Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns

Citizens seem to be clamoring for shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There is one major difficulty, however. Once an economy has been shut down, it is extremely difficult for the economy to recover back to the level it had reached previously. In fact, the longer the shutdown lasts, the more critical the problem is likely to be. China can shut down its economy for two weeks over the Chinese New Year, each year, without much damage. But, if the outage is longer and more widespread, damaging effects are likely.

A major reason why economies around the world will have difficulty restarting is because the world economy was in very poor shape before COVID-19 hit; shutting down major parts of the economy for a time leads to even more people with low wages or without any job. It will be very difficult and time-consuming to replace the failed businesses that provided these jobs.

When an outbreak of COVID-19 hit, epidemiologists recommended social distancing approaches that seemed to be helpful back in 1918-1919. The issue, however, is that the world economy has changed. Social distancing rules have a much more adverse impact on today’s economy than on the economy of 100 years ago.

Governments that wanted to push back found themselves up against a wall of citizen expectations. A common belief, even among economists, was that any shutdown would be short, and the recovery would be V-shaped. False information (really propaganda) published by China tended to reinforce the expectation that shutdowns could truly be helpful. But if we look at the real situation, Chinese workers are finding themselves newly laid off as they attempt to return to work. This is leading to protests in the Hubei area.

My analysis indicates that now, in 2020, the world economy cannot withstand long shutdowns. One very serious problem is the fact that the prices of many commodities (including oil, copper and lithium) will fall far too low for producers, leading to disruption in supplies. Broken supply chains can be expected to lead to the loss of many products previously available. Ultimately, the world economy may be headed for collapse.

In this post, I explain some of the reasons for my concerns.

[1] An economy is a self-organizing system that can grow only under the right conditions. Removing a large number of businesses and the corresponding jobs for an extended shutdown will clearly have a detrimental effect on the economy. 

Figure 1. Chart by author, using photo of building toy “Leonardo Sticks,” with notes showing a few types of elements the world economy.

An economy is a self-organizing networked system that grows, under the right circumstances. I have attempted to give an idea of how this happens in Figure 1. This is an image of a child’s building toy. The growth of an economy is somewhat like building a structure with many layers using such a toy.

The precise makeup of the economy is constantly changing. New businesses are formed, and new consumers grow up and take jobs. Governments enact laws, partly to collect taxes, and partly to ensure fair treatment of all. Consumers decide which products to buy based on a combination of factors, including their level of wages, the prices being charged for the available goods, the availability of debt, and the interest rate on that debt. Resources of various kinds are used in producing goods and services.

At the same time, some deletions are taking place. Big businesses buy smaller businesses; some customers die or move away. Products that become obsolete are discontinued. The inside of the dome becomes hollow from the deletions.

If a large number of businesses are closed for an extended period, this will have many adverse impacts on the economy:

  • Fewer goods and services, in total, will be made for the economy during the period of the shutdown.
  • Many workers will be laid off, either temporarily or permanently. Goods and services will suddenly be less affordable for these former workers. Many will fall behind on their rent and other obligations.
  • The laid off workers will be unable to pay much in taxes. In the US, state and local governments will need to cut back the size of their programs to match lower revenue because they cannot borrow to offset the deficit.
  • If fewer goods and services are made, demand for commodities will fall. This will push the prices of commodities, such as oil and copper, very low.
  • Commodity producers, airlines and the travel industry are likely to head toward permanent contraction, further adding to layoffs.
  • Broken supply lines become problems. For example:
    • A lack of parts from China has led to the closing of many automobile factories around the world.
    • There is not enough cargo capacity on airplanes because much cargo was carried on passenger flights previously, and passenger flights have been cut back.

These adverse impacts become increasingly destabilizing for the economy, the longer the shutdowns go on. It is as if a huge number of deletions are made simultaneously in Figure 1. Temporary margins, such as storage of spare parts in warehouses, can provide only a temporary buffer. The remaining portions of the economy become less and less able to support themselves. If the economy was already in poor shape, the economy may collapse.

[2] The world economy was approaching resource limits even before the coronavirus epidemic appeared. This is not too different a situation than many earlier economies faced before they collapsed. Coronavirus pushes the world economy further toward collapse. 

Reaching resource limits is sometimes described as, “The population outgrew the carrying capacity of the land.” The group of people living in the area could not grow enough food and firewood using the resources available at the time (such as arable land, energy from the sun, draft animals, and technology of the day) for their expanding populations.

Collapses have been studied by many researchers. The book Secular Cycles by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov analyze eight agricultural economies that collapsed. Figure 2 is a chart I prepared, based on my analysis of the economies described in that book:

Figure 2. Chart by author based on Turchin and Nefedov’s Secular Cycles.

Economies tend to grow for many years before the population becomes high enough that the carrying capacity of the land they occupy is approached. Once the carrying capacity is hit, they enter a stagflation stage, during which population and GDP growth slow. Growing debt becomes an issue, as do both wage and wealth disparity.

Eventually, a crisis period is reached. The problems of the stagflation period become worse (wage and wealth disparity; need for debt by those with inadequate income) during the crisis period. Changes tend to take place during the crisis period that lead to substantial drops in GDP and population. For example, we read about some economies entering into wars during the crisis period in the attempt to gain more land and other resources. We also read about economies being attacked from outside in their weakened state.

Also, during the crisis period, with the high level of wage and wealth disparity, it becomes increasingly difficult for governments to collect enough taxes. This problem can lead to governments being overthrown because of unhappiness with high taxes and wage disparity. In some cases, as in the 1991 collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union, the top level government simply collapses, leaving the next lower level of government.

Strangely enough, epidemics also seem to occur within collapse periods. The rising population leads to people living closer to each other, increasing the risk of transmission. People with low wages often find it increasingly difficult to eat an adequate diet. As a result, their immune systems easily succumb to new communicable diseases. Part of the collapse process is often the loss of a significant share of the population to a communicable disease.

Looking back at Figure 2, I believe that the current economic cycle started with the use of fossil fuels back in the 1800s. The world economy hit the stagflation period in the 1970s, when oil supply first became constrained. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 seems to be a marker for the beginning of the crisis period in the current cycle. If I am right in this assessment, the world economy is in the period in which we should expect crises, such as pandemics or wars, to occur.

The world was already pushing up against resource limits before all of the shutdowns took place. The shutdowns can be expected to push the world economy toward a more rapid decline in output per capita. They also appear to increase the likelihood that citizens will try to overthrow their governments, once the quarantine restrictions are removed.

[3] The carrying capacity of the world today is augmented by the world’s energy supply. A major issue since 2014 is that oil prices have been too low for oil producers. The coronavirus problem is pushing oil prices even lower yet.

Strangely enough, the world economy is facing a resource shortage problem, but it manifests itself as low commodity prices and excessive wage and wealth disparity.

Most economists have not figured out that economies are, in physics terms, dissipative structures. These are self-organizing systems that grow, at least for a time. Hurricanes (powered by energy from warm water) and ecosystems (powered by sunlight) are other examples of dissipative structures. Humans are dissipative structures, as well; we are powered by the energy content of foods. Economies require energy for all of the processes that we associate with generating GDP, such as refining metals and transporting goods. Electricity is a form of energy.

Energy can be used to work around shortages of almost any kind of resource. For example, if fresh water is a problem, energy products can be used to build desalination plants. If lack of phosphate rocks is an issue for adequate fertilization, energy products can be used to extract these rocks from less accessible locations. If pollution is a problem, fossil fuels can be used to build so-called renewable energy devices such as wind turbines and solar panels, to try to reduce future CO2 pollution.

The growth in energy consumption correlates quite well with the growth of the world economy. In fact, increases in energy consumption seem to precede growth in GDP, suggesting that it is energy consumption growth that allows the growth of GDP.

Figure 3. World GDP Growth versus Energy Consumption Growth, based on data of 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and GDP data in 2010$ amounts, from the World Bank.

The thing that economists tend to miss is the fact that extracting enough fossil fuels (or commodities of any type) is a two-sided price problem. Prices must be both:

  1. High enough for companies extracting the resources to make an after tax profit.
  2. Low enough for consumers to afford finished goods made with these resources.

Most economists believe that an inadequate supply of energy products will be marked by high prices. In fact, the situation seems to be almost “upside down” in a networked economy. Inadequate energy supplies seem to be marked by excessive wage and wealth disparity. This wage and wealth disparity leads to commodity prices that are too low for producers. Current WTI oil prices are about $20 per barrel, for example (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Daily spot price of West Texas Intermediate oil, based on EIA data.

The low-price commodity price issue is really an affordability problem. The many people with low wages cannot afford goods such as cars, homes with heating and air conditioning, and vacation travel. In fact, they may even have difficulty affording food. Spending by rich people does not make up for the shortfall in spending by the poor because the rich tend to spend their wealth differently. They tend to buy services such as tax planning and expensive private college educations for their children. These services require proportionately less commodity use than goods purchased by the poor.

