18 October 2017   Leave a comment

Madagascar is experiencing a serious outbreak of the plague, all three of the varieties: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic.  The plague is not unknown in the country, but this outbreak has medical officials quite worried.   There have been 680 cases recorded  and there have been 57 deaths according to CNN, but the Daily Nation  in Madagascar is reporting 805 cases and 74 deaths.  The bubonic plague us carried by fleas, but the pneumonic strain can be transmitted by coughing.  The Financial Times points out the many diseases that most in the richer countries consider “medieval” are rife in many parts of the world and are associated with societal and political breakdowns:

“It is no coincidence the disease has found fertile pickings in a troubled part of the country characterised by the lack of clean water, electricity, nutrition and basic health provision. History shows that natural disaster, poverty and war, along with the absence or destruction of protective infrastructure, threaten our ability to keep pathogens at bay.

“The world bears this out today: war-torn Yemen is in the grip of the worst cholera epidemic of modern times. More than 700,000 Yemeni, mostly children, are affected. Many of them are malnourished, complicating treatment.

“Meanwhile, drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis have emerged worldwide. Unvaccinated children, particularly in conflict zones and impoverished regions, are succumbing to conquerable diseases such as polio and rubella. The haunting truth is that future generations are still being struck down by diseases of the past.”

We should not forget that in a fully globalized world, such diseases have pre-established vectors of transmission that are incredibly rapid.

The Great Plague of London, 1665-1966



In 2015 Larry Diamond wrote a fascinating essay on what he believed was declining support for representative democracy, one of the fundamental pillars of liberal society.   Diamond labeled it a “democratic recession”.  There us a great deal of anecdotal evidence in the world today which tends to confirm Diamond’s argument.  The Pew Research Center has conducted polls in a very wide variety of countries in the world and has found that there remains good support for representative democracy in the world, particularly within the rich countries.  But it also found that many in the world were open to non-democratic systems, including rule by the military.  The results of the poll are disturbing to those of us who support liberal societies.


It’s time to smile.

Posted October 18, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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