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. Yoshua says:

    Xi ordered the economy to reopen. After that people just stopped dying and the virus disappeared.

    In the U.S the Fed has pumped in trillions of dollars into the treasury and the banks. Corporations have been bailed out and people have received a payed vacation.

    It doesn’t look like the U.S and China will take part in the collapse…other nations might have to do the collapsing part.

    • Xi also ordered what would be reported to the world about COVID-19. It is sort of difficult to trust China’s reports. It doesn’t look like Wuhan has gotten its traffic moving again, either.

      • Yoshua says:

        What happened to testing everyone in Wuhan?

        A leaked report showed that 10 percent of the tests came in positive and the tests were then cancelled.

        China did a new lockdown of 100 million people, while they reported only one new case in the whole of China. A bit over ambitious to do?

        The virus is probably live and well in China.

        • Do you have a link to your leaked report? I found this news item:

          https://www.caixinglobal.com/2020-05-26/mass-testing-finds-more-than-200-asymptomatic-covid-19-cases-in-wuhan-101559009.html

          Update: Mass Testing in Wuhan Uncovers Over 200 Asymptomatic Covid-19 Cases

          . . . the so-called “mixed testing” approach that has allowed authorities to test on a mass scale in Wuhan has drawn questions about the efficiency of identifying infected cases.

          Under the approach, up to 20 samples gathered by nose or throat swab will be mixed together. If the mixed sample tests positive, then each one of the 20 people will be retested individually to identify which were infected.

          Another issue with the mixed testing approach is that the concentration of the sample would be diluted, which could hurt the accuracy of the results.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Or maybe China is playing along with the CDP … and Wuhan was staged/exaggerated like NYC?

          I have wondered why — given Covid struck just prior to Chinese New Year when hundreds of millions of people are on the move in China — the entire country did not get ‘Wuhanned’

          I know people in Shanghai …. and it didn’t happen ….

          And why is only NYC ‘overwhelmed’ … and why are Bali and Ethiopia not… actually I don’t know of any other cities that are overwhelmed… only Wuhan… NYC…. oh and London (I guess…) – so they say….

          Maybe CBS only has so many camera crews to go around faking Covid queues?

          • Matthew Krajcik says:

            NYC and London have the subways. Wuhan is the train and plane hub that connects all of China, and China to much of the rest of the world. But also, in New York State they sent sick people into the nursing homes to recover, to free up hospital beds. This lead to thousands of people over 80 dying.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The villages in Italy that were ‘overwhelmed’ have no subways.

              Hong Kong and Tokyo have massive subways… so do many other cities in Japan.

            • Matthew Krajcik says:

              Early on when they only had a few hundred infected in Japan, you can see that already half the people were wearing masks:

              When they declared a state of emergency, people really cut back on riding the subway:

            • Fast Eddy says:

              So why do you think it is that G3T says masks ‘do more harm than good’… why did not and do not all governments mandate face coverings?

              Let’s analyse:

              1. Face coverings are good and we have Hong Kong as the prime example + the CDC says they are good https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-faq.html

              2. Governments knew this yet they have not recommended face coverings

              3. Governments instead preferred to lock down.

              4. Governments know that lockdowns smash their economies resulting in epic bankruptcies, unemployment, and suffering.

              5. Governments know that it is impossible to eliminate a virus globally using lockdowns so even if they can eliminate it in their country they must close their borders until all countries eliminate it. This would take a long time – meanwhile the economy implodes.

              6. Why did governments ignore CDC protocols and lockdown instead of following the HK Model (actually the HK Model was not mandated by the govt – the people just put masks on)….

              7. One must conclude — governments wanted to smash their economies. They must have some reason(s) for smashing their economies. They must have some reason(s) for restricting the movement of their citizens.

              CDP.

            • Matthew Krajcik says:

              “4. Governments know that lockdowns smash their economies resulting in epic bankruptcies, unemployment, and suffering.”

              You really think Jacinda and Justin, et al are that informed? If your CDP exists, the insiders is a very small group pulling the strings from behind the scenes, while the vast majority of politicians and bureaucrats have no idea what is going on.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Tokyo 292 deaths. 10M people

              Hong Kong 4 deaths. 8M people

            • Tim Groves says:

              Matthew, Shanghai also has a huge subway system, as does Beijing, and Shanghai has a population of over 24 million and is a far bigger international hub than Wuhan.

