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.

 

 

 

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?

      • Boris can say what he likes, but companies and their employees will assess the risks and do as they think fit.

        It’s not their duty, personal or commercial, to save shops, restaurants and coffee bars!

        The wife of a customer works for a company with only 30 staff. Two caught nasty cases of COVID in March, and one died within 2 weeks – a super-fit man of 57, sporty, no underlying conditions, etc.

        Obviously, this shocked them deeply, they are scared stiff and are home-working for the foreseeable future, certainly until there is a vaccine.

        Business is just fine, why go back? Nothing the govt. says will change that.

        Boris will be whistling in the dark, or should we say past the graveyard…..

        • Obituary from NYT.

          “James F. Fixx, who spurred the jogging craze with his best-selling books about running and preached the gospel that active people live longer, died of a heart attack Friday while on a solitary jog in Vermont. He was 52 years old.”July 22, 1984.

          Dennis L.

          • Speaking of jogging, Florence Griffith Joyner, more of a sprinter, was once once super-fit and remains the fastest woman in history. She died in 1998 at the tender age of 38 from asphyxia during an epileptic fit.

            • Joyner was a notorious user of performinance enhancing drugs.

              https://www.thefreelibrary.com/FLO-JO+DID+USE+DRUGS+TO+WIN%3b+Steroids+transformed+her+says+training…-a060559543

              Olympic sprint star Florence Griffith-Joyner did use drugs to boost her career, it was claimed yesterday. Her former training partner Lorna Boothe revealed yesterday that Flo- Jo used a cocktail of steroids and testosterone to change from average athlete to world-beater.

              The sprint legend died of a suspected heart attack on Monday, at the age of 38, after a career tainted with allegations of drug- taking.

              Lorna, who is now manager of the British athletics team, said the American star regularly took a cocktail of drugs in the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The former Common-wealth silver medallist hurdler, who trained with Flo- Jo in Los Angeles, said she had not spoken out before because she was afraid she would be killed.

              But she made the sensational allegations yesterday as a “warning”‘ to youngsters entering the sport. She said: “I was astonished by the way Flo-Jo changed from the slightly overweight, sluggish sprinter I was easily able to beat in training in California.”
              ………………………………………….
              Carl Lewis, too. Of course. But as they say in professional sport, if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.

        • “Two caught nasty cases of COVID in March, and one died within 2 weeks – a super-fit man of 57, sporty, no underlying conditions, etc.”

          i wonder if COVID is actually catching an underlying condition that may have been missed. unlike humans, the virus won’t be fooled by exterior looks or in denial about a person’s actual health.

          • https://freebeacon.com/media/nbc-contributor-reveals-he-never-had-coronavirus-after-network-documented-his-recovery/

            Fair speculated his tests came back negative because he delayed going to the hospital for more than week when he first felt ill, and he said his doctors felt he must have the virus.

            “I was a very healthy person. I exercise five to six days a week,” he said. “If it can take even me down, it can take anybody down.”
            …………………………………………………………….
            If even a really healthy person can have a paranoid episode, anyone can have a paranoid episode.

          • A friend of mine in Texas…his entire family caught Covid…all ten of them…nothing more than a one degree fever, some lower back pain, a few headaches,….everyone is fine.

      • In my experience in England, many office workers could best help the economy by not returning to their desks.

  1. “The Covid-19 pandemic is the “job-killer of the century”, Fiji’s prime minister has said, as economies across the Pacific face collapse from economic and travel shutdowns, exacerbating existing illnesses, and potentially driving people into hunger.

    “…the economic impacts have devastated tourism- and import-dependent economies.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/11/job-killer-of-the-century-economies-of-pacific-islands-face-collapse-over-covid-19

    • “The Maldives is wading into unchartered waters as it restarts efforts to lure visitors to its necklace of remote, luxury island resorts…

      “Resorts need to meet new health standards… The regimen includes designated rooms for “isolation and quarantining of both staff and guests if required,” appropriate use of personal protective equipment, access to medical facilities, and the appointment of a COVID-19 safety manager in every resort…

      “The economic shocks unleashed by the COVID-19 crisis are unprecedented,” Fazeel Najeeb, the former governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority, the central bank, told Nikkei.”

      https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Maldives-tests-waters-by-opening-resorts-to-COVID-weary-tourists

      • A person wonders about transportation to and from the Maldives. What happens to the fellow passengers of silent carriers of the coronavirus on flights to the Maldives, for example? Are all of these people quarantined as well?

