The Genius Behind Covid-19 Social Control

What can we learn from the action our government is taking

Geraint Clarke
2 min readMar 22, 2020


Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

If you give a chimp 50 bananas on day 1, then steal one, they’ll likely not care. They still have 49 left.

Do that every single day and before long, the chimp will start to realise it’s diminishing supply… However, by then it’s too late. They’ve allowed too much.

This is a metaphor for social control. The strings get a little bit tighter daily, to ease people into the following the rules without rebellion.

Give a chimp 50 bananas, but then take 49 on day 1 and they will likely attack.

This is what the government is trying to avoid by slowly getting stricter without enforcement.

It’s not that they’re lazy or can’t see the obvious. Many people much smarter than you and I are in those UK Cobra meetings.

First it was “try and work from home”. Now it’s work from home.

Then, “avoid” clubs and pubs. Now, they’re closed officially.

It’s a masterclass in control.

Each day will get a little bit more strict until the majority of people fall neatly into line without riots.

Not only is it interesting to observe, but it’s also in the particular countries benefit.

A friend of mine mentioned the similarities between this and ‘nudge theory’.

“Nudge is a concept in behavioral science, political theory and behavioral economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals.

As the worldwide pandemic grows, it’ll be interesting to look back on this moment and see which countries ‘lockdown’ tactics worked to control the spread of this virus.

It will serve as a playbook for future outbreaks and a valuable lesson to those that both follow and disobeyed the rules.

One things for certain, this isn’t an act of tyranny or totalitarianism. It’s an act of preservation.



Geraint Clarke

Creator of Bespoke Marketing Campaigns… Follow Me for Practical Business & Self-development Lessons.