leave — sleeping and working all in one place.
    In what they called a “live-in” at the factory, the undertaking was just one example of the endless ways that Americans in every industry have uniquely contributed to fighting coronavirus. The 43 men went home Sunday after each working 12-hour shifts all day and night for a month straight, producing tens of millions of pounds of the raw materials that will end up in face masks and surgical gowns worn on the front lines of the pandemic. […]

    • harpie says:

      It seems like this amazing effort at the factory was all “guys”, but their families [significant others/children] were an integral part of it, as well.

      • Justlp says:

        Yes, thank you. I needed it as well. We need more of this kind of selflessness – a trait sorely lacking in much of what we’ve been seeing lately.

  7. coral says:

    Great list. The point about prison gerrymandering is one that is new to me–boy that connects a lot of dots.

  8. Jim White says:

    We are merely at the beginning of seeing the points you and Packer make. The divide in how countries responded, especially in how they met the basic needs of citizens, will be greatly amplified once a real (not the current false efforts of Trump and Kemp) exit from distancing begins.

    Most of Europe will leave us in the dust as they are able to return to business very efficiently, plugging people back into jobs that were kept open. Here, we are suddenly going to find that the smaller businesses have shuttered permanently and the larger ones that think they will have the opportunity to cannibalize those markets will find that domestic demand has completely shriveled because the bulk of the workforce is bankrupt and likely facing huge debt from medical bills and unpaid rent. They will be relying on food pantries and unable to spend the cash they don’t have. I think this effect could well linger for a generation if the policies you list aren’t implemented.

    In an ideal response, your list also would be supplemented with universal voter registration and vote by mail on hand counted paper ballots.

    I already have two ponies here but clearly want another, this one with rainbow sparkles.

  9. jaango says:

    Beware of Christian Nationalists.!!

    When it comes to “puking fun” at those who seminally disagree with me, the current revolution consists of each morning, one can lie, steal and cheat and shortly thereafter, enter the confessional both at a local church and receive the ‘blessing’ of Five Hail Mary’s” and thusly, in the morrow, repeat this daily behavior.

    As such, to stamp out this continuing iconic, behavior, I advocate a public law that incorporates RICO and applied to all business entities, both public and private. And yet, keeping America “honest” seems a clueless that borders on churlishness for advocating “decency personified.” And for the approximate $3 trillion of taxpayer dollars, this inordinate disappearance, will remain unaccountable, in large measure.

  10. harpie says:

    With regard mostly to healthcare:

    Alone Against the Virus Decades of neoliberal austerity will make it harder to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we must rebuild our social safety net and forge a New Deal for public health.
    March 13, 2020

    From the conclusion:

    <[…] COVID-19 is a crisis of social solidarity and social investment. It has been fifty years since Goldwater and the rise of the right, which has told us, again and again, these things don’t matter. Now with the coronavirus outbreak, we see that, in fact, it’s a matter of life and death and has been all along. Coronavirus has shined a light on the cruelty of American life as it has been constructed for much of our lifetimes. We can’t look away now. Will we? […]

  11. CCM says:

    I think where Marcy’s post does not address is the underlying difficulty that has landed us in this mess. I agree with most of the policy prescriptions, but they do not address the underlying disease. I is the illness of me over we. The right’s policies are in essence, “I have got mine and the fuck with you.” Those who are not wealthy are sold on a bunch policies that appeal to the religious base.

    We need to view our country as a society. When you look out the window of your car and see a homeless person, whose responsibility is it to help. Should you open your window and give money? Should you think, personal responsibility and moral failing and drive on? But the only way to fix the problem is government, only it has the resources. Not one person’s wallet, no one church has the ability. The only way we as a society can come together to solve problems at scale is though the government.

    Until we shift our thinking about the inherent nature of government we will have no major initiatives to solve our problems. When April 15 comes around do you think of yourself as a sucker or a patriotic citizen. I grew up in the Wash DC area and have always been mystified by the demonization of the government. They were my neighbors and seemed like good people. They are part of the we. Us and them is the disease.

    • John Lehman says:

      “I is the illness of me over we.”

      Unless we learn this and abandon our systemic, defensive and impulsive use of these pronouns we’ll never effectively achieve the noble goals Marcy has articulated. Until these words, I, me, mine, become considered profanity we can’t hope to effectively transform local, national and international institutions.

      Thank you for mentioning this key element.

  12. Wm. Boyce says:

    Thanks for this excellent post.
    To Medicare for All and Industrial Policy, I would add an infrastructure item of rebuilding the health care system, i.e., small local clinics, rural hospitals, (which continue to close!) and an expanded effort to train (and import from abroad) doctors, nurses, and other essential, first-line personnel.