        I notice that New Zealand shows an average of 1.9 new cases per day, after supposedly getting down to zero cases. The European Union added 4,187 new cases on July 10. Mortality rates keep coming down everywhere, fortunately.

        • Hi From New Zealand,
          Yes we are adding new cases however they are all from New Zealanders returning from overseas (about 30.0000 since March) who are in compulsory government organised isolation. We do not have any cases that are speeding from domestic sources.
          We have had a few instances of people escaping from isolation and the public outcry was harsh.

          Cheers

          Bones.

      • Haven’t really seen covid-19 looked at in this light, but wondering if it more of an event that has exposed how much unnecessary employment we have in the world today (e.g. tourism, coffee shop barristas, restaraunteers, factories producing faux rubber dog poop)?

        It would be nice to see covid-19 wake the world up a little and push more people into a more agrarian lifestyle, but I guess there’s too little money to be made that way in a world that is awash in unnecessary debt and consumer spending.

        Thus why collapse can’t come soon enough – once we can’t choose debt / consumer lifestyles, practical living (or starvation / death) will be our only choice.

        Cheers,
        -GBV

        • The trucks bring boxes of wine, and with a scribble on a screen and a credit card you are into the bottle. The coffee house is drive through and the burgers.
          Restaurants with service workers, hotels, business meetings, all sidelined.
          Conventions, sports, concerts, the DMV, and most government paper shills all waiting for last year. But last year never comes.
          If by some small chance you were formerly employed in primary production of food you are probably no worse the wear unless you depended too heavily on restaurant sales. But those delivery trucks keeping you going kinda grate agains’t what agrarian means or what supports it. The farm-stand failed years ago because three miles from a town means a left or right turn is problematic off a highway with traffic moving over seventy mph. You gotta know you’re making an exit a half mile before you get there and people don’t and fly right by. An anachronism has a certain draw for some people to visit but not likely imitated, and supported far more in conversation than deed.
          The farm goes on out of pure hardheadedness, fishing the same. Free to fail with one miscalculation. Luck being as important as skill because weather and markets are always unpredictable. But the job of primary food production after a lifetime(40-60 years of work) gets harder and harder as your body wears down. There is no new farmer waiting to get the place although it’s sale will buy some new toys for whoever divides it up. So the farm and I will likely die together.
          An agrarian system needs new life to follow the plow. Dreamers need not apply.

          • When a region in the Pyrenees which supported lots of farms and small villages for thousands of years had a motorway put through it, turn-offs to those places were not even included.

            The last people left, the old footpaths and mule-tracks decayed, and now you would have to cut your way through the forest to get to them. They only survive as a memory in family surnames.

            COVID has been just terrible for small farmers supplying local restaurants in Spain, above all the shepherds.

            Rising general poverty, too, means the young don’t eat enough of this excellent meat: and fashionable politics mean that they turn Vegan.

        • GBV, no disagreement with your take on “unnecessary” acivities, but I have a slightly different take. They are a good way of transferring money from richer people to poorer people. The woman having an hour long manicure is a lot richer than the manicurist; likewise the woman with a fashionable and expensive hairstyle. The coffee drinker is richer than the barista, even as he enjoys his overpriced and inferior drink (I know: I once ordered a cappuccino at Starbucks. Once only; never again).

          And moving up the scale, the buyer of a luxury yacht is employing many craftsmen who are preserving skills we may need badly in a downsized future. But tourism I do not defend; it is a force for economic slavery.

  2. “The social and economic crisis left in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 health pandemic is being capitalised on in Italy by a mafia group called Camorra.

