Paul Frijters interviewed by Andrew Hilton, Centre for Study of Financial Innovation, September 22, 2021
The Great Covid Panic
What people are saying about the Great Covid Panic:
"A tour-de-force on how the pandemic response was driven by fear, crowd thinking, big business and a desire for control, rather than by sound public health principles. This is bound to be a classic."
Professor Martin Kulldorff, Harvard Medical School
"The book is an indictment of a world that seems to have gone mad with risk aversion and displays of political authority. As COVID variants continue to pop up and masking protocols are renewed by policymakers, it is a timely contribution."
Art Carden, in Regulation, (CATO Institute, Fall 2022). See the full review here: https://www.cato.org/regulation/fall-2022/responses-pandemic
"In terms of helping us to analyse how the world got into the mess it did for the years 2020 and 2021 and helping us to plan for the next steps, it is a valuable addition to that body of literature. "
Roger Watson, British academic and president of the National Conference of University Professors. See the full review here:
"A cracking good book on the Covid affair...The book should be required reading for those who value freedom and sanity. A public policy master class.
This book is a bracing retort to the embedded 'laptop class', a corrective that will come to be seen in the future as being on the right side of Covid history.
A page-turner. Yes, a page-turner written by economists. Go figure."
Paul Collits, academic, author, journalist. See the full review here: https://asenseofplacemagazine.com/the-great-covid-panic-a-book-review-a-meditation-on-this-imperilled-time/
"This brilliant book explains what happened. But more importantly how and why. How the use of fear - The Great Panic - has proved such a powerful and useful weapon to subjugate the fearful. Essential reading."
Tim Noakes, Emeritus Professor and Author, Capetown, South Africa
"I love the book! I like its racy and readable style for a topic that is challenging and complex at so many levels – there has never before been an episode of such widespread disruption of rationality. This book is sure to be found on the shelves of those who want to find out what happened, how the institutions of Western civilisation folded like a house of cards, and what we can learn for the future.
As the book points out, our democratic systems failed to bring alternative views to the table, leading to varying degrees of totalitarianism in most countries. The failure of public debate was exemplified by Craig Kelly having to leave the Liberal Party to be able to speak his mind. To me the Great Panic has flagged the need to develop new institutions, such as political parties and government agencies that are immune to group think."
Sanjeev Sabhlok, former economist, Treasury of Victoria
"An interdisciplinary social scientific tour de force! Read it, ye Janes, and weep. The section on the irrationality of crowds alone is worth the price of admission."
Robert Wright, Economist, Augustana University
"The authors of the “The Great Covid Panic” adopt a macro perspective that allows them to track the sequence of events via individual level anecdotes and policy adoption across the globe."
Ananish Chaudhuri, Department of Economics, University of Auckland. See the full review here:
"One of the many omissions when discussing lockdown as a policy decision has been a full and proper cost-benefit analysis. We've seen so much damage happen as a result of all-encompassing impositions: to children's education, jobs and businesses, along with the many other spiralling health issues. Freedoms have been curtailed enormously. It's therefore very encouraging that some are dissecting in detail the consequences of such actions, particularly when many have been censored on social media and in the press. In any situation it's imperative to stay calm. 'Great Covid Panic' is an important contribution to understanding why."
Alan D. Miller, Co-Founder Recovery
"In this important book about the march of the great Covid folly, the three authors describe and explain, with a rare gift for clarity, how the state intervened amidst the pandemic to vastly increase its powers over peoples besieged by fear of death. Global political, financial and technological elites enriched themselves enormously and widened inequalities of wealth, health and freedoms. "We the peoples" continue to pay the price in lost lives, livelihoods and liberties. While justice is unlikely to come to the perpetrators, the authors do sketch various possible initiatives to ensure 'Never Again.'"
Emeritus Professor Ramesh Thakur, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University
"Cracking read--highly recommend!!"
Nick Holt, Australian journalist and broadcaster
"This is a nice read."
Election Wizard, Populist News
Prashant Bhushan, Public interest lawyer and activist
"[The Great Covid Panic describes how panic-stricken governments around the world ditched their pandemic plans and adopted the unproven, untested strategy of quarantining the healthy. Turns out, the rock-hard government decree is founded on a fairy's wing...The Great Covid Panic is a sober assessment of how we got here: this endless carousel of vain and impotent measures that punish the innocent and productive."
William Poulos, The Australian
"Gigi Foster and Paul Frijters make a strong case that many countries, including Australia, were overcome by a wave of panic last March in their excellent book.
Gene Tunny, Queensland Economy Watch