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Old 04-29-2009, 04:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Will the recessionary economy catch the flu?

Quote:
Swine flu could worsen economic malady

Updated Mon. Apr. 27 2009 10:11 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

As both the Canadian and U.S. economies continue to slump through the worst recession in decades, politicians and experts are now anticipating yet another potential economic hurdle: the swine flu outbreak.

While Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said it isn't yet clear what effect the spreading virus will have on the economy, the scare is already causing problems for some industries in Canada.

"It's definitely nothing to play down lightly," said economist Douglas Porter from BMO Capital Markets on Monday.

"It's not as if the world economy didn't have enough challenges. This threatens to exacerbate what is already the most serious downturn of the post-war period."

On Monday, meat producers took a beating on the markets despite the fact that the illness isn't transmitted through food.

"They could've called it anything they wanted, but they've called it swine flu, so of course, it hits the hog industry real hard," said John Pruen, who operates a farm in southern Manitoba.

Grain futures also dipped on the markets as investors -- already shaky from months of plummeting stocks -- fled food markets after a weekend of cautionary headlines.

Meanwhile, the struggling airline and travel industries will also take a big hit if the virus continues to spread.

India and Malaysia both issued warnings against travelling to Canada, where there have been only six reported cases of the illness -- a move that was quickly downplayed by Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan.

"Travel bans being issued in every direction after fairly low levels of cases popping up is probably an overreaction," the minister said Monday.

So far, Canada and the U.S. have both stopped short of issuing official warnings about travel to Mexico so far. About 1 million Canadians head to Mexico every year, making it one of the most popular destinations for sun-starved snowbirds.

However, a mountain of bad press and growing public concern over the illness could freeze international travel and spell doom for an industry already reeling from low consumer confidence.

"It doesn't take much to scare people to stay at home," said Adam Zaret, an airline employee who just returned from Cancun, Mexico.

In a bid to keep business going, Air Canada and Westjet are offering to re-route passengers headed to Mexico to other destinations.

Still, at least one industry should benefit from the growing health worries: the pharmaceutical sector.

David Howell, who operates pandemic preparedness company AMI Business Resilience, said that some companies are already stocking up on anti-vial drugs, just in case.

"A lot of corporations, for their critical employees, are buying anti-virals to make sure they can maintain a business as usual arena and get through it," said Howell.

With files from CTV's Lisa LaFlamme and The Canadian Press
The immediate concerns of the Swine Flu (or the H1N1 virus, as hog producers would have us call it) is its direct effects on such things has pork exports and air travel. However, as limited as this sounds, it has far-reaching consequences, does it not?

There's a good chance this virus is going to reach a pandemic level, which essentially means it's infectious and widespread. This will hit travel hard, and not just in Mexico. A lot of our economy is generated with the help of business travel and tourism, and both of these could be hindered. Throw in a heavy hit on global pork producers and you have yourself an added strain on an already recessionary world economy.

Tourism itself affects so many other industries, including retail, transportation, hospitality, and entertainment, just to name a few.
  • How much worse do you think this flu virus will make the economy?
  • What should be done to help alleviate this?
  • Is enough already being done?
  • Is the media doing more harm than good in handling information and communications regarding this?
  • How might this virus affect the industry in which you work?
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 04-29-2009 at 04:34 PM..
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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the associations bundled around viral metaphors are obviously dense and this enables a rapid migration from register to register. these migrations seem to happen almost unconsciously, a function of repetitions or mappings in the imagination of the people who write scripts. the press, given to telegraphic forms of communication as a function of the media they work in, seems to be inclined to traffic in these associations because they enable the telegraphic forms to acquire density, using rhetoric that makes otherwise flat descriptions jump out at you, affect you. this is important for maintaining engagement, which in turn is fundamental to the selling of advertising. in the commercial shangri-la that is the united states, infotainment is an advertising delivery system, so anything that captures attention--and particularly anything that generates a kind of floating anxiety that is itself mediated by the accounts of events in the world---are good for business. it is better of course if these events follow the usual narrative arc of problem-->strategy-->implementation-->conquest because the last 3 phases enable the this mediation function to acquire a therapeutic dimension.

so you find in a situation of generalized anxiety about the implosion of neoliberalism and the socio-economic relations it enframed a particularly fertile space for media self-promotion, and by extension promotion of the advertising for which it stands across the riot of curious metaphors associated with swine flu.

this says nothing about the relations which may obtain between this infotainment and situations in the world. it's just about how the rhetoric seems to operate.

i gotta go.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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It's a very good time to be in the vitamin C business. Or the Airborne business.
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