COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

The COVID-19 story keeps developing. At first, everyone listened to epidemiologists telling us that a great deal of social distancing, and even the closing down of economies, would be helpful. After trying these things, we ended up with a huge number of people out of work and protests everywhere. We discovered the models that were provided were not very predictive. We are also finding that a V-shaped recovery is not possible.

Now, we need to figure out what actions to take next. How vigorously should we be fighting COVID-19? The story is more complex than most people understand. These are some of the issues I see:

[1] The share of COVID-19 cases that can be expected to end in death seems to be much lower than most people expect.

Most people assume that the ratios of deaths to cases by age group, computed using reported cases, such as those included in the Johns Hopkins Database, give a good indication of the chance of death a person faces if a person catches COVID-19. In fact, the cases reported to this database are far from representative of all cases; they tend to be the more severe cases. Cases with no symptoms, or only very slight symptoms, tend to be missed. The result is that ratios calculated directly from this database make people think their risk of death is far higher than it really is.

The US Center for Disease Control has published Planning Scenarios, based on information available on April 29, 2020.* Using this information, the CDC’s best estimate of the number of future deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms is as follows:

Ages 0 – 49    0.5 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 50-64    2.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 65+       13.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

The CDC’s best estimate is that 35% of cases have no symptoms at all. Thus, if we were to include these cases without symptoms in the chart above, the chart would become:

Ages 0-49   0.5 deaths per 1,538 cases (including those without symptoms), or 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 50-64  1.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 65+    8.5 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

A recent study of blood samples from 23 different parts of the world came to a similarly low estimate of the number of deaths per 1000 COVID-19 infections. It reported that among people who are less than 70 years old, the number of deaths per 1000 ranged from 0.0 to 2.3 per 1000, with a median of 0.4 deaths per 1000.

The same paper remarks,

COVID-19 seems to affect predominantly the frail, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized – as shown by high rates of infectious burden in nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons, meat processing plants, and the strong racial/ethnic inequalities against minorities in terms of the cumulative death risk.

[2] There seem to be things we can do ourselves to reduce our personal chance of serious illness or death.

General good health is protective against getting a bad case of COVID-19. Thus, anything that we can do in terms of a good diet and exercise is likely helpful. Staying inside for weeks on end in the hope of preventing exposure to COVID-19 is probably not helpful.

Continued exposure to huge amounts of disinfectants and hand sanitizers is likely not to be helpful either. Our bodies depend on healthy microbiomes, and products such as these adversely affect our microbiomes. They kill good and bad bacteria alike and may leave harmful residues. It is easy to scale back our personal use of these products.

There are recent indications that vitamin D is likely to be protective in reducing both the incidence of COVID-19 and the disease’s severity. Web MD reports:

Several groups of researchers from different countries have found that the sickest patients often have the lowest levels of vitamin D, and that countries with higher death rates had larger numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency than countries with lower death rates.

Experts say healthy blood levels of vitamin D may give people with COVID-19 a survival advantage by helping them avoid cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts and attacks your body’s own cells and tissues.

While we don’t know for certain that vitamin D is helpful, there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that it would likely be worthwhile to raise vitamin D levels to the amount recommended by the National Institute of Health (30 nmol/L or higher). People with dark skin living in areas away from the equator might especially be helped by this strategy, since dark skin reduces vitamin D production.

Masks seem to be helpful in preventing the spread of infection. A person’s own immune system can handle some level of germs. If two people meeting together both wear masks, the combination of masks can perhaps reduce the level of germs to within the amount the immune system can handle. Our immune systems are built to handle a barrage of small attacks by viruses and bacteria. Continued “practice” with relatively low combinations of good and bad bacteria (as occur with masks) will tend to build up our bodies’ natural defenses.

We see dentists and dental hygienists wearing face shields. These shields are readily available over the internet and can be worn with a mask or by themselves. We don’t yet know precisely how much protection they provide, but early models suggest that they can be helpful in two directions: (a) preventing the wearer’s droplets from harming others and (b) reducing the droplet exposure from others. Thus, they may be a worthwhile way to reduce exposure to the virus causing COVID-19, even when others are not wearing masks.

[3] The medical community’s ability to treat COVID-19 cases keeps improving.

There seem to be many small changes that are improving treatment of COVID-19. If patients are having trouble getting enough oxygen, having them lie on their stomachs seems to increase their blood oxygen levels. The cost of this change is pretty much zero, but it keeps people out of the ICU longer.

Originally, planners thought that ventilators would be needed for patients with COVID-19, since ventilators are often used on pneumonia patients. Experience has shown, however, that oxygen plus something like a CPAP machine often works better and is less expensive.**

The simple change of not sending recuperating patients to nursing home-type facilities for the last stages of care has proven helpful, as well. Many of these patients can still infect others, leading to infections in long-term care facilities. Tests to tell whether patients are truly over the disease do not seem to be very accurate.

Last week, it was announced that treatment with an inexpensive common steroid could reduce deaths of people on ventilators by one-third. It could also reduce deaths of those requiring only oxygen treatment by 20%. Using this treatment should significantly reduce deaths, at little cost.

