Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

Today’s energy predicament is a strange situation that most modelers have never really considered. Let me explain some of the issues I see, using some charts.

[1] It is probably not possible to reduce current energy consumption by 80% or more without dramatically reducing population.

A glance at energy consumption per capita for a few countries suggests that cold countries tend to use a lot more energy per person than warm, wet countries.

Figure 1. Energy consumption per capita in 2019 in selected countries based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise: Our predecessors in Africa didn’t need much energy. But as humans moved to colder areas, they needed extra warmth, and this required extra energy. The extra energy today is used to build sturdier homes and vehicles, to heat and operate those homes and vehicles, and to build the factories, roads and other structures needed to keep the whole operation going.

Saudi Arabia (not shown on Figure 1) is an example of a hot, dry country that uses a lot of energy. Its energy consumption per capita in 2019 (322 GJ per capita) was very close to that of Norway. It needs to keep its population cool, besides running its large oil operation.

If the entire world population could adopt the lifestyle of Bangladesh or India, we could indeed get our energy consumption down to a very low level. But this is difficult to do when the climate doesn’t cooperate. This means that if energy usage needs to fall dramatically, population will probably need to fall in areas where heating or air conditioning are essential for living.

[2] Many people think that “running out” of oil supplies should be our big worry. I believe that lack of the “demand” needed to keep oil and other energy prices up should be at least as big a worry.

The events of 2020 have shown us that a reduction in energy demand can occur very quickly, in ways we would not expect.

Oil demand can fall from less international trade, from fewer international air flights, and from fewer trips by commuters. Demand for electricity (made mostly with coal or natural gas) is likely to fall if fewer buildings are occupied. This will happen if universities offer courses only online, if nursing homes close for lack of residents who want to live there, or if young people move back with their parents for lack of jobs.

In some ways, the word “appetite” might be a better word than “demand.” Either high or low appetite can be a problem for people. People with excessive appetite tend to get fat; people with low appetite (perhaps as a side-effect of depression or of cancer treatments) can become frail.

Similarly, either high or low energy appetite can also be a problem for an economy. High appetite leads to high oil prices, as occurred back in 2008. These are distressing to oil consumers. Low appetite tends to lead to low energy prices. These are distressing to energy producers. They may cut back on production, as OPEC nations have done in the recent past, in an attempt to get prices back up. Some energy producers may file for bankruptcy.

Figure 2. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Just as people can die from indirect effects of too little appetite, an economy can fail if it cannot keep its energy prices (appetite) up. In fact, an economy will probably collapse quite quickly if it cannot keep oil and other energy prices up. The cost of mining or otherwise extracting energy supplies tends to increase over time because the cheapest, easiest-to-extract supplies are taken first. The selling price of energy products needs to keep rising as well, in order for producers to be able to make a profit and, therefore, be able to continue production.

We know that historically, many economies have collapsed. Revelation 18:11-13 tells us that in the case of the collapse of ancient Babylon, the problem at the time of collapse was inadequate demand for the goods produced. There was not even demand for slaves, which was the type of energy available for purchase at that time. This lack of demand (or low appetite) is similar to the low oil price problem we are encountering today.

[3] The big reduction in energy appetite since mid-2008 has particularly affected the US, EU, and Japan. 

We would expect lower energy prices to eventually lead to a decline in energy production because producers will find production unprofitable. On a world basis, however, we don’t see this pattern occurring except during the Great Recession itself (Figure 3).

Figure 3. World per capita energy consumption, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. On a worldwide basis, energy production and consumption are virtually identical because storage is small compared to production and consumption.

Note that in Figure 3, energy consumption is on a “per capita” basis. This is because energy is required for making goods and services; the higher the population, the greater the quantity of goods and services required to maintain a given standard of living. If energy consumption per capita is rising, there is a good chance that living standards are rising.

The countries of the US, EU, and Japan have not been very successful in keeping their energy consumption per capita level since the big drop in oil prices in mid-2008.

Figure 4. Per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The falling per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan is what one would expect if economic conditions were getting worse in these countries. For example, this pattern might be expected if young people are having difficulty finding jobs that pay well. It might also happen if repayment of debt starts interfering with young people being able to buy homes and cars. When fewer goods of these types are purchased, less energy consumption per capita is required.

The pattern of falling energy consumption per capita cannot continue for long without reaching a breaking point because people with low wages (or no jobs at all) will become more and more distressed. In fact, we started seeing an increasing number of demonstrations related to low wage levels, low pension levels, and lack of government services starting in 2019. This problem has only gotten worse with layoffs related to the pandemic in 2020. These layoffs corresponded to substantial further reduction in energy consumption per capita.

[4] China, India, and Vietnam are examples of countries whose energy consumption per capita has risen in recent years.

Not all countries have done as poorly as the major economies in recent years:

Figure 5. Some examples of countries with rising energy consumption per capita, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

These Asian countries could outcompete the US, EU, and Japan in several ways:

  • Big undeveloped coal reserves. These resources could be used as an inexpensive fuel to compete with countries that had depleted their own coal resources. Coal tends to be less expensive than other types of energy, especially if pollution problems are ignored.
  • Warmer climate, so these countries did not need much fuel for heating. Even Southern China does not heat its buildings in winter.
  • Pollution was generally ignored.
  • New, more efficient factories could be built.
  • Lower wages because of
    • Milder climate
    • Inexpensive fuel supply
    • Lower medical costs
    • Lower standard of living

The developed economies were concerned about reducing their own CO2 emissions. Moving heavy industry to these Asian nations meant that the developed economies could benefit in three ways:

  1. Their own CO2 emissions would fall, whether or not world emissions fell.
  2. Pollution problems would be moved offshore.
  3. The cost of finished goods for consumers would be lower.

Moving heavy industry to these and other Asian countries meant the loss of jobs that had paid fairly well in the US, Europe, and Japan. While new jobs replaced the old jobs, they generally did not pay as well, leading to the falling energy consumption per capita pattern seen in Figure 4.

[5] The growing Asian economies in Figure 5 are now reaching coal limits.

While these economies were built on coal reserves, these reserves are becoming depleted. All three of the countries shown in Figure 5 have become net coal importers.

Figure 6. Coal production versus consumption in 2019 for China, India and Vietnam based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[6] World coal production has remained on a bumpy plateau since 2011, suggesting that its extraction is reaching limits. (Figure 7)

Figure 7. World energy consumption by type, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. “Renewables” represents renewables other than hydroelectricity. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 8, below, shows that growth in China’s coal production was the major reason for the big rise in world coal consumption between 2002 and 2011. In fact, this rise in production started immediately after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Figure 8. World coal production by country based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

China’s rapid growth in coal production stopped in 2011. The problem was that extraction from an increasing share of coal mines became unprofitable: The cost of extraction rose but coal prices did not rise to match these higher costs. China could build new mines in locations more distant from where the coal was to be used, but transportation costs would tend to make this coal higher-cost as well. China could increase its coal consumption by importing coal, but that would also be more expensive.

Figure 9. Coal production for selected areas based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In Figure 9, above, we see how dramatically higher China’s coal production has been, in comparison to coal production in other areas of the world. After China’s coal production stalled about 2011, it bounced back in 2018 and 2019 as the country opened mines in the north of the country, farther from industrial use.

Figure 9 indicates that the US’s coal production was on a long plateau between 1990 and 2008; more recently, the US’s production has fallen. Coal production for Europe was falling even before 1981, but the data available for this chart only goes back to 1981. Declining production again results from the cost of production rising above the prices producers could obtain from selling the coal.

Whether or not world coal production will increase in the future remains to be seen. Normally, a person would expect a long bumpy plateau in coal production, such as the world has experienced since 2011, to precede a fall in production. This would be similar to the pattern observed in the US’s coal production. This pattern would also be similar to the shape modeled by geophysicist M. King Hubbert for many types of resource production.

Figure 10. M. King Hubbert symmetric curve from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.

[7] World oil production through 2019 has continued upward in an amazingly steady pattern, despite low prices. Its major problem has been unprofitability for producers. 

Figure 7 above shows the total amount of oil produced has continued upward in almost a straight line, except for a dip at the time of the Great Recession.

In fact, every person needs goods and services made with energy products. Rising energy consumption per capita will mean that, on average, every person is getting the benefit of more energy supplies. Figure 11 shows information similar to that on Figure 7, except on a per-capita basis.

Figure 11. World per capita energy consumption by type based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 11 indicates that on a per capita basis, oil supply has been approximately flat. In a way, this should not be surprising. Oil is absolutely essential in many ways. It is used for agriculture, transportation and construction. Oil is also used for its chemical properties in medicines, herbicides, pesticides, lubricants, and many other products. Oil is very energy dense and can be easily stored.

Because of its special properties, many people have assumed that oil prices will always rise. We saw in Figure 2 that this doesn’t actually happen. Low prices have continued for long enough now that they are becoming a serious problem for producers. Many companies are seeking bankruptcy. One analysis shows that 230 oil and gas producers and 214 oilfield services companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2015.

Oil exporters find their countries in financial difficulty, because at low prices, the taxes that they can collect are not sufficient to maintain the programs needed for their people. If the programs cannot be maintained, citizens may become unhappy and revolt.

At this point, oil production during 2020 is down. Figure 12 shows OPEC’s estimate of oil production through July 2020. World oil production is reported to be down about 12%. The highest month of supply was about November 2018.

Figure 12. OPEC and world oil production, in a chart made by OPEC, from the August 2020 OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

Figure 13 shows oil production for selected areas of the world through 2019.

Figure 13. Oil production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Middle East production tends to bounce up and down. If prices are low, the tendency is to reduce production, as occurred in 2019.

US production rose rapidly between 2008 and 2019, but dipped in 2016, as prices dropped way too low.

Europe’s oil production (including Norway) reached its highest point in the year 2000. It has been declining since then, causing concern for governments.

The production of what I call Russia+ dropped with the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991. Oil prices had been very low between 1981 and 1991. It appears to me that these low prices were instrumental in the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union. Production was able to rise again in the early 2000s when prices rose. My concern now is that a similar collapse will happen for some oil exporters in the next few years, due to low prices, and it will lead to a major decline of world oil production.

[8] Natural gas is the fuel that seems to be available in abundant supply, if only the price could be made to rise to a high enough level for producers. 

Natural gas production can be seen to be rising on both Figures 7 and 11. The fact that natural gas consumption is rising on a per capita basis in Figure 11 indicates that production is rising robustly–enough to offset weakness in coal production and perhaps help increase the world standard of living, to some extent.

We can see from Figure 14 below that the increase in natural gas production is coming from quite a number of different areas, including the US, Russia and its affiliates, the Middle East, and Australia. Again, Europe (including Norway) seems to be in decline.

Figure 14. Natural gas production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The problem for natural gas is again a price problem. It is difficult to get the price up to a high enough level to cover the cost of both the extraction of natural gas and the infrastructure and fuel needed to transport the natural gas to its destination.

We used to talk about “stranded natural gas,” that is, natural gas that can be extracted, but whose cost of transportation is simply too high to make the overall transaction economic. In fact, historically, a lot of natural gas has simply been burned off as a waste product (flared) or re-injected into oil wells, to keep up pressure, because there was no hope of selling it profitably at a distance. It is this formerly stranded natural gas that is now being produced.

Figure 15. Historical natural gas prices based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. LNG is liquefied natural gas transported by ship. German imported natural gas is mostly by pipeline. US Henry Hub gas is natural gas without overseas transport costs included.

The increase in investment in natural gas production in recent years has been based on the hope that prices would rise high enough to cover both the cost of extraction and transportation. In fact, prices have tended to fall with crude oil prices, making the overall price far too low for most natural gas producers. Prices in 2020 have been even lower. For example, recent Japan LNG prices have been about $4 per million Btu. Thus, natural gas seems to have exactly the same problem as coal and oil: Prices are far too low for producers.

[9] The world economy is a self-organizing system, powered by energy. It can be expected to behave in a very strange way when diminishing returns become too much of a problem. 

In the language of physics, the world economy is a dissipative structure. This has been known at least since 1996. The economy is a self-organizing system powered by energy; it is not possible to significantly reduce energy consumption without a major collapse.

The economy has many parts to it. I have illustrated the situation in the following way:

The fact that consumers are also employees means that if wages fall too low (for a significant share of the population), then consumption will also tend to fall too low.

Prices are set by the market. Contrary to the popular view, prices are not based primarily on scarcity. Instead, they are based on the quantity of finished goods and services that consumers in the aggregate can afford. If wage disparity gets to be too great a problem, commodity prices of all types will tend to fall too low.

[10] Economists and modelers of all kinds have completely misunderstood how the economy actually operates.

Our academic communities each seem to exist in separate ivory towers. Economists don’t talk to physicists. Physicists know that dissipative structures cannot last indefinitely. Humans are dissipative structures; they each have limited lifetimes. Hurricanes are also dissipative structures that last only a limited time.

Most economists and modelers have never considered the possibility that today’s economy, like that of ancient Babylon, could be reaching collapse because of low demand, and thus, low prices.

Economists don’t realize that once energy resources become too depleted, energy prices are not likely to rise high enough for producers to make a profit; instead, the overall system will tend to collapse. Central banks have been trying, without success, to get commodity prices up to the point where they can be profitable for producers, but they have not been successful to date. I am doubtful that even more new tricks, such as Universal Basic Income, will work, either.

The erroneous belief systems of most economists and modelers leads to all kinds of strange results. The economy is modeled as if it will grow indefinitely. Most modelers assume that if we have oil, coal, or natural gas in the ground, plus the technical capability to pull these resources out, we will eventually pull them out. Perhaps a later civilization, built on the remains of our current civilization, can do this, but our current civilization cannot.

Climate change models are applied to fossil fuel assumptions that are absurdly high, given the problems with low energy prices that we are currently encountering. No one stops to model what will happen to the climate if fossil fuel consumption is decreased very quickly, which seems to be a real possibility in 2020. The loss of aerosol emissions (smog, for example) from fossil fuels will tend to spike world temperatures, even with reduced CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

We are led to believe that an economy similar to today’s economy can operate solely on renewables. This is simply absurd. Figures 7 and 11 show that there are nowhere near enough renewables to support today’s population, even if substitution were possible for fossil fuels. In fact, we need fossil fuels to make and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, electric transmission lines, hydroelectric plants, and nuclear power plants.

If we cannot keep fossil fuels operating because of continued low prices, today’s economy can expect a disturbing change for the worse.

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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2,368 Responses to Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

  1. Oh dear says:

    Yes, the TP and the rest of the British state have gone right off XR; they are in no mood for ‘right-on’ virtue-signallers. The police have hauled them away in their hundreds, and the media have largely ignored them this time but to report their arrest.

    Now their lot is that of the far right, to be a prop against which society postures its ‘virtue’, an occasion to preach ‘values’ and the reward of ‘sin’.

    The state has taken the occasion to adopt new powers to protect itself from protest and ‘subversion’ in the name of the protection of ‘democracy’.

    C19 laws allow the state to slap them with £10,000 fines per person. They will crowdfund their costs, so there will need to be lots of fines.

    This looks like the end for XR, certainly as it has operated hitherto. Laws exist to allow the undisputed free flow of everyday life and we can expect them to be implemented henceforth.

    > MPs unite in defence of free speech after Extinction Rebellion protest

    Fury after blockade stops 1.5m newspapers

    Cabinet ministers spoke up for press freedom after a blockade of printing plants by climate change activists prevented 1.5 million newspapers from leaving the sites yesterday.

    Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, the home secretary, and Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, condemned Extinction Rebellion, as did Labour’s Emily Thornberry.

    The prime minister branded the barricades “completely unacceptable” and last night ordered new laws to be drawn up to protect freedom of the press, with protesters treated as saboteurs of democracy.

    Johnson, a former journalist, said: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.”

    Patel described the protest as an “attack on our free press”, while Jenrick said it was the work of “an intolerant minority” and urged people to buy a newspaper…

    Under the government’s plans, a new “subversion power” would protect “critical national infrastructure”, treating access to printing plants, parliament and the courts as key pillars of democracy.

    A senior government source said: “It would be illegal to stop MPs going to vote or judges getting to court and it would also protect a free press.”

    Changes to the Public Order Act would also stop protest groups entering specially defined areas outside key sites. Yesterday the Metropolitan police handed out £10,000 fines for breaching Covid-19 rules to more than 20 Extinction Rebellion protesters, some of them involved in bringing a boat called the Lightship Greta onto London’s roads. The boat has been seized.

    The government proposals follow the failure by police to start clearing Extinction Rebellion protesters for more than six hours after they descended on the sites in Hertfordshire and Merseyside on Friday night. There were 80 arrests in total.

    Although the plants are owned by News UK, the publisher of The Sunday Times, The Times and The Sun, they also print copies of the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.

    • Oh dear says:

      Goodness, the TP has really gone off XR.

      > Eco zealots could face FIVE YEARS in jail: Priti Patel threatens to change law to make Extinction Rebellion a criminal gang so tougher sentences can be handed out

      Extinction Rebellion protesters who attack our way of life should face jail, Priti Patel warns today.

      The Home Secretary has ordered a review of the law aimed at toughening sentences for the environmental extremists after they blockaded newspaper print works in a bid to stifle free speech.

      Options being considered include designating the group as an organised crime gang, which would leave militants open to the threat of up to five years in jail.

      Writing in the Daily Mail today, Miss Patel says the activists should ‘face the full force of the law’ for pursuing ‘guerrilla tactics… that seek to undermine and cause damage to our society’.

      She adds: ‘I am committed to ensuring that the police have powers required to tackle the disruption caused by groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

      ‘We must defend ourselves against this attack on capitalism, our way of life and ultimately our freedoms.’

      A Home Office source confirmed that Miss Patel wants to see harsher sentences against the ringleaders of a group whose actions seem designed to maximise economic damage and disruption.

      ‘We want to see some people banged up instead of escaping with a fine they can pay from their trust fund,’ the source said.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Waste of money and resources putting these people in gaol. I’m sure Britain owns a few uninhabited islands in odd parts of the world, where they can be dumped. They can then “go green” to their little hearts’ content. Or, of course, go extinct, if Gaia so decides.

  2. Oh dear says:

    Who knew that Brexit talks would deadlock over our finite fish? I take haddock with eggs for breakfast most mornings, and there never seems to be any shortage around here. It seems to come down to the economy and money – more fish to sell abroad means more money for organised British capital and the state tax coffers.

    > Boris Johnson has demanded that British fishermen double the size of their catch from Britain’s coastal waters, leading to deadlock in post-Brexit trade and fisheries talks.

    European Union negotiators said the British position would lead to the loss of one in three fishing boats in Europe and rejected the proposal out of hand.

    The impasse has added to growing pessimism on both sides about a “critical” negotiating round next week. Senior Downing Street figures put the chances of a deal at 30 to 40 per cent…

    The UK wants the percentage of fish quotas reserved for UK vessels in British waters to increase from some 25 per cent now to more than 50 per cent. Mr Barnier said this would lead to a 31 per cent contraction in Europe’s fishing fleet and devastate coastal communities.

    The battle has deadlocked trade negotiations over the past two months. Mr Barnier has repeatedly warned that there will be no trade deal without a fisheries agreement and has accused Mr Frost of taking European fishing communities hostage.

    A Brussels source said: “Barnier cannot budge on anything while this stays on the table. He would be crucified.”

    Quotas, based on the 1973 deal to join the EEC, are a totemic issue for British fishing communities because the EU’s common fisheries policy gives the lion’s share in UK waters to European boats.

    In the UK’s Celtic Sea waters, British boats are allowed to catch only 10 per cent of the haddock quota and French fishermen take 66 per cent. In the Channel, European boats take 91 per cent of cod. In the North Sea, British boats take only 4 per cent of sole.

    Britain regains sovereignty over its coastal waters and fish stocks at the end of the transition period and intends to set new quota shares on the basis of “zonal attachment”, or the geography of where fish resources are.

    “The EU have refused to engage with our proposals . . . insisting that we must accept continuity with EU fisheries policy and disregarding the UK’s status as an independent coastal state,” Boris Johnson’s spokesman said yesterday…

    • Having a whole lot more fish in the ocean would be helpful.

      Our oceans have been very over-fished. I can understand why the UK would like more of the fish in its immediate vicinity, but it is basically an issue of not enough to go around. We are seeing a lot more “farmed fish” in our stores here in the US.

      • Artleads says:

        There’d be more fish if there were more marine sanctuaries and fewer beach resorts. .

      • Robert Firth says:

        Before Edward heath (whom I always called “Rat Heath”) gave away our seas, Britain’s fishing communities were largely self regulating and did not over fish, because they were old fashioned enough to want their children to follow in their footsteps. The EEC (as it was the) promised to fish sustainably, and then immediately broke that promise, and allowed the French and Spanish to empty our waters of anything with gills. That is why this is a “make or break” issue for the government; if they cave on this one they will have no chance of being returned to power for a generation.

  3. Tim Groves says:

    The kids are playing with fire in Portland and getting burned.

    “Where are the mums and dads?”, I ask myself.

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The poor, small Southeast Asian country of Laos is set to cede majority control of its electric grid to a Chinese company, as it struggles to stave off a potential debt default, people with direct knowledge of the agreement said.”

    • A person wonders what will happen next. Will the Chinese firm operate the grid for a bit, and then let it go? Some quotes from the article:

      Laos has spent heavily on hydroelectric schemes, many financed by China, with the aim of becoming “The Battery of Southeast Asia”. But those projects, along with a new Chinese high speed railway, are at the centre of a debt crunch.

      Among companies suffering delayed payments already are the Chinese firms behind hydroelectric projects that were not paying back as expected, the people with knowledge of the China Southern agreement said.

      Hydroelectric will be intermittent in most areas of the world. It will be very plentiful in the rainy season and lacking in the dry season. Businesses cannot plan around this; neither can people with appliances like refrigerators. Televisions work OK, but they don’t help produce anything.

      • Xabier says:

        Just as the British operated in Mughal India: proferred ‘help’ to the local rulers -military in their case – and then took over to repay the impossible debt.

        Clever old Chinese, they learn from history. But will it -can it – pay off this time?

        • Xabier says:

          The best hope for S E Asia -and the world – may be that Trump and the Pentagon planners, who are behind the China trade war and Economic Nationalism for the US, manage to clip China’s wings.

          Their aim is clearly to preserve China as a manufacturer of cheap crap for the masses, while frustrating her imperial ambitions, preserve free navigation of the seas, and fomenting internal instability – but not civil war.

          It’s rather an elegant policy, with not a shot fired if it goes well.

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The first famines of the coronavirus era could soon hit four chronically food-deprived conflict areas — Yemen, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo — the top humanitarian official of the United Nations has warned.”

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The closure of international borders, flight caps and quarantine procedures owing to Covid-19 pose a grave threat to global shipping supply chains and the welfare of seafarers, the head of Australia’s maritime safety authority has warned.

    “Mick Finley, chief executive of Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), said there was an increasing risk that the global shipping industry could “grind to a halt” or serious accidents occur because of the extreme pressure on crew, some of whom have not set foot on land for 17 months.

    ““If we don’t deal with this problem then eventually they [seafarers] could down tools.””

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Just six months ago, oil supertankers experienced a windfall as the pandemic slashed demand for crude and traders raced to book vessels to store the resulting glut. Now that season of good fortune for those ships has all but vanished…

      “The boom-to-bust comes as the recovery in oil demand stutters and the OPEC+ alliance continues to curb output, reducing the need for tankers. At the same time, China, the world’s largest crude importer, has slowed its purchases following a buying binge when oil was cheap.

      ““The demand that was pushed forward is now not showing up anywhere in the market,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at industry group BIMCO.”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Bulgaria’s ruling conservative party on Thursday resisted calls for Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s government to resign, after two months of protests against his perceived tolerance of corruption erupted into the most violent day yet.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Thousands of women marched through the capital of Belarus calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, and university students demonstrated against the detention of classmates during the wave of protests gripping the country.”

      • Xabier says:

        A Monstrous Regiment of Women: now that IS alarming! 🙂

        I’d be quaking in my boots: whenever I declined to take the rubbish bin out /walk the dog until I had finished my morning coffee and polished off a spot of eggs and bacon ( I mean, so reasonable!) it was bad enough – but hordes of them, and angry? !

        Of course, quite a good tactic for civil protest, as one cannot – frustratingly maybe – really fire upon women, or beat them (although Spanish police have no such qualms.)

        • Strahler says:

          Some Spanish political movements, very deeply Spanish, have no objection to sending women as the vanguard to stand behind them.
          Professional losers. Heroic always.

      • “Sunday protests have been especially large, bringing crowds estimated at more than 100,000 people.”

        Wow! Lots of people are unhappy.

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The collapse of international travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will cost the Italian economy €36.7 billion during 2020.”

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Tensions between Greece and Turkey over maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean have been reignited as political leaders of both countries traded insults amid efforts by NATO to foster dialogue.”

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Economists warn of the threat of deflation in the eurozone ahead of a crucial interest rates decision this week by the European Central Bank…

    “Persistently low inflation or deflation could nudge the ECB’s governing council, which will meet on Thursday for the first time since July, towards loosening monetary policy, such as through quantitative easing or interest rate cuts.”

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As Mexico struggles to pay a water debt to the United States, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he might personally appeal to President Donald Trump for clemency, or invite United Nations experts to audit water payments.”

  12. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The country that boasts of serving the Arab world’s most refined food has begun to go hungry, and its middle class, once able to vacation in Europe and go out for sushi, is finding supermarket shelves and cupboards increasingly bare.

    “Hence the politicians’ sudden cry: The Lebanese, they urged earlier this year, must grow their own food, waging what Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militia and political party Hezbollah, has called “agricultural jihad.””

  13. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…the economic devastation in Surat and across the country is imperiling many of India’s aspirations. The Indian economy has shrunk faster than any other major nation’s. As many as 200 million people could slip back into poverty, according to some estimates. Many of its normally vibrant streets are empty, with people too frightened of the outbreak to venture far.

    “Much of this damage was caused by the coronavirus lockdown imposed by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, which experts now say was at turns both too tight and too porous, both hurting the economy and spreading the virus.”

  14. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “Sept 5 (Reuters) – The California Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a “Stage 2″ power emergency late on Saturday, warning that rotating power outages were possible amid a record heat wave.”

  15. Malcopian says:

    Best laugh today, found on Twitter:

    I said that I was distantly related to Marie Curie and a guy explained “It’s pronounced Mariah Carey”.

  16. Malcopian says:

    What types of personalities are interested in the subject of this blog? Do they cluster together? Try the Myers-Briggs personality test, then tell us how you scored.

    I’m an INTJ, by the way – but my J score was 54, compared to 46 for my P score, so I’m not that far off being an INTP. My introversion score was 97 out of 100. I like the overview of the INTJ type: ‘Their sarcasm and dark humor aren’t for everyone’. Bang on the nail !

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:


      not everyone likes sarcasm and dark humor?

      the human race has descended into madness.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      I took it once in high school. As I recall, the professions best suited to me were “lighthouse keeper” and “lion tamer.”

      Come on, Myers-Briggs is warmed-over Jungian psychology. You might as well be getting guidance from your horoscope.

      • Dennis L. says:

        I have taken it a number of times and I do not wish to be more specific except to say I am the anti lemming lemming, before going over the cliff I will go left or right, nothing to lose.

        It also helps in trading.

        Dennis L.

        • Malcopian says:

          ‘I am the anti lemming lemming’

          Except when it comes to your Catholicism. So I would expect an ‘F’ for feeling in your result. Am I right?

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        You will meet an interesting stranger today, but if s/he turns out to be a close relative, you should seek medical advice. This will lead you to the best romance of your lifetime, and though the love will fade soon, you will end up with many millions of dollars. You will then find great fame and influence, but only if you can avoid the black cats that are waiting to cross your path throughout the day. Your challenge will be to meet the interesting stranger without crossing paths with any of those black cats. You can accomplish this with ease, if you constantly remind yourself of the great fortune which is headed your way. If you think it, then it must come true. Otherwise, your day will kind of sukc like it usually does.

        • doomphd says:

          is this an adonis-style fortune cookie fortune? the type would have to be very small to fit on the paper slip.

          • Malcopian says:

            ‘is this an adonis-style fortune cookie fortune?’

            Way wrong. Do the test, then read the analysis of your personality type. The questions test various traits of your personality.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Don’t think so. There are only two genuine fortune cookies: one says “ignore previous cookie”, and the other “help! I am being held prisoner in a fortune cookie factory”.

        • Xabier says:

          No black cats here: I shot ’em all.

          Bad luck simply impossible now.

          Unless persecuted by astral cat spirits……

      • Malcopian says:

        “Myers-Briggs is warmed-over Jungian psychology. You might as well be getting guidance from your horoscope.”

        Nothing wrong with Jung. It’s not guidance – it’s a way of interpreting. I looked at the professions that went with the categories – for me, INTJ, it got computer-programmer correct. My sister – she’s a care worker – ESFJ – correct. My niece – a psychologist – ENFP – ‘the campaigner ‘ – correct – she raised £832 for Alzheimer’s charities when she was only 12, because her grandma had it.

        So it’s a way of interpreting, of categorising, that has some validity. Nothing to do with horoscopes or that sort of thing.

        • Robert Firth says:

          If you dislike Myers Briggs, go to the source: C G Jung: Aion; Researches in the Phenomenology of the Self.

      • Malcopian says:

        You are definitely being sarcastic, Bei Dawei. It includes no such professions. Nor could it ever predict when I will hire FE to dress up as a Martian and come for you.

    • Christopher says:

      The Myers-Briggs test is one of the first or even the first personality test around. Based on some of Jungs ideas. It’s popular, but it’s not the one advocated by professionals today. The big five personality traits or related models of personality seems to be the most widely accepted models of personality:

      Openness to experience consists of two parts, openness to ideas and openness to (actual) experience. I expect the general reader of OFW to be high in openness to ideas. For instance, regarding the economy as a dissipative thermodynamical structure is a sign that you prefer to understand the world from abstract ideas.

      I also expect conscientiousness to be higher on OFW, than average. To reach this page and read the articles requires some of this personality trait.

      Finally, I expect the general reader of OFW the be on the introverted side, but this may be prejudice.

      • Malcopian says:

        ‘Openness to experience consists of two parts, openness to ideas and openness to (actual) experience.’

        And of course Myers-Briggs does test for those. It’s all based on your own input – nothing mystical about it. Usually I can predict two or three of a person’s traits before they do the test. It’s the ‘I’ or ‘E’ that I most often fall down on – introverted or extroverted, followed by the J or P (as explained, I’m pretty evenly balanced between those two, but more on the J side).

