Reaching the End of Early Stimulus – What’s Ahead?

Many people thought that COVID-19 would be gone with a short shutdown. They also thought that the world’s economic problems could be cured with a six month “dose” of stimulus.

It is increasingly clear that neither of these assumptions is correct. Despite the claims of epidemiologists, our best efforts have never been able to reduce the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases for the world as a whole for any significant period of time. In fact, the latest week seems to be the highest week so far.

Figure 1. Chart of worldwide COVID-19 new cases, in chart prepared by Worldometer with data through September 20, 2020.

At the same time, the economy, despite all of the stimulus, is not doing very well. Airlines are doing very poorly. The parts of the economy that are dependent upon tourism are having huge problems. This reduces the “upside” of economic recovery, pretty much everywhere, until it can be corrected.

Another part of the world economy doing poorly is clothing sales. For example, many fewer people are attending concerts, weddings, funerals, out-of-town business meetings and conventions, leading to a need for fewer “dressy” clothes. Also, with air travel greatly reduced, people don’t need new clothing for visiting places with different climates, either. Most clothing is bought by people from rich countries but made by people in poor countries. This cutback in clothing purchases disproportionately affects people who are already very poor. The loss of jobs in these countries may lead to an inability to afford food, for those who are laid off.

Besides these difficult to solve problems, initial programs set up to help mitigate job losses are running out. What kinds of things might governments do, if they are running short of borrowing capacity, and medical solutions still seem to be far away?

In Section A of this post, I outline what I see as some approaches that governments might take to try to “kick the can down the road” a while longer, as well as some general trends regarding near term outcomes.

In Section B, I explain how our current problems seem to be related to the more general “overshoot and collapse” problems of many prior economies. I show that historically, these overshoot and collapse situations seem to have played out over a number of years. In many ways, the outcome might look more like “overshoot and decline” than “overshoot and collapse” from the point of view of an observer at the time.

In Section C, I explain two different types of “breakage” we can expect going forward, if we are really dealing with an overshoot and collapse situation. In the first, oil production is likely to fall because of the collapse of some of the governments of oil exporters. In the second, the international trade system breaks down because of problems with the financial system and countries no longer trusting each other’s currencies.

[A] Ideas for “Sort of” Addressing the Economic Problems at Hand 

The following are a few ideas regarding possible mitigation approaches, and the expected results of these attempted solutions:

[1] Programs to keep citizens in their homes will likely be extended. Mortgage repayment programs will be extended. Renters will be allowed to stay where they are, even if they cannot afford the rent.

[2] New programs may be added, allowing those without adequate income to pay for electricity, heat, water and sewer connections. These programs may be debt-based. For example, homeowners and renters may be given loans to pay for these programs, with the hope that eventually the economy will bounce back, and the loans can be repaid.

[3] More food bank programs will be added, with governments buying food from farmers and donating it to food banks. There is even an outside chance that people will be given loans so that they can “buy” food from the food bank, with the hope that they can someday repay the loans. All of these loan-based programs will appear to be “cost free” to the government, since “certainly” the crisis will go away, and borrowers will be able to repay the loans.

[4] Loans to students will increasingly be put in forbearance, to be repaid when the crisis is over. Auto loans and credit card debt may be also be put into forbearance, if the person with the debt has inadequate income.

[5] Even with all of these actions, families will tend to move back together into a smaller total number of residences. This will happen partly because citizens won’t want to be burdened with even more debt, if they can avoid it. Also, older citizens won’t want to move into facilities offering care for the elderly because they know that COVID restrictions may limit with whom they can have contact. They will much prefer moving in with a relative, if anyone will take them in return for a suitable monthly payment.

[6] As extended families move in together, the total number of housing units required will tend to fall. Prices of homes will tend to fall, especially in areas where citizens no longer want to live. Governments will encourage banks and other mortgage holders to look the other way as prices fall, but as homes are sold, this will be increasingly difficult to do. In many cases, when homes are sold, the selling prices will fall below the balance of the debt outstanding. Governments will pass laws not allowing financial institutions to try to obtain the shortfall from citizens, at least until the crisis is over.

[7] Some businesses, such as restaurants without enough patrons and colleges without enough students, will need to close. Clothing stores without enough sales will also need to close, as will retirement homes without enough residents. All of these closures will lead to a huge amount of excess commercial space. It will also lead to the loss of more jobs, raising the number of unemployed people.

With these closed businesses, the price of commercial real estate will tend to fall. Lenders will be encouraged to “extend the loans” and “pretend that asset prices will soon recover,” when renewing loans. Even this approach won’t be enough in many cases, as businesses file for bankruptcy.

[8] With fewer residences and business properties occupied, the amount of electricity required will fall. Wholesale prices for electricity will tend to fall, pushing ever more fossil fuel and nuclear electricity providers out of business. Electricity outages will become an increasing problem, as renewables become a larger share of the electricity mix and are unable to increase supply when needed. Rolling outages will become more common.

[9] Pensions of all kinds will become more difficult to pay. Government programs, such as Social Security in the US, will have less revenue to pay pensions. There are funds set aside in the Social Security Trust Fund to cover a shortfall in funding, but these funds are simply non-marketable US government debt. In theory, the US government could add more debt to the Trust Fund and make payments on the basis of this added debt. Otherwise, the US will likely need to either raise taxes or increase the “regular” government debt level, in order to continue to pay Social Security pensions as planned.

Private pensions, backed by bonds and shares of stock (and perhaps other assets), will find the values of their available assets are falling. Governments, if they are able to, will try to hide this problem. For example, regulators may develop a new way to value assets, so as to make pension funding shortfalls mostly disappear.

In the case of pension bankruptcy, government insurance is often theoretically available. In the US, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation provides coverage; other countries may have similar programs. Unfortunately, this program is not set up to handle a large influx of new bankrupt plans, without raising taxes. The problem then will be raising taxes enough so that one year’s pension benefits can be paid, pushing the problem down the road a bit longer.

Bank accounts have similar guarantees, with similar funding problems. The guarantee organization has very little funds available, without raising taxes or somehow increasing debt.

[10] Stock market prices will tend to fall, leading those who have purchased shares using debt to want to sell quickly, pushing the stock market down further. Currency relativities will fluctuate wildly. Derivatives of many kinds will encounter payment problems. Many ETFs likely won’t work as planned. Governments will try to figure out ways to somehow mitigate these problems to the extent possible. For example, stock markets may be closed for a time to hide the problems. Or, additional time may be given to settle purchases, so that perhaps the deficiencies can be corrected. Eventually, some banks may be taken over by governments, to assure the operation of the parts deemed essential.

[11] Eventually, governments may find it necessary to nationalize a wide range of essential businesses. These could range from trucking companies to banks to oil companies to electricity transmission repair companies. If the balance sheets of these companies are too bad, governments may simply stop publishing them.

[12] These types of actions will mostly be available to “rich” countries. Poor countries can tap their “rainy day” funds, but these will soon be exhausted. In this case, poor countries will find that there is little they can do unless international organizations bail them out. Because of cutbacks in tourism and in orders of finished goods, such as clothing, these countries are likely to encounter high levels of unemployment. Without aid, the poorer citizens of these countries will find it impossible to afford an adequate diet. With inadequate nutrition, the health of low income citizens will decline, and they will easily succumb to communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria. Death rates are likely to skyrocket.

[B] What Happens When an Economy Outgrows Its Resources? 

Most people think that the issue we are dealing with is a temporary problem associated with a new coronavirus. I think that we are dealing with a much worse problem: The world’s population has outgrown the world’s resource limits. This is why our current problems look so difficult to solve from a financial point of view. This is part of the reason many people feel that shutting down the economy for COVID-19 is a good choice. There are really many reasons for the shutdowns, besides preventing the spread of COVID-19: Keeping people inside stops the many protests related to low wages. The shutdowns appear to restore order to a troubled system. Broken supply lines from shutdowns elsewhere reduce raw materials availability, making it more difficult to keep production in one part of the world operating, when others are closed.

Overshoot and collapse is a problem that many smaller economies have encountered over the years. If I am right that we are now encountering a similar situation, there is a big change ahead. The change will not be instantaneous, however. The big question that arises is, “Over what time scale does such a collapse take place?” If it takes place over a number of years, it may look more like “overshoot and decline” than “overshoot and collapse” to those who are living through the era.

A recent partial collapse was that of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter. Oil prices had hit a high in 1981 and had been declining for 10 years when the Soviet Union collapsed. With low oil prices, it had been difficult to earn enough revenue to reinvest in new oil fields to replace the production that naturally declines as oil is extracted. Oil, directly and indirectly, had provided many jobs for the Soviet Union. After ten years of stress, the central government of the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Low oil prices first slowed production growth between 1982 and 1987 (Figure 2). Oil production began to decline in 1988, three years before the government collapsed. Production gradually rose again in the early 2000s, as oil prices rose again.

Figure 2. Oil production and price of the former Soviet Union (FSU), based on BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2015.

What was surprising to me was the fact that consumption of all types of energy by the Soviet Union fell at the time of the central government collapse in 1991, even hydroelectric. The overall level of energy consumption never bounced back to its previous level.

Figure 3. Former Soviet Union energy consumption by fuel, based on data of BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.

What happened was that many inefficient industries were forced to close. Some of these industries were in the Ukraine; others were in Russia and elsewhere. As they closed, less electricity and less oil and gas were used.

The loss in energy consumption was pretty much permanent. The manufacturing that left the Soviet Union was replaced by other, more efficient, manufacturing elsewhere. Also, without their previous manufacturing jobs, the people of the former Soviet Union were poorer. They could not afford to buy cars and homes, keeping fuel consumption lower.

Another indicator regarding the speed of collapses is the analysis done by researchers Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov, regarding collapses of eight agricultural economies from earlier periods. I compiled the information they provided in the book Secular Cycles in the chart shown in Figure 4. In the cycles they analyzed, the “crisis period” seemed to last 20 to 50 years. One thing that is striking in their analysis is that epidemics often played a major role in the declines. As wage disparity grew, poorer workers ate less well. They became more vulnerable to epidemics and often died.

