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.


*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.




This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , , , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

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?

  1. i would suggest to stock up now as more lockdowns are coming and definitely mandatory mask wearing for everyone if the virus is airborne grocery shops will be shut so too will be all transport modes this looks like it’s the end of BAU.

    • Hint:
      New cases, yesterday:

      Germany: 298
      Denmark: 10
      Norway: 11
      Sweden: 57

      United States: 55,442

      Anyone see a trend?

      • US is opening up with infections. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

        None of us is a winner at this point. The world economy looks like it is collapsing. We have to try different things and see if any of them works, to keep our part of the economy from collapsing.

          • The medical system clearly has huge problems. They are to a significant extent related to the US’s overly processed food problem and its lack of exercise for most citizens. The medical system doesn’t give a very strong signal to people that they personally need to take care of their health, by their food and exercise. Of course, this message is hardest to follow for the poorest people, because they have a hard time finding and buying adequate fresh food and finding time for exercise.

            Then the medical system uses a lot of overly aggressive treatment approaches that will make money for physicians. The approach uses lots and lots of specialists and sub-specialists, and a huge amount of imaging. The imaging leads to a whole lot of findings of something that is supposedly a problem, but really isn’t. The result is a system that is way too expensive for patients and doesn’t really work. Doctors in one specialty don’t see all of the connections with other specialties. Also, the system created is way too expensive. Poor people, especially cannot afford to pay for the system, even with insurance, because the insurance costs way too much relative to income.

            • We have a slothful, glutinous citizenship that can not deal with any pandemic.

              So it goes, weak things break.

              US citizens would be better off emulating squirrels. Durable and adaptable!


          hint: Sweden

          “More than three months later, the coronavirus is blamed for 5,420 deaths in Sweden, according to the World Health Organization. That might not sound especially horrendous compared with the more than 129,000 Americans who have died. But Sweden is a country of only 10 million people. Per million people, Sweden has suffered 40% more deaths than the United States…”

          • In the last week or two Gail put up charts that showed the UK was way ahead of Sweden re Covid-19 death rates. And yet the media keep focusing on Sweden? If you compared just Sweden and the UK, the conclusion would be locking down increases the death rate.

            Usually the articles that demonise Sweden don’t discuss the economic effects of lockdown.

        • Let’s hope.
          We are approaching 3 times the casualty rate of the Vietnam War for the US currently (a bit less).
          That took 4 months. Vietnam? 5 years.
          This is just the start

          • Also Duncan, the Vietnam War killed well over a million Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians and also precipitated the mid-1970s Cambodian genocide and is still killing people today, both among the Vietnamese people as well as among US military veterans. That conflict was truly a gift to the undertaking industry that keeps on giving.

            Limiting the Vietnam War death count to just US military casualties is a bit disingenuous to say the least.

            Whereas the Covid death count includes people who died from all kinds of maladies who just happened to test positive for the antibodies to that strain or to other strains or coronavirus, or who exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19—as is the case with many people who died from TB, and even some people who from neglect in nursing homes or got run over by a bus.

            There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.

        • It is amazing to me how panicked many people are. They came inside and stayed inside. They have no desire to go out now, because they are afraid. They are still hiding, except for a few trips out for medical reasons. Every article they read about some rare side effect sends them further into hiding mode.

          • I’m curious how you guage that there are a lot of panicked people who are staying inside. Here in San Francisco, CA, people seem to be going about their business, somewhat, just wearing masks. People are out in parks, walking in the neighborhoods, riding bikes, driving, picking up food, eating at sidewalk restaurants. I see them with my own eyes in the 6-10 mile round trips I make daily via bicycle.

            • I think that there is a difference between older (65+) and younger people. Older people, especially those with a strong Democratic leaning, are convinced that all that they have to do is wait inside until a vaccine is available. If they have a lot of health issues themselves, they see this as a good reason to stay inside, order groceries online, and wait until the problem goes away.

              Younger people are more willing to venture out, especially the Republican leaning ones. The Democrat leaning ones are more cautious.

              I know a woman who is about 55 or 60 (a Democrat). She is very concerned about going back to in-class high school teaching this fall. She is afraid that even if the school system tries to mandate masks, students won’t really wear them. She is concerned about getting COVID-19. She is also concerned about getting together with other adults after she starts teaching, for fear she will be a carrier and give COVID-19 to others who are perhaps more vulnerable to a bad outcome than she is.

            • I heard on BBC radio 4 this morning that a large mall somewhere in England that opened 4 weeks ago (malls are not open yet in Scotland, or maybe they open today?), the number of visits from customers is currently down 60%. Pubs in Scotland opened last Saturday, but only if they have a beer garden (not many). They don’t look very busy to me. Some will be, not others. One that was open on Saturday was shut on Tuesday. Not sure why.

              Meanwhile, all the supermarkets are busy, which could give the impression things are back to normal. They are for supermarkets.