        As an example, I predicted a friend would be ISTJ. That was by using my intuition. He came out an ISTP. I asked him to guess what my rating was. The ‘S’ in his score said he was ‘prospecting’ rather than, like me, intuitive. This suggested he liked to take things apart to see how they worked. He said he was always doing that as a child. Me, I wasn’t. His method, being a prospector, was to take the whole test, pretending he was me. He came up with INTJ – bang on the nail ! I was impressed.

        • Christopher says:

          The problem with Myers-Briggs is that some of the traits are highly correlated, these traits seems in fact to be a common trait. Some of the big-five traits are not included in Myers-Briggs.

          I think that dividing each the five personality traits into two aspects is even better. Only five traits is a bit course and clumpsy:

      • Malcopian says:

        My Big Five Personality Traits results:,3,2.3,3.5,4.8#_V

        I believe I’m way more conscientious than 52. I’m definitely a ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ kind of person. I suspect the questions about tidiness were supposed to be to do with conscientiousness, but I’m not a tidy person. I’m the mad professor type. If I’m researching ideas, tidiness can go hang until I find the answers.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Malcopian, I actually found an online site that would tell me my five traits. But I had to click a box that said (I paraphrase): =you may waste a lot of time on this test and not get any results because our IT support sucks rancid camel dung. You acknowledge this risk and agree that we accept no responsibility.= Now what personality type, do you suppose, crafted that piece of garbage?

          • Malcopian says:

            Did you enter the labyrinth, anyway, and take the risk, Robert? I suspect you’d be an N and a T for sure, in the Myers-Briggs’ view – whether you’d be E or ‘I’, I don’t know. You could be an S, of course, preferring to venture out into the field, rather than trust too much to your intuition.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Malcopian, INTJ. And no, I did not enter the labyrinth (an excellent simile, by the way). It seems to me the “five types” stuff was crafted by psychologists with the aim that anyone who takes the test will enable them to find something wrong with him, and, of course, profitably wrong.

              “You shoot black cats. That is a sign of a suppressed passive aggressive personality using transference to avoid worse outrages, and you need therapy.”

              “You do not shoot black cats. That is a sign of severe ailurophobia which you compensate for by extreme avoidance, and you need therapy.”

          • Malcopian says:

            ‘Malcopian, INTJ.’

            I thought that might be so, Robert. Somewhat like me, yet with some major differences. By the age of 30, I’d had enough of travel. I hate packing suitcases with a passion. So probably you scored significantly high than my 3 for extroversion. Nor do I have your breadth of interests. Poetry rarely does it for me, and I don’t have the patience for Shakespeare. Yet I had a great passion for reading short stories until my forties.

            As for the class side, I wouldn’t know. I’m from a distinctly working class background and got bussed into state grammar school from the council estate. My first guess would be that you are from an upper-middle background, but then again you could be a high achiever from a modest background – something of a David Starkey, perhaps?

            • Robert Firth says:

              Malcopian, another free datum. I was the first member of my family ever to go to university. That was in 1962, which I think nails my class status.

            • Malcopian says:

              “I was the first member of my family ever to go to university.”

              Same for me, Robert, but four younger cousins are also graduates. And my niece just got herself a first in psychology at Manchester uni.

              1962. I watched the first Doctor Who episode that year. Can’t remember a thing about Kennedy, though. I remember Diana from much later and sometimes wonder if she was totalled for being a snowflake.

        • ElbowWilham says:

          I’m an INTJ and have that book on my bookshelf. I think INTJ are more prone to be into the Myers-briggs test. It was the largest personality sub on Reddit. Or maybe they just like to talk about it online more.

          I am similar to you in the way I work. During a project it becomes a mess around me. I’ve tried to change a bit as I get older and do the clean as I go, but it doesn’t come naturally. After the project I do clean everything up nicely.

          • Malcopian says:

            Good to know. The others are not open to new experiences or are not willing to reveal themselves. Scaredy cats. 🙁

            As for me, I’m a real messy pup. I have a tidying blitz maybe twice a year, but my good intentions to reform myself never last.

    • Slow Paul says:

      My result was “mediator” INFP-A.

      “Left unchecked, Mediators may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world.”

      • Malcopian says:

        Thank you, Slow Paul. Diplomat, idealist, healer.

        So what is or was your profession, may I ask? Typical examples are supposedly musician, writer, pastor, journalist, counselor, psychologist, interior designer, professor, health coach. Examples: Princess Diana, Johnny Depp, John Lennon, C S Lewis. That suggests you might have a raw or vulnerable side, that gives you insight into people who are suffering or have suffered.

    • Craig says:

      INTJ too

    • The lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the implementation of long-held plans to establish a so-called new world order. Under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (WEF), global policymakers are advocating for a “Great Reset” with the intent of creating a global technocracy. It is not by coincidence that on October 18, 2019, in New York City the WEF participated in “Event 201” at the “high-level” pandemic exercise organized by the John Hopkins Center for Health Security.

      This coming technocracy involves close cooperation between the heads of the digital industry and of governments. With programs such as guaranteed minimum income and healthcare for all, the new kind of governance combines strict societal control with the promise of comprehensive social justice.

      The truth, however, is that this new world order of digital tyranny comes with a comprehensive social credit system. The People’s Republic of China is the pioneer of this method of surveillance and control of individuals, corporations, and sociopolitical entities.

      Some of us would object to this “improvement” in the current system.

  17. Dennis L. says:

    More demographics and revolutions:

    “The Russian political cataclysms of 1905 and 1917 were ‘prepared’ not only by economic or political causes,” concludes Protasov, “but by nature acting out its own laws. The demographic bursts in the last decades of the 19th century, not only sharpened modernization problems, but speeded up the marginalization of society and gave abundant ‘human material’ to the first lines of the future revolution makers.”

    In his Clash of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington considers demographics to have been a major factor in political revolutions going back to the Protestant Reformation.

    “The Protestant Reformation,” writes Huntington, “is an example of one of the outstanding youth movements in history.”

    “Fearfulness and loss of desire commonly accompany aging. Older people tend not to want as many things in life as young people. They lose their desire to impress friends, relatives, and partners.”

    “Instead of buying items they don’t need, they tend to become fearful that they will not be able to obtain what they do need. There is nothing peculiar about this; it is just nature’s way of recognizing diminishing opportunities.”

    I keep coming back to the mix of the population. Some time ago I did a series about the cost of oil in nominal terms compared to the nominal employment taxes from about 1964 to 2019 or so. As a percentage of median income, the transfer of wealth was greater than the nominal increase in the price of oil.

    It is going to be an interesting time.

    Dennis L.

    • When it comes to the closing of the churches for COVID-19, it seems to me that the older, more fearful folks are in charge of the churches. They don’t want anyone to be hurt. They don’t want any possibility of a lawsuit over not doing everything correctly. So they tend to do pretty much nothing; they just leave the churches closed. That seems to be the easy way out. And since there are few young people in the church, they don’t say much about what is happening either.

      • Dennis L. says:

        I agree with you regarding churches; also it seems the “disturbances” we are seeing reflect an old/young divide.

        The old spent too much time on things, not enough time on their children. It is a gulf, it will be what it will be, we are along for the ride. A generalized guess is the old lost much of their faith, they fear death too much.

        Dennis L.

  18. Yoshua says:

    There’s no hope for humanity. We are too dumb.

    And…no ET’s won’t come for rescue. They will just rape and kiII us. It’s just the law of nature.

    • Yoshua says:

      A fringe abduction case from Georgia, with a deceptive, coded message.

      • Yoshua says:

        A small gray alien.

        • Yoshua says:

          No it’s not. It’s just a hybrid… just garbage… a working force, created by the ET.

          It looks almost Human.

          • Bei Dawei says:

            I wonder if there are any ET Fundamentalists out there, who insist that Martians look like little green men with antennae?

          • Malcopian says:

            Yoshua, years ago I saw a video on YouTube. A couple were interviewed at their house in New England somewhere, out in the countryside, with a stream running by. The video started by showing the grandma, drawing the entity that they claimed visited them. She was a good drawer. It looked just like a ‘gray’.

            The mother told of how she would be paralysed at night, then floated out through the wall of her bedroom. Her husband, an engineer, a modest soft-spoken man, spoke of being paralysed at night, though apparently nothing else was done to him. Eventually the woman broke down in tears, claiming that now her children were being taken too at night.

            Later the husband showed a home video he had taken from their house. He played it again – something he hadn’t noticed while filming – there were strange orbs floating across the sky – like large bubbles. Very weird. Orbs are often implicated by John Keel, etc., in these scenarios. Light, balls of light. I’d like to track that video down again. Have you seen it? Any idea of its title?

            Later I read some accounts of a witchcraft trial in England. A woman admitted communing with ‘spirits’. She said that they came at night and floated her through the wall of her cottage. Amazing how some tales do not change, all the way down the centuries.

      • I looked at this enough to figure out that the Georgia mentioned is the Georgia where I live, not a country in Asia. I am not sure I figured out very much else. I suppose that there could be some extraterrestrial explanation for the things reported, but it could just be someone trying to pay tricks on others, as well, I would think.

    • Dennis L. says:

      We have made it this far, we will make if further. There are no guarantees those who come to kill us will be successful.

      This is a self organizing system, it is probably impossible to see the future as with each change today, the future is different tomorrow.

      As for rape, many years ago I had a lovely woman patient, wife of a very successful businessman. His wife occasionally said if you are being raped, might as well enjoy it as you can’t stop it. Now, having had the privilege of listening to both of them at appointments, there was a certainty that the rapor would be found and literally skinned alive.

      We are not dumb, we only think we control everything, at times when things are at their worst, one can only hold on, enjoy what one can of the ride and see another day.

      CHS has a new musings up, purchased another, new book(they pile up around my house) “Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years.” Current pushing through “Covid-10 the Great Reset,” it is an interesting read, goes fast.

      Dennis L.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Debt, the First 5000 Years is a classic.
        David Graeber, the author, just died.
        One of my favorite anarchists.
        It is quite enlightening.

      • Xabier says:

        Yes, enjoy the ride if possible: as Freya Star the great traveller and writer said (more elegantly than I ever could, but this is the gist) :

        ‘We are all booked on a train heading for a destination which we have not chosen, so we should enjoy the view from the windows and the stations as we come to them.’

    • Bei Dawei says:

      Why would ETs want to rape and kill us?! Assuming ETs exist, you can’t project human behavior onto them.

      • Malcopian says:

        Tales of rape and abduction by shape-shifting entities go back thousands of years;

        “The Dictionary of Classical Mythology explains that Zeus was enamoured of Europa and decided to seduce or rape her.”

        • Malcopian says:


          “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took them as wives, whomsoever they chose.”

          God made Eve from Adam’s rib. Allegedly. Genetic engineering?

          • There are multiple different myths in Genesis.

            • Bei Dawei says:

              All this is evidence that human fantasy and myth-making tends to follow well-established themes, not that nonhuman entities of some sort (be they angels, gods, or aliens) have reproductive physiology similar to ours, and get their jollies from abusing us.

            • info says:

              @Bei Dawei

              Angels can take on human forms. Like the Men who visited Abraham and Lot and appeared very often as Young Men in many place in the Bible.

          • Xabier says:

            The Sons Of God were definitely not strolling down the equivalent of the big mall here……

            • it was all this godbothering that got us into this fine mess in the first place

            • info says:


              In the myths of the Middle East “The Watchers” taught mankind technology and helped to bring out the advanced civilizations in the fertile cresent.

              Those “Watchers” are what the Biblical Narratives also refer to as “Sons of God”.

              Members of God’s Divine Council that rebelled.

            • Norman Pagett says:

              seem to have lost the thread—but as god-talk is starting, did I read on here that:

              ‘Almost all gods were/are fictitious deities created by ancient tribes?’ (or something along those lines)


              please fill me in on the others.

            • Self-organizing systems work in strange ways. People describe how they understand that things work, often through myths of the day. We know that scientifically, the world ecosystem we have today could not have happened simply randomly; there is far too much complexity for this to happen. Is there a god that intervened (and continues to intervene) to cause these many non-random events? Or is it some other sort of strange phenomenon?

              We have a lot of “deniers” of non-random events–changes that cannot be explained in any “scientific” way. The fact that people deny them doesn’t make them less non-random. If you don’t like the word “god,” it would be helpful to come up with a different explanation.

            • ElbowWilham says:

              @Norman: Xenu from Scientology seems to be a pretty recent god. They’re not all ancient.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Zeus really got around; here is another of his conquests:

          Which reminds me of a story. Many years ago, when I was working at a US university, the administration went into a crazy panic about “internet pornography”, and ordered the IT people to shut down any newsgroup whose name looked kinda sorta pornographic. A rather stupid bureaucrat justified this action my saying, in public, “There is no place in this university for pictures of naked children and women having sex with animals.”

          Well, there was this book in my office called “History of Art”, which had just such a picture: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Leda and the Swan’. So I hit the copier, ran off 100 copies, and spent a happy afternoon distributing them around campus. Well, about half of them were distributed by a women’s pro pornography group; thanks ladies. The administration backtracked a few days later.

          By the way, Europa was the mother of Minos, King of Crete, and he kept his half brother, her son by Zeus, locked in a labyrinth. No prizes for guessing his name.

          • Malcopian says:

            And nowadays ‘abductees’ speak of ‘screen memories’: they see an owl or deer that speaks to them, then the next thing they know, they’ve experienced ‘missing time’ and sometimes find strange marks on their body. The late Richard L Thompson, in his book ‘Parallels’, compares tales from the ancient Hindu Vedic texts to the alleged experiences of ‘abductees’ and find plenty of parallels.

            These days probably your action would have got you sacked by the snowflakes, Robert. Though the bureaucrat’s definition of porn was a bit suspicious. I doubt it’s what the average person would think of.

            • Robert Firth says:

              The bureaucrat probably took his ideas from an article recently published in Time magazine, which claimed that 99 point zillion nines of internet sites were pornographic, and used just those two examples to illustrate what your sweet little children were watching instead of reruns of ‘My Little Pony’, which happens to be about girls not having sex with animals, but hey, anything can be viewed as pornography.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Bei Dawei, excellent comment!

        Finally, somebody is injecting a bit of common sense into the RT “debate.

        • Tim Groves says:

          That should read the “ET debate”

          • Bei Dawei says:


            (For those who don’t get it., the above is a quote from the cute little alien in the Spielberg movie, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” His finger lit up and everything.)

            • Malcopian says:

              “All this is evidence that human fantasy and myth-making tends to follow well-established themes, not that nonhuman entities of some sort (be they angels, gods, or aliens) have reproductive physiology similar to ours, and get their jollies from abusing us.”

              Well, if you ever get raped by a Martian, just don’t come crying to me for sympathy, that’s all.

            • Bei Dawei says:

              In that case I’ll just have to lie back and enjoy it, won’t I? (Reference to Dennis L.’s comment above)

            • Malcopian says:

              “In that case I’ll just have to lie back and enjoy it, won’t I?”

              No, you won’t. I’m sending you a cork and some superglue so you can protect your virginity. This is where that word ‘cornhole’ comes in, Norman.

  19. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    polio outbreak (possibly could go global) caused by a faulty vaccine:

    “The United Nations has been forced to admit that a major international vaccine initiative is actually causing the outbreak of the very disease it was supposed to wipe-out.”

