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  #1    
Old September 9th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Contagion








The premise of the film Contagion is that a new, undiscovered deadly disease uses man's own modern technology to ravage humanity and kill untold millions of people, and that the real "contagion" mentioned is mankinds' own fear and hysteria over the disease, which only exacerbates the destruction caused by it.

Given our previous brushes with Pandemics in the 15th century, 1918,etc, could our own modern society survive?

  • Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?
  • Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
  • Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society? Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
  • Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
  • Could society recover from the losses? Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left? And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication? Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?

Discuss.
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  #2    
Old September 9th, 2011, 09:42 PM
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Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?

Unsure. While medicine advances to combat illness, illnesses also evolve to survive modern medicines. Even now, we can see that some previously effective medicines have lost some/most of their effect.

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?

Depends. Lethal force authorized?

Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen?

They have more money so yes. Money talks people. I'll let you finish this saying.

Would they get the vaccine first?

No and yes. For early testing of the vaccine's im sure that poor/middle class people would go first. And die when the vaccine proves ineffective. Once a effective vaccine is created, all the rich people will use their money to be at the front of the line to get this.

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?

We already have groups of people who prey on fear and offer salvation in exchange for servitude and money. So, no, but more people will flood to what is currently in place.

Could society recover from the losses?


Humanity is like cockroaches. We'll survive, somehow.

Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left?

We will survive yes, but their will be drastic changes in people's ways of life.

And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication?

Most likely, yes. But sustaining this would be harder, depending on just how many people die and what they are trained in.

Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?
No. Even if humanity would have to restart, we would use our old society as a framework.
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  #3    
Old September 9th, 2011, 09:48 PM
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1. Perhaps. It would be best to reduce the bureaucratic process required for new vaccines etc., but still ensure the quality and safety one way or another. Labyrinthine paperwork makes no one's job easier, not even the paper manufacturer's.

2. I would not trust the military to maintain order, except in hotbeds of public dissent and the total dissolution of order. Then, and only then, should the military be summoned. Ordinary law enforcement may be more trusted due to its inherent lack of capacity to deal with citizens in the same way the military does.

3. Bureaucracy and red tape might, depending on how heavily regulations are enforced. Under the inherent nature of the free market, if it is not tampered with by political and bureaucratic maneuvers, the wealthiest will receive first priority. They would almost certainly be able to pay for the vaccine first, but they will approach with caution. I'm willing to say they are willing to wait a little while to see if their middle-class counterparts have any adverse reaction to the vaccine. It is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Yes. However, while there may be Radicals and devout fanatics, the vast majority of the people are sensible enough to refrain from listening to opportunist populists. I'm sure people vote with their hearts and then their minds in calmer circumstances, but they will realize these upstart prophets can do the talking but not the walking.

5. Yes. We face a demographic crisis in the developed world because there's not enough space to live comfortably, not enough time or money to take care of a child and live well-off, or any real economic benefit from keeping them.

On the other hand, such a sudden and abrupt destruction of the human population might dramatically increase birth rates, because this frees up a lot of open (but developed, depending on where they are) space for the remainder. The remaining labor force would be in high demand, like the brief period of time after the Black Death where labor was highly valued due to an obvious scarcity. That means two problems with having children are solved: the money problem, and the space problem. Now, there's a time problem, but assuming that the demand for labor is high enough to stimulate a strong rise in wages, that means one parent can still look after the child while the other earns a living.

As a result, I see our civilization prospering and restarting. Our high-tech system would be forced to develop, such as industrial machinery required to supplement the scarce labor force (initially), or increased communication networks and means of travel, since it is likely smaller centers of population, like obscure villages with a lacking environment and no access to anything beyond basic resources, which would still be hard to use once population recovers, will be swept away, while larger towns and cities develop.

Surely, there would be a shortage of skilled labor, but assuming we keep good records of our predecessors, it would not be disastrous enough to cause us to behave like cavemen relative to our time.

The system which allowed such a collapse to happen would surely be blamed for its deficiencies, and they would be forced to establish a more orderly response system. Medicine and our bodies will have to adapt to this new disease, which is good. It all depends on how fast medicine and our humans can recover and develop.
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Old September 9th, 2011, 09:49 PM
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This quote feels appropriate:

Quote:
According to legend, one day a man was wandering in the desert when he met Fear and Plague. They said they were on their way to a large city where they were going to kill 10,000 people. The man asked Plague if he was going to do all the work. Plague smiled and said, No, I'll only take care of a few hundred. I'll let my friend Fear do the rest.
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  #5    
Old September 10th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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My apologies for the question & answer format of my post, but hopefully I've said enough.


Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?
Depends on the nature of the contagion. It being a bacteria or fungus that takes time to incubate would lend us the best chance at combating it medically, but a virus? HIV is still rampant. Some other mutagen? Cancer and radiation poisoning remain effectively uncurable.
Prevention is the best cure, as they say, which brings me onto your next question...

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
If these forces could identify and quarantine infectees they could mitigate the actual threat.
As for the perceived threat that leads to mass hysteria, I'm really not sure. It's hard to imagine people running amok on the streets due to a pandemic (rather than hiding, logically, to prevent contact with it), and just as hard to imagine armed guards controlling them without using said arms with impunity and more manpower than they presently possess.

Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society?
Would bureacracy and red tape even allow effective control of the pandemic?
I have great doubts about the effectiveness of democratic societies in times of crisis.

Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
Probably; whoever has the highest throne and the fattest wallet, you know?

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
If this went on for long enough, I guess so.

Could society recover from the losses?
Depends if society remains at all. If so, yes; if not, no — a new society (or societies) would emerge from survivors (eg. the New California Republic in Fallout).

Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left?
Saying 'enough left' suggests already that, yes, there are enough to survive.
If you mean only enough to sustain their own population in reproduction (ie. before taking into account life's hardships), I think our ingenuity would prevail as it has in the past.

And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication?
If remained both the means (phone lines, etc.; probable) and the people (skilled workers behind such a lifestyle; improbable) to do so.

Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?
Not from scratch, but a lot of places would begin to crumble like Pripyat, and we would have to reforge from the mess we were left.
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Old September 10th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?
Yes. People may die but something will be invented in due course.

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
Yes. If they get to people in time they will be able to maintain some sort of order. People will demand questions though.

Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society? Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
Yes. If they have the money they will get it first. Those at high risk like kids and pregnant women will also be first on the middle-working class list.

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
Well of course.

Could society recover from the losses? Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left? And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication? Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?
More people will have to do more. It will take time to rebuild but it will be done.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?
Unlikely. It takes months to develop a suitable vaccine, and any attempt to rush it could end up doing more harm than good. I would say there is at least a 3 to 6 month timeframe until a vaccine is produced.

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
Unknown, it depends how spread the contagion is. Even during the Black Death and the Spanish flu there was relative order, as the sick people become gradually immobile. I don't think there would be significant looting; maybe riots for resources if they become scarce.


Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society?
Would bureacracy and red tape even allow effective control of the pandemic?
I have great doubts about the effectiveness of democratic societies in times of crisis.

Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
Obviously. But like in the Mask of Red Death, it doesn't mean they'll survive it.

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
That always happens, so yes.

Could society recover from the losses?
Eventually, and we might come out better for it.

Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left?
Humans have survived in the past from far worse-think the Toba explosion that culled humanity to like 1000 individuals-so most definitely. With 7 billion humans alive, the chances of a disease doing us in-doing more than a billion in-is slight.

And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication?
Unless all the techies are dead and our infrastructure destroyed, probably eventually.

Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?
It depends how damaged society is. I don't think we would have to, as there is no known mechanism for a disease to kill all of humanity. We're just that spread out, and eventually it would mutate into a less lethal form. Especially in modern times with the spread of the Internet, society could survive more or less intact.
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Old September 11th, 2011, 07:55 PM
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The mass-spread terror and hysteria would take care of most the work. People are stupid and get worked up over things are trivial. Then people would go out and take advantage of others, and fear would just slow the process of making a vaccine.
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  #9    
Old September 13th, 2011, 12:24 PM
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Ah I just finished watching the Movie Last night and I think it's quite accurate, seriously they did their research. Even had the rouge profiteer who took advantage of public gullibility.
The format reminded me of the BBC Movie Threads. Still, compared to the Tom Clancy Novel Executive Orders, the response time could have gone faster (albeit given political realities in the novel and in the RL portrayal of the movie...yeah xD)

Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?

That depends on the situation. The movie does accurately mention that it will take about a year to mass distribute the vaccine even if the vaccine's research was expedited. Still most likely it will be rationed at first.
But it's a vaccine those infected will pass away even if it is developed "in time."

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
The movie mentioned a 25% absenteeism (I'm surprised it even mentioned the word absenteeism) in law enforcement such as the Police during the height of the hypothetical pandemic. But most likely probably not, the scenario in Executive Orders where the President was able to order the National Guard and Army to expediently quarantine the nation in a fast way regardless of Political Backlash is highly unlikely in a politicized environment.
As for other countries it is highly likely that Martial Law will be declared with the hopes that the military would actually maintain unit cohesion and show up.

Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society?
Now that's most likely the case as social cohesion has fallen and the Government tries to maintain control.

Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
For the first question, of course Government officials, those with the means and probably those in the first-responders category would get the vaccine first. That's a fact of life, still with (I hope) mass production this will allow the rest of us to get some in time.

I believe that the movie's depiction of a birthday lottery with Tag system (for the first few months of mass vaccine production) for the rest of us is the most fair way to distribute the vaccine given the chaotic situation.

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
Of course, as I mentioned before the movie I am happy to note does feature a "cure" profitter, but I believe that since the view was US centric, other countries would experience the same thing.

Could society recover from the losses? Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left?
That depends on the extent of the damage the pandemic has caused, from the social trauma, to the loss of life and of course the material damage the social unrest has done.
Well what's the sense of this thought exercise if we're all dead haha, I hope we'll be able to contain the amount of deaths to a reasonable amount. xP

And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication?
Depends on the results, in the movie with a casualty rate of about 20 Million+ there was still a lot of destruction. But if the infrastructure remains, most likely we'd be held back few years.

Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?

World War Z lol. xP
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  #10    
Old September 13th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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Would modern medicine be able to deliver a vaccine in time?
It could be produced in time. It wouldn't be delivered in time. Too much bureaucracy and red tape to try and make it approved any faster than it currently does.

Could Law Enforcement and the military successfully maintain order and relative peacefulness during the height of the disease?
No. Looting would occur at a minimum.

Would Bureacracy and red tape prevent the rehabilitation of society?
The rehabilitation? No, I don't think so.

Would preferential treatment be given to people of high social rank or status, over your regular middle-class citizen? Would they get the vaccine first?
I don't think so. Not beyond a few grand-standing photo ops. The President, for example, taking it first so he can say "I took it and my family took it, so you should too".

Would certain "prophets" arise, preying on people's fear, offering salvation in exchange for servitude or money?
Always. There were would also be people saying the vaccine would make things worse

Could society recover from the losses? Would we as a species even be able to survive, if enough humans were left?
Yes

And would we be able to resume our high-tech, modern 21st Century lifestyle of communication? Or would we have to effectively restart from scratch and build a new society?
I haven't seen the movie, so I don't get how technology is involved.
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