    “One million people have been pushed into poverty in the country as a result of it, while another 8 million are temporarily unemployed. The Camorra has seen it as an opportunity to offer those in need ‘help’ when they could not get state support.”

    https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/10/covid-leaves-italy-poorer-as-mafia-groups-cease-new-opportunities

  3. Trevor Burrowes “I suspect that this era of economic stagnation, electronic interconnectedness, the apparent failure of rational government and growing environmental challenges, could be the beginning of a widespread collapse of expectations about progress, growth, and quality of everyday life. If this is the case, all types of places will have to become more resilient to unpredictable change and more self-dependent.”

    https://sustainingplace.com/…/sustaining-a-citys…/…

  4. Covid-19 usual cautions about agendas apply.

    This is from Zero Hedge and looks at Sweden which did not do a lock down; it claims that the deaths have been manageable, and are now declining as would be expected. I am uncertain how much is allowable to quote, so mine is brief and the entire article referenced.

    “The Swedish model is a threat to that approach because it allows people to maintain their personal freedom even in the midst of a global pandemic.” …………………………

    “Of course, none of this has anything to do with Sweden’s fatality rate, which is higher than some and lower than others. (Sweden has 543 deaths per million, which means roughly 1 death in every 2,000 people.) But like every other country, the vast majority of Swedish fatalities are among people 70 years and older with underlying health conditions. (“90% of the country’s deaths have been among those over 70.”) Sweden was not successful in protecting the people in its elderly care facilities, so large numbers of them were wiped out following the outbreak. Sweden failed in that regard and they’ve admitted they failed. Even so, the failures of implementation do not imply that the policy is wrong. Quite the contrary. Sweden settled on a sustainable policy, that keeps the economy running, preserves an atmosphere of normality, and exposes its young, low-risk people to the infection, thus, moving the population closer to the ultimate goal of “herd immunity.”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/whitney-looks-sweden-was-right-after-all

    At OFW we are of divided opinions on this issue, Duncan thinks this pandemic is the defining event of our lives, at my age that may well be so and come in the form of a coda. I don’t know but fear hiding out may cause me to miss immunity in some way, not being around people is also not good for me.

    A recurring theme of mine is demographics, they are out of sync, the old are starting to be too much for the young to carry. NY lost a number of seniors in nursing homes but most seniors in nursing homes run out of money and Medicaid carries the bill which is in turn paid by working age adults. Having one’s loved, elderly relatives pass suddenly is very heart wrenching, yet all of our times come. What I do find interesting is the willingness of many to sacrifice having children, to abort “unwanted” children and yet almost sanctify spending huge amounts of money on the “vulnerable.” One wonders if the authors of this idea fear becoming one of the vulnerable which I take as a dog whistle for the old. Biology does not listen to reason, to pleadings, to anger, etc., it is. One can’t help but notice many on the Federal task force are senior citizens.

    It is interesting to note that some older, probably tenured professors at “elite” universities are reported to be concerned about becoming ill secondary to classes resuming. Some philosophers have found the passing of older academics a positive.

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. . . . An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning: another instance of the fact that the future lies with the youth.”

    — Max Planck, Scientific autobiography, 1950, p. 33, 97

    It is a time of change, but betting on the end of the world has to date been a bad bet, there will be a tomorrow.

    Dennis L.

    • thank you DL.

      that is a good link.

      it refers to the link I posted below, which is a GREAT scientific article about how we have reached the HIT.

      the pandemic is over!

    • Dennis, in former times a major incentive for people to have children is so that they would be cared for in their old age. The welfare state changed that: the old could now be cared for by taxing other people’s children. Elementary game theory would have predicted the result: an ever increasing population of elderly free loaders, a parallel reduction in fertility, and, as we see now, the demographic collapse of the West. Exactly as predicted by Oswald Spengler in 1922.

      • I’m fascinated by this dynamic. I was born in the late 60s and grew up learning about our environmental degradation and the depredations of warring nations. I figured it would be insane to have children, and have lived my life accordingly. But now I simply doubt that any existing social arrangements make sense: none are aligned with the terrible truth that we have greatly surpassed the carrying capacity of Earth. Virtually everything about our modern world ensures our destruction. Demographic collapse is but one small part of that; the pollution blowback of our industrial-scale overproduction & overconsumption seals the deal.

