Understanding Our Pandemic – Economy Predicament

The world’s number one problem today is that the world’s population is too large for its resource base. Some people have called this situation overshoot. The world economy is ripe for a major change, such as the current pandemic, to bring the situation into balance. The change doesn’t necessarily come from the coronavirus itself. Instead, it is likely to come from the whole chain reaction that has been started by the coronavirus and the response of governments around the world to the coronavirus.

Let me explain more about what is happening.

[1] The world economy is reaching Limits to Growth, as described in the book with a similar title.

One way of seeing the predicament we are in is the modeling of resource consumption and population growth described in the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, by Donella Meadows et al. Its base scenario seems to suggest that the world will reach limits about now. Chart 1 shows the base forecast from that book, together with a line I added giving my impression of where the economy really was in 2019, relative to resource availability.

Figure 1. Base scenario from 1972 Limits to Growth, printed using today’s graphics by Charles Hall and John Day in “Revisiting Limits to Growth After Peak Oil,” with dotted line added corresponding to where the world economy seems to be in 2019.

In 2019, the world economy seemed to be very close to starting a downhill trajectory. Now, it appears to me that we have reached the turning point and are on our way down. The pandemic is the catalyst for this change to a downward trend. It certainly is not the whole cause of the change. If the underlying dynamics had not been in place, the impact of the virus would likely have been much less.

The 1972 model leaves out two important parts of the economy that probably make the downhill trajectory steeper than shown in Figure 1. First, the model leaves out debt and, in fact, the whole financial system. After the 2008 crisis, many people strongly suspected that the financial system would play an important role as we reach the limits of a finite world because debt defaults are likely to disturb the worldwide financial system.

The model also leaves out humans’ continual battle with pathogens. The problem with pathogens becomes greater as world population becomes denser, facilitating transmission. The problem also becomes greater as a larger share of the population becomes more susceptible, either because they are elderly or because they have underlying health conditions that have been hidden by an increasingly complex and expensive medical system.

As a result, we cannot really believe the part of Figure 1 that is after 2020. The future downslopes of population, industrial production per capita, and food per capita all seem likely to be steeper than shown on the chart because both the debt and pathogen problems are likely to increase the speed at which the economy declines.

[2] It is far more than the population that has overshot limits.

The issue isn’t simply that there are too many people relative to resources. The world seems to have

  • Too many shopping malls and stores
  • Too many businesses of all kinds, with many not very profitable for their owners
  • Governments with too extensive programs, which taxpayers cannot really afford
  • Too much debt
  • An unaffordable amount of pension promises
  • Too low interest rates
  • Too many people with low wages or no wages at all
  • Too expensive a healthcare system
  • Too expensive an educational system

The world economy needs to shrink back in many ways at once, simultaneously, to manage within its resource limits. It is not clear how much of an economy (or multiple smaller economies) will be left after this shrinkage occurs.

[3] The economy is in many ways like the human body. In physics terms, both are dissipative structures. They are both self-organizing systems powered by energy (food for humans; a mixture of energy products including oil, coal, natural gas, burned biomass and electricity for the economy).

The human body will try to fix minor problems. For example, if someone’s hand is cut, blood will tend to clot to prevent too much blood loss, and skin will tend to grow to substitute for the missing skin. Similarly, if businesses in an area disappear because of a tornado, the prior owners will either tend to rebuild them or new businesses will tend to come in to replace them, as long as adequate resources are available.

In both systems, there is a point beyond which problems cannot be fixed, however. We know that many people die in car accidents if injuries are too serious, for example. Similarly, the world economy may “collapse” if conditions deviate too far from what is necessary for economic growth to continue. In fact, at this point, the world economy may be so close to the edge with respect to resources, particularly energy resources, that even a minor pandemic could push the world economy into a permanent cycle of contraction.

[4] World governments are in a poor position to fix the current resource and pandemic crisis.

