« The Weeds

Fighting coronavirus with corporate conscription


Jane, Dara, and Matt on the Defense Production Act, wartime mobilization, and pandemic-induced autarky.


"Trump’s excuses for not using the Defense Production Act are wrong — and dangerous" by Alex Ward, Vox

"“We are desperate”: Trump’s inaction has created a crisis with protective medical gear" by Caroline Hopkins, Vox

"The Defense Production Act, the law Trump is using to boost coronavirus supplies, briefly explained" by Alex Ward, Vox

"How Ford's Willow Run Assembly Plant Helped Win World War II" by Tim Trainor, Assembly Magazine

Willow Run

White paper


Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Jane Coaston (@cjane87), Senior politics correspondent, Vox

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration reporter, ProPublica

More to explore:

Subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week.

About Vox

Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.

Follow Us: Vox.com

Facebook group: The Weeds

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this episode comes from click up, we're losing out three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with click up a flexible platform that brings all essential tools into one place, we can prioritize tasks, collaborated, docks check with your team and track goals, so companies like Oberon web flow use click up as their mission Control Centre, replacing every other after we're using before cook up eating, Aren T used to help you save one day week and get more done. It's completely customizable, it's free forever, so try click up today at click up dot com, slash the weeds support for this. At this hour,
comes from indigo at INDIGO brings together leading companies committed to activating the full potential of agriculture to address the climate crisis in partnership with innovative businesses, farmer, scientific partners and informed advocates. We can re. Imagine agriculture for the benefit of people and the planet. Farmer, Casey, Bryant Bamberger says our industry hives biggest Blackburn, how change our environment and working towards a better future learn more it. Indigo Ag dotcom, Slash, Reechoed, sweet everywhere. I go get pictures of error and backup, it's good to see everyone. You know when word what it Alex. Like all right
Hello welcome theme of absolutely weeds, only box media podcast network. I Matthew glaziers here which ain't coastal pro public as Adair wind. We are here today talking again about the key. Virus that has forced us into our respective makeshift hum studios. We wanted it. He got a kind of look today ad some of on stuff on the production side right and what does it kind of me to me belies the country to make. I don't have that the things that that we need others been this kind of back and forth for days where the president has said he was invoking the defence production act, then not actually. Invoking and you know progressives calling on him to do it, and this is a law from the from the Korean WAR era, that essentially
in an emergency allows the president to order companies to make certain things at certain prices in this particular case, I would think ventilators being the most. Urgent thing, although there was an announcement Tuesday morning that that one of the big car companies for It is, in fact, king ventilators atta plant that normally make some some kind of some kind of seat fan fur F, one fifty pickup trucks. So that's good, but the it. It seems like you would you would want to go further with this right, I mean there's been kind of even before these specific prospect of the defence, the defence production act was raised and the White House issued an executive order that gave them the power to make orders under the defence production act which they have not since used it was kind of a question about well. How is it that the? U S, which is a modern industrialized country, doesn't
The same you know has all of these shortages of personal protective equipment of ventilators, of testing cats. How that a modern industrialized country has all of these problems. When other countries did were at critical points, the corona virus pandemic before now don't appear to have had such a cute shortages and be answer is in large part that lake being a modern country and being an industrialized country in the twenty first century are not necessarily the same thing and be subject to a lot and of underlying government policies about what gets produced and when, which is what we are now talking about explicitly kind of once we're in throes of this. You know. Mass shortage, Nearly hours phase of the pandemic it'll be interesting to in a couple of months to think about this period, because you, as our colleague as recline, has said numerous times. We are essentially trying to think three weeks ahead of where we actually are in this
of this pandemic. Right now, we are looking at the production capacity of about two weeks ago, and so I think my biggest question is what we would be doing, and how could we be doing it because it seems as if we have the means by which we can essentially tell private companies what to do is not around during the early 1940s, but it was inspired by laws, one thousand nine hundred and forty one and one thousand nine hundred and forty two that basically allowed the White House to tell cup like forward like you are now in charge of producing aeroplanes. How do we think about the defence production act in these times? And what would that mean in terms of consumer goods and what does that mean in terms of the economy rates at the swear? I honestly do not understand the current situation and would love people who are following politics, our political insights than ideal to explain it to me, because
On the one hand we ve been hearing for years, and it's been true for years that the Mai, the thing that distinguishes Donald Trump from many of his republican colleagues is that he does have a problem intervening in the economy to actively help businesses that he likes and that he considers business to be a matter of they were giving and is totally on board, with pretty where companies lobbying him to be particular things and giving them big shouts when they do the things that he likes and all of that and now suddenly were in a situation where the official line from the White House is well, we don't want to invoke the defence production act to aggressively It's going to get in the way of the free market. Are it's going to turn us into Venezuela, something in out and of straw? Many like that, and it just doesn't seem to die with the idea that