  5. Interesting story found on Tim Morgan’s blog.
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/9/1959135/-Four-first-hand-reports-from-Real-World-Covid19-edition-They-do-not-fit-any-narrative-very-well

    It is well reported COVID19 onset often has a loss of smell and taste. But it’s not just when the disease sets in. Apparently many “recovered” patients are reporting these senses have not come back. Or in some cases, everything tastes like something odd including descriptions that eating is like “chewing foil” or “having some kind of heavy mush in your mouth that you can feel it there, but you can’t tell what it is other than weight.”
    Breathing problems are well documented. But for many this remains an issue including strange spasms or inexplicable “pauses” in what is normally something you simply don’t think about.

    Perhaps most horrific. An Inability to think or focus on an idea. All my nurse friends report seeing people who have “recovered” who can not remember basic things including: what road-signs mean, how to email, how to read a children’s book. Or who have mental blackouts and have no idea where they are or how they got to where they are when the blackout resides. Most of these report ongoing feelings of extreme heaviness in their limbs and/or tingling, electricity or vibrations in their body, one of my nurse friends said they are like “really tired and confused zombies.”

    Sorry for this long quote below, but it reminds me of ‘break-down contagion’ described by Korowicz. Does any of you experience breaking supply-chains?
    I don’t see it myself – stores are full of the same products as usual. Not counting inflation/deflation issues, though.

    I am not a medical professional. I am a technology executive at a company deemed “critical”. We are making hardware for 1000s of can-not-fail systems for hundreds of final solutions you use. We provide Tier2/3 parts to name brands in Aerospace. Communications. Banking. Cloud Computing. Medical Devices. Transportion Safety. It is nearly a certainty that everyone who reads this will be doing so in part via a piece of hardware with a subsystem our firms built. Most of you will likely use things we added parts to multiple times a day.

    I also serve on the board and have advisory roles on other companies in the Circuit Board, Advanced Materials and Water Treatment spaces. I understand I am part of a decision making process which will impact hundreds of employees, hundreds of customers, and literally 100s of Millions of end users. I also have the perspective of being in the middle of a huge supply web. I depend on hundreds of other companies to provide inputs to us. Hundreds of firms depend on us to supply inputs to them.

    Jet aircraft sensors should be nominal, our parts of optical switches must be very hard to breach and very rare to fail, our water treatment systems must remove toxins and carcinogens, wireless comms we add parts to must carry designed loads, and the oxygen monitors using our parts are helping treat thousands of patients.

    I don’t lose sleep over the quality of our products. Nor our ability to supply the best-in-class products my customers demand. But I can see a time just ahead where this will be an issue.

    We have tried to take every possible precaution to protect our work force, leadership, customers and supply chain from both the disease, and increasing complexity of trying to operate during a building plague. But, our efforts along with the efforts of our partners— piece by piece — are cracking.

    We have multiple inputs that are becoming increasingly difficult to get. Some of our usual suppliers are shut down. Or they can not get the inputs they need.

    We are having to contemplate alternatives we do not have the time, nor the partnerships to fully vet or re-engineer around. Anyone who does advance manufacturing knows, if you change just one input in a 100 input process — the effects can cascade in unexpected ways.

    We can no longer get on airplanes. Meet. Work through issues with other teams in person.

    The global reduction of air-traffic is making our logistics harder. We can not count on brokering space in the belly of a flight bound overseas to get product to our customer, or get inputs from our supply chain. We can not courier prototypes to EU customers. Or most of Asia. Nor even some of customers in US States.

    We have now had multiple employees required to self-quarantine due to possible exposures outside of the company. We have now had our first employees test positive. We believe from exposure outside the company. We have had to scramble to constantly update our own tracing, tracking, team security and safety. If anyone tells you testing is now in place. They are lying. It’s not.

    If a company wants to test 100+ employees on site, it is a 7-20 day wait for a testing day. 2-5 days for results. The agreements state it has “up to” a 20% false testing rate. We were told we could buy testing blocks of 20 to self administer. The return time for results is 7 days.

    This level of testing does not allow a business to operate safely.

    And the mental fatigue. This is wearing us all out. Dealing with COVID and supply chain disruption is now consuming 25%+ of management time. Time that should be dealing the product development, safety and optimization.

    It is happening to us. Our suppliers. Our customers. Their customers.