  20. JMS says:

    Welcome to the Brave New Normal (as someone said).

    A 53-year-old man accused of breaching quarantine directions and sparking a COVID-19 scare at a Perth pub is set to become the first person in the country to be fitted with a tracking ankle bracelet.

    • I watched health passport Ireland video. I wonder how long it will be before someone sells something that looks very similar, but always displays a “safe” display, instead of changing based on what the test results show.

      I presume people will need to be tested and retested endlessly, even after they have had the illness and after they have had the vaccine, since neither one will necessarily guarantee freedom from COVID-19.

      • JMS says:

        Exactly. Passport forgery is a ancient as… passports. I wouldn’t be surprise to know that some tech-mafia is already working on that.
        Otherwise, from now on, in order to enjoy your ol’ citiizen rights, you’ll have to prove you are an healthy/clean/sane person. Without a Right Test, we’ll be like ancient lepers. In fact the new covid-apps can pretty well be used as an equivalent of the bell system with which in the past the pure and upright citizens were warned of the dangerous approaching of a Pestifer!
        To me all this we ‘re going through seems fascinating, terryfing and highly amusing (in a sort of schadenfreuden way). In equal parts. Amazing times.

    • Ireland is a huge tax haven for foreign profits. Statista puts the profits shifted in 2017 at $126 billions, and the tax rate at 5%.

      Maybe with this type of subsidy from outside, and the large amount of business travel into the country, Ireland can put together something like this passport. It would be too expensive for most of the world to implement, I expect.

  21. Pingback: Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts - Deflation Market

  22. Azure Kingfisher says:

    I find it enlightening to take a look at the personal statements made by celebrities regarding the scamdemic. In the quest for truth and understanding of the COVID-19 virus narrative, it appears that, ironically, actors are among the most revealing people you can find these days. They don’t mean to be revealing, and they do their best to sell the lie, but they often say too much and sabotage themselves.
    Consider Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s long instagram video post about he and his family all coming down with COVID-19:

    Watch his pause and smirk after he says “Here’s how we got COVID-19, we picked up COVID-19 from very close family friends.” (minutes 3:52 – 3:58)

    “These are people who we love and trust, these are people who we still love and trust, and they are devastated, by the way, that they were the ones who picked it up they have no idea where they picked it up. They are devastated that it led to them infecting our family. Luckily we were able to control it and mitigate it and it didn’t spread out of control. But they like us have been incredibly disciplined…”

    On his extreme discipline, which apparently wasn’t enough to prevent infection:

    “I am extremely disciplined when it comes to health, when it comes to best practices, when it comes to safety measures for my family and for my loved ones and my friends and people who I care about. I’m very, very disciplined; and I’ve applied that discipline – we were on lockdown since March, with all of you guys too as well, we have been disciplined, we quarantined, we’ve isolated, I have not worked and I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of protecting our family…”

    On wearing masks everyday, despite being in quarantine for months:

    “Wear your mask. We have been in quarantine for months; we wear our masks every day… It baffles me that some people out there, including some politicians, will take this idea of wearing masks and make this part of a political agenda – it has nothing to do with politics. Wear your mask. It is a fact. And it is the right thing to do. And it’s the responsible thing to do, not only for yourself but for your family and your loved ones but also for your fellow human beings.”

    On the importance of wearing masks even if you have chronic lung problems:

    “I know that there are some people out there who have underlying lung conditions, they have COPD, they refuse to wear masks in public. I get it, I understand. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer about ten and a half years ago… and luckily she survived but they had to remove a lot of her lung through the process of chemo and radiation and she operates with very low lung capacity, she has COPD too as well, that never goes away, and she wears her mask every day because it’s the best thing for her health and her safety, but also again it’s the right thing to do when it comes to protecting other people, again your fellow human beings as well.
    So, wear your mask, I’m not a politician, I am a man though, who cares about my family deeply and will do everything I can to protect them.”

    On vaccines, faith in medicine and science, and a radically different world:

    “Now we have doctors who are working very hard at the vaccines and I do believe a year from now our world is going to look different. I do believe two years from now our world is going to look radically different. I do believe in hope, I do believe in optimism, and I do believe in our doctors, our epidemiologists, our scientists who are all working so hard to deliver the vaccines for us, and that’s going to happen but that’s then. This is now. What can we do now… Wear your mask, boost your immune system, think twice about who you have over to your house and if they are coming over to your house get them tested.

    Use me as your example. Remember these takeaways that I shared with you, and stay healthy my friends and I’ll see you down the road.”

    • Tim Groves says:

      Thanks for posting this.

      And of course, I take all my health advice from tattooed anabolic steroid users.
      I’d be a fool not to.

    • JMS says:

      Apart from being the most well paid actor in the world (so i have eard) Mr. Dwight clearly deserves five Oscars in a row by his Commitment with Da Plan. He’s definitely on board, like Tom hanks and all the pretty boys/gals. Very nice!

    • Dan says:

      Oh please you my friend have way too much free time on your hands! The conspiracy theory room is on the the third floor to the right why don’t you take that down there.

      So you are telling us that Trump, Putin, all the leaders around the world and now the actors have all been bought and are manipulating us. Is that right? Its not right that you can spend hours on the internet spreading innuendo when the rest of us have to work to survive.
      The last Shall be First and the First shall be last…

      • Tim Groves says:

        My dog’s sense of smell is at least a thousand times as acute as mine is.

        Just because I can’t get a whiff of what’s in the air, it would be a logical error for me to conclude that the scents, fragrances and aromas he catches are illusory.

        It appears to me, Dan, that you are in an analogous position to the man with a poor sense of smell who concludes that the smells he doesn’t smell don’t actually exist and that those who claim to be able to smell them are [insert pejorative here].

        I’d be the first to admit that I haven’t the faintest idea of how to tell the year, appellation and storage condition of a bottle of wine by smell and taste alone; but I don’t doubt there are aficionados or connoisseurs who are capable of doing this blindfolded with a fair degree of success. I don’t disparage them for being able to do so.

    • How about increase vitamin D levels? Take at least 2000 IUs a day. Perhaps 5000 IUs.

  23. Oh dear says:

    To pick up an earlier thread:

    “The CBI still believes that lower wages mean higher profits. They have failed to learn the lesson Henry Ford tried to teach us: higher wages mean a more motivated workforce, hence higher productivity; and workers with higher disposable income will purchase more, hence higher sales. And as he proved with his own money in his own factories, the result is a virtuous circle. But too many companies are still trapped in a zero sum mindset.”

    Robert, it is about labour qua labour rather than cheap labour.

    1/3 of school kids in UK are of another background and they will be the workers of the future. Their wage structure is similar to that other workers, as is that of recent arrivals, and so is their contribution to GDP. That amounts to trillions for the private sector over a lifetime. CBI knows which side its bread is buttered.

    Capitalism anyway relies on a growing workforce to survive at all, as capitalism is a profit-, growth- and structural debt- based economic system. With the loss of colonial labour pools in the post-imperialist era, the collapsed UK fertility rate and collapsed productivity growth, organised British capital in its entirety has clear impetus to want a free flow of workers into UK.

    There is no economic argument against a flow of workers. The British state is essentially a capitalist state and its class basis is that of the dominance of bourgeois class interests over the state. The bourgeoisie took over the British state from the aristocracy after the Civil War and it has retained its dominance ever since. CBI knows full well where its interests lie and that is with more workers to maintain GDP growth.

    The capitalist state exists first and foremost to represent the interests of organised capital. Workers recently got the vote but that does not change the character of the state or its class basis. TP made that clear when they broke four successive GE manifesto pledges to severely reduce the flow of workers – and now they have agreed with CBI to lift any cap.

    That is just how it is. The two-party FPTP ‘democratic’ political system is designed to neutralise the demos anyway and to shut it out of any real political influence. Brexit neutralised UKIP and TBP, and TP and organised British capital are more insulated from the demos and secure than they have been for decades.

    It is probably best to just get over it. Likewise the ecologically minded ‘population reduction’ folks are on to a loser, the capitalist state is not the least bit interested in reducing the UK population. Over 700,000 entrants were admitted in the 12 months to July (ONS, August 2020). Things are what they are and they are not about to change this side of outright collapse.

    • I think lower electricity production is part of the UK’s problem. As I noted in an earlier comment, the UK’s electricity production has fallen by 18.4% since 2008. Now, it cannot really have manufacturing jobs. Nearly all of its jobs need to be service jobs, and these tend to be low-paying jobs. Taxes indirectly resulting from these low paying jobs are necessarily lower. It is hard for these workers to make up for the job losses.

      • Oh dear says:

        Thank you Gail, that is an element that I failed to mention in that analysis. The capitalist state qua state has its own financial interests and needs. The British state runs a structural deficit and it has a public sector deficit of over 2 trillion at the time of writing.

        That means that it has financial obligations to international finance. The Office of Budget Responsibility calculates the labour force that it will need to service its debts – and to maintain and to grow the economy – several decades in advance.

        With a collapsed UK fertility rate – 1.57 for UK-born mothers in 2019 (ONS, 2020) – the capitalist state relies on a steady inflow of more workers to contribute the taxes, now and in the future, to meet its financial obligations.

        The inflow of labour is driven by the needs of the capitalist state qua capitalist and qua state, in the post-imperialist period. The collapse of the fertility rate and of productivity growth exacerbates those needs.

        To put some numbers to the fertility rate: 1.57 is a replenishment rate of 74.76%. Thus the number of births would fall to 55.89% of the original number over two generations, to 41.78% over three generations, and to 31.24% over four.

        Thus the British capitalist state depends on an inward flow just to sustain the numbers of present and future workers, and before the need for expansion is even considered, to the extent of 25.24% in one generation, 44.11% over two generations, 58.22% over three and 68.67% over four.

        Thus we can expect nearly 70% of the ancestry of UK workers to be drawn from abroad over a period of four generations just to maintain the numbers and at that fertility rate. 34% of primary school kids in UK are presently from another background, so UK is already half of the way to that figure.

        The need to expand the labour force, and not just to maintain it, will increase that figure beyond 70%. The capitalist state is ‘anti-racist’, which means that ethnicity simply does not matter. It would make no difference to the capitalist state if the figure were 100%, by the logic of the ‘morality’ of the state, and there is no ideological reason why it would not approximate to that.

        It is an ideological shift of the British capitalist state in the post-imperialist era. Previously it promoted and maintained an imperialist, colonialist and racist ideology to justify the dominance of the British capitalist state over other territories and peoples. The British state struggled to maintain its Empire after WWII but it financially crippled itself, neglected its domestic industrial base in the process, and it in any case failed.

        The requirements of the capitalist material base have shifted, with the loss of colonial labour pools and resources, to the need for an inward flow of workers to expand its domestic labour force and to maintain GDP growth, and to service its debts. The ideological needs of the capitalist state have shifted to reflect the shift in its material needs.

        The ideology of the economic state in practice reflects the historically located configuration and needs of the material base. Thus ideology is fluid as the economic base changes. Ideology is promoted through the state and civil society and it is codified in law, such as property laws and speech crime laws. Law enforces the material-ideological status quo that allows the economic state to function.

        Nietzsche touches upon this sort of thing in BGE; how the ‘higher’ originates in the ‘lower’; how ‘morality’ is a construct of the ‘will to power’; how ‘altruism’ can be a mask for egoism; ‘selflessness’ for self-interest; ‘care’ for advantage. Marx was teaching the same sort of thing at the same time; ideology, morality, law and the economic base and class interest. I find the two very complimentary.

        They also sit well with the moral scepticism and pragmatism of David Hume, who was influential in Britain in the early modern period, and perhaps I will pick up on him some time if the occasion affords. Obviously the interpretation of ‘morality’ does not itself answer the questions of morality and interpretative models are not prejudicial to a moral worldview.

      • Bobby says:

        This power supply limitation is exactly Orcland New Zealand’s problem and why it’s just a service industry town. Meanwhile, down the other end of the country there exists the soon to close Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, the sole utility supplied by the massive Manapōuri hydroelectric power station, a 122 megawatt facility. Yet the DYI proud of this seafarer land and the government for that matter; can’t work out an obvious solution. Instead private power companies quibble about insufficient transmission lines, (even though such lines are made of da! Al da!) because of the investment required and the fact they don’t want the market flooded with cheap electricity. At the same time NZ steel have reduced there manufacturing arm in NZ, which could’ve instead been constructing pylons at this time……


        Only in New Zealand.

        • Looking at BP’s report, I can see that New Zealand’s electricity generation has been flat since 2010. In fact, there are quite a lot of countries with the same situation. They are becoming service economies. I can’t get a good breakdown of New Zealand’s electricity generation by fuel because it gets dumped into all other in some BP reports.

          You are right about electricity transmission lines being made out of aluminum. Copper would be much heavier.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Thank you; an excellent analysis with which I almost totally agree. My one (very minor) difference is that the capitalists are assuming these imported workers will obtain a good part of their income by sponging off the welfare state (as of course do many non imported workers). And that is not capitalism as Adam Smith, or Henry Ford, would have understood it. It is closer to regulatory capture, and a disease I agree is prevalent in British political life.

      • Lidia17 says:

        A commenter on an article at the Unz Review about a California judge having *banned* the U.of C. from using SAT/ACT scores for college admission had this to say (emphasis mine):

        What you’re certainly right about is the overwhelming assumption among woke Americans that cultural capital — and, it seems, conventional capital… — is inexhaustible. There are always more university places to fit in AA [affirmative action / reverse-racism] admits without compromising the chances of anybody else; there are always more white children to distribute amongst schools so that all schools are integrated; there is always more insurance money to pay for the looted inventories and wrecked premises of thousands of stores — there is always more culture to deconstruct and denigrate and incinerate. Somebody else will always pick up the pieces, pick up the tab, pick up the phone when they’re in trouble.

        But nothing in this fallen world is infinite.

        • Oh dear says:

          UK is a success story of a successful influx of workers to maintain the capitalist system. Ethnic minorities do better on average than natives in education at schools and to degree level. Their wage structure and contribution to GDP is similar to natives.

          There is still some ‘problem’ of social mobility however and a small statistical bias in o-e-d outcomes (class origin, educational success, class destination). In some cases it is because women of some backgrounds prefer to be traditional house makers, and that is fine, it is their choice; sometimes it is because of the local economic environment and the jobs on offer in the home city, like in the industrial areas in the Midlands and North. In some cases there may be still be some bias in recruitment.

          But generally it is working out very well for the economy. A third of kids are minority ethnic in UK now, and they will be the workers of the future. They will contribute trillions to the private sector over a lifetime ( – or would, were industrial society not headed for collapse due to unprofitable energy but I am speaking in abstraction from that for present purposes.) So, far from draining the society, they are massively increasing its wealth.

          Btw, ‘the tendency of the rate of profit to decline in late capitalism with regard to energy in particular.’ That is similar to the traditional Marxist theoretical approach to the collapse of industrial capitalism.

          • Oh dear says:

            Wiki has an article on TRPF.