Figure 4. Chart by author based on information provided in Turchin and Nefedov’s book, Secular Cycles.

In these early cycles, the major industry was farming. These collapses were in the days before electricity use. In these situations, collapses tended to play out over 20 to 50 years. Our more modern economy, with its just-in-time supply lines, would seem likely to collapse more quickly, but we can’t know for certain. This analysis is thus another data point that suggests that what may be ahead could be closer to “overshoot and decline” than “overshoot and collapse.”

[C] What May Be Ahead

[1] We are likely to experience the collapse of central governments of several of the oil exporting nations, in a manner not entirely different from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Oil prices have been low for a very long time, since 2008, or at least since 2014.

Figure 5. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Most OPEC oil producers seem to require prices in the $100+ per barrel range in order to be able to fund the programs their people expect (Figure 6). One important program provides subsidies for imported food; other programs provide jobs. Without these programs, revolutions to overthrow the current leaders seem much more likely.

Figure 6. Estimate of OPEC break-even oil prices, including tax requirements by parent countries, from APICORP. Figure is from 2014.

At this point, oil prices have been below $100 per barrel since 2014, a period of 6 years (Figure 5). Stress is increasing; OPEC producers have cut production in an attempt to try to get prices up. Prices are now in the low $40s.

We should not be surprised if, over the next few years, oil production starts to fall in several areas around the world because of internal problems. Another possible impetus for the drop in production may be wars with other nations. Some such wars might be started simply to try to get the price of oil up to a more acceptable level.

We have been falsely led to believe that oil is not important; renewables can handle our needs in the future. In fact, oil is essential for today’s farming. It is essential for transportation of goods and services of all kinds. It is essential for the construction industry and for mining. Researchers in academic institutions have received grants, encouraging them to put together models regarding what could be ahead. These models tend to be extremely unrealistic.

One of the most absurd models is by Mark Jacobson. He claims that by 2050, the world economy can operate almost entirely using wind, solar, and hydroelectric. Unfortunately, we don’t have until 2050; world oil, coal, and natural gas supplies look likely to decline in the 2020 to 2025 timeframe because of low prices. Another problem with this approach is that there is not very much fossil fuel to extract, because most of what appears to be available from resource studies cannot really be extracted at the low prices set by physics. 

The underlying problem is confusion about which direction prices go, as an economy reaches limits. Economists assume that scarcity will cause prices to rise; the real story is that fossil fuel prices are set by the laws for physics because the economy is a dissipative structure. As the economy approaches limits, prices tend to fall too low for producers, rather than rise too high for consumers.The sad truth is that we can’t even count on the continued extraction of the small amount of fossil fuels that Jacobson assumes will exist after 2050.

[2] We are likely to see a huge change in the international financial system and in the international trade system in the next few years. 

As long as there were plenty of resources, relative to the world population, the optimal approach was to do as much international trade as possible. This approach would maximize world GDP. It would also add jobs in developing areas of the world without too huge an impact on job availability in the countries moving their manufacturing to lower-cost areas.

In the last few years, it has become increasingly evident that there aren’t enough jobs that pay well to go around. This is really the underlying problem with respect to the increased hostility among nations, such as between the US and China. Tariffs are being used to try to bring jobs that pay well back to those who need them. Strange as it may seem, it takes fossil fuels to create jobs that pay well.

Figure 7. World Trade as a percentage of GDP, based on data of the World Bank.

Figure 7 shows that international trade was rising as a percentage of GDP for many years, and it hit a high point in 2008. Since then it has bounced around a little below that high point. In 2020, it will clearly take a big step down because of all of the cancellation of trade related to COVID-19 restrictions.

We saw earlier that commodity prices tend to fall too low for producers. Indirectly, this means that profits tend to fall too low. Interest rates tend to follow these low profits down, since businesses cannot afford to pay high interest rates.

With these low profits and low wages, the financial system gets strained. “Debt and more debt” seems to be the way to fix the system. Growing debt at ever-lower interest rates is encouraged. These low interest rates tend to raise asset prices because monthly payments to buy these assets fall with the falling interest rates. Stock markets tend to rise, even when the economy is doing poorly.

If the many strange approaches I outlined in Section A are used to add even more debt to keep the system afloat, eventually some part of the system is going to “break.” For example, banks will stop issuing letters of credit with respect to purchases made by buyers that don’t seem sufficiently creditworthy. Banks may stop trusting other banks, especially if the banks do not really seem to be solvent. At some point, the international financial system seems likely to start “coming apart.” Eventually, the US dollar will stop being the world’s reserve currency.

My guess is that a new two currency system will develop. Governments will issue a lot of currency for local use. It will not be useful for buying goods from other countries. Much of it will be used for buying locally produced food and other locally produced goods.

Very little international trade will be done. Any international trade that will be done will occur between trusted partners, at agreed upon exchange rates. Perhaps a special currency will be used for this purpose.

In this new world, individual countries will be very much on their own. With very little fossil fuel, countries will tend to lose electricity availability very quickly. Transmission lines will go unrepaired. It will become impossible to fix existing wind turbines. Road repair will become impossible. Electric cars will likely be as unusable as gasoline powered ones.

There will likely be fighting about resources that are available, leading to countries subdividing into smaller and smaller units, hoarding what little resources they have available.

Note:

1Energy prices tend to fall too low because, as the economy gets more complex, wage and wealth disparity tend to grow, reflecting differences in training and responsibility. The problem occurs because low-paid workers cannot afford to buy very large quantities of goods and services produced by the economy. For example, many cannot afford a car or a home of their own. The spending of high-paid workers does not offset the loss of demand by low-paid workers because high-paid workers tend to spend their wages more on services, such as advanced education, which require proportionately less energy consumption. Ultimately, the lack of demand by low-paid workers tends to pull down the prices of oil and other commodities below the level required by producers.

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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2,450 Responses to Reaching the End of Early Stimulus – What’s Ahead?

  1. adonis says:

    First, the initiatives taken so far are temporary by design. The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, which was a highly welcome response to a call by the IMF and World Bank, expires at the end of this year. Yessiree looks like collapse in 2021 unless someone gives, that gives me to the end of the year to prep.

    • avocado says:

      Not sure about that. I’ve read (in Spanish, link below) that DSSI only worked for a tiny amount of money. It is said that China is the biggest bilateral creditor and that they managed to escape participation by the means of saying the bank involved is commercial

      https://www.dw.com/es/china-se-niega-a-suspender-deuda-por-pandemia-a-los-pa%C3%ADses-m%C3%A1s-pobres/a-55250747

      • Banks need to continue to receive income from loans, both interest payments and repayment of the amount borrowed, if the banks are to function as intended. If nothing else, their ability to make new loans will be severely hampered, if debt repayments stop.

        I am sure that governments will want to hide this problem. I am not certain how successful they can be. If governments take over banks completely and change the rules, perhaps the problem can be hidden. This might happen if governments simultaneously start issuing new funny money that has absolutely nothing backing it.

    • Nehemiah says:

      The economy was already turning down in February. Based on the date of the 3 mo./10 yr. yield curve inversion in 2018, I expected the next recession to begin between July 2020 and Dec 2021. The virus just sped up the timetable a bit. US demographics are very unfavorable right now, and there are some serious financial imbalances, so the next recovery might not begin until 2023, when US demographics turn favorable again. Excesses need to be wrung out of the economy. However, recovery may be anemic even when the demography turns given this huge national debt. On the plus side, savings have risen and energy prices remain moderate. I am hoping for a few fair to middling years in the middle of the 2020’s. By the time we get to 2029, every metric looks miserable for as far as the eye can see. I feel sorry for the kids who will hit the job market about that year.

  2. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/10/12/us-covid-deaths-75-k-more-americans-died-than-previously-recorded-excess-deaths/5935813002/

    “Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond found nearly 75,000 more people may have died from the pandemic than what was recorded in March to July, according to the report published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA.”

    That would bring the grand total to nearly 300,000. OUCH!!!

    • It is doubtful that these are more COVID deaths. They are deaths, indirectly caused by all of the attention given to COVID, at the expense of treating other diseases. They also would include deaths related to depression. Elderly people who could no longer see their relatives would be especially prone to dying earlier, I would thing. According to the article:

      Woolf says the deaths indirectly caused by the pandemic came from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease, which sharply increased in the same five states that recorded the most COVID-19 deaths.

      Delayed care, fear of seeking care or emotional crises stemming from the pandemic could have also contributed to these deaths, he says, as well as inaccurate death certificates that may have misidentified a COVID-19 death.

      • Nehemiah says:

        ” deaths, indirectly caused by all of the attention given to COVID, at the expense of treating other diseases” — probably not. We have quite a bit of historical data that when access to routine medical care is temporarily unavailable, that the total death rate FALLS. I repeat, falls, not rises, falls. (People never seem to believe me about this unless I repeat it.) This is because standard medical care actually kills more people than it saves. Likewise, except for suicides, depression rarely kills people, although it may make them miserable. Elderly in old folks’ homes at least have each other to keep them company. Those living alone may suffer a bit, but they spend most of their time alone any way, plus people tend to become more emotionally stable as they age. The total death rate also falls during recessions when their is no pandemic. It even fell during the Great Depression.

        I know this virus only kills 1 in 200 working age people (most reliable stats I have seen), and of course more elderly people, but people need to stop dismissing that low case fatality rate is trivial. That is still a very large number of deaths if a highly contagious virus infects large enough numbers of persons.

        I am also skeptical of that estimate of 1 million deaths world wide. If we have 200,000 deaths in the US, that means roughly 5% of the world’s population, with the world’s most advanced health care system, accounts for 20% of global covid deaths, not poor third world countries with underfunded health care systems where most of the human race lives. I find that highly implausible. One million dead worldwide is probably a gross underestimate.

        • Minority Of One says:

          >>but people need to stop dismissing that low case fatality rate is trivial.

          Covid19 deaths on the one hand, economic Armageddon from lockdowns etc. on the other. For what purpose, to prevent more deaths?

