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.

 

 

 

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,824 Responses to COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “To date, the economic damage wrought by the pandemic has been mostly hidden by massive government subsidy. That’s about to change. And so the next few months will reveal the underlying economic impact of Covid-19 across the globe more clearly than we’ve seen so far.

    “My bet: As governments withdraw fiscal support, the economic picture is going to look worse than commonly appreciated.”

    “Getting a sense of what’s about to happen requires that we first be clear about how and why the pandemic has affected the economy: Is it because governments have required people to stay home, or is it because of the virus itself?

    “New research shows that economic losses have come mainly from fear, not government mandate. So eliminating the mandates without ending the fear does very little.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-07-13/covid-fear-will-keep-the-world-in-a-slump

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Investors must prepare for Covid debt crunch:

      “There are already plenty of worrying signs: a record-breaking pace for corporate bankruptcies; job losses moving from small and medium-sized firms to larger ones; lengthening delays in commercial real estate payments; more households falling behind on rents and continuing to defer credit card payments; and a handful of developing countries delaying debt payments.”

      https://www.ft.com/content/fcfa2827-35c7-47fb-b5c1-c97f8c841a56

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic means global IT spending is projected to slump by 7.3% compared with 2019, according to research firm Gartner.”

        https://www.verdict.co.uk/it-spending-2020-coronavirus/

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Covid-19 increasingly appears all-consuming, with some major economies facing an unchecked outbreak. Meanwhile those that have bent the curve are meanwhile discovering that in an interconnected global economy, no one recovers till everyone does, as Bloomberg Economics’ global forecasts show.”

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-13/wary-china-consumer-u-s-recovery-hit-global-outlook-eco-day

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            “Singapore’s trade-reliant economy plunged into recession in the second quarter with a record contraction… the grim numbers for the wealthy city-state – a bellwether for the global economy – underscore the sweeping worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and point to an arduous road ahead.”

          • “No one recovers until everyone does.”

            This is a major issue. Winning the battle locally does not fix the world problem. It mostly damps down the local economy.

        • Robert Firth says:

          “global IT spending is projected to slump by 7.3%” At last, a piece of good news. Let’s hope it slumps by 90%. Now you know why almost all traditional Chinese shopkeepers in Singapore used an abacus. (Hint: its computations are exact)

      • It seems like a drop in asset prices cannot be far behind. If lenders cannot collect rents, how can asset prices remain high?

    • No matter what governments mandate, if news stories are full of concern about rising cases and deaths, people will tend to stay at home.

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    I know many of us on OFW have long wondered what would happen if a poor or emerging market nation attempted some manner of MMT. Looks like Indonesia will be a test-case:

    “Indonesia’s experiment to borrow money for free from the central bank has excited proponents of modern monetary theory and raised concerns about its effects on inflation and the rupiah…

    “…the lack of clarity on the tenor of bonds the Bank of Indonesia will buy and how it will subsequently get rid of these bond holdings have analysts worried.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-policy-rupiah/indonesias-debt-sharing-experiment-worries-rupiah-investors-idUKKCN24E1BU

    • cephlon says:

      Isn’t that what Venezuela and Argentina tried? They just didn’t call it MMT at the time.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        Cephlon, it looks like MMT or at least MMT-related policies (and I must confess I have no special expertise here and the distinction is somewhat lost on me) have been tried in a number of Latin American nations:

        “Almost every one of the Latin American experiments with major central bank–financed fiscal expansions took place under populist regimes, and all of them ended up badly, with runaway inflation, huge currency devaluations, and precipitous real wage declines.

        “In most of these episodes — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela — policymakers used arguments similar to those made by MMTers to justify extensive use of money creation to finance very large increases in public expenditures.”

        https://www.cato.org/publications/cato-journal/modern-monetary-theory-cautionary-tales-latin-america

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June as spending on programs to combat the coronavirus recession exploded while millions of job losses cut into tax revenues…

    “For the first nine months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $2.74 trillion, also a record for that period.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/us-budget-deficit-hits-all-time-high-of-864-billion-in-june.html

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Crude oil production has already peaked in the United States, according to a leading independent oil producer in the U.S. shale patch.

    “Chief executive of Parsley Energy Matt Gallagher said that the peak production that the United States hit back in March—13.1 million bpd on average—represented shale’s glory days, ne’er to be repeated…”

    https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Shale-CEO-US-Has-Passed-Peak-Oil.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Interestingly enough… Chevron said that it would write down as much as $10-11 billion in assets last December…

      “At the time, some analysts saw Chevron’s announcement as a harbinger for bad news for the whole industry. It made perfect sense: if Chevron could not turn in a profit from deepwater oil and shale gas at those oil prices, how likely would its peers be profitable in that environment?

      “That question never got an answer because just three months later, the Saudi-Russian price war led to an implosion in oil prices, and then the coronavirus pandemic added its own rather hefty weight to push them further down.”

      https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Wave-Of-Big-Oil-Write-Downs-Is-Far-From-Over.html

    • Peak oil comes from low prices!

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Modern central banks jealously guard their independence—unless it comes to the environment. Witness monetary maestros’ growing enthusiasm for using central-bank balance sheets to pursue green-policy goals…

    “This could become a commitment to devote a certain proportion of QE purchases to green tech, perhaps accompanied by a relaxation of criteria to make more green bonds eligible.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-central-banks-go-green-11594681872

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Bank bosses who finance fossil fuel firms are facing a revolt from the world’s biggest investor amid mounting pressure over c li m ate ch a n ge.

      “BlackRock is preparing to take action against banks ahead of next year’s shareholder meetings and has drawn up a global watch list of 191 companies…”

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/07/14/worlds-biggest-investor-turns-heat-banks-climate-change/

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The Black Lives Matter movement is reinvigorating a yearslong campaign to push some of London’s oldest financial institutions to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves…

        “The Bank of England, Barclays and Lloyd’s of London insurance market are among those to apologize for or acknowledge links to slavery since the May killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis prompted protests world-wide.”

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/london-banks-urged-to-pay-reparations-for-historical-slavery-links-11594642489

        • Robert Firth says:

          If BLM really cared about slavery, then rather than worrying about slaves dead a century and a half ago, they would worry about the estimated 100,000 slaves held in captivity in the UK today. But of course, those victims are not enslaved by the totally evil white man, but by our totally virtuous imported third world barbarians, so they don’t count.

    • Xabier says:

      Feeding frenzy for Green pseudo-renewable technology parasites and vampires? Grab the cash and run…..

  6. Minority Of One says:

    There was a spokesman from the Office of National Statistics on BBC Radio 4 this morning, who said the UK economy was still down just under 25% (his actual words were ‘a quarter’) from a year ago.

    There is a related article just published on the BBC website, “UK economy shrinks by one-fifth under lockdown”. The one-fifth is for March-May.

    “The UK’s economy shrank by 19.1% in the three months to May, as the full impact of lockdown was felt, the Office for National Statistics has said.
    The economy actually grew by 1.8% in May, but this was not enough to make up for the fall of 6.9% in March and the record 20.4% decline in April.
    Manufacturing and house building showed signs of recovery in May as some businesses saw staff return to work.
    … ‘The economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.’ ”

    Where does the 19.1% come from? 20.4 + 6.9 – 1.8 = 25.5?

    • Xabier says:

      The air here is certainly alive once more with the charming sound of angle-grinders and drills – but will it all pay off for the property speculators in the new environment?

    • Robert Firth says:

      Come now, MOO, you don’t seriously expect a statistician to be able to do basic mental arithmetic? If it’s not in a spreadsheet, it doesn’t exist.

  7. john Eardley says:

    From comments above; “We knew in the middle of February this virus spread in scat. Why? Because in multiple incidents, including one in Hong Kong……. ”

    I met a man yesterday who works for the Office of National Statistics in the UK, the body responsible now for tracking the viral spread. He said that they have implemented a sewer monitoring scheme because it may give them information on where outbreaks are occurring.

    • Lastcall says:

      Well we are deep in the doo doo now anyway, so why not.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Very nice, thank you. Corroborated with various sources from around the world. Correlation, not causation, nice information on this site.

      Dennis L.

    • Dennis L. says:

      So, if this is correct it comes back to washing your hands after you poop.

      Looking at packing houses for example, it would be interesting to see if this is the issue rather than packing people close together.

      In dentistry hand washing was an issue with assistants, sensitive skin. In the clinic we provided whatever hand lotion the assistants desired so hand washing was not an issue due to delicate hands. In a bureaucracy, there is always someone whose job is getting an item cheaper, the girls got what they wanted, it gave them control, bugged the heck out of purchasing. I was very insistent on hand washing even when not going between patients. If the assistant moved from her chair, she washed her hands – they were mostly in their chair, imagine that. We had many patients with viruses and other infections issues, not one transmission from patients to staff in 8 years at one facility and I think 3-4 at the other, when in doubt the staff were tested, again administration balked at the expense, we got the tests.

      There was no tolerance in this area, sensitivity to the staffs’ concern for their hands probably helped. If I saw cold water, short hand washings, I spoke up. Grumpy old man, infection control is serious stuff, it is not about being agreeable, pick your fights carefully, this was one of them. I cared about my staff.

      If the fecal idea is correct, same game as dentistry.

      Dennis L.

    • My expectation is that the problem has to do with toilet flushing without the cover down (or with no cover at all). Particles from the feces become airborne. The problem is a combined airborne-feces problem.

  8. Lastcall says:

    You know what I think; everything is going to run out of puff by election time.
    Convid
    BLM
    Mueller et al
    Biden
    CNN
    …and the economy.
    Is this the singularity I hear about?

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      seriously, that’s a good point.

      the Badd Mann in the oval office says that the virus might just go away by itself.

      it would be hillary-ous if it actually was gone by October.

      MSM heads would be explloding.

  9. Lastcall says:

    Would a similar wave pattern be evident for previous flu seasons I wonder?
    If we could incentivise the medical establishment to trawl their records and report any historical deaths, from whatever primary cause, but asociated with the flu virus, would a similar hysterical pattern emerge.
    Most seasonal flu viruses are pandemics aren’t they? You know, prevalent over large areas/many countries.

    My contention remains that ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ is the dominant factor this (US election) year.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      I agree with your contention.

      now that daily deaths have plunged from 2,700 to 700:

      OMG! look at all the daily “cases” in Florida!

  10. Lastcall says:

    This is newsworthy because he is the one who tipped over. On the flip side, how many have attended these. Is this mentioned? More diversion from the news.

    As someone so eloquently stated a few days ago the ‘Political Truth’ is that this is a deadly pandemic (incentives in place to hype the death by Convid cases, and try to embarass the ‘Orange-man) ; the reality is the cure will cause/ is causing the greatest havoc.
    Convid collapse is an ‘iatrogenic economic’ cure.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      On Sunday July 12th, Florida clocked a single day US record of 15,300 new confirmed cases. Based on the case fatality rate to date in the US, about 500-600 of those folks will likely die. Again, that’s a single day, and for Florida alone.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        based on the CDC who state that the IFR is 0.26%:

        15,300 x 0.26% = 40 people will die (39.78).

        Again, that’s a single day, and for Florida alone.

        • adonis says:

          big difference 500 to 600 whereas you say 40 can we trust any figures,or for that matter can we trust any information about the virus coming from any sources . This whole thing has become like “chinese whispers” we will never know what really happened .

        • Kim says:

          That is not a very high figure. It is especially not a very high figure when compared to the destruction being done to the economy.

          Edited from Wikipedia:
          In the USA in 2016 (to take a year) 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day. In 2010, there were an estimated 5,419,000 crashes, 30,296 deadly, killing 32,999, and injuring 2,239,000. About 2,000 children under 16 die every year in traffic collisions.

          This is all so tragic and avoidable. More that 2.2 million injured each year. Those poor people will probably carry the scars, pain and impediments of those injuries for the rest of their lives.

          If only we restricted traffic to speeds below 20 mph, all of this could be avoided.

          Do you support this approach? A national 20 mph speed limit? If not, why not?

          • adonis says:

            yes a wonderful idea but how would it be enforced

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              all motor vehicles will be required to keep a social distance of 6 feet from any object.

              all motor vehicles will be required to have a mask over their front hood, and must be vaccinated once per year when they get their inspection sticker, as well as have a swab test of the motor oil to check for the presence of a virus, if the motor is above normal temperature.

            • Lastcall says:

              And they would all have to have Chrome Mags, just to be extra safe…

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              oh, I saw what you did there. 😉

            • Lastcall says:

              And be tested in Idaho…..did it again sorry
              Nothing gets past you in a million years

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              your humour is hot tonight.

              do you have a fever?

            • Lastcall says:

              Only on Saturday nights….does that date me?

              No use being a gloomy doomy, may as well try this stoicism angle. Its all the rage with them smart-ar.. umm folks up in silly-con gully

            • Dennis L. says:

              Only way to jump in:

              I like it, nice going, a bit of humor.

              All the best,

              Dennis L.

        • cephlon says:

          You are conflating IFR and CFR. 15,300 are confirmed cases. Supposedly there are at least that many that are not confirmed.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Imagine—if you will—a virus so dangerous you have to be tested to even know that you had it.

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcXL5jhWoAYdQ4Q?format=jpg&name=small

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          Imagine, if you will, Florida:

          15,000 daily cases and most of them aren’t very sick.

          • john Eardley says:

            It generally takes 21 days to die so given the case rate in Florida 21 days ago was 3000/d and deaths recorded yesterday was 72 the death rate is 2.4%. In 21 days those that will have died from todays 15000 cases will be 360.

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              thanks.

              there are lots of moving pieces here.

              if three weeks ago, the 3,000 were people seeking tests because they were actually sick, then the death rate of 2.4% would be artificially high, which it is since the actual IFR is 0.26%.

              similar with age groups, if the 3,000 were older people seeking tests.

              now, if anyone and everyone who thinks they might have been exposed to the virus are seeking tests, then the 15,000 would probably mean that many/most of them aren’t even sick, even though the test result is “positive”.

              since there seems to be much more testing resulting in many more positive results on people who are not even getting sick, then the 72 deaths yesterday could be in the beginning stage of a (perhaps bumpy) downward trend, and I think 40 deaths 3 weeks from now sounds reasonable.

              I could be quite wrong.

              especially if the virus is now disproportionately infecting older people.

              we will know in like maybe you know perhaps possibly in about 3 weeks.