The problem of low commodity prices becomes especially acute in countries that produce commodities for export. Producers find it difficult to pay workers adequate wages to live on. Also, governments are not able to collect enough taxes for the services workers expect, such as public transit. The combination is likely to lead to protests by citizens whenever the opportunity arises. Once shutdowns end, these countries are especially in danger of having their governments overthrown.

[4] There are limits to what governments and central banks can fix. 

Governments can give citizens checks so that they have enough funds to buy groceries. This may, indeed, keep the price of food products high enough for food producers. There may still be problems with broken supply lines, so there may still be shortages of some products. For example, if there are eggs but no egg cartons, there may be no eggs for sale in grocery stores.

Central banks can act as buyers for many kinds of assets such as bonds and even shares of stock. In this way, they can perhaps keep stock market prices reasonably high. If enough gimmicks are used, perhaps they can even keep the prices of homes and farms reasonably high.

Central banks can also keep interest rates paid by governments low. In fact, interest rates can even be negative, especially for the short term. Businesses whose profitability has been reduced and workers who have been laid off are likely to discover that their credit ratings have been downgraded. This is likely to lead to higher interest costs for these borrowers, even if interest rates for the most creditworthy are kept low.

One area where governments and central banks seem to be fairly helpless is with respect to low prices for commodities used by industry, such as oil, natural gas, coal, copper and lithium. These commodities are traded internationally, so it is not just their own producers that need to be propped up; the market intervention needs to affect the entire world market.

One approach to raising world commodity prices would be to buy up large quantities of the commodities and store them somewhere. This is impractical, because no one has adequate storage for the huge quantities involved.

Another approach for raising world commodity prices would be to try to raise worldwide demand for finished goods and services. (Making more finished goods and services will use more commodities, and thus will tend to raise commodity prices.) To do this, checks would somehow need to go to the many poor people in the world, including those in India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, allowing these people to buy cars, homes, and other finished goods. Sending out checks only to people in one’s own economy would not be sufficient. It is unlikely that the US or the European Union would undertake a task such as this.

A major problem after many people have been out of work for a quite a while is the fact that many of these people will be behind on their regular payments, such as rent and car payments. They will be in no mood to buy a new vehicle or a new cell phone, simply because they have been offered a check that covers groceries and not much more. They will remain in a mode of cutting back on purchases, not adding more. Demand for most kinds of goods will remain low.

This lack of demand will make it difficult for business to have enough sales to make it profitable to reopen at the level of output that they had previously. Thus, employment and sales are likely to remain depressed even after the economy seems to be reopening. China seems to be having this problem. The Wall Street Journal reports China Is Open for Business, but the Postcoronavirus Reboot Looks Slow and Rocky. It also reports, Another Shortage in China’s Virus-Hit Economy: Jobs for College Grads.

[5] There is a significant likelihood that the COVID-19 problem is not going away, even if economies can “bend the trend line” with respect to new cases.

Bending the trend line has to do with trying to keep hospitals and medical providers from being overwhelmed. It is likely to mean that herd immunity is built up slowly, making repeat outbreaks more likely. Thus, if social isolation is stopped, COVID-19 illnesses can be expected to revisit prior locations. We know that this has been an issue in the past. The Spanish Flu epidemic came in three waves, over the years 1918-1919. The second wave was the most deadly.

A recent study by members of the Harvard School of Public Health says that the COVID-19 epidemic may appear in waves until into 2022. In fact, it could be back on a seasonal basis thereafter. It also indicates that more than one period of social distancing is likely to be required:

“A single period of social distancing will not be sufficient to prevent critical care capacities from being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 epidemic, because under any scenario considered it leaves enough of the population susceptible that a rebound in transmission after the end of the period will lead to an epidemic that exceeds this capacity.”

Thus, even if the COVID-19 problem seems to be fixed in a few weeks, it likely will be back again within a few months. With this level of uncertainty, businesses will not be willing to set up new operations. They will not hire many additional employees. The retired population will not run out and buy more tickets on cruise ships for next year. In fact, citizens are likely to continue to be worried about airplane flights being a place for transmitting illnesses, making the longer term prospects for the airline industry less optimistic.


The economy was already near the edge before COVID-19 hit. Wage and wealth disparity were big problems. Local populations of many areas objected to immigrants, fearing that the added population would reduce job opportunities for people who already lived there, among other things. As a result, many areas were experiencing protests because of unhappiness with the current economic situation.

The shutdowns temporarily cut back the protests, but they certainly do not fix the underlying situations. Instead, the shutdowns add to the number of people with very low wages or no income at all. The shutdowns also reduce the total quantity of goods and services available to purchase, regardless of how much money is added to the system. Many people will end up poorer, in some real sense.

As soon as the shutdowns end, it will be obvious that the world economy is in worse condition than it was before the shutdown. The longer the shutdowns last, the worse shape the world economy will be in. Thus, when businesses are restarted, we can expect even more protests and more divisive politics. Some governments may be overthrown, or they may collapse without being pushed. I fear that the world economy will be further down the road toward overall collapse.




About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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4,744 Responses to Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns

  1. What would Thomas Malthus say? Told you so?

    “…population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that unless it is checked by moral restraint or by disease, famine, war, or other disaster widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result.”

    I’m just sayin’…

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      Thomas Malthus was off by 200 years, but on a cosmic scale he was right on the money….except Malthus could not have even conceived the Industrial Civilization that we built using a non-renewable resource and that we would number close to 8B little lemmings and counting (not for long though) If he was around to witness this, his call would not be a check by “moral restraint or by disease, famine, war, or other disaster”…his call would be human extinction…

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I dunno…

        he said “disease, famine” so I would guess that he got those two right…

        perhaps disease in 2020 and famine in 2021…

      • Xabier says:

        Important in Malthus’s thought was the time he actually came across a failed industrial enterprise in Norway: it had been very lucrative, and attracted lots of people who had big families, but the market dropped and the large population was half-starved with no idea as to what to do when he met them.

        He was also right about the error of the abolition of the strict Norwegian population laws (basically very late marriage, with few exceptions): in the 19th century this led to massive emigration to North America to escape the resultant poverty.

  2. Pingback: Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns – Newzlab

  3. Dennis L. says:

    I do not know what to believe, but this article seems to suggest that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine might work, sometimes, well maybe, well it is sort of FDA approved, what could go wrong?

    I am apolitical, but it would be nice if the radical left started at least listing to someone other than themselves, it is not good for one side of the political spectrum to be so belligerently stubborn. We still have a wonderful country and people need to communicate with each other in a respectful manner, as on OFW. We don’t all agree, when Gail suggest humans might not make it, my reaction is “the h.. you say, I am going to try like h…” Still, sometimes after reading her comments I go out and purchase a few extra pounds of hamburger to freeze, might as well go out on a full stomach.

    For those of you who want to collapse now, beat the rush and practice building your own hunting bow I present the following:

    I know nothing about bows and arrows, my last bow shot arrows with suction cups.

    Dennis L.

    • beidawei says:

      Try this (a Sprave Repeating Bow):

      I think you can download specs for this and print one on a 3D printer.

    • Ed says:

      Yes Dennis the 35,000 people community of Kiryas Joel uses HCQ and have zero in hospital zero on vents. Likewise HCQ is in use in Israel. New York’s governor has make it illegal in NYS. My friend who is using it had to drive to NJ to fill his prescription.

      • Ed says:

        I believe the Russians and the French are also aware of HCQ. But in the US it is all about defecting Trump in November.

        • Ed says:

          Kill citizens to make Trump look bad so he looses in November.

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “… the French are also aware of HCQ.”

          France 57,000 cases and 4,000 deaths…

          simplistic math = 7% death rate…

          perhaps they don’t have enough HCQ…

          or it just doesn’t help much when a case gets to the ventilator stage…

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I don’t follow politics … it’s white noise (they are all minions for the elders)….

          But one thing that I don’t get is why people hate Trump so much.

          Specifically what has he done that is so horrible — other than make inane comments.

          I know a lot of people didn’t like Bush because of the Iraq thing…

          Yet those same people gave Obama a pass when he did worse things to Libya and Syria.

          I seem to recall Obama promising to get rid of lobbyists… kinda like Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ promise.

          Seriously why do people hate Trump? At the end of the day he’s just an errand boy… he’s not really any different than what came before him…

          I guarantee you I could win a debate with anyone arguing that he is better than any other recent leader.

          • The other “errand boy” faction of the ruling party duopoly hates him vitriolically, because he weaponized – acknowledged publicly (for his own benefit) some of the unspoken truths about the establishment’s inner workings and ploys. Before that, it was all smiles, e.g. Cankles photo-op with him at some banquet preceding the presidential race..