In our networked economy, too low a resource base relative to population manifests itself in a strange way: It appears as an affordability crisis that leads to very low prices for oil. It also appears as terribly low prices for many other commodities, including copper, lithium, coal and even wholesale electricity. These low prices occur because too large a share of the population cannot afford finished goods, such as cars and homes, made with these commodities. Recent shutdowns have suddenly increased the number of people with low income or no income, pushing commodity prices even lower.

If resources were more plentiful and very inexpensive to produce, as they were 50 or 70 years ago, wages of workers could be much higher, relative to the cost of resources. Factory workers would be able to afford to buy vehicles, for example, and thus help keep the demand for automobiles up. If we look more deeply into this, we find that energy resources of many kinds (fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, burned biomass and other renewable energy) must be extraordinarily cheap and abundant to keep the system growing. Without “surplus energy” from many sources, which grows with population, the whole system tends to collapse.

World governments cannot print resources. What they can print is debt. Debt can be viewed as a promise of future goods and services, whether or not it is reasonable to believe that these future goods and services will actually materialize, given resource constraints.

We are finding that using shutdowns to solve COVID-19 problems causes a huge amount of economic damage. The cost of mitigating this damage seems to be unreasonably high. For example, in the United States, antibody studies suggest that roughly 5% of the population has been infected with COVID-19. The total number of deaths associated with this 5% infection level is perhaps 100,000, assuming that reported deaths to date (about 80,000) need to be increased somewhat, to match the approximately 5% of the population that has, knowingly or unknowingly, already experienced the infection.

If we estimate that the mean number of years of life lost is 13 years per person, then the total years of life lost would be about 1,300,000. If we estimate that the US treasury needed to borrow $3 trillion dollars to mitigate this damage, the cost per year of life lost is $3 trillion divided by 1.3 million, or $2.3 million per year of life lost. This amount is utterly absurd.

This approach is clearly not something the United States can scale up, as the share of the population affected by COVID-19 relentlessly rises from 5% to something like 70% or 80%, in the absence of a vaccine. We have no choice but to use a different approach.

[5] COVID-19 would have the least impact on the world economy if people could pay little attention to the pandemic and just “let it run.” Of course, even without mitigation attempts, COVID-19 might bring the world economy down, given the distressed level of today’s economy and the shutdowns experienced to date.

Shutting down an economy has a huge adverse impact on that economy because quite a few workers who are in good health are no longer able to make goods and services. As a result, they have no wages, so their “demand” goes way down. If the economy was already having an affordability crisis for goods made with commodities, shutting down the economy tends to greatly add to the affordability crisis. Prices of commodities tend to fall even lower than they were before the crisis.

Back in 1957-1958, the Asian pandemic, which also started in China, hit the world. The number of deaths was up in the range of the current pandemic, relative to population. The estimated worldwide death rate was 0.67%.  This is not too dissimilar from a death rate of 0.61% for COVID-19, which can be calculated using my estimate above (100,000 deaths relative to 5% of the US population of 33o million).

Virtually nothing was shut down in the US for the 1957-58 pandemic. When doctors or nurses became sick themselves, wards were simply closed. Would-be patients were told to stay at home and take aspirin, unless a severe case developed. With this approach, the US still faced a short recession, but the economy was soon growing again. Populations seemed to reach herd immunity quite quickly.

If the world could somehow have adopted a similar approach this time, there still would have been some adverse impact on the economy. A small percentage of the population would have died. Some businesses might have needed to be closed for a short time when too many workers were out sick. But the huge burden of job loss by a substantial share of the economy could have been avoided. The economy would have had at least a small chance of rebounding quickly.

[6] The virus that causes COVID-19 looks a great deal like a laboratory cross between SARS and HIV, making the likelihood of a quick vaccine low.

In fact, Professor Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus and winner of a Nobel Prize in Medicine, claims that the new coronavirus is the result of an attempt to manufacture a vaccine against the AIDS virus. He believes that the accidental release of this virus is what is causing today’s pandemic.

