What can we learn from previous pandemics and from the response to COVID-19 so far?

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In spite of being the most foreshadowed global catastrophe in recent history, the COVID-19 pandemic has managed to catch all of us by surprise. Comparisons with the 7 December 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor, and with the destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists on 11 September 2001, are instructive. Following those attacks, and after a careful, investigative study of a broad range of signals and human intelligence, it was possible to reach the conclusion that they were foreseeable but that the pertinent signs had not been recognized, and that a sufficiently recognizable pattern therefore did not emerge in time to allow for mitigating action. This is different than the present case in important respects, but, as we shall see, it is also the same. History repeats itself in a different form.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalFraser of Allander Economic Commentary
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020


  • Scottish SMEs
  • Scottish economcs
  • Scotlands budget
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • coronavirus pandemic

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