            In terms of the public hatred for him, it’s related to above in the sense, large %% of gullible public just inhales deeply all msm propaganda, and it has become generational pathology, so you can’t quit that mind prison easily.

            And also it’s the instinctive level feeling, Trump seems to seriously threaten all the “recent winnings” of the woken agenda for certain malformed urbanized classes.

            You are very correct, the preceding errand-er Kenyan in the office evicted millions of people, also killed heaps in many foreign wars, but that’s somehow non issue after-all.. because he was smooth operator you see..

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “Likewise HCQ is in use in Israel.”

        Israel 6,000 cases and 26 deaths…

        good thing they have HCQ…

  4. Ed says:

    I just had the unpleasant experience of listening to a group of millennial’s thoughts on the future of work. They were unable to ask will they have pensions because that is a given as NO. They were unable to ask will they have retirement medical because that is a given as NO. They did assume the employer would provide at home day care for their children as they work from home. They did assume unlimited employment for all no thought of the future being different than upper middle class America. Their provincialism and naivete was boundless. Their ability to think of the future as different was non existent except they think they will soon have sentient machine co-workers but that will not endanger their employment in any way. They are so cute.

    • Dennis L. says:


      I am sure there are those with that kind of attitude and the group I am familiar with through what was daily direct contact until school went on line were the GenZ. They are good kids, they work hard, are respectful and modestly dressed both in cost and in decorum. It is a calculus course, semester II, so that could have something to do with it. At one point during school remodeling it was necessary to walk through an art class, they dressed like artists, but the art looked pretty good to me, they were serious and always hard at work.

      It is very easy to become negative and there certainly seems to be much that is not ideal around, but there seems to be much that is good as well.

      Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

      If you have no idea as to how different the past was, you can’t envisage great changes in the future.

      • MickN says:

        Yep- those born in the affluent countries in the last 50 years have no idea of even a world without antibiotics. They don’t seem to be able to conceive that the poorer countries in the world are as we were 100 or so years ago. It’s a long way but a short time down.

  5. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Looks as if this was envisioned in the movies..many times
    The Omega Man

    1971..Charlton Heston

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      Wow, another classic example of life imitating art!!!!

      Loved Omega Man and its remake I am Legend!

  6. psile says:


    Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

    “Hospitals are threatening to fire health-care workers who publicize their working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic — and have in some cases followed through.

    Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization…”

    • Ed says:


    • Ed says:

      I think we are given a peek at the brave new world we are given post CV19. Blind obedience to all authority or dumpster diving for you.

      • Rodster says:

        That’s why i’m of the belief we are going to see a cashless society in the not too distant future. It’s the only way to keep the Plebs in check.

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          Rodsterr… I agree… a cashless society may be coming soon…

          cash will not buy anything…

          and if that happens, also no one will have debit cards or credit cards or any other form of money…

    • Xabier says:

      If I were them I’d just go from an infected ward and breathe heavily on the administrators -but of course, those spineless people are probably home-working aren’t they, far from danger?

      Like Soviet Commissars, waving pistols ‘Go and attack those Germans or I’ll blow your brains out.’

    • It’s kind of revealing when many(most?) “million dollar” doctors in the US have to work in beyond substandard protective gear not only vs. China but also other semi or even peripheral IC of the world..

    • Tango Oscar says:

      This is the hospital I am nearest. Doesn’t exactly instill confidence.

  7. Leonor Maria Moura Duarte says:

    If I understood your article, the total colapse of society, as we know it, is really near! So maybe, as Greta says, if the system we live in can’t give the answers or any kind of solution (how difficult they may be) then it’s maybe time to change the/of system! Don’t you think?

    • Perhaps, but it seems likely that the new system will include very few humans. In fact, it may not even include any humans at all. We don’t really know.

      • beidawei says:

        That is unlikely. Humans are clever and flexible enough (we are dietary generalists–in a pinch we can even eat each other) to have spread out of tropical Africa, where we evolved, into virtually every sort of clime. Even if most of us die (which would take some doing), there would surely be pockets of survivors who figure something out, and then start the whole process over again.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Yes just in time to partake in some radiation poisoned deer and vegetables. There are 450 some odd nuclear power facilities scattered worldwide that will melt down just a few days after the grid goes offline. I don’t think Uranium and Plutonium will quite suit humans like salt and pepper would.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Don’t forget the 4000+ spent fuel ponds…. they dwarf the damage that will be done by the reactors!!

            I seem to recall in the series Chernobyl mention of ‘half of Europe being poisoned’ if the one pond were to have not been controlled…

            Fantastic series if you are into spent fuel ponds and radiation poisoning (which I am)

            • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              “Don’t forget the 4000+ spent fuel ponds….”

              how could we possibly forget?

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Lol, only you. I did read a few studies on it years ago. I just know we’re all going to die from it so determining how hard we were all going to die seemed like overkill to me. I mean look at what Fukushima has done and that’s like somebody spilling a cup of beer.

        • Juan Convidado says:


        • Nope, pls use the terms correctly: we evolved on our way from Africa, several important (cross) mutations developed while living outside that continent, hence race theory is fundamentally correct, but obviously the pecking order is a bit different from the times of the “old racists”, i.e. [Europeans, Asians, First Nation Americans] as ~one meta group have only ~distant relatives in today’s (subsaharan) Africa population.

      • Hugh Spencer says:

        I’m not quite sure what you mean by “new system”? – There’s no doubt that human kind will survive – even in small pockets – but our bloated hyper-technical culture cannot survive. Maybe this will give a chance for the natural ecosystems to recover – after all – no ecosystems – no anything.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Ya the humans who thrive radiation poisoning will do very well.

          • doomphd says:

            i still like my boric acid cement back-fill of the spent fuel ponds idea, assuming we have enough boric acid and transport. we could do a crash program, mining all the borate that’s left out in Boron, CA. think of the employment opportunities.

        • Leonor Maria Moura Duarte says:

          The system we all live in is centered in money and profit (capitalism). And as I learned money followed by profit it’s a concept created by us – Humankind – somewhere along the road of our history and changed eveything. It seems to me that we can undo what we did. We can be humble and recognise it isn’t working anymore, and recreat another concept of exchanging everything (food, goods, knowledge) with another logic: the one respecting Earth and each one of his habitants (including ourswlves).
          “You may think I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one…” Anyway either we like it or not WE MUST CHANGE…OR DYE! This my perception of what’s hapening.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Yep capitalism is ending … I suspect you will not enjoy what comes next… unless you are a hard core anorexiac

      • GBV says:

        “In fact, it may not even include any humans at all”

        Guy Macpherson, is that you?!? :O


    • Rodster says:

      “then it’s maybe time to change the/of system! Don’t you think?”

      Those that want to change the system such as the Davos Group and Bill Gates, think the global population should be no more than a billion on the planet.

      • beidawei says:

        You can’t solve population pressures just by killing the old and sick, or even the breeding population. You have to reduce the food supply. I guess that’s coming…

      • JesseJames says:

        “Those that want to change the system such as the Davos Group and Bill Gates, ”
        What are you smoking…. they are the system. They love the system. They are oligarchs because of the system. They don’t want to change the system.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Yes yes… GEETA is the go to person for a comment on the Wuhan Plague… Gail can you ping her on Facebook and ask her if she might consider writing a guest article???

      OFW is after all… where the world’s greatest thinkers gather…. GEETA needs to be here!×810.jpg

      • Hugh Spencer says:

        OH for heaven’s sake – I can’t believe you posting this trash. Who created this bullshit?
        Retarded??? – Gee – if she’s retarded – then most others are Epsilon minus (read Brave New World).

      • I think she turned 17.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          If she can get audiences with global leaders then she needs to be acknowledged as a ‘player’… and she deserves a seat at the OFW table. I am sure she would bring a fresh new perspective to the discussions.

          Of course her daddy and mummy would write all her posts….

  8. MG says:

    Do we need that the healthy parts of the human populations are allocated to gaming activities when these populations are facing the ageing and the deterioration?

    Let us dissolve the football clubs etc. like it happened to one of them in Slovakia in these days after 111 years of existence:

  9. Sven Røgeberg says:

    Perspectives from Social Anthropology, Political science and communications
    with Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Albena Asmanova & Stephen Coleman
    After COVID: Can we do things differently?

    e-SALON / Thurs 9 April / 8 – 9.15 PM (CET)

    Join us for an online salon discussion with three fantastic speakers about what we can learn from the extraordinary times in which we are suddenly living. COVID-19 has led each of us to slow down or totally halt some areas of our lives while other aspects seem to continue at the same relentless pace. Our speakers will reflect on whether this enforced slowing down can lead us to reflect critically on the world we have inadvertently built, with all its contradictions, vulnerabilities and environmental challenges; and whether it might be a time to think and act differently.