      • Good point, D Idaho, and yesterday at the US had 61,848 new daily cases. That number keeps ratcheting up not long after Dr. Fauci said it was going higher and could go as high as 100,000 cases a day. Rand Paul said Dr. Fauci was being too negative but the ‘actual reality’ is his warning was correct.

        The trouble is masks and social distancing has been politicized with many people demanding their right not to wear a mask in public or social distance, but this makes it extremely easy for the virus to spread.

        ‘Tulsa health official says Trump rally “likely contributed” to spike in coronavirus cases’

        I would say to those claiming masks do nothing, that the middle ages was centuries ago and its time to get up to speed in the 21st century. No one expects uneducated people to understand something that requires an electron microscope to see, but I suggest they leave science to the scientists and take the recommendations of doctors (who have studied science).

        • “The trouble is masks and social distancing has been politicized…”

          (let’s set aside for now the other politicized factor where mass lefftist protests had so many who didn’t wear masks.)

          the other trouble is that immmature young adults have found out the FACT that their chance of death is very low, and they mostly have resumed their usual socializing.

          this explains the large increase in cases combined with the plateau of deaths.

          look at the top two graphs in the worldometers link.

          mid April daily cases about 80,000 and daily deaths about 8,000.
          and now daily cases about 200,000 and daily deaths about 5,000.

          daily deaths are down from the April peak.

          • on a side note, world population continues to increase by about 200,000 per day.

            5,000 COVID deaths per day is peanuts.

          • Telling statistics. Then, deaths were 10% of cases, and the panic media spent all day talking about deaths. Today, deaths are 2.5% of cases, and the media have duly stopped talking about deaths, and spend their whole time talking about cases. Clearly, the goal is not truth, but politically convenient disinformation. The fact that the precipitous fall in the death rate is unequivocally good news is a fact that must be concealed at all costs, because it only confirms the view of the skeptics that this entire panic was based on lies and opportunism.

        • I respectfully suggest that the excessive deference to authority that you are suggesting is a wonderful way of getting into all sorts of trouble.

          But since you’ve suggested doing precisely that, let’s see what one of the world’s most eminent doctors said back in March.

          Wearing masks and gloves as a precaution against coronavirus is ineffective, unnecessary for the vast majority of people, and may even spread infections faster, experts said Tuesday.

          While near-total lockdowns have been imposed in Italy, Spain and now France, the World Health Organization’s advice has remained unchanged since the start of the global outbreak: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep your distance.

          The WHO says it is advisable to wear a protective mask in public if you suspect you are infected or someone you are caring for is, in which case the advice is to stay home whenever possible.

          “There are limits to how a mask can protect you from being infected and we’ve said the most important thing everyone can do is wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, observe very precise hygiene,” said WHO’s emergencies director Mike Ryan”.

          * Michael Joseph Ryan is an Irish former trauma surgeon and epidemiologist specialising in infectious disease and public health. He is executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, leading the team responsible for the international containment and treatment of COVID-19.

        • The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday released guidelines on the use of masks as controversy swirls in some countries due to political leaders’ remarks over their use.

          WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a thrice-weekly video press conference that he wanted to talk about who should wear masks, what materials they should be made of and when they should be worn.

          In June The WHO updated their guidance on masks:

          “I wish to be very clear that the guidance we are publishing today is an update of what we have been saying for months: That masks should only ever be used as part of a comprehensive strategy in the fight against COVID-19,” said Tedros.

          “In the light of evolving evidence, WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or other confined or crowded environments,” he said.

          Based on new academic research, Tedros said the WHO advised people to wear masks consisting of at least three layers of different materials, as outlined in the guidelines, if wearing fabric variants.

          He cautioned, however, that “masks on their own will not protect humanity from COVID-19 and the WHO continues to recommend that people who are sick with symptoms of the virus should remain at home and should consult their health care provider.”

          The WHO was asked about any guidance for political leaders in the US, where it was noted some key leaders at the White House did have masks on at a press conference Friday.

          President Donald Trump has also publicly expressed his distaste for wearing masks in front of journalists.

          “This guidance is given as guidance to our member states and it must be interpreted and adapted by national authorities accordingly,” said WHO’s executive director of health emergencies, Dr. Mike Ryan.

          “We have no specific advice for any specific grouping at the country level other than certain occupational hazards or other areas like health care, where we believe there’s a significant excess risk and then in that situation, we advise very specifically, the type of mass to be used.”

          So, to sum up, the world’s ultimate experts have no specific guidance for anyone at the country level apart from certain occupational hazards such as health care. Got it?

      • Seems suspicious….perhaps false positives are a bigger problem. On the CDC FAQ I found these nuggets “A positive test result shows you might have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.”
        also “Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, the results do not confirm whether or not you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. ” So basically useless then…testing is not specific or definitive….carry on folks.
        This madness needs to end now…..deaths are trending downwards and there should be a post-peak declaration from the so-called authorities who are losing more and more credibiliy as each day goes by.

  2. Agreed, the greatest mistake now would be to relax vigilance and preparation. This is just Stage 1…..

    • Agreed.

      while the end of bAU is unlikely in the coming months, the economic consequences of the massive spike in unemployment will be appearing in increasing severity.

      now is the calm before the storm.