  13. harpie says:

    Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother dies of coronavirus in Oklahoma
    Updated April 23, 2020

    Donald Reed Herring [86], the oldest brother of Senator Elizabeth Warren, died on Tuesday night in Norman, Okla., about three weeks after testing positive for coronavirus. […]

    [Warren]: “I’m grateful to the nurses and other front-line staff who took care of my brother, but it is hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say ‘I love you’ one more time. And now there’s no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close,” Warren said. “I will miss my brother.”

    […] was hospitalized for pneumonia in February. He then moved to a rehabilitation center to recover. The family did not identify the center. […]

    Other patients in the facility where Herring was staying had active cases, according to what the family was told, and he was tested for the virus in early April. He received a positive result the next day, but did not show symptoms of the virus for another 11 days.

    Herring was moved to intensive care at Norman Regional Hospital on April 15 and died six days later. He was not on a ventilator. […]

  14. Willis J Warren says:

    Medicare for all would be an improvement over the current system, but not for the reasons most people think. A far better solution would just be to nationalize the health care system and eliminate paid fee for service insurance

    • Tarkeel says:

      Speaking as someone with experience with a nationalized health system (Norway), there are still some issues with how to allocate funding to individual hospitals in this model. It’s still a better basis, just not a panacea.

      One example; My local hospital had focused on cutting down on maternal bleeding related to births, which means they did less procedures. Funding was based on procedures and not for staff in standby, so they received less money for better work.

      • Rayne says:

        Weird. You’d think allocation would be based on potential patients. Here in the US using such allocation a county with a larger than average number of women under 45 should receive more funding for reproductive health care — like Provo, Utah and Seattle, Washington — versus locations with higher density of elderly — like Sarasota, Florida.

    • orionATL says:

      i have no reservations about all americans receiving medical care (which is not the same as “healthcare”, a broader term subject to political manipulation and abuse).

      i think medical care for children thru 18 and pre-and post-partum mothers should be mandatory.

      but i suspect “medicare for all” is a great political swamp the nation does not have to create for itself. far better to have a system that is not subject to control from the top.

      first there is the matter of the flexibility of a great bureaucracy. social security is one such and it actually works reasonably well, but involves relatively simple matters to cover. medical care is much more complex and continuously involves new science and technology. imagine what would ensue if a righwing idealogue like michael pence became president. i can imagine both birth control and abortion would be curtailed and outlawed respectively. i can imagine sexual problems of many kinds would have treatment curtailed or forbidden because of the obsession religious conservatives throughout the ages have maintained about sex, the most normal and mandatory of human adult activities. i can imagine the treatment of mental illness might run toward religious witchcraftery. i can imagine new science and technology being challenged by nuttery, and goofball solutions (like cleaning solutions 😬) being put forward. i can imagine many freedoms in medical care that we currently take for granted being curtailed by the freedom-loving right.

      what this complex society does reluctantly, but refuses to openly acknowledge the necessity for, is that our best answer is transparent regulation protected from covert ideological manipulation.

      the rightwing large corporation-hyperrich counterattack to the public-benefit regulation of the ’60’s and early ’70’s that began with the business rountable and eventually consumed the republican party has scewed government regulation and taxes unacceptably to the benefit of corporations and the hyperrich and, generally, toward unaccountability, environmental damage being the most consequential.

      • bmaz says:

        Not necessarily disagreeing in full, but how could the paradigm really be changed other than from the top down?

  15. BobCon says:

    The issue that keeps coming back to me is how much the collapse is tied to the failure of the press in the US. If things are not quite as dire as in Rupert Murdoch’s UK, it’s still about 3/4 there.

    There is an astonishing inability of news organizations to handle honest debate of major issues. Whether it is coronavirus or universal health care or climate change, they just can’t manage it. They have just a few tools in their toolbox, use them for everything, and cannot stop for one second to think about acquiring new tools and methods.

    Good press criticism goes past the narrow failure to fix the sink, and points out that the press is using a hammer and pry bar to do it. And then Dean Baquet responds by how well his reporters fixed a picket fence last week and he doesn’t see what the problem is.

    There is a frequent tendency to blame corporate media, the chase for ratings and advertising dollars. And while I think that explains part of it, I think it misses how much the problem is in news culture itself. When a new commercial opportunity presents itself — websites, video, mobile apps — they have responded by continuing to use the same three tools, and then wonder why ratings suffer.

    This twitter thread captures the kind of cultural failure I see — the fixed vision of what makes news and how to present it. I don’t really know how to fix the problem, but until it improves, I am discouraged about the prospect for rapid structural change.


      • BobCon says:

        I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. The NY Times and NPR, for example, do quite a bit of good, solid reporting.