We can expect improvements in treatments to continue as doctors experiment with existing treatments, and as drug companies work on new solutions. Looking at cumulative historical mortality rates tends to overlook the huge learning curve that is taking place, allowing mortality rates to be lower.

[4] More doubts are being raised about quickly finding a vaccine that prevents COVID-19. 

The public would like to think that a vaccine solution is right around the corner. Vaccine promoters such as Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates would like to encourage this belief. Unfortunately, there are quite a few obstacles to getting a vaccine that actually works for any length of time:

(a) Antibodies for coronaviruses tend not to stay around for very long. A recent study suggests that even as soon as eight weeks, a significant share of COVID-19 patients (40% of those without symptoms; 12.9% of those with symptoms) had lost all immunity. A vaccine will likely face this same challenge.

(b) Vaccines may not work against mutations. Beijing is now fighting a new version of COVID-19 that seems to have been imported from Europe in food. Early indications are that people who caught the original Wuhan version of the COVID-19 virus will not be immune to the mutated version imported from Europe.

Vaccines that are currently under development use the Wuhan version of the virus. The catch is that the version of COVID-19 now circulating in the United States, Europe and perhaps elsewhere is mostly not the Wuhan type.

(c) There is a real concern that a vaccine against one version of COVID-19 will make a person’s response to a mutation of COVID-19 worse, rather than better. It has been known for many years that Dengue Fever has this characteristic; it is one of the reasons that there is no vaccine for Dengue Fever. The earlier SARS virus (which is closely related to the COVID-19 virus) has this same issue. Preliminary analysis suggests that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to have this characteristic, as well.

In sum, getting a vaccine that actually works against COVID-19 is likely to be a huge challenge. Instead of expecting a silver bullet in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine, we probably need to be looking for a lot of silver bee-bees that will hold down the impact of the illness. Hopefully, COVID-19 will someday disappear on its own, but we have no assurance of this outcome.

[5] The basic underlying issue that the world economy faces is overshoot, caused by too high a population relative to underlying resources.

When an economy is in overshoot, the big danger is collapse. The characteristics of overshoot leading to collapse include the following:

  • Very great wage disparity; too many people are very poor
  • Declining health, often due to poor nutrition, making people vulnerable to epidemics
  • Increasing use of debt, to make up for inadequate wages and profits
  • Falling commodity prices because too few people can afford these commodities and goods made from these commodities
  • Gluts of commodities, causing farmers to plow under crops and oil to be put into storage

Thus, pandemics are very much to be expected when an economy is in overshoot.

One example of collapse is that following the Black Death (1348-1350) epidemic in Europe. The collapse killed 60% of Europe’s population and dropped Britain’s population from close to 5 million to about 2 million.

Figure 1. Britain’s population, 1200 to 1700. Chart by Bloomberg using Federal Reserve of St. Louis data.

We might say that there was a U-shaped population recovery, which took about 300 years.

A later example that almost led to collapse was the period between 1914 and 1945. This was a period of shrinking international trade, indicating that something was truly wrong. On Figure 2 below, the WSJ calls its measure of international trade the “Trade Openness Index.” The period 1914-1945 is highlighted as being somewhat like today.

Figure 2. The Trade Openness Index is an index based on the average of world imports and exports, divided by world GDP. Chart by Wall Street Journal.

Many of the issues in the 1914-1945 timeframe were coal related. World War I took place when coal depletion became a problem in Britain. The issue at that time was wages that were too low for coal miners because the price of coal would not rise very high. Higher coal prices were needed to offset the impact of depletion, but high coal prices were not affordable by citizens.

The Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed far more people than either World War I or COVID-19.

World War II came about at the time coal depletion became a problem in Germany.

Figure 3. Figure by author describing peak coal timing compared to World War I and World War II.

The problem of inadequate energy resources finally ended when World War II ramped up demand through more debt and through more women entering the labor force for the first time. In response, the US began pumping oil out of the ground at a faster rate. Instead of depending on coal alone, the world began depending on a combination of oil and coal as energy resources. The ratio of population to energy resources was suddenly brought back into balance again, and collapse was averted!

[6] We are now in another period of overshoot of population relative to resources. The critical resource this time is oil. The alternatives we have aren’t suited to fulfilling our most basic need: the growing and transportation of food. They act as add-ons that are lost if oil is lost.

If we look back at Figure 2 above, it shows that since 2008, the world has again fallen into a period of shrinking imports and exports, which is a sign of “not enough energy resources to go around.” We are also experiencing many of the other characteristics of an overshoot economy that I mentioned in Section 5 above.

Figure 4 shows world energy consumption by type of energy through 2019, using recently published data by BP. The “Other” combination in Figure 4 includes nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other smaller categories such as geothermal energy, wood pellets, and sawdust burned for fuel.

Figure 4. World energy consumption by fuel, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil has been rising at a steady pace; coal consumption has been close to level since about 2012. Natural gas and “Other” seem to be rising a little faster in the most recent few years.