    • Xabier, vigilance against what? Preparation for what? I see a lot of political, medical, and media panic, but no effective plans to do something other than panic. And no trust in Nature and her inexorable ways. As the psalmist said, “Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.”

      • Perhaps we can’t really prepare for it, except by expecting shorter life expectancies. The world changes in ways that we don’t necessarily like.

      • Robert, my Latin isn’t very good, i.e. not existent. Would be handy if you could add an English translation after Latin / anything not in English.

        • Minority, my apologies. In times of stress, I do have a tendency to fall back on the Vulgate, and I apologise for ay annoyance. “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”. (Psalm cxxvii:1)

          • The OFW paraphrase could be: “Except everyone has enough, together with a cohesive culture,…”

  3. “The French government said it was geared for a possible surge in coronavirus cases in the coming months but ruled out another nationwide lockdown.

    “My aim is to prepare France for a possible second wave while preserving our daily life, our economic and social life,” new prime minister Jean Castex said in an interview on RTL television.

    “But we’re not going to impose a lockdown like the one we did last March, because we’ve learned… that the economic and human consequences from a total lockdown are disastrous,” he said.”

    [Lol – better late than never]

    • not only better late than never, but this story is one more in a growing series of stories that show us that TPTB are trying to figure this out as they go, and are trying to do anything and everything to keep bAU moving along.

      and so far, though big economic trouble is ahead, “they” have indeed succeeded in keeping IC from collapsing.

  4. At a recent Chinese communist party meeting, party members have been told to start preparing for global crisis, focusing on six strategic issues, including a forecast 30% drop in global food production. Starts at about 5m 15s.

    Floods Destroy Ming Dynasty Bridge; CCP Officials Told to Prepare for Global Crisis | Crossroads

    • Where the video shows a driver fighting with a passenger then driving off the bridge is really old footage. I recall seeing that about 10 years ago.

      • yes he says that in the report a little later that it was similar to it to the current event of which there was no video.

    • It is concerning that this is what China is telling its own high-level party members.

      There are a whole list of issues that it sees going forward:

      Deterioration of US-China relations
      China economic downturn related to falling demand and breaking supply lines
      Currency wars and decoupling of Chinese currency and US$
      Pandemic that goes on and on
      Global food crisis, with 30% reduction in food

      • The other way of seeing this is that the Chinese govt has decided to be realistic with the relevant people, so they know what is coming and can prepare for it as best they can. Lack of food in the near future will not come as a surprise to the senior party members. Of course, they might not not plan for that very well. Most Western governments in the meantime still seem to be focused on Covid-19 and the idea that somehow / sometime we will return to ‘normal’.
        But it is beginning to look like China is headed for catastrophe in the near term, what with the floods, etc. affecting local food production, amongst other things, so much.

        • The Chinese government is facing the fall of the dynasty. As the saying goes, let us look this problem squarely in the face, ignore it, and move on. The Ming emperors were of the same opinion. Until 1644.


    Rioters in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday vandalized and set fire to a 120-year-old Elk statue in downtown Portland as they clashed with police in a continuation of the more than month-long anti-racism protests.

    The story: Protesters ripped the wooden window boards from the nearby Multnomah County Justice Center to stoke the fire underneath the historic statue.

    Can anything be fixed in a society that is entirely mentally ill and where the media rewards the attention seeking behavior of the most feeble-minded and spiritually damaged, people who appear to suffer from Oppositional Defiant Disorder? We feed parasites, welcome invaders, denounce truthtellers, celebrate people who hate us, and destroy anything that is beautiful. And the media protects it and spreads it this disease.

    Meanwhile, the always sober and reasonable Stefan Molyneux, whose every word is measured and every thought considered – deplatformed last week from Youtube – has this week been banned from Twitter.

    They want us dead and they want Western society destroyed. There can no longer be any doubt about this. But what do they intended to replace it with?

    • It’s tough out there. High water everywhere.

      Stefan also lost his Pay Pal account last November.

      But fortunately, he has been migrating to alternative platforms such as Bitchute and Gab for some time now, so he will survive.

      And the more Big Tech Tightens its grip, the more politically incorrect commentators and their audiences will slip through their fingers and find a new home on the Internet’s censorship-free frontier

    • Can anything be fixed….?

      No, I don’t think it can. We can neither maintain nor repair our current civilization, so we are going to have to ditch it and purchase a new one from Amazon or Alibaba.

      Collapse is a spiritual malaise as well as an economic, social and political one. I used to think we were repeating Weimar Germany as farce, but these days it looks more and more like we are acting out scenes from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.

      This statue toppling, for instance, has something in common with what the Iconoclasts did in Byzantium in the eighth and ninth centuries. Yes, that is considered to have been a religious movement, but of course it was political too. The current attitude to historical statures and the symbols, near veneration by one part of the population and Pavlovian loathing and revulsion on the other, has strong religious underpinnings. Many of us consider the entire assault on conservative conventional culture to be a form of sacrilege, while others are treating refusal to genuflect to the latest leftist-imposed social norms to be a form of heresy.

