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Who Benefits?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are posing the question "Who Benefits from lockdowns in Thailand?" This is not a rhetorical question. I think if one were to look at this they might think “Oh, he is asking the Latin phrase "cui bono", "who benefits?" as in there is some beneficiary you are not seeing. That is not the reason for this video. I am honestly asking the question because I can't see who benefits from these lockdowns at all. I don't see what the benefit is when you look at it from a bird's eye view. 

So we are going to take just a quick look. We are going to go ahead and throw this up here. This is a graph. This is from Our World in Data, from their website. This shows the COVID case numbers up to basically right around the time of the filming of this video, July 26th, 2021. This was actually sent to us by a friend of our channel who went ahead and put these arrows in here. Again we are going to put this on screen, you can see this and he points at one where it is the mask mandate and then points at the other which to me is more pertinent to this, regarding the lockdown. If you notice, the time the lockdown started, shortly thereafter things went parabolic almost in terms of case numbers which begs the question "who benefits from this?" Is there some great benefit being garnered by these lockdowns? If you inverted this graph and you put the top, the parabolic top end on the other side over on the left side of the page and then said "okay, this is where it begin and then boom things started to drop", I would say okay that looks to me like there is at least a correlation, perhaps not causation, between locking down the country and some impact on case numbers. Meanwhile, correlation is not causation; you couldn't say that. At the same time, you can't say the same thing about this, that somehow lockdowns caused a parabolic rise in case numbers. Although I am not making this argument but there are those that might out there that say well "hey we were in this dip back at the end of that", there was a double spike, looks like an M there in the graph, and then it dips way down and then boom the lockdown starts and then boom all these case numbers come out. Obviously that is not the case. Lockdown doesn't cause this although there has been some discussion out there, I have seen from physicians that do wonder if people being all cooped up; not being outside very much; being in close proximity to people quite a bit might actually cause more problems. I don't think it would cause this level. 

The point of this video is again, "who benefits?" Supposedly these lockdowns are being put in place to stop cases presumably, although that wasn't what they told us at the beginning. For those in the west, they can all remember two weeks to flatten the curve. Here in Thailand it was "okay we are going to go through this one lockdown, phased re-opening and then we will be on our way" and then that led to another lockdown back into December which led to another lockdown in April and then that led to the latest round and along the way we got all this terminology changed. It is a non-lockdown, it is this and that and now we are where we are. To me that is an interesting data point there to see this graph and to see that okay lockdowns commenced and then things got worse. So at the very least, to me there is an argument to be made that this lockdown doesn't really impact the spread of the virus much at all, just from the data. Meanwhile there are those out there and I have heard people use this argument against this and everybody is entitled to their opinion that is not my point, but I think it is a rather fallacious argument is when people say "well how much worse would have been had we not had the lockdown?" Well let's look at this. This is parabolic; I mean it really shoots up. It is pretty darn bad. Let's just all agree on that as just foundation, agreement that it goes pretty much parabolic so I don't know how much worse one thinks it can get but also just from a logic standpoint that is an illogical argument. It is basically, how do you prove a negative? Nobody knows. Also it goes into the whole notion of a false argument being one that you can't prove. An illogical argument is one that you cannot falsify where basically somebody says "oh well X is true." Well okay when is X not true? Well if it is never not true and the goal posts essentially move anytime you look at the thing and try to falsify or create a data set where something can be falsified and the goal post just moved, it begs the question is that an entirely false argument to begin with. So going back to who benefits, we know who doesn't benefit. If you create a null set here, we know that businesses have not benefited from this; the economy has not benefited from this; socially we have not benefited from this; the tourism sector has massively not benefited from this. I don't think that there is anyone that has really has benefited from this. I know there are a lot of folks out there, big stores, big companies; I am pretty sure they would really rather like to have their retail locations frequented by people buying things. They have got rent to pay too. I don't really think there is some grand scheme out there with respect to this.

That said, I think we can get pulled into a cul-de-sac of logic or illogic and keep doubling down on things that supposedly work and I have stated this in other videos on this channel. There are certain folks out there that seem to continue to bandy the lockdown argument about as if it is self-evidently works. Well this graph would seem to suggest otherwise. Not to mention mask mandates which really isn't the thrust of this video but the person that sent this to us had that pointed out there as well. In any event again who benefits? It brings up a really good question which brings me, I am going to go ahead and quote some numbers here from Johns Hopkins University. This is confirmed cases in Thailand and this is from “So confirmed cases, 526,828; deaths, 4,264; again, this is Johns Hopkins University.” On top of that I wanted to go ahead and put some perspective on this. What is the total population of Thailand? Well as of 2020 and this is according to the World Bank at, the total population of Thailand in 2020 was 69,799,978 people. So we have got 526,828 confirmed cases of COVID. So the percentage of the overall population of Thailand who contracted COVID is 0.75%. Meanwhile deaths from COVID we have 4,264 deaths. So the percentage of those who have been confirmed to have COVID who have died in Thailand is 0.08% of that initial 0.75% of the total population, so less than 1% of 1% have died in Thailand from COVID okay. Just to round this out, the percentage of the total population who have died from COVID as of now based on the population of Thailand in 2020 which I don't think has appreciably changed, the percentage of the population who have died in Thailand from COVID is by my calculation 0.0061%, so there is that. So the total deaths while terrible 4,264 deaths while terrible is not even a half of 1%, it is a very low percentage. It is 0.0061%.

Now I understand the media goes out there and they get breathless over the ongoing numbers and look I get it. Watching a virus spread in real time is rather awe inspiring. When you are looking at the numbers it is like a glacier bursting, or a damn breaking; I mean it is pretty amazing but I think it is worth noting that the economy here in Thailand, at least in Bangkok in the dark red zones, which is getting to be more and more of the country at least the more populous parts of the country, it is more, we are really I have said it before, decimated is not an incorrect word especially in the SME sector of the economy. Things are really bad; the tourism sector is basically gone for the moment. I mean presumably a lot of that can come back online but when is this going to end? And again who benefits? We have seen, total number of deaths is 526,828 cases, of that 4,264 deaths. So that means we have approximately 521,000 people who have gotten it and recovered or have yet to recover but haven't died. I am not going to go out there and say only 4,264 deaths, no! No death is good, we don't want that but I have to imagine there are as many if not more deaths and we have done videos on this and I haven't actually looked at car fatalities in total throughout the year of 2021 thus far, or any year here in Thailand but I have to imagine it is higher than that especially in terms of percentage of the population and no one is out there asking that all car travel stops and before someone tells me that is a straw man argument, it really isn't because due to 0.0061% of the population dying, the public and I am not saying the public hasn't and many folks that are you know policymakers have mandated that the entire country must cease to function. It really isn't a false argument; it isn't a false comparison. If we looked at the road fatalities and everyone said “Oh this is terrible, this is a pandemic of death on the roads, we now have to all stop traveling by car” it is really not a dissimilar response. It is not any more of an extreme response to what we are currently seeing so I do pose seriously the question "who benefits from this?" Especially again we will put that graph back up where you see that the lockdown comes into effect, the harsh one that we have seen and we have been on an effective lockdown to one degree or another going all the way back really to April of 2020 but point being the lockdown comes in and then we see this parabolic rise.

To me that at least raises the reasonable question and I think a lot of data points which we have discussed in other videos on this channel concur with this, it raises the reasonable question of whether or not lockdowns are effective to begin with and if they are not their economic impact and the lack of benefits or the destruction of benefits associated with that economic fallout far outweighs anything we are gaining I would say, from lockdowns here in Thailand.