              So I think we must look elsewhere for answers to why so many died in Wuhan and so few in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing from this oh so deadly and oh so contagious virus.

              Don’t you agree? And if not, please tell me what I’m missing.

            • Matthew Krajcik says:

              For Wuhan, the first obvious answer is that far more people were infected, probably in the hundreds of thousands. Second, they clearly did a lot of experiments trying any medicine they could think of and report back the results, so a lot of early patients likely died from the cure rather than the disease, especially the ones in their 30s and 40s.

              They very aggressively fought to contain the virus from breaking out anywhere else in China, with masks, temperature checks, etc. Anyone who had travelled from Wuhan was isolated. A guy from the propaganda department in Shanghai welded a Wuhan person into his house for 3 days, and the video of that terrified everyone into obeying the quarantine rules.

              On top of all that, it is estimated that 100 million people in China have lung diseases from all the air pollution, and with all the smog they likely have some vitamin D deficiency, particularly in January.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Infected people were ordered into care homes in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, even though a blind man and a fool could have predicted the result would be a huge death toll. (1) Older people tend to vote Republican; (2) the governors of those states are Democrats; (3) the shortest distance between two dots is a straight line.

            • Ed says:

              Robert, you have it. It is about the November election. Dems killing Repubs is what US society has devolved to.

          • Yoshua says:

            Maybe. It’s hard to make sense of world today.

          • Kim says:

            https://www.citizenfreepress.com/breaking/katy-tur-hilarious-fail/

            In this live news report, the media are lambasting the public for going out without wearing face masks…until a member of the public points out that neither is the meda camera man wearing one.

            Fake news, consciously fake, as reporters report what they are told to report, 24/7/365…

            • Jarle says:

              That’s my MSM!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Hey Kim…. what’s your best black joke? Come on mate…. you must have a bag full of them no???

              Kim the Korean Racist. Remember the LA Riots… they went after the Koreans pretty hard didn’t they… you know why? Because Koreans often displayed racist attitudes towards blacks…

              You know how when you mean someone you can usually tell if they don’t like you? Even though you have done nothing to them? That’s how the black people feel about a lot of Koreans.

              And then they come looking for payback

              I can see how you might harbour a fair bit of resentment … then there’s that issue of the girl running off… bugs you don’t it? Move on Kim… move on….

            • Robert Firth says:

              Fast Eddy, I lived in the US during those riots. The blacks envied the Koreans not because they were racist, but because they were successful. Asian values, it is called. They were also called racist because they stopped black shoplifters but didn’t stop white non shoplifters. And then during the riots the Koreans defended their lives, families, homes and livelihoods with lethal force. Good for them.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Do you have black friends? I have many. They are all highly educated with high paying jobs.

              They fear the police. They all work in HK. They all fear losing their jobs and having to move back to America.

              The swim team still had hours to go on a dark Illinois highway when the bus pulled into a rest stop parking lot, and Jaylan Butler and his teammates filed out to relieve their tired bones.

              Butler, then a 19-year-old freshman, took the opportunity for a selfie at a nearby sign — the perfect social media fodder to show parents and fans of Eastern Illinois University following their long journey home from a regional swim competition in South Dakota in February 2019.

              What happened next, as recounted in a lawsuit, was a blur of flashing police lights and screaming officers who seemed to materialize from thin air before Butler could return to the bus. They ordered Butler to lie on the ground and tapped his forehead with a cold gun barrel.

              “If you keep moving, I’m going to blow your f—ing head off,” an officer warned Butler, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last month, which alleges that officers from three agencies violated the student’s civil rights when they mistakenly detained him while looking for someone else.

              Butler, now 20, did not resist that night off a northern Illinois highway near East Moline, according to the suit. He had internalized his father’s lessons from “the talk” — the anguishing family advice that many black parents pass on to their children on how to navigate police stops, the suit says.

              As soon as he saw the officers pull up, he put his hands in the air, let go of his cellphone and dropped to his knees, said Rachel Murphy, one of his attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which filed the suit.