If COVID-19 were simply another influenza virus, similar to many we have seen, then getting a vaccine that would work passably well would be a relatively easy exercise. At least one of the vaccine trials that have been started could be reasonably expected to work, and a solution would not be far away.

Unfortunately, SARS and HIV are fairly different from influenza viruses. We have never found a vaccine for either one. If a person has had SARS once, and is later exposed to a slightly mutated version of SARS, the symptoms of the second infection seem to be worse than the first. This characteristic interferes with finding a suitable vaccine. We don’t know whether the virus causing COVID-19 will have a similar characteristic.

We know that scientists from a number of countries have been working on so-called “gain of function” experiments with viruses. These very risky experiments are aimed at making viruses either more virulent, or more transmissible, or both. In fact, experiments were going on in Wuhan, in two different laboratories, with viruses that seem to be not too different from the virus causing COVID-19.

We don’t know for certain whether there was an accident that caused the release of one of these gain of function viruses in Wuhan. We do know, however, that China has been doing a lot of cover-up activity to deter others from finding out what actually happened in Wuhan.

We also know that Dr. Fauci, a well-known COVID-19 advisor, had his hand in this Chinese research activity. Fauci’s organization, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, provided partial funding for the gain of function experiments on bat coronaviruses in Wuhan. While the intent of the experiments seems to have been for the good of mankind, it would seem that Dr. Fauci’s judgment erred in the direction of allowing too much risk for the world’s population.

[7] We are probably kidding ourselves about ever being able to contain the virus that causes COVID-19. 

We are gradually learning that the virus causing COVID-19 is easily spread, even by people who do not show any symptoms of the disease. The virus can spread long distances through the air. Tests to see if people are ill tend to produce a lot of false negatives; because of this, it is close to impossible to know whether a particular person has the illness or not.

China is finding that it cannot really contain the virus that causes COVID-19. A recent South China Morning Post article indicates that roughly 14 million people are to be tested in the Wuhan area in the next ten days to try to control a new outbreak of the virus.

It is becoming clear, as well, that even within China, the lockdowns have had a very negative impact on the economy. The Wall Street Journal reports, China Economic Data Indicate V-Shaped Recovery Is Unlikely. Supply chains were broken; wholesale commodity prices (excluding food) have tended to fall. Joblessness is increasingly a problem.

[8] If we look at deaths per million by country, it is difficult to see that lockdowns are very helpful in reducing the spread of disease. Masks seem to be more beneficial.

If we compare death rates for mask-wearing East Asian countries to death rates elsewhere, we see that death rates in mask-wearing East Asian countries are dramatically lower.

Figure 2. Death rates per million population of selected countries with long-term exposure to the virus causing COVID-19, based on Johns Hopkins death data as of May 11, 2020.

Looking at the chart, a person almost wonders whether lockdowns are a response to requests from citizens to “do something” in response to an already evident surge in cases. The countries known for their severe lockdowns are at the top of the chart, not the bottom.

In fact, a preprint academic paper by Thomas Meunier is titled, “Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic.” The abstract says, “Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, or reproduction number trends.  .  . We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures (as opposed to police-enforced home containment) experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic.”

It appears to me that lockdowns have been popular with governments around the world for a whole host of reasons that have little to do with the spread of COVID-19:

  • Lockdowns give an excuse for closing borders to visitors and goods from outside. This was a direction in which many countries were already headed, in an attempt to raise the wages of local workers.
  • Lockdowns can be used to hide the fact that factories need to be closed because of breaks in supply lines elsewhere in the world.
  • Many countries have been faced with governmental protests because of low wages compared to the prices of basic services. Lockdowns tend to keep protesters inside.
  • Lockdowns give the appearance of protecting the elderly. Since there are many elderly voters, politicians need to court these voters.

[9] A person wonders whether Dr. Fauci and members of the World Health Organization are influenced by the wishes of vaccine and big pharmaceutical companies.