    We are welcoming back leading social anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Reader of Politics and Social Thought Albena Azmanova and Stephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communication at the University of Leeds in the UK.

    • “The world ‘we’ have built’? or The world they (elite) have built in spite of us (those who have protested often at the greatest sacrifice of their lives).

    • What will sell to other academics.

    • Robert Firth says:

      “Our speakers will reflect …” And I am sure speakers were reflecting when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Yet more evidence that, when collapse and the Dark Angel are at our door, intellectuals are a waste of oxygen.

  10. First the novel coronavirus: It may not be in truth all of what is being painted by MSM. I just posted; Coronavirus (MSM Pants On Fire)? more good news – “Where have all the people gone”; a long line standing?; were it possible would set your hair (only what’s left of mine) on fire. Citizen journalist are posting videos that show long lines for testing and over packed lobbies or waiting areas are even empty, or only a few people. Does not fit the panic news we’ve been getting.

    Economy: I’m a citizen of 81 years 10 months & 2 days. I recall when US Gov’t promoted industries to open manufacturing plant in foreign countries, not to make products in great demand of those nations, but to ship back to the USA, giving great tax breaks. Then telephone employees were replaced by IT tech waves by the millions, and that included telephone answering service employees for hundreds of big business, you got a machine giving you option after option. Flight attendants were treated in low esteem and fired in mass. Moving into IT was the rage, down with the industrial complex – now they want to bring it back. Hire 6 months temps, then hire another 6 months temps, no company benefits extended.

    I’m not qualified to make a truly intelligent summary on the economy but I know things like Wal-mart were not people first enterprising – I guess I’m trying to say, the road for billionaires was paved. And they are the same ones saying we will be dying by the millions, what that means, the millions will coronavirus, ebola, dengue fever into a complete collapse where only the elite will survive. Sorry I got into this mess of words on such a limited format….

    • Hugh Spencer says:

      The New York Times (@nytimes) tweeted at 8:53 pm on Wed, Apr. 01, 2020:
      The coronavirus pandemic is allowing autocrats and other leaders to grab more powers with little resistance. And they are unlikely to give them up.

      and it wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Rodster says:

        “Never let a serious crisis go to waste” – Rahm Emanuel

      • the novel coronavirus is accomplishing its undeclared purposes, mainly it shows the elite they have the power to instill insane panic. What disturbs me most, they always declare ‘loud & clear’ there is no known cure. This is a lie kills. Vitamin C, NSS10ppm, garlic, oranges, pineapple juice, and a host of other foods have both preventative and cure powers. Here in the Philippines, learned from the indigenous population mind you, there is camote tea (boiling the leaves of sweet potatoes, tawa tawa tea using the whole weed boiled as a tea, papaya leaf extract and boiling the fresh or dried in the sun, I could go on about what is found in back yards and veggie gardens.

        • Tim Groves says:

          You are posting lots of good info IMHO.

          The plant world has been battling bacteria and viruses for over a billion years by some counts. We can learn a lot from them and use some of their molecular weapons.

          By contrast, even Bill Gates has only been fighting viruses since Windows 95!

          • Yep, when I over heard on msm “.. and btw don’t ever eat Garlic – it doesn’t work against the Wuhan-b !!! ” – I knew that’s so silly not coming from the msm talking head or editorial board, but rather it’s deliberately pushed agenda from way above them..

          • Bill Gates claimed to be fighting viruses? The other side of the BG agenda is ‘population’ reduction under many assumed labels. BG would not be a choice of mine in this battle, he seems to cheering on that this novel virus will kill millions.

        • Xabier says:

          ‘Folk’ remedies often have a lot of sense to them, which is why the establishment patronises them with that term.

          Even leeches can work in some cases of illness incurable by modern medicine.

          Certain dances, too, are every good for health and mental welfare -which of course has consequences for the immune system.

          The Ancient Greek ‘dream hospitals’ are also interesting, probably using the subconscious to find cures.

          Hypnosis was once commonly used even in the West.

          • I have mentioned that my father used hypnosis for mothers giving birth to babies. It wasn’t common when he did it.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Gail, when my younger daughter gave birth (to twins) she insisted on natural childbirth. Meditation, a calm environment, and the company of a midwife and her elder sister, and all was well. I have never been more proud of my daughters than on that day.

            • Norman Pagett says:

              seems you can get advice on just about anything from OFW

              maybe needs syndication

              I’ll volunteer to do the problems page

      • Read the tweet – another 911 imposed event for sure.

      • psile says:

        Don’t forget the cash grabs by the 0.1%. Although, if this keeps up for any length of time, money won’t mean sh*t and Microsoft shares won’t be worth a chicken.

        A.k.a. You can’t bail out a black hole.

  11. Oh dear says:

    Goldman Sachs is constantly revising upward its estimate of the extent of the contraction in the US economy in the second quarter due to corona. First they said 5%, then last week 24%. This week they estimate a 34% contraction, and they estimate a 19% rebound in the third quarter.

    How high can this estimate go? Perhaps bookies could give odds on the height of G S estimates. It could provide some light distraction from events.

    Given that G S constantly worsen their estimate of second quarter contraction, one doubts the accuracy of their rebound estimate. Even so, a 19% rebound on 34% down, would still leave the US economy 15% down at the end of the third quarter, which would be a massive contraction.

    The US economy, like others, is already floating up to its neck on a sea of debt. Governments have been using ‘helicopter money’ to keep the entire economy from collapse since 2008, QE, ZIRP, state support. And now they are flooding the economy with trillions by the week. They are basically printing money (or adding 0s to inputs) and giving it to businesses and to people to avoid defaults and bankruptcies. Like dropping money from helicopters. Capitalism has ceased to function and it is on the constant life-support of state support. It is zombie-fied, living-dead. Presumably the collapse of capitalism will manifest as a financial collapse.

    Productivity growth has been headed downward toward zero in ‘mature’ economies since the 1970s, concurrent with the first oil shock. It has flat lined at zero since 2008, concurrent with the peak in conventional oil production and the rise in the price of oil. The rate of profitability has collapsed and companies are dependent on state support to make up their profits. The economy is congested with ‘zombie’ businesses and sectors, low profitability and non-profitable businesses. There is no profit to invest and to increase productivity growth; and state support has negated the profit motive to invest. Businesses use the easy money just to survive, not to invest. It is a ‘zombie’ economy on life support.

    And now we have capitalist states paying the wages of businesses, which is absurd. Capitalism has lost its resilience, it is unable to survive even a short shutdown by itself, awash in debt, and corona has thus triggered an acceleration of the socialisation of the economy where its survival and operation is no longer due to capitalism but to state support.

    My question is whether the entire capitalist system is headed for ‘junk status’, where debt and payments become meaningless. Perhaps where money itself becomes meaningless and production and consumption rely just on the state adding numbers to inputs. One might term it ‘puppeteer capitalism’ with the state operating the lifeless puppet of non-functional capitalism by altering spreadsheets. Would that even be workable? Maybe we will find out.

    > Goldman Sachs slashes forecasts for next quarter, now sees 34% GDP contraction and 15% unemployment

    US gross domestic product will shrink by 34% in the second quarter as the coronavirus outbreak fuels a worse-than-expected hit to the labor market, Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday.

    The bank initially forecast a 24% hit to GDP in the period but lowered its estimate based on the “sky-high jobless claims numbers” released on Thursday.

    The team led by Jan Hatzius said that unemployment would quadruple to hit 15% by the second half of the year as layoffs continue.

    Goldman sees GDP surging 19% in the third quarter as the government’s fiscal and monetary easing drives a “bigger rebound” than previously forecast.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Goldman Sachs will publish whatever estimate they believe will maximise their short term profit. Ignore them.

  12. Peter Tang says:


  13. MMV says:

    Reblogged this on Situation Normal and commented:
    I don’t do many reblogs but Gail Tverberg’s articles are extremely well done and highly thought-provoking.

  14. Marco Bruciati says:

    People in Italy report doctors and retirement homes for the elderly for virus deaths. There are specialized attorney offices. Another problem for hospitals and health systems

    • Very Far Frank says:

      Governments should really give guarantees to healthcare providers that no one can litigate against them.

      These are tough times requiring tough decisions. Sometimes mistakes are made- threatening doctors with litigation after the fact is the last thing they need.

      • beidawei says:

        Remember Geraldo’s expose of American nursing homes?

        • Robert Firth says:

          If memory serves, it was a school, not a nursing home; and Wikipedia tells me it was indeed Willowbrook State School, in New York.

  15. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    USA 207 000 cases of Covid-19 out of 920 000 worldwide!!!!