              Todd Slingerland, the driver, said there was police activity a couple miles from the rest stop. Then a police cruiser rounded a hairpin turn and rushed toward the bus. “When I saw the cars screaming in, I knew something was going down that shouldn’t have gone down,” he told The Post on Saturday.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/02/15/jaylan-butler-aclu-lawsuit/

              I also have done business with Koreans. I’ve never seen one of them smile. Never. I have had multiple Korean girlfriends (flight attendants from Korea). They HATE Korean men. From my experience with them, it’s not hard to understand.

              I had a Korean American flatmate — he hated his father – who was born in Korea. Let’s put it this way, most Korean men are not very pleasant to deal with. And that’s not racist – Korean is not a race. It’s just the way they are

              That’s why they got their heads smashed in.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Having ‘The Talk’: Expert Guidance On Preparing Kids For Police Interactions

              The 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald — the black teen shot 16 times by a white police officer — put a spotlight on the troubled relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the city’s black communities.

              For questioner Mark Mesle, it inspired discussions about how kids should handle themselves when interacting with law enforcement and how parents of different races and backgrounds might prepare their children for those interactions. Mark noticed while his white friends didn’t feel compelled to talk with their kids about such interactions, his black friends and coworkers saw this guidance as a necessary part of parenting.

              So he asked Curious City if anybody has reported on the disparity between white and black conversations about handling yourself if the police stop you, or conducted a survey about how Chicagoans talk to their families about police based on race.

              The answer to that question is no — there are no formal studies that quantify the differences in how these talks go among people with different racial backgrounds. But we know anecdotally (and through our own informal survey) that black parents are much more likely to have that discussion with their children, and that’s because the stakes for those families are different. Black parents are more likely to fear for their kids’ safety.

              For these younger children, Clark says books like Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice can help start the conversation.

              Published by the American Psychological Association, the story follows two families — one white and one black — as they discuss a police shooting of a black man in their community.

              https://www.npr.org/local/309/2019/08/27/754459083/having-the-talk-expert-guidance-on-preparing-kids-for-police-interactions

          • avocado says:

            We should add Madrid, Milano, possibly Moscow, Guayaquil and Sao Paulo

            But yes, Thailand is fine and seems to be headed for a pleasant journey…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Ethiopia has allowed flights from Wuhan throughout …

              6 Deaths. Read that again 6 as in SIX DEATHS from Covid.

              Bali allowed China flights including Wuhan well into March

              4 Deaths. FOUR.

              Did I mention I called Sanglah Hospital in Bali a week or so back ‘not many Covid patients here’ Then the guys asked who I was and why I was asking saying he is not allowed to speak about this.

              Bizarre no?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Why don’t you try calling some hospitals in those places to get real information.

              Did I mention I called Elmherst in NYC — ‘the patient volumes in the ER are normal for this time of year — we were very busy last week (when the NYT was there)’ …. one has to wonder if that was staged … as in all Covids were dropped at Elmherst that day.

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/06/cbs-news-edits-testing-story-after-project-veritas-exposes-clinics-line-stuffing-ploy/

              Once an SDR … always

            • avocado says:

              What’s sdr?

              I have some relatives in Spain and England that personally knew people dying of covid, one of them a 50 years old guy. So I understand some concerns, but I still think they’re exagerated and misguided

          • Jarle says:

            Meanwhile in Norway, the tale of the killer virus: 235 dead, average age 85 years.

            Words fail me …

            • Fast Eddy says:

              So it’s basically like… the flu…. we get flu viruses every year… hands up if anyone knows anyone who died from the flu who was young and healthy?

              I won’t say it’s ‘just the flu’ because the flu kills upwards of 650,000 people each year….

              We have no idea how many people are dying from covid because doctors are being forced to declare deaths from other diseases as covid…. but the number is nowhere near 650k….

              Should we not instead be saying …. oh … it’s only Covid… thank god…. it could have been worse… you could have had the flu!

              Now try saying that to an SDR … tee heeeee teeee heeeeee…..

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Wuhan is China’s NYC.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Covid = great excuse to unleash an atomic stimulus/bailout bomb ….

      However the bomb has destroyed the economy — so people should not count on another 12 years…

      The continuing fear and panic headlines are there to serve a purpose…. they are getting the cattle ready for the final act.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Gosh that’s a horrifying photo…. I must check the post to see if the Pez Fenties are there….