The recommendation to try to “flatten the curve” is, in part, an attempt to give vaccine and pharmaceutical makers more time to work on their products. Is this really the best recommendation? Perhaps I am being overly suspicious, but we recently have been dealing with an opioid epidemic which was encouraged by manufacturers of Oxycontin and other opioids. We don’t need another similar experience, this time sponsored by vaccine and other pharmaceutical makers.

The temptation of researchers is to choose solutions that would be best from the point of their own business interests. If a researcher gets much of his funding from vaccine and big pharmaceutical interests, the temptation will be to “push” solutions that are beneficial to these interests. In some cases, researchers are able to patent approaches, even when the research is paid for by governmental grants. In this case they can directly benefit from a new vaccine or drug.

When potential solutions are discussed by Dr. Fauci and the World Health Organization, no one brings up improving people’s immunity so that they can better fight off the novel coronavirus. Few bring up masks. Instead, we keep being warned about “opening up too soon.” In a way, this sounds like, “Please leave us lots of customers who might be willing to pay a high price for our vaccine.”

[10] One way the combination of (a) the activity of the virus and (b) our responses to the virus may play out is as a slow-motion, controlled demolition of the world economy. 

I think of what we are experiencing as being somewhat similar to a toggle bolt going around and around, moving down a screw. As the toggle bolt moves around, I picture it as being similar to the virus and our responses to the viruses hitting different parts of the world economy.

Figure 3. Image of how the author sees COVID-19 as being able to hit the economy multiple times, in multiple ways, as its impact keeps impacting different parts of the world.

If we look back, the virus and reactions to the virus first hit China. China’s recovery is moving slowly, in part because of reduced demand from outside of China now that the virus is hitting other parts of the world. In fact, additional layoffs occurred after Chinese shutdowns ended, because it then became clear that some employers needed to permanently scale back operations to meet the new lower demand for their product.

Commodity prices, including oil prices, are now depressed because of low demand around the world. These low prices can be expected to gradually lead to closures of wells and mines extracting these commodities. Processing centers will also close, making these commodities less available even if demand temporarily rises.

As one country is hit by illnesses and/or shutdowns, we can expect supply lines for manufacturing around the world to be disrupted. This will lead to yet more business closures, some of them permanent. Debt defaults tend to happen as businesses close and layoffs occur.

With all of the layoffs, governments will find that their tax collections are lower. The resulting governmental funding issues can be expected to lead to new rounds of layoffs.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and forest fires can be expected to continue to happen. Social distancing requirements, inadequate tax revenue and broken supply lines will make mitigation of all of these disasters more difficult. Electrical lines that fall down may stay down permanently; bridges that are damaged may never be repaired.

Initially, rich countries can be expected to try to help as many laid-off workers as possible with loans and temporary stipends. But, after a few months, even with this approach, many individual citizens and businesses will likely not be able to pay their rent. Default rates on home mortgages and auto loans can be expected to rise for a similar reason.

We can expect to see round after round of business failures and layoffs of employees. Financial systems will become more and more stressed. Pensions are likely to default. Death rates will rise, in part from epidemics of various kinds and in part from growing problems with starvation. In fact, in some poor countries, lower-income citizens are already having difficulty being able to afford adequate food. Eventually we can expect collapsing governments (similar to the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union) and overthrown governments.

Longer-term, after this demolition ends, there may be some surviving pieces of economies. These new economies will be much smaller and less dependent upon each other, however. Currencies are likely to be less interchangeable. The remaining people will need to learn to make do with many fewer goods than are available today. It will be a very different world.

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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3,868 Responses to Understanding Our Pandemic – Economy Predicament

  1. fred_goes_bush says:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    . . .
    And you, my father, there on that sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    —-
    No we certainly don’t go gentle into that good night. Paul Chefurka http://www.paulchefurka.ca asserts it’s thermodynamically programmed into our genes.

