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Amid Uncertainty, Leave Decision-Making to Individuals, Not Government Officials

Amid uncertainty, leave decision-making to individuals, not government  
Follow the link below to read this article at the Oklahoman: Amid uncertainty, leave decision-making to individuals, not government

Steve Trost is Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise and can be contacted at trost@okstate.edu.  He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from MIT, a master’s degree and PhD in engineering from Oklahoma State University and a PhD in entrepreneurship (also from OSU).

Follow Dr. Trost on twitter: @TrostParadox
Disclaimer: All comments, observations, and statements presented herein represent the opinions of the author and in no way reflect the views of Oklahoma State University or the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise.
Recent posts

Dilbert Creator Teaches Spot-On Lesson on Entrepreneurship without Mentioning the “E” Word

Dilbert Creator Teaches Spot-On Lesson on Entrepreneurship without Mentioning the “E” Word  
I have a PhD in entrepreneurship and I teach entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. A couple days ago, I heard a podcast by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. The podcast (which is also available on YouTube) included a 10-minute mini-lesson on how to increase your likelihood of benefitting from ‘luck’. Although Adams’ lesson never mentioned the words ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘entrepreneurship’, it represents one of the best succinct how-to lessons on the topic of entrepreneurship I’ve ever heard. Here’s a quick summary of the lesson. You can increase your ‘luck’ (which I translate to “increase your chances of becoming a successful entrepreneur”) by Having a positive attitude, expecting luck to happen in your favor. Going wherever the energy level is the highest (both in terms of geography and industry). Networking – meeting as many people as you can and keeping in touch. Continual…

A Risk-Management Approach to Defeating SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19

A Risk-Management Approach to Defeating SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19  
In 1921, Professor Frank Knight (an economist at the University of Chicago) published his most famous work, Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, where he differentiated ‘risk’ (comprising the realm of future unknowns that depend “on the future being like the past”) from ‘true uncertainty’ (those situations where the future is not just unknown, but truly unknowable, because of an extreme lack of similarity with any relevant prior cases).  As such, he quipped that [true uncertainty occupies that space where] opinions (and not scientific knowledge) actually guide most of our conduct(p. 233).  Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that resides much closer to the realm of true uncertainty than risk, giving rise to myriads of ‘opinions’ but scant ‘scientific knowledge’ that is truly actionable.  Six weeks ago, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Surgeon General, and other ‘expert…

A Quick Review of Michael Moore's Planet of the Humans

Last night I watched the new Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans.  Here is a really quick overview / synopsis: Solar energy is not sustainable and not ‘green’.Wind energy is not sustainable and not ‘green’.Biomass energy (i.e. burning trees) is not sustainable and not even remotely ‘green’.Electric cars essentially run on coal, and are thus not sustainable and not ‘green’.  In addition the production of their batteries is extremely damaging to the environment and they only last a few years.The big ‘environmentalist’ groups are just corporatists who wrap themselves in a green smokescreen.Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and other eco-millionaires and eco-billionaires have corrupted the environmentalist movement to enhance their own personal wealth.Environmentalism has become a ‘religion’ that leftists have embraced in order to alleviate their own fears of death.Humans are the problem; we need to reduce the number of humans on the face of the earth and each human needs to …

Implementing a Trigger-Based Approach to Facilitate Local Management of Social Distancing Measures

Last week, I wrote about one of the most dramatic developments in the fight against COVID-19, the fact that Harvard University epidemiologists determined that continuing extreme social distancing measures into the summer months could actually result in more COVID-19 deaths than a ‘do nothing from the beginning’ alternative.  That finding is stunning in its implications.  Even more stunning is the fact that no one in the mainstream media has picked up on it and reported it.  I guess it simply does not match their narrative and thus needs to be ignored. The main takeaway of that particular result of the Harvard model is strikingly simple (to me, anyway):  Unless a given locality is facing an acute shortage of healthcare-related resources, they should STOP ALL GOVERNMENT-MANDATED SOCIAL-DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS IMMEDIATELY.  Then they should implement a trigger-based plan to appropriately adjust social-distancing measures over time, as warranted by demands on local healthcare resources.  T…

The Rationale for Stopping All Government-Mandated Social Distancing Immediately

Epidemiologists universally acknowledge that population immunity is the only way to defeat SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19); population immunity will develop once enough ‘healthy’ individuals have been exposed to and recover from the virus, or once a vaccine has been developed and widely administered. Whereas development of a safe and effective vaccine is at least several months away, and could take years, we need long periods of ‘incomplete’ or ‘partial’ social distancing (but with a tight focus on protecting the most vulnerable members of our society). To put this all into perspective, in their recent SARS-CoV2 / COVID-19 prediction models, Harvard epidemiologists found that “social distancing with 60% reduction in R0 … was so effective that virtually no population immunity was built” (italics added, p. 5). In other words, strong social distancing measures (like those currently in place) are tooeffective -- no population immunity can be built while they are in effect. …

BREAKING: Harvard Epidemiologists Find that Extreme Social Distancing Could Lead to More COVID-19 Deaths than the DO NOTHING Alternative

Harvard University epidemiologists published a fascinating article in Science magazine yesterday.  I am going to delay posting a deeper dive into the Imperial College and University of Washington models so that I can devote my time today to getting the word out about the implications of this new Harvard model. Here is what the Harvard researchers did: They ‘calibrated’ their model using historical data (2014-2019) from two strains of the common cold in the U.S.  This makes a lot of sense, because the common cold is a type of coronavirus, so it is reasonable to expect similarities.They simulated outbreaks (i.e. infection peaks) based on a range of ‘effectiveness’ of various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).  Rather than complicate the model by trying to estimate the effectiveness of specific NPIs (such as school closures, stopping mass gatherings, etc.), they characterize the sum-total of all NPIs in effect at any given time.  The ranges of ‘effectiveness’ they simulated were 0% (…