  11. Chrome Mags says:

    https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/30-year-man-who-thought-coronavirus-was-hoax-dies-after-attending-covid-party-texas-doctor/

    A 30-year-old patient who thought the coronavirus was a hoax has died after attending a “COVID party” in Texas, a doctor said.

    “One of the things that was heart-wrenching that he said to his nurse was, ‘You know, I think I made a mistake,’ and this young man went to a COVID party,” Dr. Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital, said, according to television station KSAT in San Antonio on Friday. “He didn’t really believe. He thought the disease was a hoax. He thought he was young and he was invincible and wouldn’t get affected by the disease.”

    A “COVID party” is a gathering held by someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the doctor said. People attend to see who gets infected first.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      yes, this is no hoeax.

      the death rate may be only 0.26% according to the CDC, but it is still a “death” rate.

      too bad that this virus can’t be stopped.

      but there are scientists who insist that Farr’s Law will once again prove correct, and the spread of the virus will decrease about as fast as it increased.

      it can be hoped for.

      in the meantime, there is a real possibility of the USA reaching the Herd Immunity Threshold within the next couple of months.

      before then, the sad truth is that more will die.

      younger people seem to be volunteering to spread the virus among themselves, which is too bad for the far-less-than-0.26% of them who will die from covid.

      but it’s actually good for society as a whole, as their behavior will hasten the month when the country will be over the HIT.

      I’m still worried.

      even if the country as a whole reaches HIT, does that apply to every local area?

      I doubt it.

      I will be wearing a mask and socially distancing probably as long as anyone in my local area, maybe forever.

      in the meantime, daily deaths were at a record 2,700 in May and now are in the 700 range.

      and the spike in “cases” is not correlating with deaths, because in March/April most positive cases were very sick people and 90% of cases were missed because these were people who were not very sick at all.

      now, anyone and everyone gets tested and so not many “cases” are being missed.

      in reality, cases are way down, in spite of what the current expanded testing says.

      we know this is true because deaths are way down.

      this is good.

      covid deaths may be down to near zero within months, and no vaccine(s) will be needed.

      I hope so.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        reaching the Herd Immunity Threshold within the next couple of months.

        On Earth it is different.
        We are about 5% at most, and need to get to 70%.
        This will take a minimum of a year, probably longer—
        And the early infected might not have immunity by then.
        We don’t know.

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          HIT is about 15%.

          NYC had masss protests in May/June and no spike in cases like in other major cities.

          they obviously have reached HIT.

          Farr’s Law, which you perhaps are ignoring (?), is once again proving correct as daily deaths are down from 2,700 to about 700.

          the virus is decreasing about as fast as it increased.

          BUT:

          you are correct that we don’t know if immunity will diminish and the pandemic will restart.

          but we do know about Farr’s Law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farr%27s_laws

          do you think a population doing lockdowns and social distancing and wearing masks has negated Farr’s Law?

          I welcome your answer.

      • NikoB says:

        Would be nice if you are right but there is a good possibilty that herd immunity won’t occur as we loss our anti-bodies to the disease quickly according to these studies.

        https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/06/chinese-study-antibodies-covid-19-patients-fade-quickly

        https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article244087867.html

        https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31483-5/fulltext

        Early days though and they could be wrong.

        Fingers crossed.

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          thanks.

          I just mentioned a similar idea above.

          yes, if immunity diminishes in the near future, the pandemic could return.

          for now, Farr’s Law is once again proving correct.

          BUT that doesn’t mean that this pandemic can’t be different.

          it is a coronavirus.

          that could be good, in that perhaps 70% of the population already has some immunity to coronaviruses.

          or not so good, if immunity to C19 is no better than to the common cold.

  12. Dennis L. says:

    I like this guy because he agrees/supports my thesis, demographics.

    https://econimica.blogspot.com/2020/07/japan-1991-us-2007and-then-nothing-but.html

    Feeling feisty today, he has lots of graphs, Gail should like him too, she likes graphs.

    All this stuff in the US has exhausted the productive middle class, they had few if any children and considered it a virtuous thing to do. They also burdened their children with education loans which are impossible to pay and themselves with great retirement plans and associated health care benefits. It isn’t working anymore, it will change.

    If the future cannot be changed, change what is possible in one’s own life and enjoy today, the sun came up again, my bet tomorrow will be the same.

    Being so gloomy causes one to miss what is possible right in front of one.

    Dennis L.

    • Yes, humans in their “prime” of life make a big difference. They provide a type of energy as well.

      Part of our collapsing economy is indeed related to fewer workers in the most productive period of their lives. They are the ones with the highest wages. They are the ones who tend to buy new homes and new cars. With globalization, however, the wages of this group in high income countries does not do nearly as well. More of this income gets distributed to lower-wage countries.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Forgive me if this seems irrelevant, but a connection came to mind. This is something that makes me a little queasy about permaculture (a study I was once more enthusiastic about). The idea of “surfing” an optimized wave of production and extracting from its sweet spot just seems like more MPP.. not necessarily healthy across the board, even if possible. The permaculture “gimmick”, as it were, is keeping human-managed ecosystems in an adolescent-to-middle-aged state, capitalizing on the peak production of that stage, as compared to a minimally-productive young state (post-disturbance, opportunistic weeds) or a less-active mature state (old-growth forests). Seems like that is what governments would like, too, if they could manage it.

        • Artleads says:

          Thanks. I had never heard about ecosystems’ age before (well I had but it never stuck), and don’t understand much just based on reading this. I tend to think there are too many people busying themselves about every subject (in an overly left brain way), but always managing to miss that “sweet spot” where things can work in a fuzzy seat-of-the-pants way, without much effort.

          FE helped me crystalize a thought: the time has long passed for growing food on open land (although it will continue for a long time). With so much human interference and disruption it would be best for the land to be left alone–allowing for wild crofting, container growing, ground-upward hugelkultur, and very little digging. And although I get pushback re vertical farming here, I’ve been seeing articles on their success (which would seem god enough even if the articles were only half true).

          • Norman Pagett says:

            the problem with vertical farming is that it has to be all true, rather than half true

            vertical farms have to have a productive function–ie more energy comes out than goes in

            My problem with vertical farming, is that if you take 1 acre of land, cover it with another, and so on upwards, then in theory you have 20 acres of ‘farmland’.

            But each acre needs light heat water and a growing medium, plus harvesting machinery for each floor. All of which have to be transported to where the actual food is grown.

            We use 10 cal of energy to get 1 cal of food by current production methods, where the sun does a lot of the work input for us, for free. If Vfarms used only 2 extra cal in production, that energy would have to come from somewhere.

            In a vertical farm we have to provide all the additional sun and water energy on top of the 10 cal we input now, plus the energy cost locked into the vertical building itself.
            As far as I can see, trial V farms seem to produce only low calorie salad type crops.

            • Artleads says:

              Reading on OFW helps me to scale projections ever downward. (It’s an ongoing task.) Throughout life I’ve been double minded–using imagination to concoct the kind of insane fixes and safeguards that I now know there isn’t energy or genuine need for. Then the other mind has always been into living with nothing, never giving money a thought, building with materials that, if I spoke of them here, would produce the same pushback as with V/farming.

              NO. Absolutely not. I’m not playing by the rules of IC, no matter how much I’m unavoidably wrapped up in it. I don’t care in the slightest bit about providing for the entire world. I don’t care if everybody dies. So good for me to be weaned off those fixes that take energy and work at scale.

              However, I’ve been posting repeatedly that I pretty much ascribe to the Orlov 150 strong model of social organization. So I’m by no means thinking of vertical farming in industrial scale. Plants will grow up a wall under many conditions, often if you leave them alone. I would recommend growing any food that way. Pretty much leaving it to nature and not doing things that require extra energy or produce unwelcome outcomes. I’m not coming up with the financial solution to anything. I simply live in awe that I’m still around and have privileges that I do. I’ll go with whatever works for now–you can generally see where things are heading, and adjust for it. If those privileges go away tomorrow, that’s the way it is. I’ve the best I can. Nothing I can do about it. I try like blazes to get people I talk to to learn as much as I have about the issues for survival. Then I detach myself from the outcome. It looks unlikely that they’ll catch on. But, so what? I DON”T CARE!

    • Xabier says:

      And if we follow the advice of John Ruskin, we will look out for that sun as it rises and as it sets, and be all better for it.

      Everything is relative and it’s all about perspective.

      I get some wonderful cloud formations for my paintings because I am always looking out and in the fields here as soon as the sun first shows – later in the day, even as little an hour later, or even 15 minutes – the sky might be blank and uninteresting.

      Stay in bed thinking ‘It’s going to be dull today, why bother?’ and you will never know what you have missed.

  13. Azure Kingfisher says:

    Combining digital identity, vaccination record keeping and a cashless payment system in West Africa:

    Africa to Become Testing Ground for “Trust Stamp” Vaccine Record and Payment System

    “A biometric digital identity platform that ‘evolves just as you evolve’ is set to be introduced in ‘low-income, remote communities’ in West Africa thanks to a public-private partnership between the Bill Gates-backed GAVI vaccine alliance, Mastercard and the AI-powered ‘identity authentication’ company, Trust Stamp.

    The program, which was first launched in late 2018, will see Trust Stamp’s digital identity platform integrated into the GAVI-Mastercard ‘Wellness Pass,’ a digital vaccination record and identity system that is also linked to Mastercard’s click-to-play system that powered by its AI and machine learning technology called NuData. Mastercard, in addition to professing its commitment to promoting ‘centralized record keeping of childhood immunization’ also describes itself as a leader toward a ‘World Beyond Cash,’ and its partnership with GAVI marks a novel approach towards linking a biometric digital identity system, vaccination records, and a payment system into a single cohesive platform. The effort, since its launch nearly two years ago, has been funded via $3.8 million in GAVI donor funds in addition to a matched donation of the same amount by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    In early June, GAVI reported that Mastercard’s Wellness Pass program would be adapted in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Around a month later, Mastercard announced that Trust Stamp’s biometric identity platform would be integrated into Wellness Pass as Trust Stamp’s system is capable of providing biometric identity in areas of the world lacking internet access or cellular connectivity and also does not require knowledge of an individual’s legal name or identity to function. The Wellness Program involving GAVI, Mastercard, and Trust Stamp will soon be launched in West Africa and will be coupled with a Covid-19 vaccination program once a vaccine becomes available.”

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/africa-trust-stamp-covid-19-vaccine-record-payment-system/269346/

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Africa has another issue.
      The average age in Africa is 19– and hardly anyone in that group has a covid problem.
      Let’s see how this unwinds.
      Europe the average age is in the mid 40’s.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Unwinds: Not well I am afraid, warriors are generally in late teens, early twenties – that is when we as males believe we are invincible. One has to wonder how the white, female SJW will see things then. The young might be expected to be useful, those older may be considered a cost. Given the current migration trends realization of the decline of the white male privilege may not prove to be the blessing thought.

        Wonder if they will retain the vote, the evidence from the no go zones is not promising for that cohort.

        Dennis L.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Okay, what is wrong with cc?

      They are convenient, pay them off and it is free working capital for the 30 or so days – make all the purchases at the beginning of the period and it can be more than 30 days, chose the right card and get points, it is negative interest of the rest of us. Use them for a business, pay regularly and they up your credit limit, more free money.

      Get a line of credit at your bank checking account, use it only for timing issues and pay it off, lower interest rate than cc, simple, but emergency only, cashflow only, accrual accounting on your business and don’t make the same mistake twice.

      Watch for the transfers of balances and if they still exist, the 90 plus days of accrued interest only. Laugh at this, I financed a 501c3 with this, made it work and got paid points to boot. It was an experiment, I could pay it off, but I rolled >30K with no cash invested, basically did a credit guarantee.

      Man, there are more opportunities today than ever before, but they are hard. I didn’t complete my MBA, required 40 credits, I have 60+ but they were in accounting and finance, I knew the numbers and they worked. Rolling the cc companies was great sport, did good things for the community, made me an income doing something meaningful and had a great group of people with whom to work.

      It is all in how you look at it.

      Dennis L.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Dennis, did you ever consider that the complicated gamesmanship involved in these machinations is itself consumptive and ends up being a tax on us all?

        At one point I had a number of European acquaintances. Their tendency was to make a lot of cellphone calls (more than USians at the time). The tariffs were super-complicated and long-term contracts were not the norm, so they all went around with 3 or 4 cell phones apiece, each one optimized for a certain offer scheme (minutes/data, texts, time of day rates, familial or group discounts) and they somehow managed to juggle these penny-shaving strategies in real time, all day long. How exhausting! They had complicated signaling to direct callers to another phone (let’s say they would let it ring 2x and then hang up, or something to that effect) if their minutes were running out or if the rates were inconvenient.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Yes, I considered it, it was understanding of accrual accounting which made it work. Over eight years the equivalent of almost 1/4 the population of a city of 50K got access to dental care, outcomes of decay, extractions, and cost/encounter declined, access to routine dental care increased to 50% of the patients.

          It worked because I understood accounting in addition to being a competent dentist; I was not a wild eyed idealist, I had a few goals, they were achieved and the cc companies paid the startup costs. Pay A/P with a cc and you have 60 days of working capital for supplies. Know your accounting and it works every month, no surprises, it works because of growth, know the S curve which is not a straight line.

          The phone system is probably similar, but with fewer rewards.

          As for being a tax on us all, learn the game. Life is a game, it is not fair but one can learn the rules and play on a more equal field. We are going to need to be productive, find a need and fill it, making a profit and doing so is a plus, not a minus. We can’t solve the problems of the world, sufficient to make the world around us better.

          There are still many opportunities in life, but they require work, sacrifice, playing the long game. Until we pass, we will all need to find a useful niche in life and fill it(this is the reality of demographics). For my grandmother when her husband was killed in an industrial accident it was turning over her home to my father and becoming a baby sitter and more to me. It must have been painful, she and her husband had a good life, he was yard foreman for the Milwaukee Road. I believe in the future, the pessimists have always been wrong.

          Dennis L.

      • Lidia17 says:

        “What’s wrong with cc?” In general, it’s a tax, a parasitical intermediary. Think of Paypal. They get fees on top of the cc fees on every transaction, because they saw they could insert themselves and people would chalk it up to “convenience” or “security”. They don’t really offer anything I would deem commensurate with their take off the top.

        If you have a tick sucking your blood, ok.. you can bear that.. it only takes a little bit. But be a moose these days in northern New England, and find you have 90,000 ticks (yes, on a single moose)*. That’s game over.