If we divide by world population, the trend in world energy consumption per capita by type is as follows:

Figure 5. World Per Capita Energy Consumption based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy

Many people would like to think that the various energy sources are substitutable, but this is not really the case, as we approach limits of a finite world.

One catch is that there are very few stand-alone energy resources. Most energy resources only work within a framework provided by other energy sources. Wood that is picked up from the forest floor can work as a stand-alone energy source. Wind can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it is used to power a simple sail boat or a wooden windmill. Water can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it can be made to turn a wooden water wheel.

Coal, when its use was ramped up, enabled the production of both concrete and steel. It allowed modern hydroelectric dams to be built. It allowed steam engines to operate. It truly could be used as a stand-alone energy source. The main obstacle to the extraction of coal was keeping the cost of extraction low enough, so that, even with transportation, buyers could afford to purchase the coal.

Oil, similarly, can be a stand-alone energy solution because it is very flexible, dense, and easily transported. Or it can be paired with other types of less-expensive energy, to make it go further. We can see our dependence on oil by how level energy consumption per capita is in Figure 5 since the early 1980s. Growth in population seems to depend upon the amount of oil available.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the economy is a self-organizing system. If there isn’t enough of the energy products upon which the economy primarily depends, the system tends to change in very strange ways. Countries become more quarrelsome. People decide to have fewer children or they become more susceptible to pandemics, bringing population more in line with energy resources.

The problem with natural gas and with the electricity products that I have lumped together as “Other” is that they are not really stand-alone products. They cannot grow food or build roads. They cannot power international jets. They cannot build wind turbines or solar panels. They cannot put natural gas pipelines in place. They can only exist in a complex environment which includes oil and perhaps coal (or other cheaper energy products).

We are kidding ourselves if we think we can transition to modern fuels that are low in carbon emissions. Without high prices, oil and coal that are in the ground will tend to stay in the ground permanently. This is the serious obstacle that we are up against. Without oil and coal, natural gas and electricity products will quickly become unusable.

[7] A major problem with COVID-19 related shutdowns is the fact that they lead to very low commodity prices, including oil prices. 

Figure 6. Inflation-adjusted monthly average oil prices through May 2020. Amounts are Brent Spot Oil Prices, as published by the EIA. Inflation adjustment is made using the CPI-Urban Index.

Oil is the primary type of energy used in growing and transporting food. It is used in many essential processes, including in the production of electricity. If its production is to continue, its price must be both high enough for oil producers and low enough for consumers.

The problem that we have been encountering since 2008 (the start of the latest cutback in trade in Figure 2) is that oil prices have been falling too low for producers. Now, in 2020, oil production is beginning to fall. This is happening because producing companies cannot afford to extract oil at current prices; governments of oil exporting countries cannot collect enough taxes at current prices. They hope that by reducing oil supply, prices will rise again.

If extraordinarily low oil prices persist, a calamity similar to the one that “Peak Oilers” have worried about will certainly occur: Oil supply will begin dropping. In fact, the drop will likely be much more rapid than most Peak Oilers have imagined, because the drop will be caused by low prices, rather than the high prices that they imagined would occur.

Amounts which are today shown as “proven reserves” can be expected to disappear because they will not be economic to extract. Governments of oil exporting countries seem likely to be overthrown because tax revenue from oil is their major source of revenue for programs such as food subsidies and jobs programs. When this disappears, governments of oil exporters are forced to cut back, lowering the standard of living of their citizens.

[8] What our strategy should be from now on is not entirely clear.

Of course, one path is straight into collapse, as happened after the Black Death of 1348-1352 (Figure 1). In fact, the carrying capacity of Britain might still be about 2 million. Its current population is about 68 million, so this would represent a population reduction of about 97%.

Other countries would experience substantial population reductions as well. The population decline would reflect many causes of death besides direct deaths from COVID-19; they would reflect the impacts of collapsing governments, inadequate food supply, polluted water supplies, and untreated diseases of many kinds.

If a large share of the population stays hidden in their homes trying to avoid COVID, it seems to me that we are most certainly heading straight into collapse. Supply lines for many kinds of goods and services will be broken. Oil prices and food prices will stay very low. Farmers will plow under crops, trying to raise prices. Gluts of oil will continue to be a problem.

If we try to transition to renewables, this leads directly to collapse as well, as far as I can see. They are not robust enough to stand on their own. Prices of oil and other commodities will fall too low and gluts will occur. Renewables will only last as long as (a) the overall systems can be kept in good repair and (b) governments can support continued subsidies.

The only approach that seems to keep the system going a little longer would seem to be to try to muddle along, despite COVID-19. Open up economies, even if the number of COVID-19 cases is higher and keeps rising. Tell people about the approaches they can use to limit their exposure to the virus, and how they can make their immune systems stronger. Get people started raising their vitamin D levels, so that they perhaps have a better chance of fighting the disease if they get COVID-19.

With this approach, we keep as many people working for as long as possible. Life will go on as close to normal, for as long as it can. We can perhaps put off collapse for a bit longer. We don’t have a lot of options open to us, but this one seems to be the best of a lot of poor options.