    How about “Hell, Fire & Damnation” – a beautiful piece by Jocelyn Pook from Eyes Wide Shut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QEG2Mk184A

  2. frankly step-by-step says:

    Chlordioxidsolution – second

    This time a link to freizahn.
    Behind it hides a dentist who practices in western Germany, in the low mountain range of the Eifel, near the former Nürburgring Formula 1 race track. In a small place called Kelberg.
    Very down to earth, the people there. For some city dwellers, backwoods too.
    Which certainly cannot be said of Christoph Becker, the real name of the dentist. Although some of his views seem very strange to me. But that can also be said by some here on OFW.
    And he is certainly not a charlatan. Just like Andreas Kalcker is not a snake oil salesman, as it is perfidiously and incorrectly suggests in the Chrome Mags post from May 21, 2020 at 2.21. For all those who have not yet seen Andreas Kalcker’s video, the link again.
    I am convinced that the medical use of CDS – administered orally and intravenously – will herald a revolutionary development in medicine in this century.
    https://lbry.tv/@Kalcker:7/100-Recovered-Aememi-1:7

    The text by Christoph Becker is in German. The translation from google is quite acceptable. I have attached the link for this.
    Pintada also receives an answer to the dangerousness of CDS.
    https://www.freizahn.de/2020/04/zwei-bleichmittel-und-die-coronakrise/
    https://translate.google.de/?hl=de&tab=wT

  3. MG says:

    The golden era of the nuclear power plants coming online in the 70-80s in Slovakia:

    • MG says:

      And todays elderly having fun remembering the old golden times:

      • MG says:

        And what about the Slovaks in the USA?

        The lonely homosexual Andy Warhol then and the tatto art lesbian now:

        https://scene360.com/art/119485/ivana-belakova-tattoo/

        This was my distant relative from my mothers side:

        http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Bistricky_Frederick_J.htm

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        MG, Thanks I love Polka

        English Version for Fast Eddie…Hot

        • MG says:

          The music of this kind of accordion is very popular in my area of Slovakia: a lots of festivals where such music is played. My elderly mother still plays such kind of accordion from time to time.

          https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=heligonka

          • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

            Thanks MG! Slovaks like to PARTY….
            Even though this group is from nearby region, it’s my favorite get up and good time music with the two pretty ladies….
            Atomik Harmonik is a turbo-folk music group from Kamnik, Slovenia. Their debut single “Brizgalna Brizga” stayed at #1 in the Slovenian pop charts for several months.
            Here is a good one in their native tongue….me likes😳👍

            Atomik Harmonik is a turbo-folk music group from Kamnik, Slovenia. Their debut single “Brizgalna Brizga” stayed at #1 in the Slovenian pop charts for several months

            They’ve been around since 2004 and been with different members…
            Great sound…my Dad also played it too!😜

            • MG says:

              This type of accordion seems to be quite popular in the moutaineous parts of the Central Europe, namely Austria, Slovenia, Bavaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

        • psile says:

          Sweet. I love polkas!

      • MG says:

        The shortage of goods in Czechoslovakia, which was the industrial center of the Eastern Europe, in 1988 signalling the collapse of the Soviet bloc (with English subtitles):

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Why we might not get a coronavirus vaccine
    Politicians have become more cautious about immunisation prospects. They are right to be…

    “So, is the virus here to stay? The simple answer is: yes.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/22/why-we-might-not-get-a-coronavirus-vaccine?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVS19XZWVrZW5kLTIwMDUyMw%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTUK_email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&fbclid=IwAR1yJAqEmbpQ1zFk3xAszWnrgDUZWDXEXR2qYPppwvJK_EFbAV-2iI43y6w

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Deflationary Spiral…

    “Such is the biggest problem for the Fed and one that monetary policy cannot fix. Deflationary “psychology” is a very hard cycle to break, and one the Fed has been clearly fearful of over the last decade.

    “For the last four decades is every time monetary policy tightens, it has led to an economic slowdown, or worse. The reason is that a heavily debt-burdened economy can’t support higher rates.