          Last week the UN estimated 500 M out of work, as a result of lockdowns which are supposed to be to reduce deaths from Covid19. Assuming this is reasonably correct, most of these 500 M are in third world countries where if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, and you and your family don’t eat.

          in the longer term, the number of dead from Covid19 looks like it might be pretty small compared to those who will die from starvation, and diseases brought on from malnutrition and hunger, resulting from the lockdowns and economic chaos.

          Add to that China’s disastrous crop failures this past few weeks.

          Officially, about 1 M have died from Covid19 so far this year.
          About 55 M die globally each year from other causes. Many from preventable diseases such as TB (1.5 -2 M a year).

        • ElbowWilham says:

          I have read the opposite. That an increase in unemployment leads to an increase in the death rate.

          I searched and found studys that support both position. I don’t have time to dig into it too much.

      • Xabier says:

        On the other hand, my parents seem quite happy, even serene, about being cut off from me: I expect their life expectancy will have been correspondingly enhanced….. 🙂

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “That would bring the grand total to nearly 300,000. OUCH!!!”

      no big deal, nothing tragic about 90+% of the deaths.

      in most cases, these were very old people with comorbidities and with very few years to live.

      the small minority of younger deaths were mostly fattties, and covid is just an extra penalty for being obese.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        20 million Americans died while Biden was VP.

      • Nehemiah says:

        Most of these “comorbidities” are fairly minor, and most of those people had a quite number of fully functional years remaining under normal circumstances. Nor do I want to kill off working age people as a punishment for being overweight. And there is also a substantial number of people who suffer for weeks or even months even if they survive, and others who suffer organ damage the duration of which is as yet unknown. While I agree that long term, nation wide lockdowns is not the wisest way to deal with this outbreak, people who want to dismiss it as a trivial affliction no more serious than routine seasonal flu outbreaks are misguided.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Please give some data. Give an example of a minor comorbidity that has resulted in a statistically significant number of deaths.

          Dennis L.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Things could be a lot worse. We could be dealing with a worldwide pandemic of something really nasty like Ebola. That disease has a case fatality rate of up to 50%. So let’s look on the bright side.

  3. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Bloomberg
    The Fed Still Has a Powder Keg at Its Disposal
    Brian Chappatta
    Mon, October 12, 2020, 6:00 AM EDT·8
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/fed-still-powder-keg-disposal-100005963.html
    Bloomberg Opinion) — The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board published a column last week titled “The Fiscal Federal Reserve,” which admonished Chair Jerome Powell for imploring the U.S. Congress to do more to aid out-of-work Americans, struggling small businesses and strapped state and local governments. “Powell signs up to monetize trillions of dollars in more spending,” they wrote.
    In many ways, Powell and his colleagues have actually been relatively restrained in their messaging. They could be much more forceful — the only question is whether they want to open that potential Pandora’s box.
    Since June, the Fed has explicitly been buying $80 billion of U.S. Treasuries each month. That was initially under the guise of ensuring smooth “market functioning,” but minutes of the central bank’s September meeting revealed that officials now see purchases as “contributing to accommodative financial conditions in a way that supported economic recovery.” This is the central bank’s way of saying the stock market is up, credit spreads on investment-grade corporate bonds are tight and risky companies can easily find willing lenders. In other words, the Fed is supporting asset prices, which indeed helps keep a recovery on track but also disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans who own the vast majority of stocks and bonds.
    …….rather long article….
    The risk, of course, is that such obvious coordination would call into question the value of fiat currency. Lacy Hunt at Hoisington Investment Management, who has been a bond bull for more than three decades, told me in August that the one significant risk he sees on the horizon is that the Fed directly funds government expenditures. “If that happens, then the inflation rate would take off. However, in very short order, everyone would be totally miserable because no one would want to hold money,” he said.

    Well, thats the gist of it…will the Fed Print to Infinity and fiat will not be worth anything…??? If History is any indication ….yes they will

    • I would not be shocked if there is somehow a great deal more money created, to try to keep all of the things from crashing that seem to be crashing.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Fed does not print. Only the Treasury has a printing press, and they may use it very little without Congressional authorization. All the Fed does is swap “bank reserves” for bonds, and the banks are severely limited in what they are allowed to do with those reserves. Only if there is strong private demand for bank loans do those reserves (which back deposits created when the loans are made) indirectly result in new money creation. Japan has been doing this off and on for 20 years and their economy can barely stay out of deflation.

      • chocolotexpress says:

        PLEEEEEEEEEEEZE. Those “bank reserves dont exist until created to take junk debt onto the fed balance sheet. Thats called “printing” And the 5 new fed organizations created this year to directly buy corporate bonds and mbs and all the rest of the junk that fall to low because they are collateral for debt that will never be paid? Just lending others $ under Repo with zero interest to buy the toxic was not working. Between the fed balance sheet and US government debt 7 trillion more dollars exist than 12 months ago but no new real things exist. That is called “printing”.

      • Yes, we had series of great links to material on this topic lately, also thanks to you and Rune’s article. Basically, the biggest drivers are (lack of) credit impulse into the economy from banking sector and worsening ECoE/PO situation, also some of the stalling-negative demography trends etc. In aggregate this is massively deflationary environment. People often get confused because of that perceived fall in level of living standard, which is driven mostly by the inner ECoE/PO component, while real inflation is subdued. Also, the large tech-productivity gains (in money terms) of past decades were simply offloaded from the lower/mid income pop, the user-consumer value component of the productivity is often overlooked (as if not good enough) or taken as granted for them. That impoverishment seemingly smells like inflation, but it is not.

  4. Minority Of One says:

    Winston Sterzel posts videos on YT about China. He lived in China for about 14 years, originally teaching English as a foreign language. Then latterly started making videos on his travels around China with a friend and colleague called Matthew Tye for fun, a hobby that became sufficiently successful that the YT videos became their fulltime jobs, and still is. Winston and Matthew both had to leave China at very short notice (immediately) about a year ago, the CCP did not like the content of some of their videos. I have been watching Winston and Matthew’s videos for about 4 months. Their videos are usually insightful because they both lived in China for 10+ years, are both fluent in Mandarin, and both married local Chinese women so still have family ties there.

    Recent news items have stated that China has about 100,000 fishing vessels that are sent out all over the world, and strip the local fisheries clean. In this video Winston explains why they do this.

    How China is slowly KILLING us all
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PPP7sRlHEE&t=637s

    In a nutshell, Winston says the Chinese still remember the post-WW2 famine where officially about 30 M died from starvation, and they live, eat and fish for today, with no concept of sustainability, or living for tomorrow.

    • The standard greeting in a least some parts of China, instead of, “How are you?”, is the equivalent of “Have you eaten?” This is another indication of the extent to which fear of famine is part of the culture. Population has stayed close to the edge of the sustainable level.

  5. Ed says:

    I find it ironic that a fair skinned Brahman Kamala will be voted in to “help blacks”. Where Brahman’s have institutionalized racism for centuries.

  6. Ed says:

    A song for the times

    The tv says you hate them
    burn them, kill them, they kill you

    He says bring a miracle
    accept whatever meal they give you

    now is the time for war
    now is the end of days, days of plague and death
    be afraid

    He says beggar, prisoner, child
    we are the kingdom

    now is the time for masters of needles and the thugs
    be meek go to the cross of gold

    We are the kingdom
    the dark days are over
    we serve our family our friends our lives

    Copyright 2020 by Edwin Pell

    • Oh dear says:

      Interesting, what or who is it supposed to be about?

      • Ed says:

        every other group it the current “consensus” we are feed by the pols and media and the others are a Jesus position with a small mix of “Cross of Gold” speech.

    • Oh dear says:

      I tried my hand at something ‘relevant’

      trump trumpets his trumpet
      he has got a long one

      the future is orange

      biden bids his biddies
      he has got a shrivelled one

      the future is grey

      the seventh trumpet sounds
      dizzy gillespie dizzies his dazed

      the angels have fallen silent

      sssssssshhhhhhhhhhh
      loud voices fell the statues

      peak statuary

      peak usa, peak democracy
      abraham lincoln takes a peak from the gutter

      someone leaks on him

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        Oh dear!

        some LOL and some profound.

        ahem…

        Ds and violets are blue
        Rs and roses are the red
        the POTUS no matter who
        in the long run we’re all dead

        • Ed says:

          what of hope for a brighter future?

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            the thing about hope for the future of humanity is that it is guaranteed.

            human extinction guarantees no more suffering, no more pain, no more crime, no more greed, no more lying politicians, no more abuse of power.

            a brighter future!

        • Robert Firth says:

          In Tenebris

          “Percussus sum sicut foenum, et aruit cor meum.” (Psalm ci:5)

          Wintertime nighs;
          But my bereavement-pain
          It cannot bring again:
          Twice no one dies.

          Flower-petals flee;
          But, since it once hath been,
          No more that severing scene
          Can harrow me.

          Birds faint in dread:
          I shall not lose old strength
          In the lone frost’s black length:
          Strength long since fled!

          Leaves freeze to dun;
          But friends can not turn cold
          This season as of old
          For him with none.

          Tempests may scath;
          But love can not make smart
          Again this year his heart
          Who no heart hath.

          Black is night’s cope;
          But death will not appal
          One who, past doubtings all,
          Waits in unhope.

          (Thomas Hardy 1840 to 1928)

      • JMS says:

        The End

        For Gail Tverberg

        While we were confusing the beautiful
        with the easy and the easy with the good,
        in a sociopathy of narcissus
        addicted to dopamine shots,
        our natural house rotted away
        like the belly of the bees when
        the glyphosate of liberal greed passes by.

        While we were banking promises
        to grow up eternally, in a disreputable
        myopia of experts on financial
        witchcraft, we adorned with ribbons
        of success the extermination of cultures
        or species competing with our own
        and destroyed the world for money.

        While we harvested the tree
        of scientific life, to sell its fruits
        to the canning elite, we grew
        fatness in the cortical noddle,
        the trade of crutches increased
        and no one could see the umbilical
        connection between knowing and destroying.