Notes:

*The CDC estimates are estimates of future deaths per 1000 cases. Thus, they probably reflect the learning curve that has already taken place. It is unlikely that they reflect the benefit of the new steroid treatment mentioned in Section 3, because this finding occurred after April 29.

**I have been told that disease spread can be a problem when using CPAP machines, however. Using ventilators at very low pressure settings seems also to be a solution.

 

 

 

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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.

2,824 thoughts on “COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

      • That is around the time roughly that the income gap began between normal workers and workers with “college degrees” i.e. the Elite. The 1%.
        The same time tuition and healthcare costs started to go up significantly.

        All that money being spent on a fewer products and services left very little for anything else. We have luxury apartments being built in urban areas where the streets are full of potholes and cracks.

        • Nope, a phenomenon described by John Kenneth Galbraith, “Private Affluence, Public Squalor”, more than 50 years ago. One cause of this phenomenon is too much wealth disparity: the poor cannot pay much in taxes; the rich have many ways to avoid paying taxes; so more wealth disparity means poorer communities and worse services. There are of course many other reasons for the terminal decay of many US cities, but I think the rot started there.

          • You’re still describing a symptom and not any root cause.

            Wealth disparity isn’t causeless.

            You still have yet to explain how the rich were able to get richer if economic growth slowed down around that time wealth disparity started to widen. Where did the wealth come from?

            • Nope, that’s why I referred you to the primary reference that did explain the root causes. But it seems you would rather sneer than learn. Goodbye.

    • I am doing fine.

      As I have remarked before, the City of Atlanta (500,000 population) is a relatively small part of the Atlanta metropolitan area (4.6 million). Even if the area is expanded to include Fulton County (1.06 million), it is still less than a quarter of the Atlanta Metro Area. I live in Cobb Country, away from the problems.

      It was interesting that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (Democrat) asked Governor Brian Kemp (Republican) to declare a state of emergency and send in 1000 National Guard Troops. They seem to work together OK.

    • I hear that all of the schools in the University of Georgia system are requiring masks for this fall, for both students and faculty. There are some exception (outdoors when social distancing possible; in dorms). So Georgia is going somewhat the way of other states.

  1. I don’t know very much about China’s economy but this looks like it might be an issue, amongst the many others (6 min):

    Gold Scam has begun a chain-reaction that China can’t control. Its biggest shadow bank collapse

    • Interesting! Most of the loans of these shadow banks seem to be to the real estate sector, including to those who build the big cities of unoccupied homes. The loans (if I understood this correctly) were allegedly backed by gold. But in the case of Sichuan Trust, the large shadow bank that just collapsed, the Trust asked for the collateral behind the loan, and found it was fake: gold-colored foil around copper bars. In the next few days, this story will start to become more clear, as other shadows banks fail, since their loans are likely to also be backed by fake collateral.

      It will be up to the provinces to bail out these shadow banks. Perhaps the rich provinces can bail out the shadow banks, but the poorer ones cannot.
      – – – – – – –
      Back in November, I was speculating that China would be a country whose government might collapse. The rich provinces might band together to go forward, but the poorer provinces might fail.

    • if this is the new Chinese reality, then the next step is likely to be to start a war

      The Chinese have already created new territories by enlarging islands in the south China sea—People made a bit of a fuss about it but ultimately did nothing

      Now the focus is on Hong Kong. The powers in the world are making threatening noises over Hong kong too, but that will come to nothing.

      That will embolden the Chines government to take the next step

      Which is?

      Invasion and Annexation of Taiwan.

      Nations in trouble always divert the attentions of their people by invading somewhere else.

      It the late 30s, Hit ler started annexing adjacent territories, and found that other world world powers did nothing but make noises about it, Hi tler was forced to expand, or face collapse

      We are perhaps seeing the same thing happening again.

      Ultimately of course expansion serves no purpose, but it puts off the day of reckong for another few years.

      I’ve said for years that those Chinese tower blocks were loonytoon economics

      • Fortunately, the Taiwanese can sleep easy in their futons became they are supported by the Americans, led by that great anti-totalitarian and hammer of the commies, Donald J. Trump.

        On the other hand, if Mr, Biden takes over in November, one of his first acts will be to extend a welcome mat for the CCP across the Taiwan Strait.

        These totalitarians are ideologues who have no tolerance for anyone who disagrees with them. That is their main weakness. They are short on pragmatism and subtlety is alien to their nature. And so the more they tighten their grip, the more star systems will slip through their fingers. Take the Nine Dash Line; it has upset every one of their neighbors in Southeast Asia.

        https://d32gw8q6pt8twd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ChineseClaimToSouthChinaSeaMap0011.jpg

        Let’s reflect that while they have made tremendous progress over the past half century, a significant portion of the Chinese are extremely poor and a significant portion of their workforce is effectively slave labor. The Chinese state has an extensive and very active GULAG archipelago .They exercise brutal control over the population under their control. They have presided over the wholesale destruction of the natural environment and the creation of horrific levels of pollution.They are currently cracking down in Hong Kong, They are fighting on the border with India. They have placed their own capital city of Peking under lockdown. And they are working with the Globalists to bring their socioeconomic system to a Western nation near you.