    At what point does it break? I don’t know. But I can feel the system cracking. Complex things, like bridges, planes and supply webs don’t tend to break slowly. They give of telltale signs they are going to fail, and then the fail. Big. Fast. Completely.

    I see a lot of things cracking. One of my best ops people said to me on Monday: “I’m Calling Audibles every day Boss, but I am running out of Audibles…” Exactly. It’s a plague. We have no play book for it. We are making it up as we go. Calling audibles. But there are a lot things cracking.

    At some point we either beat COVID, or systems will fail.

  6. What I can see is the rising inability to see the truth: the people are becoming blind to the reality, they misinterpret, ignore the facts, lie, manipulate more and more.

    We surely live in the times when the system goes apart, when your neighbours, family members, friends lose orientation. You are falsely accused, misunderstood, abused.

    The belief in the truth, i.e. that the human world is temporary and vanishing, is the only way out of this mess. No matter what other people or the propaganda say.

    • The truth is hidden by the tongue of man, more than by any mask.’ Caliph Ali.

      And in a stressed society, suffering impact after impact, many people will simply go nuts.

    • I flatter myself that I am interested in seeking the truth.

      But many people I speak to regard me as deluded; I can see it in their eyes, the expression on their faces, and their overall body language when I begin a conversation with something along the lines of, “John Lennon isn’t really dead, you know. He’s just a bit moldy!”

      We are indeed living in trying times. People are anxious and disoriented, as you point out. Fortunately, I am so estranged from my extended family and most of my former friends that we don’t have to endure each other’s cognitive dissonance.

      As the collapse progresses, we will eventually reach the stage of large-scale cannibalism. Those will truly be times that fry man’s heart!

      • Yes, there are not only physical disabilities, but also various psychiatric problems that are left untreated in the collapsing world.

        Together with the ageing populations, it is an overall decline of the humanity.

        Remember the burning of the witches during the Medieval Times: it was a harsh necessity in the times of collapse, although also misused, to fight the rising insanity of the populations and thus keep the society functioning.

        Keeping sanity is often overlooked by those who talk about the collapse.

    • rarely do I go out on a limb and say that something is a must read.

      this is a must read.

      that is, IF you want to understand where we are in this pandemic.

      IF you don’t read it, you won’t know.

      sorry for being so bold, or obbnoxious.

      this is a must read.

      the pandemic is over!

      • Even if the virus disappears today, the economic contagion. collapse, and money printing will continue. It really doesn’t change much of anything.

        • your link is April 9th. The data has now arrived in July.

          you might want to reread the article by that smart Stanford dude.

          or read it for the first time, if that’s the case.

          • Let’s see what happens, then.

            ‘COVID’ will fry your brain even if you have a mild case: yes, YOU!!!’, v. ‘It’s almost over,and you are most probably immune anyway!’

            How exciting the second half of the year promises to be.

            I have to say, it looks like many pharmaceutical interventions are fairly promising.

            • sure, there will be a major delay between the death totals dropping to nearly zero and the general public and its politicians catching on to the new facts on the ground.

              I agree that medical interventions look fairly promising, and that just adds an additional benefit to the science that says the pandemic is past peak and is quickly winding down.

            • Mix a general population with low math skills, a media that breathes and lives on fear to stay alive, a government that bases policy on politics and the next election cycle, and Hollywood feeding us our ideas of reality, shake but don’t stir, what do you get? The next great depression. We reap what we sow.

            • yes, even though the pandemic is winding down, the economic consequences are winding up.

              Q2 is down into a great depression level.

              when the pandemic is almost totally over, that will help with the economic recovery, but a partial recovery at best.

      • “the pandemic is over!”

        https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
        The rising global flow of daily new cases (212,000 so far today) does not support that idea.

        https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/from-our-experts/early-herd-immunity-against-covid-19-a-dangerous-misconception

        “We have listened with concern to voices erroneously suggesting that herd immunity may “soon slow the spread”1 of COVID-19.

        “Although more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, studies suggest that (as of early April 2020) no more than 2-4%3–5 of any country’s population has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). Even in hotspots like New York City that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, initial studies suggest that perhaps 15-21%6,7 of people have been exposed so far. In getting to that level of exposure, more than 17,500 of the 8.4 million people in New York City (about 1 in every 500 New Yorkers) have died, with the overall death rate in the city suggesting deaths may be undercounted and mortality may be even higher.”