      I’d like to read Robert’s opinion on this issue.

      The first iconoclastic period: 730-787
      Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (reigned 717–741) banned the use of icons of Jesus, Mary, and the saints and commanded the destruction of these images in 730. The Iconoclastic Controversy was fueled by the refusal of many Christian residents outside the Byzantine Empire, including many Christians living in the Islamic Caliphate, to accept the emperor’s theological arguments. St. John of Damascus was one of the most prominent of these. Ironically, Christians living under Muslim rule at this time had more freedom to write in defense of icons than did those living in the Byzantine Empire. St. John of Damascus’s teaching centered around his clarification and distinction of the terms worship and veneration, teaching that we worship God, depicted in the icon, and simply venerate the icon itself as an image of the Prototype. In his defense of icons he wrote, “I do not worship creation over the creator.”

      Leo was able to promulgate his policy because of his personal popularity and military success—he was credited with saving Constantinople from an Arab siege in 717–718 and then sustaining the empire through annual warfare.

      Leo III’s son, Constantine V (reigned 741–775), was once challenged by a general who used iconophilic (“icon-favoring”) propaganda, but his military success against this threat cemented his own position.

      The first iconoclastic period came to an end when Leo IV (Constantine V’s son) died and his widow, Empress Irene, came into power. An iconophile, she initiated the Second Council of Nicea in 787, at which the veneration of icons was affirmed, although the worship of icons was expressly forbidden. Among the reasons were the doctrine of the Incarnation: because God the Son (Jesus Christ) took on flesh, having a physical appearance, it is now possible to use physical matter to depict God the Son and to depict the saints. Icon veneration lasted through the reign of Empress Irene’s successor, Nicephorus I (reigned 802-811), and the two brief reigns after his.

      The second iconoclastic period: 813-843
      Emperor Leo V (reigned 813–820) instituted a second period of iconoclasm in 813, which seems to have been less rigorously enforced, since there were fewer martyrdoms and public destructions of icons. Leo was succeeded by Michael II, who was succeeded by his son, Theophilus. Theophilus died, leaving his wife, Theodora the Iconodule, regent for his minor heir, Michael III. Like Irene 50 years before her, Theodora mobilized the iconodules and proclaimed the restoration of icons in 843. Since that time the first Sunday of Lent is celebrated as the feast of the “Triumph of Orthodoxy.”

      I wish they’d just knock it in the head!

      • I was thinking of the desecration of the herms (Hermes statues) in ancient Athens, allegedly by Alcibiades and his associates.

        • The allegation was almost certainly false. Alcibiades offered to stand trial, but his enemies preferred to let him leave for Syracuse, and then tried him in absentia. Rather like what the House Democrats tried to do with Trump. Of course, Alcibiades was no angel; Plato’s portrayal of him in The Symposium is probably accurate. He also managed the expedition to Syracuse so badly it ended in a total defeat for the Athenians.

          • Alcibiades is one of my favorite historical characters. On one hand, he was surely one of the greatest rascals in history but on the other he really epitomizes the idea of the free man who would take a back seat to no one and accepted no authority. And what a survivor!

            He was the total opposite of the modern, squirming man that is now sometimes called the “Bug man”.

      • There was also the Beeldenstorm in the 16th century, when Protestant mobs were “protesting” by knocking the heads off any church statue they could get their sledgehammers on.

        They were the worst vandals in Europe since the Vandals!

      • For you, Tim, my thoughts without euphemism or self censorship:

        Let me begin a discussion of iconoclasm with a small piece of history. A song from the English Revolution celebrates the destruction of the old order and its replacement by the new. Here are two stanzas:

        We’ll break the windows which the whore
        Of Babylon hath painted,
        And when the popish saints are down
        Then Barrow shall be sainted;
        There’s neither cross nor crucifix
        Shall stand for men to see,
        Rome’s trash and trumpery shall go down,
        And hey, then, up go we.

        We’ll put down Universities,
        Where learning is profest,
        Because they practise and maintain
        The language of the Beast;
        We’ll drive the doctors out of doors,
        And all that learned be;
        We’ll cry all arts and learning down,
        And hey, then, up go we.

        Indeed, when the Puritans captured Oxford, they destroyed as many religious statues as they could find. The smashed the statue of the Blessed Virgin at her church in the High Street, and beheaded the angels over the porch. The Virgin was replaced; the angels are still as the iconoclasts left them, headless.

        The last line of each stanza is as shown, and I believe it touches the heart of the matter. The mainspring of iconoclasm is envy and hatred: envy of anything and anyone better tha oneself, and hatred of anything that reminds one of this difference.

        The iconoclasm in Byzantium started by Leo III and continued by his successors was officially a restoration of the Mosaic law, in particular the prohimition against graven images (Exodus xx:4), but far more likely it was part of a revolt by the poorer (and largely non Greek) citizens against the rich (and Greek) citizens of Constantinople. As has happened quite often in history, the Emperor supported the mob against the elite, since the latter were a threat to his own power. It also helped that the movement devalued (and degrade) the social status of monks and women.