        Fortunately, though, the Bhutanese mouse may yet save the day by poking the Chinese dragon in the eye. China has had boarder disputes with Bhutan ever since they conquered Tibet. The present new additional Chinese claim represents 11% of Bhutan’s sovereign territory. Interesting that the world’s unhappiest country is now snapping at the world’s happiest country.

        • I take your points Tom

          I agree that they have wrecked their own country and made it economically unviable, but their brand of politics provides only the denial route. Losing face is all.

          But as you said, Taiwan will be safe as long as it is seen to be under the protection of the USA

          Unfortunately the current POTUS has shown himself to be mentally unstable. (Listen to any speech he has to make which does not involve praising himself—his words are stilted rambling and childlike)
          The Chinese (as with so many world leaders) were unsure of this in 2017, thinking—‘he’s just a bit eccentric’ and will measure up when necessary.

          But the last 4 years have clearly demonstrated that the man is truly incompetent, and incapable of any actions that would define him as a statesman on any level.
          Any aide who might have helped has left, and he is left with only sycophants.

          So they have started to push their boundaries, to give the Chinese people an alternative focus

          The Americans might supply Taiwan with weapons, but get into a war with China over it?—Forget it.

          If Trump gets a second term, the USA will be too busy fighting itself to get involved in anybody else’s wars. The Chinese and the Russians can see this very clearly now.

          If Biden takes over, the mess he’ll have to clear up will be too big for him to bother much about Taiwan

          • Can you tell me what Obama accomplished ? Presidents don’t run the country.I love how you blame everything on one guy and the people who control the House or Senate don’t get any blame. Norman, I’m not trying to insult you here, but are you slow?

            Do you really blame Trump for decades of increasing political polarization following the Civil Rights movement?

          • Biden isn’t even capable of cleaning up a mess in his pants.
            Please.

          • The PRC’s leaders know that they can’t afford to take Taiwan by force. The price they would have to pay is far too high. And what they are doing now to Hong Kong makes it very unlikely that the Taiwanese would consent to be wooed into the PRC. I don’t blame them. Given a choice, how many people around the world would willingly live under the current CCP rule?

            However, once the PRC dynasty falls, and a new dynasty arises in China, the Taiwanese may want to become a part of that.

            • problem is, as i see it, that dynasties rarely collapse peacefully, because they never realise that they are in the process of falling.

              from their perspective it usually seems like a temporary imbalance that can be corrected through certain ‘actions’—the violence of which depends on the degree of ‘imbalance’ involved.

              wars are always a favourite diversionary tactic, to deflect attention from economic stupidity.

              the common masses can always be relied upon to cheer as war starts, with no thought of the consequences of what they do. History is littered with such incidents, large and small.

              Trump incites the same emotions with his ‘white power’ invective. The neckless idiots who cheer him on don’t understand what they are screaming for—only that ‘others’ are responsible for the loss of the ‘American dream’ that was never theirs in the first place.
              What they are cheering for is war upon themselves, by themselves.
              The ultimate ‘diversionary tactic’

              It is a symtom of a failing ‘system’ rather than a failing dynasty–but the effect is the same.

              As the Chinese fail, they will adopt the same diversionary tactic. Give people something else to focus on for a year or two, in the hope that ‘something turns up’. Taiwan becomes the festering sore of western imperialism.

              Everybody navigates through the rear view mirror of history, looking to restore ‘what was’, and using that to promise certainties of what will be.

            • Wars are a great way of increasing demand, because they are a good way for the government to convince the people they need to take on debt. This debt is mostly paid back to young workers in wages. In this way it increases demand. There is also demand for armaments of various kinds. This leads to a need for mining and more industry. The price of commodities can rise, allowing more production of many kinds.

      • In an energy-starved future, I suspect China will have trouble maintaining it’s control over its entire geographical area, let alone projecting power onto nearby regions.

        I remember reading (and enjoying) the book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard:

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

        I suspect some sort of similar dynamic exists in China.

        Cheers,
        -GBV

  2. Did you ever hear about The Great Reset?

    It sounds to me a lot like the controlled demolition of the industrialized West using COVID-19 as a pretext.

    The Great Reset

    On June 3 WEF chairman Klaus Schwab released a video announcing the annual theme for 2021, The Great Reset. It seems to be nothing less than promoting a global agenda of restructuring the world economy along very specific lines, not surprisingly much like that advocated by the IPCC, by Greta from Sweden and her corporate friends such as Al Gore or Blackwater’s Larry Fink.

    Interesting is that WEF spokespeople frame the “reset” of the world economy in the context of the coronavirus and the ensuing collapse of the world industrial economy. The WEF website states, “There are many reasons to pursue a Great Reset, but the most urgent is COVID-19.” So the Great Reset of the global economy flows from covid19 and the “opportunity” it presents.

    In announcing the 2021 theme, WEF founder Schwab then said, cleverly shifting the agenda:

    “We only have one planet and we know that climate change could be the next global disaster with even more dramatic consequences for humankind.”

