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Monday, November 21, 2005

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Lord

Housing and rents would fall, as would the prices of most consumer goods having fewer consumers. Interest would fall due to fewer borrowers. Wages would rise due to fewer workers.

New Economist

Lord, you seem to be assuming a much higher toll from avian flu than official estimates of 50,000 deaths in the UK. That would hardly dent current labour markets. Even if it were ten times that, it'd still be less than 1% of the population.

The skill shortages and wage rises which followed the Black Death and other calamities were of a much higher magnitude. I very much doubt we will see that.

As to retail sales, panic buying would likely see most food items off the shelf within a matter of days, as people stock up. However if many were quarantined or house-bound, consumer spending would then dwindle.

Hotels and other tourism-related services, transport and public entertainment (pubs, cafes, cinemas) would of course see their sales plummet - as we saw with SARS. But what we also saw, in both Hong King and Canada, was quite a rapid recovery once it was over.

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