            A key difference in Gail’s analysis is that finite energy plays a key role in the development of unprofitably, with energy becoming increasingly expensive to extract and therefore unprofitable. The unprofitability of the energy sector is thus a key locus, but as the entire economy depends on energy, the problem of unprofitability is systemic, and it affects the entire economy. The energy sector becomes unprofitable as the entire economy becomes unprofitable; the entire economy can no longer maintain profitability in the face of expensive energy, and thus can cannot afford more expensive energy, and thus the energy sector becomes unprofitbable and nonviable. It is a systemic TRPF with a key locus and pivot in the energy sector. Marx did not factor in a finite world. Thus Gail has improved upon Marx’s analysis and rendered it relevant and real. She does not however propose a nationalised, socialised industrial outcome AFAIK as an easy, sustainable solution to TRPF. (Gail, I hope that you will forgive me speaking of you in the third person in your presence, I am actually addressing you in the form of a note to self – I am dashing to shop so I cannot re-edit or I will get an earful.)

            > The tendency of the rate of profit to fall (TRPF) is a hypothesis in the crisis theory of political economy, according to which the rate of profit — the ratio of the profit to the amount of invested capital — decreases over time. This hypothesis gained additional prominence from its discussion by Karl Marx in Chapter 13 of Capital, Volume III,[1] but economists as diverse as Adam Smith,[2] John Stuart Mill,[3] David Ricardo[4] and Stanley Jevons[5] referred explicitly to the TRPF as an empirical phenomenon that demanded further theoretical explanation, although they differed on the reasons why the TRPF should necessarily occur.[6]

            Geoffrey Hodgson stated that the theory of the TRPF “has been regarded, by most Marxists, as the backbone of revolutionary Marxism. According to this view, its refutation or removal would lead to reformism in theory and practice”.[7] Stephen Cullenberg stated that the TRPF “remains one of the most important and highly debated issues of all of economics” because it raises “the fundamental question of whether, as capitalism grows, this very process of growth will undermine its conditions of existence and thereby engender periodic or secular crises.”[8]

            Marx regarded the TRPF as proof that capitalist production could not be an everlasting form of production since in the end the profit principle itself would suffer a breakdown.[9] However, because the tendency is hard to prove or disprove theoretically, and because it is hard to test and measure the rate of profit, Marx’s TRPF theory has been a topic of global controversy for more than a century….

        • Robert Firth says:

          SAT/ACT scores are being banned in many colleges, because they are insufficiently racist. They measure merit rather than melanin, which is considered unacceptable. And when even Harvard University (“Veritas”) celebrates hiring a “woman of colour” rather than a “woman of competence”, you know the rot has spread deep and wide.

          I think this is again exacerbated by a declining energy flow: what was formerly a production system is being turned into a spoils system. The same thing happened to Rome after the death of Marcus Aurelius.

  24. Oh dear says:

    Yep, the British state seems to have changed its approach to XR. Another 300 were arrested yesterday, bringing the total to pushing 600 in the last few days. The MSM is also completely ignoring them this time, except to report their arrests. They are not the ‘darlings’ of the ‘right-on’ state any more.

    ‘Fickle is the heart.’

    TP is in no mood for any further disruptions to the economy after the lock down, and with the slow return to offices. They have decided that the state is going to do its job and to maintain the undisputed flow of everyday life. C19 has been a bucket of cold water right in the face of the state.

    > Hundreds of people have been arrested as Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters descended on central London for the third day of their two-week action.

    The Metropolitan Police said more than 200 arrests were linked to a demonstration on Lambeth Bridge on Thursday afternoon, with 100 more being made elsewhere.

    The protests prompted the closure of the bridge to traffic.

    Earlier in the day, some protesters glued themselves to the ground around Parliament.

  25. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Indian Ocean was on full alert again today as an oil supertanker caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka and began spilling oil late evening on 3 September…

    “The vessel, the MT New Diamond, is a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) and was reportedly carrying 2 million barrels of oil. This is double the amount of oil that is putting the entire Red Sea region at risk with a deteriorating, abandoned Yemeni tanker.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Yemeni Minister of Information Mua’mar Al-Iryani reiterated the Houthi’s “full accountability” over the decaying Safer oil tanker off the coast of Hodeidah, state news agency Saba News reported.

      “Al-Iryani said new photos of the tanker, which holds a million barrels of crude oil, showed water leaking into the vessel that might cause an explosion – an “environmental catastrophe” for Yemen and neighboring countries.

      “The Houthis have blocked attempts of the United Nations to access and inspect the long-stranded oil tanker.”

    • There is a downside to these huge ships!

      Insurance companies have been known to underestimate the possibility of total loss for very large buildings. This might also be true for ships. Fires don’t necessarily go out by themselves.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Gail, since you are an actuary I would welcome your comments; please do not hesitate to correct me. It seems to me that insurance is based on a dubious premise: that bad events are random. So if 100 people buy life insurance, statistically X of them will die. Then they all get on an aeroplane. Likewise with fire insurance; and then a million hectares of forest burn. I think the companies try to ameliorate this by themselves taking out insurance, in the belief that of 100 companies, only X will experience a non random event. This of course reduces the probability, but the Law of Large Numbers cannot be fooled, and the lower probability is matched by a larger loss when the worst does happen.

        • The problem is that insurance companies are often not very large. Insurance regulations normally permit an insurance company to put no more than 10% of their “surplus” at risk, in any one event. Some events (hail storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions etc.) can be expected to affect quite a number of policyholders at once. A company that writes only policies in one area is most affected, for example, an insurance company that only writes policies in the State of Hawaii. They will normally take out reinsurance, so that if the effect of one big event is over a certain amount, it will be shared with other insurers.

          In fact, insurance companies can be smaller than they risks they insure. For example, when the World Trade Center was knocked down in 2011, there were several different insurance companies that divided the property damage coverage on the buildings among themselves. There was a lot of litigation with respect to whether the damage to the two buildings was one events or two events, because it would determine how the payments would be divided up among the various insurance companies involved. None of the insurance companies would take on the risk of insuring these buildings alone.

        • There is another issue as well. The payments of claims by an insurance company are normally quite predictable. They follow in a distinct pattern, below the amount taken in as premium. A company can normally pay nearly all of it claims out of its cash flow. It also pays its other expenses out of cash flow.

          If a huge accumulation of claims comes in, a company may need to sell assets (bonds, generally) at a disadvantageous time. Bonds, especially municipal bonds, which insurance companies often (used to?) hold, are not very “liquid.” The use of reinsurance helps keep stability within a given insurance company. In fact, large accumulations of claims (such as from earthquakes) can be shared by European and Asian insurance companies as well, reducing the impact on financial markets.

  26. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Downturns in the real economy tend to make themselves felt in the financial system, and the coronavirus crisis is unlikely to be an exception…

    “During the early months of the pandemic, banks played an essential role in keeping the economy from crashing by providing state-guaranteed loans and allowing borrowers to defer repayments. But with much of this emergency action now wearing off, some insiders are saying that banks themselves will soon require state support.”

  27. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The situation has gone from bad to diabolical for Australia’s new car dealerships, with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reporting the 29th consecutive decline in new car sales in August.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The damage done to Australia’s economy – which is now in an official recession – will not be cured by a vaccine to the virus, according to a health economist, with the economic fall-out to be felt for years to come.”

      • No kidding:

        Social distancing rules, travel restrictions, high unemployment and low levels of consumer confidence will stick around, leaving the tourism, university, art and entertainment sectors crippled for a long time yet, said Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy senior research fellow Bonny Parkinson.

        I am not sure about University, however. My husband’s university finds that its funding is down. They have laid off some non-teaching employees. But enrollment is up 8%, with the freshman enrollment up by more than that. The computer science department finds its enrollment up 11%. We found during the 2008-2009 recession that a lot of unemployed people were able to borrow money and go to school. This may be happening again. Whether these loans can be paid back remains to be seen. Also, the jobs may not be available, after this training.

        • JMS says:

          That bizarre fenomen of university enrollment rising (bizarre since anyone in OFW would agree that most college education was already worthless before covid) is happenning also in my country, where the applicants numbers rised 50%!
          The most obvious explanation for this is since there’s no jobs available for those who finish high school, it’s better to continue in school than falling into the deplorable NEETs category.

          • I had heard that summer school enrollment was up, even though it was all online. Now fall enrollment is up as well.

            I think it is partly being without a job, and hoping that with a college degree more jobs will open up. I expect that there are quite a few loans available as well, if a person is going to school. Without a good excuse, it is hard to get a loan, and going to school is an excuse.

            • JMS says:

              And Tele-College Education can be much more affordable. With much lower fees, most youngs can be occupied with “learning” online, afar from virus and real teachers! Win-win situation.

  28. Harry McGibbs says:

    “France has unveiled a 100bn-euro (£89bn) economic stimulus package to help repair the economic damage caused by coronavirus.

    “President Emmanuel Macron’s government said the investment would include big spending on green energy and transport.”

  29. Artleads says:

    Gail, although this is pretty long, it does seem to be pertinent to the blog. At the end, the speaker hints at how the financialization of black bodies trickles down throughout the entire system. He doesn’t talk about energy, however it might affect that final issue. Nearly have of the stated timeline is devoted to questions, so maybe that half can more easily be overlooked.

    • Kim says:

      As soon as I read the cant term “black bodies”, I know I am about to be exposed to pseudish blather of the fatally tedious kind produced by the 1000 typing monkeys that modern sociology departments nowadays seem to keep on retainer.

      Hard pass.

      • Artleads says:

        It’s not like that, Kim. It’s really informative about the entire financial system. Sorry for the infelicitous use of the term. But it describes a historical and systemic relationship of the financial system to black slavery and the follow on. The speaker couldn’t be more dispassionate.

        I’d be surprised if you’ve ever heard anything quite like this before.

        • Very Far Frank says:

          That wasn’t… a worthwhile watch.

          The talk didn’t offer any new insight other than what is already apparent; early colonies made use of slave labour because it was cheaper. The relationship between finance and pressed labour is as old as history itself, and operates in almost every context throughout time.

          And then you have the inevitable chiming on about how to break ‘racial capitalism’, betraying the prescriptive and decidedly ‘un-dispassionate’ source of talks like these. In short, 2/10= nonsense Americanised critical theory.

    • This is a lecture related to how people can, and will, make money off almost anything, including the problems of Black citizens. In doing this, they usually just transfer money to themselves, leaving governmental systems with less money and as many problems as they had before their schemes.

      The current version of this is Social Impact Bonds, in which groups which are claiming to do good will figure out some approach that will supposedly reduce prison re-incarceration rates or something similar. An example he gives is some form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to try to teach the person different ways (better understand right from wrong) so that the people will not get back in prison as much. This obscures the real causes of the problem, and mostly just siphons money off from the system.

      He also talks about several older systems in which the financial and insurance markets figured out how to make money off of the lives of slaves. In one scheme, the mortgages on lives of slaves were taken out. People as far away as Europe could invest in slaves, and reap money from their benefit, without the messiness of actually having to own the slaves themselves.

      One point he makes early in the lecture is that after emancipation, many/most slaves were worse off than they were before emancipation. I suppose they had a roof over their heads, meals provided, and a job before emancipation. I am not sure what they had afterward.

      • Artleads says:

        Thanks for summarizing it. It seems that financialization on a hyper complex level has been at it for a very long time. And slaves then were managed in the same complex way that fossil fuels are now. So nothing has changed. Just the nature of the energy source. (I would have thought more had changed.) The Holmgren talk I posted recently seems to be diagraming a non monetary system that is very simplified and local by contrast.

        • I think that Homgren and others don’t realize that what we need is far more than a simple tool to facilitate the equivalent of bartering. What we need is something that truly allows “time-shifting.” There nearly always is a lag between the time an investment is made, and its benefit is realized. You buy a slave, and that slave will work for you for, say, 30 years. So you need a way of paying for the slave over the 30 years, to make the purchase affordable. That is why you mortgage the slave, and let someone somewhere else in the world get part of the benefit of the slave’s work.

          It is a little like buying a car. You need a way to spread the cost over the lifetime of the car. Someone buying a machine for a factory has exactly the same problem. Even when buying seed to plant, plus some soil amendments, repayment needs to be delayed until the crop matures.

          We get into trouble when too much debt has been entered into. A machine is purchased, but it is not really valuable for the full expected time. Or a slave dies before he/she has been able to provide the expected value.

          • Artleads says:

            You’ll need mortgage companies, schools to train staff, banks to mage the money. What is the energy source for this?

            • Artleads says:

              – Has anyone done a supply chain analysis for all commercial industrial products?
              – Is there a way to measure how simplicity affects the ability of the industrial system to manufacture?
              – If simplicity can reduce cost, then the follow on from that would be a more stable society and perhaps more demand for industrial products.
              – There are many financial tricks to skim money off the system. If this can be remedied by strict government measures, can that contribute to a more durable industrial system?

          • Robert Firth says:

            I have bought four cars in my life, and paid cash on the nail for all of them. Borrowing money to buy an asset that depreciates is insane. Of course, I did have to save for three years for tat first car, but after that it became easier.

            • I bought one car on “time,” simply because the interest rate was 0% at that time. I don’t think I could have gotten the discount otherwise.

              Otherwise, I also have bought cars for cash. I tended to buy inexpensive cars. This helped the process.

          • In the US South, slaves were a major energy source. Part of the energy came from the overall value of slaves. This became less and less as soils degraded over time, because it was not possible to replace nutrients sufficiently. US population had risen, in large part because a better understanding of the need for sanitation (pasteurization, hand washing at child birth) led to a higher proportion of children living to adulthood. The need for food kept rising, but the ability to raise food did not rise proportionately.

            The US was near collapse at the time of the US Civil War. H. Keith Henson has posted links showing that young men of the age to be in the army were getting shorter, because of poor nutrition. I believe that the Civil War was part of the collapse process. I imagine that with declining productivity of slaves because of soil degradation, there was more and more temptation to mistreat slaves. It became more and more difficult to feed, house and clothe them properly.

            Emancipation of the slaves would have almost been a relief to slave owners. Now, slave owners were no longer obligated to care for the slaves they owned. Their value had sunk below zero. (Remind anyone of today?) If they were dumped out on their own, nearly everyone would rejoice, because “They had been given their freedom.” There was a good story to tell the public and put in text books.

            In fact, slaves would be no better off then before they were emancipated, and probably worse off. There were not enough products of energy consumption to go around. As is usual, it was the lowest-ranking that came out behind in the contest. They got “frozen out” when there was not enough to go around. This seems to be what the laws of physics demand.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Gal, I agree. That was the consensus of most objective historians (back when there were objective historians). The US could have bought and free all the slaves for a fraction of the monetary cost of the war, to say nothing of the human cost. But that was not the point. Lincoln was a puppet of he Northern establishment, which is why the got rid of him when he had served his purpose, which was to subjugate the agrarian South to the industrial North. The War Between the States was fought not to free slaves, but to enslave free men.

            • Sven Røgeberg says:

              «Keith Henson has posted links showing that young men of the age to be in the army were getting shorter, because of poor nutrition.»
              Very interesting! Do you the links, Gail?

          • Artleads says:

            There must have been a substitute for time shifting prior to civilization starting around 10K years ago. Living in small groups could have had something to do with it. Migrancy also. My question is whether the abundance of energy slave we have today combined with radical simplicity (moving in the direction of HG society) can maintain an altered type of civilization for the foreseeable future. Analysis of supply chains, and what it takes to keep them going for a specific, limited selection of industrial products would be part of it.

            • Hunter-gatherers weren’t trying to store things from one season to another. They pretty much ate food and they gathered it. They didn’t build permanent homes, so they didn’t need to finance them. There was no land “ownership.”

