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. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    A couple of months ago, when all these lockdowns started, I commented here on OFW saying that from now on, days will feel like weeks, weeks will feel like months and months will feel like years…

    The following video perfectly encapsulates my thinking. Thanks to Harry Gibbs for referring me to this terrific video of Terence McKenna.

    BTW, although never having tried any myself, I truly believe consumption of shrooms open up neural pathways that would not be accessible sober.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      You are welcome, ITEOTWAWKI. I have a huge soft spot for the late psychonaut.

      • Malcopian says:

        ‘I have a huge soft spot for the late psychonaut.’

        So you passed your Drinks Party Test? Jolly jolly good, Mr McGibbs! And his accent evidently wasn’t ‘all over the place’ (which is the height of degeneracy, for sure). 🙂

    • Xabier says:

      With the incredible weather we are enjoying here in England, it is all the more surreal. Flawless blue skies are extremely odd in themselves: add the frozen economy, unaccustomed tranquility, empty streets, one day exactly like another, ever more sinister news….

      • Ed says:

        Xabier, here in New York State we are also having many beautiful clear sunny days. This is a thing we almost never get. I’d say 10x more sunny days and they are crystal clear seeing and bright hot sun. And we have all the things you list after the colon.

        • Xabier says:

          Yes, it’s one thing at least to lift our spirits.

          I actually spend a lot of time observing and painting skies, and this is unprecedented, above all as in this part of England it is usually rather dull and clouded and this time of year.

          And no pollution-caused asthma, which has been the bane of my life for the last decade or so – even when the wind blows from the usually heavily polluted areas to the East and South of here.

          • Malcopian says:

            ‘I actually spend a lot of time painting skies’

            So it’s YOU who are to blame for all these fake chemtrails! Be honest – are you in league with the Ay Lee Enns?!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Try a small hit of ketamine — they use it to perform surgery on cats and other animals….

  2. Yoshua says:

    China is preparing for the worst case scenario, a war between China and the US.

    As pandemic and lockdown is destroying the US economy, China is preparing for a retaliation.

    China is also thinking of how to protect its Belt and Road investments abroad.

    https://www-ccn-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.ccn.com/xi-jinping-urged-prepare-war-beijing-braces-anti-china-backlash/?amp_js_v=a3&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D#aoh=15906868367299&amp_ct=1590687569152&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ccn.com%2Fxi-jinping-urged-prepare-war-beijing-braces-anti-china-backlash%2F

    • Marco Bruciati says:

      I am sure usa Will not defoult and tell. O se are defoult se are Sorry!! …..usa Will destroyd china Iran Venezuela. If win Will have oil whit good eroei and domination of world. And can will do debit.

      • psile says:

        An attack on any of those countries, especially of an existential kind, will bring Russia into the conflict, whose conventional weapons are more than enough to destroy the fabric of the U.S. several times over, and very easily.

      • Z says:

        The US Military has proven itself to be ineffective in defeating its opponents, especially now that the US Military has succumbed to the diversity disease, the US Military is on its last legs and running out of steam.

        Afghanistan? Total loss and blunder to the tune of trillions. What have they gotten from it? Sure, the CIA has gotten rich of the opium trade. Sure, they killed some guys they declared terrorists but who had no hopes of doing anything to the US.
        Iraq? Total loss and blunder to the tune of trillions. Ousted S. Hussein but now the country is a total wreck with sectarian violence and Shia militias backed by Iran have moved in which is totally counter to what the US wanted. Not to mention the ISIS/ISIL proxy terrorists created by the US/UK/Israel coalition.

        If anything, the US Military causes insane chaos and destruction but no clear goals are ever achieved and no stability. They can’t even loot these places effectively.

        You think they can take China? China is a cohesive country, the US is not. Same for Russia, Iran, etc.

        Imagine the US unable to beat men wearing dresses, sandals, herding goats, who are using 1980s AK-47s and random IEDs. That says everything.