this president doesn't usually have a problem using the powers of the executive branch to help business, especially at a time when it seems that the line of the White House generally is that the most important thing we can be doing right now is helping business get back on its feet. Well, that's the thing, though, is that that the defence production egg doesn't help business wide, so so tramp, tramp, aids from so normal republic in free market Itty ology in order to sometimes say what we need to help american steel company is right, but don't but the way the GPA works is that you know in a free market circumstance. You would say: ok, there's this incredible shortage of ventilators, so state governments are desperate, so they are willing to pay huge sums of money to get extra. Ventilators and their willing to pay so much money that factories that build, loosely similar things that push around for their cars
willing to incur the expanse of ritual leg to make ventilators for hospitals, because the profit margins that you can now rebound ventilators are so incredibly hard right. That would be the that would be the free market fixed this. The defence production act fixed it s is the President says my advisers tell me that you have the technical capacity to recall this factory to make ventilators so we're gonna make you do it and we will let you charge- I it cost plus factor so that you know like you. Factory doesn't go out of business, but there isn't gonna be any extraordinary profits to take advantage of the of the crisis situation, and that, as best I can tell was the step he I want to take that he wants to work with the companies. You know to sort of get on the phone make sure that the
Prices being charged are an obscene it in a way that would produce like huge backlash but be sort of nice guy about right, in world war, two in the circumstance, envisioned by the defence production act. It's like how they they conscripted people to go to war. Rather than paying them. You know enough bonuses, sweat, you just say like everybody gets paid but, like you, just gotta, go and see which, like the draft for factories, river inscriptions, a great weight. Thank you super useful and he doesn't want to do it right, ray and One of the challenges- and we talked about this little bit last week with this pandemic- is that we really don't have a historical reference or historical mark or to use. So even thinking about this. In terms of the last time we got close to using the defence production ACT, which trump, as actually invoked
in some ways before with regard to China and rare metals, but we don't really have occurred Larry, at a time where the United States government has met said, did not ask the Ford company and I forty one, would you please for financial reasons? Please products produced lanes will run. They said you will produce planes and Henry Ford who, at that point with largely retired, to be busy being anti semitic somewhere else they like ok, my son and so will take over this effort, and so what can we do? We explain explained the history, no in a less choky way like what what happened right. It's the United States didn't have. This was early in the history of airplanes, so they're, like wasn't a big military industrial complex to make plans
there were few companies that had designs, but then we had these big car factories right. So we had in nineteen forty one, the United States government established the liberator Production Pool programme, which was to create the be twenty four, which is eight a bomber that could be mass produced, Andy Lord Company, I join that programme and they also provide supplied and airfields and allow this took place in Willow run in Michigan and which would she was but a large farm at the time, but it was also it is owned by Henry Ford, and so it was used as both a factory in an airfield and It became this massive industrial effort to produce thousands and thousands and thousands of planes Charles Number, is involved as a consultant at the plants to get the idea what combat squadrons wanted, but this was a absolutely massive effort. It was at one point by one thousand nine hundred and forty four and I just was doubled
this very were rolling a plain off the production line, every sixty three minutes, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and poured built about seven thousand of the eighteen thousand eighteen, five thousand be twenty four that were assembled and a maid. Seventy percent of be twenty four hours in two nine, our shifts that were taking place, and so this was a massive industrial effort, but it was a massive industrial effort that could only be possible at a time in which all of industry was turned over to the war effort. I think that one of these things work. This is not that time, and so even thinking about that is being historical,
corollary is challenging because we do not have- and I will not say the benefit of, but we do not have the cause of. We are at war on two separate France and needs. It essentially produce everything domestically, because all potential production allies are also doing the exact same thing, the kind of or we may mean leaving the quest in other countries aside. It does seem that you know if you just look at the way that Wall Street has reacted over the last two weeks, there appears to be awareness that we in the midst of two war scale crises, one public healthcare, this and when the economic crisis, that is, you know in large part, interconnected with the public health crisis. But you know to a questionable Stan Independent of organ might be longer lasting than the public health crisis. It seems that, even if you think about the crew,
hey. That's gained a certain amount of traction in the last few decades that corporate visions are currently incapable of thinking. Anything are currently in couple of doing things that are going to hurt their next quarterly earnings call and for you know, are doing things that aren't going to be in their own long term best interests. It seems that the best way to have a knot, terrible horrible, no good, very bad quarterly earnings call for like you to live in, twenty is to say. Ok, We have a relatively restrain public health crisis because and be no because we ve taken me matters and therefore we're not going to suffer the economic hit either from the public health crisis itself for the next several months. Or the longer term lake, great depression style, economic effects that you would have seen of the crash of gotten spiders.
Like I'm. Just not I mean. Maybe the answer here is that it's just the question of what profit they can extract from this transaction, but it does seem like there is a really strong, compelling interest for literally everyone involved too. Minimize the number of deaths from covered nineteen in the next several weeks- but I think, This is a question of planning, I think, quite so, the If you are a company whose you know output is a little bit idled right now by the general situation in thinking, maybe there's something we could do till I get a piece of the household cleaning products market or the surgical mask market or other kinds of personal protective equipment. You know these plastic face shield said that there's a lot of things out there, it's still costly to try to switch your production to something else