        • JMS says:

          Your illustrations are often brutally eloquent and honest to the point of provoking (unconfrtable) laugh. No idea how or where do you get them. You are certainly a big master of the illustrated commentary, could make a fortune by giving courses on the subject!

  2. Nehemiah says:

    Lockdowns are working wherever they are combined with restrictions on foreign air travel–not so well in countries like the US that have kept the borders open to travelers. Scroll down to the May 10th post, “many countries on the path to zero coronavirus:”
    http://joannenova.com.au/page/2/

    Of course the path to zero is a lot faster with lots of masks, testing, contact tracing, and selective quarantines. The US appears to be especially short on all four of these factors. Taiwan and Thailand did not resort to mass lockdowns, but they could skip them because they acted early and rapidly. The US and Europe dilly dallied until this frankenvirus (absolutely! murder convictions are made with less evidence all the time!) was getting out of control, then we had to resort to drastic measures.

    If we had followed the 1957-58 strategy (basically do nothing), the R0 would still be running at 6 and the death toll would be much higher. BTW, NZ has shown that we don’t have to get to herd immunity. We can get the R0 below 1 and drive the virus to extinction if we take the necessary measures. Oz is not far behind NZ if they stay the course. But US, UK, Canada, we are shooting ourselves in the foot with half-way measures that leave us with the worst of both worlds: our economies are getting crushed, but the virus is not! US is the textbook case of “how not to deal with a contagion.”

    That Spanish claim that 5% had been infected: was that a random sample? I doubt it. A true random test of 6003 MLB employees found that only 0.7% (notice that decimal) had antibodies. It’s a long, long road to herd immunity, if that is the goal of the US and other western governments, but I prefer the New Zealand model.

    • I think that these countries are on the path to zero economy, not zero coronavirus. The currencies will keep sinking, relative to the US$.

      • Minority Of One says:

        Odd that some people visiting here still think that all that matters is the virus. You have to wonder if they have actually read your article, or indeed any of them, or any of the comments describing economic turmoil resulting from lockdown, that make grim reading. Zero economy is a very good way of putting it and exactly where we are headed.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Strip out wage subsidies in OECD countries — and this is over in a week.

        But because the global economy has been gutted — there are no jobs — so wage subsidies must continue forever.

        Anyone thing that is possible?

        • Tim Groves says:

          I gave up worrying about how nations balance their books a long time ago.
          They must be doing some new-fangled kind of triple entry bookkeeping that isn’t taught in accountancy school.

          Like exotic subatomic particles in some versions of quantum theory, money pops into existence and loaned or granted to people with begging bowls as needed and then pops out of existence when it can’t be paid back, as in the case of Argentina’s frequent defaults. It’s like magic!

        • Minority Of One says:

          >>so wage subsidies must continue forever.

          I have been wondering about that, if and when they will stop. The politicians are taking orders, not so much on how to keep the economy going but on how the virus must be controlled (lockdown) and the economic policies such as subsidies, grants and loans are just a knock-on effect, without the politicians having a clue of the consequences.

          Presumably at some point they will want to stop the subsidies and with so many people out of a job permanently, riots will become universal, as income drops from 80% of former wages/salary to unemployment benefits. And our great leaders might realise that they have been had. Or maybe they won’t, or not care, they are not very bright. Whatever, when the subsidies stop will bring very hard times for many. Just like in less developed countries now.

    • avocado says:

      The French also claim 5% infections reg total population. 12% of people in Madrid and Moscow are already inmune. I guesstimate 50 to 100 million people in the world. In the European metropolis and New York herd inmunity is already at work, be it just a little

      https://www.rt.com/russia/489579-coronavirus-immunity-test-moscow/

  3. Nehemiah says:

    That graph shows birth rates rising with death rates. I think that is unlikely. Birth control technology has “changed the equation.” Birth rates tend to fall during hard times, not rise. And as long as we can maintain basic sanitation and vaccines, I do not expect the rising death rates to be concentrated in the childhood population. The graph also shows the (supply of?) resources turning down well before today, which is obviously too soon. I think the concept is right, but the estimates need some adjusting.

