I was listening to Triple J the other night and someone mentioned how they had heard that this Swine Flu business was about justifying the WHO budget. And someone else responded that that was a very cynical view. But it reminded me of what had occurred to me earlier in the week.
You know what the giveaway was that the Swine Flu was not the Big One?! Apart from the name - surely something more romantically named will be what brings mankind to its knees? The giveaway though was that, like, in a pandemic, a bunch of people will get sick and before you've named the bug, it's swept across the world and sirens are sounding and looting is happening and noone knows what's going on. I've read Stephen King.
But what occurred to me is, we've learned this year a lot about how the real world works. And how the real world works is that it's all about perception - what people think in terms of how the world is going. Rather than, you know, how the world is actually going. So if people think banks are going to go bankrupt, they pull out their money and the bank goes bankrupt. If people think that stocks are overvalued and are about to plummet, they rush to sell their shares and stocks become overvalued and plummet. If people think the housing prices are overpriced or the interest rates are about to up or down, people stop buying houses, the prices become too high and then interest rates have to go up or down to fix it.
You see where I am going with this.
So. Here we are and I think actually people are not sure what is going to happen. The media is telling us that it's bad out there and it's going to get worse so people stop spending so much money, they start laying off employees, in case things get worse. This causes a slow down in the economy and things start to, well, get worse. Noone really knows how to stop the world going into recession/depression. There are theories that have come out of what didn't work last time and this time they are throwing these solutions at the problem. Meanwhile, traditionally reliable sectors are still slowing down and world leaders are throwing money around and their economies are still contracting.
So what's a sector that always will keep chugging along when all else fails? Could it be, perhaps, health and pharmaceuticals? What if the world suddenly was under threat from a disease that could potentially become a pandemic? What if suddenly we needed to spent a shitload of money really really quickly on R&D for a vaccine, hiring more medical staff for hospitals, installing weird scanning devices in airports (seriously, WTF? What if you have a temperature cause you have an autoimmune disease, like me? Do they pull you over and swab you, no questions asked?), adding a bunch of procedures to things and making every single person in the world wash their hands with soap (ok admittedly I like this one) and wear face masks?
What kind of injection into world spending do you reckon that makes?