‘Carnage by Computer’: The Blackboard Economics of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic

This is an early version of a paper that was published in an academic journal in 2003, but it’s behind a paywall and one of its authors, Professor David Campbell, has given me permission to publish it here. David is a Professor of Law at Lancaster University Law School and this paper is a detailed critique of the Labour Government’s response to the foot and mouth disease epidemic in 2001. Why is that relevant? Because the Government’s response in 2001 was informed by statistical modelling done by a team at Imperial College that was led by Professor Neil Ferguson, among others. Imperial’s apocalyptic predictions led to more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs being slaughtered, with an estimated cost to the UK economy of £9 billion.

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