    The implication is that climate change is the underlying reason for the coronavirus pandemic catastrophe.

    To underscore their green “sustainable” agenda, WEF then has an appearance by the would-be King of England, Prince Charles. Referring to the global covid19 catastrophe, the Prince of Wales says,

    “If there is one critical lesson to learn from this crisis, it is that we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate. We simply can’t waste more time.”

    On board with Schwab and the Prince is the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres. He states,

    “We must build more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global changes we face.”

    Note his talk of “sustainable economies and societies”—more on that later. The new head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, also endorsed The Great Reset. Other WEF resetters included Ma Jun, the chairman of the Green Finance Committee at the China Society for Finance and Banking and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China; Bernard Looney, CEO of BP; Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard; Bradford Smith, president of Microsoft.

    Make no mistake, the Great Reset is no spur-of-the moment idea of Schwab and friends. The WEF website states, “COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.” The WEF sponsors have big plans:”…the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.” This is big stuff.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/davos-great-reset/5715515

    • Global reset of capitalism! Waste no opportunity? “. . .we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.”

      If you build ridiculous economic models, I suppose that you can claim any result is possible.

      • The idea of a Re-set’, ‘Transformation’, ‘ Clean Green Transition’, ‘New Doughnut Economy with Extra Coffee’ or what you, will over-estimates human agency in the face of an established complex system; and, of course, ignores Nature herself.

        It’s reminiscent of the fantasies which were discussed excitedly at the time of the French Revolution -the perfect, just, prosperous society was about to be ushered in, sweeping away everything rotten. It was said that the time had come to right all social and economic wrongs and seize the moment.

        Well, it didn’t happen, and they got 2 decades of imperial wars and millions dead, and the seeds of the arrogant nationalism which fuelled WW1 and WW2 were sown.

        Mother Nature will do the ‘re-setting’, and it will not accord with any of these fantasies.

        Mother Nature doesn’t do public consultations, and global elites and planners mean nothing to her.

        ‘O Great Mother, who makes all things to grow and all things to DECAY’.

        • Nationalism didn’t fuel WW1 and WW2. If anything, it was resistance to nationalism that caused those wars. Especially resistance to German national self determination.

          In 1871 Germany became a nation that, in the eyes of Wall Street and the City of London, was economically and culturally too powerful for the liking of the bankers. They did not like the competition. Not one bit.

          Thus they were left with two choices: control Germany or destroy Germany.

          To say that the national aspirations of the Balkans, or Germany, or Hungary, or Africa, or Vietnam, or Korea were the cause of the world wars puts the cart before the horse as it was in fact the financiers of the hegemons (the globalist/imperialist ancestors of the EU, the Fed, Goldman Sachs, Vickers, Rothschilds, and so on) who brought those wars about as they resisted the nationalist aspirations of peoples and processes which they held captive. Thus, as always, they had a great reset for their times, sweeping the table clear with war as a way to reset it according to their own plans.

          • Nonsense, I’m afraid.

            All the participating nations in 1914, at least, were ardently, almost insanely, nationalistic, that was my point.

            But it was Germany that really went off the deep end – read Thomas Mann’s essay on the mood of 1914. And came back for more of the same in 1939, with an unchanged programme of expansion over inferior races.

            Nazism itself has it’s ideological roots in the German resistance to Napoleon: the superiority of German culture, the right of Germans to rule other lesser races,such as the Slavs, etc. And it cemented the leading role of Prussia, a highly militaristic state, in German politics. Prussia after all, won the battle of Waterloo.

            You also overlook the fact that many bankers in the US, above all German Jews, were in favour of German aspirations in 1914, and did everything possible to prop up Imperial Germany during the war with credits,a nd assist in reconstruction.

            The US was profoundly anti-British at that time, and thought they could as well do business with a victorious Germany as with the old enemy, the English.

            It was therefore particularly unjust of Hitler later to blame the Jews for undermining the German war effort. But such are the ironies of history, and ignorance….

            • We have to take the Je ws at their word that Hitler wrongly blamed them for undermining the world effort. Even though the U.S. only got involved with the political lobbying of J ewish groups.

              The whole thing was great for Zionism. Like Gail has said, persecution of a group or social alienation is great for keeping a group together to prevent them from assimilating itoo much into other cultures and losing their identity. You know, “forgetting where they came from”.

    • It seems they have all figured out, or at least that’s what they believe. Managed degrowth (IOW austerity forever) enforced by violence (all kind of) in an attempt to come at…what? Sustainability? I am afraid that sustainability for our species would be now in the range of 50M-500M individuals (i’m wild-guessing here of course, and taking no account of the nuclear predicament). The crux is in the path from 7,8 B to ~250 M. What a ride that will be. I wish them luck.
      Like most people here, I feel this year we have entered a period of accelerated change. Change almost by the day. It’s very frightening and excitong at the same time. Apparently the financial house of cards is teetering, signs of it are everywhere, and the growth machine (commodities et al) seems dead for good. It’s not easy to see what the world will look like in say July 2021. One thing is certain, 2019 BAU is now neverland. It may even become the symbolic year of normal and happy times. “2019: the last time we were happy confident/etc or “The last year of Prosperity”.
      Anyway, what a time to be alive. We must be grateful.