              The time shifting would have been very short time-shifting. It would be more of the type of, “You watch the children while the rest of us do the hunting and gathering. At the end of the day, we will share what we were able to obtain with you.” If people made something big (a wind powered boat, for example, or a mine for flints to start fires), then there would need to effectively arrange the operations of the group in such a way that “surplus energy” of the group could be directed toward a big project at the same time that enough of the other energy went toward normal operations (hunting, gathering, caring for children, cooking food, making tools).

              Without debt, it would be difficult to do big projects, unless there was surplus energy that could be directed in that direction, pretty much on an ongoing period. If there were a government, it could effectively enact a tax, and use that tax to pay for the big projects on an ongoing basis.

        • houtskool says:

          Stock vs flow, dear Gail. ‘We’ have a boatload of stock, within a dissipative system, flow is the only thing that works.

          So, go with the flow.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Whitney Museum of Art?

      The very name is racist.

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        perhaps it could be changed to Whitey Museum of Art.

        • Tim Groves says:

          That has a nice ring to it. They could serve crackers at the canteen.

          Incidentally, according to baby

          The name Whitney means From The White Island and is of English origin. Whitney is name that’s been used by parents who are considering unisex or non-gendered baby names–baby names that can be used for any gender.

  30. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    amateur traders get taken to the cleaners by the pros.

    “Thursday’s Nasdaq nosedive dispensed painful lessons in how options-market leverage can blow up in an investor’s face.”

    • Now, it looks like the price drop is extending to today. Nasdaq is down -3.2%, fairly early in the trading day.

      • D3G says:

        I’m noticing that just 2 days of increased market volatility has fattened options premiums on even the long dated, out of the money contracts. Many securities are now optionable with weekly option contracts. It’s that short dated feature which makes them so risky to the buyers of these contracts, but I will happily sell OTM contracts on my underlying securties. I am often surprised by the number of bidders for these contracts. The most basic books on trading options warn of the risks, but who am I to argue.

        Cheers, D3G

  31. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Extinction Rebellion Activists Glue Selves to Street Outside British Parliament
    Yahoo News September 3, 2020, 4:02 PM EDT
    Climate change activists in the UK staged a sit-down protest. And it wasn’t so easy to get them up. That’s because they’d glued themselves to the street. It happened in London, outside the British parliament building. The protesters were with the group Extinction Rebellion. They were trying to catch the attention of lawmakers returning from summer recess. Founded in 2018, Extinction Rebellion is known for its attention-grabbing actions to call awareness to global warming.😘

    I say let them sit there and NOT unglue them

    • Kim says:

      Their lives are purposeless. They have no goals and no freedom in any case to pursue their goals with autonomy.

      So they act out like children. Because their spirits are undeveloped. Ultimately, when at 75 years of age they realize they have had their lives but done nothing, they will defiantly protest also the dying of the light. But they will find that the Grim Reaper can take you no matter how much superglue or how many bicycle locks you use.

      • Robert Firth says:

        “Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
        Before we too into the Dust Descend;
        Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
        Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and—sans End!”

  32. Tim Groves says:

    David Graeber, anthropologist and author of Bullshit Jobs, dies aged 59.

    He died in hospital in Venice on Wednesday. No cause of death has been issued so far. He had been recently active before the time of his death when he posted a video to YouTube on 28 August saying that he had been feeling “a little under the weather” but that he was also beginning to feel better.

    Known for his books Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011), The Utopia of Rules (2015) and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (2018). Fine anarchist mind. Kicked out of Yale but found a comfortable place at the LSE. Occupy Wall Street and Extinction Rebellion supporter. Mate of Jeremy Corbin. Will be sadly missed on the left.

    • Kim says:

      I am rather inclined to Ted Kuzynski’s view of the left, “The left is technological society’s first line of defense against revolution.”

      After all how revolutionary could a leftie be if the punishment for crossing Yale (no tie in the staff dining room? Brave.) is that one is exiled to LSE?

      • I suppose Ted Kuzynski’s view may be right. The left seems to be willing to do anything to placate protestors, putting off revolution to the extent possible.

        • Robert Firth says:

          A sensible policy. In view of what happened to the Mensheviks in Russia and the Brownshirts in Germany, it is perhaps the only policy that gives them a chance of survival. Unfortunately.

        • Oh dear says:

          The activists themselves are in the same boat.

          Both the left and the right activists tend to tinker with the established society, to reform it, which just increases its resilience to any major change.

          Neither side thinks strategically, there are too many mental blocks to non-conformist thinking, which is why neither side will ever achieve anything major.

          Revolutionary upheavals occur because situations are untenable, and reform avoids that situation.

          A revolutionary approach would be ‘worse is better for now’ but activists think in terms of ‘better is better for now.’

          If activists were serious about revolutionary upheavals, then they would often do nothing, and let situation fester. But no, they always have to active with their reforms.

          As such they are more akin to maintenance staff than revolutionaries. They work for free to increase the resilience of the society – slaves rather than revolutionaries?

      • JMS says:

        The Left is a mere entertainment guest in the Big political Show hosted by the Right. IOW a wonderful tool for rulers.

  33. MG says:

    The story about the Tower of Babel is not only the story about the rising complexity, but also about the ageing populations: we do not need storey buildings anymore, when the populations are ageing and impoverishing.

    I plan completely abandon the use of attics. My house was originally designed to be situated under the northeastern slope and having some rooms in the attics. When my parents faced the reality, the house was moved farther away from the northeastern slope, so that it has more sunshine and no rooms in the attics were created. The kitchen was originally designed to be on the southeastern side of the house and the kids room on the northeastern side. When I was born, as the third child, the bigger kitchen was transformed into the kids room and the kids room became the kitchen. No new room in the attics was created.

    Such is the economy of the human living space.

    • MG says:

      Obviously, I meant northwestern side, as the original place of the kids room.

    • When I visited China back in 2011, one of the tour guides told us that 11 story walk up buildings were being built in cities along the Yangtze River. Can you imagine walking up and down the 11 stories, every time you needed to come in or go out? Needless to say, the first few stories were much more popular than the higher stories. Quite a few young people moved to cities, rather than move into these buildings, so at least some of them had the upper stories empty.

      • Bei Dawei says:

        I bet these days, the upper stories would be more popular, heh heh.

        • MG says:

          There are people who do not see our energy problem and listen to discounts, so the protection from epidemics and discounts can be a good way how to sell these upper storeys. If there is enough purchasing power and the younger populations do not shrink which is an increasing problem..

    • Kim says:

      What would it be called? West Bangladesh? New Jamaica?

  34. Oh dear says:

    New polls are out regarding Welsh and Scottish independence.

    Polls have recently put support for English independence at 49% and most TP and LP voters there support English independence. Support in NI for Irish unity is at 49%, and support for independence in Scotland is at 55%. Support for Welsh independence has risen to a third, the highest ever level of support.

    Well, it is now revealed that a majority of LP voters in Wales now support independence, and the vast majority of the Welsh trust their own parliament to secure the interests of Wales rather than the Westminster parliament.

    And nearly two thirds of Scots now expect independence to pass in a referendum; TP is beginning to publicly concede that it cannot resist the pressure for a referendum in the near future. The Union was voluntary or it was nothing.

    The break up of UK is now beginning to look inevitable and most people are reconciling to the fact and they are making the psychological adjustment. Life goes on and life will go on.

    My main interest is that SNP has pledged to remove the nuclear power stations in Scotland upon independence, which could make the difference for a habitable section of Britain after collapse, when the energy infrastructure that is required to maintain the stations will be gone and they are liable to blow. Now is the time to get rid of them.

    Fresh polls:

    New poll shows majority of Labour voters would back Welsh independence

    A majority of those who voted Labour at the 2019 General Election would back Welsh independence if a referendum was held tomorrow, according to a new YouGov poll.

    With the figures adjusted to remove those who refused to answer, didn’t know or said that they wouldn’t vote, 51% of respondents who voted for Labour said they would vote for Welsh independence with 49% against.

    The polling also showed that the majority in Wales believed the power to call a referendum on Welsh independence should lie with the Senedd rather than Westminster.

    A spokesperson for Labour for an Independent Wales said that the new polling numbers of Labour supporters show an incredible increase – not just on the last poll but on the last 3-years.

    “In 2017, support for independence within Welsh Labour supporters was only at around 20% but now it is a majority at 51%,” they said.

    Why the latest YouGov poll shows that there is a potential majority for independence

    The indy Wales movement has enormous capacity for growth.

    The latest YouGov poll commissioned by YesCymru has demonstrated that there is a rich seam of potential supporters for it to mine.

    According to the poll, with ‘don’t knows’ removed, 65 per cent trust the Senedd to look after the interests of the people of Wales but only 28 per cent trust the UK Parliament to do so. Only 35 per cent did not trust the Senedd while a whopping 72 per cent didn’t trust Westminster.

    When you put this in the context of a recent poll putting support for an independent Wales at 32 per cent, you can see that there is an awful lot of room for expansion. The message from the people of Wales is perfectly clear. They do not trust Westminster to look after their interests, and quite frankly, nor should they.

    Scottish independence: 63% of Scots think indyref2 will be win for Yes

    A CLEAR majority of Scots now believe that Yes will win the second independence referendum if it is held next year.

    On the day after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she will lay out the terms and timing of a second independence referendum before the end of this parliament, an opinion poll was published showing that most Scots believe independence will be won.

    It came just hours after a former Tory minister conceded that, contrary to the Johnson Government’s position, a “strong vote” for the SNP in next May’s Holyrood elections would make it “very difficult to resist” another referendum.

    The new poll from Business for Scotland, carried out by Panelbase, found that when “don’t knows” were excluded, 63% of people believe the country would vote for independence if a referendum is held next year.

    The study also showed that 62% of people who voted Labour at the 2019 election believe Yes will win indyref2.

    • i imagine the SNP advocate a return to burning peat after independence

      • Oh dear says:

        The recent poll suggests that Scots overwhelmingly trust the Scottish government to handle the economy better than Westminster and they fancy that independence will be good for the economy.

        We have to let them be the judge of that and it will be their prerogative to decide their own future. We will have enough to worry about with our own economy after the lock down.

        Poll – 70% would trust Scottish Government with powers to run economy

        70% of Scots have more confidence in the Scottish Government to manage the economy compared with Westminster, according to a recent poll.

        The same survey revealed that 55% of those questioned believe independence will be good for the economy.

        Excluding the don’t knows, 70% had more confidence in the Scottish Government’s ability to run the economy and only 30% chose Boris Johnson’s UK Government.

        The poll identified respondents by how they voted in the 2019 General Election and within this poll, 72% of Labour voters agreed that the Scottish Government was more economically competent – and 47% of Lib Dems agreed. 96% of SNP voters agreed but significantly as much as 20% of Conservative voters trusted the Scottish Government more on the economy.

        Excluding the don’t knows, 55% thought independence would be good for the Scottish economy. This represents a 10% lead in confidence in the independent economy of Scotland.

        • neil says:

          This is Scotland, which spends £13billion more than it raises in taxes?
          Sure, feel free to trust the Scottish government to run the economy, but be ready to live on neeps and tatties. Although who knows, maybe oil will go back to $140 and it’ll all be fine

          • Kowalainen says:

            No problem, just drill horizontally all the way to the coast of Norway and a have a few sneaky sips of the gas and oil there.

            How hard can it be?

          • Oh dear says:

            Leading economists also project that the Scottish economy will be better off for independence.

            The idea that Scotland is incapable of succeeding and that it is forever dependent on England is an increasingly outdated view from the imperialist era. The world has changed, the British Empire is long gone, and international trade is conducted within an entirely different framework in which smaller countries can succeed.

            Many countries in Europe with populations similar to Scotland, or lower, have a much higher GDP per capita than UK, including Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Finland. Scotland is quite capable of matching them.

            > A LEADING global economist has backed independence, saying Scotland should go it alone rather than stay tied to the UK’s “rapidly imploding” growth model.

            Mark Blyth, who was born in Dundee and is now professor of international political economy at Brown University in Rhode Island, tweeted that he was always getting asked about his views on independence, adding “I’m for it”.

            The Ivy League professor told the Sunday National he had previously been in two minds about Scotland breaking ties with the rest of the UK, but had now shifted to a position of thinking it is a “good idea”.


          • Duncan Idaho says:

            They could find that in Trumps couch.

          • Oh dear says:

            Many countries run a structural deficit, it is not generally a problem, Certainly 13 billion is pocket change these days. At that rate it would take 152 years for Scotland to get anywhere near current the UK public debt.

            – At the end of 2019/20 public sector net debt was £1,804 billion (i.e. £1.8 trillion), or 93% of national income. This is equivalent to around £27,000 per person in the UK. – Parliament UK

            – – UK government spending on virus measures pushes debt to £2 trillion
            UK government debt has risen above £2 trillion for the first time amid heavy spending to support the economy amid the c oronav irus pandemic. – BBC

          • Malcopian says:

            I should think it’s pretty easy to print a 13 billion pound note these days. Never heard of QE? After all, what is the UK deficit? If shared out proportionally, Scotland would be on the hook for a lot more than 13 billion.

            • Oh dear says:

              Westminster can subtract that from the huge revenues that it has extracted from Scotland’s oil over the decades. Perhaps they would like to call that one quits otherwise they might have a massive bill coming their way.

            • Malcopian says:

              ‘Westminster can subtract that from the huge revenues that it has extracted from Scotland’s oil over the decades. Perhaps they would like to call that one quits otherwise they might have a massive bill coming their way.’

              I get it now. You’re Scottish and a Scots Nationalist. and you’ve come here to proselytise. That’s why you keep linking to this ‘The National’. You’ve been told to spread out around the world’s blogs and put the case. Well, that’s fine, just so long as we know. There is indeed a good case for Scottish independence. We live in interesting times, and it’s good to be able to debate these issues.

              I do happen to agree with ‘Derek and Clive’, though, that Scotland is very boring, and there’s nae much tae dae there apart frae fartin’. Despite that, I do like the Scots. I just wonder how they manage to stay so cheerful in a country where the weather is even worse than England’s.

            • Oh dear says:

              “You’re Scottish and a Scots Nationalist.”

              Actually no, I gave my reason at the start.

              I am surprised that more Brits are not interested in removing the nuclear power stations while they still can. Other, perhaps more superficial stuff seems to matter more to them, like their national egos. But that is their choice and they will have to live with the consequences – or hopefully someone will.

              SNP have my full support in their effort to get Scotland independent and to get rid of the nuclear power stations north of the border. If English are more interested in insulting Scots and in running the place down then that is up to them, they will have no say in the referendum anyway.

          • That famous “triangle of doom” of ever lower spikes in oil prices suggests perhaps yet another (“final”) blow up in prices imminent (<3-5yrs), seems like range-bout ~ $80-120 per barrel then, but for limited time inside that window anyway.. Scottish voters might misjudge that signal if these both events (secession vote and oil price) indeed collide at that time.. It would rhyme with their "tradition of historic misfortune"..

        • Robert Firth says:

          Perhaps those Scots keen on independence should read he following:

          Of course, the newly devolved government’s first major policy was a Scottish parliament building that overran its budget by 400%, thanks largely to the use of crony contractors and corrupt union labour. But back then, they still thought of England as an inexhaustible source of free money.

      • neil says:

        They do have 85% of the British timber crop. That’s a lot of firewood.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Plenty of peat bogs too. No worries.

