37. How incompetent are our governments in the procurement of critical pandemic supplies?

I am bemused by the aggressive criticism that the public, fuelled by the media, is directing at governments because of lack of PPE and test availability. How, after weeks of going through this, can these materials still not be widely available. This is a simple problem of supply and demand, which is at the heart of economic theory, and it is global even though we think about it in national terms. Nowhere near enough of these things are manufactured in normal times, to cover a pandemic. When it comes, there are not enough factories and raw materials, no established supply chains. And these take time to set up. In normal times, we don’t buy these goods, and this explains the lack of supply. We live in a market economy and, in this system, who would invest money and effort manufacturing goods that nobody needs and nobody would buy? Let me tell you something. If each consumer had purchased, in the last 20 years, 20 KN95 masks per year, we would certainly have enough production capacity

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Comments

Melkisecebe said…
So true... we want everything now and we do not even want to know how things are manufactured or provided... and imagine what would have people said if governments spent money and time gathering these materials 10 years ago... just in case, or if these materials were now overdue or the needed quality...what is alarming to me is not that we are not able to understand complicated issues in a time of fear and uncertainty, that i think is normal, but the aggresive and destructive reactions that we can produce while completely ignoring our ignorance. These kind of attitudes are dangerous
SantiDominguezV said…
Absolutely, Clara. And the way most political parties and formations work nowadays, there is always an aim to destabilise. When a complex situation like this arises, we should be asking, as citizens, how we help. And criticising constructively, not aggressively. Every situation is taken as an opportunity to attact 'the other', even if this is to the detriment of all. We should not, as citizens, accept these attitudes/reactions, we should penalise them when voting or exercising our citizen power. But we don't. We buy right into them (at least most of us) and join the mob. It is the same atavic behaviour that put people on pires in the Middle Ages and, as such, of course dangerous.

I think when I read about these situations, the first thing I do is to think... could I solve this better? Would I know what to do, how to manage this better than the experts? Are they making glaring mistakes that are obvious to me and which I would realistically know how to better execute? If the answer is no, then I have to be understanding that the issue may be as hard to solve for them as it is for me, and understanding of errors and failed experiments. Those in government are not demigods imbued with superpowers they choose to squander to not help the population. They are humans like you or I.

The same does not apply to policy. Policy should be criticised when unjust. But execution is not policy. if the government had decided on a policy of not buying PPE, this should be attacked. But if their policy is to buy as much as possible and they are struggling to execute it, they should be supported. Opposition parties and most citizens rarely differentiate

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