right and you need to have some sense of well. How long is there going to be extra demand for this kind of product right in one thing the government could do. That would be helpful would be to be clear right about like what's going on here and you know, do we think this is not necessarily like lockdown conditions need to last for eighteen, but that an elevated level of concern about all these products will ask for a long time. Even strongly you could give purchase, guarantee strike? You could say, look for some reason, six months from now your left, with ten million exe ass and ninety five masks like we will by the we will put them in a warehouse somewhere right. We will put them. In that Yucca Mountain Cave, where you know device politicians are letting store nuclear waste. And you know wills
gave them to sell to California next wildfires ease, and it's not like there are other uses for all of the things we are talking about added weight at me. There there are things you could do, but you would need a budget line for it, and you know that economics or other relevant, because we ve landed in a weird spot right where in sweetie, contrary and way, I could say, oh, Scouting in a crisis is actually good, because if you let people price cowed for masks the make sense for three m to run the assembly line twenty four hours a day right, you need to paper ball a lot more money to work. A factory shift, that's like from midnight. Two eight, a m that are normal one, so you sell at the normal caused. But if we let three m gouge, then they can run the factories more often and more product then there's a lot of reasons to not price gouge then the non free market way to do that would be to go defence production
and would be to say two: three am luck? We are guaranteeing your purchase, but yes it gonna be low margin. We just we need run this twenty four seven, we need you to find the people we will do what it takes to like help find laid. Restaurant workers in Minnesota and get them working there, but like maybe we need to cover the overtime tat, but it's gonna get and in a non gouging price. We ve learned and did instead in the middle way we're we're doing the politically easy, not free market anything and we're not letting companies gouge, I think correctly, but they were not doing the hard right, which is that there was like the push pull a virtue mobilization. Is you have price controls? You had rationing? but then you you had to go. Do it and we're right now, in a little bit of a of a dead zone, which is fine It makes sense if this all blows over in two weeks, because if you did what I say
jesting ended all blew over two weeks. You look like an idiot with the government, having spent hundreds of billions of dollars tat like huge warehouses phone, of gloves that nobody wants, but see any indication that this will blow over in two weeks right and it seems to me it would make sense to start making changes for the long haul. Damn troll point here, but along the same slaty, contrary lines, if you'd did, if it did over in the United States into weeks. Wouldn't it be plausible, but you could then turn around until those companies. Ok, we'll just given you a bunch of products that you can sell to other. That are still dealing with this at, like whatever price you want, and you know you can, profit anyway, short gouged gouged, the brazilian swaying rate lake gouge, everybody else. But if, if word, if we're thinking about this in a the purpose of U S enough, given the Donald Trump has made, it pretty clear the primary purpose of: U S. Foreign policy is to get other countries to buy american goods.
It certainly seems you know I just its. Understand that. The logic that we're thinking through is not necessarily the logic that a plant manager is thinking through it just does seem very it. It doesn't seem like any of these are uncomfortable gordian. Knot is kind of what I'm coming back, and I am a little surprised that it doesn't play more to present trumps soda taste for drama right. I mean, like doesn't every press bent on some level, want to oversee at a world war, two. Style, economic mobilization, rightly wooden. Donald Trump love to you be the person ordering the plant stay open. I think that he would. I think, that the people around him would now. Because I mean you. I've said this before, but I think in many ways my theory of Donald Trump is that he was very happy to deal with human led crises. There was a new term speaks about a week ago. That made this point that with your, what
you yelling at attorney is yelling at Ex wives or yelling about Russia, something like a human created crisis. He was more than happy to deal with that because he could placed himself in opposition to that human. The pandemic does not possess, really care about political alliances or work shopping fund freezes on twitter, pandemics, don't care, and so I think that in many ways this is a real challenge, because, especially because Trump has put so much emphasis on the stock market, being reflective of his own personal success. And we saw that during the Obama Years- and we see it now, and so I think that this is not a uncharitable gordian knot for virtually any one else. But it is when the stock market is believed to be one reflective of the larger economy
and through the primary indicator of the economy in a re election year, and especially, let's keep in mind that our memories of Rob were too are somewhat jaded by the fact that we won, and essentially every other economy, was virtually obliterated for about twenty twenty five years. Let's keep in mind that the United Kingdom was I wore rations for about a decade after following the end of the war, and so our concept of wartime production is based, one on your kind of house Yon memories of how this helped us when the war, but also on the fact that the United States government also repressed a lot of information about the impact that was having both locally and state wide for more time. Propaganda uses- and I mean together in a very like as neutral a term as I can put it
but I think it's important to remember that, like all of this was happening in a specific context in which the context where we're trying to wait where and also that the collective memory is kind of shaped by the baby boom, which is the generation that does remember wartime, probation, but remember, is in the same way that everyone remembers childhood in the lake Wild that did it stereo that one typically remembers childhood and warm suffused nostalgia. Glow remembers the post war economy, the industrial capacity of which was, you know somewhat boosted by the war, but I also think this is an important, just ideological aspect to this. When I was a kid You know I had one grandfather who flew on airplanes during World war, two european theater, and you know he had all these. Stories about invasion of Sicily in, and you know, Do stuff stuff like that. Had this other grandfather who worked in the it was in the Office of Price Administration,