    • You need world trade to continue to be able to make birth control drugs and devices. Not to mention vaccines. I would not count on these being around for long. Supply chains are breaking right now. China and India play a big role in these. These economies are not function well now, especially around Wuhan, which is involved in pharmaceutical production.

      We will likely have trouble maintaining fresh water. Basic sanitation will go downhill without fresh water.

      Actually, the big problem is affordability. When I drew the line at the beginning of 2019, some goods that an economy buys were already being cut back on, especially in China. Auto sales were down. Smart phone sales were down. Cement (used in road construction and high rise buildings, among other things) was down. The drop in consumption was not obvious in other parts of the world as much, but auto sales have been lagging for a while. Computer sales as well. Of course, new homes have bee way down since 2008.

  4. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/26/moderna-vaccine-candidate-trial-participant-severe-reaction/

    ‘He experienced a severe reaction to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate.’

    “Twelve hours after receiving his second dose, he developed a fever of more than 103 degrees, sought medical attention, and, after being released from an urgent care facility, fainted in his home. He recovered within a day.”

    Here’s the kicker: He’s an otherwise healthy 29 year old.

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    US Air Passenger Traffic over Memorial Day Weekend Down 87%, Amid Signs of Slow Recovery

    Airlines don’t expect a quick recovery back to “normal” either. Based on their decisions about aircraft in their fleets, they expect this to drag out for years.

    https://wolfstreet.com/2020/05/26/so-how-was-the-memorial-day-airline-business-signs-of-recovery-still-down-87/

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    Reading this on that WS article…. this is how most SDR thinK

    May 26, 2020 at 8:44 am
    There is a YouTube so another site I follow (NC) showing how China had opened it’s schools. Children with helmet masks, being disinfected ad they enter school, cafateria and classroom setup. Very impressive. The tagline notes “unintentional show of American incompetence.” So true.

  7. adonis says:

    05 May 2020

    Campaigners in Edinburgh wear masks to highlight air
    pollution and call for clean air measures. Credit:
    Maverick Photo Agency

    Researchers from the UK’s top universities have found that climate-friendly investment policies are the best medicine for a failing economy.

    A new analysis of policies designed to promote economic recovery following the global coronavirus pandemic has led the experts to recommend ten concrete measures that will slow global warming while creating new jobs.

  8. milan says:

    this is huge!!!!!!!!!!!
    Italy Blows the Lid Off Vaccine Scam. Will No Longer Poison Citizens with Globalist Eugenics

    • The title doesn’t really match the content of this video. I missed the point, if Italy is really changing its vaccine policy because of this video. A forensic nurse making claims doesn’t come across as very authoritative to me.

  9. Lidia17 says:

    Extreme co-ordinated push for vote-by-mail where I live (New England, USA). I clicked on a tweet and got a twitter “nudge” to this page: https://twitter.com/i/events/1265330601034256384

    “Fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.”

    Well, alrighty then!!
    (Have we ever had an all-mail-in-election?)

    ====
    Then, this verysame afternoon, I got a call from a “liberal” non-profit I have supported in the past. The telemarketer asked for a donation I said I might give next year, since they’ve deviated (or have been steered) from protecting folks from environmental poisons towards open-borders themes.

    “We’re suspending our door-to-door campaign for health reasons”.

    I said, “you mean PERCEIVED health reasons..”.

    Oh, heh heh heh.. Then the poor girl told me she hoped I would VOTE BY MAIL.. and I responded that I surely hoped I would not.. that I thought vote-by-mail was a terrible thing. She was good at maintaining her composure and wishing me well, go to the polls, etc. But I thought it was Extremely Interesting that this political action group was slapping a very prominent and targeted VOTE BY MAIL shtick on top of their their normal agenda.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I tried to donate one penny to The Guardian… because they are publishing truths in a world of f ake news… they don’t have that option…

      • Tim Groves says:

        “In for a penny, in for a pound” should be their motto.

        The Japan Times’s masthead bears the slogan “All the News Without Fear or Favor,” a paraphrase of the famous NYT one. Many years ago a group of bored creative journos produced a spoof version of the paper called “Not the Japan Times”. On the masthead appeared the words “All the News Without Flair or Flavor.”

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