        • Oh dear says:

          Scotland is exceptionally well positioned to harvest renewal energy from wind, wave and tide and its efforts have been a unique success. It is largely satisfied on the electricity front (90% in 2019) with renewables and it does not need nuclear power stations.

          Indeed it exports electricity and it is able to access other energy sources on the international market, from Norway and elsewhere, to make up any shortages in its energy mix. UK also depends on oil imports. Scotland is sweet on the energy front for as long as BAU continues.

          > The production of renewable energy in Scotland is an issue that has come to the fore in technical, economic, and political terms during the opening years of the 21st century.[1] The natural resource base for renewable energy is extraordinary by European, and even global standards, with the most important potential sources being wind, wave, and tide.

          At the start of 2020, Scotland had 11.8 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewable electricity capacity.[2] Renewable electricity generation in Scotland was 30,528 GWh in 2019, making up 90% of gross electricity consumption (33,914 GWh).[3] Scottish renewable generation makes up approximately 25% of total UK renewable generation (119,335 GWh).[2] In 2018, Scotland exported over 28.0 per cent of generation.[4] – wiki

          • Minority Of One says:

            >>It is largely satisfied on the electricity front (90% in 2019) with renewables

            This is not really true. The only reason Scotland can produce that much energy from wind, and I believe it is nearly all from wind, is because it is fed into the UK national grid which supplies almost 70 M people, versus 5.5 M in Scotland. If Scotland had its own separate grid, for just 5.5 M people, the amount of wind energy that the grid could cope with would be a fraction of what it currently produces.

            Even now we have reached some limits. For about the last ten years the contract for anyone coming online with new wind-generated electricity has a clause that states the wind generator should be able to be switched off at any time. That is because when it gets too windy the national grid cannot cope with too big a surge, and drop, of electricity that wind supplies are prone to.

            • Oh dear says:

              That makes sense, and I assume that the grid will remain a collaborative effort after political independence, unless SNP has some other plans to cope with the issue. Thanks for that. The situation will certainly not be one of ‘peat bogs and trees’ like some were suggesting – not this side of collapse anyway.

            • You are exactly right:

              “If Scotland had its own separate grid, for just 5.5 M people, the amount of wind energy that the grid could cope with would be a fraction of what it currently produces.”

          • Slow Paul says:

            Make Scotland Great Again.

            • I suppose it needs saying yet again

              Energy isn’t the problem

              The problem lies in making use of it.

              Wages manifest themselves at the point at which energy moves from one form to another.

              Doesn’t matter how much ‘electrical’ energy is available, unless the means exists to use it to make something of value, it will dissipate.—Just as food will rot in the field unless it is consumed, or oil has no value unless it is burned.

              This is why energy markets are crashing right now

              covid 19 has removed our means to consume/convert energy and pay each other’s wages

              If Scotland can’t sell energy, then it really is back to peat cutting

            • Oh dear says:

              “If Scotland can’t sell energy, then it really is back to peat cutting”

              All the more reason to get Scotland independent and to get rid of the nuclear power stations now, while we still have the energy structure in place to do that. Otherwise they are liable to blow after collapse and to smother Scotland with radiation.

              It is unbelievable that some of the Brits on here would rather maintain UK for a few more years than secure an habitable part of the island for 1000s of years to come. Too much of the brain committed to functions of national ego and not enough cells left over for rational thought?

            • “Securing a habitable part of Britain for 1000s of years to come” is something beyond us humans, I am afraid. The biosphere is a self-organizing system. It will do whatever it does. Our control over it is extremely limited. We know that the climate on earth has changed dramatically over 1000s of years. We are not in a position to change all of these things to the way we would like them to behave.

            • give england back to the Romans and Scotland back to the Picts

              the wall is already in situ

              can’t see what the fuss is all about

        • Kim says:

          In the 1700s it took 2000 oak trees to make a single ship of the line.

          • doomphd says:

            when visiting Nottingham, I asked my host about the legendary Sherwood Forest, hoping for a visit there. he said it was more like the Sherwood Glenn nowadays. he explained that the trees were used long ago to build the naval ships for the empire.

        • Xabier says:

          Add to that the timber (or wood pellets?) to be found within the skulls of the nationalists: if they are anything like Basque ones it will be a not inconsiderable amount.

          I find it odd that ardent Scots patriots should be so very eager to be one of the smallest and weakest states within the informal empire that is the EU, with in effect zero political influence or negotiating power.

          Brussels would be able to treat Scotland with the same contempt as it has shown for Greece.

          • Oh dear says:

            The Spanish government is happy for Scotland to go independent so long as it is done constitutionally and legally. The Spanish constitution does not allow for those sort of referenda but UK does. That is the difference as far as Spain is concerned. It would be a mistake to project the one situation onto the other and it is not a mistake that Spain makes. Spain is more interested in Gibraltar and there is some animosity over that anyway.

          • Minority Of One says:

            Is that a Boris quote? The elite of bigger states have probably always considered it their God-given right to gobble up smaller ones, and do whatever it takes to ensure they stay in the empire. A bit like joining the mafia – no way out.

    • Strahler says:

      Is it very difficult to resist another referendum? It’s as easy as saying NO.

      Independence would win if a referendum were held next year. Maybe. That is why Boris Johnson will not call a referendum next year. Nor the following years.

      • Oh dear says:

        It is not that easy. A referendum cannot be avoided indefinitely and a refusal to honour the democratic mandate of the Scottish government to hold a referendum would indicate that Westminster is basically finished with democracy in Scotland. That would be a disastrous message to send out.

        Recent polls indicate that two thirds of Scots want another referendum within the next five years, and they overwhelmingly support a right of the Scottish government to call one. A refusal would simply push more and more Scots into support for independence, and would likely finished the UK.

        A court case is due at the end of this month to establish whether the Scottish government can hold a referendum without a section 30 order from Westminster agreeing to one. Legal advice suggests that they may be able to, in which case it would be out of TP hands.

        UK cannot hold Scotland against its will. The Union is voluntary or it is nothing. If the UK is going to end then it should do so with dignity and decency and not with an unseemly scene in front of the entire world. Westminster should do itself a favour and agree a section 30.

        • Malcopian says:

          If Scotland leaves the UK, what should the UK be called? Given that Wales and Northern Ireland are not kingdoms, so there is no kingdom for England to be united with. Should we upgrade Wales to a kingdom? But if we did that, it would probably get ideas above its station and a majority would soon want independence.

          • Bei Dawei says:

            Realistically? They probably wouldn’t change the name (unless Northern Ireland leaves, of course). But I’ll play… If NI leaves and Wales stays, then “Kingdom of Britain” could work. If all 3 leave, then “Kingdom of England.” (Recent polls show something like one-third of Welsh supporting independence, but that could easily go up, especially if the Scots leave first.) If NI stays, then I guess it would have to be the “Kingdom of Just Okay Britain and Northern Ireland, But Not Scotland.”

            “Former UK” has been proposed, but its initials are unfortunate.

            • Malcopian says:

              “Former UK” has been proposed, but its initials are unfortunate.


              You disgraceful beest.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Another interesting question: If Scotland leaves the UK, will Shetland leave Scotland? Must of that Scottish continental shelf and probably most of the remaining oil would then be the property of Shetland.

          And Shetland is no more part of Scotland than the Falklands are part off Argentina. Most of the time, you won’t even find it on a map of Scotland. It usually gets it’s own separate box.


          • neil says:

            There’s a precedent there. Jamaica got independence in 1962. The Cayman Islands stayed with Britain.
            Personally I’d be in favour of Yell declaring independence from Shetland, because I like the name. They could have Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” as their national poem.
            You’re right, though. Shetland is a very different place, even speaking its own Norse based language till the late 19th. They only became Scottish by accident.

            • neil says:

              And is there any way to stop him banging his ludicrous nationalist drum on this site? Most scots I know find all this “inference is inevitable” infuriating.

            • Minority Of One says:

              >>They only became Scottish by accident.

              You mean by marriage, as a result of which Shetland was gifted to the Scots? I don’t think that was an accident, unless she got pregnant by accident and they had to get married.

          • Malcopian says:

            ‘If Scotland leaves the UK, will Shetland leave Scotland?’

            It wouldn’t be included in the question. Currently Shetland – and Orkney – are part of Scotland, politically speaking. If after Scottish independence, Shetland started pushing for autonomy, Nicola would grow a moustache and say ‘no’.

            • Xabier says:

              Yep, we can be very sure that not all ‘proud’ regions and peoples would be equal and be accorded the right to vote on self-determination in an independent nationalist Scotland.

              ‘We’ll be brothers, and if you don’t agree I’ll bash your head in!’

  35. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Fire, fire here, there, everywhe
    Carbon emissions from this year’s wildfires burning in the Arctic Circle have already outstripped 2019’s record levels and are the highest for the region in data going back to 2003, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said.
    Scientists from the service, which is run by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission, monitor wildfire activity across the world.
    They have estimated that carbon dioxide emissions from the Arctic Circle from the beginning of the year were 244 million tonnes, up by a third on the 181 million tonnes for the whole of 2019.
    Most of the increase in wildfires has been in Russia’s Sakha Republic, which falls partly within the Arctic Circle, with millions of acres of land damaged, the scientists said.
    Across Eastern Russia as a whole, fires emitted approximately 540 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between June and August, surpassing the previous highest total emissions for the region, seen in 2003, they said.
    Elsewhere in the world, a large region of the south-western USA has been hit by wildfires due to heatwave conditions, with large plumes of smoke seen moving eastward across the Great Lakes towards the North Atlantic.
    California has seen the second and third worst fires in the state’s history, the data shows.
    Mark Parrington, senior scientist and wildfire expert at CAMS, said: “The Arctic fires burning since middle of June with high activity have already beaten 2019’s record in terms of scale and intensity as reflected in the estimated carbon dioxide emissions.
    “We know from climate data provided by our parallel service at ECMWF, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), that warmer and drier conditions have been prevalent again this summer.
    “Our monitoring is vital in understanding how the scale and intensity of these wildfire events have an impact on the atmosphere in terms of air pollution.”
    Oh, should I mention elsewhere, like the Amazon Rain Forest?
    Nope, those are largely under our control, since people set them

    • California has been suppressing wild fires for years. It also has a lot of renewable electricity (including hydro) connected to power lines that are not well maintained. These transmission lines start a lot of fires in the accumulated brush. We need to expect these fires.

      I know Australia was having a lot of problems with fires, too, a while back. It is another area that suppresses wild fires, allowing brush to accumulate. This is another kind of fire we should expect in the future.

      I wonder if the IPCC models consider enough of the emissions from our suppression of forest fires, especially in areas using a lot of renewable electricity.

      • On tangential note, someone told me recently, that one of the key reasoning behind Japanese slow move towards massive deployment of EVs domestically is rather substandard electricity grid in the semi/rural urban areas. In the sense of capacity, small local transformers (only enough for rice cookers, small fridges and TVs per capita and that’s it..) .. Perhaps it is a factor, in that case electric bicycles and ~50cc motorcycles make more sense for that local..

        • A person can imagine that if the lack of grid capacity is a factor in Japan, it is likely a problem in many, many other areas of the world.

          Japan still doesn’t have very much nuclear back on line. It’s biggest sources of electricity in 2019 were imported natural gas (as LNG) and imported coal. Electricity production/consumption dropped 1.9% in 2019. Japan’s electricity production/consumption was highest in 2008. It is 12.5% lower now. There is little chance that total electricity generation will rise in the future, because these imported fuels need to be very expensive for those extracting them to make a profit. I quoted Japan LNG as $4 per Million Btu in the article. No exporter can make a profit at that price.

          If I look at the UK, it has a similar problem. Its highest year of electricity production was 2007. Its electricity production has fallen by 18.4% since 2007. On a per capita basis, electricity production has fallen even further. (I don’t have figures on imported electricity from, perhaps, France or other countries.) Anyone who thinks that automobiles can share in this falling electricity production without causing serious disruption is kidding themselves. There is no place for electric vehicles in the UK, either.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Gail, I agree that there is no place for electric cars, but there are other types of electric vehicle. Most of England’s urban areas would benefit from a network of streetcars; they would be far. far cheaper that the insane HS2 project, require far less energy to maintain, and as relocalisation begins to bite would be a far more productive investment. But a government that is busy downsizing the productive economy while upsizing the unproductive one is unlikely to see things that way.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Bad news indeed. We may be heading for some serious global cooling, just as we did after Krakatoa in 1883.

  36. Thierry38 says:

    Realling worth reading article here
    The importance of Viamine-D is underlined, So Gail was right from the beginning! Amazing, she thinks faster than a supercomputer!
    Except from this there are many explainations how the virus would infect the organs and some new drugs might be tested. Maybe the end for the virus?

    • Robert Firth says:

      I doubt Gail thinks faster than a supercomputer. But a supercomputer knows only what has been programmed into it by a spotty IT geek who probably knows next to nothing; while Gail has a lifetime of personal experience, and a thousand or more lifetimes of the lived experience of others:

      “Truth, whose mother is history, rival of time, depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and advisor to the present, and the future’s counselor.”

      Or, in the original, which as a good European I feel obliged to post, even while knowing no Spanish:

      ” … la verdad, cuya madre es la historia, émula del tiempo, depósito de las acciones, testigo de lo pasado, ejemplo y aviso de lo presente, advertencia de lo por venir”

      • Thierry Chassine says:

        “But a supercomputer knows only what has been programmed into it by a spotty IT geek who probably knows next to nothing”
        you seem contemptuous but probably underestimate widely what a supercomputer can do. There are a lot of issues modelling molecules that have been solved recently with computers and IA. No human would have done it alone. Everything that can make us understand better what is going on should be welcome.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thierry, I have worked with supercomputers at CERN. I modelled molecules as part of my PhD research at Cambridge, using a computer with less power than a cellphone, and with a lot of quantum mechanical equations using pen and paper. And I know that a supercomputer cannot properly model molecular interactions because it can use only deterministic approximations to the quantum phenomena actually present. And by the way the research was done by “lead researcher and chief scientist for computational systems biology”, in other words, someone who has neither medical experience nor experience with real molecules in the real world.

          The paper’s emphasis on mechanistic, linear cause/effect relations further supports my skepticism.

          • Thierry Chassine says:

            Right, you got me! you seem to know much more than I do about modelling. I just hoped something unexpected could get us out of that strange situation.
            Many thanks for your reply!

            • Robert Firth says:

              Thierry, thank you for your most courteous reply. I am always happy to share experiences on OFW, and greatly enjoy reading the experiences of others. By the way, one of the more amusing problems with the CERN Large Hadron collider was that the particles in the ring moved so fast, the signals sent around the outside of the ring could not keep up with them, being unable to travel faster than light. I recall an interesting lunchtime discussion about how this necessary limitation would prove fatal to any “tokamak” nuclear fusion reactor: it would be impossible to keep the plasma stable.

      • Xabier says:

        Ah, pure Castilian, thank you: the language ‘in which a gentleman may converse with God’.

        • Robert Firth says:

          And Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was nothing if not a gentleman, as well as a proud veteran of the Battle of Lepanto. Salud!

        • JMS says:

          Er… converse with God was not performed at highest level by a lady called Teresa de Ávila? You misogynist! Beware the Feminist Revolution Army!

          • Robert Firth says:

            Yes, Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada was indeed supposed to converse with God. She is also patron saint of Ávila, and makes a cameo appearance (or at least her statue does), in C S Forester’s “The Gun”, made into a marvellous film called “The Pride and the Passion” (1957). Alternatively, “Orgullo y Pasion”.