The EU has an economist later in life, and this is how we gotta start, but basically he was working on rationing boots right. How many boots did we need for civilian production forces for military production and how many boots per person should people be allowed to have and what should they costed? And you know all kinds of stuff like that red, and it's only like later as a tedious policy person that I learned this boots thing was like probably a more important contribution, fundamentally that, like any one guy in an airplane, but though the work that they did their in in opium was a lined with new deal value. They, promoted labour unions in the factories they companies to go on compressed wage scales,
that nobody was making too much money and nobody was making to let all- and they you know, made judgments about two. What's really important that civilians did need boots, they decided for farm work and a million other things that that wasn't frivolous, but that, like office dress, shoes were not considered important trade like free market logic, is if the people who have office jobs have more money to spend on their footwear, so leather should be allocated to that, and you know some of the the reason that happened was wartime excision but part of the reason why they were so eager to do it? Is they were these these new dealer psych? That's who worked for are, and that's not at all, who works for Donald Trump right. It's people who see You see a lot of worry about. What's gonna, be the economic damage of these shutdowns butts, of that worry- is about what would be the political cost of fixing the problems in that kind of way, right
Where is a different like Bernie Sanders, I think would have for obvious reasons like no hesitation about putting the economy and more time footing if it was even vaguely plausible, because, like that's what he believes in Donald Trump personally, doesnt have a like deep appreciation for the free market, but Larry couple like. All the mid ranking officials in the Trump administration are like still basically Republicans and they don't but want to operate a planned economy, and that comes so it Jane was saying earlier about Wall Street being a proxy for the economy. Now, given data day that Wall Street stated it action to news often is. Does this? You know help or hurt biz this or labour in a zero. Some sort of way, it's possible to imagine that news cycles that are about YO, placing the account and a wartime footing could have short term negative impact on Wall Street
very good reason if you care a lot about whether the stock market is closing up or down good reason, not to do it so let's take a break in, and I want to talk about another aspect of this where I have a more pro trump view. If the law cheers, taught us anything. It's that we don't what will happen next, but there's one thing we can all be sure of the only future. One. We can all share and leading the charge, in building that future his mercy core with over forty if humanitarian work under its belt building together is a mercy course DNA and as the climate This increases their partnering with those on the front lines making resources more accessible to farmers across the globe. Anthony communities against escalating natural disasters and ensuring people have who's, they mean to thrive mercy course doing orkut matters, but they can't do it alone. That's where you and I commend together. We all
the power to reshape the world when it seems like every day brings a new crisis when every news alert makes you want to throw your phone across the room, we may start to feel a little powerless mercy course here to remind us. We don't need to Turkey merely based action. We can make change. We are nothing if, in this together. What's next up to all of us learn how you can be a part of what possible at mercy core dot? Org, that's our see why c, o r p s dot, Org. Having trouble media your goals, focusing work, if you have feeling Strasser having trouble sleeping better help is here for you. It's not us help class inside a crisis line better help is secure, online professional counselling with real licence. Their best to have the tools to help you feel better is fill out a questionnaire about how you doing and better Hubble man you, with your own licence, therapist under forty eight hours. No moral.
Therapist waiting rooms, no more limitations and the type of experts in the area and in between weekly appointments. If you need some more guidance, you can send free. Unlimited messages to council will get back to you with timely thoughtful answers. If the mattress therapists doesn't feel just right. Better help will quickly help you find a new one for free, but help is immoral. Fordable option than traditional therapy and financial aid is available. Therapies. Great I've, a different times in my life. Super helpful know like it's really expensive and sometimes hard to find some good. Better help is like, came as much more accessible is great for these pandemic circumstances, but just like a cool model. So this punk sponsored by better help and listeners. The weeds get ten percent off their first month at better help. Dot com, slash weeds, get started today, better help, dot com, slash weeds visit, better hd, L, p d, CALM, slash, weeds and joined the over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health, with the help of an experienced better help professional once upon a time
We were gonna do an episode this week. I think about industrial policy and then up dynamic intervened, but this has set me thinking about a controversy that broke out I think over a year ago it in the Trump administration, which is he was invoking some national security authority to impose tariffs on imported metal. In here pose tariffs even on metal imports from Canada and a lot of people myself included kind of like har har like we're to have a war with Canada like lol. Overall this is you know, a NATO ally, Bob One thing that you are seeing in the pandemic right is that, precisely because the enemy, is not you, don't you in nature. Like Now I know there are no alliances, in the war on the pandemic, great, if Canada, was sitting on a huge and ninety five mask factory like
All countries are restricting exports of medical supplies right even to other close, our eyes and actually really does matter like what is your little role: domestic production capacity not just like. We can't trust the Chinese, because there trustworthy. There's nothing untrustworthy about the Canadians. It just everybody is facing shortages. Everybody's looking after number. One is a very. Not NEO liberal like context in almost like you know, Hobbs Ear war of all against all out there turns out like a giant. Pile of steel is not useful when this crisis, but if Trump had said the eighteen for national security. I'm gonna put tariffs on imported surgical masks so that we can boost production of surgical, masks and not depend on France or whatever for them. I would laughed at him, but like it, it turns out. There really is something to that like this is something to be said for making things closely.
