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Fed paper says 1918 pandemic led to German austerity and extremism [pdf] (newyorkfed.org)
41 points by ycsux 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments



Actual title: Pandemics Change Cities: Municipal Spending and Voter Extremism in Germany, 1918-1933

Specifically, the paper states:

> In this section, we show that the 1932 and 1933 vote share won by extremists was related to influenza mortality of a decade earlier. This mortality was positively associated with right-wing extremist vote shares, such as the national socialists, and negatively (though insignificantly) with the share won by left-leaning extremists.

So, the 1918 pandemic did not lead to just extremism; it led to right wing extremism. (I'd suggest changing the title to reflect this, if possible.) This is a danger that we are facing right now in the US.


How do they disentangle that from losing the great war, and the crippling treaty + reparations that destroyed their economy and led to massive inflation, unemployment and starvation?


> So, the 1918 pandemic did not lead to just extremism; it led to right wing extremism. (I'd suggest changing the title to reflect this, if possible.) This is a danger that we are facing right now in the US.

Are we? Show me some actual evidence.

Yes, there are some similarities between our situation and 1918. But there are massive differences. We should certainly observe the situation to see if the pandemic causes people to radicalize, but it's rather alarmist to conclude that it is already happening, based solely on this.


I am not suggesting we are facing an issue with right wing extremism because of the pandemic. I am merely suggesting that we are facing an issue with right wing extremism.

From https://www.csis.org/ground-combatting-rise-right-wing-terro... :

> Right-wing terrorism is on the rise in the United States and across Europe. In the United States, right-wing extremists were responsible for nearly 50 killings in 2018, a 26 percent increase over the previous year.i,ii According to the Anti-Defamation League’s latest report, 2018 was the fourth-deadliest year for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970 and of those attacks, right-wing extremists were responsible for almost 78 percent.iii

From https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/201...

> The murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh more than four months ago was the most deadly U.S. domestic extremist attack since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but it was far from an isolated incident. The University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database showed that, from 2010 to 2016, right-wing inspired terrorist acts in the United States have grown from 6 percent of total domestic terror attacks to 35 percent. The Anti-Defamation League’s report, “A Dark and Constant Rage,” catalogued 150 right-wing attacks from 1993 to 2017, noting that “right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years.”4 The Center for Strategic and International Studies also reported that, between 2016 and 2017 alone, right-wing inspired violence had quadrupled in the United States.5

Do I need to quote anything more from the first page of a google search for "right wing extremism in the united states" or is that enough?


Before you confidently snark about how I could have researched your point for you, consider that you just demonstrated how small of a problem right wing terrorism is. According to your own post, 2018 saw 50 killings from right wing terrorism in 2018. Compare to 36,560 motor vehicle deaths in the same year[1]. Or, you know, the over 70,000 people who died of Covid19 so far this year.

Keep in mind, right wing extremism in 1918 grew into the holocaust, which killed 11 million people[2]. This from the Spanish flu which killed 17+ million people[3]. I don't think 50 deaths in a year is comparable, and I stand by my claim. In a conversation where events that caused millions of deaths are being discussed, comparing something that caused 50 deaths two years ago as "a danger that we are facing right now in the US" is alarmist.

I'm not saying it's not a problem, and I'm not saying we shouldn't talk about it. But I am saying, we should keep some perspective.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle_fatality_rate_in... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu


So a junior staffer writes up an ill-researched piece and it gets called a New York Federal Reserve paper? Not exactly a foundation of expertise.


how does this possibly have any accuracy, it doesn't even mention the treaty of versailles.

This is despite the the treaty of versailles having large and well understood economic impact and crushing costs of that treaty. Those costs and consequences are largely understood to have driven the economy into the ground.


Wasn't the spending dip because of war reparations? That the austerity caused right wing extremism is not in doubt. But this paper seems to ignore what caused the austerity.

Edit: after reviewing some charts, I don't think causality has been established. The high influenza mortality was probably a result of pre-existing economic and political inequalities.


Finding out what countries have been particularly stricken by the pandemic and have had austerity measures imposed on them recently on account of "paying one's debts", very much like Germany's situation in the 30s, is left as an exercise for the reader.


"Led To" is a bit of a stretch




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