        While we were omitting limits,
        Travestied of unbridled titans,
        And celebrating the stain of progress
        And eating oil (thinking we were
        eating cozido à portuguesa!),
        entropy stepped in and announced,
        categorical: “The party is over”.

        As we were building statues to hubris
        or to irony’s mother, the carbon
        was building up in jellyfishes
        of marine dioxide, and scribbling
        “cataclysm” in the blue of festivals,
        as methane, released from Siberia,
        was preparing his victory speech.

        While in the movie theater the curtains
        were in smoke, and the apocalyptic
        movie was shifting to the streets,
        the rational species was rejecting
        the evidence of catastrophe, brandishing
        his ticket as a title of nobility, proclaiming
        their right to have fun until the end:

        “We don´t leave!” And in fact they didnt leave
        nor could they – led by lemming
        impulses, by chimeras of industrial
        warmth, by the biblical precept
        to surf the waves of decreasing
        energy, we could only follow
        the genome’s planogram and expire.

        (translated, badly, from the portuguese)

  7. avocado says:

    October 12, Columbus day

    What I find very interesting, and have no seen considered anywhere, is that lithic civilization seems to have reached a very higher development in the Americas than in the Old World. It is estimated (but who relly knows?) that the Aztech and Inca empires had more than 10 million subjetcs each, and their monumental stone constructions were quite impressive. Same for the Mayans, who also used script. Nothing of this is to be found in Eurasia’s Stone Age. Have to wait to the Achemeid empire to find one so big, and no remnants of big structures pre copper age. Did they existed and were absolutely lost, or didn’t were at all?

    It would be the best achievement for mankind to drive something like the Incas in the future, but obviously not likely

    • Interesting!

    • Oh dear says:

      Fascinating, they were still in the Stone Age in the 15 c., 5000 years after Eurasia had metal ages and farming technologies. Still they had some stone temples and maintained a few million people, even without the wheel – not bad going.

      > The Incas lacked the use of wheeled vehicles. They lacked animals to ride and draft animals that could pull wagons and plows… [They] lacked the knowledge of iron and steel… Above all, they lacked a system of writing… Despite these supposed handicaps, the Incas were still able to construct one of the greatest imperial states in human history.

      — Gordon McEwan, The Incas: New Perspectives

      • Robert Firth says:

        A couple of comments. First, the Inca were not in the stone age; they had discovered the use of obsidian, which made tools sharper and more durable than any other, until the age of stainless steel. Secondly, the Inca quipu have been analysed using modern information theory, and they are as complex as many writing systems. Finally, (as I saw for myself on the Peruvian Altiplano) the Inca communicated with heliograph towers. That is how they could administer an empire that spanned 40 degrees of latitude.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Achemeid??? If that is the same as Achaemenid, that was in the iron age. Egypt and Sumer started in the Neolithic, but most of their advances seem to have been after the discovery of bronze making, so you may well be right about the Maya, Aztecs, and Inca being the most advanced stone age civilizations.

  8. Tim Groves says:

    What we’ve got and how to lose it. (1950)

    https://youtu.be/D9h8XWw4LRo

    • VFatalis says:

      Energy diet leads to new regime. Buon appetito !

    • Ed says:

      But Tim, the Green New Deal is for the little itty bitty babies. Kamala the iron fist will return respect to the US. The new wars against Iran and Venezuela will bring freedom. Mandatory service in the Green Works Corp (age 19-24) will instill hope and discipline, president Kamala knows discipline.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        Sanders seemed to be too close to the top of the pack in the D primaries early this year, then all of a sudden Biden surged to victory.

        powerful Ds behind the scenes made this happen. To them, Biden appeared to be the safest bet for a winning D who could be their puppet.

        Then they staged Biden holding his notes for VP with Harris at the top and the notes saying something like “don’t hold grudges”.

        staged by the powerful Ds who told Biden who to pick.

        conclusion: Biden and then Harris, when they push Biden out with the 25th amendment, both will do whatever they are “advised” to do.

    • A movie on having the benefit of freedom of choice in the economy versus government control of the economy.

      When there is lots of energy available, it is possible to have 10 million companies, each following their own plan. In fact, we could do this back in 1950.

      Moving to controlled economy can look attractive, when most people are doing poorly. We seem to be getting to that point very quickly.

      • Minority Of One says:

        Perhaps we already live in a controlled economy, not by governments, but by multinational corporations, and banks.

        • Tim Groves says:

          That’s my feeling too. Oligarchs rule the earth, while the economic environment looks very tough for small businesses who can’t afford to buy congress members.

          • the earth has altered its weather patterns to make human life more difficult

            then unleashed a virus to shut down human over-activity

            but oligarchs run the earth?

            hmmmm

            • Tim Groves says:

              How do you know the oligarchs haven’t altered the weather patterns to make human life more difficult, then unleashed a virus to shut down human over-activity, Norman? Gaia is indifferent to the activities of her children. She doesn’t run anything.

              Oligarchs may not run the earth either, but they rule it as absolutely as dinosaurs used to rule it when our ancestors were rodents.

            • It is a question of which of the oligarchs run the earth. Is it the set that derive their income from vaccines, cloud technologies, subsidized wind and solar, and those selling things over the Internet? Or is it oligarchs representing main street businesses, the fossil fuel industry, and electric utilities that are trying to keep the lights on, despite all the problems intermittent renewables bring?

    • chocolotexpress says:

      What is this thing -production- of which the video speaks?

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “People in Gaza are searching through rubbish to find food as Palestinians battle unprecedented levels of poverty, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said.

    “Across Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and elsewhere, Palestinian refugees are suffering at new depths because of the pandemic.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/12/people-in-gaza-sifting-through-rubbish-for-food-un-head-says

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The Gulf Arabs Weary of Protesting for Palestine… The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain’s drive for normal ties with Israel suggests a shifting mood across the region…

      “The normalization drive with Israel comes as countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Arab world’s two largest economies, confront the growing ambitions of the region’s non-Arab powerhouses, Turkey and Iran.”

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-gulf-arabs-weary-of-protesting-for-palestine-11602251852

      • My time for commenting will be somewhat limited today. I am giving two different talks today, both over Zoom. One of them is live, today. The other is for a recorded Chris Martenson panel discussion with Art Berman and Richard Heinberg.

        I asked Martenson’s assistant if I get permission to show panel discussion on Our Finite World, after their conference is over (end of October) and was told that that would be fine.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          Good luck!

          • I thought that both went reasonably well.

            I did have a minor problem, though. During Martenson’s panel discussion, the sun was shining in on me and my computer is a way that I couldn’t block the sunlight out. I expect that I will look a little odd in the video as a result. This problem only happens at a certain time of day, at this time of year.

            I work in my high-ceilinged dining room. It has rectangular window with shutters plus a half-circle (palladian) window on top. The sun was coming in through the top part, even though the shutters were closed on the bottom. My computer is a desk computer with an extra monitor, so it wasn’t convenient to pick the computer up and move it to a better location when the problem was discovered.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          day 20 has arrived so we are near the end of replies.

          “The big question that arises is, “Over what time scale does such a collapse take place?” If it takes place over a number of years, it may look more like “overshoot and decline” than “overshoot and collapse” to those who are living through the era.”

          I am more convinced than ever that this is the case.

          we are living through it, and perhaps by 2040 or so, maybe 2030, survivors will look back and feel that it happened very quickly.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    ““Believe me, if I get a visa to any country in the world, I’d be out of here in a heartbeat,” said Hussein Termos, 36, from Marjeyoun in south Lebanon, now living in the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh. “All I care about is being able to provide for everyday necessities: food, my water and my cigarettes.”

    “For many like Termos, facing an ongoing collapse in the value of the Lebanese currency, hyperinflation on the shelves, and mass unemployment, just scraping by is no longer an option. “The issue is there is no hope of a turnaround,’’ said Rabiah Khaireddine, a musician from the Druze community. “The weeks since the explosion have made that clear. Everyone I know wants to leave.””

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/11/there-is-no-hope-the-slow-disintegration-of-lebanon

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “One-fifth of the world’s countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an analysis by the insurance firm Swiss Re…

    “More than half of global GDP – $42tn (£32tn) – depends on high-functioning biodiversity, according to the report, but the risk of tipping points is growing.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/12/fifth-of-nations-at-risk-of-ecosystem-collapse-analysis-finds

    • The fundamental problem is too many people. This is a hard problem to fix.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Gail, Nature solved that problem on St Matthew Island in two short years. I’m sure she can solve this problem; in fact, she is already doing so.

        • Nature is the one that always provides the solutions. A major purpose of much of the academic “research” that goes on today is to come up with hypothetical ways that we humans might come up with solutions that are better than nature’s. These solutions are nearly always based on only a partial understanding of how the energy-economy system really works. The authors and politicians think that they are correct, but they are not really.

  12. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The global economy has achieved only a fragile recovery from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic and many emerging economies are still suffering severe hardship, according to the latest Brookings-FT tracking index.

    ““A broad-based and robust recovery does not appear on the horizon,” said Professor Eswar Prasad of the Brookings Institution… the recovery in advanced economies is far from complete after a historic drop in the spring, and the situation in emerging markets is much worse with indicators still far removed from normal levels.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/7ecf6885-68f7-44a9-b3de-e9ce7c8b2fb0

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The global economy could shed more than 1% of output if international talks to rewrite cross-border tax rules break down and trigger a trade war, the OECD said on Monday, after countries agreed to keep up negotiating to mid-2021.”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oecd-tax/collapse-of-global-tax-talks-could-cost-100-billion-oecd-says-idUSKBN26X11Q

      • Trade wars are inevitable, I am afraid, if countries are faced with high rates of unemployment and want to keep jobs at home.

        In fact, trade wars seem to be a likely result of too little energy consumption per capita, worldwide.

        • Robert Firth says:

          I agree. One reason bureaucracies are mostly schlerotic is that a bureaucrat has no incentive to work. As long as they say “no”, they have power. By saying “yes”, they give away that power. So the incentive is always to add more rules, more hoops to be jumped through, more delay.