    “The relevance of debt growth versus economic growth is all too evident. Over the last decade, it has taken an ever-increasing amount of debt to generate $1 of economic growth.

    “In other words, without debt, there has been no organic economic growth.

    “Running ongoing budget deficits that fund unproductive growth is not economically sustainable long-term.

    “While it may appear such accommodative policies aid in economic stabilization, yet it was lower interest rates increasing the use of leverage. The consequence was the erosion of economic growth and deflation as dollars were diverted from productive investment into debt service.

    “Unfortunately, the Fed has no other options.”

    https://econintersect.com/pages/analysis/analysis.php?post=202005230402

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Given the squeeze on revenue streams, households have instead been covering fixed costs like rent and food. As a result, sectoral inflation has occurred. Prices for “food at home” shot up by 4 percent in April compared to a year prior. But this is largely unrelated to the stimulus. A combination of shut-downs and consumer stockpiling have outpaced rigid supply chains.

      “Moreover, increasing unemployment negates headline inflationary pressures. US unemployment has hit a postwar high of 14.7 percent, and will almost certainly increase. With less people spending, prices tend to fall. The savings rate has also increased from 8 percent in February to 13.1 percent in March, the highest since November 1981. If this trend persists, so too will the deflationary spiral.”

      https://globalriskinsights.com/2020/05/us-inflationary-pressures-are-highly-unlikely/

    • Xabier says:

      They talk glibly about ‘productive investment’, as opposed to sterile debt-servicing, but in reality that has always meant the desecration of the Earth and the extraction and consumption of resources on an ever greater scale and with an utter lack of foresight.

      The days of productive investment in the classic economic sense are clearly fast drawing to a close.

      There is nothing ahead of our system except the terrible void.

    • Robert Firth says:

      The Fed has one other option: sovereign default, abandoning the dollar as a global currency, and a return to the Gold Standard. It worked for Germany in 1923.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        I’m not sure that would be advisable. It would cause total panic in the markets and interest rates would spike. It would be the end of our financial system as we know it.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thank you, Henry. Yes, my comment was extreme by today’s standards, even though it reflects a couple of thousand years of history. But consider this: the present financial system is finished anyway, so does the Fed go down with the Titanic or jump into a lifeboat? We can guess the answer: they will keep rearranging the deck chairs.

          • Matthew Krajcik says:

            Bretton Woods III. New world financial system, possibly HyperLedger. Depends on if we can get a peaceful resolution with China or WW3.

            • JesseJames says:

              Regardless of any “new” Breton Woods agreement, producing nations will no longer want to be saddled with fake money from consuming nations. A new order demanding some form of real wealth will emerge eventually. My bet is the US will use food for trade.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            I’m not convinced there is a lifeboat, Robert, what with the system being so networked and globalised. A default by the US could be akin to it gouging an additional hole in the hull.

            This hints at the level of potential chaos:

            “[In 1979] the US Treasury inadvertently defaulted on $122m, because of what it said was a word processing error.

            “Although the error was quickly fixed, and even though $122m was a tiny fraction of the $800bn in debt that the Treasury had at the time, a study found that the mini-default raised the cost of borrowing by 0.6%, or $6bn a year.”

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24453400

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As the economic carnage from the coronavirus pandemic continues, a long-forbidden word is starting to creep onto people’s lips: “depression”…

    “The economic damage from the coronavirus, however, threatens to dwarf the 2008 downturn.”

    https://www.straitstimes.com/business/invest/the-d-word-looking-more-inevitable

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Living Through 5 Economic Resets; How Life Prepared Me For The Pandemic…

    “Economic Reset #1 – The 1991 Collapse Of Soviet Communism:

    “In 1991 I lived in a small northern Russian town, not too far from Finland. It was full of engineers that serviced a nuclear power plant. When communism fell the economic turmoil was devastating – almost everyone lost the opportunity to earn real money.