        The stats in the previous paragraph indicate we are no where near herd immunity. It remains a virus simply taking advantage of opportunities to infect new hosts. No first or second waves, it just keeps penetrating the masses. Some say it’s a nothing burger but it’s only 6 months into the spread and yet it’s just about everywhere worldwide with more people getting infected all the time. People that survive sometimes have to get a limb amputated due to blood clotting. This is really bad news but hope still springs eternal for the right vaccine or treatment.

        • once again I see data from April.

          the up to date data shows that places like NYC have reached HIT = the Herd Immunity Threshold.

          that’s why after the nationwide protests, there was no spike in NYC cases, because most people in NYC are now immune.

          I admit that I’m somewhat uncertain about how HIT applies to every area. It seems that an area of higher safeguards and lower cases may not be safe yet for high risk individuals.

          and yes, cases are rising but deaths are down. It’s July.

          that is good.

          cases now are way more towards younger persons, and they are spreading the virus faster and accelerating the time when the entire country reaches HIT.

          in other words, unlike early 2020, now in most “cases” they are not even sick.

          cases where the people do not even get sick. What kind of misdirection is that?

          the surge in benign cases is good.

          the pandemic is winding down.

        • More panic mongering from the US medical profession. Wrong yesterday, wrong today, but always right tomorrow. John Brunner in one of his fantasy stories invented an interesting demon. He would play evil tricks on people, but he always got away with it, because he also had the power to make them forget what he had done. The US medical profession seems to believe it has the same power, thanks to a mass media equally committed to panic.

          And the debate about “herd immunity” is totally pointless, because all pandemics, always, end only when herd immunity has been achieved. How long that takes is irrelevant to the virus.

      • David, you are positively chirpy today! I like it!

        I often read off-G as I’m a former Guardianista too. And I do so want the pandemic to be over so that we can all get back to bitching about things like Brexit, taxes, whose fault everything is, and the like. But at the same time I think the people promoting awareness of this pandemic are not about to give up just yet. They haven’t marched us all this way through the gloom just so we can all wax chirpy again.

        • sure, and maybe tomorrow I’ll read something else and turn into a Doomer or a Gloomer.

          chirp chirp.

    • I live in one state and work for a company based in another. Both states are seeing increases in cases since reopening. In Both states it is not easy to get tested. You have to be showing symptoms or prove you came in contact with someone that showed symptoms and tested positive. So it is not like they are deliberately trying to increase testing, at least in those 2 states. People are getting sick. Thankfully treatment seems to be better so not that many are dying. Deaths always lag new cases.

      Plus, there seems to be a certain percentage of the population that does not develop long term immunity to this virus.

      Opening up or not, it doesn’t matter. The economy would have taken the hit anyway. Sweden is having horrible economic issues along with everyone else.

      • Everyone talks abut increases in cases. What is a “case”?

        And what is the fatality rate?

        @ Chrome Mags
        “Even in hotspots like New York City that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, initial studies suggest that perhaps 15-21%6,7 of people have been exposed so far. In getting to that level of exposure, more than 17,500 of the 8.4 million people in New York City (about 1 in every 500 New Yorkers) have died,…”

        So in the simplest terms, a fatality rate of 0.2% (ignoring the well-established fact that byofficial policy and stimulated by financial rewards all kinds of deaths have been falsely attributed to COVID). But how does 0.2% compare to the normal yearly flu fatality rate?

        https://www.health.com/condition/cold-flu-sinus/how-many-people-die-of-the-flu-every-year

        “During a March 11 hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on coronavirus preparedness, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, put it plainly: “The seasonal flu that we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%,” he told the congressional panel, whereas coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” per STAT news.”

        Well, as we now know, Fauci was wrong by a very long way. Covid is not ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu. At most, in New York it is twice as lethal and in any case appears to be a figure produced by fraud and that brings foward deaths that might have happened in the near future in any case.

        For this we close down national economies?

      • The economic damage has, in a way, acquired a life of its own, regardless of what happens with the progression of the virus.

