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As of May 12, 2023, non-U.S. citizens coming to the U.S. and U.S. federal employees are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Were these mandates for the greater good? Were some individuals made better off, without making others worse off?
Let’s consider two governance rules. Under governance rule 1, each individual has a choice. Under governance rule 2, none has a choice: They are all forced or forbidden to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Under rule 1, because each individual can opt for or out of vaccination, all individuals are better off. Under rule 2, if an individual would have opted out of, or for, the COVID-19 vaccine had their voice been heard, but cannot do so under the prevailing one size fits all measure; this individual is worse off.
Not knowing what your individual circumstances will be tomorrow, which governance rule do you favor we adopt today? Given that some individuals would opt for and others out of vaccination, which governance rule minimizes conflicts?
Governance rule 1, where each individual has a voice, imposes itself. It makes sense. After all, it is the sum of all individual voices that makes up society as a whole. Equipped with the knowledge of their individual-specific circumstances, the decision or action each individual would opt for, must be the one that makes them better off, as well as the one for the greater good.