    “Many people simply gave up.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliakarayaneva/2020/05/22/economic-resets-how-life-prepared-me-for-pandemic/#5bb9fc24391c

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Another piece to add to the CDP … take away the opportunity to work and make money .. and people just throw in the towel… they welcome starvation

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        I’ll be more inclined to take the notion of CDP seriously if I start seeing or hearing of material preparations for a semi-collapsed BAU Lite scenario, ie…

        …the importation and stockpiling of resources that will be harder or even impossible to import in a situation of atrophying supply-chains; the re-localisation of essential manufacturing and food production processes; the decommissioning of nuclear power-plants; a push to get populaces ‘digging for victory’ and growing their own food where possible; multiple nations following Spain’s example and introducing UBI’s etc.

        Ironically I would welcome all these developments, even if it means Melinda Gates holding me down with her powerful forearms in the shadow of a 5G mast whilst a cackling Bill Gates injects me with goodness knows what.

        • Kim says:

          “I’ll be more inclined to take the notion of CDP seriously if I start seeing or hearing of material preparations for a semi-collapsed BAU Lite scenario, ie…”

          Why would you expect these things? They would interfere with demoralization and depopulation. Positive actions that involve self-help, community-building and self-determination are the exact opposite of what the PTB want for the USA and Europe: despair and hopelesness. As for introducing more dependency and control through UBI, it would appear that the US is moving very nicely in that direction.

          And as for the metaphor (mockery) of people being “held down” to receive Bill Gates’ “goodness knows what” vaccine, isn’t that precisely what is going to happen? Will we be permitted to pass international borders without our stamped health book? I very much doubt it. Rather, we will indeed be forced to submit to it. And indeed as you say, “goodness know what” will be in “the vaccine” as it couldn’t possible be a cure for a corona virus because no such thing exists or will ever exist. So why are we going to be “held down” and forced to take it?

          • Rodster says:

            “Why would you expect these things? They would interfere with demoralization and depopulation. Positive actions that involve self-help, community-building and self-determination are the exact opposite of what the PTB want for the USA and Europe: despair and hopelesness.”

            Exactly !

            That’s the M.O. of any Centralized Gov’t. The more chaos they create and you don’t realize it was them who did it or they pulled an Edward Bernays on you and you bought into the PR and Spin then you will look to them for the solution. This is always their wildcard in their playbook or as Emanuel Rahm once said.

            “Never let a serious crisis go to waste”.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            “Why would you expect these things?”

            Because if we accept FE’s premise that the global economy was headed for total collapse this year then building some local resilience into the system is the only way that you could conceivably maintain some functionality and prevent everyone not in a well-stocked bunker from dying pretty much immediately of starvation, violence, radiation poisoning etc.

            Otherwise, why not just let collapse follow its natural course?

            • Harry McGibbs says:

              Or, to put it another way, what I am seeing with this virus is another huge problem added to an already struggling global economy and governments around the world doing everything they can to keep the system afloat.

              What I am not seeing is any evidence of a *controlled* demolition or managed descent.

            • Matthew Krajcik says:

              Looks like we are well on our way to cutting oil consumption in half, with relatively minimal death and chaos. This is likely the first leg down, it is not going to be a sudden plunge to zero. Victory Gardens will be a Spring 2021 program, I think. Along with relocating people from large cities out to ghost towns.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Harry – the major economies are all paying 80% of wages up to a limit. That does sound like it was discussed… and is a plan.

              Imagine what would happen if those wage subsidies were terminated today.

              The PTB have orchestrated an incredibly soft landing from Full Steam Ahead to Floating Dead in the Water.

              If not for their superb throttle control we’d have slammed into the brick wall.

              From what I can see they have managed this incredibly well. Who would have thought we could still be alive with hotels, airlines, auto manufacturers etc… operating at less than 5% of their normal capacity….

            • Lidia17 says:

              Harry, it think it might be controlled from “their” point of view, not from ours.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Do cattle realize they are being controlled.. or is this just their normal…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Refining the CDP…

              If you think nynewunwun was not a false flag … stop reading now … put your head in a bucket of water and breath till you drown ….