If you might need them in a crisis right, I think that that's why? For a lot of populist republicans like Josh, Holley and to some extent, Tom Cotton, though not a different way, this has actually been the time time at which everything you said and into some degree they would argue everything. Said up until early January has come to pass, and it's interesting to you. If you read a lot of concern, of media. There is even some saying why isn't trump making more like? Why is Trump trying to make nice with the chinese government more about this like? Why isn't this? More of a thing- and I think it is interesting how much of this, how much of when we talk about Trump there's, how much we talk about Trump and what he would do based on, Our interpretations of what Trump ISM is occasionally it's worth, remembering that it that Trump ISM and Trump are largely to disconnected concepts. So yes, it would make entirely too much sense for trumped to use this opportunity to talk about the impact
of making things in America and changing our supply chains, but that would also require trump to do something that he does clearly does not or did not want it's worth talking a little more about this kind of whether were really in a global war of all against often cause we're seeing he's occasional headlines about lake. You know sending medical supplies to ITALY or Cuba, sending things to places- and you know- there's the immediate, warm and fuzzy o global solidarity, followed by the secondary woman- fuzzy oh ideological boundaries are era, ideological differences are being eliminated. Every country is willing to. You know, set that aside that common humanity, but in one thing: it's no one is operating information about just kind of basic epidemiological facts, this virus and therefore you know any of these kind of a, we aren't going to need these medical supplies. Calculations aren't existing in such a perfect
of information. You can assume that there definitely ok. It is good for public health sending over here, rather than its good for our house in the case of China in particular. If we want to recoup some kind of soft power global leadership points and not get blamed spreading this all over the world, we are going to have to do some stuff tat. You know make it seem like we're the ones supplying other countries with what they need to fight it, but it all reminds me a little bit of the micro economic parallels of like you know we, we we've heard some about well be real the real long term or medium term economic impacts of this. If we remain a crisis footing is going to be impact the supply chain so far, it appears that that is relative. Intact, but that hasn't been obvious. If ve been seeing these pictures
like empty shells in that kind of thing. In the microwave economists say: let's, because it's it's not that there actually are shortages. It's that the intact supply chain, was not prepared for the panic buying that we were going there. We saw over the last few weeks and if people had just bought at a normal pays, things would be in. Things would be flowing as needed, but because there was this panic buying on the consumer side, there appeared to be a shortage and has in fact been ashore. For you know, people who have tried to buy toilet paper in the last week in various places, for example, or no elderly people who needed who need of to go to the store. Two weeks ago and therefore couldn't get anything because nothing was left on the shelves, which is why you know some grocers have started voting ours too at risk shoppers, but it does it it it's worth. Thinking about that We don't really know when our industrial capacity
actually where we need it to be and when we are looking at the, momentary, demand spike. That's going to result in, like long term, supply issues down the road that may or may not be addressed by kind of shipping. Things off to other places like shipping. Things off to other places doesn't seem like the worst idea from an epidemiological standpoint. Different countries are going to have this hit at different times but it's just worth thinking about what all we don't know about, just how bad this is going to get when it's going a better and when it's going to get bad again. Yeah, I mean you talking about the sort of supply chain of things in the grocery store in an in an earlier phase. In this crisis, we were worried, wouldn't when this situation in China seemed much worse than the situation of the United States. There was this concern about how you do a mirror in company is Japan, so on this kind of long tail of products coming from all
at age. I I world something about apple and it was like an Iphone components from my dozens of different countries in it, so any kind of problems anywhere consorted take people down so black. One thought that seemed on point, for maybe ten days is, is that may be? Companies would look at shortening their supply chains because we learn that disruption anywhere could be a problem for everywhere. Now I think we're flipping back around to the other thing, which is the idea that in it endemic is second a matter where you are that sort of disruptions are coming for you every place, but it is a matter. I mean like it's weird, like nobody ever thought of what we should have a strategic hand, sanitizing reserve right, but some of this stuff, you know, I've heard a lot of people. Public officials saying reassuring this, like there's no shortage of toilet paper and that's right right, because people don't need to wipe themselves anymore.
More than they took Molly, do and the toilet paper. Factories still work fine, but there are other things like. I am in fact using way more lysol wipes Then I normally would that's not, I think, just like well, there were panic by, right like I'm using more so I'm using more hand. Sanitize are I'm using more lysol wipes, I'm supposed to be, and even when we, talk about seaward like super optimistic about when we can quote him quote, get back to normal part of getting back to normal in the air of a vaccine, is gonna, be maintaining the heightened usage of those cleaning products right like not going to get back to normal in the sense that people, just like Lahti, die, don't even care about this virus. The idea would be to get the caseload down to a level where if everybody is washing their hands rigorously, if everybody is disinfecting, doorknobs rigorously