          Negotiators are the same. As long as the negotiations continue, they have power. An agreement takes away that power, and they must go back to being ordinary bureaucrats. So of course there is one deadline extension after another, and endless delay.

          Of course, the power to prevent things from being done is parasitic, destructive, and a cause of great distress, but they don’t care.

  13. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out thousands of jobs across , with up to 27 per cent of positions erased in some towns.

    “One in every 30 jobs in New South Wales have been eliminated since March due to COVID-19 lockdowns. And on Lord Howe Island, a holiday paradise off the east coast of NSW, almost 30 per cent of jobs have disappeared.”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8829173/Employment-apocalypse-27-jobs-disappeared-one-12-gone-Victoria.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “‘It costs a bloody fortune’: Why Sydney’s young people are headed for the exit…

      “The insight from a poll of Sydney residents comes as growth in the harbour city’s population slows significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a slump in overseas migration.”

      https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/it-costs-a-bloody-fortune-why-sydney-s-young-people-are-headed-for-the-exit-20201007-p562rv.html

    • Xabier says:

      The lock-downs have had the same effect as the child who pulled apart a fly and then wondered why it wouldn’t fly or buzz when he pushed all the bits together again….

      I would say that the only thing which has come back strongly is……air pollution. Due to the abandonment of public transport it’s actually higher her than in was in February: more courier and supermarket vans, more car trips.

    • It sounds from the article that Australia is paying companies for taking on young employees. At that same time, a disproportionate share of older employees is being made redundant.

      That approach might partly prevent the problem many countries have with low wages/lack of jobs for young people. But it would make old people (who tend to be conscientious voters) unhappy.

  14. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Japanese wholesale prices fell 0.8% in September from the same month a year earlier, data showed on Monday, marking the seventh straight month of year-on-year declines and heightening the risk the country will slide back into deflation.”

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/japan-september-wholesale-prices-slump-020350873.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Japan must swiftly revise laws to allow the central bank to issue a digital currency, a move that could provide a chance to reform the Bank of Japan’s existing mandates and enshrine its inflation target, a senior ruling party official said on Monday.”

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-japan-boj-digital-currency-idUKKBN26X196

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Dozens of people in northern Japan enjoyed a special sightseeing flight on Sunday, amid the slump in air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

        “Japan Airlines organized the flight together with the Yamagata prefectural government and a travel agency. They wanted the participants to see flying aboard a plane as a way to go sightseeing and not just as a way to reach a destination.”

        https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20201012_15/

        • Robert Firth says:

          That is exactly how Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin started to build his empire, by sightseeing flights. Of course, he flew at a height of less than 1000 feet, and served gourmet food and fine wines to the passengers. I suspect Japan is a century too late and a few yen short.

      • Once Japan starts adding to its currency without counting it as debt, I expect others will start doing the same. It won’t be long before no country trusts the currency of another country, because everyone is debasing their currency so fast.

      • Nehemiah says:

        IOW, the Japanese government aspiring looters do not want savers pulling their cash out of the banks in response to negative interest rates, so they want to get rid of cash. But what will stop people from buying gold, silver, or other hard assets as an alternative to cash?

  15. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Government ministers of poor and indebted nations will this week appeal to their creditors for a much more ambitious debt relief effort as they grapple with the healthcare and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/edb18d34-844b-43b5-a78a-fec73f1d0583

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “With debt relief measures set to expire this month, Thailand’s financial woes, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, might end up being worse that the 1997 Asian financial crisis, known in Thailand as the Tom Yam Kung crisis, according to the Bangkok Commercial Asset Management.”

    https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/economy/covid-19-could-lead-to-a-crisis-worse-than-the-1997-asian-financial-crisis

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government aims to inject around $10bn into its collapsing economy, with schemes to put money into the hands of civil servants, boost capital expenditure and bolster the finances of cash-strapped state governments.

    “Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the initiatives on Monday, amid gripes that New Delhi has done too little to shore up its faltering economy…”

    https://www.ft.com/content/8516bffe-326d-32d7-a433-3f94c330b136

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Driven by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to fall to -3.3 percent in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years, according to the latest regional economic analysis.”

    https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/world-bank-confirms-economic-downturn-in-sub-saharan-africa/

  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Four years after Britain voted to leave the European Union Brexit can still seem abstract. But in the county known as the Garden of England, it is literally taking concrete form.

    “Just beyond the ancient oaks and yews that surround medieval St. Mary’s Church in the village of Sevington, bulldozers, dump trucks and cement mixers swarm noisily over a field. They are chewing up land to create part of Britain’s new border with the European Union — a customs clearance depot with room for up to 2,000 trucks.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/brexit-news-uk-eu-trade-deal-latest-kent-garden-of-england-border-b985408.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Firms move €150bn of UK assets to France ahead of Brexit.

      “Banque de France says 31 entities – mainly investment firms – have applied for licences in France, moving €150bn of assets since September.”

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/11/150bn-uk-assets-moved-france-ahead-brexit/

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “European Union nations have begun “wargaming” plans for a no-deal Brexit that could see the resumption of talks next year if the December deadline is missed, according to insiders.

        “Ahead of crunch talks in Brussels this week, a senior EU diplomat told The Telegraph that although there would be a “period of chaos” if no agreement is struck, “there is nothing that says that just because there is a no deal there can never be trade negotiations again”.”

        https://www.theweek.co.uk/108341/why-the-eu-is-wargaming-no-deal-brexit

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Now, for a Europe that has made managing rather than solving economic crises into an art form, the time for paying the piper is fast approaching.”

          https://www.cityam.com/almost-unnoticed-europe-hurtles-into-decline/

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            “Pandemic exposes design flaws in [Europe’s] bank capital buffers…

            “Something seems to have gone wrong. European Banking Authority chairman Jose Manuel Campa admitted on October 1 that “buffer usability is clearly an issue” – specifically, that they “do not work as intended”.”

            https://www.risk.net/risk-quantum/7694831/pandemic-exposes-design-flaws-in-bank-capital-buffers

          • neil says:

            This is why we have representative democracy. Allow everyone a vote on something this morning mportant and we get a decision made by those who don’t know what the eu is, those who “don’t like Muslims” (whatever that has to do with Europe) and people who thought turkey was about to join. (That lie courtesy of part Turkish Boris Johnson)
            What a mess.

            • All is Dust says:

              Democratic systems are simply feedback loops. Anyone interested in system design needs to accept and understand feedback (a mark of maturity) rather than dismiss it and resort to name calling. My working assumption has always been that decline in energy consumed per capita leads to a revision of governing systems. I don’t think any system is above that law.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Immigration restriction is a good idea for every country. No country today needs large numbers of immigrants, their benefits at best equal, not exceed, their costs (except for individuals who are unusually wealthy or talented, not the immigrants we usually get in the West), and I have read enough history to know that the more culturally or racially diverse a country, the more prone it is to political instability and other social problems. When resources become scarce, inter-group conflict tends to escalate. It is difficult enough when those groups are social classes, but when class intersects with ethnic, religious, or racial identities, it gets far more complex in a hurry.

    • Oh dear says:

      > Majority of Scots say Brexit makes Independence more likely

      Almost three quarters of Scots polled on the impact of Brexit and the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill have said Brexit makes Scottish Independence more likely.

      In a recent poll by Progress Scotland, the pro-independence campaign group, 73 per cent of the 2,093 people surveyed said they believed Brexit would make Independence more likely, while 78 per cent said the UK government breaking international law was unacceptable.

      https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18787339.brexit-makes-independence-likely-say-majority-scots/

      • All is Dust says:

        A successful IndyRef2 will replenish north sea oil fields, don’t cha know…

        On a serious note: What is the driving mechanism for Scottish Independence? As in what will they do with it? I mean, other than try and align themselves with EU? Is it for financial independence? Greater autonomy?

        • neil says:

          If brexit has taught us anything, surely it’s that breaking up is never easy? Feel free to trash yourselves by bringing a hard border between you and your only real trading partner. Then wait for Shetland and their oil to return to the U.K.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Brexit certainly makes English independence more likely (though by no means certain with Buffoon Boris at the helm). But if the Scots wish to remain a colony of the Brussels oligarchs, good luck and good riddance.

    • I expect that some think of the border as an opportunity for more “service” jobs. The only problem is that nothing useful is produced.

  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Churches in the United Kingdom have called on the government to pay off lockdown-induced debt among the poorest people in the country.”

    https://vision.org.au/radio/news/uk-churches-call-for-debt-cancellation-among-poorest-residents/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “There has been a surge in the number of UK children registering for free school meals, with an estimated 1 million pupils recently signing up for the first time, according to food poverty campaigners.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/oct/12/surge-in-number-of-uk-children-applying-for-free-school-meals

    • The call for debt cancellation of the poorest in the UK sort of reminds a person of the call for the cancellation of debt by the many poor countries in the world. It is the poor who are hit hardest when problems occur.

      • Nehemiah says:

        I don’t think of poor people as generally having a lot of debt, since they don’t usually qualify for loans to begin with (unless one defines “poor” more broadly than I do). As for the debts of poor governments, that is rather complicated since sometimes our financial and political elites pressure their politicians into accepting loans they are not really eager for.

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “UK employers are expected to slash 1.5 million jobs by Christmas, as the end of furlough triggers a fresh wave of layoffs despite the government’s new job support scheme.”

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/uk-job-support-scheme-unemployment-hiring-vacancies-083340978.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Heathrow urges government action as passenger numbers collapse. Heathrow saw passenger numbers fall by 82 per cent during September, as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to take a huge toll on the aviation sector.”

      https://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/heathrow-urges-government-action-as-passenger-numbers-collapse/

    • Xabier says:

      Nothing to worry about for those 1.5 million Brits: they can ‘re-train in expanding sectors’ as per the wise advice of the government.

      Now, could anyone enlighten me as to what those fantastic growth sectors might be, above all in the already blighted regions of the UK?

      How many lives ‘saved’ and how many individuals and families utterly ruined and left without hope?