        It should therefore come as no surprise that both episodes of iconoclasm (730 to 787 and 814 to 832) were brought to an end by women: the Empress Irene and the Empress Theodora. The veneration of icons was made official by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, which decision has never been overturned.

        And I believe what we are seeing today is another manifestation of the same spiritual sickness. Many people in the US, the poor and (especially) the black, perceive that others are succeeding where they have failed, and rather than seek causes and remedies within themselves, they attribute the whole matter to the evil of others. In particular, the dysfunction of the black community, the broken families, illegitimate and feral children, black on black crime, refusal to speak proper english, are all the result of “systematic racism”, rather than the result of a deliberate refusal to become civilised.

        The other main demographic is white, young, overprivileged students, who are beginning to realise that their expensive university education has taught them nothing of value in the real world, and rather than going to night school to learn a trade (as my father did, part time, for ten years), decided to destroy the visible examples of excellence they could not emulate.

        Another well attested phenomenon is also present in the current discontent: as English law put it, “disgraceful words and speeches against eminent persons”, or as the Romans had it, “Scandalum magnatum”. Hence the ongoing and repulsive libel of anyone whose life and work are celebrated by our established society, and the determined attempt to erase our history by those who find themselves on the wrong side of history.

        How will it end? That I suspect is in Clio’s hands, not ours. But we can at least try our best to hold the line, and to celebrate the memory of those who made us what we are. We owe them no less.

        • Thanks Robert. I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me. That was a very informative and enlightening comment.

          …. trash and trumpery shall go down,
          And hey, then, up go we….

          This sounds like the Democratic Party’s election strategy to a tee. If we define trumpery as anything the Don does and says and the way he says it.

          “Scandalum magnatum”

          This is a brand new phrase for me. Lamentably, my education in the classics was badly neglected. The slander or defamation of great men. Well, that’s pretty much ubiquitous these days in politics, and one doesn’t even need to be particularly great in order to be buried under a heap of it.

      • Contrary to medieval iconoclasts, it seems contemporary ones would like to change places with the illustrious citizens on the pedestals. Feeling so full of themselves, and so full of reason and Truth, the neo-iconoclasts think they should be the ones at the top of the pedestals. It’is as if they are saying “Let us erect statues of ourselves instead!” After all, if we created a culture where each person feels worthy of at least fifteen minutes of “immortal fame”, why shouldn’t everyone have their own statue?

        But i think all this sudden leftitst noises and events are a thing conducted by higher powers. The Antifa and BLM pawns are just a bunch of useful idiots being manipulated to smash every social value in sight. And of course the aim of those who are leading them from backstage is the same as always: to divide and rule, to put groups of hoi polloi fighting among themselves.

        • From “The Fake Revolution,” by Miles Mathis:

          “So you should ask yourself if this whole BLM storyline makes any sense. Why would blacks choose this time of all times to riot in the streets? Were racial tensions especially high last year or in the early part of this year? No. They were remarkably low. Does a pandemic lockdown seem like a good time for the Black movement to come alive? No. Just the reverse. So the timing of this should look very suspicious to you. Just when the governors most needed a diversion, the Black movement was there to provide it. That’s very convenient, don’t you think? Also convenient are the BLM leaders’ top talking points. Why would the Black movement lead with defunding police departments? Does that make any sense? No, none of this makes any sense, either from the position of blacks or whites. Why would they lead with tearing down statues? Statues!? Do you really think statues would be a top priority for blacks? If I were black and was pushing for change, about the last thing I would be worried about is statues. If you can’t figure it out, I will tell you. This is all a script written by superwealthy whites, and it is written to push certain buttons in the white majority. It is all about creating fear and division, and they know what scares you and maddens you. They need easy visuals, and a Columbus statue with red paint thrown on it is perfect for that. George Washington and Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt taking a big tumble into a vat of acid is perfect for that. Same goes for defunding the police. No real blacks want that, since they rely on police protection as much as you do, or more. But they need people to be afraid we are devolving into chaos, since nothing gets the blood pumping more than that. Nothing will get your mind off the trillions they just stole from the treasury and the shredding of the Constitution during the lockdown like the fear of race wars with no police. But I assure you none of that is going to happen. It is all a bluff. The chance of police being defunded is. . . absolute zero. If anything, they will use this to increase funding of police and military. You will be so scared by this near miss you will demand more police and more military. Just watch and see. Nor will they outlaw guns of any kind. They always say they will, but they never do. Why? Because this isn’t about taking your guns. It is about selling you more.”

          Click to access blm2.pdf

          One could argue that the story of the death of George Floyd was a catalyst for increasing BLM activity, and that Mathis is missing this element in his analysis, but then a guest writer on his website addresses that story here:


          I would add that the Democrats are also looking to mobilize the black vote during an election year.

          • Yes, getting more blacks to vote would be helpful for democrats. This would be a reason to speak kindly of Black Lives Matters activities.