        *https://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/content/articles/deer-news/moose-infested-with-90000-ticks

        • Dennis L. says:

          Linda, it is not a tax done correctly, it is a plus. It requires discipline to use well, cc depend on people wanting more than they are, basically it relies on Bernays. For me, cc have never been a take off the top, they have been working capital, but then I sit in the second to the last unremodeled room of my home, doing the walls, one at a time, aged 73, too dumb to do otherwise.

          They are only a parasite if allowed to become one.

          Through personal experience I do not believe the contemporary stories are necessary, my parents when married lived in a tent, following the Coast and Geodetic Survey, when my grandmother needed help they took over the house and she lived with them, it was tough. We counted pennies, did not flush the toilet until really yellow, took sequential baths in the same water, etc.

          There is no tick sucking my blood, I had the benefit of a Lutheran, Calvinist up bringing which made me not rich, but not a fool either. Secular humanism erased all that for much of our population, we all suffer because of it. I now prefer the quiet and music of Catholic service, I believe we are part of a system and along for the ride.

          Dennis L.

      • Lidia17 says:

        P.S. also Dennis, did you ever think that maybe you got those good opportunities because you were already credit-worthy? Just like the cheap-credit games of today seem to benefit only those at the top of the pyramid.. just sayin’.

        I had a card once that kept shortening the payoff period (29 days, 27 days, 23 days) just to fuck with customers. I likely had “bad” credit because I tend to pay everything off. The first time one of those “oops” late-payment mistakes happened due to them randomly shortening the time of the yellow light (as the privatized traffic companies do, to induce a greater instance of running red lights), I cancelled the card.

        I kind of don’t want to think that you are so naive as to think credit cards are a net boon to humanity.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Lidia17.

          Yes, I got them because I was credit worthy, yes I saw what they were trying to do, yes I was able to take that money and invest it in a community service that would meet needs which would be measured and yes during a tough economic time it also employed one recent graduate in hygiene who for 4-5 months previous had no job. They made nothing off of me, nothing off of the community and by paying supplier bills with a cc the no interest loan was for up to120 days.

          Current experience paying by check is maybe $1.20 including postage, stamp, envelope. Paying by cc is the hidden cost of internet service, actually probably greater with few bills paying by cc rather than check. In the good old days we had dial up and land lines – that was cheap.

          Sorry about the late payment experience, if you can do it, a bank line of credit helps this issue but it can only be used for timing issues, not increasing the liability side of your balance sheet.

          As for boon to humanity, you are probably right in that less is more. A positive is moving through checkout lines more quickly. When shopping at Menard’s I personally groan when someone goes to write a check rather than swiping and moving through.

          The switch from paper to internet – sure it is convenient, but it shifts the cost from the biller to the billed, internet is necessary, the post office requires a one time mail box.

          A positive is mail was working before electricity, somethings will remain when things change.

          All the best,

          Dennis L.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Beware Bill Gates bearing a poisoned chalice.

    • fred_goes_bush says:

      Wow. Great to see a Muslim cleric talking up peaceful coexistence.

      Also interesting to see his view on what happened to Syria – destroyed by (Muslim) sectarianism he says, whereas I always thought it was primarily due to Western interference.

      • beidawei says:

        I always thought it was the Arab Spring protests against the Assad government, which raised the difficulty that democracy would favor Sunnis over Alawis like Assad and his backers. (Some people blame the protests on economic or ecological conditions.)So yeah, Syrian sectarianism weakened the country to the point where various militias, some of them transnational or foreign-backed, became the main centers of political power. Russia propped up the Assad regime to protect its bases (so now Assad controls the major cities and roads), ISIS rose and fell, the USA abandoned Kurdish “Rojava” to the Turks.

        • Norman Pagett says:

          the Arab Spring 2010 followed neatly on the tail of the financial crash of 08/09, which was caused by the peak of conventional oil in 05.
          The collapse of Syria was exacerbated by a 4 year drought that drove farmers off their land into cities, where there was no support for them

          there might be hundreds of side issues, conflicts, collapses—you name it, but those events seem to form the main thread of what has influenced the past decade, until covid 19 delivered the killer blow

      • Lidia17 says:

        Well, that seems to be the modern recipe: ousting secular leaders and leaving a vacuum for religious and sectarian chaos: Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. On the other hand, the Modern State is more likely to be the Unnatural State.

        • Kim says:

          It is a very large topic and one that has been fought out since the Reformation. What is a state? What is the relationship of the rulership to the ruled? Are nationalists correct in their view that the state is optimal when its borders conform to the geographical location or extents of groups with ethnic, linguistic and/or religious/cultural identities?

          What is the alternative to the national state? Is it supernational leaderhip through dynasties and empires, just as the Ottomans ruled various areas through satrapies? Or The Russian Empire – the “prison house of nations” as it was called – and its many states (and always seeking more) under the Romanovs? And so for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, always seeking more land and people to rule in the Balkans and elsewhere, or the Hoehzollerns, and through the Windsors, and so on.

          Of course, anti-nationalism and supra-national leadership is all the rage in European politics where politicians see a chance to become the totalitarian masters they always aspire to become. In their eyes, the solution for the “evils” of nationalism would appear to be the permanent establishment of ruling bodies of bank-appointed experts, privileged and well-paid, a grey-suited clerisy – like the EU – without any claim to legitimacy or the loyalty or obedience of those they arbitrarily rule over, who will be the unchallengable masters of vast areas of the earth and its peoples.

          In the meantime, this same clerisy do their darnedest to stir up racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic divisions because then it allows them to claim that national self determination and national homogeneity don’t work.

          So Syria is destroyed with Europe and CIA-trained and funded terrorists. Libya is bombed by Reagan, and by Blair and Sarkozy, and finally and most successfully by Hillary and the US Air Force. Now there are genuine slave markets being held in Tripoli, as there were in Syria under ISIS.

          Because apparently, nationalism causes wars and strife. Not the resistance to nationalsim. Not the will to complete unchallegable power. No, nationalism.

          At the same time, since WW2 at least, the leadderships of the the Western nations, which ruled over peaceful and highly homogenous communities, have been working at 100 mph to destroy that homegenity through mass immigration and multiculturalism. They then use the resultant divisions to promote strife between the different groups. The goal of course is to take formerly relatively unmixed nations and mix them up to the point that they are un-unmixable and to blame “racism” and nationalism for the problems of inter-group competition and the differential levels of group achievement that then naturally arise.

          Once the homegenity of a country is sufficiently damaged, the schemers can then denounce “nationalism” and insist that a world of “equality” and “social justice” without “racism” can be attained only if more power – supra-national power without any claim to legitimacy – is handed over to them as fair-dealers and trustworthy middlemen to manage all of these problems that they themselves have stoked and inflamed.

          And that has been the battle to define the State over the last century: a battle of the people who want a state in which they rule themselves according to their own cultures and values against the aspirations of totalitarian puppet masters who want to rule over the state and the people like lords and nobles of old, without legitimacy and with complete and unanswerable power.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Well put. Do you think WW I and WWII with two or three or four nation states beating each others’ heads in had something to do with this rejection of nationalism?

            To me both wars seem like idiots destroying their youth. As for me, I wonder what would have happened if the US did a Major Barbara and supplied the current losing side with just enough arms to overcome the winner until the balance changed, always charging a premium for the loser’s survival. That would be diplomacy at its finest.

            Said sarcastically, Germany conquering Paris was maybe the gift horse being looked at in the mouth, at least students of French would not have to suffered reading Camus and Sartre.

            Dennis L.

  14. JT Roberts says:

    Just like everyone who thought peak oil would mean high oil prices. The economic crash is up not not down.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/wall-street-concludes-no-matter-who-next-president-it-will-be-bullish-stocks

    • Bizarre! Everyone seems to think shortages mean high prices. Not really; they mean that the system cannot work.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Thanks, keep at it I am starting to see it. The downstream capital loses value, its depreciable life span is shortened, the costs need to accrued against the income more quickly resulting in negative accrued income, but it has positive cash flow until it doesn’t.

        Dennis L

  15. Lidia17 says:

    Re. Covid hot-spots. Although I just skimmed some of his recent rants (his writing style makes his posts a little hard-to-digest), Karl Denninger brought up some observations about fecal transmission:

    ======
    We knew in the middle of February this virus spread in scat. Why? Because in multiple incidents, including one in Hong Kong, people who did not know each other and lived ten floors apart in apartment buildings got the virus at the same time. It is implausible that such events could have occurred due to “respiratory droplet” spread; to do so they would have had to have been in the same place at the same time and had the potential to have said contact with one another in a reasonably close and continual basis for at least some material period of time. That didn’t happen so that means of spread is not possible.

    So how did the transmission happen?

    The building did not, as is common in that part of the world, have “P-Traps” on the sinks.

    You don’t smell sewer gas in the US because it is code to have P-traps on the sinks and other fixtures connected to the sewer line. The water trapped in the “P” (or “U”) keeps gas from coming back up into the building. But in many parts of the world there either are no traps as originally installed or people illegally modify the plumbing to add another fixture or other thing, and don’t put one in. There is no compliance monitoring and this happens all the time. In both these cases the people infected were on the same sewer line and there were no traps on the sinks.

    I noted this at the time in my podcast and wrote about it as well. We knew at that point that the only plausible explanation for how these people got the bug was that (1) it was in crap and (2) it was spreading via other than direct contact with same. It was that and Diamond Princess that convinced me that this bug was being spread via feces and the galley/food staff were the primary vector. This, by the way, is the same mechanism by which norovirus, which is common on cruise ships, spreads. We have since confirmed it is in feces and in fact MIT and others have proposed that we can detect outbreaks in a community before they hit the hospitals by sampling sewer lines.

    We’ve deliberately ignored this evidence for the last five months.

    Masks do exactly zero to inhibit fecal/oral transmission.

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=239710

    ========
    The virulence of all aerosol transmission of respiratory viruses, without exception, follow very closely the absolute humidity in the region in question. This is absolute fact and is why if you look at the CDC data for ILI — diagnosed as a specific flu or not — you will see exactly this pattern. We did not know that this was tied directly to absolute humidity for a long time, but about 10 years ago the link was discovered and curve fit — and it’s a near-exact fit when controlled for all other factors such as time spent outdoors, HVAC prevalence and similar. …

    It is why every single year we have a “flu season.” It is why you are much more likely to catch a cold in the winter than the summer. Some people do get a cold or flu in the summer, but not many. This is science, not conjecture or politics.

    Covid-19 is not following this pattern; we knew this in March. We knew this because places that were already very hot, where absolute humidity was already way higher than the winter and early spring months, were seeing massive outbreaks. We confirmed this when the virus got into Dade county in Florida by persons returning to the US from Italy and spread like wildfire — it was not being attenuated even though total humidity was much higher than that of New York City at the same point in time. We continue to see confirmation in that now we have outbreaks in places like Dallas and San Antonio TX well into the summer, along with Miami, Los Angeles, South Carolina and Phoenix.

    Note that the prevalence of A/C does not change any of this. Not only is the virus spreading like Hell in places like rural India (where there are no A/C units) but A/C units condense a huge amount of material out of the air and get rid of both the aerosols and anything in them in the condensate which is drained to the ground outside. If the presence of A/C units didn’t attenuate transmission about equally well as being outdoors then we’d see massive outbreaks of flu in office buildings and cattle-car packed call centers in the summer but we don’t.

    All of these facts are hard, scientific evidence that the primary mechanism of spread of Covid-19 is not aerosol.

    … [lots of all-caps yelling]…

    Incidentally you will find the same is true of norovirus. This is why Norovirus spreads rapidly on cruise ships even in the Caribbean where absolute humidity is sky-high. Norovirus is contact spread, including through feces — which we refuse to acknowledge as a means of spread of Covid-19 even though the overwhelming scientific evidence is that it spreads in exactly the same way norovirus does and we KNOW, scientifically, it is in feces.

    When a cruise ship gets an outbreak of norovirus do they mandate masks? I’ve been on a cruise where it happened and the answer is NO. They spray the hell out of every single surface with a bleach solution on a nearly-continuous basis. The entire damn ship smells like bleach. Guess why they don’t mandate masks? Because the virus is not attenuated in spread through total humidity which is proof that the primary means of spread is not aerosol and even if it did masks don’t work against viruses and they know it.

    Covid-19 is not attenuated in spread through total humidity either.

    IT IS NOT, IN THE MAIN, SPREAD VIA AEROSOL.

    PERIOD.

    Which means even if masks could work against respiratory viruses, which they can’t, they won’t work in this instance because that’s not how the virus is spread.
    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=239621

    This may or may not jibe with what others here understand, but his line of reasoning (whether adopted to justify an anti-mask predisposition) does seem logical. This state of affairs would not only obviate mask regulations but obviate the need for “social distancing”. I have come across some speculation linking social distancing to the individuating capabilities of GPS.

    • There certainly is a lot to be figured out with respect to this virus. I know I read quite some time ago that we knew that feces could spread the virus. I am guessing that there is more than one way the illness spreads. We don’t have all of this worked out well. The fact that so many people on the Diamond Princess got sick, even though they were confined to the rooms, was clear evidence of a subtle way of disease spread.

    • galipea.ossana says:

      This is not in any way “hard, scientific evidence” unless it has been studied and published in the peer-reviewed literature. And that Denninger guy is no virologist, no epidemiologist, no immunologist, just a business man. No need to listen to him, except maybe when it comes to finances.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Hmm, see my note below or above on Denninger and money, suffice it to say he is no Warren Buffet.

        I would listen to a plumber before any of the mentioned experts and no sarcasm intended. Plumbing works, at least code plumbing in the US.

        Dennis L.

      • Kim says:

        There is no need to listen to anyone in a lab coat any more. All we ever get from our experts nowadays are paid-for lies, lies by commission or ommission.

        The food pyramid? A lie supported by experts.

        Global warming? A lie spread by experts.

        The official 911 story? A lie spread by experts.

        Vaccination propaganda? Lies spread by experts.

        The MH17 show trial? Who would ever trust anythng that happened in a court room that had the least political angle?

        You can go on with such examples all day. Only a fool places his naive faith in officially approved experts. Most of them are just hired guns, government sock puppets and corrupt political actors.

      • Robert Firth says:

        “This is not in any way “hard, scientific evidence” unless it has been studied and published in the peer-reviewed literature.”