        But they have major blind spots, especially when it comes to politics, and unfortunately they have a tendency to hand over a lot of stories to their politics desks which really ought to be edited by other desks.

        Covid is a major current example, so that little or no input is given to health reporters in stories about politicians like Kemp — the idiocy of his policy from a public health perspective ought to be the lede, rather than a minor sidebar.

        There is a failure at the editorial and management level which these institutions cannot seem to understand, and unfortunately it hurts much, though not all, of their product.

    • madwand says:

      I don’t think we will ever get in the MSN to where you would achieve any semblance of honest debate, like so many things the MSN is totally intrenched. My solution to that is read as many sides as I can and then make a judgment, at least I’ve done due diligence for myself and I can say that others may disagree which is fine. But sometimes its tough to separate the dancer from the dance.

      I’m sure you probably read it, but “Manufacturing Consent” Herman and Chomsky, is a hugely informative book on the subject and gives a good account of how the Western press functions. Moreover no one writes without some sort of agenda, and often, as in those tweets, is the agenda of the editor. Rather than letting the real story surface they influence to portray a narrative they prefer, truth becoming subjective rather than objective.

      Parenti argues there is no such thing as objective truth. All truth is subjective, there is the dominant paradigm, arguments which stay in the boundaries of permissible and allowable “truth” have a less difficult time, while those outside the dominant paradigm have to slug it uphill, but because of that those ideas and arguments are better vetted, because to succeed they have to be. Those editors in those tweets are living within the dominant paradigm for the most part.

      Of course, the extreme of all this is Trump who is able despite spouting total BS day after day and often in the same session is able to attract that 1/3 Marcy talks about. Don’t know how to correct that either.

      • DrFunguy says:

        I don’t buy ‘all truth is subjective’.
        There are many instances where that is demonstrably not so.
        While I agree with Kuhn’s thesis of scientific paradigms, and, to some extent, your description of dominant paradigms, there are still foundational truths. At least in the realm of science.
        DNA makes RNA makes protein

        • madwand says:

          I would tend to mostly agree with you if we are talking science, and even then scientists disagree especially when you get down in the weeds in quantum mechanics. But the press communicates and one can believe they communicate the truth accurately or not. I’m in the “or not” camp. If you want truth, in the news you have to search for it, I don’t think there is any other way. If you look at the tweets in BobCons post you can see that the reporting is being altered and made to appear in a different context than what the original author intended, but sadly they give up. Perhaps create blogs, I don’t know. Thanks

        • BobCon says:

          To an extent, I think the problem is generational, and there are glimmers of change at the NY Times.

          There has been reporting about younger reporters chafing under Baquet’s approach and at least one top candidate for his spot when he goes in a couple of years is supposed to have much more modern view toward issues critics have brought up.

          But there is the very real risk that news as we know it will be so torn apart by economic shocks that we get nothing but listicles, tweets, press releases and influencer vlogs. Ugh.

      • orionATL says:

        “… My solution to that is read as many sides as I can and then make a judgment, at least I’ve done due diligence for myself and I can say that others may disagree which is fine. But sometimes its tough to separate the dancer from the dance…”

        yours is a common personal goal.

        personally, i trust my intuition. i suspect most of us do. i’m not convinced that a confidently held, trustworthy set of opinions on public matters of consequence is ever gained by a “i’m open. convince me.” approach.

        a solid personal intuition of the sort i value is built on empathy, a strong sense of unfairness, and intellectual integrity, as best one can manage.

        one can read a great deal. while some arguments are informative or strengthening, many available are not worth the time for the insight gained. wide reading of the media though is essential to avoid blind spots in one’s perceptions of people and events which can seriously damage political judgment.

  16. madwand says:

    When we consider that the virus moves in waves and can mutate and literally that mutation can be generated from anywhere in the world we ought to question how our foreign policy affects that, both for other countries and potentially ourselves.


    This article details the destruction of the Iraqi medical system during the sanctions period, the Iraq war and aftermath and what is ongoing today. By denying sanctions relief to Iran to deal with their virus containment, and the fallout that produces in Iraq, the US is contributing to a a potential virus reservoir in those countries possibly mutating like in 1918 to a more lethal variety. Better off Iraqis do their healthcare elsewhere, it’s easy to see how a virus could spread. This isn’t like Murphy’s law it’s more like O’Tooles Maxim, Murphy was an optimist.

  17. bloopie2 says:

    All is good; another provocative post and comments. One question that has nothing to do with the virus. I know that many (if not most) doctors don’t make a ton of money–i.e., they’re not “rich”. In my younger days I believed that doctors should get paid highly because what they did required so much training and was often very difficult and was so damned important to life as we know it–more so than the work that I do, for example. Was this wrong thinking? How much should doctors get paid? Are they appropriately compensated in countries with universal health care?