          • This diagram shows everything we need to know about the “independence” of the american left. BLM, antifa, International Amnesty and the like are all of them organizations co-opted by the moneyed classes. That’s why they never touch “certain issues”.


        • This is all true, but at the same time I can understand people questioning whether certain people should in fact be up on a pedestal. I personally think that the statue of Bomber Harris in London is a disgrace. His ststed policy – far exceded – was to destroy 40% of German civilian housing stock. Consider that. In the German winter that is mass death by exposure. In the summer it is cholera and typhus. The man was a soulless monster. And if a lot of Germans lived in London, one would understand that they would wish to see his statue removed.

          But London does not have Germans. Instead, it has a different kind of invader – the invited (by the oligarchs) kind, which Britain has had a few times in its history.

          But this has been one of the (100% foreseeable) costs of mass immigration and multiculturalism. In Australia, should they really clebrate ANZAC day, with its roots in a war on Turkey? After all, there are plenty of children of the Ottoman diaspora now living in Australia. Or should we celebrate 19th C labor-unionists who campaigned to keep the Chinese and Pacific Islanders out of Australia and established the White Australia policy? The country is now absolutely full of Chinese real estate flippers and South Pacific footballers. What kinds of figures could the agree should be mounted for veneration on a plinth. What do they have in common to revere?

          But of course, I knew as a young man fifty years ago that this was going to cause trouble but the media pushed it with incredible vigor. [To the Australian readers here I ask, remember “They’re a Queer Mob” by Nino Collotta, or the colorful Al Grasby, Whitlam’s hgh-profile Immigration Minister? What do you think of those cultural products now? Agitprop much?] So the people who put it into operation surely also knew and this modern chaos is just part of their design.

          • All very true, except that it attributes too much to human intention, agency and foresight.

            That something like the violent multi-culti mess e now endure in the West was foreseeable 50 years ago does not prove in any way that the consequences were planned in very detail by ‘them’.

            There is far too much half-paranoid reasoning like this on both Left and Right these days , and it only obscures more nuanced and accurate perceptions.

            Of oourse,as with the paranoid man, it might well be that They do indeed have a plan for you…. 🙂

            • Have you ever tried to move a heavy and roughly shaped stone across a field from one place to another by turning it over and over? The stone is too heavy to lift, and it won’t roll or move in a straight line, but it may be possible to get it to move across a zig-zag course to eventually get it from A to B.

              I think this is analogous to what the elites are trying to do with their social engineering and their fake news. They can’t plan all events or assure that events work out the way they want, but they do have a destination in mind for their big stones, and they try to manipulate their courses as best they can, so that over the decades, their plans achieve progress of a sort.

          • Most of the figures on the pedestals were far from being models of moral virtues. In fact many of them were murderous ruthless bastards (like Afonso de Albuquerque, for example, which in Portugal has his name on many streets, and a lot of statues). But one thing they were not for sure, they were not mediocre people as the cheeky neo-iconoclasts who want to knock them off the pedestals.
            So the famous dead people may not be likable figures, but it’s childish and futile to judge our ancestorss, since it is to them that we partly owe what we are and what we have. The neo-iconoclasts don’t like imperialism, but i bet they appreciate very much the tasty fruits of imperialism. Brainless hypocrytes and puppets, it’s what they are.

    • From 24:26 in this video, Tucker Carlson reports on convicted terrorist, Susan Rosenberg, who is Vice-Chair of an organization called “Thousand Currents” which is part of the apparatus which controls BLM funding in the USA.

      In 1985 Rosenberg was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 58 years life in prison but her sentence was commuted after just 16 years by President Clinton on his last day in office.

      From Wikipedia we learn that “From the late 1970s into the mid-1980s, Rosenberg was active in the far-left revolutionary terrorist May 19th Communist Organization, which engaged in bombings of buildings and provided support to the Black Liberation Army.[1] After living as a fugitive for two years, she was arrested in 1984 while in possession of explosives and firearms.

      She had also been sought as an accomplice in the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur and was suspected but never charged in the 1981 Brink’s robbery that led to the death of a guard and two Nyack police officers (Officer Brown and Officer O’Grady)…She now sits on the board of Black Lives Matter” (sic).
      Of course there are lots of these people in Democrat and left politics. They keep telling us they are going to destroy us – and they get all the funding they need from “philanthropies” like Kellogg and Packard – but no one will take them at their corporate-funded word.

      These people want the white middle class dead. Literally. It is Pol Pot-ism via the universities and Silicon Valley. They have done well so far with opiates (500,000 dead in the last ten years), porn (creating insanity and distrust between men and women and destroying family life), monopolizing the public platforms and closing down dissent, forcing the population into hiding their faces and avoiding social situations, and now they are criminalizing self defense. If you report crime, stalking or intimidation, you are a “Karen” and will be prosecuted.

      • Well, well well. It didn’t take YouTube very long to take this video down.

        You don’t take flak like that unless you are over the target.