        Agreed completely. The problem is that when the evidence *has* been published in the peer reviewed literature, it is highly likely to be “evidence” that somebody has paid good money to be fabricated. I fear we are rapidly returning to an age of scientific writing where the amateurs are more trustworthy than the professionals. As happened to geology in the eighteenth century, and natural history in the nineteenth.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Thank you, I sort of gave up on Denninger back when he predicted Berkshire was done and Warren was a has been. Someone back on TOD used to collect his articles regularly. Your reference is as good a story as any.

      Came across a The black Death:The World’s Most Devistating Plague(Amazon Prime) a few weeks ago, one of the thesis is it was a combination of diseases and not one. With all the different manifestations of Covid-19 one might wonder if we are seeing more than one contributing factor.

      Modern plumbing is said by many to be one of the greatest if not the greatest contributor to public health in modern history. Traps make sense, but not sure how the disease jumps from the open sewer line to the infected patient.

      The disease is hell for many/most of us in one way or another. The lack of social contact sucks.

      Help me out on GPS.

      Dennis L.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Dennis, the GPS systems that allow location tracking on people’s phones is accurate to within a meter or two (newer ones something like 1ft, older ones maybe 12m?). So, if one were to want to track an person at a unique location, forcing people to remain separate tends to make their locations more clearly individuated. There are many articles you can duck-duck-go: “social distancing” “cell phone” “data”.

        Though this article conveys traditional claims that the data is being used in an anonymized fashion, that clearly has to be false in the case of covid contact tracing.
        https://www.wired.com/story/apple-google-social-distancing-maps-privacy/

        I can imagine that people are working on this, not necessarily because we are all equally likely individual targets but, to train and refine existing surveillance systems that do likely target individuals.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Everything in this post seems to make a lot of sense to me. And I have been downed by norovirus which I picked up when taking a sick dog to the vet. But that’s a long story I won’t go into here.

      I am not sure why the controllers are so interested in keeping people apart for GPS surveillance purposes. Does anyone have any ideas on that?

      • Tim Groves says:

        OK Lidia, I guess you’ve already answered about GPS.

        • Lidia17 says:

          It does sound tin-foil-hatty, but looking at the types of phone apps and tracers they seem keen on rolling out it is hard to discount the enthusiasm for Total Information Awareness (which never went away.. it was only publicly shelved for appearances’ sake).

          I read “The Puzzle Palace” back when it came out (1982). I was studying (biology) at a school very much intertwined with the government and computing power at the time. It was obvious that what the book revealed, while shocking, was merely the tip of the iceberg. Though people are now inured to a lack of privacy, the ramifications of those revelations are still not probably not fully understood by the “man-on-the-street” even today. My feelings are that whatever is revealed in terms of their power is only a fraction of what is going on behind the scenes. I don’t make a case for anything in particular.. rather, “I know my chickens.”

  16. JT Roberts says:

    Tesla is not a car company. The production of cars is a lead loss facility to its primary business of carbon credits and tax credits. For a car manufacturer to be viable their primary income has to be the manufacture and sale of cars. Not financial rigging.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/elon-musk-is-now-worth-more-than-warren-buffett.html
    Amazon is no different. They’re not a retailer. They do not buy at wholesale and sell at retail. As such their entire value is miss judged. The only money they truly make is cloud computing.

    These are two of the primary examples of disruptive industries that are destroying traditionally profitable business models. Why? Because that’s how it goes down. The trading of substance for illusion. The collapse won’t be a crash down but rather a moonshot. Roaring 20s part 2.

    • Dennis L. says:

      An opinion, no more.

      The value in Amazon, Google and others seems to be the information. My cursory study of AI seems to show it is basically doing correlations, not causation(inference) on huge amounts of data which is in itself revolutionary. Early AI looked at deterministic reasoning, it never lead anywhere except to languages such as LISP.

      If the correlation idea is correct, much of modern education is nonsense, kids need to memorize facts, exercise the brain and connections come through aggregation. It seems to be how we think in general which has significant implications for social engineering. Personally I think this is reflected in religions and a a small set of rules which work in the aggregate although in the specifics there are exceptions. The social question is can a society work with so many exceptions; currently it seems to be a challenge.

      This second paragraph is a rejection on my part of the ideas of guys like Nietzsche, they try and apply reason to a pile of facts and presuppose axioms which don’t exist and lead to endless circular reasoning and in his case basic insanity and alienation from friends. Mathematics works because it is totally abstract, when applied to reality, it never has worked perfectly, think the three body problem. It is close enough to travel through space, but it is never exact and course corrections compensate for the shortcomings as I understand it. Nietzsche and I presuppose much higher education has too damn many course corrections, it is a fudge.

      As for the future, all one can do in this case is take a pile of data, see how that data correlates to previous outcomes, chose say three in order of probability. Course corrections are possible only by changing basic data inputs, tough to know what to change. To date, we have not done a very good job, Hirsch tried very hard to change course sometime in the 1980’s I believe, it did not work.

      Dennis L.

      • beidawei says:

        Nietzsche wasn’t driven insane by his philosophy. Insanity doesn’t work like that. There was, no doubt, a physiological basis. Anyway, Nietzsche wasn’t really the kind of philosopher you’re describing. By profession he was a classical philologist who led students in reading Latin and Greek texts. He wrote (ranted) a lot about the politics and pop culture of the day, in formats and styles that would not really be accepted by professional philosophers anymore–“belles lettres” describes them better. He does sometimes discuss traditional philosophical questions like ethics, but not in a very systematic or self-critical way. He did have a number of close friends over the years.

        I’ve often thought they should make a movie based on the biography “Zarathustra’s Sister,” about his sister Elizabeth Foerster-Nietzsche. She married a proto-Nazi who took her to found an Aryan breeding colony in South America. (It failed.) Nietzsche reacted to the marriage in more or less the same way any normal person would–a promise had to be extracted from him that he would not discuss politics during the happy event. But Elizabeth gained control of his archives after his breakdown and death, and edited / manipulated the posthumous publication of his writings.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Thanks, your understanding is far better than mine, I am probably picking on him more than I should.

          More than anything at an advanced age I am reacting to a liberal education which seems to give no answers, run in circles and drive people crazy. Secular humanism does not work any better in my opinion than religion and traditional Catholicism had much better music, that is in no way meant to sarcastic. More and more I suspect the world is what it is, it is not deterministic and rational reasoning is circular. This works in the abstract with mathematics, begin with a set of axioms and much is self consistent, but it was engineered by humans to be that way. Applied to the real world it seems at best approximations, applied to quantum mechanics and it becomes bizarre.

          Always interesting to hear from you, all the best,

          Dennis L.

          • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            Nietzsche is peachy.

            or:

            Nietzsche said God is dead. God says Nietzsche is dead.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Dennis, if you really believe mathematics was created by humans, please let me refer you to Euclid’s “Elements”, Book IX proposition 20. It is the proof that there is no largest prime number. In its time, this was completely unexpected, and contradicted almost all of the natural philosophy of the age. I do not think even the priests of Thoth could have created all those primes; but nevertheless, they are there. And were there from before the creation of the world.

    • Lots of illusion out there. Wind and solar are only viable because they get the subsidy of being allowed to go first. They tend to reduce the wholesale price for electricity, making more difficult for other producers to be viable.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Agreed. I have a south facing shed with a slanting roof, maybe 150 foot long, 50 foot south facing roof. Looking seriously at solar cells for roof, makes money for me, makes no sense to the coop. But, I can virtue signal that I am green, underlying reason is the the state of MN has mandated green power, why not? We are part of a system.

        Dennis L.

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “There is “compelling” evidence that air pollution significantly increases coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths, according to the most detailed and comprehensive analysis to date.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/13/compelling-evidence-air-pollution-worsens-coronavirus-study#_=_

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Coronavirus may have a serious impact on the heart, with more than half of COVID-19 patients revealing abnormal scans, a study suggests.”

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/coronavirus-can-seriously-damage-the-heart-study-suggests-12027402

      • Dennis L. says:

        Harry,

        Skimmed the report, a significant fraction(I am too lazy to read the report) of the patients had pre-existing heart conditions.

        Those with no known conditions see my post on Fix, dead of heart heart attack. It would seem to me that an exam of an apparently healthy patient with say a angiogram would be necessary to rule out a pre-exisiting heart issue with plaque, etc. The problem such an examination is it would be tantamount to mal practice especially were there complications of the examination. Insurance companies would not pay for this exam in a healthy patient with no symptoms so ruling out preexisting conditions seems a stretch.

        This is becoming crazy, modern medicine has done wonderful things and many have resulting issues due to being alive secondary to treatment, the virus is a real challenge to these people.

        A guess that both in lives saved and economically is all these precautions have cost more lives in treatments delayed and huge economic harm based on very poor data.

        Medicine has put band aids on a great many conditions, today’s issues are stressing systems, the band aids worked and gave many people years of comfort and life. Now, they appear to be failing. Nature bats last.

        Perhaps palliative is the best that can be done for many. Is that so bad?

        Dennis L.

    • Ed says:

      So, NYC is one polluted he ll hole.

      • Tim Groves says:

        As are Wuhan and Bergamot.

        And going back to the start of the pandemic, remember those reports of people keeling over and dying in the street of this new virus?

        Yes, that’s how scary it was folks. It was going to spread all over the world and make people everywhere fall down and die in the streets.

        https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/5da8645f65eddc9c66e9dafd5e2acf7a77da05fb/0_245_6048_3627/master/6048.jpg?width=620&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=3dffe98332f00bc44e15276d4d0e9358

        It is an image that captures the chilling reality of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan: a grey-haired man wearing a face mask lies dead on the pavement, a plastic shopping bag in one hand, as police and medical staff in full protective suits and masks prepare to take him away.

        On what would typically be a crowded street in Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million people under quarantine, there are only a few passersby – but they dare not go near him.

        Journalists from Agence France-Presse saw the body on Thursday morning, not long before a vehicle arrived carrying emergency workers. AFP could not determine how the man, who appeared to be aged in his 60s, had died.

        But the reaction of the police and medical staff in hazmat suits, as well as some of the bystanders, highlighted the fear pervading the city.

        Poor guy. It seems the face mask didn’t save him.

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    Mac10 sees deflation and gluts:

    “Global central banks have squandered their ammo creating a global asset bubble in the midst of economic depression. Global GDP is now inversely correlated to asset prices for the first time in human history…

    “We face a global glut of everything.”

    https://zensecondlife.blogspot.com/2020/07/here-comes-extreme-deflation.html?m=1

    • Plentiful jobs, pre-COVID-19, but most of them bad. Falling capital utilization, aggravated by COVID-19.

      https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HxFZSSVQ_lQ/XwucZiKDDGI/AAAAAAAB–I/yRyr5ybwVPcdYv7Kx8Pi80DjhtYTm5WVgCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/capacity_utilization.PNG

      • Dennis L. says:

        Farming is unique, it uses more capital/capita each year and not less. The capital is important; when I drive into the farm I notice the corn has groups of 4 plants about 6″ apart separated from the next group of 4 by about 10″ – a failure of singulation in what I assume is a >$100K planter which is a combination of electronics, hydraulics and brute strength from a 300-400hp tractor guided by GPS and a bit more.

        In my years of business/practice, replacing capital was trivial, building a group to effectively use the capital was the challenge, I was good at that, my people were important to me, but it was mutual and when need be, I could prune where necessary.

        In your graph there seems to be an implied assumption that given capital, magic happens, modern capital is complex, modern social interactions are complex, both need people capable of using the capital and interacting together. People must be able to utilize capital to give it value to them and society.

        It appears to me that modern education has failed in this respect and many who have fallen through the cracks have been failed by an educational process which is inconsistent with how knowledge acquired. See AI, it is not done via reasoning. Education takes time, time to train brains, fill them with facts, it may be many cannot use the capital and the failure of modern pedagogical thinking may fall short of old fashion rote learning.

        Personal observation, aren’t they all, your column is a considerable distraction from my pencil and paper review of math for next semester, in general it is a plus, pedagogically for math a minus.

        Dennis L.

  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…economists say China’s demand isn’t providing as much oomph as it did during the past recession.

    “Some countries have been hit so hard that even solid Chinese demand can’t get them out of trouble… Concerns over rising debt have made Beijing warier of engineering more growth through stimulus this year.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-china-isnt-expected-to-power-a-global-recovery-11594555200

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “China’s banks should brace for a big jump in bad loans due to coronavirus-induced economic pain, the financial regulator said on Saturday, noting the deterioration of asset quality at some small and mid-sized financial institutions was accelerating.”

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-finance/chinese-banks-must-brace-for-surge-in-bad-loans-regulator-says-idUKKCN24C0C4

      • How long can extend and pretend continue?

        • Dennis L. says:

          Perhaps look at and for what is not extend and pretend. Somewhere there are things that work, we see the forest but not the trees, some do grow to the sky.

          Said somewhat irreverently, I come here to find what does not work, this site is good at that, basically you size down the haystack making finding the needle easier.

          Dennis L.

        • fred_goes_bush says:

          Well it’s lasted a lot longer than I thought was possible and I hope it lasts a while longer. I’ve got 25 years max left, so another nice, comfy 25 years would be great thank you!

          Seriously though, we probably underestimate the momentum and adaptability of the economy and people. Say oil production goes down from 90million bpd to 70bpd that’s still a load of energy to do useful stuff with.

          Sure things won’t be great, but we should be able to limp along.

  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    Talented author, Vanessa Blakeslee uses a recent journey through the Permian as a platform for examining our double-edged relationship with fossil fuels:

    “Everyone is to blame, and no one is to blame… we passed another refinery, I thought, how I hate this, and its ghastliness, toxins, death. But also, please keep running. Fill our tanks with diesel and gas, deliver medicines to our hospitals, and food to our stores…”

    https://www.thesmartset.com/our-permian-paradox/?fbclid=IwAR3tDfm24go34Lifjiu54kLB54tjVst4AIPotjLX7vdTOVGrHhzlzxXfeQA

    • Right! Even if there are many things we don’t like about fossil fuels, we really need to keep the fossil fuels for the many wonders they bring.

    • Keith Larkin says:

      Is Vanessa Blakeslee still a moderator for FB’s Near-Term Human Extinction Support Group, which is brimming with goofiness from Guy McPherson’s disciples?

      It’s unfortunate that she mentioned Carl Sagan, the well-rewarded pseudo-scientist creepily connected with the U.S. Air Force, NASA, etc. Remember when he worked on a secret project to nuke the moon?! Anyway, his lack of mathematical expertise concerning the exponential function was apparent when he decided to have five kids, two well after overpopulation had become a public topic. Formal “education” does not equal wisdom.

