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Caroline Snyder

I think the section about a bracelet tracking your health and temperature for government use was interesting. It does sound wonderful, however brings up ethical questions about how much health information we need to share with the government. It would be nice to have this tracking bracelet in times of pandemic.

Christina Cavallo

I agree in the importance of the global co-operation that Harari brings up to fight this virus. I think that his comment about allowing travel, however, was an interesting viewpoint. I can see why the travel and transfer of doctors could be beneficial due to their necessity of treating the virus and the assumption that they would stay in a certain area once in a country, but I think the inclusion of "journalists, politicians, and businesspeople" wouldn't be of aid. With today's technology, I feel like those professions can do a lot without being there in person. Yes, maybe with special screenings the travel of these groups could be possible without spreading the virus, but I think the complexity behind it would be immense and it could take away the focus of stopping the spread and caring for those suffering.

Patrick Rooney

It seems to me there is a fine line between privacy and health. Additionally, on a global scale the solution to this problem is much like the Prisoner's Dilemma. It would benefit all if nations exchanged information and worked on the pandemic together, but private interest gets in the way. The solution is to be open and authentic with the information provided to a countries citizens and other nations globally. Yet, two problems arise, the first is having the audience have that trust in the government to believe and listen to the ideas conveyed. The second problem is governments releasing information in the first place, as governments are scared their transparency could inhibit their authority on the nation they rule.

Warren Seeds

It surprised me that the world leaders have not had more meetings to discuss possible strategies to combat the epidemic. I agree that the only way we will be able to recover is through cooperation with other countries. Now that the US is rapidly becoming one of the most infected countries in the world, I believe we should implement some of the surveillance techniques used by other countries. I believe that it should be optional to participate in using the surveillance systems though; mainly because, as the article pointed out, if we trust our government and the facts it is reporting, then we will (assuming we are rational human beings) do whatever is necessary for the greater good. The government does need to work on growing our trust though.


I agree with Patrick and the author of this piece. The only possible way of solving this horror is by working together. Instead of putting solutions into the hands of hungry politicians, we need to give medical professionals the power to freely communicate with their counterparts in other parts of the world. I also really appreciate the confidence the author has in the public. He said a lot of problems could be solved on their own if citizens were empowered. Our political climate is polarized due to different information and opinions circulating the news. Our focus should be redirected to promoting a well-informed population that feels that they aren't being forced to side on policies because of certain political ideologies. Democrat or Republican, this virus effects everyone. This virus will only be mitigated when we begin to work as a team, help out other countries, and realize the greater good of humanity is more important than any individual agenda.

Zay McGee

The author makes a sound argument for the necessity of global cooperation to manage a crisis of unprecedented scale. This makes the lack of interaction and aid between world leaders all the more shocking. Each country operates independently of one another and trust is lacking between them. Every solution or update presented by a country is met with doubt and even states in the US aren't operating in the same veins. The magnitude of this pandemic demands cooperation and it needs to begin soon if were to preserve lives and return to normalcy anytime soon.

Judy Saejung Park

Something in this piece that caught my attention was the comment about travel between different countries. While the travel bans do make sense and I do not condemn them, it just makes me wonder what the aftermath will be on the global economic scale, especially for countries that rely heavily on tourism. On a more local level, one of the biggest sectors in the Alaskan economy is tourism and with the absence of tourists and the already unstable Alaskan economy, this kind of crisis makes me especially worried and wary of the future.

Ryan Messick

While I wholeheartedly agree that a public surveillance system is an abuse of power and may be far too invasive, my major concern with the article was with Harari's adamant support of more independent reporting. Harari posited the idea that by informing citizens of the science behind a given epidemic, we empower them to decide the proper way to handle it. This concept reminded me of one of our main assumptions of Mankiw's Economics: the idea that all people will act rationally. However, as we have learned, that is never the case. I would argue that by relying solely on independent reporting and the behavior of individuals, we increase the potential for dangerous behavior and thus the elongation of the virus's impact on society. I believe there needs to be some sort of dissuasive method to prevent people from interacting irresponsibly, however I'm fearful of the impacts of a heavily enforced quarantine on society's financial/mental stability. In my opinion, the key topic for debate is how we can promote stricter social distancing without impinging on basic freedoms.

Steven Black

I agree that trust is essential to facing a problem like this. Going back to Trevor Noah's speech during Mock Con, the erosion of trust has been a large issue with the current administration. The widespread use of the term "Fake News" has led to an increasingly high distrust of the media. The administration has failed to fill the void of trust leaving the country fractured on who to trust. This has become evident during the current crisis with people discounting news about the virus and refusing to follow social distancing procedures. The Trump administration also failed to quickly build trust during the crisis by releasing false information in bumbled press conferences. This is the time when we need solidarity and levelheadedness in office to reestablish trust, which we are currently lacking. It will be very interesting to see what policies are created in response to the pandemic, how they affect trust, and which ones will remain in the aftermath.