    • Very Far Frank says:

      Because the US actually have the capacity to test, and are doing so.

      I wonder how many cases India have in progress right now after those squash scenes at train stations of workers fleeing to the countryside.

  16. landmantom says:

    For the president, as well as health and economic leaders, honesty poses a double-edged problem. If they minimize or simply don’t lay out the grim realities that we may be facing, they are seen as glossing over the problem and “lying” to the public. If they present with a more optimistic outlook, they gets slammed for glossing over the facts and once again, “lying”. When the situation we are in is this critical, the president and his aides are in an absolutely untenable position. The true no-win situation.
    As grim a picture as you paint, I for one appreciate your clear-headed analysis and deep dive into history as a teacher. Your candor is disconcerting and breathtaking…but thank you.

  17. YoursTruly says:

    I don’t get it. Finally the economic bubble is bursting everywhere and yet some people shout the end of the world. No, not even a total crash of the economy won’t be it, since the whole thing is only an imaginative contraption between humans which can be altered in every conceivable way.

    Now is the chance of a lifetime to become truly sustainable and responsible instead of trying to look so only on paper. In effect: acknowledge the limits.

    • I am afraid that not very many of us will make it through this crisis. We don’t have the skills to hunt and gather or do the very lowest level agriculture, for one thing.

      • Kevin Moore says:

        Potatoes are easy to grow. 180 years ago potatoes supported (for awhile) an Irish population that was not quite DOUBLE today’s population. You can almost live on potatoes alone. The nutrient profile of the tuber is that good. When Irish immigrants landed in America during the famine they were notably taller than average Americans. This has been attributed to a mostly potato diet. When Spaniards invaded the Incas they found vast storehouses of dried tubers that could feed the population for years. Pre-Incans developed a way to freeze dry potatoes that can preserve them for decades. It’s called chuno. You can buy it on Amazon.
        BTW you can grow potatoes in trash bags.

        • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

          This is what happens to your body if you only eat potatoes for a year

          A man claims he lost over 50 kg in one year thanks to only eating potatoes for every meal. However, eating spuds day in day in day out could lead to some some serious health repercussions.
          Australian and father of two Andrew Flinders Taylor went from coach potato to potato pusher, according to his website ‘Spud Fit’.
          Taylor created his diet after seeking advice from his doctor and a dietician, and spent all of 2016 eating only potatoes
          Potatoes do contain plenty of fibre, Lambert explained, but the lack of other nutrients in a potato only diet can be extremely damaging
          If you’re having nothing but potatoes you’re missing out on the other macro nutrients in your diet; you’re missing out on your fatty acids, omega 3s, complete lack of protein, and the essential nutrients your body needs for cellular repair, different types of energy every day, cognitive function, it has a drastic impact.
          Although a person can survive on this diet, and Taylor evidently did, Lambert says a person’s health will deteriorate in other areas, particularly the gut.

          • This is another article on a similar subject:


            To Voigt’s credit, his lighthearted stunt will educate the public about many healthy aspects of the potato: a decent and inexpensive source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and, with the skin left on, dietary fiber.

            Surprisingly, potatoes offer a complete protein if you eat enough, over 10 per day. But you would ultimately encounter deficiencies in vitamins A, B12 and E, and calcium and selenium if you keep to just potatoes. Potatoes are slightly toxic, too. The poison is in the stem and leaves, but trace amounts can be in greenish spots on the potato itself and can cause serious illness if you eat enough.

            In eating any single vegetable, you are sacrificing nutrients. Soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, or carrots also provide a good range of nutrients.

            • Xabier says:

              The civilian example of WW2 shows that one can survive on a more or less potatoes-only diet for a few years, even half-rotten ones, as long as some decent nutrition is obtained after that.

              It is in fact quite incredible what humans can endure and survive.

              For most of history the majority of people have probably been nutrient-deficient (and riddled with parasites!)

              I’m training myself to eat only one good meal a day at present – soon it may be necessary, not optional. Next stop: one fast day per week.

              A good job I am in isolation as my temper will certainly be murderous…..

            • Overnight “lite fasting” is also very healthy, lets say your last and not opulent meal would be at ~6pm, next your (first) breakfast not before ~7am.. As daily routine this works wonders, but you have to be going into the bed with sensing slight hunger for real..
              Obviously, it’s not recommend for all professions and daily routines..

              The ~90-120yrs old specimens of trilli-billionaire class are fond of this strategy of fasting, plus eating premixed embryos and blood filtering and what have you, but I’m not into that stuff (yet) lolz..

          • Dan says:

            I worked on a fishing boat in Alaska and the captain demanded potatoes be served every meal.
            The cook missed a meal with potatoes and he got fired on the spot and sent to his bunk. We dropped him off in St. Matthews.
            I planted potatoes around my house recently and my wife dug them up planting something else. I was pissed but I figure we are going to starve to death anyway.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I was planning to eat pizza and drink beer with every meal … however with this lockdown thing the restaurants are closed and are not even allowed to delivery or offer takeaway.

            Sunuvabi.tch!!!! Things are NOT going to plan 🙁

          • Xabier says:

            Those Dutch workers probably had a lot of fish to eat as well, and now and then some bacon, probably lots of cabbage, too. Cabbage and potatoes was the mainstay of the poorest English farm workers in the terrible years of depression pre-WW1.

      • Gail this was a pretty thorough analysis which is what I have come to expect from you. It is jarring to-see a statement like “not many of us will make it through this crisis.” Since I think you are rarely wrong, this was especially worrisome. I think some wont make it through it and many will if we take our destiny into our own hands and follow established precautions like wearing masks in public, hand washing etc. The real problem is that our social urban economic model has long been vulnerable to this pandemic as you have stated and the model needs to change to reduce the vulnerability.
        The country also needs immediate nationwide serolgical testing to see who is/was infected, their level of antibodies, their infectivity etc. Then these individuals will know when and if they can break quarantine and return to work, get back to their hospital duties, factory lines etc.. This is apparently starting to be done in Germany but Nasal swab tests are of little help to get people back to work. Only blood serology is useful in establishing fitness to work or getting back into public duties. Without serology, it’s just guesswork. One thing not mentioned is a potential looming food supply shortage of certain foods, primarily the ones that require hand work like many vegetables, fruits etc. Crops which are harvested by machines like grains, potatoes, and many root crops should be fine but if our largely Mexican stoop laborers can’t plant or harvest this spring crop we will be coming up short . For example if you like salads, plant a salad garden. We have salad greens coming up and we live in Wyoming. Plant a more elaborate victory garden. We did it 80 years ago as a nation and we can do it again. Failing that you are going to have to raid the grocery stores like what is going on in Sicily at the moment! Hugh Owens MD

      • GBV says:

        “I am afraid that not very many of us will make it through this crisis”

        How many is ‘not many’?
        10? 100? 100,000? 1,000,000?
        And what are we using for a reference point to get to that number?


      • Xabier says:

        Nor do we have the tribal and clan structures needed.

        A modern ‘nation’ is too weak a structure.

        Although it is interesting to see regional resentments growing in many places: ‘Don’t bring your disease here to us!’ etc. People with second homes are finding that only their money was welcome, not them.

        A clan is a mental as well as a practical structure – everyone used to believe in the superiority and indestructibility of their clan and tribe. A very useful delusion!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Australia —– Further roadhouse closures could follow after WA Premier Mark McGowan said an “unprecedented” hard border closure could be introduced as early as this weekend.

          “I want to send a clear message, and I’ve said this to the National Cabinet, infected people from the east we do not want you here,” Mr McGowan told reporters today.

  18. I see that Zerohedge is reporting:

    Here We Go Again: China Puts County On Lockdown After New Corona Cluster Emerges

    China is no longer fixed.

    According to a post on its social media account, Jia county – which has a population of about 600,000 – said that no one can travel out of Jia county without proper authorization. Additionally, residents are not allowed to leave their homes for work unless they have clearance to do so.

    . . . Bloomberg adds that starting April 1, all residential compounds will be under “closed-off management” and all residents need to wear masks and have temperature taken entering or exiting the compounds.

    And so the virus is back to China, despite the best intentions of the Chinese/World Health Organization and its Beijing sponsors to make it seem that China had managed to defeat the virus.

    • Rodster says:

      Well, as you said in your article Covid 19 will keep coming back. It’s not so much Covid 19 coming back again and again, it’s the damage the eCONomy keeps taking hits from people freaking out and businesses having to close. Now Florida Gov Santis is issuing a Statewide mandatory lockdown with the exception of mandatory services whatever that includes.

      As of 2:42pm EST the Dow is down 850 points.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “And so the virus is back to China, despite the best intentions of the Chinese/World Health Organization and its Beijing sponsors to make it seem that China had managed to defeat the virus.”