  21. Keith Larkin says:

    July 11 was World Population Day, which went unremarked upon by everyone, especially all the “doomers,” ha ha ha!

    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-07-06-covid-19-a-terrifying-glimpse-of-a-future-where-overpopulation-and-climate-crisis-overwhelm-earth/#gsc.tab=0

    • According to the article,

      The current pandemic has shone a terrifying spotlight on human vulnerability and has shown up our human arrogance and our delusional sense of superiority and dominance over the natural world. The world has been shut down by a minute virus (0,000065mm in diameter), and we are at a loss about the way forward. Our current predicament offers an opportunity to “build back better”, and to acknowledge our interdependence with one another as well as the natural world.

      Building back better requires more energy, however. We don’t have more cheap to produce energy, however. This is our underlying problem.

      • Xabier says:

        The ‘build back better’ meme is about as meaningless as the ‘end of conspicuous consumption’ meme that did the rounds in 2008-9.

        How seriously that was discussed! And what did what see in the next 9 years?

      • Lidia17 says:

        The “interdependence with one another” on a global scale is also a problem. “Building back better” would mean less of that, and would also mean less efficiency and more redundancy.

      • Dennis L. says:

        My hypothesis:

        The “build back” will be done by the system within the constraints of the system. They system is too large for “policy” to affect, it is maybe the same illusion told at worship that one way or the other is the path to eternal life. It gives hope which is better than nihilism and all that nonsense. Personally, a path is to find something that works for the individual at a given time, provides some basis(capital) for a tomorrow and leave the rest to the system, knowing the system knows best – seems to me that is little different from God.

        The world has not been shut down by a little virus, the sun rises each day, most of us draw a breath each day.

        It has worked in the past, it should work going forward.

        Dennis L.

      • info says:

        @Gail
        Demolitions and the shrinking of urban areas is the future. Less to maintain, less energy intensive.

    • Keith Larkin says:

      Gail, we all know that most of these writers have to end on a positive, unrealistic note. However, since the fantasy of living in harmony with nature is not likely to occur in time to preserve a viable planet, let alone occur at all as regards the human predilection toward parasitic destruction, choosing to remain child-free should be applauded and rewarded.

      Here’s a quote from a Population Matters friend of mine:

      With the earth groaning under the weight of 7+ billion people, most wanting to consume as much as possible, I think the last thing any ecologically literate person would do is add to the burden. Ah, but it’s so important that my special genes have a connection to the future, isn’t it? Never mind that that future is going to be a nightmare on stilts.

      • Micah says:

        While others nitpick the article word for word, overlooking the primary message, I’ll sit back and appreciate the fact that Mark Tomlinson, a mainstream believer in sustainable development, actually brought up the overpopulation subject at all, ha ha!

        Meanwhile: “Madness, mayhem, erotic vandalism, devastation of innumerable souls — while we scream and perish, History licks a finger and turns the page.” Thomas Ligotti

      • Dennis L. says:

        Think of yourself as a dinosaur, “life” did not end, the world did not end, it changed and supposedly so did the dinosaurs, they are called birds and they flew away singing every day.

        Think of it this way(I know it is not true, but a good story none the less). We filled our cars with the end products of those generous dinosaurs, we are running out of dinosaurs, who is to say there won’t be something else?

        Dennis L.

  22. Dan says:

    Stock market will go down when there is a viable vaccine. Easy Fed money will disappear. I think u.s looses it s reserve status. The states are a one trick pony

  23. fred_goes_bush says:

    No hopium in this week’s missive from Chris Martenson : https://www.peakprosperity.com/a-serious-message-from-chris-martenson

    “So my advice is to brace for impact. There’s nothing any of us can do to affect national monetary policy or stop the major unraveling trends already set in motion, but we can do our best to step outside harm’s way and tend the welfare of ourselves and those we care about as the system falters.

    We are facing unprecedented challenges that are accelerating at a faster rate than at any other time in human history. Every day we have left to prepare prudently is a gift. Use the time wisely.”

    Whether or not you believe the pandemic is real, the mishandling of it has caused economic/societal damage that will bite us not too far down the track. More black swans to come.

    Personally I’m really hoping for a stairstep descent. Our rural setting will mitigate many of the effects of that, but we’ll be just as screwed as everyone else if it’s off the edge of the cliff lemming-style into Mad Max land.

    NSW has reintroduced some lockdowns after new infection clusters appeared. Oh No! It’s the dreaded second wave!

    The focus on scaring the sheeple has now moved from counting deaths (minute nos) to cases instead. Kudos to the architects of the plan, it’s working and the sheeple are nodding their heads anxiously.

    Will we be counting cases and locking down for the flu next year?

    • As I read Chris Martenson’s post, it is about how politicians, if they just done the right thing, could have substantially mitigated the problem. Instead, they have made the rich richer and the poor poorer. I would argue that that is the way the physics of the situation works, when there is not enough to go around.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Can politicians really do anything? Does what they do make any difference? Maybe not, moving digits around changes nothing, the skim probably isn’t that great in the overall scheme of things.

        Around DJI 10,000 or so, Chris had an emergency sell on the stock market – how did that work out?

        To have any idea of what can happen one needs a ton of data, reasoning is hopeless and probably always was, we make models which are more or less approximate. My example is the three body problem, one can get to the moon, basically as long as one makes mid course corrections. Amazon, Google probably have some of the best answers because they have some of the best people, the brightest people with the best capital and the best algorithms to search the data. They get the data people pay to search. Very cool business model, smart cookies.

        We are making guesses, they are terrible, the world has not ended. Chris may be right this time, but things have to go to heck by more than 50% to get to where he was wrong the last time.

        Dennis L.

  24. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Today, in a sign of growing uncertainty as Lebanon slides into a dramatic socioeconomic collapse, most …traffic lights have abruptly stopped working.

    “About three-quarters of the stoplights in the city have failed in the past couple of weeks, leaving motorists to navigate the streets of their own accord.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/dying-light-lebanon-crisis-failing-traffic-signals-200712144238025.html

  25. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…well before the pandemic struck, global debt (in corporate, household and government sectors) has piled up massively in the past decade, leaving these sectors highly vulnerable to any economic downturn.

    “And now that it has come, that downturn or slump is proving to be dramatic.”

    https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3092798/busy-coronavirus-bailouts-world-has-taken-its-eyes-looming-debt-crash

  26. covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/11/us-coronavirus-cases-continue-record-surge.html

    “The country reported a record 66,627 new cases on Friday, the second day in a row new cases have exceeded 60,000. The rise in cases is due partly to expanded testing that is uncovering more infections.”

    if this expanded testing was done in March and April, the daily positive results would have been 200,000 to 300,000.

    the falling daily deaths, well below 1,000 now in the USA, tell us that there are less daily cases now, which results in a lower number of severe cases, which results in that lower daily death number.

    this is good.

    for one thing, a higher % of infections are in a lower average age group.

    this is good.

    not so good for the 0.26% who will die, or the small % who will have health damage due to surviving a severe case.

    but the virus can’t be stopped, so a faster spread has a benefit.

    it is that the USA will reach the Herd Immunity Threshold sooner thanks to the faster spread among younger people, who also will statistically be far less prone to health problems or death from the virus.

    this is good.

    the HIT will be reached, and then the chance of a high risk person catching the virus will be near zero.

    I won’t discontinue using a mask and social distancing myself, because I’m not certain that my local area has reached the HIT.

    but for sure Farr’s Law is once again proving to be true, as this pandemic decreases almost as fast as it increased.

    the pandemic is winding down.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      https://www.axios.com/florida-coronavirus-case-record-2991255d-5b29-42e0-9c67-39b26c1e541c.html

      “Florida reported 15,299 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday — a new single-day record for any state, according to its health department.

      The big picture: The figure shatters both Florida’s previous record of 11,458 new cases and the single-state record of 11,694 set by California last week, according to AP. It also surpasses New York’s daily peak of 11,571 new cases in April…”

      this is true but very highly misleading.

      if NY in April had tested at the same elevated testing level that is happening now, their daily rate would have been up near 100,000.

      but NY didn’t test at that high level, for one reason because most infected persons don’t actually get very sick.

      the pandemic is winding down (but not evenly, everywhere, and all at the same time).

    • Hide-away says:

      Deaths in the USA have gone up from from a 7 day moving average of 516/d in early July to the current 740/d (as of yesterday).

      A 50% increase in the average deaths in a short period of time is NOT evidence of a pandemic winding down. It is evidence of the opposite.

      Just because people want to believe it’s all over, does not make it so. I’d love this scourge to be over, just like everyone else, but I live in the real world where actual numbers are believable.

      The Case Fatality Rate is currently 7% for the world, compared to Influenza which is usually around 0.1%. This virus is far worse that the flu. Any IFR is currently just a wild guess, but statistically the IFR is not going to be 1/70th of the CFR.

      Worldwide there have been over 264,000,000 tests for Covid with just over 13,000,000 positive cases. That is only one case in every 20 tests, with 19 out of 20 being negative for Covid. Statistically you are not going to be missing a huge percentage of cases. However some will be missed especially in countries with poorer heath care systems.

      I’m sure the passengers of the Titanic were thinking the worst was over after they passed the iceberg and remained afloat….

      • Lastcall says:

        Covid deaths are going to be nothing compared to the deaths caused by the inept and hysterical response to this years flu. Distraction writ large. Go figure where your attention is best directed.The Titanic is a great analogy; lock the sheople in steerage until those in the know exit stage left; calm them with stories of experts in control, and keep the band playing.
        Surely this is obvious by now…..

      • Tim Groves says:

        I suspect that many of the Covid case fatality rate represents deaths due to lots of different conditions which have been bogusly welded together through massive propaganda.

        I also suspect that the Titanic didn’t really sink but was whisked away in the night as part of a massive insurance scam, only to reappear after WWI under another name. There is also a theory that the owners swapped the Titanic for its sister vessel, the Olympic, and sank that instead—again for insurance purposes.

        My ravings apart, I think you could well be right that the pandemic has a way to yet. If it’s real, it would appear to have staying power. And if it’s fake, the people pushing it obviously have reasons for doing so and are unlikely to stop until their aims are achieved.

        Also, ,many people—possibly a majority of people—seem to be convinced it is real and are so scared, or at least so cautious, that they have changed their behavior to avoid situations where they perceive a high risk of picking up the bug. So even if the pandemic was officially declared over, normality would not return in a hurry, if ever.

        • There have been a lot of confusing pronouncements. Once people have been scared by the first one, they don’t know which of the following ones they should listen to. Should they be washing their hands all of the time, and washing everything that comes into the house with Lysol, for example? If people are older and have several other conditions that might tend to make their conditions worse, they want to do as much as possible.

          • Xabier says:

            Here in the UK we are, even now, getting completely contradictory statements by Govt. ministers about masks, and also variations in policy between the constituent countries, Wales, (Freedom! Freedom!) Scotland and dear old screwed up England.

            And maybe different again in Northern Ireland, but who can be bothered to find out about that, life is far too short…..

            Experts in the psychology of sheep training -can’t recall what their pseudo-profession is called – say it’s not good. It certainly isn’t!

            • Lidia17 says:

              Do you remember an earlier thread where we discussed the experimental puppy who retreated into catatonia after inconsistent and irrational negative stimuli?

            • Tim Groves says:

              Catatonia? Sounds like as nice a place to retreat to as anywhere.

              Didn’t George Orwell write an homage to to the place? 🙂

              On another note, it feels like society here in Japan has gone retreated into collective catatonia. When I go to town, I am impressed by the lack of bustle. The number of people on the streets and in the shops and restaurants seems like a half to a quarter of what it was before we entered “the new normal”.

              And this is a country of over 125 million that has recorded only 997 COVID-19 deaths and 21,868 cases so far. That’s less than eight deaths per million of the population. And over half the deaths have been in people aged over 80 and over 80% of them are over 70.

              Despite these figures, most people have decided this bug represents a clear and present danger to them. Interestingly, in Japan, there are 15~20,000 new cases of tuberculosis reported each year, making the chance of contracting that nasty disease comparable to the chance of catching COVID-19. But you could throw bricks all day in the most crowded part of Shinjuku and not hit a single person who is worried about catching TB.

              Perception is everything. PR trumps reality absolutely. Specialists are now writing articles and doing interviews with the press telling people to calm down and stressing that the precautions required when visiting hospitals are not the same as those required in the supermarket, but to little avail The Over-the-Teevee People have spoken and the masses do so want to believe the worst.

      • We know we are missing a fairly high percentage of total cases, simply because there are so many asymptomatic cases. When studies are done after the fact, in the US the indicate that 10% to 14% of cases have been found. This would imply that 84% to 90% of cases are missed. In less developed countries, it would not be surprising if 95% or even 98% of cases are missed.

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          I agree.

          in NY in March and April, official daily cases peaked at about 11,000.

          as you say, this implies that NY missed up to about 99,000 cases PER DAY.

          the FL peak of 15,000 is much more accurate because of expanded testing.

          the real NY number in March and April is much higher than FL is right now.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “Deaths in the USA have gone up from from a 7 day moving average of 516/d in early July to the current 740/d (as of yesterday).
        A 50% increase in the average deaths in a short period of time is NOT evidence of a pandemic winding down. It is evidence of the opposite.”

        the peak in early May was 2,700 deaths per day.

        839 on July 10th.
        729 on July 11th.
        482 on July 12th.

        so it’s once again broken below the 7 day moving average.

        what is the trend since early May?

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “Worldwide there have been over 264,000,000 tests for Covid with just over 13,000,000 positive cases. That is only one case in every 20 tests, with 19 out of 20 being negative for Covid. Statistically you are not going to be missing a huge percentage of cases.”

        true.

        at this present time.

        in NY in March and April, testing was very limited, almost exclusively to very sick people.

        about 90% who were infected were never tested because they never got very sick.

        the NY “official” peak of 11,000 daily cases does not reflect the reality of the cases back then.

        NY had to be peaking at something like 100,000 cases per day. That’s how they were getting 1,000+ deaths per day.

        compare that to the expanded testing in FL now of 15,000 positive cases per day, which as you say statistically FL is not missing many NOW.

        NY in March and April was many times above FL in July for actual cases.

