The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Ebola:
How Much in Dividends?

Nov 24, 2014

The World Bank, which is connected to the United Nations, drew up an estimate of the potential cost of the Ebola epidemic. It included the cost of health care and also the drop in production, trade in goods, transportation, and tourism. It estimated the cost at between four billion dollars if the epidemic remained contained in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and 33 billion dollars if it spread outside these three countries and lasted all of 2015.

The reason for this estimate was to stimulate the big powers to make donations. They’ve been hesitant to contribute a few measly tens of millions of dollars, while the U.N. insisted that one billion dollars was needed to stamp out the epidemic.

But as the president of Sierra Leone said, “Up to now, international aid has come in slower than the transmission of the virus.” Undoubtedly, this is the case – because they can’t hope for profit from a disease which so far only affects poor countries.