    • P J Evans says:

      My understanding is that in the US, specialists are highly paid, but generalists (family practice, internist, and other non-specialist or not-highly-specialized fields) make much less.

    • Mary R. says:

      Are physicians appropriately compensated in countries with universal health care? is a really difficult question to answer.

      The British Columbia provincial health authority, in its annual “Blue Book,” lists payments to physicians in excess of CAD25,000 for fee-for-service billing for services covered by the Medical Services Plan.

      These totals do not include many other forms of compensation (university and hospital salaries, and billing to third parties – payments from individuals and private insurers for goods and services not covered by MSP), which often exceed their FFS billings.

      I checked, and the vast majority of physicians billing MSP FFS for over $1,000,000 are ophthalmologists, who’ve profited enormously from technological and infrastructural advances, largely funded and maintained by the taxpayer, that allow them to perform far more (about four times more) FFS-billable cataract surgeries than they could in the past. Which in turn increases their income from corrective intraocular lenses (not covered).

      Don’t even get me started on ophthalmologists. Or do: It’s fascinating, in the manner of a train wreck.

      Meanwhile, my GP billed MSP FFS (his primary if not sole source of income) only $315,000 in the same period. After overhead and taxes, he probably takes home only three or four times what I do as a unionized public sector admin assistant with no degree (not even high school) at all. That doesn’t seem enough, although it does place him in the top 5%.

      In the top 1%, taking home maybe seven or eight times what I do, is my friends’ toddler’s oncologist; he billed MSP FFS for only $125,000. He grosses another $300,000 in salary from Children’s and the university, and while his overhead is minimal, there aren’t any obvious sidelines to exploit when your patients are babies with brain cancer. That seems about right.

      Here is a link for the 2018/19 blue book: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/practitioner-pro/medical-services-plan/blue-book-2018-19.pdf

  18. Jenny says:

    Thanks Marcy excellent post. Last line spot on.

    We as a global family have the opportunity to change benefiting people’s needs. Also can’t forget the animals.

    Denmark made some major changes when faced with fossil fuel issues. Created solutions for the people and economy. Healthy choices for society.

    Erik Solheim on Twitter: 8:50 AM · Apr 19, 2020
    Bravo Denmark Flag of Denmark!
    This is how Denmark turned away from fossil fuels and became a renewable Energy champion!

    Erik Solheim on Twitter: 12:50 AM · Apr 20, 2020
    All over the planet wild animals are coming out when we humans are retreating to our homes due to the #coronavirus. Lets make a New Deal for nature after the virus lockdown!

  19. Geoguy says:

    I would also include serious financial reform including reinstating a modern version of the Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial from investment banking. After this crisis passes and the investors and bankers have been bailed out the little people will be told that there is nothing left.

  20. Nehoa says:

    Great list! I would add two items. First, shift some of the military resources to disaster and public health response. Second, establish a government owned consumer banking sector more comprehensive than a postal bank, and ensure other financial institutions are not “too big to fail.”

  21. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Great post and the most illuminating comments anywhere. Intimidatingly so–I’ve never commented here before. Because I am old enough to remember the trajectory, I wish to respectfully amend Marcy’s phrase “the failures of the last twenty years.” The deceptive and inevitably inequitable policies detailed here were really ushered in in 1980, when Reagan convinced the electorate that supply-side economics meant “morning in America.” (Yes, Goldwater would have advocated similar tax and regulatory reforms, but the conservatism he espoused still bore a recognizable connection to its root word ‘conserve,’ putting him closer to libertarianism than the reactionary activists who were to seize control of the GOP post-Nixon.)

    • bmaz says:

      Hi Ginevra, and welcome. Please join us far more often, it is is an informed crowd, but a very, very good one.

      And, for what worth, you are quite right about both today’s GOP, what Goldwater really stood for, and the vast difference. In today’s political landscape, Barry would be a very centrist, nee Clintonian, moderate Dem. Frankly, that is where he already was when he died.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thanks, bmaz! It’s a privilege to participate. Yes, Goldwater would never have condoned the illiberal incursions upon personal liberty by those on today’s far right. To say nothing of Nixon, who could no more pass the (countless) GOP purity tests now than he could turn up his charisma to best JFK in 1960.

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s not so much that it’s crappy, as that it needs updating for this century, instead of being stuck in about 1975.

  22. cracker says:

    The impeachment of a few members of the federal judiciary, and their conviction by the Senate for lying during their confirmation hearings, and other misrepresentations in their nominations and confirmations by the Federalist Society and Sen McConnell ought to exert a prophylactic effect on others who remain on the bench among their similarly installed colleagues. Perhaps a President Biden can redeem himself for his shameful behavior toward Anita Hill by serving as a witness in an impeachment. Stringent measures are appropriate and required.

