Author: Seth A Johnston | Published 24 June 2020 | Foreign Policy Realism is sometimes regarded as the foundational international relations theory. In this thoughtful piece, Johnston notes that realist scholars of international relations seeRead more
European Union Institute for Security Studies | Report published 20 May 2020 | Authors: Florence Gaub, Lotje Boswinkel In this Brief, we put this hypothesis to the test: did democracies really respond less swiftly than authoritarianRead more
By Bruno Tertrais | Published 6 April 2020 | Foundation for Strategic Research (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique | France This pandemic is the perfect stress test for the contemporary global society – and, becauseRead more
By Pol Morillas | The coronavirus crisis may turn out to be a bump in the road for recent international dynamics. After a period of hibernation in the major global economies, perhaps life will return to normal, the storm weathered thanks to stimulus plans, and the world will once again be flat and hyperconnected. Alternatively, coronavirus may be a turning point in the era of globalisation.Read more
An interview Professor Erik Angner of Stockholm University as part of the Humanities and Social Change Centre at the University of Cambridge‘s series on expertise and COVID-19. Erik Angner is a philosopher and an economist writing onRead more
How appropriate is behavioural economics as a basis for making public policy? Sould it be called ‘science’? What does the evidence tell us? Published in The Guardian on 26 April 2020, this article is aRead more
Asking people to choose between privacy and health is, in fact, the very root of the problem. Because this is a false choice. We can and should enjoy both privacy and health. We can chooseRead more
The Australia Institute’s Allan Behm writes that ‘[t]he wellbeing of both the citizen and the state is the goal of all sound public policy. Traditional security thinking fails to deal with the new security issues presented by global warming, and now, pandemics. These constitute existential threats to human security that are not amenable to solution by military forces. Yet they go to the heart of national security in current circumstances.
The scope of national security policy needs to transcend traditional defence and law enforcement models by comprehending climate change, human security against pandemics, environmental (and soil) degradation, food security, water shortages and refugee flows – to identify just a few issues.”Read more
David McCoy is a professor of Global Public Health and director of the Centre for Public Health at Queen Mary University of London. In this article published in The Guardian on 10 April 2020, heRead more
Published in The Guardian on 15 April 2020, Evgeny Morozov writes about the relationship of capitalism, neoliberalism and technology’s ‘solutionism’ in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Selected excerpts follow – and read the fullRead more
There are important distinctions when it comes to the way governments claim to have been ‘guided by the science’ when justifying their approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministers are not saying they are following a course of action because ‘an experimentally and observationally validated law of nature has been brought to my attention’. They mean that social scientists, based on some assumptions and suppositions, have modelled a range of possible outcomes and produced a number of projections, not predictions.
It is not science but policy, that mixture of ideology, politics, and pragmatism, that the ministers are doing when the choose between the pandemic options.
Governments should not be able to avoid scrutiny and accountability for their actions by leaning on the authority of science.Read more
Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy. Google and Apple have announced (10 April 2020) “a joint effort to enable theRead more
Around the world, a diverse and growing chorus is calling for the use of smartphone proximity technology to fight COVID-19. COVID-19 is a worldwide crisis, one which threatens to kill millions and upend society, butRead more
By Katherine J. Wu 27 March 2020 Faced with stopping a pandemic scientists have yet to fully understand, researchers simply can’t guarantee what lies ahead—or when life will return to a version of normalcy. Immunity isRead more
In an article published 5 April 2020 in The Irish Times, The Hague-based Peter Cluskey focuses on the issue of ‘herd immunity’ in the Dutch context. Is “herd immunity” – the idea that a virusRead more
In an article in The Guardian, David Runciman shows how the pandemic has removed “one layer of political life to reveal something more raw underneath”. He writes, “As Hobbes knew, to exercise political rule isRead more
The UK’s biological security strategy, published in 2018 to address the threat of pandemics, was not properly implemented, according to a former government chief scientific adviser. Professor Sir Ian Boyd, who advised the environment departmentRead more
“anyone looking for a way to get away from all the personal limitations we are currently experiencing cannot help but arrive at the idea of tracing contacts — that is, cellphone tracking.” German health ministerRead more
A moral dilemma is a situation in which a person is faced with two mutually exclusive choices and urgent reasons to choose each of them. And in the case of COVID-19, medical personnel are beingRead more
A moral crisis arises when the expected outcome of all choices will contravene a moral principle, a personal value, or a social norm. COVID-19 presents such a problem – choice between ethically unpalatable options.
Choosing a mitigation strategy over a suppression strategy strikes a particular balance between expected loss of life and maintaining economic activity. Accepting the real possibility of a greater loss of lives than otherwise might occur has a ‘dirty hands’ feel about it – an example of the challenge of ‘governing innocently’ in a crisis.
The broader lesson for leaders and institutions is the need to prepare themselves not only for rapid action but also for the opprobrium that will come from confronting moral dilemmas.
Governments will face many more unavoidable ‘dirty hands’ type decisions.