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Friday, 10 April 2020

The macro and micro side of the corona coin

The coronavirus pandemic is causing a very different macro and micro perspective. Both sides of the corona coin (seem to) argue that the other side is giving a false picture. As often, both perspectives are true and/or valid. Let me explain that apparent contradiction.

The micro side of the coin is about empathy (healthcare for the sick) and the macro side is about advantage and sometimes plain greed (eg, reopening the economy ASAP). Please see the diagram in my 2019 blog, The micro-macro conundrum (2), or click (to enlarge) my diagram at the right.

The empathy micro argument requires a lockdown and/or social distancing because the healthcare capacity is totally insufficient to cope with a sudden flood of patients. By "flattening the curve" of future patients, the healthcare infrastructure can cope with the inflow of patients. The downside of this approach is that the virus will last much longer.

The advantage macro argument argues that the cost of a lockdown is much higher than the cost of corona fatalities. Moreover, they argue that the corona fatality rate is (much) lower than a (heavy) flu. They further argue that we never ever have a lockdown for a (heavy) flu. Last but not least, they argue that it's better having a short and sharp than a long and low contamination.

Again, both perspectives are true and/or valid. Hence, the approaches by various governments vary along these macro and micro arguments. Southern European countries opted for the micro arguments. Sweden opted for the macro argument. UK and USA have been switching between macro and micro arguments.

Unfortunately, macro arguments are often obscured by conspiracy theories. Sites promoting those theories often follow the 5 DABDA stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Similarly, micro arguments are often dramatising individual cases for boosting our empathy. The age of many corona victims suggest they would have died sooner rather than later.

Politicians often opt for micro arguments because they want to be re-elected. Using macro arguments can easily sink your chances for re-election. The American and English flip-flopping between macro and micro shows their progressive (political) insight in this matter.

"You cannot act like flip flops and expect to be treated like Louboutins." An alleged quote by Christian Louboutin (b. 1963), a "a French fashion designer whose high-end stiletto footwear incorporates shiny, red-lacquered soles that have become his signature".

Flip, Flop & Fly (1955 original) by The Blues Brothers (1978 version)


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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