  23. Badger Robert says:

    Thanks for all you do, Ms. Wheeler.
    Since Covid/19 is a health crisis, it seems to point to serious deficiencies in our public health system. Detection and treatment of infectious disease still has enormous externalities attached to it. It should be available on a nearly cost free basis. Infectious disease, basic dentistry for young people, mental health assistance for those in need, to me they would make a healthier and more productive society, but maybe others don’t agree.
    Some health conditions, obesity, smoking, lack of outdoor activity, poor diet, maybe are going to have to be addressed without spectacle or derision, but as serious public health issues.
    I take for example that very few children under the age of 18 contract the virus, or develop any symptoms. Some few children do. But no one has been able to find out why. What makes most children healthier, and makes a few dangerously susceptible?
    We have all this science, but a lot of goes towards curing sick people, when the benefit of keeping people from getting sick is much greater.
    58,318 and here we are again, unable to confront reality because leadership finds it unpleasant.

    • Mary R. says:

      To quote (god help me) Donald Rumsfeld:

      “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things [we know] we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”

  24. orionATL says:

    there are many obvious, sensible, doable improvements in the american safety net and the equality of american society suggested above.

    what is missing, but must be at the top of the list, is the destruction of the keystone of the present political system. before any of these improvements in the safety net and in the fairness of our society can happen thru legislation with confidence they will be retained, control of the american political system must be wrested from the corporate/hyper-rich. that means specifically that the now-mandatory role of large sums of money to influence voters with low interest and understanding and to win political office must end. that in turn means the citizens’ united case and its sophistical reasoning, which severely crippled our society’s control over the amount of money that can be spent on influencing voters and political campaigning, must be overturned. and that in turn means a war with the supreme court, the federalist society, the fox news empire, numbers of corporations and hyper-rich and their pac’s, and the contemporary republican party and its most intensely loyal groups, all of whom benefit from the status quo of unlimited and hidden influence (propaganda) spending.

  25. Max404 says:

    I am surprised not to see in Marcy’s post nor the comments:

    Public funding, and strict limits to private funding, of elections.

    The obvious reason is to restore democracy, and to reduce plundering of the commonwealth for private gain, in a word, corruption.

    But there is an even more profound distortion caused by money in politics. Since money can buy office, the office holders are selected by their financial puppeteers for their willingness to do bidding, but not for their intelligence or competence.

    Whereas in a healthy democracy, leaders would rise to positions of authority through their own skill, intelligence, and ability to connect with the people who elect them. Rather than being led by a cast of actors selected by casting agents and producers, instead extraordinary, talented and wise people might have a chance to lead.

    In Germany, a place to be during the storm, there are extremely strict limits on campaign spending. The cabinet of Chancellor Merkel includes a significant number of talented, brilliant, and honest members doing their utmost to save lives and deliver the country. They rose through the years and ranks by winning local elections and forging ideas and partnerships, not by being placed there by moneyed interests.

    • P J Evans says:

      There have been multiple attembts to get public funding of campaigns in the US. None of them have worked, because *someone* will “self-fund” with a lot more than anyone else gets from public funding.

  26. orionATL says:

    about a week ago a wapo reporter had an article in that paper’s opinion piece space which reported on a level 4 virology lab in wuhan china that was deemed both short of competent management and short of competent technical staff by a visiting u.s. state department team. the lab, rated for the highest and most dangerous viral experiments, was working on sars viruses. i found the wapo report very interesting and credible for the info included.

    responses to that report? silence. dead silence. this has bothered me a great deal. it reminds me of what happened after elizabeth warren set out her plans for controlling large corporations last fall. silence. dead silence.

    well, david ignatius has, thankfully, broken what appeared to be a media vow of silence with this article:


    we need to know how this viral plague got started in china. was “bats and pangolins” a fairy tale told for children?

    what did get sars-vov-2 started in china, and did it start at that level 4 virology lab that was weakly staffed?

    • Rayne says:

      Ignatius is a columnist who wrote an op-ed — it’s not reported material. Not particularly eager to take his bait when he writes stuff like this:

      … The recent commotion about conspiracy theories comes partly from an unpublished paper by several maverick European scientists that was privately circulating last week. …

      Name names. Why are they “maverick” and why was this paper which wasn’t published in any form of circulation? Was it crackpot enough no publisher wanted to touch it?

      This is exactly how misinformation and disinformation is disseminated. And “maverick” scientists look like that jackass Didier Raoult who was pushing hydroxychloroquine based on a puny POS study.