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          And if you don’t fancy a career as a swan then there’s always wind-turbine maintenance.

          • A wind turbine maintenance career only lasts as long as spare parts for wind turbines last. In fact, a lot of other things could put an end to the career. For example, if electricity transmission from the wind turbine to major cities is interrupted, for example by wind or fire causing a problem with the transmission, there will be no point in fixing the wind turbine, unless the electricity transmission can be fixed as well.

            • chocolotexpress says:

              Machine shops can fab mechanical parts assuming suitable steel is available. A alternate career path would be learning how to reverse engineer a broken part into solidworks manufacturing code. As currencies are debased one wonders if they can hold value in there country of issue. I dont doubt things can be patched for a while.If the USA can continue its wheat production we can have bread. Bread is better than nothing. Way better.

            • Wind turbines are made out of very specialized materials. Parts are made to very precise tolerances to prevent unwanted vibration from causing a problem. We are kidding ourselves if we think local machine shops can do anything to fix wind turbines. Also, the parts have to be mounted at great heights. We sometimes use helicopters for this purpose now. Trying to do all of this in an economy that is losing its fossil fuel capabilities is not going to work.

            • Nehemiah says:

              No problem, Gail, that’s why wind power always has fossil fuel back up on standby! Really, I think wind is the most overrated power source when all things are considered. Oh, and happy Columbus Day! (Is Amerigo Vespucci jealous?)

        • Xabier says:

          Brilliant. I’d do a lot for £40 these days!

          An article in The Guardian gave examples of the ludicrous and unrealistic job options (of course, without any vacancies) suggested by the govt. website – simply of no assistance to anyone.

        • Tim Groves says:

          This sure beats being an ugly duckling.

    • Job layoffs create a huge problem for the economy. They are really a delayed effect of the earlier shutdowns. We will be seeing a lot of these in the fourth quarter.

  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    This has been brewing for a while:

    “China’s customs authorities have told several Chinese state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop importing Australian coal, according to two industry newswire services.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/12/china-orders-halt-to-imports-of-australian-coal

    • As I mentioned before China is building massive new coal (alt / next gen) in their W deserts.. This will partly replace the old dirtier coal installations near cities on the eastern shore, and probably effect imports (from Australia) as well.. Plus they are perhaps going to license these Russian breeder (~closed loop) NPP designs, add some domestic natgas, renewables, conventional nuclear, .. etc.

      So, in summary: cleaning up + closing doors on some of the (unfriendly and or USD dominated) imports.

      Are they going to succeed with the maneuver, possibly, but it’s not guaranteed, they are still a bit lame on the foreign-mil angle of things, the US could turn at least some of their supply chains in their desired dominion area into disorderly state etc.

    • China needs to try to keep the price of its own coal up as much as possible.

  23. MG says:

    Why Christianity is such a widespread religion?

    The Judaism rejected material depiction of the God. But Christianity went further: reject the dead stuff.

    That way Christianity has become a religion that renews itself via simplification, i.e. the reduction of the complexity.

    It is this reduction of complexity that decides which religion prevails or is sustainable.

    That way the key message of a successful religion is the rebirth via rejection of the dead stuff and the reorganization according to the energy availability

      • MG says:

        Reducie your consumption in preparation for scarcity and give money for building some religious building. That is the message of such buildings.

        • Dennis L. says:

          MG,

          Trying out some ideas here, no conclusions.

          1. We need rules.
          2. We violate those rules on a daily basis, but if we follow 20% of the rules, we get 80% of the results.
          3. We need reinforcement of those rules and at the same time we hate being lectured.
          4. Throw in some uplifting music, music that touches the soul, gives pause to the lessons of the service. Make the room sacred, you will know it when you enter, it feels peaceful, it causes one to look outside one’s self.
          5. Go back to 2, realize we need forgiveness for violating the rules, but we are God’s children and all will be well, go forth and try again.
          6. In various forms this has been going on for centuries, it takes time, refinement, and adaptation to the times and circumstances.

          My guess, C will be around long after atheism and other intellectual hubris is long forgotten. Humanism for me leaves a nihilist hole. C works, so it is right.

          We will adapt to scarcity, humans are good at that and we don’t know everything. If all is lost today, what does one have to lose by seeing what tomorrow brings?

          Dennis L.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      interesting.

      C indeed requires very little energy input: just believe in all the biblical fiction about Jesus.

      the promised output: infinite resources (in Heaven, and provided by God the Infinite Power Supply) which will make you happier than is humanly possible.

      if it sounds too good to be true, it’s because C is the fictional creation of superstitious unscientific ancient men.

      • Ed says:

        Take a look at The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant
        https://www.amazon.com/Historical-Jesus-Mediterranean-Jewish-Peasant/dp/0060616296/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=the+historical+jesus&qid=1602472527&sr=8-3

        The mission bring a miracle, accept whatever meal they offer. We do not have to accept the Rome rewrite.

      • Dennis L. says:

        david,

        It is useful to human beings, it has worked very well, there is no other civilization to which as many people flock, if it works it is right.

        I find the comment “superstitious, unscientific, ancient man” disturbing and my goal here is not to attack but to be respectful.

        The Bible is a very ancient text, it has survived for over two thousand years, the ideas must work for great part of humanity and dismissing them lightly by many contemporary intellectuals is more than a bit arrogant. Much if not most of what they write, think do will be forgotten in ten years. Paul stood on the acropolis and his words are still part of out history today. Supposedly I saw the rock upon which he stood. You may not believe that, but back at you, prove it was not that rock.

        We have Bach because there was a place to perform his music, that is not all bad.

        Look at the great cathedrals old and modern, look at the embedded energy put into them. We really don’t understand why these things are built, but mankind needs to build them. Perhaps commanded by the Gods? There are some who say the sphinx pre dates the pyramids, why is this stuff built?

        No arguments here, but a rebuttal over your last sentence.

        Dennis L.

        • MG says:

          We can view the Bible as 2 parts:

          Old Testament: growth, rising complexity
          New Testament: collapse, declining complexity

          Such dichotomy is really remarkable. I am curious if there is some other religion that encompasses this cycle in its entirity, i.e. the apostles left their families, which means that they rejected the population growth.

          • Except that Jesus’ message is a message that depends on relatively higher energy consumption per capita than in the Old Testament. The New Testament has references to a fair amount of goods available by long distance trade.

            The decline is really a future decline that is forecast. This is partly the fall of Rome. But it could also be a future collapse, as the world economy eventually overshoots its limits.

          • I have a sister, Lois Tverberg, who writes books on the Jewish context of Jesus. https://ourrabbijesus.com/books/

            I know that her book, “Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus,” has sold over 50,000 copies and has been translated into other languages. Her more recent books on this theme are “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus” and “Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus.”

            • Ed says:

              Yes, I have found the historic context very informative. John Dominic Crossan’s book are good, I reference one above, in moderation?

          • Nehemiah says:

            You have it backwards. The New Testament with its “good news” for all of mankind was written during Rome’s greatest era of prosperity. Judaism emerged when the Bronze Age was failing. Islam also began during a Dark Age.

        • MG says:

          In the competition of religions, the religion that is best adapted to the reality becomes the leader.

          That is why the too complex religions and the religions of growth become discredited today, as the growth means the fight for resources, i.e. we see various militant religions (movements) being popular, too.

          • Xabier says:

            Good point. Even shamans were seen as being practically useful by tribespeople – well-adapted to their context.

            Ironically, the social-support aspect of many religions has been negated by COVID restrictions on mass gatherings.

            • I think that social support is a major reason for the religions. People (especially women) need to have friends that they can get together with and share life’s ups and downs. Sometimes, their friends can help then see the silver lining in clouds.

        • Xabier says:

          The Egyptian myths, among others, indicate that the sciences, arts, agriculture and religion came to man ‘from the gods’ in one package.

          The link between religion and civilised life is therefore very intimate, and it can’t readily be dismissed as an embarrassing and primitive add-on.

          Not least, most of the ancient religions teach that the gods don’t really like human beings to murder or cheat one another – this was an advance, if you wish to have a complex society, on tribal practices, where murder was almost mandatory and tricks and cheating revered as being very clever if they enabled you to win.

          As one of the old Spanish pilgrim songs says:

          ‘Don’t cheat, steal and murder, because the Virgin Mary doesn’t like that sort of thing!’

  24. avocado says:

    There are four possible origins of the virus: Elders made, Chinese made, accidental, natural. The odds are that we must fight for liberty and the economy, knowing that there is a chance it can backlash

    • Bei Dawei says:

      It could be Chinese-made and yet an accident.

      If artificial / intentional, then there are upteen possible motivations for its release:

      To reduce the human population
      To strip Americans, Europeans, etc. of their liberties and habituate them to slavery
      To shame Trump and elect Biden
      To sell vaccines (non-poisonous)
      To reduce the elderly Chinese population (if done by China)
      To handicap China (if done by the CIA)
      To handicap every country except China (if done by China)

      Did I miss any?

      • Hide-away says:

        Never attribute to malice what can easily be explained by incompetence.

        • After the release from quarantine POTUS roughly alluded to your point at presses/msm interview, that he had the info on origins available, which could be revealed to public at some not so distant point. However, this story-scenario of [an accident at Chinese mil lab] could be as good as any other, since the sources and methods how the info was sourced and relayed through US gov branches will not be likely fully shared..

          If I recall some speculated (or was it genuine leak) earlier this year throughout the pandemic that the US sat supposedly noticed abrupt blackout of wireless services inside that Wuhan-lab cluster during the outbrake initiation, suggesting Chinese gov hard intervention-mopup at that place.

        • Country Joe says:

          That’s what all the malicious conspirators say.

    • Tim Groves says:

      There is a fourth possible origin for the virus: invented—as in either totally imaginary or so exaggerated in terms of its lethality that it might as well be classed as just another cold. It may not exist (despite the beautiful color charts describing its genomic evolution) or it may be a mild pathogen hyped up into a plague-like killer. I wouldn’t rule out either possibility just yet.

      • Ed says:

        here here!!!