we buy, has sanitized or in their pocket and uses it every time they go outside. Then we're not gonna see virus spread, and I hope that will happen. Like that's a I think, a pretty MR case, but it is in fact a world in which we're gonna need like a lot more soap rate and then, of course, even if we did have the capacity to make the soap the: U S, market demanded, it would be very difficult to know at what point is that enough of a surplus that lake? If we are this kind of global, Sir a dirty humanity, fighting something that isn't human like this sort of action movie that I can imagine being developed to appeal. Equally to the: U S and chinese markets five years down the line where
Do you know? Okay, we have enough to care for our own citizens now it's time to think about the public be like benefits to our citizens, of stopping the spread of this and other countries. I am interested in thinking about how this operates in the context of our current politics, especially as we are seeing a lot of I've spent. To a couple of conservatives over the last couple of days and are very much as a sense that for a lot of people they have hammers. This appears to be an available nail, and specifically with regard to changing how our supply chains work or have of deemphasizing China, I would love counter examples of you, Matt and Dara. I really enjoy your slight contrary and takes- and I was actually is there a slate contrary and take you like actually wish you'd be expanding our supply elsewhere like actually, we should be doing this in the exact opposite way in which we've been doing it. I mean it feels like there's a tension.
Around pandemics, not just in economic terms but in political terms, right where when a pandemic is not happening, should think more about pandemics was a classic talking point of internationalists right. Who would say: look this isn't really a competitive world of power politics, the worst thing that could happen to the United States. You can go. Look like VOX. Has a video with bill gates talking to Ezra Klein and as her asking is, what's the thing you're most afraid of and Bill gates tells them there could be a flu like respiratory virus arising that would spread out of control and explained or Netflix Series. There's a great episode called the next pandemic, which spells this out exactly and vocs has been immersed in that kind of expertise. Rhetoric up for years, and it was always as part of you know,
the liberal global, as ride like this is the kind of thing bill gates would tell people. They should worry about more, like don't be so afraid of on an airplane. Like worry about invisible germs in Chinese, what market swayed and end the meaning of all? That is what we need to cooperate. More but then, when the pandemic hits like it's exactly the opposite, and everybody is how can we curtail travel? It's like Trump statement that, like this shows, we need to build a wall with Mexico is, is a little dumb but the the broader meadow point that, like all countries, have reacted to this by hardening borders and restricting travel, is completely correct, but thou with the possible exception of Mexico, but then a but I get up. That's people do right. Envy the Loki and you see even internal to the European Union right. One of the big ideas of the European Union's you can travel across borders. Free
but as soon as it became clear how bad things were in ITALY. Austria closed the board right, the locusts of political legitimacy remains the sovereign nation states. People say if our country men are sick, we must help them. If foreigners are sick, we must keep them and everybody accepts that principle. We repatriate our patients from the cruise ship, but we also prevent foreigners from docking and that's not like trump right. I mean those are trumpy themes but, as far as I know like every advance, democracy has reacted in that exact, same spirit that we bear collective burdens on behalf of our fellow citizens and we say fuck you to foreigners and that's a that's a tough when I get doesn't sit
well with me like. It is not my worldview like I wanted like pandemic preparedness. One like this shows we all need to work together because we're, This together as a world by the reality, is more like number two. So my question is: why Do I have a little bit of information about whether this is you know? A whether this is actually a good idea. If you think about the fact that the Eu S has in our states reality is that can make some policies to prevent the spread of this, and you know that all sued can to be making purchases tat to increase their own supply like alive The reason that there's been disk confusion about Trump, not invoking that production at more, is that governors themselves, I've been saying, don't put it on us to buy things, we're trying. You know we're losing money
and we were we can't by as much as we want, because we have to be outbidding each other for these respite. Respirators invoke the defence production ACT and give us your inner sell itself was at least cost plus. These operators so that were not spending all of her. You know a kind of all of our response: funds up bidding each others, it does seem. That is the kind of federalist response is now It's here. If there is, if there is an extent to which governors are responsible well being of people in their states? We are seeing. You know I'm acknowledgement that there does need to be a cooperate, or like soup. Bra I'd is super governmental response that that is that that is helpful for everyone, in both the short and long terms On the other hand, I guess it's plausible that governors under and that national politics is that, like the politics of bananas, Eliza and republican governors. Dont particularly wanted bloodbath in twenty twenty, because that twenty bucks
for them? I guess that that is a way in which it's not analogous, but it certainly does seem that we are that we're seeing some recognition when its politically possible to do so that, if you can coordinate, actions Really, that's not always you know that did like that. Doesn't hurt your citizens, ethics into it, by helping other people yeah should take a break to do. Why pay Yeah. Let's, let's talk about something uplifting like polio: yes, a fun one It feels like you, don't enough hours in the day to get everything done. It might be because you're missing out on three of them, where does where's girl. They probably fell into a deep dark. A bits opens up when we switch between work. Apps, add those three hours to all the productive family, miss out thanks to at home, distractions, disorganization fatigue. It's no wonder the days feel too short. Work should work and with clear up it does cook up as a flexible productivity platform. That brings all your work into one place.