    • Lol yeah the guy who doesn’t view humanity as a single species is measured and considered, gimme a break. Poor racist guy, I hope he survives 😥

      • You mean Molyneux? I’m sure he’ll do fine. He’s got lots of mates. I wouldn’t worry about him at all.

        It’s people like you I worry about—enablers of totalitarianism who are destined to one day be on the receiving end of it. Because when the mob or the goons come for you, to deprive you of your livelihood and possibly your liberty or you life, there isn’t going to be anyone to give you a break. Nobody’s going to stick up on your behalf. And probably not a soul in the world will miss your parting or give your fall from grace a second thought.

        But you’ve got your excuse and your justification. You are a practitioner of rightthink who is gloating about the treatment being meted out to a practitioner of wrongthink. So that’s you happy 🙂

      • Oh, you are a “races don’t exist” person?

        I have also heard that sexes don’t exist. Apparently there are 672 different “genders”.

        Do you also not have left and right feet? Because, after all, such a distinction would be “footist”. So either shoe can go on either foot, right?

        Some of these points of view must be very uncomfortable to maintain in the real wworld.

    • “For one thing, would they still believe that centralized, networked global society–with better design–could work?”

      that’s a good question. The sum of the article is more or less the “better design” of many human activities.

      the answer is that most of this better design, though entirely possible, would require more energy and money directed towards those activities, which has little hope in a world of decreasing net (surplus) energy.

      otherwise, it’s a quite pathettic article.

      is that the best that Polittico has to offer?

      a layme collection of weak ideas about redesigning the world?


      • the system could work as we have an infinite amount of money available and the ability to limit population thanks to technological advancements which would then require lower inputs of energy.Imagine how much less energy would be required for a world population of 6 billion . So in theory it could work

        • unfortunately every species is driven to ‘strive’ within the confines of its environment.

          but humankind has convinced its collective self that no limits exist, because we are made in the image of gods, with godly powers, and not subject to any laws of physics

          this is why the american nation, having found itself with greater powers than any other, is absolutely certain of this, and has elected leaders of church and state to tell them this is a fact, and all known science is a fraud and hoax.

          so they will rush headlong into the abyss of disease and climate change, certain that a god will save them taking the rest of the world with them. (We all aspire to the current lifestyle of the USA, one way or another)

          some of us may survive, or we may not

          • I agree, “humankind has convinced its collective self that no limits exist, because we are made in the image of gods, with godly powers, and not subject to any laws of physics.”

            The “science” that is today quoted is equally nonsensical, however, because it models the same lack of limits. We can extract all of the coal from under the North Sea and burn it. This is what will lead to the modeled climate change. It also assumes no need for energy; we can live on small amounts of intermittent wind and solar.

            • Beware Gail. When you start agreeing with Norman, you are on a very slippery slope.

              Humankind doesn’t have a collective self. By employing sleight of hand, Norman is trying to rope us all into a single denomination and get us singing from the same hymnbook.

              A lot of people, some through stupidity and many more through intellectual laziness, allow themselves to be mesmerized into going along with ideas and beliefs that they are insidiously indoctrinated into accepting by society’s controllers. This doesn’t amount to a collective self, but nearly to a mass of individual selves who are immersed in the same drama.

              Most people are living permanently in Plato’s cave. which In its modern version is a plush multiplex cinema and they are watching the movies and most of the time, mistaking the on-screen action for reality.

              The viewers eventually begin a ‘game’ of guessing which scene is going to play out appear next on the screen.
              If one of the viewers were to correctly guess, the others would praise him as clever and say that he was a genius or an uncommonly wise man.

              If one on the viewers gets up from their seat to go to the WC and get a chock-ice, but when they get to the foyer they walk out of the door and experience the world outside the movie theater, he is initially shocked at the world he discovers and does not believe it can be real.

              As he becomes used to his new surroundings, he realizes that his former cinematized view of reality was wrong.
              He begins to understand his new world, and sees that the Sun is the source of life and goes on an intellectual journey where he discovers beauty and meaning, the significance of the number forty-two, etc.

              He see’s that his former life in the cinema and the guessing game they play there is just a useless game of trivial pursuit..

              Later, the viewer returns to the cinema to inform the other viewers of his findings.
              They do not believe him and threaten to kill him if he persists in trying to set them free.

              Frustrated by this impass and by the futility of trying to reason with normies, he retires to his library in a tower located in a corner of his country estate and spends his time reading, composing essays and discussing philosophy with his pigs and cows.

            • so, Tim.

              Does the bacterial multiplication in the petri dish stop short of the edge of the dish and collectively decide:
              Enough is enough?

              Does the locust descend upon the field, and become sated at half the crop?

              Does the hunter, given the power of the repeating rifle for the first time, entrain to where the buffalo cover the prairies, refrain from shooting everything that moves?

              Given the promise of unlimited loot, does not humankind (formed of ‘decent’ individuals) form itself into columns of murderous millions and sweep across other lands under the collective banners and slogans that reveal only mass hysteria?

              Have we not forced the oil driller and the miner to cover the lands with their rigs and shafts, and acceed to our demands that they use the fossiled sunlight they extract to breed humankind into unsustainable numbers beyond the voice of reason?