      • Yep, that’s also a possibility. But that also open can of worms of many sub-scenarios how it actually played out…

        #1 China going bold and solo ala making their own version of “the 2001 thing” – front running the trends and events via instigation of shock and awe for both domestic and foreign audience

        #2 China dragged and pushed for going solo ala “the 2001 thing” – front running the trends and events, because some high level global negotiations how to “safely land” this surplus civilization ended inconclusively in ~2018-19 most likely on the grounds of unfavorable conditions offered on the table..

        #3 China just dropping the ball – victim of foreign sabotage, e.g. HK/TW nutter network helping to bring the “mild” virus into/near the mil lab and or some kind of related intentional deed perpetrated there..
        ..
        .

  25. avocado says:

    I am an atheist, pro choice reg. abortion and drugs, and rather anti racist, but if I was an American citizen I’d never vote for Biden (who is a hidden racist btw, just as Kamala)

    Gail perhaps you could find some inspiration for your writing here, while Israelis obviously talk about themselves

    https://www.jpost.com/opinion/hate-trump-understood-vote-for-him-anyway-645285

    • Interesting article! I agree that a person definitely has to ignore Trump’s style and look at how his policies have turned out. He has been very good at keeping us out of wars, and before the pandemic, the US economy was doing better than other countries, thanks to its growth in energy production.

      I will admit I personally have not always been very pro-Israel. It seems like Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has been terrible. But it seems like every US president is always very pro-Israel. There always seem to be some Evangelical Christians who are convinced that making certain of the continued existence of Israel is necessary for the second coming. I don’t have this view myself.

      From the view of the Israeli people, and keeping peace, what Trump has done has worked out well so far. It will be hard for Biden to do as well.

      • Oh dear says:

        Also the precondition of the ‘Antichrist’ foretold to reign from there – some pretty odd ‘Christians’ who think that they have a ‘mission’ to bring about the reign of the Antichrist. I wonder what Jesus would think about that and how that would ‘work out for them’ come judgement time. Satanists might think it their job, but ‘Christians’? USA ‘evangelicals’ are quite ‘potty’.

      • Denial says:

        Wait a minute are you know flipping and saying that fracking was profitable????? Without money printing and low interest loans?????? Hmmmm really contradicts your main thesis of burning more energy to get it out causing massive deflation!?!?

        • There are lots of ways the energy industry can benefit the United States, apart from profitability to the producers. Any type of energy production, even “renewables,” brings jobs. Both renewables and shale bring an excuse for more debt and for the sale of more shares of stock. Oil and gas from shale also bring additional energy through the pipelines. This energy is sold at below the cost to the producers (both for oil and gas from shale and for wind and solar), making these energy types appear inexpensive to the consumer. The consumer has the benefit of more finished goods and services available at a lower price. It is the added debt that hides the true cost.

          A major benefit of fracking is helping to keep the whole economic system going for a while longer. Having an excuse for more borrowing is important, among other things.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Right, without fracking, global oil production and consumption would be about where it was in 2006, or very close. There likely would have been little or no net global economic growth in the last 14 years.

            • Minority Of One says:

              I am not convinced that there has been any real economic growth the last 14 years – is economic growth dependent on debt real economic growth, or an illusion? Without creating huge amounts of debt many economies would have shrunk. This is debt that will never be repaid, and seems to be increasing exponentially. For all that some posters like to say governments can create all the debt they like, ad infinitum, at some point this will stop working.

            • ‘growth’ is not dependent on energy, it is entirely dependent on a surplus of energy

              we used ‘energy’ for millennia, only in the last 300 years have we had a vast surplus.

              the more surplus available, the more growth becomes possible.

              trouble is, humanity has been lulled into thinking that our ‘surplus’ is forever, when in fact that surplus is/was our gg grandchildrens future living. They will not sustain our lifestyle by using windmills.

              burning their surplus has been the ultimate larceny:

              https://extranewsfeed.com/the-life-i-stole-from-you-f609f8db6353

              It has not only burned the future, it has destroyed our ‘now’, through the double whammy of climate change and disease.

              For decades, we have made promises to ourselves that we will stop screwing our environment.

              Now the world has grown tired of our promises, and unleashed a virus that is doing it for us. The commercial world is being closed down in ways that no one foresaw.

    • Artleads says:

      I wouldn’t vote for Kamala myself. (She’s obviously stuck in there to take over as Biden fades away.) But she’s positioned to position the US favorably among two gigantic population blocks: Africa and India (comprising a quarter or so of the world’s population). But even so, it would require a level of pressure and organizing to keep her on a non-globalism course such as never before been seen.

  26. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Deep in the French countryside, pockets of anti-capitalists and environmentalists are preparing for the end of civilisation – or even humanity itself.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/11/humans-werent-always-here-we-could-disappear-meet-the-collapsologists

    • Dennis L. says:

      Thanks, Henry, read it, interesting.

      “Not for him salaried work, which he refers to as “five days of prostitution followed by two days of resuscitation”.

      In a lifetime or work, only had a salaried job maybe 4 years, rest self employed. It is great if you can do it, accounting a must, a salable skill a must, discipline, willingness to forgo many things in life. I would do it again, suits me, doesn’t suit most.

      We in the US have a President like that, he is difficult for many to understand, generates much anger. Truman I believe failed at business in Missouri or somewhere close, dropped two atomic bombs so that is something. An observation, not a conclusion.

      Dennis L.

      • Self employment is by far the best wayto go if you have saleable skill

      • Xabier says:

        Prostitutes sometimes, I believe, enjoy their tricks – office life was not like that for me!

        The misapplied and misdirected energy, the irrationalities and rituals, the politics, drove me nuts.

        Yes,it’s entirely temperamental: I’d rather hold up my own pathetically tattered standard and fall under it, than work for someone else.

  27. Dennis L. says:

    C-19, what to do according to experts:

    WHO now recommends NOT shutting down economies. To lock or not lock, that is the question.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/who-flip-flops-urges-world-leaders-stop-using-lockdowns-fight-covid-contagion

    From my personal experience and as an observer, bureaucrats want to avoid blame at all costs and do so by being part of the herd. This works as long as unique, one might say novel, situations do not arise, ie it has always been done this way.

    Guess: Many here think, know, a reduction in world population will occur secondary to available free energy. Might the reduction occur not because of intent but because of paralysis of the elites?

    Living in a medical city and still attending, albeit it via video now, medical meetings, it is amazing what modern medicine has accomplished, but it is still a bandaid on a problem. For some the body is covered with metaphorical bandages and patches and C-19 seems to be the straw the breaks the camel’s back. It is not malicious, many have run out of reserves or ways to patch things up. Nature bats last.

    Dennis L.

  28. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.abc15.com/news/state/report-arizona-covid-19-cases-fell-75-after-mask-mandates

    ‘Report: Arizona COVID-19 cases fell 75% after mask mandates’

    “A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says coronavirus cases in Arizona dropped 75% following the implementation of mask mandates.”

    So folks, the virus transmits via airborne droplets from one set of lungs to another, as at least the most common way to get Covid-19. Statistical proof in Arizona.

    • Xabier says:

      Interesting: but also those wearing masks are also not breathing it on things which are then touched, transferring to mouth, eyes and nose.

      The argument for masks is nonetheless very strong.

    • I am always hesitant to say that the answer is one thing, based on one example. If I look at three southern states with lots of air conditioning, (Arizona, Louisiana, and Florida), they all had peaks about the same time. Arizona arguably fell a little farther than the other two, but there is quite a bit of similarity.

      https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/arizona-louisiana-and-florida-new-covid-cases-per-million-through-oct.-10.png

      I am sure residents of all of the states wore some masks. How nursing home patients were cared for no doubt made a difference, as well as whether bars were open.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Even if the data is legit, correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Chrome, there is no such thing as “statistical proof”. Without a robust chain of causation you have only correlation, with the familiar “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy. And I doubt 75% of Arizona’s cases suddenly got better. I suspect the writers meant that *new* cases dropped 75%. But if they write that badly, how badly do they think?

  29. Harry McGibbs says:

    And closer to home:

    “Scotland’s whisky islands are dealing with a major Covid hangover…

    “.. it’s not looking like whisky tourism will be bouncing back any time soon in the islands.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/travel/amp/scotland-whisky-islands-covid/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2OTiEMTC5I7TY9aKebVQlkviEAnUQ2noYzZpORAaDBL-tVhSo5lRbAHDk

    • Specialization only works if an area is able to trade with others to get necessities. Islands are particularly vulnerable to cut-offs in demand. It is difficult to live on whiskey alone.

      • nikoB says:

        “It is DIFFICULT to live on whiskey alone.”

        sounds like a challenge many a Scot would be prepared to take 😉

  30. MM says:

    I must “thank” the authors here for posting a lot of stuff about countries in the world where upheaval is going on. Unfortunately for the poor souls we must consider that no governmet in the world can solve the problem of too little to go around as Gail names it.
    This is very sad because “we” at OWF see that although the IWF and others insist that printing money will ease all problems, this might not be the case as the economy is misunderstood as a financial system and not an energy/resources system as Tim Morgan says it.

    • The hope seems to be that if we print enough money, we can share what we have almost evenly. If things work out well, this sort of works, except that no one wants to work, if working has no reward over sitting around doing nothing.

      If people sit around doing nothing (because of shutdowns, for example and lack of reward for working), the total amount of goods and services drops precipitously. The price of commodities may indeed temporarily rise, if huge amounts of recently printed money are added to the system. International trade is likely to fall to zero about the same time, because of confusion regarding whether other currencies are worth anything at all.

      Without international trade, virtually nothing will be available locally. This is when starvation really begins. More fighting will begin as well.

      • We are all in this together. says:

        Maybe population decline is the plan.

        • Minority Of One says:

          It is difficult to see the madness of continued lockdowns etc. as wanting to achieve anything else. That seems to include us (the UK, USA etc).
          Fat lot of good independence will do Scotland – we’ll all be dead. Which will be fine as long as we can repopulate the wolves and lynx.