Kit Lombard

How would the field of private security be graphed, considering the extent of Marginal Social Benefit is questionable?
With the rising issue of governments invading people's privacy, it makes me wonder if a new job field will open. The government would have to invest in security companies and therefore their would be a greater demand for high skilled employees. However, the opportunity cost is high with the evidence of government screening being abused, such as China's social point system critizing every action of it's citizens. Economic investement into a nation's healthcare is also essential. After SARS, China's government conducted few actions for the risk of a future health problem while the US just depleted the budget of the CDC. However, Nigeria has been investing tremendously in their health care since 2014 with the ebola outbreak and has not stopped. Now they have facilities planned to take in patients. The Prime Minister of Israel is being trialed on corruption charges while elections were occuring,alluding to possible bias intentions in pushing for the screening. Although Adam Smith never came up with the invisible hand, having governmental screening would truly create an invisible hand on the people.

Jack Rawlins

First of all, I think some sort of system for monitoring the health of US citizens would be invaluable in fighting the spread of coronavirus. However, I strongly agree with Warren's point that it should be voluntary. And once some sort of plan was in place for the monitoring, it would have to be closely regulated so to ensure that the information that is collected does not make its way into the wrong hands. Furthermore, I'd hope that such a solution would be a temporary thing, but as Harari points out it might be a bit of a pipe dream to believe that the government would stop using the data that they collect anytime soon. It would also be hard to determine exactly when this whole pandemic is actually over, or at least at a point where people can stop self-isolating.
I also like the comments that a few others have made about how if we all acted rationally, then this outbreak would be a lot easier to fight. A man was arrested in Maryland the other day for hosting a party of 60+ people at his house. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples of idiots being idiotic across the rest of the country. It is abundantly clear that not all humans act rationally. I think the best we can hope for is that enough people do their part to flatten the curve and the government continues to enforce stay-at-home orders and similar actions.

Harper Darden

I think that this is a great vision, and echoing others, if people acted rationally, Harari's ideas could work. However, I fear that it is too idealistic. I think that especially as more doubts about China and Iran's data numbers surface there is not chance at complete global cooperation. This makes me think about my Global Politics class from first semester, and I think that the coronavirus crisis can fit into several international relations theories. From the realist perspective, every nation is going to do what is ultimately best for them, and I think this explains some of Harari's examples of the Trump Administration turning its back so quickly on allies such as the EU. Maybe ultimately an alliance and communication would have been more beneficial, but weighing the pros and cons of the prisoners dilemma would have driven the more selfish and rash action of banning all travel. I do also think that prioritizing national healthcare does not have to be mutually exclusive to international cooperation. I think that Harari makes a great point about the importance of having an educated public and trust between the public and the government and that this is the foundation for successful policy and a faster eradication of this virus. However, for both national interests and global cooperation to be met, both and educated public and trusting relationship must be true, and I do not think that that has happened yet. I think that right now the key is keeping an informed public with the latest research and numbers and allowing that to be the driving force behind stay-at-home orders and others. I most definitely agree with Harari that forcing people to comply with measures like this will encourage more authoritarian behavior in the future and will ultimately not resinate with the population as science and data would (just as the example he gave of washing hands).


A quote that I thought was very meaningful during the article was, “a self-motivated and well-informed population is usually for more powerful and effective than a policed, ignorant population.” This quote stuck out to me because I believe exactly what it states. I think people will be more motivated to stop the virus and quarantine by themselves than if the government is forcing them to take their temperatures and policing them 24/7 with drones or some type of surveillance. I also agree that a major contributing part to the spread of the virus is travel. The United States should have shut down international flights and travel a month ago. But now that CoVid-19 is in every state in America, we should cancel flights all together. This would eliminate the spread and exposure of people to the Coronavirus. If as a globe, we all abide by this policy, it could save millions of people and also prevent millions from contracting the virus. Yes, many businessmen would be upset because they cannot reach clients overseas but their safety and well-being should be prioritized over reaching new deals.

Matthew Todd

The aspect of this article that I found to be the most interesting was the one that mentioned the pooling of international medical personnel. I actually had a conversation with my dad a few days ago that sort of related to this, he brought up a company in the U.S. that contracted out medical personnel to hospitals. It will be interesting to see what happens with medical workers who're effectively "free agents" and whose labor is in very high demand. The possibility posed in this article would be very interesting, to see the workers efficiently allocated in order to best combat the global pandemic, with the benefit for the countries that haven't been hit being experience for for their workers in case their luck turns around.

Savannah Corey

In this article, Yuval Noah Harari identified some very insightful arguments regarding the current global pandemic. Similar to Warren, the part that stuck out to me the most was the lack of communication and unity among the global leaders to establish a plan of action and confront the growing epidemic. As Harari points out, the key to stopping the virus from circulating is to constantly communicate on an international level about new treatments, allowing medical staff to travel between countries, and sharing medical supplies. Harari illustrates that this symbiotic cooperation will not only define future international relationships, but also the future of humankind on a broader scale. This was a very interesting contention that Harari posed because it manifested itself in almost every section of the article from enhanced surveillance systems to strengthening global solidarity. Every decision made in a local or global context will transform the social, political, and economic fabric of the future. For example, Harari explained how "many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life," such as the increased pervasiveness of surveillance systems. While I agree that using innovative technological tools would be beneficial to combat the spread of COVID-19, it it essential that the public be first informed on the disease from credible sources. With accurate information and tips for decreasing the spread of the virus, I believe that the population would be much more committed and motivated to stopping the spread without the government's intervention. However, fostering a relationship of trust between the government and the public is essential and without this collaboration, stopping the virus will be unforeseeable.

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