Bring Out Your Dead!

Ah, plagues! You may call them pandemics, but a disease that kills many people and leaves many others debilitated is a plague. Period.

holy grail bring out your dead - mighty python and the ...
Bring out your dead!

The depiction of plague deaths in your Monty Python and the Holy Grail is not too terribly far off. Your refrigerated semi trailers are the twenty-first equivalent of the medieval cadaver carts. Plagues are nasty, no matter what the nobles, politicians, or even dictators try to tell you.

However, there is an interesting wrinkle about plagues that effects society at large.

Throughout history, when plagues kill off many workers, the powerful promulgate edicts and other pronouncements from on high to insist that the workers return to their former work at the same dismal wages that they received before the plague. These demands are largely ignored. Why?

When everybody loses workers to the plague,. other business owners, also desperate for workers, offer higher wages. (“You were given a loaf of bread every week? I’ll give you access to an oven and a bag of flour every month! Come to work today and I’ll spot you two beers a week at the local pub!”)

Regardless of the edicts and proclamations; regardless of the threats, the workers go to where the opportunity is better. (For academics, this is Adam Smith’s so-called invisible hand.)

So, today, you are in a similar situation. Do you learn from the past or do you merely repeat the same old, same old, behavior, yet again. You face a significant risk–or maybe a significant opportunity.

I’ll check back in later to see how you’re doing.

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