        The simple answer is it spreads too easily to be eliminated. Sars & Ebola had an obvious symptoms signature that didn’t hide so it could be stopped in its tracks. This virus is spreading in a way that isn’t obvious as many people are asymptomatic. The old saying applies, “It’s the one you don’t see coming that gets you.”

  19. Chrome Mags says:

    India now starting to clock some bigger numbers, adding 437 so far today to 1834 cases. With 1.3 billion + and living in such congested conditions this a country to watch for as the numbers rise.

    • Assuming that they have the test kits to count the cases. I noticed the email I received from Kaiser today said that the kits are still in short supply here.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        The US doesn’t have the kits other parts of the First World has—
        In fact, many are questioning First World status for the US.

  20. Rodster says:

    Florida Governor is issuing a MANDATORY 30 day lockdown effective Thursday at midnight

  21. With all due respect I disagree …. the corona virus had a deep impact on our entire capitalist system…. it forces a global transformation of our economic system — neither wild capitalism and neiither communissm …BUT a middle road invented by Theodore Roosevelt in his second bill of rights….. COMMUNITY-ISM …… DESCRBD IN A MASSIVE 700 PAGE BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2015 http://WWW.CAPITALLESSISM.COM a Macro-Model for a strong Natonal e-conomy >>>>THE POST -CORONAVIRUS E-CONOMY when GLOBALIZATION has COLLAPSED……. a NEW CAPITAL-LESS ECONOMY ….. with VIRTUAL E-CAPITAL —- ……… SO WHAT TO DO for survival ? when ther is no capital available …. …when disasters like coronavirus will shut down the world’s economy, and WHEN it would require 50++ TRILLION DOLLARS for massive medical care and massive welfare to sustain survival … WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM? ….WHEN INVESTOR’S TRUST has ERODED, ans GOVERNMENTS ARE BANKRUPT AND WHEN THERE IS NO MONEY TO FEED 800 MILLION PEOPLE GOING HUNGRY EVERY DAY … or 3 BILLION JOBLESS PEOPLE WORLDWIDE, …So what should nations do in order to survive on their own without PRIVATE-CAPITAL,…===>>> CREATE VIRTUAL E-CAPITAL WIITH AN INNOVATIVEE PUBLIC-PRIVATE BANKING PARTNERSHIP ..or REVOLUTION

  22. ITEOTWAWKI says:


    ‘Best case scenario’: COVID-19 measures expected to last until July, government document says

    • This is Canada:

      “It’s not going to be days and weeks, it’s definitely months, many months. And the one thing that other countries are also looking at, and we’re looking at as well, is that is there a possibility of a second wave? Who knows?” Njoo said. ‘We’re looking at all possibilities and planning for all potential scenarios.”

      • GBV says:

        “We’re looking at all possibilities and planning for all potential scenarios…”

        …but only after the outbreak of a global pandemic. 😐

        Yep, we’ve got some real intelligent folk in charge of the world today.

        The worst part – I remember being a part of pandemic influenza planning / exercises at a regional municipal level in the Greater Toronto Area back in 2009. Seems like they haven’t planned for sh*t in the past 10 years…


  23. Yoshua says:

    I just learned something new today.

    China’s PMI came in at 52. PMI is a MoM change. So business activity rose in March just a little bit from the depths in February.

  24. UK new cases per day has been fairly flat since March 27. Deaths lag new cases by quite a while, perhaps three weeks.

    Nice charts here:–EaldWkeF4uiaHuBcShjsdHa5s-s_E14Lwbf4yROZhnu17Q0

  25. Malcopian says:

    UK records biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths

    Hospital death toll increases by 563 to 2,352. That’s 31% up on the previous day

  26. Malcopian says:

    Tired of this lockdown. Wanting it to end. (The lockdown, that is). Thank goodness for Gail’s blog.

    Here I have chosen a musical piece that nicely expresses my frustration. It never QUITE reaches a climax.

    ‘Metamorphosis – Part Four’ by Philip Glass.

    • Malcopian says:

      Got it wrong! ‘Metamorphosis – Part Four’ starts at 19:09.

      • Malcopian says:

        The lockdown must at least be working for me. Usually I start dreaming of hospitals from a week to a month before I end up there. The dreams never tell me WHY I’m going, but when I have them, I make sure to have a piece of paper on my desk with my contact details and those of my next of kin. Then when the time comes, as it invariably does, I just pick up my piece of paper and go.

  27. Rodster says:

    And so it begins:

    “It’s Happening: Oil Producers Are Now Paying Clients As Wyoming Sour Price Turns Negative”

    “Whiting Petroleum Files For Prepackaged Bankruptcy”

    • Whiting Petroleum still plans to continue as a business, it looks like.

      On the other article, it looks like North Dakota oil is about $10 per barrel. This is hardly enough for both shipping costs and pulling it out of the ground.

  28. kschleunes says:

    No one is making anything, and no one is buying anything except for food, electricity and heating oil. Oh, and alcohol sales are up. I think that qualifies as a total economic collapse.

    • We have been told it is “temporary,” so not to worry.

      • Marco Bruciati says:

        About per food? This Need chiken mais rice salmon ….all must be very cheap. Some One in Italia buy acana in Canada very very expensive. Is not sustenible. I really never cant so much insustaneble behavior. Dogs Will die no food?

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Now is the time to go to Wal-Mart and Costco and buy up 25 large bags of dog food if you own a beast or two. Hell my cat even has 6 months of food stocked up. Dogs that are weak and hungry will be of no use in fighting off roving gangs of baddies, you’d be better served to eat the dog. A healthy dog though of the pitt or rott variety is a fierce fighting companion during uncertain times.

    • Tango Oscar says:

      I bought marijuana a few weeks ago. Lots of it. And if/when the economy reopens I’m buying a generator, water tanks, more gear and water filtration. In sum, I’m going to go on a buying spree probably to the tune of $20,000 or more. Oh yeah, and a couple of Rottweilers too. I’m not the norm though, obviously.

      • Dan says:

        I’m growing some – I view it as a barter item and medicine.
        I was a prepper but like many here I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible to prepare for the end of the world. I am better stocked than the average bear so my 50 yr old wife and me are going to have to take on the family of rednecks that live next door – in other words we are deadmeat.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          I have an Indica seedling growing right now of the Elvis strain. I’ve been collecting weapons and food for years and will more than hold my own. That is until an angry mob of 5-10 people shows up. Between that and spent nuclear fuel melting down I figure most humans will be dead within a few months of the grid going down.

  29. MM says:

    When we have a long lasting Problem here and want to avoid deaths at all costs we should be prepared to live in this state at least for 2 years…

  30. MM says:

    What facts do we actually have ?
    shows in the last Table (ICU frei) the numer of currently FREE ICU beds in Germany. so there in NO triage whatsoever but still people are dying from corona. Well if yes, we should have a problem solution fallacy at play here. Even with the best help available people are dying from corona, so flattening the curve is only the worst of the worst scenarios. In public discourse in germany people suggesting to lift the lockdown are beeing screemed at as murderes.
    CDS: Covid-19 Derangement Syndrome

    • Some patients die despite being put in ICU. That percentage is fairly high.

      IIRC, a US study from a few years ago put the percentage of ICU patients dying at around 50%. The Wuhan ICU experience was a lot higher mortality than that.

  31. Ed says:

    FE please comment
    “King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn has “isolated” himself at the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in a Bavarian resort in Germany in the company of 20 ladies, the German newspaper Bild reported.”


    • Stepping in for FE, firstly Bild is a ~tabloid. Secondly, most of European posh resorts and spas are accustomed for Sheikhs and their entourage to book entire hotel floors or sometimes taking over whole resorts exclusively.. This has very long tradition (ever pre oil era), so now it only filliped into sort of Wuhan-b isolation vacationing mode..

      • beidawei says:

        It would probably violate Thailands lese majeste laws to point out that this particular king was known for such behavior,back when he used to live in Germany.

    • Kevin Moore says:

      Waiting for a redo of “The King and I” on Broadway where the English governess is replaced by a German Lehrerin.

      “Mein gutter Koenig!”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Brilliant! Hope he has plenty of blow and E… a disco ball… and good speakers.

  32. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    Covid-19 probably probably happened somewhere along the lines of the movie Contagion…we went to places that we were not supposed to go…we are crammed in cities that were never supposed to exist…on person catches it…and away we go…but instead of Gwyneth Paltrow, we have some 57-year-old shrimp seller in China starting it all….life imitating art…whoever came up with that quote is a genius…

  33. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    By the way, I expect the average age of people dying from the coronavirus in the USA will be decreasing substantially vs. the rest of the world….you can’t spend a lifetime eating junk food and not exercising and then expect to beat this virus the same way someone with healthy habits would…anyway, we will know the stats pretty soon…

    White House prepares for US death toll from coronavirus to exceed 100,000 and warns next 30 days are crucial:

    • Ed says:

      Improving the herd by killing the sick and weak this is why we should rejoice for CV19.

