Covid-19, Bulletin 49: Stiglitz explains “one person’s freedom is another person’s ‘unfreedom’ “

Political Decisions

Extracts fromthe Jordan Times– a generous site which did not imprison this public interest article behind a paywall. The author, Joseph Stiglitz (below right), is one of America’s wisest men – the other beingNoam Chomsky. Stiglitz writes:

In a pandemic, one person’s actions affect the well-being of others. And whenever there are such externalities, the well-being of society requires collective action: regulations to restrict socially harmful behavior and to promote socially beneficial behavior.

There is deep misinterpretation, especially among the right, of individual liberty. Those who refuse to wear masks or socially distance often argue that requirements to do so infringe on their freedom.

But one person’s freedom is another person’s “unfreedom.” If their refusal to wear a mask or get vaccinated results in others getting COVID-19, their behavior is denying others the more fundamental right to life itself.

One person’s behavior can deny others the…

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