  27. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/53193835

    ‘Coronavirus: Why surviving the virus may be just the beginning’

    “The assault Covid-19 mounts on the most severely ill means patients are ventilated for longer, and require a deeper level of sedation, than the typical ICU patient. That has produced “a lot of delirium, confusion and agitation”, explains Dr Kulwant Dhadwal, a consultant who runs the intensive care unit at London’s Royal Free Hospital.”

    “Even when that process is a success, it is only the beginning of a long process of physical and psychological recovery. But because of Covid, and the number of people that it has affected, the need is pressing. It has become a national priority – to support people to get better.”

    • Rodster says:

      More fear hype and hysteria regarding the Covid 19 Plandemic.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      that is a good article.

      the 0.26% deaths are bad enough (5x the average flu), but the damaged health of some survivors is also bad.

      it seems that much of the damage is caused by ventilators, not by the virus itself.

      one major missing piece of data is what % suffer significant health damage.

      that number of course would be harder to quantify than the 0.26 IFR, but a scientific estimate would have been a good inclusion in this article.

      anyway, less health damaged survivors is another good thing on the way since the worst is over.

      the pandemic is winding down.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        the pandemic is winding down

        Here on Earth, it is at an all time high.
        This is just the beginning.
        Vaccine or herd immunity are a long way off—
        And we don’t even now the details on that.

        • We may never have either a vaccine or herd immunity.

          • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            I would guess no vaccine.

            Herd Immunity Threshold, which supposedly is about 15%, is almost here.

            recent info suggests that up to 70% of us already have some immunity to coronaviruses, since we’ve lived with them our whole lives: common cold etc.

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              my “no, you are wrong” reply was to D I.

              is that clear in this new layout?

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              Herd Immunity Threshold, which supposedly is about 15%, is almost here.

              It is actually 70-80%.
              And it probably, like other covid viruses, has a short duration.
              We just don’t know.

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          no, you are wrong.

          it is true and factual that the daily positive cases are at their highest right now.

          but that is because there was no expanded testing in March and April like there is now.

          NY was peaking at what? 1,000 daily deaths, and yet the facts we see about their peak cases was 11,000 in April.

          there is no reasonable interpretation that NY was having 1,000 daily deaths with 11,000 daily cases.

          as you KNOW, the CDC says the IFR is 0.26%.

          do the math.

          1,000 daily deaths divided by 0.26% IFR equates to 400,000 daily cases (there are NY issues that surely mean this number is somewhat less).

          do the math.

          now, we know NY missssmananged the crisis by sending patients into nursing homes and thus increasing their death totals, but that does not explain the 1,000 divided by 11,000 problem.

          the IFR is 0.26%.

          NY was experiencing more than 100,000 infections per day which went untested because most people do not get sick from this virus.

          Farr’s Law is proving correct once again.

          do you have a problem with Farr’s Law?

          • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            my “no, you are wrong” is a reply to Duncann.

            is that clear with this new layout?

          • cephlon says:

            NYC has 23,267 deaths so far. If the IFR is 0.26% that would mean 8 million infected already. NYC has a population of 8 million. So 100% infected to get herd immunity?

            They are still getting cases and deaths, although down considerably from the peak. So are they past herd immunity by your calculations or not?

            • There was a steep learning curve. The doctors didn’t know what they were doing in NYC. 97% of the patients over age 65 who were put on respirators died, according to one study.

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              the CDC claims the IFR is 0.26%.

              yes, NYC didn’t know what they were doing, just like everywhere else at that time.

              an estimate of 2x excess deaths is reasonable for NYC, so in that area the death rate would be higher.

              after the May/June protests, there was no spike in NYC cases, unlike other major cities that have not reached the Herd Immunity Threshold.

              Farr’s Law says that after the HIT is reached, it won’t be long until the virus is gone.

              in a world of global travel, I would be surprised if the virus is ever 100% gone, and no way am I going to ever go visit NYC again.

              finally, the pandemic is not going away everywhere evenly and all at the same time.

              but NY should be past a pandemic label. What is the (small tiny) number of NY daily cases and deaths?

            • cephlon says:

              Yes, we have gotten a better at treating the infected now. I was just making the point that your current numbers don’t really work.

              Even if the deaths should have been 50% of what they were, that would be half of all NYC infected. So is the IFR higher or is the HIT lower?

              I guess we’ll see when this is all over, if we still have access to the internet at that time.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Reading between the lines, it is pretty obvious that these bad side effects are iatrogenic, caused by the treatment rather than the disease. The UK’s hopelessly dysfunctional socialist healthcare system strikes again.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I didn’t know the word “iatrogenic” but that looks like a large part of the problem.

        especially ventilators.

        also, what is missing here are the health consequences of the most up-to-date treatments for severe cases.

        the USA seems to have made some good strides forward in reducing deaths, so I would think that the newest best treatments would mean less health damage to survivors also.

        there is missing info here.

      • Dennis L/\. says:

        That is hopeful, I hope you are correct.

        It is still the practice of medicine.

        Dennis L.

  28. From Zerohedge: Oil Set To Plunge As OPEC Seeks To Boost Output By 2 Million Barrels

    According to the [Bloomberg] report, alliance members will meet via zoom on Wednesday to debate the group’s current and future production, which include plans to restore some 2 million in production following the record production cut in April which saw Saudi Arabia push for a 9.7 million b/d in production stoppages as the pandemic led to a collapse of oil demand. More from BBG:

    “The JMMC will consider whether the 23-nation alliance should keep 9.6 million barrels of daily output off the market for another month, or restore some supplies as originally planned, tapering the cutback to 7.7 million barrels.”

    “As the demand recovery gains traction, members are leaning toward the latter option, according to several national delegates who asked not to be identified. Shipping schedules for August are already being set, so the course is more or less locked in, one said.”

    While all this sounds great in principle, in practice it will likely send the price of oil crashing because just as there was a massive uphill battle in April to get everyone on the same page (and even that did not stop oil from hitting a record negative price on April 20), so now that production quotas are being eased, the result will be a furious scramble to outproduce everyone else, as OPEC’s most characteristic feature is exposed for the entire world to see: cheating.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      We shall see—-
      OPEC for sure is going to be producing flat out–
      (with diminished results).
      The States are going to be way down.
      Of course, we will be using less.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        China, the world’s Number One importer, has been stockpiling oil like crazzzy, since they know a good deal when they see one, and oil has been On Sale lately at under $40.

        but their capacity is almost full, and they will be cutting back on buying.

        this will push demand down, just as OPEC increases supply.

        this won’t be the first time that OPEC pushed prices lower by overproducing.

        • Falling demand, as businesses lay off more workers, will also have an impact. There is a limit to how long countries can keep paying wages to non-workers. Low income countries, especially, have virtually no wage continuation programs.

    • cephlon says:

      Is this because they need to produce that amount in order to keep their lights on?

    • Minority Of One says:

      Looks to me like the Saudis are once again trying to put some of its competitors out of business, with ultra-low oil prices, the aim being for much higher prices in the medium-long term. Can’t see this working though, not with a goosed global economy. Once tens of millions in the USA and UK come off furlough (and elsewhere), and find themselves jobless, if anything oil consumption will drop again, you would think.

  29. Azure Kingfisher says:

    During the COVID-19 mass ritual, consider replacing your hand sanitizer with another talisman; one that is less likely to be toxic or perhaps fatal:

    “[7-2-2020] FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

    The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.

    Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.

    Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.“

    https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol

  30. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    I was hoping he found enlightenment and joined a Himalayan Zen Buddhist Monastery
    Like this guy shown here…
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8s28jxGnKeE

    • beidawei says:

      Oh, this is hilarious! They keep cutting to a Tibetan monastery, but the guy is talking about Zen. How come nobody talks about weaponizing the ancient Christian practice of omphaloskepsis? That would be about as effective.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Yes, turns out it’s an actual word: contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. Where can I sign up for a course? Must the navel be squeaky clean before I start? And does it require a special omphaloskepsis mat?

        • beidawei says:

          Seriously? It’s usually done by Orthodox monks. The custom is to sit on a stool.

        • Robert Firth says:

          The only navel I have ever contemplated is the real Omphalos, the one outside the shrine of Apollo at Delphi. I confess that it taught me nothing. The Lion Gate of Mycenae, on the other hand, …

  31. Xabier says:

    The future is most unlikely to feature ‘flipping’, no doubt. Thank God!

    Maynard Keynes was brought up in a house which his parents bought upon marriage, and which still had the Victorian wallpaper they decorated it with when they died half a century later. Good thick stuff, made to last, like the house and the marriage.

  32. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    ‘I beg them’: Still-unemployed workers plead for Congress to extend federal $600 benefit
    By Tami Luhby, CNN
    Updated 9:30 AM EDT, Sat July 11, 2020
    “No one is hiring. They are laying people off,” said Munzer, 53. “I didn’t choose this. I beg them to extend it.”
    Not enough jobs for all the unemployed
    Many millions of Americans are in the same situation. Although employers have begun bringing back some workers after shedding millions of positions amid the coronavirus-fueled lockdowns in the spring, nearly 18 million people remain jobless and without many prospects. At the end of May, there were nearly four unemployed workers for every job opening, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    Plus, the new surge in cases has led at least two dozen states to pause or roll back their reopening plans, prompting additional job losses. And several companies have recently filed for bankruptcy, announced store closings or warned of thousands of layoffs to come.
    The enhanced benefit provides more than 25 million Americans with more than $15 billion each week, said Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation. State payments alone replace only about 40% of wages, on average.
    Congress enacted the provision in late March as part of a historic expansion of the nation’s unemployment program at a time when health officials didn’t want people out looking for work. Now, lawmakers have only a few weeks left to decide whether to renew the $600 weekly boost in benefits.
    But they are split along party lines. Democrats generally favor extending the program, while Republicans fear that the generous enhancement creates a disincentive for people to return to work. Roughly two-thirds of recipients are now making more on unemployment than they did in wages, according to University of Chicago researchers.
    Whole industries remain paralyzed
    For Russell Zwolinski, however, the opposite is true. A concierge at a Chicago hotel who was laid off in mid-March, Zwolinski makes a lot of money over the summer from selling tours. While the hotel has reopened and called back some front desk staff and housekeepers, he said he’s not expecting to be rehired until tourists return, which could take months.

    This is going to be very unpleasant….ugly, in fact…as Gail once penned…just realize it’s not your fault

  33. Hubbs says:

    I suddenly bought two 15 amp 18″ corded electric chain saws with bars and chain replacements instead of a gasoline-powered one. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oregon-18-in-15-Amp-Self-Sharpening-Corded-Electric-Chainsaw-603352/306739084 despite wood being a low-efficiency energy source compared to oil. This signifies a sudden and radical change in my thinking. No question that gas affords more energy density and portability although with some complexities of tearing a shoulder rotator cuff trying to pull the cord a zillion times to start it, the need for gas oil mix, spark plugs etc. Electric is also much quieter and doesn’t alert people for miles. But it reflects my realization that in five years when I may finally have to take them out of the box, gas may be more difficult to obtain, whereas, stocking up on solar panels and a series of Battelborn 100Ah batteries, etc may ultimately be the better long term strategy. Buy this stuff while the currency still buys something or these things are still on the shelf. Same principle for pressure-cooked food or better yet freeze-dried food. All energy and material inputs have already been accounted for and no need to cook when the time comes, in contrast to paper assets which depend on future energy inputs to hold value. Admitting to my self-centeredness, the best strategy may be to just blend in with the masses, keep things stored off-site, and just outlast most people. Or as they say, against a bear attack, just be sure you are not the slowest person.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Interesting thoughts, Hobbs.

      I often hear chainsaws roaring in the distance, and I like to play the game of figuring out who the user might be based on the perceived distance and direction of the sound. My hearing is not all that it was, but I can sometimes hear a loud chainsaw a couple of miles away.

      I bought a new 2-stroke engined chainsaw last year when the guy at the repair shop assured me this would be cheaper in the long run than trying to keep repairing the 20-year-old one, and I’m very happy with the performance. But the noise I could do with out. I refuse to operate one without the sort of ear protection people wear at firing ranges, but none of my neighbors care a hoot about that sort of thing. It’s part of the “macho” culture around here that real men don’t wear earmuffs ,and chainsaw trousers are for wimps.

      But after reading your post, I am now thinking I should get an electric chainsaw as a companion to the gas one. I like the idea of something that runs a bit quieter and with less vibration.

      • Xabier says:

        ‘Chainsaw trousers are for wimps’: hmm, should be a process of natural selection at work there……

    • Xabier says:

      Wood is less efficient, but a stockpile increases in utility as it seasons,and cannot really be stolen – unless, like the Vikings, they cut your throat and take the whole property, or you get taxed out of it, which is ‘theft by government’.

      All my assets have gone down or even fallen to zero, leaving me with only the pleasure of the art and books, the use of the house: but wood certainly isn’t going to get any cheaper or decline in utility.

      It’s also satisfying to look at one’s woodpile and see the tangible results of real effort.

  34. Dennis L. says:

    From “Wolf Street”

    ” 128 Days With My Mother-in-Law.
    In a way, my wife and I are lucky (at least that’s what we tell ourselves most of the time), since my Mexican mother-in-law is also living with us, having arrived in Barcelona, with her usual impeccable timing, just ten days before Spain’s lockdown began. She was supposed to stay with us in our 85 square-meter apartment (915 square feet) for just a month before moving on to a place of her own, but during the lockdown that was impossible. We’ve been sharing the same space now for 128 days — a personal record that keeps growing by the day!

    Aside from the occasional family drama and despite the dystopian backdrop, we’re actually coexisting in relative peace and harmony. And by pooling our resources, we’ve been able to weather the storm financially better than we would have.”

    My parents made it that way, my grandmother lived with us in exchange for the family home which she got when her husband passed from an industrial accident. Again, it is always a group. The above quote is current. We have many apartments for many people living solo, it appears to me that this is not going to work going forward, economically, real estate without a group will have declining value.

    Dennis L.

    • An aunt of my husband moved in with our family for two years before she died. She was in failing health. She frequently needed someone to go with her to the emergency room and to visit her in the hospital. She was adamant that she did not want to go to a nursing home. I could not work as many hours as I had previously, with my need to look after her.

      I was surprised that when she died, she left her estate to me. It was bigger than I expected, but not huge.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “… real estate without a group will have declining value.”

      definitely.

      the average house may need many inhabitants to be economical, if most are unemployed.

      fairly soon (a year or two or more?), most houses may be inhabited either by many persons or by nobody.

      the housing market will be flooded with too many for sale, and the market will crash.

      at some point in the future, houses may not have much of any value as an asset.

      prices may become so low that a house might be “owned” not for any asset value, but just so the owner has the right to live there.

