DO YOU HAVE A NORMALCY BIAS? MOST LIKELY YES
Barrett Moore reveals how to avoid becoming a victim of crisis.
Normalcy bias? – Normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. – Wikipedia
For 20 years I have advised families, corporations and governmental bodies on the topic of how to prepare for the unexpected, i.e., how to mitigate the risks associated with the technical infrastructure that underpins our society and the remarkably efficient supply chain that sustains us all.
I have learned a lot – a lot about the people, a lot about the stuff, a lot about the facilities, but, more importantly, a lot about human decision-making and the difficulty most people have in comprehending and recognizing the delicate threads from which our way of life and civil society tend to dangle. These are the very same threads that will likely break, if the encroaching Ebola pandemic fully manifests itself across the world.
I would encourage every reader to immediately familiarize themselves with the infrastructure and supply-chain issues to which I refer, as the world becomes poised to change, perhaps dramatically. I don’t wish to be an alarmist, and, yes, I might be wrong, but are you ready to bet your life on it?
Remarkably, and just this week, the folks on Wall Street finally figured out that if authorities squarely step up to the plate to address pandemic conditions (or move to avoid them), they will halt airline travel and thus annihilate airline stocks. This is only the beginning. The list of primary, secondary and tertiary economic impacts is lengthy and clearly not well understood. A pandemic will be catastrophic to our way of life.
The reality is that this did not have to happen. Risk mitigation experts have been watching this Ebola horror unfold since at least late 2013, but have been muzzled by political decision makers mired in, yes, politics. And here we are, facing an insidious virus that appears to have multiple mutations, a virus with a potential 42-day incubation that in some cases can infect others absent outward signs of host sickness, a virus with a lethality rate that can exceed 70 percent. Families, neighborhoods, schools and places of employment could be devastated due to a single initial infection.
I pray that in time I am proven wrong and that by some miracle a pandemic is averted. Perhaps there will be a vaccination, or perhaps the virus will burn itself out and suddenly disappear as the SARS threat did in 2003. But what happens if not? What happens if our key leaders continue to act negligently (e.g., allowing health-care providers to be needlessly exposed to Ebola, and to then allow them to circulate among the population freely), the border remains unsecured, international air travel remains unimpeded and the medical community remains untrained in pandemic response?
Here is what we do know: The fears and recommendations of many medical and risk mitigation professionals regarding the now-substantial Ebola threat are being ignored by decision makers due to political considerations and the approaching election.
How do we know that?
Air travel to and from the stricken African nations has not been restricted;Borders have not been closed or more closely monitored;None of the nation’s COG (Continuity of Government) resources are being accessed, activated or implemented, despite the enormity of the threat currently posed by Ebola: Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent by the government since to construct over 100 classified facilities that can protect the nation’s political leaders and their families and staff from a myriad of threats; similarly, we have spent tens of thousands of tax-dollar-funded man-hours planning responses to protect the general public against biological warfare including, e.g., Russia’s store of weaponized smallpox; yet none of these plans, facilities or equipment developed at great cost appear to be in use.
Written by Barrett Moore
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