        Throw a stone into a pool and you can’t stop the ripples……

      • Its not like Sweden didn’t close at all.

        With all gatherings above 50 ppl forbidden, all who can working from home and many faking sickness out of fear business takes a hard hit anyway.

    • It’s funny how a person will write about what they want to believe and produce graphs that support their case.

      It’s also amazing how the date at the end of any graph varies, so that a point can be made. The very first graph is out of date by nearly 3 weeks, so it shows deaths declining, a weekly number of around 1250 for the USA. Shame the last week has been back up to over 5,000 deaths, but the most recent numbers don’t support the narrative, so the author didn’t bother with them.

      However the author was prepared to make a declarative statement, “trendline is unmistakable”. Adding the next 3 weeks to that graph clearly shows the deaths going back up, which defeats his narrative.

      We basically don’t know enough about this virus to make any conclusions, yet many are doing just that. We do know the IFR from the Diamond Princess but not for any country, because the antibody testing is not accurate enough with large error calculations making any statistical analysis useless/meaningless.

      The death rate from the Diamond Princess is about 2%, with some active cases remaining, months later. (we don’t know if an accurate record is being kept about these people, but given the active cases of 48, even getting a death rate of ~2% assumes they all ‘recovered’.

      We don’t know how this disease affects people long term, though there are many reports of ‘recovered’ people having long term problems. We don’t know the effect of catching this a second time, yet there have been many reported cases of people getting this virus a second time. Herd immunity might not even be possible, we just don’t know.

      What we do know is that the virus and our collective reaction to it, has been a huge hit to our modern debt binging overpopulated world, with ramifications unknown.
      May we live in interesting times.

      • WORLD daily deaths have plateaued at about 5,000.

        therefore your first 3 paragraphs are errroneous. sorry.

        I think scientists now have plenty of accurate data to make some solid conclusions.

        the basic conclusion is that Farr’s Law once again is proving correct.

        the pandemic is past its peak and is winding down, though of course not equally all at once in every place.

        and yes, besides deaths there have been serious damage to the health of many people.

        I don’t think he is saying that the virus is going away forever and 100%, but the data seems conclusive that peak deaths are in the past.

        and peak cases which are happening now are dubious because a large % of these “cases” are people who are not even sick.

        the pandemic is winding down.

        • A 7 day moving average of world daily deaths is rising. It was down to around 4,100 per day in early June, but has risen to around 4,700 per day since then.

          Rising average daily deaths is clear evidence that the pandemic is not ‘winding down’.

          The author of that piece is being deliberately misleading as the article was published on 7th July. That first graph and his interpretation of the “trend being unmistakable” was the basis of his entire argument. It was out of date by over 2 weeks and clearly missed the data that was counter to his point.

          I’m surprised you gave credence to such poor one sided writing. There are currently many ‘professors’ that are using bad science and making huge statistical blunders in trying to prove an argument, one way or the other.

          It seems to me that both science and statistical accuracy have been brushed aside with ‘belief’ being all that is needed to ‘prove’ any point.

          Then again decisions have been made based on religious ‘beliefs’ for thousands of years, with no evidence needed there, so why bother with all this science stuff anyway?

          Does anyone really wonder why Industrial Civilization is doomed, when we ignore all the scientific evidence and go with belief systems instead for lots of important decisions??

          • I agree that it is premature to say that the pandemic is winding down.

            Although the study linked to makes a good case re herd immunity, it is still to early to definitively attribute falling deaths in the US to this when there are so many other potential factors, such as the lag between diagnoses and deaths, more clued up medical staff and the falling age of those being diagnosed (in Florida, the median age of new COVID-19 cases fell from 65 in March to 35 in June, for example).

            Time will tell.

            • Death rate has been increasing in California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Hospitalizations are also increasing. Pneumonia deaths are 400-500% above normal for the last few months in many of these states, which could be a way of fudging the official death data to make it look dramatically lower. Either way you slice it cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are INCREASING in the US in almost all states except for the north east. There is no logical way to conclude that the outbreak is doing anything but accelerating or at the very least fully sustaining itself.