              The fisherman, given the power of the factory ship as a replacement for the cast net or line, does not sweep the seas clean until other sea-species starve ?

              Do we, with the collective unreason of our species, not demand (by our individual actions) from the environment that sustains us, more than that nourishing environment can provide?

              Do the undernourished billions of the Third world, (including those who hide in the unspoken corners of the first), not collectively desire the warm homes and full bellies that you and I might take for granted?

              Given the means, would those starving billions not invade and behave as the locusts do in their lands, and (justifiably) strip our supermarkets bare in a matter of hours?
              Or perhaps they will strip the shelves of only what they need, just as (collective) hysteria made us do in March and April this year?

              Would you violently defend your lifestyle against those collective clouds of human locusts?

              Will we, the wise brethren of OFW, willingly surrender the trappings of civilised living in the name of global sanctuary and slip our vote into the ballot box of he who stands on the podium and offers us only a return to the living of the 17th century?

              Will we even elect to reduce ourselves to a median that would distribute an even proportion of global wealth to all?

              Or will collective insanity overwhelm us all, and force us to vote for the lunatic who says all will be well for us and those who follow.?


              Answers on the back of a postage stamp will suffice.

            • “Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.”
              “Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”
              Michel de Montaigne

            • Norman, thanks for your response!

              I don’t see any irreconcilable inconsistencies between the views you and I have expounded above.

              Since Professor Bartlett lectured so persuasively on the idea, it has become fashionable to stress the similarities between people and yoghurt bacteria. But I think their differences are more significant.

              Unusually among lifeforms in general, and even among the mammals, humans have the collective power to just say “no!” to excessive breeding. Population control has been tried and successfully achieved time and again in cultures throughout the world and throughout the ages.

              We are in our present predicament because cultures that favored expansion rather than maintaining a balance have tended to proliferate, and this has been especially the case since the advent of ff-turbocharged industrialization.

              Even the current ongoing population explosion in Africa is mainly the result of a whole bunch of interventions from outside, mostly from the industrialized West, that have freed Africans from some of the burdens that were previously restraining their population. We can all name a list of things from antibiotics to insecticides to back hoes and dump trucks that have helped enable this liberation.

              However, one of the biggest factors has been the idea that the traditional limits no longer need to apply. As a result, both in Africa and all over the world, more and more people have come to believe that they can push the limits without having to suffer the consequences of their actions.

              But in a finite world, this game has to come to an end sometime. Chickens will eventually come home to roost. The piper must be paid. We reap what we sow. And people who make their beds have to lie in them. The party’s over…

      • The fundamental error – apart from complexity and energy aspects -is that the the current system, which is found to be so faulty, did not arise from conscious and deliberate design.

        It is not susceptible to such concerted, logical reform, even if it were physically and socially possible.

        Moreover, as experience shows, even when a structure has been designed, it may not be reformable.

        This sort of theorising is just a way of dancing around the reality of Collapse without facing it squarely.

        It assumes it is just necessary to have the right technologies and a will to act, when there has never been a unified, planetary, human will, and never will or can be.

        The laws of physics, however, do apply to the whole planet. That is the real Design. Most unfortunately for our fantasies…….

        • I’m slowly getting an idea of why good people kill themselves. Sitting here waiting for the end as opposed to working for a survivable way when there (apparently) is no such way. There’s no choice there.

          • Don’t despair, Artleads! The value of living has never depended on other people being either sensible, or truthful.

            It certainly IS depressing, but no reason for suicide.

            Just keep on plugging away to do whatever good you can in your little bit.

    • A lot of very intelligent, clever and smart people could and probably do hear about Gail’s ideas and dismiss them out of hand without taking the trouble to absorb or test them.

      An earnest desire to understand things deeply and grasp their essence is not one of the defining characteristics of our species or of our current age of superficiality.

      • I am afraid you are right. A world of television and 30 second clips has kept people from thinking too hard. In a world with television or music always on, it is hard to think much at all.

    • Sometimes geothermal works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Being close to the heat source (hot volcano) makes it better, but the volcano can erupt, taking the investment off line. This happened on the Big Island of Hawaii not long ago, wiping out a number of homes near the volcano, as well.

      There is a big upfront investment, and a question whether the heat supplied will decline too much before the investment pays back.

    • Thanks! This is a speech to the World Economic Forum by Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF. She talks about green growth that is somehow smarter growth and fairer growth. What a bunch of nonsense!

      • Yes, nonsense.

        Just more the fashionable new cliches, from just another politician – we can expect things to fall apart with this kind of tripe as the background noise, which in the end no one will believe anymore.

  6. “As infection rates start rising in some European countries, the potential for civil unrest and political aftershocks is growing as patience wears thin, say analysts…

    “Even before the pandemic, Europe was in the grip of rising political anger, and mainstream parties were rocked by populist stirrings that have been reshaping the continent’s politics. But the pandemic is making many on the continent angrier still, fueling protests, further polarizing politics and exposing long-simmering political and social tensions.”

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