        • Matthew Krajcik says:

          You are assuming that chaos and instability was not the objective.

          If the Chinese are reliant on slave labor to make their ammunition, they won’t be doing much. Iran couldn’t defeat Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom shows what can be done. The quagmire afterwards is the result of trying to minimize civilian casualties and infrastructure destruction, with a military that is not designed for such objectives. If the goal is simply to blow everything up, with no regard for life and property, the USA is by far #1.

  3. Marco Bruciati says:

    I immagine collaps whit. Nothing. Nothing Will be available and After 6 months people Will see goods and things like object from the Moon. Oil very expensive. Womens hugly. People cry.

    • Xabier says:

      Things can disappear suddenly and completely.

      I still can’t buy ANY kind of flour online here in England, and here was none the last time I went to the supermarkets, although I’ve heard rumours – but I found a secret supply of Italian-made flour online – it’s surreal!

      The last time I could buy bread flour was in early March…..

      • Marco Bruciati says:

        Maybe brexit too?

      • MickN says:

        Xabier- we’ve been buying flour from Cornish based Celticfishandgame.com along with lots of reasonably priced fish. Live in London and we get next day delivery. They were suppliers to the trade but now supply the domestic market so sometimes they only have large quantities. Good upgraded website but you can also phone and talk to them.

        • Xabier says:

          Thanks for tip Mick, very kind of you! I’ve been trawling the net for these sort of suppliers but hadn’t come across them.

      • Matthew Krajcik says:

        Is the disappearance of flour due to the complete loss of all supply, or is it instead simply a spike in demand as people hoard flour? For a while, there was a mad panic about toilet paper as people stocked up a year’s supply in fear they might run out. This is just a psychological issue, not evidence that the world has stopped making toilet paper or flour.

        • In the US, there are a lot of people stuck at home, with little to do. They want to bake bread and muffins. But the little packages of flour in grocery stores are pretty much sold out. There is a lot of flour that is sort of available if you are willing to take a 50 pound bag that might have previously been used by a cafeteria or other commercial user. Packaging and selling flour in different sizes, and making them available to grocery stores, is a problem.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Toilet paper shortages in the US (and probably other developed areas) were/are because— with institutions shut down—hardly anyone shits at the office/school/factory anymore; rather, they defecate at home to a greater extent. The factories that make cushy retail TP are completely separate from those that make bare-bones mega-rolls and stacks of little slippery sheets: they even have distinct material-supply one from the other. It’s not possible to easily substitute product in this case (and in the case of other commodities destined for wholesale, rather than retail, placement).

        • Xabier says:

          It all started in Britain when people thought they would be locked-down as in Wuhan, so they bought flour to last for 1-3 months.

          Very stupidly I didn’t, as I couldn’t conceive that so basic a commodity could be lacking,and assumed there would be pre-arranged rationing plans -so dumb!

          However, there was no such plan, the government had arranged nothing with the supermarkets and suppliers (they in fact lied in saying they had a ‘Feed the Nation’ plan!) and after the initial sell-out the supermarkets introduced their own, crude, rationing system which, of course, does not ensure that everyone gets something.

          This has all been very instructive as to governmental incompetence in the UK.

          As my elderly mother says, it feels less well-organized and secure than during WW2.

          Nonetheless, it’s good tp be reminded that you are on your own, that survival depends on mistrust of governments, foresight and prompt action.

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    Black friend mentioned this recently … he laughed and said he’s amazed at what white men can get away with….

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2020/may/01/armed-protesters-michigan-state-capitol-demanding-end-to-coronavirus-lockdown-video

    • Very Far Frank says:

      They ended up not shooting anyone; probably a novel outcome your friend had trouble computing.

      The threat to agency and basic freedoms is tangible, and when a government has a monopoly on bullets- especially in this climate- you can be sure to have a bad time.