    • Yes, there are some specific american traits going in favor of the virus (bad diet and sedentary or exhaustive heavy on/off sporting), but also some working against it (larger distances vs people and dwellings), so the less urbanized areas should do much better..

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “…you can’t spend a lifetime eating junk food and not exercising and then expect to beat this virus the same way someone with healthy habits would…”

      I’ve been including organic sourced fruit and salads in my daily diet for years now and it makes a huge difference in level of health, energy and alertness. But most people here in the US tend to have an aversion to fruits and vegetables with an attitude that what you eat makes no difference to one’s health. Not sure where they got that idea, but they will pay a high price for it.

      I’ve even wondered if when the dust begins to settle from this virus, if that’s even possible, is a dramatic change in American diet. The feedback info. will be there – it’s just a matter of people giving it a little thought.

  34. David Quinn says:

    Does GDP really matter though. Money can be created and as long as essential industries can function people can not just survive, but also thrive.

    Why not cancel all debt?

    • Goods and services cannot be created without energy products that sell for a high enough price that the providers can stay in business. Wholesale electricity prices are falling too low now, for example. Some people think electricity is a necessity.

      I was just reading a periodical aimed at medical providers. A lot of healthcare workers are being laid off because of the cancellation of elective surgeries in hospitals. This is where a big piece of their revenue stream came from. I suppose the only health workers that they need now are ones helping with COVID-19 illnesses.

      • Dennis L. says:

        I was wondering about that one. Elective procedures in dentistry are what carry a practice, routine exams, etc. have become very expensive, to compensate people tend to defer, I know I stretch the time intervals out.

        A good surgeon will be in and out quickly with few complications, profits are high. COVID is more internal medicine, time constraints and value added by laboratory machines(capital) and interpretation which is more and more band based and reported by machine.

        Looking at surgical centers, mortgages, rents, leases on equipment could become interesting. Expensive automobiles(many on lease at least for dentists) could suffer with declining income. Most surgery is elective, surgeons income goes to less than zero as fixed overhead continues. Anesthesiologists are a large part of surgical centers ( many times nurse anesthetists), supplies are no small factor.

        Conclusion: there is a huge capital structure which is now sitting idle, implication is medical costs may indeed decline significantly, will this help Medicare?

        I gave a reference that by memory 25-25% of lifetime medical expenses are in the last year. Will Covad effectively shorten that last year leading to reduced costs overall? Will no elective procedures(e.g. hips) lead to reduced costs? Given entitlements are large part of the gov. budget, it will be interesting to see if costs increase or actually decrease.

        Dennis L.

        • The impact on the health care system is truly strange. I am also wondering if allover costs will be down. It is anyone’s guess what the effect on mortality will be.

          I found one article mentioning that physician visits are down 75% at least in that area. People are afraid of catching COVID-19 from the staff. Physicians won’t be able to keep their doors open for long, at that rate.

          Medical malpractice costs are likely down as well. If doctor not doing much anymore, they have little chance of harming patients. Of course, cancers will go undiagnosed.

          I understand that in some states abortions are considered elective surgery. These are being postponed. How does that work?

          I have also heard that prenatal care is increasingly online. How does that work? Go stand on your scale and tell me how much weight you have gained. What is your blood pressure? Can you still feel the baby kicking?

  35. Yoshua says:

    The dollar is the world reserve currency… but the Fed is a national central bank.

    The Federal Funds Rate is falling…but the LIBOR is rising.

  36. Marco Bruciati says:

    Deficit of Italy can Jump from 134 %deficit PIL to 160% in some months. Italia take a lot of taxes from diesel and gas. No One use them now

    • Taxes on fuel are surprisingly important. Wind turbines and solar panels work in the opposite direction. Electric cars sometimes have a tax to help offset their lack of oil taxes.

  37. Kevin Moore says:

    News out that Florida watermelons will rot in the field because covid 19 measures are preventing 200,000 migrant workers from Mexico getting to the state, At the same time Floridians are idle because of school and job shutdowns. Why not use stimulus money to augment wages to get Americans to pick their country’s fruit and vegetables? This would also provide exercise when gyms and recreation sites are being shut down. I’ve picked vegetables before and it’s hard but it can be done with social distancing in place and can give the satisfaction of working with people on a shared goal. I live near extensive farming country in South Jersey (the Garden State) and am ready to get my hands dirty should the call go out.

    • Malcopian says:

      ‘I live near extensive farming country in South Jersey (the Garden State) and am ready to get my hands dirty should the call go out.’

      You are? Then you must be an immigrant or a traitor. Every good American knows that fruit and veg are produced in factories, where they have sugar added to make them nutritious, and are then sent to supermarkets.

      This news will cause riots if it gets out. You just cannot deprive Americans of their right to eat themselves to death and get away with it.

    • Ed says:

      On a relatives strawberry farm picking begins at 4am using head lamp because the heat of the day it bad for …wait for it… the strawberries. You get Americans on the ground at 4am in the dark with head lamps and I will be most impressed.

      • Malcopian says:

        Nothing to get hung about.
        Strawberry Fields forever.

      • Kevin Moore says:

        There are plenty of Americans that still do the grunt work in America. They are invisible to the bobo class and are now mostly ignored by the political parties while being derided by the media. They have been harmed by mass immigration. a disastrous national food policy that subsidizes fast food, a rapacious pharmaceutical/medical industry that has pushed opioid abuse and corporate financier capture of government that has encouraged the wholesale outsourcing of decent manufacturing jobs overseas. Just because you don’t know people like this in your blue enclave doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

        • Malcopian says:

          Well said, Kevin. Kudos to those who produce our food (tho I’m in England, not America). I would never manage such backbreaking work.

  38. Marco Bruciati says:

    We can tell Algeria Nigeria argentina India Iran are Just defoult now? And belarus ukraine Tailandia Pakistan Malesia soon? In Italia now all are agains Europe. Before virus italexit club was Just numerous and league of Salvini at 40 per cent. Now even party for Europe are agains Europe and all think seriusly ti go out of nothing change

    • Ed says:

      I love the president of Belarus “Better to die on our feet than live on our knees”. 🙂

      • Malcopian says:

        During the Spanish Civil War (I think Xabier was in it), the Falangist slogan was “Long live death!”

        • Xabier says:

          Get it right: ‘Long live Death! Death to intelligence!’

          If your heart doesn’t beat faster listening to the Spanish Legion singing ‘We are the boyfriends of Death’; while waving a giant crucifix, I pity you. 🙂

          My other favourite:

          ‘Spanish men: big swords, but even bigger hearts!’

          • Malcopian says:

            OMG, Xabier! I’ll have to seek those songs out. I do enjoy the old Soviet songs and WW2 German songs, while not sympathising with their aims at all.

            Closer in time, I enjoy the tune of the East German anthem.

          • JMS says:

    • One of the big things that is a problem is all of these international defaults.

  39. Ed says:

    Here in NY state Hunts Point the major distribution center for produce is operating at a small fraction of normal capacity. Stores 80 north of NYC lack produce. Not clear what is causing the slow down. Maybe truckers frightened to travel in to NYC.

    High End stores in Manhattan are boarded up. Gail are stores in Atlanta boarded up?

    • I don’t know within the city of Atlanta. I haven’t heard of any problem within Atlanta.

      Out in the suburb where I live, it is mostly paper products that are in very short supply. Produce is in pretty good supply.

  40. Oh dear says:


    Banks scrap dividends and bonuses under pressure from regulator

    Britain’s big banks last night bowed to orders to scrap dividends and cash bonuses or face supervisory action by the financial regulator. Barclays, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Standard Chartered issued statements last night agreeing to cancel remaining dividend payments for 2019 and promising not to pay out at all to shareholders in 2020 in order to retain…

    BP plans to cut its spending by at least $3 billion this year and reduce its production as it slashes costs in response to the collapse in oil prices.
    Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive, said that it was facing “the most brutal environment for oil and gas businesses in decades” but insisted: “I am confident that we will come through it.”
    BP’s first-quarter results would be hit by the “significant and growing decline in demand for fuels” due to travel restrictions imposed to try to halt the spread of coronavirus and it also expects to book a $1 billion impairment charge.

    ‘We bailed out the banks, now we need THEIR help’: Business owners’ fury as lenders refuse to hand out government-backed loans – with up to one MILLION small to medium firms facing ruin

  41. 300 years ago, most employment was (in one way or another) concerned with the production of primary energy. (Food)

    In the grand scheme of things, the food producers (the peasants) were considered the lowest of the low, But without them the entire edifice of civilisations could not be sustained.

