I was reminded of the great Swine Flu non-pandemic of 2009 and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that didn't ensue, despite the World Health Organisation's prognostications.
And an observation in the comments stirred something in my brain:Well, at least someone did well out of it – the company who got the multi-million pound contract from the Government to produce the vaccine.
Ironically, this comment was made by Letters From A Tory, who no doubt will be doing his very best to make sure that the Tories get to decide which contracts get signed with the government for the next five years and is doubtlessly confident that his tribe is populated by noble, faultless people who will make the right decision every time.
This also leads on to the other great danger of centralised power: there are fewer people that you need to convince for things to happen. If I manage to convince Ed Miliband that by building a wind farm, I'll save the planet, then I'll get my wind farm and all my lovely subsidies. I may only be getting a tenner from each taxpayer, but I get £300 million, thank you very much. And I get to charge for the dribble of 'leccy I provide as well. It's taken a couple of agreeable lunches and some schmoozing with a complete dickbrain, but I'm now seriously quids-in. And as I said before, I have a major, clear interest in this scam continuing, you have a much smaller, more vague interest in stopping me. So you probably won't.
Now imagine, for a moment, that you're in an anarcho-capitalist society. There are still 30 million people engaged in economic activity, but there's no government. I come up with this wizard wheeze to make some money, but instead of convincing Ed Miliband, I now have to convince 30 million people. Individually.
Now I have a much bigger problem. Assuming I can convince a large enough number of people to invest, I actually have to show them that I'm saving the planet, or when next year comes around, people are going to tell me to fuck off.
Fuck it, I'll try banking, instead.
Having a government at all also makes it easier to co-opt. Who is going to invade a country where every single house is its own government? if you want to defeat the EU, you just have to take over the European Council. If you want to defeat the UK, all you have to do is take over the government. If you want to defeat Afghanistan, you have to take over the government and defeat hundreds or thousands of small warlords all snapping at your ankles. Nobody's managed it in centuries of trying.
Now, imagine trying to defeat 30 million little rag-bag armies.
"Fuck it, let's go after France, instead."