That's all your chats apps docks and tasks, one place kind of like mission control companies like uber and Google use click up to make their days more productive, managed projects, people and calls for effectively thoughtfully thing of all sizes and industries, hookups blazingly, fast features and one zero plus integrations, they get a must have for anyone wanting to track, manage and tackle their work in one place. Get your hours back with click up, try it for free today, at Clickup COM. The weeds support for this episode comes from America's leading beverage companies who are working together to reduce plastic waste in our environment. Not all plastic is the same. America's beverage companies are carefully designing. One hundred percent recyclable plastic bottles, including the caps, their bottles, are made to be remade and they're. Investing in community recycling programs to help get more bottles back, so they can be turned into materials used to make new bottles that completes the circle and reduces plastic waste. Please help get every bottle back,
more at every bottle, back dot org. So you know I was. I was looking for some pandemic relevant research. There wasn't just like a quickie but about covered nineteen- and I found Keith. Fires and Melissa, Thomas in paralyzed by panic, measuring the effect of school closures during the nineteen. Sixteen polio pandemic on educational attainment of this came out in September twenty seventeen. I learned one thing about polio here, which was, I had always thought, the polio, had like stricken and kind from time immemorial until the vaccine. World WAR. Two, but actually it turns out it like wasn't a serious problem for most of human. History, so polio, the first really big polio outbreak in the United States, came in nineteen sixty in relatively late in in human history. Obviously
it led to a lot of that kind of responses were familiar with quarantine orders school closures. Things like that. I have been wondering having a kid who is home from school like what the meaning of this is for everyone, I'm so they studied at they'd. They tried to instrument where kids were most likely to be honest who, all by looking at Sir, how bad the polio wise they, unfortunately, nobody kept records of when they actually close schools and what they always that places that had a lot of polio have worse educational outcomes. Basically for older kids steady. If you were really young- and this time it doesn't seem to have been a big deal looks like maybe a lot of people just dropped out of school and in finnish shot, at a time when finishing high school was, you know a far from universal connectivity. So if you were, fourteen school was shut down for a while. Maybe when you got some job and networks,
and it's a sizable impact, but only on this kind of small cohort of people rate. I admit that I have a little bit of trouble accepting this paper on its own terms, because, like The authors acknowledge that what their measuring could in fact be that. Having polio makes your magic no attainment. Worse, not having your school clothes makes their educational attainment worse, but their measuring, he knows close like polio incidents right than school closures. Theirs. There's no way to disentangle those two and it seems much more plausible in a way that their measuring the no that their measuring the effects of polio severity rather than of school glitter. The thing that's important to note that kind of gives some credit to their interpretation. Is that polio cases were concentrated among kids, younger than tat, and so, if you're, seeing a big difference in the attic
we'll attainment of fourteen to seventeen for an epidemic bit hit pride, that you know where more did he was much higher among zero to ten that, among tend to seventeen, then you are seeing perhaps the impact of a school closure, rather than well in the places where polio was worst teenagers, we're getting it too. So I think that that kind of worth bearing in mind. Of course, yes in the real world is really also very difficult to disentangle the public health effects of any of this from there you know indirect knock on effects. We can't tell if the unemployment rate, spikes, it's going to be really difficult to tell the extent to which it speaking because social distancing is causing Pino, all of these changes and behaviour versus the extent to which having a lot of people sick, is a problem for the we had the problem for the workforce, etc, etc, etc. So I guess, to a certain extent this me: he is like splitting unusual hairs, but if you're talking for trying to isolate the effects of school closure in particular, especially thinking about well, what are the effectively keeping Jose homefront?
home from school or your kids, who may not yet who'd you don't you haven't contracted krona virus home from school. We really can't tell from this paper, if there is going to be the impact on them or not. I was specifically interested with this paper about how not just for older children who would be leaving school altogether, but how interrupted schooling impacted how children read out this? Wasn't research done for this particular cohort, but it was researched on on students or in third grade. There is a that takes place from when you start stop learning to read and then you're reading, to learn and that when that shift is interrupted, that's a huge deal. Something I found surprising is that third grade performance predicts dropout rates. Seventy percent
and of the time which you know, I've met me and third grade, not such a tip top time in my life, but I am interested by how that works on a micro level, because that's just that's not dropping out of school winner and third grade. That is an interruption of education that impacts. What's will even look like for you so mean Jane. Are you saying that the lesson of this paper is that all of the kind of soothing. Dont worry if you're, not the best whom school teacher for your kids. The point is just too like keep everyone sane takes are, in fact very bad might take, is just read with your kids all the time and let them read everything and if you see something that they shouldn't be reading, you should let them read that too I mean this is tat of fright, because obviously the right thing to say don't worry too much about the home. Schooling. Just keep everybody say in this difficult time for everybody, everybody is doing their best. You don't need and extra layer of stress on top of yourself. At the same time,
is a reason why we have kids in school, normally right like if it actually just didn't matter like would be a more sweeping implication of that, because I think there's like pretty solid evidence that is specific to disease closures, but that, like it, actually makes a difference Whether or not our children are in school and like learn to read and stuff like that, and you see it even in the summer learning loss. Literature right that, like some of vacation classic right of past, but kids engage in some academic, forgetting over the course of that they tend to catch up. So like it's, it's ok, you know I used to think it was like the end of the world, but the Ets survivable obviously better than like hundreds of thousands of people dying or something like that, but I was actually a little surprised in this pollio paper that the impacts were so reopen. Were narrow, I'm just the older kids. So what sort it made me feel better because, if