      I want to hear from virologists, not just any “maverick scientists” and so far the virologists who have looked at SARS-CoV-2’s genetic material have said there is zero indication of manipulation for weaponization. The only question virologists have is what the intermediary animal carriers were between bats and humans; pangolins appear to have been one but there may be at least one more. This paragraph distorts what virologists have found — note the weighting toward intelligence community and British scientists (but not specifically British virologists):

      But both U.S. and British intelligence analysts are skeptical that covid-19 resulted from deliberate human engineering. The claims about “engineered origins” in the paper were “not substantiated” by British government scientists, a British official told me. U.S. intelligence analysts are also confident that the virus wasn’t created in a laboratory, but they haven’t ruled out the possibility that a natural organic virus that was enhanced for scientific reasons may have leaked accidentally in Wuhan.

      Did the virus slip out of the lab? Possibly — but why should we expect China to answer any questions about their Wuhan bio lab when we haven’t done a particularly good job of openness with problematic material handling of our own, from weaponized anthrax in 2001 to Los Alamos National Laboratory losing track of 250 barrels filled with nuclear waste last year. We’re only lucky our country’s sloppy controls didn’t extend to a bio lab near a market selling wild game.

      • orionATL says:

        oh, come on rayne. you’ve written too much solid, deep stuff on the science of sars-cov-2 to write a radar-deflecting-aluminum-chaff paragraph like this one.

        where and how the virus started is a central scientific question. if it started in a insecure level 4 lab that would be doubly important and a warning to all nations. the u.s. stopped some such experiments out of concern for the possible consequences.

        here is the josh rogin column that i referred to. it seems quite solid and a good lead
        warranting a close look at escape from the lab in wuhan as a possibility:


        as for the ignatius column, he repeatedly cited real experts, a fact you ignored while emphasizing trash science in your tesponse. you bias is palpable here.

        • P J Evans says:

          The problem is that too many people think that “escaped from lab” means “created in lab”. (Virologists are quite sure it’s not a lab creation.)

        • orionATL says:

          this is an important point though i don’t want to quibble. i think the kajor concern is great care taken, not mptive

          scientists aren’t interested in movie scenarios with zombie lab thieves slipping thru the protections like water thru a sieve. it is unlikely there was any deliberate release of this virus. but a poorly run level 4 lab (which is a possibility with the lab in wuhan studying sars voronaviris) is an invitation to disaster wherever it resides.

        • P J Evans says:

          And with this one going in for asymptomatic transmission, it would be hard even to know if you were accidentally exposed.

    • orionATL says:

      with china having now set its earliest cases back to november and calif its earliest back to the first week in feb, it is reasonable to hypothesize that this virus was loose with others at the beginning of the fall flu season in 2019, but was not detected early because there were so few cases detected between china and the u.s. west coast (i’d really like to hear about covid-19 incidence in the vancover metroarea.).

      as for tracing this virus down, virologists are important, but i’m confident they would agree epidemiologists and geneticists are equally important. the geneticists are likely to be the ones that give is the time line and origin story.

  27. errant aesthete says:


    Thank you for bringing attention to Packer’s article from The Atlantic.

    I don’t know your source for it but my reasons for posting it [Trump’s Covid Rallies] was the long view Packer took of the United States and this pandemic at this moment in history. By defining it as the third major crisis of the 21st century he compared and contrasted it to 9/11, the first crisis and the Wall Street bailout of 2008, the second. The excerpt you added perfectly illustrated what awaited Trump’s coronation to the throne. He not only surveyed the spoils of his new-found entitlement but immediately recognized and seized upon the heist of a lifetime: a place to “loot” (in your word) at his leisure.

    Packer also posed the question of whether we “trusted our leaders and one another enough to summon a collective response to a mortal threat.”

    I applaud your efforts and those of your readers in mapping a destination. It’s a start and a good one. God knows we need it.

    As a companion piece to Packer, this interview with the economist Jeffrey Sachs “On the Catastrophic American Response to the Coronavirus” in the New Yorker is noteworthy for a number of reasons. While the piece is weighted to the U.S. response to the pandemic, Sachs is open in admitting he has been a critic of the United States over the past quarter-century and like Packer shares a long view of the country as it is from as it was.

    On Trump’s leadership:
    “I’ve never seen anything like the narcissism of this man …here we are, a country so rich in expertise, in resources, in capacities, and yet we’re watching a complete failure of a political response—with a massive loss of life—in real time. It’s quite shocking because Trump not only does not know how to approach this issue but he blocks those who do.”

    On the US response to COViD-19:
    “We don’t lack the means to carry out good responses in the United States; we lack the leadership to do so, and there are reasons for that. Basically, American politics has become deeply corrupt over decades, and it became so corrupt that normal governance already collapsed many years ago.”