    • Oh no, the pandemic can’t be over. If it was over and everyone knew it then people would want to go back to jet travel, professional sports, large gatherings, concerts, restaurants. That would drive oil demand back up and we can’t support that any more with oil production shut down. It would create a spike in price that would collapse the economy again, and lead to massive civil unrest. And how would we explain that with the need for massive government intervention?

      The pandemic needs to stay and get worse over time. If it starts to recede then there needs to be a resurgence or another nastier virus needs to appear. That’s the only way to control the decline of civilization. Don’t you get it?

      • Oh no, the pandemic can’t be over. At Central Casting, we love to make a drama out of a crisis.

        Adults keep saying, “We owe it to young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

      • yes, the next one is coming someday.

        before then, many persons will be forever trying to safeguard themselves from this virus, even after the daily deaths are down to near zero, which shouldn’t be too long now.

        I might be wearing my masks for a long time too.

  7. The site, Visual Capitalist, is catching my attention, and perhaps this sequence might be of interest with regards to use or petroleum, office space, and computer sales.

    The visuals are self explanatory, and some of the conclusions consistent with a demographic that has come of age with the social media – they are used to interacting other than f2f.
    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-future-of-remote-work-according-to-startups/

    There are a number of concerns that come to mind:

    1. This lends itself to a gig economy which means changes in taxes received by government entities when based on income tax. In the US home officer are deductible along with utilities, internet, phone, etc. This is capitalism for the masses.

    2. It will also allow organizations to understand what is useful work and what is not, the 80/20 rule again. Those who are good do well, the rest wait tables or something similar.

    3. Biologically, not being in contact with the herd raises questions about immunity as well as social skills. At OFW we work hard to maintain a positive environment, but it seems most of us are a bit older and have had had real world practice.

    4. Things like road taxes, sales of gasoline, sales of cars will change greatly.

    5. It seems like there will be less throughput of energy which based on past data implies a decrease in gdp. e.g. Amazon – it is fast and efficient and there is only one truck a day running errands for me and I am a small percentage of that cost based on total number of packages. Airlines are the other example, business travel pays the overhead, lose half of it permanently and not only airlines change but so do air traffic control and security needs, sales of baggage, sales of traveling clothes. cab rides, hotel rentals, business deductible meals.

    6. Again, what value do we add sitting at a keyboard? To any of you reading this, how am I useful to you? What are you willing to pay for that usefulness? How do I get any of you to bring me a coffee?

    The virus has not only stopped many types of commerce, it may well have changed the direction as well.

    Dennis L.

    • “It will also allow organizations to understand what is useful work and what is not, the 80/20 rule again. Those who are good do well, the rest wait tables or something similar.”
      As someone who has been observing the general society for the last ten years–the 80/20 rule is not about quality or merit but power. The people and organizations with greater support from the wealthy and or the government do well, not the talented. Fraud has become standard in finance, technology is driven by the desire to extract money or compliance from others, and the arts has literally become a soapbox for politics. Criticism that is not based from a “sociological perspective” is being met with increasingly with hostility

      The virus, to date, has no shrunk the “knowledge economy” or white collar sector.

      As the media has been quick to note, it is the essential workers; the blue collar men who keep the infrastructure intact, farmers, the people who produce energy, janitors and slaves (immigrant labor) who have been hit the hardest.

      There has been no massive exodus from the cities towards rural areas by any anyone.. There is no uptick in small-scale first time farmers.

      Keep dreaming, buckeroo.

      P.S. You sound as delusional to me as the people who think this is going to bring about the Singularity sooner.

      • Nope,

        Thanks for the thoughts, I use this site to try and understand how various people see what is happening, it is not an attempt to form an agenda, but to be able to understand the agendas of others. In the end my belief is becoming “what works is right” which is more or less reality wins.

        Thanks to Gail, more and more I see philosophy and many attempts to explain life as stories that correlate more or less to what is seen but really are neither dependent nor independent variables of reality. These stories, some of which are excellent polemical discourse neither influence nor are influenced by the world as it is.

        With regards to exodus from the cities, you might investigate rents in NYC and San Francisco. Price is determined at the margin, rents are declining.

        Again thank you, the response was thoughtful.

        Dennis L.

      • There is massive run of NYC people to 100+ miles away from NYC. Houses are selling, they are being updated/refurbished. It is Boomtown around here.

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