How to Respond Better to the Next Pandemic

Remedying Institutional Failures

Allen Buchanan

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Subjects: Tanner Lectures

9781647691967 (hardback)
9781647691691 (paperback)
9781647691707 (ebook)

There is no shortage of criticisms of U.S. COVID-19 policy. This book argues that officials at the highest levels lied to the public or deliberately suppressed relevant information, shamelessly over-sold the efficacy of masks and vaccines, and enacted lock-down policies of unproven value that caused massive economic, educational, and psycho-social damage.

In How to Respond Better to the Next Pandemic Allen Buchanan argues that, contrary to widespread opinion, the primary cause of flawed COVID-19 policy was not defective leadership, but rather institutional failure. Decisions were made through processes that lacked the most basic safeguards against the large-institution “yes-man” and group-think phenomena and included virtually no provisions for holding decision makers accountable. More fundamentally, policy makers did not fulfill the crucial duty to provide plausible public justifications for their decisions. They disguised the fact that scientific opinion was divided on the appropriateness of the policies they endorsed and labeled those who disagreed with them as anti-scientific. In some cases, they responded to criticism, not by engaging it on the issues, but by branding their critics as quacks.