    @CCM in this thread used the phrase “I is the illness of me over we” as a view too many of us share in how we see our country at this time.

    To that, Sachs would recommend the following:
    “It’s about caring, attention, philosophy of life, and politics, a sense of ethics and morality, a question of whether it’s really America First and everyone else be damned or whether it’s a question of trying to make a world that works more effectively.”


  28. WitnessWitness says:

    EW’s omits the one essential reform that would enable the others, electoral reform.

    Sure, the Schumers and Manchins and Polosis and Neals of this world, and Bidens, to say nothing of the Republicans, are not going to do it, but there are others, some of whom have already produced legislation: the Fair Representation Act or the Ranked Choice Voting Act.

    If the Dems win the trifecta in November, and it is impressed on them that electoral reform is the only way to ensure that a Trump presidency can never happen again, it is do-able.

    But if we don’t talk about it it will never happen. We should all proselytize Ortega y Gasset’s dictum: “The health of democracies, of whatever type and range, depends on a wretched technical detail — electoral procedure. All the rest is secondary” (in The revolt of the masses, 1932). I think we all understand the truth of this but somehow we don’t seem to ‘get it’ – too remote, or difficult, or unlikely, or something.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Elizabeth Warren on that. On her “I have a plan for that” page, https://elizabethwarren.com/plans , the first bullet point is:

      1] End Washington corruption and fix our democracy

      There are 13 plans, including:


      Elections are the foundation of our democracy, but in the United States — the greatest democracy in the world — our government treats voting like it’s one of the least important things we do. We have around 8,000 election jurisdictions all doing their own thing. They are overstretched, under-resourced, and their technology is often laughably out of date. […lots of details…]

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there “WW”: No, nobody here has ever “omitted” the premise of electoral reform.

      But, hey, thank you for parachuting in to blithely lie about our record. Don’t let the proverbial door hit you in the ass.

      • WitnessWitness says:

        Hmmm, bawled out by bmaz: a rite of passage. “Ever”? Is that what I said? Of course not. I thought I was just commenting on the article. Looking again at my first sentence I suppose one could read it as an attack on EW, or perhaps as ridiculing her, which couldn’t be further from my intent – I admire her and her blog far too much to do either. In the three or four years I have been following it I don’t remember an article on electoral reform, but I defer to bmaz. My point was simply that I wish people would talk about the possibility more often – if people don’t know about it (and until about a year ago Elizabeth Warren didn’t) they won’t know, or at least think, to demand it.

        • bmaz says:

          Fair enough. I don’t know that anybody here has advocated for ranked choice, but certainly vote by mail, refranchising felons, whether in or out of prison, and abolishment of pretty much all blights on the ability of citizens to vote easily, has been advocated in this space.

          There are less than a handful of us that really moderate this blog. On any given day, I get so many attack notifications that it would boggle your mind. So, yes, we are a bit touchy. Sorry about that.

          With that, though, thank you for the explanation and feedback, it is appreciated. Keep coming at us and with us. And, yes, voting rights is worth the effort. Cheers.

        • P J Evans says:

          bmaz, ranked choice can work – but it’s a PITA to count the ballots. It generally gets acceptable results. (The Hugo Awards have been using ranked choice since about 1971, and they’ve been using computers most of that time.)

  29. David Gray says:

    Please refer to science based and peer reviewed articles rather than speculation.
    ” Since December 8, 2019, a series of cases of pneumonia of of unknown etiologic origin emerged in Wuhan, Hubei province, China (Zhu et al. 2020). This problem has been the focus of global attention because of clinical presentations, resembling viral epidemic pneumonia of unknown cause (Shen et al. 2020; Chen et al. 2020). Most patients worked at or lived near the local Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where livestock animals are traded (Zhu et al. 2020; Shen et al. 2020; Imai et al. 2020).”

    Link to the complete citation:

    • bmaz says:

      Please refer to other than right wing bullshit. Why did you suddenly parachute in “David Gray”? You will have to do better if you want to play, or criticize the principals who post here. Thank you. Thank you very much.

      • david gray says:

        The citation is through the NIH, (National Institute of Health). I have read and enjoyed Empty Wheel for some time, and have found it to be on point. This is not right wing bullshit, it simply doesn’t follow a conspiracy narrative. I am a front-line healthcare worker (Respiratory Therapist), and base my observations on the best possible information sources. I noted Covid-19 early on, and personally noted the Chinese would not lock down entire cities unless there was a serious outbreak. Since then I have taken the time and effort to educate myself on the etiology of Covid-19. My post was not meant as an attack, but to differentiate between the science and opinion. We need more science and less opinion to be honest. I’ve cared for Corona Virus patients, and it’s an ugly disease process that we are still trying to gain a full understanding of. If my posts are unwelcome, say so and I’ll refrain from commenting and enjoy the content which is on point.