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        Years ago I posted a title of a book here, the title of which forgotten, of an accountant that kept a diary journal entry concerning economy observations during the 1930s depression era. One thing I recall was real estate by and large was NOT a good investment during that period for reasons, such as, taxes, upkeep/maintenance, lack of tenants who could pay rents, and unstable values. If I remember right, US government bonds were!
        In today’s day and age, that may not hold…

  35. Nope.avi says:

    What did Gail do to Fast Eddy?

    Did she sweep him under the rug along with the old OFW blog layout?

    • He decided the level of interest in OFW subject was down, so decided to spend his time elsewhere. He may (or may not) be back.

      • He’s doing an online “I’ll be back” Arnold Scwharznegger course

        He’ll be back when he’s completed it

      • doomphd says:

        on the bright side, the OFW comments will probably double once FE returns. more discussion is a good thing, right?

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          once again, the Tin Foil Detector which I have installed on this computer will be sounding its alarm quite often.

          I have found that this TFD is 99% accurate.

          free download here:

          http://www.toomuchtinfoilisnotagoodthing.com

        • Tim Groves says:

          There are some fast eddies in Japan that you can actually take a boat trip to view.

          They go round and round and round and on and on and on.

          It’s also said that the blowfish that swim in these waters are extra-delicious as they develop more muscles by constantly battling the currents.

          https://youtu.be/XcteuT-JUrQ

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          FE does tend to get the bit between his teeth and go off on one.

          I thought it was rather sweet, if a little inconsistent, that a self-confessed misanthrope felt so strongly about racism. He could be unnecessarily rude and he veered towards paranoia but at least that was moderated by a sense of humour.

          As you can probably tell, I have mixed feelings re FE. 😀

        • Norman Pagett says:

          yup

          FE attended the public speaking seminar at Trump University

    • Jason says:

      As I recall he was irritated by the fact that not everybody on this site agreed with his views on systemic racism.

    • beidawei says:

      The Russians changed their algorithm.

  36. JT Roberts says:

    Everyone is expecting the markets to crash why? I think we’re witnessing how the market will react it’s going to melt up. Tesla is now valued more than Toyota and why shouldn’t it be. Tesla doesn’t actually make cars so it has very little exposure to the Car market sales decline. Toyota on the other hand actually makes cars. They’re in trouble. That’s the pattern to look for.

    • Country Joe says:

      A lady at work drives a Tesla. I occasionally see a Tesla out on the street. Who makes those cars if “Tesla doesn’t actually make cars”?

      • Wolfbay says:

        I think what he means is that Tesla doesn’t need to make a profit like Toyota and it probably never will. It exists by selling stock ,adding low interest debt and getting government subsidies.

        • Country Joe says:

          I have always read and respected Mr. Roberts comments on OFW. I certainly was not challenging his statement.
          When I saw that “Tesla doesn’t actually make cars….”, I thought there might be some kind of other entity that was actually doing the production.
          Perhaps something like my 2005 Pontiac Vibe. It is the same car as a Toyota Matrix. Both are built on the Toyota Corolla drive train. Both the Vibe and the Matrix were built by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUUMI). NUUMI was a joint venture of General Motors and Toyota.
          Pontiac did not produce the Vibe and Toyota did not produce the Matrix. The Matrix was produced at a NUUMI factory in Canada and the Vibe was produced at a former GM plant in Fremont CA that was taken over by NUUMI.
          I thought Mr. Roberts might know about some paper shuffling and name switching in the Tesla production. The former NUUMI plant in Fremont was sold to Tesla and became The Tesla Factory.

        • Tim Groves says:

          If only Mr. Ponzi had had access to government subsidies, his scheme could have been as successful as Mr. Musk’s.

        • Minority Of One says:

          Sounds like a good description of a ponzi scheme.

    • Nope.avi says:

      “Toyota on the other hand actually makes cars. They’re in trouble. That’s the pattern to look for.” Toyota actually makes a tangible good.

      Any producer who has been involved in producing a good since about the early 2000s, has been trying to get away from it because manufacturing is being relegated to a low-profit venture. What is profitable is providing lackluster services and charging a premium for them while practically giving away tangible goods.

      I wonder if they are trying to hide the inflation are just spreading the true cost over installed payments to make their revenue streams look better.

    • Mosey says:

      also if you don’t test people there will be less cases yup makes sense ok you have my permission take out as many loans as you can and buy buy buy tesla what could possibly go wrong ah ha ha ha thanks for the laugh chuckle head

  37. john Eardley says:

    “As real yields turn negative, opportunity costs for holding non-yielding assets essentially vanish, particularly when viewed through the historical lens of fiat currencies and their purchasing power,” wrote Jeff deGraaf, chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, in a Thursday note.

    Typically they have this (and I think deliberately so) upside down. Gold is held as a risk free store of value whilst the interest you get from all other forms of savings (bonds, bank accounts, stocks) is the compensation you get for lending your savings to riskier entities.

    • john Eardley says:

      So in the current zero interest rate environment (if not negative) there is no longer any incentive to put your savings into anything but gold.

    • One risk with gold is that there will be nothing to buy with it. Another risk is that you will use one gold coin, thieves will see you, and will take the remaining gold coins away by force.

      Boxes of dried food might be a better store of value. Small bottles of liquor might be a better tradable good. At least these are things you can perhaps use yourself.

      • adonis says:

        Precious metals are the only thing of value in the new economic order to come failure to invest will lead to economic ruin and eventually a short life the mistake you have made Gail is not believing that people in power may have planned for the eventual reduction in fossil fuels and be instigating a cull in the worlds population as that may be the only way BAU would survive owning precious metals could be you and your families only mode of survival in the years to come because the plan could be to reduce the worlds population to 500 million .

      • JesseJames says:

        A local stash of gold could be used to fund a new local development bank, if one supposes that all,other banks have gone bankrupt, as they soon will. Imagine a community striving to restart on a more local basis. Community B in the next county has a local pig industry. Both communities want to trade. Community A might wish to loan an entreprenuer money (perhaps silver or perhap a local community currency backed by gold) to start a potash industry, or whatever. This stash could jumpstart local trading and investment.

        • Rodster says:

          So would you give up your local stash of gold to start a community Bank?

          • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            and what if the thieves in Community C know where your bank is?

            • JesseJames says:

              What if everything….It’s a wonder local banks ever got established.
              All investments and transactions are based on trust. Perhaps after all the fallout and population reduction have settled, local transactions will start over again, based on labor and trust. Perhaps John Doe leaves his stash for a grandchild…use your imagination. That, and Gail’s guidance are all that we have.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Gail, an alternate view.

        The most valuable thing either now or going forward is a group of people. The movie the”Ten Commandments” is a nice visual and aural example.

        The rules, the Ten Commandments, are handed down by God and thus not subject to debate by a group of nitpicking philosophers an example of which is Nietzsche who died agonizing over a horse on a street. The source is of these rules is not really that important, they must work well enough for people to live together as a group.

        That group must love and support its children, the movie “The Pawnbroker” has a broken man, played by Rod Steiger agonizing over the loss of his children, his family. He does not agonize over a lost house, a lost purse of coins, he loses his faith over the loss of his family. I am beginning to believe it also means a time for the individual to leave which leaves good memories for the next generation not a grinding burden.

        The group must internally support itself, there need to be rituals which recall the lessons of history so as not to forget them, those rituals need to self reference and support a God who in the past has supported the group and which by following those lessons of history endures through all circumstances. They need to be repeated on a schedule – it is called worship. God makes it simple, even when things don’t work out fairly it is “right” or it is the way of life and there will be a tomorrow. Argue about the existence of God all you like, in the end it works, in the end one gets Bach and not hip hop as part of the rituals.

        Modernism does not seem to work, whereas simple rules, one hour a week for reinforcement, a few silver coins in the plate and on to living life as a group that does not tear itself apart has a chance. You so well pointed out, silver coins are useless to the individual, in the group they are a convenient, fair way of exchanging services. Hoarding them seems to be in effect a way to get a jump on the next guy, that makes cooperation a bit of a challenge.

        Dennis L.

        • europe was 100% full of Australian Aboriginal until the 1400s says:

          “Argue about the existence of God all you like, in the end it works, in the end one gets Bach and not hip hop as part of the rituals. ” Hip hop was in the 1990s.
          It’s not really a thing anymore. Most people rapping today will tell you it is simply a way of making money and is a stepping stone for their next venture.

          At its height, there were often repeated references to God and a certain view of history that places a certain race was either the original Isrealites, Egyptians or Muslims who are constantly being oppressed by another group.

          One can argue whether this helps the group at all but there was plenty of instances where those who participated in it recalledl the lessons of history so as not to forget them, and those rituals often self referenced and support the belief of a God.

          From what I see it is primarily white people who are being encouraged to abandon Bach and the lessons of the past and God.

        • beidawei says:

          “…nitpicking philosophers an example of which is Nietzsche who died agonizing over a horse on a street.”

          Uh, that’s not actually what killed him. But I’d rather go out like the ancient Greek philosopher who died laughing at his own joke. (I can post the joke, if you dare to read it.)

          • Dennis L. says:

            The joke would be appreciated.

            You are correct about the horse, he merely collapsed, skimmed the Wikipedia version of him, long, boring, dull, isolated, no friends, addicted to opium, self Rx chloral hydrate. He alienated his friends – this guy was a loser.

            Dennis L.

            • Tim Groves says:

              The guy couldn’t abide cruelty to animals. He was a civilized gentleman living among savages. Nineteenth century Europe could be a very tough place for sensitive intellectuals. Like many of them, Nietzsche burned so very brightly, and then he burned out. It was and still is extremely common among “high achievers”. There were no rehab clinics back then to wean him off of his drug addictions. But in the absence of more detailed knowledge of his case,I would put his demise down to middle-age burnout.

            • beidawei says:

              Nietzsche suffered a psychiatric breakdown on top of various health problems (possibly including syphilis),and spent his last decade having to be cared for by others. It is hard to say exactly why, but surely he could not have been “driven mad” by his philosophical ideas, or by seeing a horse whipped.

              The other philosopher I mentioned was Chrysippus of Soli, a Stoic. Thus spake Wikipedia: ‘In the second account [by Diogenes Laërtius], he was watching a donkey eat some figs and cried out: “Now give the donkey a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs”, whereupon he died in a fit of laughter.’ Behold the man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysippus

            • Xabier says:

              At one time chloral was thought to be something of a wonder cure, which led to an awful lot of misery and wasted lives, especially among the talented and intellectual. The poor just drank heavily.

        • Lidia17 says:

          This is a challenge. The recent planned chaos and programme against “othering” (which “others” more than the previous programme) has atomized Westerners, at least. We don’t really know where we came from, who we are, and what collective values we might hold (or be allowed to hold). We are encouraged not only not to know and not to care, but are instructed that to know/care is bordering on evil. Just as an example, American freedoms, such as freedom of speech, are now seen as anathema in a wide range of quarters. The U.S. having been described by some not as a nation, but something propositional, come to find many residents don’t seem to actually like most of the propositions!

        • Robert Firth says:

          If memory serves, the first of those Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. I agree with Gore Vidal, that monotheism is the worst and most evil creed ever to have infected the human mind. How many millions, I wonder, have died because of that one sentence? And how many have killed the innocent “in the name of God”? How many societies, how many civilisations, have been destroyed? And yet the deluded still spread this same poison.

      • Thierry says:

        Gail, I think you are missing the point that in the end cryptos will be backed by gold which makes it so important.

        • gold’s initial value has been in the fact that it doesn’t deteriorate over time

          and it requires a lot of energy input to get hold of

          gold ‘exists’

          cryptocash does not ‘exist’, other than in electronic software form.

          Rather like pointing to a cloud on a mountain top and saying it exists in real terms, because the mountain is holding it up

          climb the mountain, and there’s nothing to get hold of

          • Tim Groves says:

            gold’s initial value has been in the fact that it doesn’t deteriorate over time.

            Sounds a bit like plastic. The darn stuff just won’t biodegrade!

          • Tim Groves says:

            cryptocash does not ‘exist’, other than in electronic software form

            Just for fun, let’s look at the etymology.
            The English word “cash” originally meant a “money box”, and later acquired the a secondary meaning of “money”. This secondary usage became the sole meaning in the 18th century. The word “cash” derives from the Middle French caisse (“money box”), which in turn derives from the Old Italian cassa, and ultimately from the Latin capsa (“box”).

            Whether, physical, virtual or whatever, “cash” is readily exchangeable and has a precise unit value that is generally agreed among its users. In other words, it is fungible (being something [such as money or a commodity] of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in paying a debt or settling an account).

            One dollar bill has the same cash value as every other dollar bill. One dollar of cryptocash also has the same value for those who deal in cryptocash. This is one of the prerequisites for a medium of exchange. Being hard to forge and convenient for users are other prerequisites. Although it may seem counterintuitive to traditionallists, in our current era, being physically “real” is not essential for cash and may even be a handicap.

            • Thierry says:

              “Being hard to forge and convenient for users are other prerequisites. Although it may seem counterintuitive to traditionallists, in our current era, being physically “real” is not essential for cash and may even be a handicap.”

              That’s my thought, too! This is the duality between physical goods and immaterial ones. You always need a gate between them. Any currency has no value if not backed on something like gold.

            • Entwining historical meanings into current words is pointless, other than as a mental exercise

              The English language is our current ‘lingua franca’, through common usage, no more. At Detroit airport, the border lady spoke in ‘English’ and I didn’t understand a single word of what she said. Not one. I just nodded and smiled—that seemed to be enough.

              Meanings of words can change in a generation. If someone spoke to you in Chaucerian English, you wouldn’t understand it.

              My grandfather used words which were pure Germanic. He didn’t know that they were 1000 years old. He never left England. But to him they made perfect English sense.

              My other grandfather always referred to a quarter of an English pound as a ‘dollar’. At that time dollars were 4 to the pound. He had never left England either.

              words come into common usage.

              ********

              If Cryptocash made sense in the long and established term, then governments would use it as a medium of exchange, and workers would be happy to receive crypto wages. Would you? Why not?

              When Zimbabwe reached XXXX % inflation, why didnt they just create create cryptocash and sort their problems that way?

              Simple.

