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. Fast Eddy says:

    Gestapo our in full force

    https://freehk.live/

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    This gets the award of the day for best Fear and Panic Headline…

    I like the association with HIV… when you combine that with the imagery that the word cripple evokes… this is a well-rounded bit of panic and fear.

    Well done! A++++

    Coronavirus Uses Same Strategy As HIV To Evade, Cripple Immune System: Chinese Study Finds

    • Rodster says:

      That’s all they can do is ratchet up the fear, panic and hysteria. It conditions the Sh. eeple for forced vaccinations and tracking.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “… forced vaccinations and tracking.”

        perhaps you have a fair amount of foresight…

        or perhaps this is just crying wolf…

        one main precondition for vaccines and tracking is that IC must remain in a quasi bAU mode…

        we’re all different, and to me the bigger and closer worry is if this depression gets worse later this year and/or into 2021…

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    https://freehk.live/

    Not much action (yet?) …. maybe they’ll celebrate the launch of the official CCP police state later today with

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    Anti-Lockdown Protesters Could Become Violent If US Revives Quarantine Measures, DHS Warns

    Consider this … The Taliban has thousands of armed fighters who have been hardened by decades of fighting…. their hatred of America is intense… and they are supported by the entire population of Afghanistan…

    And yet they cannot make even a slight dent in the US forces.

    In America there are at best a small number of people willing to take up arms against the US government over Covid.. and most citizens of the US would see them as the enemy … and cooperate fully with US forces to hunt them down and kill them….

    They would not last a week.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      and a second lockdown, or serial lockdowns… this is more crying wolf…

      the trend is obviously the (sort of slow) elimination of lockdown…

      it’s a mild pandemic… no need for any lockdown, including the first one…

      stay safe, FE…

    • frankly step-by-step says:

      Human history is full of depressed uprisings.
      Mahatma Ghandi’s approach has proven to be more effective. Keyword: Satyagraha.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha

      • Fast Eddy says:

        That didnt work so well for the Occupy movement… ever heard of Tear Gas?

        • frankly step-by-step says:

          Another link.
          https://www.mkgandhi.org/faq/q17.htm
          From this the last four paragraphs: “Now, what happens if those people begin to say, “We’re not afraid of prison. We’re even willing to die. But we’re not willing to obey you any longer.”

          It’s very simple. The tyrant has no power. He may rant and scream and hurt and destroy-but if the people hold to it, he’s finished.

          Gandhi said, “I believe that no government can exist for a single moment without the co-operation of the people, willing or forced, and if people suddenly withdraw their co-operation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill.”

          That was Gandhi’s concept of power-the one he’s accused of not having. It’s a hard one to grasp, for those used to seeing power in the barrel of a gun. Their filters do not pass it. And so they call Gandhi idealistic, impractical.”

          • Fast Eddy says:

            You need everyone to buy into that … look at Hong Kong… millions hate the CCP … but do you think they will go on strike to shut down the city – nope. They are nowhere near the point of total hopelessness.

            Suicide bo….mbs would be effective in a financial centre. This would crash the property, stock and bond markets… and if they were regular companies would urgently move their HQs…. Again that is not something that is like in HK

          • Tim Groves says:

            Gandhi was going up against the mamby pamby British, who believed in being civilized and playing by the rules of cricket, even if a lot of that belief was delusional. In later life, he may also have had some help from those among the British establishment themselves who wanted to get out of India. Personally, I wouldn’t have given him a snowball’s chance in hell of achieving victory over the Chinese Communist Party.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Nehru and the other Hindu fanatics grasped Gandhi’s point pretty well. That’s why they got rid of him with the barrel of a gun.

    • fred_goes_bush says:

      “And yet they cannot make even a slight dent in the US forces.” ???

      The Taliban have made a huge dent in the US defence budget, plus the thousands of disable vets would disagree with your comment. They’ve won the war of attrition against the US by a country mile.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Hahaha … do you think the US cares about deficits… or wounded soldiers????

        What planet do you live on.

        How many decades has the US occupied Afghanistan now?

        hahahahaha 2300 Americans killed since that started… more Americans have died choking on KFC bones in that period….

  5. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-economy-worst-of-coronavirus-shutdowns-may-be-over-11590408000

    “Transportation Security Administration security screening checkpoints fell to 87,534 on April 14, 96% below the same day a year earlier. But by May 24, the figure had more than tripled to 267,451, although that is still down 87% from the same day a year earlier.”

    so…

    it was down 96%, but now only down 87%…

    is the glass 87% empty or 13% full?

  6. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/26/kudlow-the-third-quarter-could-be-the-fastest-growing-quarter-in-u-s-history/

    Kudlow pointed to “positive developments” for a “very strong” second half of 2020, predicting the third quarter “could be the fastest-growing quarter in U.S. history.”

    I am estimating that he is correct…

    Q2 could be down 40 or 50 %…

    then Q3 could come roaring back with plus 10%…

    it’s not uncommon for a trend to reverse itself and quickly regain 50% of the loss…

    though many of us don’t see a return to the 2019 economic level… ever…

    • Hide-away says:

      After lockdown we should expect to see a flurry of activity as pent up demand is satisfied. There are no surprises in that at all. The real problems come later when people decide to start saving instead of spending because jobs are being lost or not reinstated plus the overall level of the economy is lower, leading to more unemployment as government subsidies come to an end.