        • bmaz says:

          So you have been around here a “long time”, but just now decided to join in and posit that the principals who post here are too much “opinion”, and not enough “science”?

          Your posts are quite welcome. We do seem to have a sudden onslaught of putative long time readers that suddenly appear out of nowhere and want to criticize us. Yesterday it was a dude named “Andy”.

          So, please do join in more often with commentary and discussion. We love and encourage that, even if we keep our guard up.

        • david gray says:

          I’ve seen them too, so it didn’t upset me to be challenged and you’re right to be on guard. My comment wasn’t intended to posit that all opinion content was not appropriate, and I was unclear on that. WHO has a series of situation reports commencing January 20, 2020:


          It is interesting reading and provides an account of the outbreak. Personally I don’t have much confidence in the CDC because of their response to the outbreak with regard to testing and their recommendations regarding PPE for healthcare workers. Epidemiologists have been for some time considered the wet markets in China to be the next source of outbreak, and genetic analysis points to cross infection of species. There is good reason to be suspicious of the Chinese government as their size of their response is disproportionate to their reported number of cases and deaths. Claims of the outbreak originating from the Wuhan lab, which by the way is located close to the wet market, is unproven. The genetic markers as best I can see point to the market, but further analysis is needed. My concern is headlines sometimes overrun content. Science can be relentless, and I have to feel ultimately the truth will come out despite attempts to obscure it.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for the link to the COVID-19 overview. Much appreciated.

          Here follows the study which supports the likelihood SARS-CoV-2 came from a wet market — not directly, but indirectly by laying out the genetic evolution of the virus. Where else would virus of bat-origin which passed through pangolins come in contact with humans, while not appearing to have been engineered?

          Pre-print on/about March 30:

          Re-insights into origin and adaptation of SARS-CoV-2
          Massimiliano S. Tagliamonte, Nabil Abid, Giovanni Chillemi, Marco Salemi, Carla Mavian
          bioRxiv 2020.03.30.015685; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.30.015685

          Published in Current Biology on April 6 — has much better graphics depicting the genetic mapping:

          Tao Zhang, Qunfu Wu, Zhigang Zhang,
          Probable Pangolin Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Associated with the COVID-19 Outbreak,
          Current Biology, Volume 30, Issue 7, 2020, Pages 1346-1351.e2, ISSN 0960-9822,

  30. Bobster33 says:

    One foundational issue that gets missed is that in a first world economy, you cannot live here for free. In Uganda, a person can physically move to an unoccupied plot of land, begin farming and tending the land and become the owner of the land. If the farmer can live off of the land, he can do so without paying for any government service (a form of freedom).

    But in the first world, we force people to participate by putting a price on everything and demanding that everyone participate in the economy. We take this philosophy to the third world (i.e. Afghanistan) and make farmers pay taxes for a government that does nothing for the farmer. The farmer can’t understand what the government does for him. The farmer was a human being, but now has to become a human paying for the right to be.

    One possible solution to this conundrum is the way we tax and spend. Real Estate taxes on the smallest property would have to be eliminated and people would need some form of universal basic income.

  31. harpie says:

    Marcy, did you see this about a lawsuit filed for Mo. Smithfield workers?:

    Missouri Pork Plant Workers Say They Can’t Cover Mouths to Cough
    A lawsuit filed against a Smithfield Foods plant claims it has created a public nuisance by failing to protect workers from coronavirus infection.
    April 24, 2020 Updated 9:54 a.m.

    Charles Pierce brings this back to the George Packer article you write about here, and then on to Upton Sinclair:

    We’re Back in The Jungle
    Charles Pierce 4/24/20

    […] Packer correctly calls these “underlying conditions,” using the medical term-of-art currently in vogue when describing how certain populations were uniquely vulnerable to the pandemic due to preexisting health problems. An example of what Packer was writing about can be found in The New York Times. [link] […]

  32. Savage Librarian says:

    I don’t have any worthy suggestions or solutions to propose. But I do have some questions that might be helpful on a list of concerns I have about our obligations and rights as social animals in a civil society:

    How might we promote stable mental health for society and individuals? We seem particularly negligent about this, although much of what Marcy recommends would help in this regard, I think.

    How might we become more conscientious about the process of mortality so death and dying are not taboo subjects, but instead an integral part of who we are and how we define ourselves? How might we learn to address this collectively instead of individually?

    What kind of educational environment would create a healthy symbiosis between collaboration and competition to support a more cooperative and diverse society?

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