      I thought you weren’t this deferential Eddy?

    • Kim says:

      The men in the p[cture are not “getting away with” anything. Blacks can do this too, depending on the laws in their state and their own willingness to comply with those laws which are very strict and explicit. Such compliance requires self control and respect for the law and fellow citizens.

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

      A more realistic barrier to many blacks exercising their open-carry rights is that these rights are denied to felons.

      And as I am sure you know, one in three (yes, 1 in 3) adult black males in the United States has a felony conviction. That’s right, felony, not misdemeanour, felony.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        thank you, Kim…

      • Minority Of One says:

        I seem to remember watching a video recently that showed just how easy it is to become a felon in the USA – all you have to do is not pay a small fine, and you’re off to jail. Nice one.

        • Kim says:

          Yes, I am certain that that is what it is is. Blacks are failing to pay “small fines” and thereby becoming felons. It can’t possibly be the murders, assaults, robberies, burglaries, kidnappings, car jackings, rapes, drug dealing, credit card fraud, and pimping that official statistics show them to be endemically involved in.

          Why oh why do the evil white people do this to them?

          Ridiculousness aside, here are the REAL statistics on criminal behavior by race in the United States. I am afraid that there are no figures for “failing to pay a small fine”.

          https://www.amren.com/news/2020/05/race-and-crime-in-america-statistics/

        • Kim says:

          https://atkinsandmarkoff.com/blog/20-common-felony-crimes-u-s/

          There are 20 felony crimes that are more common than others in the United States. They are as follows:

          Drug abuse violations
          Property crimes – these include auto theft, burglary, larceny, arson, and theft
          Driving under the influence (DUI
          Property crimes – such as theft
          Assault
          Disorderly conduct
          A violation of liquor laws – such as sales to minors
          Violent crime – such as manslaughter, murder, robbery, assault, and forcible rape
          Public drunkenness
          Aggravated assault
          Burglary
          Vandalism
          Fraud
          Weapons violations – such as carrying a concealed weapon or possessing a gun without proper licensure
          Violation of curfew and loitering laws
          Robbery
          Domestic violence and child abuse
          Stolen property violations
          Motor vehicle theft
          Forgery and counterfeiting

          Nowhere on this list do we see “failing to pay fines”.

        • Matthew Krajcik says:

          You mean a convict – someone who has been convicted. A Felony is a more serious type of crime, such as armed robbery or murder, or drug trafficking.

          • Minority Of One says:

            I believe how it starts off is, poor people cannot pay their bills. Even if they have a job, they are on poverty-level wages. A disproportionate number of people of colour in most if not all western countries are poor. A small fine is not top of their priorities, food on the table and paying the rent more important.

            For whatever reason, the fine does not get paid, they get arrested and sent to jail. Once in jail for a few months, the damage is done. They meet and make friends with fellow inmates, who they get on with, also hate the police, (in)justice system and society in general as much has they do. And a life of crime ensues.

            • Matthew Krajcik says:

              How it starts before that is, young men being raised by single mothers are far more likely to join gangs and commit crimes. For some reason, African Americans have very high rates of single mother households – nearly half. At the other end are Asian Americans, with over 90% raised in two parent homes, which strongly relates to high rates of completing college, making above average income, and not committing crimes.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Read comments re the riots in the US on ZH — seems like we have the same people commenting on OFW.

        I don’t generally read the ZH comments because it makes me sick — and it also frustrates me because this extinction is taking far too long to play out.

        We’re done with comments here for the time being

    • Pintada says:

      Poor FE. He announces his hatred of Trans, Jewish, Brown, progressive, survivalist, and Red people here multiple times for years but gets butt hurt when his red neck racist friends fail to stop hating blacks.

      What’s that called? Oh, yeah … hypocrisy. Enjoy. LOL

      • Z says:

        There are many fools here like Fast Eddy who somehow think that whitey can get away with things that blacks cannot here in the US.
        Obviously, he has never lived in the US or has had to live around black people in any way. If he had, he would be speaking a completely different tune.