      • I really dig the opening lines of Nobel laureate Bob Dylan’s song High Water.

        High water risin’, risin’ night and day
        All the gold and silver are being stolen away

        Indeed, the entire song is loaded with entertaining imagery.

        So yes, BAU is on its last legs and collapse of some kind looks inevitable. But in the background it seems to me that there are still a bunch of elite people who are busy stealing as much gold and silver as they can get their hands on.

        high water everywhere!!

        https://youtu.be/cfPL64mkj18

        • Sorry, Tim, of the record, i must confess i hate Bob Dylan’s music, although I recognize he’s a good lyricist. (Don’t tell anybody please, or my reputation here will sink to unfathomable levels)

          • For the most part, I don’t enjoy Bob’s live performances. You’d have to be tone deaf to appreciate them. 🙂
            But the studio version of this song is much much easier on the ears. You can hear the words, and it even has a melody!

            Please give it a whirl.

            https://youtu.be/7fdqF4XIUsE

      • Very true JMS.

        Th speed of this makes one’s head spin, if all the implications are grasped.

        It makes a mockery of all our plans and estimates, however pessimistic or cautious.

        2019 was in retrospect our ‘Summer of 1914’: a golden time, with rising tensions and clouds on the horizon,certainly, but – compared to this destabilised era we have entered, with I suspect no hope of exit – it will seem, viewed from the future, simply idyllic.

        Consider the former low-paid, insecure worker of last year, now facing the prospect of permanent unemployment and maybe the disappearance of the sector they worked in…..

        The whiners and belly-achers of 2019 ain’t seen nothing yet!

      • i call this period the scapegoating period.

        Remember when oil production started to tank in several ME countries, and suddenly their leadership was corrupt and had to be overthrown..? I think it was called Arab Spring and it was lead by many “educated” young people i.e., the children of the elite.Everyone thought the problem was mismanagement and that new management would restore oil production and the regional economies that depend on it.

        i wonder how that worked out.

        a lot of those educated people probably migrated to Europe or the u.s. and are blaming their lack of opportunities on institutional prejudice.

        • It’s even more absurd: the ones who have actually got somewhere in line with their ambitions are now saying: ‘But it was so hard for me, being BAME!’.

          Like the Cambridge academic who is always whining in the Guardian, but has made it to a Chair in English, which is hardly evidence of institutional exclusion.

      • Having a job where you leave your home is now considered selfish and putting everyone’s life at risk. It’s very funny how quickly people have given up the rat race. How will people strive for social status behind computer screens?

      • >> It’s not easy to see what the world will look like in say July 2021.

        I think that by Christmas 2020 we will be living in a different world.

    • “We must build more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global changes we face.”

      Sounds like 1984 double-speak. The last thing on these rich clowns agenda is increased equality and inclusiveness, unless they mean all those not in the club will have equal access to hunger and poverty.

      • Guterres has always been a wind bag, or a verbal sausages machine.
        In his days as a young parliamentarian, he was known in Portugal was “the talking pickax”. Now he graduated to globalist’s waterboy. Good for him.

    • the planet looks after itself and will reset itself irrespective of our antics

      It is a fantasy to imagine that the social structure of humankind will reset itself, because it implies a form of ‘control’ that will enable it to happen, no matter what words famous people utter. Over the years I’ve noticed that being famous and rich is not immunisation from stupidity. They string words together because they will be reprinted and taken notice of.
      But they still don’t make sense.

      All those famous resetters listed will not surrender their current situation to the functional realities of a radical reset.

      That being so, their words are wish politics, wish science and wish economics.

      And I for one, wish it wasn’t so.

      Humankind will not submit itself to any form of overall control, because we will not trust the ‘controllers’

      with good reason

      because controllers (they would have to be dictators of the most extreme kind) would divert diminishing resources to themselves and their own tribe, and to hell with the rest of humanity.

      any ‘resetting’ that was human-driven would try to create a reset situation that somehow mirrored what we have now, No one will undertake a reset that resets us back to 1700. But that is what ‘reset’ actually means.
      Prince Charles might dream of a reset to the time of his ancestors, doddering around his garden (s) where peasants were happy with their lot, (outside his gates) but unfortunately life has moved on.

      We all want to live like kings. (plenty of food, warm houses and our own wheels) I don’t intend to surrender my kingly status unless forced to do so. Neither do I expect King Chas to buy the house next door to me.

      The planet can support 100 kings. It can’t support 7.5 bn kings.

      • Well said. 7.5 billion kings is only possible in a political equivalent of Farmville. Perhaps some entrepeneur will produce one of this days The Kingville, where we can all be virtual kings, with dozens of virtual horses, virtual palaces and virtual concubines at our disposal.

      • Yes, the human race is being canceled with Prince Andrew first to the cleaners. Messing around with the processes and operating principles of Gaia isn’t taken lightly. Never challenge the fury of a planetary sized matriarchy. We might be cruel and petty to each other, but she can eradicate the whole rapacious monkey business.

