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How governments have failed their citizens

By Murray Hunter - posted Monday, 12 September 2022

As the world is going through a generational transition in political, administrative, and bureaucratic leadership, governance has been plagued with crisis after crisis.

Climate change has been turned into a crisis of action, leaving concerns over energy security. The Covid crisis triggered politicized public health systems. Supply chains have become disrupted. The world is looking at a rampant inflationary spiral, rising unemployment, recession and stagflation. Mega-corporations are making unprecedented hyper-profits, while the middle-class is being destroyed around much of the world.

There is now a war raging in Europe with no initiatives being made to end it. Military alliances are replacing diplomacy, as the world is now in a second cold war.


The Doomsday Clock, a symbol representing the likelihood of a human-made global catastrophe, now stands at 100 seconds to midnight. This is the closest the Doomsday Clock has been to midnight, since its inception back in 1947.

National governments around the world are in crisis, where many have failed miserably in their duty of care and responsibility towards the wellbeing of their citizens.

Covid Pandemic (Mis) Management

The manner in which many national and regional administrations managed the pandemic was very telling upon the way government is headed in the future.

As the Sars-Cov 2 virus went around the world, various government administrations took a number of public health measures in an attempt to control the local spread. At first, the espoused objective was to cap local daily cases to prevent hospitals and other public health facilities becoming overloaded. Initial restrictions upon the freedom of movement, assembly, and right to operate businesses was to be short. However, with administration objectives appearing to change, without public announcement in many cases, these movement restrictions, or ‘lockdowns’ as they became popularly called, lasted for much longer periods of time. 

International and even regional borders were closed to prevent the spread of Sars-Cov 2 into local populations, which in many situations had increasing local cases numbers. People transiting across borders were required to undergo periods of quarantine in hotels, while the vulnerable in aged care homes were not afforded much in the way of special protections. People died alone, while schools were closed depriving children of much needed education. Patients were prevented from visiting hospitals for the treatment of other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.


These restrictions were on the whole very inconsistent and not supported by research. The decisions about restrictions and their enforcement fell into the hands of public administrators, who were both unelected, and in most cases unqualified to make such public health decisions. It’s becoming clear now that independent experts within these fields were not consulted by administrators. Members of the public who criticized these measures and protested via social media or physical protests in the streets were treated harshly by the police.

Evidence is now emerging that movement restrictions or lockdowns did more harm than good. The use of vaccine certificates as a requirement to travel or enter shops and restaurants created two classes of citizens.

Government spokespeople regularly resorted to fearmongering to scare citizens into compliance. Those who didn’t comply, were often socially castigated. An atmosphere of fear was created which divided society between those who complied and those who resisted.

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This article was first published on Murray Hunter.

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About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis. He blogs at Murray Hunter.

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