        • Minority Of One says:

          Best data available indicates that 15 million people were kid napped from Africa during the slave trade years, and 4 million of them died within 1 year of enforced slavery. Seems like some people have field to move on.

          • Matthew Krajcik says:

            I suspect most of those enslaved were the losers of wars between African tribes. If there was no slavery, they would have been genocided instead.

            As for the deaths, most were likely in transit or in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, with dangerous jobs like silver mining. The American slaves in particular had living standards sufficient to not only prevent them from having to be constantly replaced, but also enough that they reproduced and grew in number.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Matthew, I think he turning point was in 1807, when the Atlantic slave trade was abolished. Before that, there was no need to treat slaves well because they were “a renewable resource” Afterwards, they became too valuable to lose through severe ill treatment. However, they were inefficient. About 80% to 90% of the work a slave did had to be spent on feeding, housing, clothing, and (especially) supervising the slave. If the abolitionist agitators had only kept quiet, the slave owners would probably have recognised this fact a lot sooner, and slavery would have died. It is no coincidence that the country with the loudest abolitionist movement, the US, was also the last country in North America to get rid of slavery. And Dred Scott, of course, did not help one iota.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        FE does not put his foot on the necks of any of these people and squeeze the life out of them.

        There is a very big difference between mockery of someone who stitches a donkey dongle onto themselves and entering the women’s 100M and the above

        As for the tribe that is not a race – and pointing out that they run the world is not racism

        But then SDRs do not understand that.

  5. Rodster says:

    “98.1% Of ‘COVID-19 Deaths’ In Massachusetts Had An Underlying Health Condition”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/health/981-covid-19-deaths-massachusetts-had-underlying-health-condition

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      “Frankly, the death of a 100,000 Americans or a million more due to the reopening of the 50 states is of no matter. Only profits matter. Western democracies were flushed down the drain and the EU and Global Trade Pacts replaced them. Corporations and the incompetent government wreckage leftover cannot control the pandemic. The Establishment will not spend the money to mount a national public health (test, trace and isolated the ill) campaign in the USA. “

      • When tests work as poorly as they do, and there are a many sick as there are, you end up diverting a lot of resources toward trying to keep people from catching the illness. You really need inexpensive ways of helping the person’s own immune system fight the diseases, and treating the cases that do come along. I am hoping for a solution as inexpensive as the combination of ivermectin and a tetracycline drug (both of have been used on both humans and animals for years).

      • Rodster says:

        ” The Establishment will not spend the money to mount a national public health (test, trace and isolated the ill) campaign in the USA.”

        One of my favorite quotes was from Ronald Regan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

        No thanks, I don’t need or want mandatory testing or forced vaccinations or made to carry some form of ID that says I don’t have the virus and I have been vaccinated. We already have a pretty good idea how this virus came about and who it mainly targets. The notion that we need to do something/anything at the cost of our freedoms, i’ll pass on that as well.

        We have turned this virus into the Black Plague II and more people will suffer and die from the economic effects vs what the virus does. Just a reminder, 300K+ deaths worldwide out of a population of 7.8 Billion.

        • avocado says:

          I am not in the filovaccine camp, but, as for Reagan, now it would be: I am from the Fed and I am here to…

          Or wasn’t the Don himself who signed the checks?

