Thursday, April 16, 2020

Defunding the World Health Organization

The Main Stream Media is featuring a multitude of articles where celebrities and experts are wringing their hands claiming that defunding the World Health Organization will result in hundreds of millions of deaths due to Covid-19 and up to four waves of it washing over the United States.

I want to share my perception of what I see.

Traditional "Optimization Theory" poses the problem as a universe where a "Permissible Region" is defined by boundaries called constraints.

To make this model more concrete, let's say Constraint 1 and 2 are physical constraints like Planes cannot fly through mountains and Farmers can only grow 200 bushels of corn per acre.

Let's make Constraints 3 and 4 social constraints. Constraint 3 shall be the political demands of a key demographic like Hispanics and Constraint 4 will be the political demands of inner-city African-Americans.

Let's make Constrain 5 a little bit different. Let's make it the political demands of key political donors...say the titans of Silicon Valley.

As drawn above, there is a real "Permissible Region" and solutions are likely to exist.

In optimization theory, the seeker is sometimes described as a pea trying to find the lowest position in the permissible region, just like a pea responding to gravity settles to the bottom of a teacup. Hence the choice of a green circle for the position of the optimum solution.

In general, "Optimum solutions" are found in corners and from the standpoint of the shareholders, as far away from their "constraint" as possible. 

From the standpoint of Constraints 3 and 5, the profitability of the optimum solution is depicted by the two, black arrows. The longer the arrow the greater the profit.

Let's redraw the universe

Constraint 2 has been renamed Covid-19 and it shrank the permissible region.

That pushed the pea closer to Constraint 3 and Constraint 5 and reduced their profits.

Fewer copies of Windows 10 are being sold. Paid under-the-table, service jobs disappeared. Covid-19 is biting some key stakeholders harder than others.

Or more accurately, proven methods of squashing epidemics are biting those stakeholders.

Silicon Valley
Covid-19 is a screaming opportunity for Silicon Valley.

Rather than investing gonzo amounts of money into in attempting to anticipate the desires of fickle consumers, Silicon Valley sees this as a way to run a pipeline directly from the money printers into their wallets.

Silicon Valley gains two advantages by selling monitoring software to WHO rather than directly to kleptocratic, third-world nations.

For one thing, the leaders of Zimbabwe, Congo and Chicago would put funds in their pockets rather than buy software. Silicon Valley would never see any funds if the money was given directly to the affected countries. If the leaders cared at all, they would set up road-blocks and control the epidemic the old-fashioned way.

The other advantage, from SV's standpoint is the WHO is once-removed from the end-users. Silicon Valley would be selling to an institution that doesn't have much skin in the game. They could sell the WHO some buggy, slapped together code this year and WHO would not pressure them to invest money to improve the code.

The rich countries (like the United States) pumps money into SV's pockets for a product with zero maintenance costs that is purchased by a "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" middleman. What could go wrong?

The old fashioned way of squashing epidemics means that they can't get their cars washed-and-waxed, their landscapes pedicured and squeezing their children's undocumented nannies to put out sexual favors. For celebrities, the traditional way of squashing an epidemic is an unmitigated disaster.

What they aren't saying
What Silicon Valley, celebrities and talking-head doctors are not saying is that all of their dire scenarios are predicated on the assumption that countries will not do the very simplest things like throttle boarder crossings.

Like a manipulative parent offering their child a choice of broccoli or spinach, they are attempting to artificially define the constraints to ensure the pea lands to their advantage.

"Broccoli or Spinach" is a false dilemma. Demand Hershey bars.

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