    • I heard about it a few weeks ago. It was predicted as early as 2017 by Cathal Haughian, who wrote 3 books about capitalism. Unfortunately his website beforethecollapse.com seems emptied precisely since Davos announced this “Great reset”. Strange!

      • Cathal predicted that the reset would take place in 2017 I believe, and he hinted that he had inside information.

        Perhaps the reset was delayed until the controllers could get all their ducks in a row?

  3. Whats on the back burner? Its the main course. CV19 just a appetizer. Black lives matter just a appetizer. Both preparing for the main course. Cv19 with a command economy where certain things are curtailed. Black lives matter preparing with a foundation of hatred for the non PC. The main course War with russia of course. Obama took us to the brink but couldn’t pull the trigger. Hillary well she would have had war with russia in the first month. They learned. Its a hidden agenda until the election. The Boltons and his like of course hate trump. No war. Biden will do whatever the party wants. Obama had a mind and a heart. Biden is just a shell. He will deliver. My prediction. Biden will win. Thermonuclear war before end of 2021.

    • I don’t see a spec of sense in that nuclear war kind of “reset” (?). A thermonuclear war could never benefit anyone. There are only three independent countries in the world, and Russia is surely one of them. US has zero chance of win anything in a direct militar confrontation with Russia. Russian nationalism is very strong and cohesive and they cannot be bought (Putin canceled that attempt) nor conquered (occupied), Of course, Russia could be destroyed, but only at the price of MAD. So, unless the plan is to use nuclear war as an instrument of depopulation (which for obvious reasons would be totally dumb) you theory doesn’t make much sense, IMO. Are you suggesting the dems want to destroy the world? Including of course themselves and dear families?! – So its really true, they are alien reptiles?! OMG.

      • The dems dont make decisions based on outcomes only ideology and power. They have no tolerance for viewpoints other than their own. A good example is promoting wind and solar as alternatives to fossil fuel. It cant possibly achieve that goal yet it is promoted because it meets ideological beliefs. Physical world does not matter. Decisions are ideological based. The dems portrayal of anyone that has differing opinion as tyrants and hitlers has a clear base in intended violence. Clearly they see war as a legitimate policy to implement. This is also demonstrated by their tied at the hip relationship with various hawks and MIC. You can place my prediction in the “conspiracy theory” trash bin but the dems actions and rhetoric are quite clear.

    • I see that it requires a doctor’s prescription.
      https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/budesonide-inhalation-route/description/drg-20071233

      Budesonide is used to help prevent the symptoms of asthma. When used regularly every day, inhaled budesonide decreases the number and severity of asthma attacks. However, it will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started.

      According to Wikipedia:

      Budesonide was initially patented in 1973.[9] Commercial use as an asthma medication began in 1981.[10] It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[11] Some forms are available as a generic medication.

      • I was prescribed budesonide along with a whole raft of drugs when I had pneumonia back in 2013, and have kept some on hand ever since in case the air pollution here provokes asthma (usually I’m a very mild asthmatic).

        Being who I am, I decided to experiment with doses, and found that it does indeed stop an attack and is not only a preventative. In my case, it stops it quite dead.

        This is actually found in the small print of the box leaflet, but doctors generally think it’s only to be taken regularly as a preventative.

        Really serious asthmatics do, I believe, take it every day, about 4 times the dose that works for me, and then even higher doses when they have an attack – their lungs must be truly dreadful to need that!

        Causes thrush if you don’t gargle with water after each use.

        I stocked up on a lot in February when I saw what was coming, just in case – I feared the supply chain might be disrupted more than anything (as it still may be.)

  4. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-06/young-adult-who-think-they-are-invincible-hit-hard-by-coronavirus-newsom-says

    ‘Young adults who think ‘they are invincible’ increasingly infected by coronavirus, Newsom says’

    “Now, it’s working-aged adults who are seeing their share of hospitalizations rise, while the elderly’s rate falls. By the Fourth of July, middle-aged adults made up roughly 45% of hospitalizations; seniors made up less than 30%; and the youngest adults made up more than 25% of hospitalizations.”

    • Twenty-two streets will be allowed to have tables with diners at them, instead of cars, in NYC, since restaurants are still not allowed to open.

  5. I had a deep look at the sustainable path and found it to be a utopian fantasy world if the world goes down this path expect massive amounts of money printing to support all the energy sinks that sustainability worships so much such as renewable energy ,recycling and many others.

  6. “China’s stock market recorded its biggest rally in more than a year on Monday after state media encouraged investors to pile into the market and reap the benefits of a post-coronavirus economic boom.

    “State-owned Shanghai Securities News ran a story on Friday titled “Hahahahaha! The signs of a bull market are more and more clear.”

    “A Xinhua story on Monday said investors were “running” into stocks while a front-page editorial in the state-run China Securities Journal on Monday talked up the prospect of a “healthy” bull market, adding that investors could look forward “to the wealth effect” of rising prices.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/6a26f8c0-5538-4605-a64f-dce5a08d0600

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