  6. Rodster says:

    The parallels between the Great Depression and the COvid 19 Pandemic crisis.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176706/tomgram%3A_nomi_prins%2C_a_rendezvous_with_destiny/

  7. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Smells like a Depression to me.. we’ve just haven’t been officially told so😳
    Crisis-hit Japanese automaker Nissan on Thursday reported a staggering $6.2 billion annual net loss, its first in over a decade, as it battles weak demand and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
    The results are the latest blow for a firm which has also struggled to deal with the fallout from the arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn, currently an international fugitive after jumping bail and fleeing Japan.
    The automaker said it was slashing global production by 20 percent and confirmed it would close a plant in Barcelona that employs 3,000 people as it tries to return to profitability.
    The firm said it logged a net loss of 671.2 billion yen ($6.2 billion) for the year to March, compared with the net profit of 319.1 billion yen a year earlier.
    It said the global pandemic had “substantially impacted” its production, sales and other business activities in all regions.
    It declined to issue a forecast for the current fiscal year because of ongoing uncertainty
    https://news.yahoo.com/struggling-nissan-reports-heavy-losses-cuts-production-085427842–finance.html
    Uncertainty…lol…

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “The automaker said it was slashing global production by 20 percent…”

      what a howler! “slashing” and “by 20 percent” are incongruous…

      all that 20% will mean is they lose 20% less billions…

      here’s the thing: many/most automakers need to go bankrupt…

      this will mean that in an economy that is reset at a lower level, the surviving automakers will have all of the remaining customers, and thus at some point the self-organizing market will be back in somewhat of a balance…

      it’s like the story of two hikers who see a grizzly bear running towards them… the first guy takes off his hiking boots and starts to put on running shoes:
      second guy “you can’t outrun a grizzly bear!”
      first guy “I know, but I only have to outrun you.”

      ba-dum!

      the strategy has to be to outlive enough of the other car companies…

  8. horseofadifferentcolor says:

    I think “pangolan” would make a very nice girls name, What say yee?

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      one of the big issues with names is the use of nicknames…

      name a girl Cornelia and get ready to hear her called Corny…

      name a boy Richard and he might be called Dick…

      Pangy or Pango might not be so bad…

      whatever…

  9. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.breitbart.com/news/ap-norc-poll-half-of-americans-would-get-a-covid-19-vaccine/

    “Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed”

  10. Kim says:

    https://bigleaguepolitics.com/united-nations-launches-website-promoting-new-world-order-amidst-coronavirus-pandemic/

    So the UN thinks that coronavirus cloud could have a silver lining after all. It could bring us “Happytalism”, which they describe as a “New Economic System, Socio-Political Philosophy, And Human Development Paradigm Which Places The Primacy Of Happiness, Well-being, and Freedom At The Center Of Human Development And All Life.”

    At https://apnews.com/Globe%20Newswire/737a0e07a7f755f49fd02e9d37b70af7

    Sounds great. In fact, ideal!

    I learnt that there are ten steps to global happiness. Just ten! That’s fewer than AA. I tried to find out what they were but I learn only the first: that I must spread the message of Happiness Day with my friends.

    The other nine steps? Who knows? It seems that Happytalism is a bit like the Masons or Scientology: you get to know each secret only one at a time, when you are deemed ready.

    Anway, intrigued, I followed another link (in the bigleaguepolitics article linked above) to a site where I was invited to give my name and email. I did so and was greeted thusly:
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Sign Up to Review the White Paper
    The Happytalism White Paper is currently under peer review by some of the world’s top economic and academic minds. Join us; let’s get it right. Be among the first to review the official Happytalism White Paper.

    Congratulations! You will be among the first to read the Happytalism white paper; the revolution has just begun!
    ………………………………………………………………………

    So that’s good, I am not going to be late for the revolution. But now I am waiting to receive my Globalhappiness White (racist probably) paper. When I get it, you guys will be the first to know.

    • Matthew Krajcik says:

      I wonder how many billionaires are going to give up their money and embrace Happytalism instead? Or is this an alternative only for working class (the Vector Class, according to the New York Times) people?

    • beidawei says:

      Is this anything like Bhutan’s national ideology of Gross National Happiness?

      • Kim says:

        We will have to wait for the White Paper to be sent out. I can hardly wait. It should be hilarious. The sections on how they will quantify happiness should be an especial hoot.

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