              For everyone else….

              I understand that Fauci has discovered the the CDC site recommends face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid. Wow. And he just graduated from primary school…. of course he knew that face coverings are a great idea…

              So why is he only getting around to recommending them now????

              This ties in with the drum beat of headlines ‘BEWARE THE SECOND WAVE’

              The masks are a fabulous reminder that we need to stay scared …. the second wave is coming for us… oh look — see — second wave in Hokkaido!!! Over there in China…. OMD … Stay Safe.. Be Vigilant. Keep your Distance.

              How is this like n11…. Covid is n11… a false flag …n11 created fear of terrorists around every corner… and it provided cover for endless wars to secure resources so that we could continue to Live Large…

              Covid is the excuse to flood the planet with end of days level stimulus … while smashing the global economy to dramatically reduce our resource burn rate — because shale was no longer feasible (Big Oil losing their shirts there… major fields peaking… sweet spots sucked dry)….

              Let’s bring fear into the equation — everyone is talking about a V recovery — the PTB do not want a V — any attempt to return to normal would drive the price of oil through the roof…

              They have made certain that a V recovery is not possible because they have eviscerated the global economy … huge numbers of businesses are permanently out of business now.

              What remains will be forcibly operated in first gear going forward… how do you get people to buy into that? You keep the threatening headlines in the news… you create a symbol of fear … The Mask…. to remind everyone that we are in this together — we will stay safe by following the rules…

              And nobody will get uppity about not returning to normal… they’ll be ok with 1/4 or 1/2 of normal… because the Plague is always there…

              Note the headlines ‘Covid will be with us Forever’…

              Of course this is not something that is sustainable … I still think they will try to get us to lockdown when see that the End Game is imminent … and starve us… but I see the primary motive here being to throttle down to BAU Lite… conserve what’s left… and do whatever it takes to prolong our time in Purgatory.

            • Xabier says:

              The global economy was demonstrably heading for recession, probably quite severe, in 2020, but not collapse -just yet.

              Governments everywhere are quite clearly panicking now they can see what damage they have inflicted to supply-chains and demand with a mere 2 months of lock-downs.

              I suppose we may compare economies to severe COVID patients themselves, who, even though discharged and off the ventilator, have severe organ damage and muscle attrition which will remain with them for what remains of life.

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Scenic World is one of thousands of tourism businesses that have shut their doors in a sector that contributed A$61bn ($40bn) to the Australian economy last year. A third of people working in accommodation and food services have already lost their jobs due to the government’s policy of putting businesses into “hibernation” following the coronavirus outbreak.

    “And even as Canberra begins to lift elements of its lockdown, following its success in reducing the rate of new infections to just a handful per day, some businesses will struggle to reopen as tourist travel bans threaten to kill demand for months and possibly years to come.

    “Australia – dubbed the “lucky country” – has produced a record of uninterrupted economic growth that is unprecedented among developed nations. But economists forecast the pandemic will do what no crisis has done in three decades: plunge Australia’s economy into recession.”

    https://au.finance.yahoo.com/m/8f187081-50a2-3ace-8e73-df667ecc664d/australia%3A-has-the-%E2%80%98lucky.html

  9. psile says:

    From blue pill land. A slight V-shaped recovery, in 1-2 years!

    This could go down as one of the shortest recessions in history: Economist

    Another 2.438 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 16. Michael Darda, MKM Partners Chief Economist, and Market Strategist joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move to weigh in on the latest jobless report and escalating tensions between the U.S. and China.

    • It is amazing the garbage that is spewed forth.

      • psile says:

        Paid garbage at that. Apparently the number of jobs for corporate lobbyists actually increased in the last few months. Big company and large shareholders have been using the stock market rally to sell to retail traders, who’ll be left holding the bag, when the bottom falls through. In the meantime, the little fish are being swept into the net with a constant stream of rubbish llike this.

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