Politics – the process that controls government – is the single least effective way of allocating resources of any kind.
Case in point: remember when a “shortage of ventilators“ was going to be the crisis that led to carnage? If memory serves, that was sometime before “lack of tests“ was the crisis du jour.
And so politicians posture for the cameras, and ordered – ordered! – the economy to produce more of them.
And then, we learned that once a person went on a ventilator, they almost never came off, and other therapies were much more effective.
“In the fog of war against the virus, we were trying to do our best to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser and Defense Production Act policy coordinator. “In this particular chess game, the best move was to make sure we had too many ventilators rather than too few.” Navarro said that excess ventilators will be used to help other countries fighting the novel coronavirus, either as revenue-generating exports or as donations.
The misalignment between the availability and need for ventilators shows that the medical understanding of and response to the coronavirus has moved faster than companies can adapt. And for Ford, which got the order to supply the largest quantity of ventilators to the federal stockpile, production and delivery were delayed, further throwing it out of sync with the pandemic needs.
Government is the things we do together – stupidly and hamfistedly.