              Their currency wasn’t underpinned by sufficient physical energy as defined by GDP. So no one believed their currency had any value. But the moneyprinters kept their presses rolling in the hope that ‘something would turn up’

              On the other hand, anyone lucky enough to have gold or American dollars in Zimbabwe could still eat –ie exchange them for real forms of energy. Had they been issued with Cryptocash, that exchange would not have been possible.

              The energy factor that underpins the American dollar will also peter out, and then that currency will inflate itself out of existence. Hard to say when, because the global economic system has pegged itself to the dollar on the fantasy that US energy supplies are ‘infinite’.

              They are not.

              Zimbabwean energy resources (their productive land) didn’t diasppear, it became unusable through idiot politicians.
              My guess is that American energy resources will go the same way

              with the same end results

            • Robert Firth says:

              The alchemists tried for centuries to create gold, and failed. They also tried to destroy gold (it dissolves in aqua regia) but that didn’t work too well either. That is why gold was seen as a store of value. But cryptocash is created by algorithms, and therefore can be destroyed by algorithms. It is not a store of value, but an elaborate “bait and switch”.

  38. Harry McGibbs says:

    A cartoon for our times:

    • Luke says:

      Here’s another great cartoon with commentary from Tim Kreider in 2008:

      http://www.thepaincomics.com/weekly080423a.htm

      • Micah says:

        Ha ha! I’m a combination of Tim and Jim and am very thankful I haven’t wasted my time being Rob, although I wish him well.

        • Luke says:

          Yep!

          Tim: “But, as my reading of Gibbon reminds me, sometimes the reason everyone’s always saying things are going to hell in a hand basket is because in fact they are. The problem is that, unlike Rob, I am a lazy and disorganized person who does not base my life decisions on abstract ideas, and frankly I find it easier to resign myself to a premature and violent death than to figure out how to invest my money or repair tools or grow plants, at which I have always sucked.”

          • Robert Firth says:

            “I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion” Edward Gibbon, Ch 71.

  39. Harry McGibbs says:

    Mixed messages from the IMF, which is urging governments to stimulate economies like hell but to somehow do this sustainably and cautiously:

    “The International Monetary Fund urged governments to exercise fiscal caution as they borrow more to support economies hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, saying debt levels could soar to a record this year.

    “The need for continued fiscal support is clear, but this begs the question of how countries can finance it without debt becoming unsustainable,” Fiscal Affairs Department Director Vitor Gaspar and Gita Gopinath, the fund’s chief economist, said in a blog Friday.”

    https://wicnews.com/world/imf-urges-fiscal-caution-global-debt-surges-record-311528882/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The pandemic has exposed and reinforced deep inequalities across the world, with the true extent yet to be seen, according to a major new report.

      “The crisis in the poorest countries threatens to escalate into a catastrophe as job losses and food insecurity mount.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/11/global-catastrophe-looms-as-covid-19-fuels-inequality

      • Minority Of One says:

        Note that it is ok to report a catastrophe for less developed countries, but not us. For sure, a catastrophe is heading everywhere. How can it be otherwise wise with affordable resources ‘running out’ and mega-jobless on the horizon?

    • There was also this recent link posted about the view of the IMF Director about the possibility of the upcoming Great Reset:

      https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2020/06/03/sp060320-remarks-to-world-economic-forum-the-great-reset

      So, what would it take for historians to look back at this crisis as the moment of a Great Reset?

      From the perspective of the IMF, we have seen a massive injection of fiscal stimulus to help countries deal with this crisis, and to shift gears for growth to return. It is of paramount importance that this growth should lead to a greener, smarter, fairer world in the future.

      The IMF seems to be very confused.

      • Xabier says:

        ‘Greener, smarter, fairer’ for some reason has me rolling on the floor in uncontrollable fits of laughter.

        I suspect I must have post-COVID symptoms of some kind.

      • Oh dear says:

        The global economy is at the point of collapse and the IMF thinks that this is the precise moment to push for green taxes, a desubsidisation of fossil fuels, a greener economy and ‘fairer’ global growth. Whatever!

      • Thierry says:

        “Growth” does not seem to make any sense indeed!

    • Xabier says:

      Absurd.

      Print,print! But do be conservative about it!

      Rather like the Spanish Inquisition telling executioners to observe proper fire safety standards?

      • Robert Firth says:

        1. Make sure the stake is firmly seated in the ground.
        2.Make sure the ground has been cleared of twigs, brushwood, and other flammable material.
        3. Make sure the stake will burn more slowly than the heretic.
        4. Point the faggots inwards, towards the stake.
        5. Light the blue cord and retire to a safe distance.
        6. Encourage the spectators to sing “Someone’s burning, Lord, Kumbaya.”

        And remember you are working towards a cleaner, greener, fairer future.

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that lockdowns meant to curb the spread of the pandemic could lead to street protests over economic problems…

    “A sharp rise in subsidized gasoline prices led to four days of unrest in cities and towns across Iran in November, which rights group Amnesty International said led to more than 300 people being killed in clashes with police and security forces.”

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/irans-president-warns-lockdowns-lead-protests-71733833

  41. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Average [UK] wages have fallen for the first time in six years, official figures will reveal this week, as millions of furloughed workers suffer a pandemic pay cut.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/07/11/furlough-delivers-first-wage-fall-six-years/

  42. Harry McGibbs says:

    “If there were still hopes of a “V-shaped” comeback from the novel coronavirus shutdown [in the US], this past week should have put an end to them. The pandemic shock, which economists once assumed would be only a temporary business interruption, appears instead to be settling into a traditional, self-perpetuating recession…

    “Under the remorseless influence of the pandemic, the U.S. economy is being reshaped. There will be fewer jobs in airlines, hotels, restaurants and traditional retail and more in e-commerce and technology industries…

    “Millions of additional layoffs could come soon from cash-strapped state and local governments…”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/11/after-fastest-recession-us-history-economic-recovery-may-be-fizzling/

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s banks should brace for a big jump in bad loans due to coronavirus-induced economic pain, the financial regulator said on Saturday, noting the deterioration of asset quality at some small and mid-sized financial institutions was accelerating.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-finance/chinese-banks-must-brace-for-surge-in-bad-loans-regulator-says-idUKKCN24C0C4

  44. Harry McGibbs says:

    “COVID-19 has hit the global car industry harder than any other financial crisis, and car sales will not recover to last year’s levels until around 2023, a market analyst said Friday…

    ” the global auto industry sold about 87.56 vehicles in 2019. But this year, the figure is expected to plunge by 20 percent to about 70 million…”

    [Why would they recover at all when they were already starting to slide last year?]

    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20200712000044

  45. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.jpost.com/health-science/patient-dies-after-catching-coronavirus-at-covid-party-in-texas-634767

    “Just before the patient died, he looked at their nurse and said ‘I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.'”

    • Xabier says:

      Viruses kill us because: ‘They Hate Our Freedom!’ ?

      Poor deluded man, RIP. We all fall for nonsense at some time in our lives.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        the virus will continue to kill many people, just at a (probably) decreasing daily rate, due to the USA moving over the Herd Immunity Threshold.

        it’s no hoeax. the IFR is 0.26% which is perhaps 5X the average flu death rate of 0.05%.

        but I also suspect that local areas might remain well below the HIT for a long time.

        I will be continuing to wear a mask and social distance.

        • For younger people, the are many costs of COVID-19:

          (1) Wage loss, if the person is sick
          (2) Possible long term unemployment, if a person’s job disappears because of COVIS-19
          (2) Unreimbursed medical costs
          (3) The possibility of longer term health impacts that don’t go away with time.
          (4) The rather remote possibility of personal death
          (5) The more likely possibility of the death of an older relative.

          People will still be worried, even if the IFR is 0.26%.

    • Tim Groves says:

      There appears to be no proof whatever that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of any disease.

      Not that I have any idea, but this guy is a doctor who seems to know his stuff. In any case, this excellent half-hour video teaches a lot about how bacteria and viruses are isolated, or not as the case may be.

      https://youtu.be/NYr2jJf-zZ0

  46. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Did he say it was a lie…they lied to us…no way…
    The Russian whistleblower risking it all to expose the scale of an Arctic oil spill catastrophe
    By Mary Ilyushina, CNN
    Updated 2:47 PM EDT, Fri July 10, 2020

    Just a few hours later he was at the river, taking photographs that would soon provoke a public outcry. He and his boss tried to get in to the Nornickel plant, but he says they were refused entry by police.
    More than 20,000 tons of diesel poured into the rivers from the storage tank, according to Nornickel.
    Foaming red sludge mixed with the water and sucked life from the rivers and their banks.
    “It looked horrible when we got there and it wasn’t even the worst of it as a couple of hours had passed,” Ryabinin says. “You could smell the diesel half a kilometer away… my boss was even afraid to smoke there in case it blew up.”
    What he saw was very different from what officials and media were later reporting: that the spill had swiftly been brought under control. Russian state TV ran reports showing aerial pictures of oil-spill booms guarding the crimson layer of diesel.
    “It was such an obvious, childish lie, I couldn’t wrap my head around it,” Ryabinin told CNN.
    “Obviously I thought we must at least investigate the lake but my [agency] had a different view, which corresponded with the one of the [Nornickel] plant — that the spill did not spread further that the river.
    Reminds me of the movie Fallen Down with Michael Douglas

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iBy4X2rjF-k

    They lie to the FISH…😜

  47. Rodster says:

    CHS tries to use the analogy of the sinking Titanic and our current crisis of our Financial System today.

    http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-sinking-titanics-great-pumps.html

    • CH Smith makes the important point that the pandemic looks like it is only a glancing blow to the economy. Yet it may bring the economy down, just as the glancing blow of the iceberg did.

    • Kim says:

      When the topic of the Titanic comes up, I always think about J. Bruce Ismay. He was the Chairman of the White Star LIne and was aboard the Titanic when it went down. Or, at least, he was aboard one of the life rafts.

      At the time, Ismay was subject to scathing international criticism for not going down with the ship but I have always wondered why he should have been expected to. Why was the life of a woman or a child more important than his? He was in fact just being not only rationally self interested, but more than that he was being eminently modern in his refusal to be bullied into submiting to false ideological categories like man, woman, or child or the idea that men have special duties to others in the community. After all, if men have special duties, then they must be in some way special or privileged. But we deny their special qualities. So we must also deny their special duties right?

      On cnsideration, we see that J Bruce Ismay was not a villain in any way but in fact was a hero-rebel before his time, a man in the vanguard of post-modern social life where sex is just variable gender, generations are at war, there are no greater duties and its every man for himself. There should be a statue to him somewhere in Minneapolis or somewhere else equally woke.

    • Robert Firth says:

      And presumably the Titanic could have been saved by the timely application of Modern Deckchair Theory.

  48. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    All right….the Sun is like a Good Rubber Ball

    Why ‘safe haven’ gold and the stock market are now moving the same direction
    Negative real yields mean opportunity cost of holding gold vanishes, analysts note

    Gold is traditionally thought of as a haven asset — a safe port in a storm. But that hasn’t stopped it from rising to a near nine-year high, and within striking distance of its record, even as equities and other assets traditionally viewed as risky remain buoyant as they rebound from the pandemic-inspired selloff suffered earlier this year.

    Chalk it up, in part, to opportunity costs. Efforts by global central banks to push down interest rates, which have fallen into negative territory in real, or inflation-adjusted terms, in the U.S. and are outright negative in many parts of the world, mean that investors who hold gold aren’t missing out on the yield they would earn from holding bonds in more usual circumstances.

    “As real yields turn negative, opportunity costs for holding non-yielding assets essentially vanish, particularly when viewed through the historical lens of fiat currencies and their purchasing power,” wrote Jeff deGraaf, chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, in a Thursday note.

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-safe-haven-gold-is-acting-like-a-risk-on-asset-as-it-soars-toward-an-all-time-high-2020-07-09

    “Firstly, central bank policy is a strong driver behind higher gold prices. Not only are official rates close to zero in a large number of countries, they will unlikely go up in our forecast horizon,” Boele wrote.

    Most central banks have announced quantitative easing, with the Federal Reserve embarking on unlimited QE and the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank also implementing large programs. “This sounds like music to the ears of gold bugs as money floods into the market and currencies begin to decline,” she said.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=emx6dU7suvg

    Got GOLD?

    • I’ll agree that gold looks at least as good as the stock market and the bond market. The stock market looks like it could implode at some point; the bond market looks like quite a few companies will disappear. Many of those that continue will downsize. Repaying debt will become a real problem.

    • doomphd says:

      i knew we were doomed when i first heard that awful song back in 1966.

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        You can thank John Lennon of the Beatles for the groups name and they were actually the opening act of the Beatles for their last American tour!
        The song itself was penned by none other Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and they passed it to these guys and we’re surprised it become a mega hit.
        They were happy for them😘👍

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I was a little kid and thought it was great!

        now, “the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball”:

        that’s up there with the all-time worst similes.

    • Robert Firth says:

      The Inca called gold “the tears of the Sun”. A phrase capable of many interpretations, some of them most apposite to our current predicament.

  49. I moved the list of newest comments to the bottom of each post. I can increase the list of recent comments if that would be helpful.

    There is also a place to change the language at the bottom of each post, and a place to sign up for the blog at the bottom of each post.

    This approach doesn’t seem to lead to red screens from Microsoft products!!

    • beidawei says:

      Cxu oni eblas cxangxigi la lingvon per tio ilo?

      • Google translate tells me this is Esperanto for, “Is it possible to change the language with this tool?”

        If you want to write a comment in your own language, and translate it to English before posting, I expect that you have to use a tool like Google Translate to do this. It doesn’t let you post comments in a different language and translate them, as far as I know.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Wow! And I always thought Volapuk was the ugliest artificial language. Seems I underestimated Esperanto. Of course, anyone who thinks “blanka hundo” means “white dog” has a seriously tin ear. Anyway, I still cast my vote for Peano’s “Latino sine flexione”.

        • beidawei says:

          Don’t be fooled by all the x’s–Esperanto doesn’t use the letter x, I’m using it to represent some accent marks which I can’t be arsed to type (and I’m not sure if could be printed). As fate would have it, I’m up to about lesson ten on modern Volapuk, so, uh, glidis! There are about 50 speakers left, practically of them Esperantists. Check out Toki Pona if you haven’t already, it’s only got 200-something “words” and is a brilliant creation.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Thank you for the correction and the additional information; both were most helpful. And once again I give thanks to my ancestors that they did not disfigure my mother tongue with accent marks. I shall look up your reference later.

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