you. They are overestimating the impact and it seemed to say the younger kids, whatever sort of problems there may or may not have been with us, they kind of washed out in subsequent time which is good. I think that's like always what you hope to see with younger kids. Is that, like this may be a problem, of some kind, but, like you catch up to the development curve of which we see on a lot of things have been other things. You know we ve talked a million times rat air pollution and like neonatal nutrition, you dont really catch up on as to the extent that, like you, know the stuff they do now every school. Like you, you do catch up one. If you miss a year for polio, like that's, that's I'll get in to be clear. The mechanism that they're using too can have hypothesize. Why there's this difference among teens isn't that it is harder to up on ninth grade biology than on third grade reading, but that especially in nineteen. Sixteen, if you were fourteen years, in your school was closed for several months. You might
very likely to go back to school when it reopen, you might have found a job in the intervening time worry no found or decided that this was not the best you of your life to go back to school once you'd, already in a figure, a non school way to live, and let is unlikely to be the case, certainly for fourteen to seventeen, maybe the important kind of maybe the crucial demographic here is. Owing to be community college students, because we know that there's you know already, relatively low levels of completion. I've you know them. Relatively low college degree attainment for people who have at least one year of college, and it seems plausible that a lot of people signor Edge no plans interrupted at a point where it's not strictly necessary to their future higher ability to get that marginal degree.
May be deciding not to go back and that that will ultimately, at least in our educationally speaking, her right egg be interested. Also because I think that were thinking about community colleges is important to do. Also thinking about students for whom you hope that the second semester of their junior year there's, no longer exists, and so I'm interested in that. But trying to think of like if there is a corollary thinking about students, war between the ages of thirteen and seventeen are missing a lot of school, and the only thing I can think of is just purely anecdotally. Students who got modern nuclear crisis, which is As for many listeners, you might recall, or have may perhaps even had it yourself is that that is an illness that, for many students requires you could not be in school for two months at a time And so I know that that is an extremely specific form of data to obtain, but I would be interested in educational attainment after that, you know that would obviously be on a case by case basis and the comparisons between someone who is going to a private,
School in Philadelphia and got motto as compared to some are going to a public one. Southern California get motto, but I do think that that specific example, it's not necessarily about what the illness is. the idea of being out of school and out of that particular context for two months at a time that I would be and seeing how. What that would look like, but anything dares point is a good one. I mean, I think, that we should be looking at right if school resumes in the fall is how many marginal college students, but As we know that completion rates are not great, Anyway. Wait a lot of people who are in Knowledge in any given sprang, don't end up coming back in the fall and Do we see a surge in that and it probably depend on the economic situation right because if we end up with ten percent unemployment, people,
Get out may not have any better option than to go back to school, even if it's difficult, but if the treaty also may not be able to afford going back to school because they don't have the income that's going to allow them to pay to Asia and yeah, though I mean in the aggregate we saw in Rome and go up in the great recession, not not down, but if the economy bounces back, you know and people have been dislodged from community college programmes. Things like that, you know do they just you know you you hear that Amazon needs more people to work at the warehouse start doing that and then next thing you know that's your job. It seems very plausible. I mean that seems like a big kind of social indicated it to keep an eye on, and hopefully this time around somebody will actually see the record with schools are closed when that seems like a weird bookkeeping oversight from the sixteen pandemic. But I guess you never know what people in the past are gonna think it's important to keep track of retroactive record, shaming of school officials
Nineteen, sixteen rat, no man, it's like it. What was the school opened today like check box. Yes or no, it see it seems not that hard. I they were, I think, you were kind of busy and nineteen. Sixteen. There was a lot going on fighting polio, yes, busy fighting pollyanna, whatever no luck, you're at home, your social distancing, I'm trying to keep a little quarantine diary. You know you got nothing better to do than keep track of like in my minute detail like how's, my stuff, dried mangoes doing is school today? No, we met you ever saw Milo dried mangoes. You shouldn't share that publicly. You gonna tell people about I need any guns that ammo to protect my manga, even better you're, going to result in like a mango economy like we're going to have that tulip thing happen? No, oh, I was actually thinking that it was going to be like an economy of two with Matt debate. A very elaborate incentive system for Jose in order to get mangoes, because in the end,
of mango rationing you can use mangoes to reward for good behaviour. Yeah listen, Jose, doesn't even know, but I have a whole second bag of Kafka mangoes in the basement. Hidden my vote, because my reserve mangoes- and it is the man does, he knows about so yeah veal. Here is gonna, be the man you're going to open your closet door at the end of this episode, and has it is going to be there listening with a glass to the whole thing now now he's he's a good kid he's a good kid within a wrap. This up I mean. Maybe next week we can go more and everybody's food hoardings, negative. For now. I beg you to Jeff regaled our producer, who does excellent work every day? and especially this week he tells me around with absolute the De Weeds supply chain is intact solely because of the efforts of Jeff Gal Genevieve Hard Technical issues. I happened to the weeds Facebook Group, a you know. This is alive.
To talk about their. You can also see the cover of my new book, which I just popped in and share that with all your friends but yeah everybody enjoy and the weeds will be back on Friday,
Transcript generated on 2021-05-19.