    The few people otherwise engaged in non-jobs, (eg kings and priests) could be absorbed by the energy surpluses of everybody else. But they were only a very tiny minority.
    The kings and nobility were distinguished by their access to energy surpluses—ie, they had horses and wheels. Everybody else walked.

    Every once in a while, those categories reached a tipping point of excess. There was a revolution and the system reset itself. It always repeated after a few centuries. (maybe less)

    the revolution was unpleasant and shortlived, but necessary.

    Now fast forward to modern times. Suddenly we all have wheels and hundreds of horses available to us

    we have all become accustomed to living like kings—even the mega church priests need private jets to do god’s work.

    understandably, we insist that this goes on—we like our wheels. And our kings and priests tell us it can be so, as long as we keep them in high office. Every politico promises infinite growth in exchange for votes.

    So we find ourselves voting for prosperity.

    We forget that most of us are now engaged in non-jobs. ie—jobs that are not concerned with the production of primary energy. Most of our other employment has been make-believe, entirely dependent on the energy surplus of the minority. (primarily oil)

    But suddenly this framework of make believe has been kicked away by virus-panic. In a matter of days, our fantasy world of employment has gone, and we find ourselves foraging for food. Our prime thinking has been the immediate emergency of finding bread.

    And if you go back 300+ years, that was also the prime concern of our peasant forebears. Full supermarkets did not exist. Finding enough food for the day was part of life’s struggle for the vast majority. There was no cushion against famine or disease.

    This maybe explains where we’re headed, unless our luck changes:

  42. ITEOTWAWKI says:


    Lift quarantine, back to square one, massive amount of people infected, hospitals overrun, people can’t work because they are sick (or dead) or won’t work because they are terrified to catch COVID-19, economy grinds to a halt = Collapse

    Keep quarantine, economy grinds to a halt = Collapse

    Iceland lab’s testing suggests 50% of coronavirus cases have no symptoms:

  43. Yoshua says:

    IMF has received help calls from 80 nations. Nations are now close to falling off the cliff.

    The debt is massive. Dollar reserves are soon gone. Commodity prices have collapsed.

  44. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    This is so easy to see happening soon…global supply chains disrupted, foreign workers not picking up the crops because they are not being admitted in the country where they have to pick up the crops, people unable to work because they are sick….and countries curbing or banning food exports to keep the food for themselves….again for the fast-collapsers on OFW, it is like watching a slow-motion car crash…

    UN warns of global food shortage caused by coronavirus measures: report

    • According to the article:

      Harvests have been good and staple crops remain in demand, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the pandemic and a move towards protectionism — tariffs and export bans — could lead to problems in the coming weeks, Torero said, according to the report.

      “All measures against free trade will be counterproductive. Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world,” Torero added, the news course reported.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Ah yes, the flow of food around the world. A flow from the poor to the rich: to rich people such as Maximo Torero, the author of the article.

  45. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    I’m starting to wonder if we’re all part of some alien geek’s sims game. He is tired of playing the game, so he’s self-destructing everything he built to finish it. Our 200 000 year history as modern humans is actually 2 weeks of game play for the alien. He’s very fickle and has already decided to move on to the next game. We will all die because of this nerd’s fickleness, that little spoiled b astard! I’m a quarter-joking… 😉

    • Xabier says:

      It might indeed be winding-up time for an experiment by some higher power (which would necessarily be beyond our comprehension in motivation and aims).

      If we have souls which are greater in extension than one little life, it is not so terrible after all.

      Even if we don’t, and death is truly final, it is no tragedy.

      We have gone, as a ‘super-organism’, as far as an aggressive emphasis on materialism and intellect will take us within this eco-system – to the point of crashing and poisoning it it completely.

      Some interesting achievements along the way, some very beautiful things created, but now an overwhelming and universal ugliness and sense of futility which any reflective person is aware of and revolted by.

      Maybe we will make room for a new experiment?

      ‘The world is great, and thou art small;

      The world is old, and thou art young:

      Cease, atom of a moment’s span,

      To think thyself an All-in-All!’

      • Dennis L. says:

        With absolutely no sarcasm, this is beginning to sound like the ancients describing the gods playing with their world. Contemporary man saw the world as deterministic and now sees it as a fickle place driven by the whims of a higher being. A bat in a market flapping its metaphorical wings brings the economic miracle to a halt, somewhere is an Edgar Allen Poe to record all this.

        Life is tragedy and comedy.

        Dennis L.

      • Bobby says:

        From an Optimist (LHUA)

        Metamorphosis comes to mind, Imaginal cells undergoing rapid cell division using the non-mitosis fat cells of the caterpillars laval stage as nutrients. This takes place when the organism enters the chrysalis stage, The larval system shuts down and adult systems begin to shape.

        The immune system actually desiccates all old structures except the neural system (consciousness, which is conserved) through this stasis process, as altogether new structures form from scratch and a reproductive system develops.
        If nature has found ways to do this for eons, so humans can reconstruct the economic environment to a better fit at least once.

        World economy, like the chrysalis, is now in a state of solstice, (stand still) would you not aggree, and our defensive reaction to covid19 acts as antagonists to the economic system restarting BAU. Maybe we just need to understand the concept of economy and ecology in context and simply provide a container for it (chrysalis)

        Let homes be the new centre of production, acting as imaginal cells, any diseased systems will fail, only healthy ones form and contribute to the new economy.

        This excerpt from a recent ajahan Sucitto blog drives the message home.

        ‘Maybe rather than return to business as usual, we’ll have to make the economy (from the Greek ‘house management’) fit the ecology (=’house knowledge’). It might be good to really get to know what our house is before we manage it.

    • Malcopian says:

      Yes, last year we had the Year of Fire – both in terms of rioters fire-setting and Mother Earth herself. Now we have this virus, and a new vocabulary of lockdowns, self-isolation, social distancing, etc. All that remains is for the ETs to land. 🙁

    • I wonder what the people reading horoscopes and such for this year say? This is all too bizarre for words.

      • NikoB says:

        Just read JMG’s astrological readings for this year a couple of posts ago. He really got the shi-ts that people wanted to discuss covid more than his horrorscope . to the point he has stopped comments on it. I guess because he didn’t predict it, it is not important. His prediction for this year 2020 was that it would be just like 2019 only a little more difficult. Guess he got that wrong too.
        i predict he will lose a large following very shortly.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Not I. I abandoned his site when he started talking about “Mercury Retrograde”. It has been known since the time of Hipparkhos of Nicaea that the dolphin stars (Mercury and Venus) revolve around the Sun, so their motion is always prograde. An astrologer who doesn’t know that is not merely a charlatan, but an ignorant charlatan.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Is GeeeEETTTA … his daughter? There is a slight resemblance ..

            • Tim Groves says:

              Are you certain that the motion of Mercury and Venus is never retrograde, Robert?

              Isn’t it a fact that their retrograde motions measured from Earth are linked to their inferior conjunctions and so they occur when these planets are on the other side of the sun and therefore invisible to the average naked Druid eye squinting in their direction from Stonehenge?

              But then again, perhaps JMG is keener-eyed and sees farther than the average druid because he stands on the shoulders of giants!


            • Robert Firth says:

              For Tim:

              Actually, that is “superior” conjunction: when the Sun lies between the Earth and the planet. But yes, Mercury and Venus seem to be retrograde when they are further away than the Sun, and hence rapidly sinking into the flames. Mercury, for instance, would appear retrograde for about 22 days of its 88 day orbit, but it is hidden by the Sun for only one of those days, though unobservable due to the glare for about 6 more (three either side). By the way, the real Druids didn’t use astrology; they read nature signs from trees and animals (and the occasional human sacrifice). Understandable, given Britain’s cloudy skies.

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “I guess because he didn’t predict it, it is not important.”

          he made a recent comment:
          “Since so many of us are spending long hours at home these days, waiting for the coronavirus to finish up its fifteen minutes of fame…”

          he wants it to go away and needs it to go away or else his stairstep degrowth theory is wrong…

          and also wrong would be his idea that those predicting catastrophe are always wrong and can’t be right (because those predicting infinite progress can’t be right either)…

          his work is now infected with a terminal illness…

  46. We might have to settle at 30% of what we had in 2019. Pop about 30% of then, or to about 2.4 billion total, and economy will also correct to the optimal level.

  47. Sergey says:

    So we will end up with much more money and much less goods & services. Hyperinflation? Or there must be something to absorb all these printed money. Or even bigger wage disparity?

    • It is not clear to me exactly who ends up with all of the extra money. I don’t think it is necessarily the ones who need it most.

      I am afraid of broken supply lines and banks that fail. Also, countries whose governments that just give up.

      You may have lots of Euros, but discover that goods are only sold in a local currency.

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