      I’m sure all the headlines will point to the 10-20% recovery and ignore the overall 20-30% decline when everything is added up.

      • frankly step-by-step says:

        I’m sure all the headlines will point to the 10-20% recovery and ignore the overall 20-30% decline when everything is added up.

        Exactly. That is what has been going on for many years. Again and again. And apart from a few who refer to proven statistics, everyone is impressed by it.
        Nobody likes statistics. Statistics is a bitch.

    • psile says:

      He’s just a guy paid to talk up stocks. Zero credibility.

  7. Fast Eddy says:

    Lunch Time Tear Gas in HK

    https://freehk.live/

  8. Kim says:

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2020/05/26/vaccine-development-threatened-as-covid-19-infections-decline-n428072
    ………………………………………………………………..
    …The Oxford vaccine is one of these candidates and AstraZeneca has struck a deal to produce the vaccine in advance of the conclusion of the human trial. This effort has been backed by $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer money. The goal is to produce 300 million doses by November of 2020.

    Not Enough COVID-19
    However, Oxford researchers are now warning of an obstacle in the trial process. As new cases of COVID-19 are declining, they worry the data will not meet the hurdles to prove effectiveness. They are now placing the odds of a successful trial at 50%. Professor Adrian Hill is sounding the alarm:

    The stakes could hardly be higher. If proven effective, the ZD1222 vaccine would allow people to leave their homes and go back to work, and the shattered global economy to rebuild. But Hill, director of the university’s Jenner Institute, revealed his team now faced a major problem, throwing the September deadline into doubt.

    “It is a race, yes. But it’s not a race against the other guys. It’s a race against the virus disappearing, and against time,” he said. “At the moment, there’s a 50 per cent chance that we get no result at all.”

    The professor went on to explain that the trial has recruited 10,000 individuals to take the vaccine. He would expect fewer than 50 to contract COVID-19. If fewer than 20 do, Hill says the results will be useless, putting the trial in jeopardy.

    “We’re in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while. But cases are declining.”

    Bizarre no doubt, given we were all assured cases would explode as lockdown restrictions were lifted.
    ………………………………………………….

    So does this mean I do not have to get my biometric covid pasaport?

    • Xabier says:

      In a way it’s simply too funny. I shall be very relieved not to be forced to take a vaccine that has been rushed through in a panic.

    • Robert Firth says:

      So a private company will be paid $1 billion for a vaccine they haven’t produced, against a virus that is “disappearing”? And people really cannot see that this is a total fraud?

    • Jarle says:

      Absurd times …

    • JMS says:

      Without having given much thought to the matter, I would say maybe the biometric passport could be meant as a degrowth device, a way to reduce the market, removing from it expendable companies and workers. After all, If there is not enough cheap and abundant energy to pay decent wages in a growing world of workers, people have to get used to the idea of lay off and food stamps “forever”. IOW, everybody has to accept the idea of ​​being poor, which is all that the spoiled middle class of G-40 most fear and despise. (After all, It’s no accident that “poor” is a name / adjective with negative connotations in many European languages. Open question: there is any language in which the idea of ​​”poor” evokes feelings other than contempt or compassion?)
      There is perhaps no other way to prolong for some months/years this slowmotion live collapse we entered this year. The alternative of course would be the fast-collapse-in-a-matter-of-weeks championed by our friend FE at least since 2015.
      But the sudden experience of scarcity is going to be a brutal shock for the new expendables, and all the most because because for two or more generations they (we) are not used to physical work or to endure hardship, as in extreme poverty. We are the childs of richnesses and and easy life is (was) our privilege. Our downfall will be epic (epic as in Romanov league) and I’m positive if there were bards in the twenty-second century, their songs would be about us. Let’s be a little proud.

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The International Energy Agency believes the coronavirus pandemic has paved the way for the largest decline of global energy investment in history, with spending set to plummet in every major sector this year.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/27/coronavirus-iea-expects-historic-fall-in-global-energy-investment.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “With many countries starting to ease lockdown restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus, which has infected over 5.5 million people globally, equity markets are rallying on hopes for a swift return to health and prosperity.

      “But the trough in economic activity will be deeper and the rebound is likely to take longer than predicted just a short time ago, in part because the pandemic is spreading across the globe in stages and arriving in countries at different times.

      “Reuters polls of more than 250 economists taken over the past few weeks showed recessions in most major economies would be deeper this year than previously predicted.”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economy-poll/world-economic-prospects-darken-rebound-delayed-reuters-poll-idUSKBN233009

    • Less investment means less borrowing for investment; less sale of stock. The huge amount of many that the US central bank and others are creating has few productive uses to go to.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB) has backed the unprecedented stimulus packages launched in the region, saying there were no alternatives for lawmakers…

    “Fiscal deficits are expected to widen, debt piles will climb and the financial repercussions could be felt for generations.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/26/luis-de-guindos-alternative-to-stimulus-is-much-worse.html

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