            I much admire Castilian, but must confess to preferring Occitan: the language in which a gentleman may converse with his mistress.

            • JMS says:

              In fact I never had any interest in openly religious poetry, not even in its mystical variant (although I admit that some of its cultivators, Angelus Silesius for example, have a certain charm.)
              I’m not familiar with occitan love poetry, but the i know pretty well it’s iberian counterpart, the galician-portuguese lyric poetry of XII-XIII century.

    • I am having trouble accessing the site right now.

    • Country Joe says:

      Have they figured out how to program a computer to have an imagination yet?

  37. Kowalainen says:

    Taiwan becoming part of the USA?


    • Interesting video showing what Taiwan looks like. It mentions, at one point, someone in Taiwan who is running on a platform of becoming a 51st state.

      I hadn’t realized how much rural area there is in Taiwan. The energy consumption per capita is more than double that for China as a whole. It is a very rich area, compared to China.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Taiwan is the blueprint of what mainland China will be post CCP/PLA.

        Better for everyone, including the corrupt and decadent members of the politbüro.

        However robbing their own country and shipping the loot to the west is apparently more important than making a thriving free and open China.

        Every CCP 70 cent stooge should feel ashamed of themselves. 🤢🤮

        • Not without a whole lot more energy. Mainland China needs more than twice as much energy consumption to be like Taiwan. I believe that Taiwan is also warmer, so it doesn’t need all of the heating of Northern China. This would increase the multiplier to more than two.

          • Bei Dawei says:

            Besides the purely economic dimension, democracy in Taiwan had some decades to develop organically, thanks to a protest / activist movement that birthed an effective political party, and a ruling party that happened to be led by a democracy supporter (former Pres. Lee Teng-hui, who died recently). By now democracy has become part of Taiwan people’s felt sense of culture and identity. A democratizing China wouldn’t have all these advantages, and could easily go the way of Russia in the 1990s.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      I’m aware of this guy, he’s a well-known local eccentric. His following is probably in the double digits, but he did take his case to the American courts. Basically he argues that under the Law of War, after WW2 the USA was the occupying power of Taiwan (which was then legally Japanese territory) (Japan surrendered to Chiang Kai-shek on the orders of the US authorities, which flew his representatives in), and political changes on the ground had not changed this legal fact–therefore, as absurd as it may sound, he and some other Taiwan people were US nationals entitled to US passports (which they were suing for). Of course he lost, because reality turns out to also be an important legal consideration. If memory serves, he was involved in some kind of financial scandal recently.

  38. Harry McGibbs says:

    “One of Europe’s biggest brothels has gone broke amid the coronavirus pandemic, media report. It is one of many German companies headed for bankruptcy as a result of the crisis, experts say.”

  39. Kowalainen says:

    I guess Germany is coming to its senses in the 11’th hour.

    • Cutting back on trade with China will be difficult if German companies really need the big export market.

    • Robert Firth says:

      If Germany really wants to become independent, why did they publish that absurd fake news story about a poisoned Russian? A story dictated by their NATO overlords and announced by their war ministry?

  40. Yoshua says:

    S&P 500 has hit the line again. With all the liquidity in the markets the line might break to the upside this time.

    • Yoshua says:

      … even though the US stock market is today valued at 187% to GDP.

      A new record high!

      • A person wonders how long this can go on. Perhaps it has to do with all of the money being added by central banks.

        • Yoshua says:

          It looks like a stock market correction has started.

          The WTI seems to have broken down from its trendline as well.

          At what point do the central banks lose control?

          I don’t know.

          • You are right. It looks like Nasdaq is especially down. Perhaps we will start hearing different narratives now. The Dow is now -817.43 (-2.80). Nasdaq is -4.84%.

          • Kim says:

            It has to crash before the election. If Biden goes into the debates, something will have to distract from his dementia.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Nah, debt being stuffed away in CB’s and exchanged for stocks and gold.

          It is a Central Bank run.


    • Listen to everybody: fringe *[left]/right and BAU center.

      *Interestingly, marxist leaning economists like Prof. Wolff, predicted that rising markets earlier this very Jan (pre pandemic) as the chronic QE and other bailouts, stimulus money can’t go elsewhere, as investments in stimulating consumer demand is no longer desirable.

      Similarly, Varoufakis as of this August predicts today’s terminal stage of fin capitalism detachment from capitalism itself as freaky historical epoch which could be lasting another ~5-20yrs.

      On the contrary, Chris Hedges, predicts imminent crash in months, but he is more of generalist political-social commentator pedigree.

      • Yoshua says:

        The detachment of the markets from the economy is what will cause the final collapse?

        • Kowalainen says:

          Plenty of debt that need to go away, one can only imagine the real going rate of the oozing stinkers floating around in the finance racket in desperate need for “harder” assets such as stocks and gold.

          But that too will inevitably slam into the bitter reality of the diminishing marginal utility of fossil fuels.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “… predicts today’s terminal stage of fin capitalism detachment from capitalism itself as freaky historical epoch which could be lasting another ~5-20yrs.”

        thanks, worldof.

        more optimism is needed, and you delivered.

        it is freaky, but whatever, this financial freeakshow should go another 5 at least.

        20 looks doubtful, who cares.

        • Pekoe says:

          Well I for one care – the plunge to poverty or worse would appear from my POV to be unpleasant to say the least, especially for my children who are just setting out in their adult lives.
          Another 20 years would be great.
          Not caring seems to me to be a bit sad…..

  41. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Can’t do anything about it, so sorry..
    The number of lakes has grown from 9,414 to 14,393, and the area of Earth that they cover has grown from almost 6,000km2 to almost 9,000km2.

    The volume of water they hold also rose by 50.8 cubic kilometres, water which could otherwise have found its way to oceans and contributed to sea level rises.

    A quarter of a million images taken by NASA Landsat satellites were used for the analysis. No worldwide assessment of glacial lakes has been made before, but recent developments in cloud computing, which allows large amounts of high-quality satellite data to be automatically mapped, made the research possible.

    Trends in glacial lake growth are thought to be in part down to higher temperatures due to man-made climate change, but in some cases local climate variability may also be relevant.

  42. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Ahh. Poor me..I can vouch for that…airline traffic is horrible and the plane is in a crash dive …South Florida is the worst ….no tourist season this winter, better call out the National Guard or put everyone on welfare!
    PS Didn’t Trump just extent foreclosures and rent evictions to the end of the year? Surprise, surprise! The new normal

    Airlines Say Survival Depends On Bailouts, Reopened Borders
    September 2, 2020, 6:13 PM EDT

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is frustrated that governments aren’t doing more to help the airline industry survive the coronavirus pandemic. It is pleading for quick reopening of borders and assistance to help airlines maintain liquidity.

    International passenger demand fell 91.9% in July compared to the same month last year — a slight improvement from the 96.8% contraction the industry recorded in June. International capacity fell 85.2% year-over-year. Overall, global passenger demand was only a fifth of last year’s level, IATA reported. And air cargo demand was 13.5% lower in July on a yearly basis.

    “Too many governments are fighting a global pandemic in isolation with a view that closing borders is the only solution. It’s time for governments to work together to implement measures that will enable economic and social life to resume, while controlling the spread of the virus,” Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in remarks Tuesday to journalists.

    Restrictions are playing havoc with travel demand, making it difficult for airlines to generate revenue, he complained.


    • Robert Firth says:

      Please enlighten me, Alexandre de Juniac: how many passengers are you willing to kill in order to create more revenue for the airlines?

      One reason (of many) I never became a professional manager. Sooner or later, you have to sacrifice your humanity.

    • What a mess!

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.S. trade aid mainly benefited large farms in its latest round, undermining a key pledge by the Trump administration and leaving family producers at risk of collapse as the economy entered a recession.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “A shadow of hunger looms over the United States. In the pandemic economy, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat.

      “The lockdown, with its epic lines at food banks, has revealed what was hidden in plain sight: that the struggle to make food last long enough, and to get food that’s healthful — what experts call ‘food insecurity’ — is a persistent one for millions of Americans.”


      • Robert Firth says:

        Well worth a read. Note that every person in the photographs is black, and almost every one has enough food in front of them to make a real African, a Fulani nomad for instance, quake with envy. In other words, the article is 100% fake news, with the blatant messages that (a) hunger affects only blacks, and (b) it’s all that racist Trump’s fault.

        • Kim says:


          • Harry McGibbs says:

            “…the article is 100% fake news.”

            Come now, Robert – it’s not that there *is* no story, it’s rather that you dislike the ideological window-dressing in which it is presented.

            The NYT’s super-woke bias is, I grant you, every bit as tiresome as Kim’s pseudo-scientific ideas about his own racial superiority at the other end of the spectrum, but the large mass of food-insecure people in the US has been well documented this year by news agencies of all political hues.

            Look, even Fox News has been in on the action:


            • Robert Firth says:

              Thank you, Harry. I agree there is a story, but it seems to me that in the article cited, the window dressing is the story. It is a stoy about hunger that shows no hungry people, but rather well staged well fed people, all with enough food sitting in from of them to make them fat and unhealthy. It also misses the key point: that most food insecure people are in the families of lower paid workers who actually buy their food instead of relying on welfare. That is the real scandal: that in the US the bone idle have a better life than the hard working.

        • ElbowWilham says:

          Wait, so burning down or looting your community grocery stores results in a food desert? Who would have thought?

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            There were colossal queues at US food banks several weeks before George Floyd’s death and the resulting unrest.

            The riots and looting can’t have helped the situation, I suppose.

    • It is alway the big businesses of any kind that have the economies of scale.

  44. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, continues to try to tighten the world’s most transparently reported oil market by slashing crude oil shipments to the United States to the lowest levels in decades.”

  45. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Laos faces a growing risk of debt distress and sovereign default, according to credit rating agencies and economic advisers, as coronavirus and a debt-laden power sector take their toll on one of Asia’s poorest countries.

    “The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below $1bn, less than Laos’ annual debt payments…”

  46. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China imported more aluminium than it exported in July. This is a very rare phenomenon.

    “… recovery exuberance has been complemented by physical disruption in the country’s complex supply chains.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Soaring corn prices are stoking food security jitters in China, where food inflation has climbed to the highest in over a decade and president Xi Jinping made a recent high-profile plea for an end to wastage.

      “The price surge in corn – critical for China’s mammoth hog, dairy and poultry sectors – is the latest in a series of ructions that include a devastating pig disease, pandemic-driven upsets for international suppliers and warnings of a growing food supply gap.”

    • I tried to see what I could see with respect China’s aluminum situation. has a headline, Time for Action on China’s Overcapacity

      The U.S. aluminum industry is growing – creating American jobs and committing or investing more than $3 billion in new plants and expansions since 2013. However, many segments of the industry continue to face significant headwinds thanks to massive, unfairly subsidized aluminum overcapacity in China.

      The U.S. is a deficit market for aluminum, meaning it consumes far more new, or “primary,” metal than it is able to produce domestically. Consequently, the vast majority of U.S. aluminum industry jobs rely on a steady mix of domestic and imported aluminum.

      Industry Week in Feb 2019 had a heading, Alcoa CEO Points to ‘Sucking Sound’ in China for Aluminum Woes
      Financial support for China’s aluminum industry is “on an order of magnitude larger’’ than in other countries.

      A March 24 article says China aluminium smelters start to reduce output as virus sends prices tumbling

      Shanghai aluminium sinks to 4-year trough below 12,000 yuan/T

      * 70% of China smelters under water at current prices – WoodMac

      I am not sure I understand this. Could China have reduced its aluminum subsidy somewhat? The article you linked to talks about becoming more choosy about the quality of imported waste aluminum, which I expect is expensive to process.

      Aluminum is a product requiring a lot of cheap energy. China is building a lot more coal-fired power plants, even though its production in 2020 seems to be barely up form 2019. Perhaps it has decided that subsidizing aluminum production is no longer in its best interests.

  47. Harry McGibbs says:

    “It was unprecedented in the history of central banking: intervention without limits. The pledges this spring by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and some of their counterparts to make a seemingly infinite ocean of money available to fight the disruption caused by the coronavirus marked a dramatic expansion of their traditional role.

    “Central banks became backstops to entire economies. Their swift action calmed financial markets, leading to rebounds in many asset prices. But even central bank leaders acknowledge that restoring economic growth is more than they can do alone.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The Bank of Japan must take bolder monetary easing steps to fight the heightening risk of deflation, board member Goushi Kataoka said on Thursday, warning of a darkening outlook for consumption and capital expenditure from the pandemic.”

    • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

      Thanks for the text… seemingly infinite ocean of money”….$pot on, bravo..nice way to express it because we are drowning in debt.
      P.S. the “World” was drowning in it before the so called Pandemic…
      Just another example of “The Shock Doctrine”
      The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by the Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein. In the book, Klein argues that neoliberal free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy.” This centers on the exploitation of national crises (disasters or upheavals) to establish controversial and questionable policies, while citizens are too distracted (emotionally and physically) to engage and develop an adequate response, and resist effectively. The book suggests that some man-made events, such as the Iraq War, were undertaken with the intention of pushing through such unpopular policies in their wake.

    • Trying to make economic growth can’t work if any of these things are in place:

      (1) A significant share of the population feels that they must stay at home to avoid getting the illness, or

      (2) Governments enforce 6 foot distancing in businesses of all kinds, or

      (3) International vacations are cancelled, or

      (4) Quarantines when entering countries.

      I have a hard time seeing how we can get back to growth of an international economy. It looks like our current economy is finished, regardless of what central banks do.

      • Minority Of One says:

        You would think that by now, after 6 months of the above, governments would begin to notice that their CV19 policies are destroying the economy.

  48. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Bank of England is touting the firepower it can use to deliver more stimulus as the U.K. enters what could be a chaotic final few months of 2020.

    “Testifying to lawmakers on Wednesday, Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden said the BOE has the capacity to increase the pace and size of its bond-buying program if needed. Governor Andrew Bailey just last week said the central bank has plenty of room to add monetary stimulus, even including negative interest rates.

    “That public inventory of the BOE’s ammunition hints at how officials are bracing for a triple whammy of risks on the horizon. The combined threats of a resurgence in the coronavirus, a spike in unemployment, and a messy Brexit, are leaving the central bank largely flying blind.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Boris Johnson’s officials are urgently working to avert a major border crisis when the U.K. leaves the European Union’s trade regime, amid warnings vital government IT systems may not be ready in time…”

      “The warnings are contained in a government official’s note of a meeting with representatives of the logistics industry, who set out their grave concerns over the dangers ahead.”

      • Robert Firth says:

        Colour me unsurprised. Name one UK government IT system that has worked properly when finally turned on. I remember advising the Ministry of Defence decades ago to cut loose from its greedy and incompetent IT contractors and hire some real experts to do the detailed oversight. One or two people even listened. At least I got them to scrap the “tactical support system” whose data base steadily degraded over time and had to be periodically taken off line and rebuilt. Imagine having to do that during a major air raid!

      • It sort of reminds a person of the concern over the year 2000 changeover, when some systems had assumed that “19” would always be the beginning of the year. Only this change is a lot more complex. Lots of things to go wrong!

        • Robert Firth says:

          Sigh. I remember writing a short satire in which Malaysia took over the whole of southeast Asia, because their computers did not all go haywire in the year 1421.

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