      • Nehemiah says:

        The money is being borrowed, not printed. That is why we have not developed runaway inflation in the last dozen years: because we have *not* printed money. I know we often hear QE described as “money printing,” but it just is not true except in a highly metaphorical sense. The money supply only grows when banks lend money (barring an act of Congress). Bank reserves do not circulate in the real economy.

  31. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The guardians of the global economy will gather this week under the cloud of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and a recovery dependent on scientists finding a coronavirus vaccine.

    “The International Monetary Fund and World Bank will hold their annual meetings, with both calling on the Group of 20 largest economies to extend a freeze in debt payments from the world’s poorest nations that’s set to expire at year end.

    “While the fund last month flagged a “small upward revision” to its 2020 growth forecast from its June outlook, it warned the rebound will be long and uneven.”

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/guardians-of-global-economy-to-meet-under-cloud-of-historic-recession/articleshow/78599067.cms

    • Solution to all debt problems: Simply move back the due date and suspend all required payments on all debt, “temporarily.” In fact, this seems to be needed on all debt everywhere. It also needs to be done on required lease payments, as well, since these folks can’t afford the payments either.

      Of course, if this approach is used indefinitely, the “value” of a bond as an asset goes to zero. In fact, the value of buildings tends to go to zero. No one will want to offer debt in the future.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Debt Jubilee by a different name?

        Dennis L.

        • Pretty much. I understand that the debt jubilees in the past didn’t really apply to all debt. It was more of a targeted debt fix on certain portions of debt.

          Of course, back then debt was not considered “an asset” that could be sliced and diced and resold. It also wasn’t used as an asset to back pension funds.

  32. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Vue is to shut a quarter of its UK cinemas midweek after seeking expert advice about surviving the crisis engulfing the industry.”

    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8826859/Vue-shut-quarter-UK-cinemas-midweek.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Investors who took a risk lending money to the world’s largest cinema operator in April are facing losses after the deepening coronavirus crisis wiped more than $175m from the value of the bond.”

      “AMC Entertainment, which runs AMC Theatres in the US and Odeon in the UK, has suffered severe strain as global lockdowns and social distancing measures have hit attendance at its cinemas.”

      https://www.ft.com/content/ad6caa58-1549-40b3-afba-ecc2a113408a

    • Do theater owners everywhere simply close their theaters? Also, with social distancing requirements, do those in the movie and television business simply stop making dramas? Do those who do stage plays simply stop their performances?

      At some point, it becomes impossible to reopen these industries. The physical structures have decayed. Those who made their livings doing these kinds of things have found themselves needing to find a different ways of making a living.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        Even before Covid-19 movie theaters were obsolete in my opinion. Going to the theater use to mean people sat down with their concession junk, watched a movie and maybe got up once to hit the can. Last time there with my wife all people do today is sit for 5 minutes then get up and go somewhere to do something, then return later for 5 minutes, rinse, repeat. I doubt most of them could recount a plot.

        So instead of movie going we got a satellite dish connected to various linked services including Amazon movies and tv shows on demand, most of which is free if you have amazon prime, a 65″ diagonal 4K HDTV Smart (meaning it has a button to link amazon and other options like youtube) TV and we’ve got theater experience right in our vaulted ceiling living room. We’re not around people that may be sick with flues or TB or Covid or anything else and we don’t have to keep moving so the same people can keep coming and going every 5 minutes.

        I even think sporting events are obsolete, because all people do now is look at their phones and the milling around is similar to a movie theater and that was before Covid-19 too. I would suspect people watching sports on tv mostly look at their phones.

        Imagine the suffering people will do if society collapses and there aren’t those phones anymore. They’ll be screaming their heads off for the rest of their lives.

  33. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As Thailand grapples with a nationwide student uprising and ongoing anti-government protests, school pupils have started to oppose what they see as harassment and authoritarianism by both their teachers and the military.”

    https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3104821/how-thailands-protests-have-emboldened-school-pupils-push-back

  34. Harry McGibbs says:

    Social cohesion fracturing amongst multiple fault lines, it seems, and this pandemic the joker in the pack.

    “Tens of thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in over 1,000 socially distanced gatherings throughout the country Saturday, the fourth such event since the government instituted a ban on mass protests as part of the national coronavirus lockdown.”

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/nationwide-protests-against-netanyahu-resume-in-hundreds-of-locations/

  35. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Chileans took to the streets of the capital, Santiago, for a third consecutive Friday, demonstrating against the government, inequality and police brutality as a postponed referendum on constitutional changes nears.”

    https://www.voanews.com/americas/chileans-protest-ahead-referendum-constitutional-changes

  36. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Turkey’s leading business groups urged Saudi Arabia on Saturday to take action to improve trade relations as Turkish firms encounter growing problems in doing business with the Gulf Arab state.
    Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over foreign policy and attitudes towards Islamist political groups.

    “The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 sharply escalated tensions.

    “For more than a year, some Saudi and Turkish traders have speculated that Saudi Arabia was enforcing an informal boycott of imports from Turkey.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-turkey-trade-idUKKBN26V0HN

  37. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Women are leading protests against gender violence and femicides this weekend in Guatemala, where the recent murder of a university student has sparked sorrow, outrage, and calls for action.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/10/i-am-tired-of-it-femicides-spark-outrage-across-guatemala

  38. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the U.S. dollar on Saturday as the economy reels under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. sanctions.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/iran-economy/irans-rial-hits-new-low-against-dollar-as-economy-reels-idUSL8N2H107Q

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Back in January, a yearlong campaign of US sanctions was taking its toll at Venezuela’s state-run oil company. Many of PDVSA’s overseas bank accounts had been frozen, hampering its ability to pay vendors on whom it relies to keep the nation’s crude flowing.

      “So the company leaned on a long-time client from Thailand, Tipco Asphalt, to blunt the impact: in exchange for discounts on oil, Tipco would pay PDVSA’s bills and deduct the amounts from what it owed the Venezuelan oil giant, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

      “PDVSA quickly took advantage of the arrangement. On January 10, the oil company sent Tipco executives 43 emails related to payment instructions, prompting a mild rebuke.

      ““Tipco is a PDVSA client, not the Venezuelan central bank,” commented Jean-Pierre Pastor, Tipco’s legal representative in Venezuela, in an email to PDVSA.”

      http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/business/20201011/dodge-sanctions-venezuela-turns-asia-asphalt-giant

  39. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The big surprise from this week’s Pew Research Center survey of 14 nations with advanced economies isn’t that negative views of China have reached historic highs in half of them…

    “No, the real surprise from the global poll is that the only country to score more unfavorably than China was—by a wide margin—the U.S.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2020-10-10/bloomberg-new-economy-u-s-beats-china-when-it-comes-to-global-disdain

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “While much of the world scrambles to prevent new coronavirus cases from stalling the fragile recovery from recession, China’s economy is hitting its stride again and will end the year more influential than ever…

      “While China’s recovery has been strong, there are challenges ahead. Like in other countries, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on China’s poor and rural populations.”

      [No mention of its vast and increasingly unstable mountain of debt.]

      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/10/economy/china-global-economy-intl-hnk/index.html

      • Xabier says:

        How back to front!

        Continued lock-downs imposed by governments are stalling recovery, not the spread of the virus – which it is accepted will become endemic even with vaccines.

        As a putative super power, China seems to have the weakest foundations of them all, except perhaps Nazi Germany which was just a very unstable empire of brute conquest.

    • I wonder if part of the reason why other advanced countries view the US so unfavorably is because of the picture main street media paints of what the “right policies are,” and how terribly Trump is doing in terms of meeting those goals. It is as if all of the news these folks are being given is being filtered through a very liberal view of what “right” is. Only the New York Times or Washington Post view, for example.

      Europe and Japan are desperately short of energy. They have concocted all kinds of ideals in terms of renewable energy. They have set forth the belief that it is quite possible to conquer COVID, and Trump is a failure not to have done so. They have a view of how a leader of a geographically small country might react to COVID, but they have no idea of how a country that is much more diverse would react to COVID and why this would need to be different.

      Of course, another part of the problem is the fact that the US has acted as “big brother” to Europe in the past. Now, as limits are reached, it is not really possible to do this. Trump has pulled back from wanting to pay a big share of NATO troops. Trump has started to put tariffs on some of Europe’s goods. This cannot be viewed favorably, either.

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    ‘Our worst nightmare’: will militias heed Trump’s call to watch the polls? With the US dangerously divided, experts fear the president’s remarks will inspire armed factions to show up at polling places…

    “FBI background checks – a direct indicator of gun sales – almost doubled year-on-year this summer, a reflection of the jitters that abound.”

  41. Oh dear says:

    Re: Scottish independence – three fresh polls

    The Sunday Times has published the results of a new Survation poll. It is the eighth consecutive poll this year to show majority support for Scottish independence.

    Strikingly, the poll finds that a third of Scots who voted to stay in the UK in the 2014 independence referendum no longer say that they would. A majority of Scots surveyed want another independence referendum and two-thirds expect ‘Yes’ to win.

    Meanwhile, Ballot Box Scotland reports a new ComRes poll that suggests a massive pro-independence majority of 25 seats at the May 2021 Holyrood elections, which will undeniably be a mandate for an independence referendum.

    The Daily Records reports a fresh Savanta poll that shows 53% support for Scottish independence – making nine polls in a row.

    Gail has explained the energetic basis of the move toward Scottish independence. Structures, be they cosmic, ecological, biological or social, increase in complexity in order to dissipate more energy; and social structures shed the complexity involved in centralisation, they devolve into simpler structures, in order to utilise less available energy. UK is ‘ahead of the curve’ in its devolution into its simpler, regional, dissipative parts, because UK is ahead of the curve in the decline of the consumption of energy per capita. The one is reflective of the other.

    > Unionists have lost a third of their support from the referendum, according to poll

    Almost a third of voters who opposed Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum have changed their mind and are either unsure or would vote “yes”, according to a new poll.

    The Survation survey of 2,093 adults also found a majority believe that Scots would vote for independence if a referendum were held today.

    The poll, for pro-independence campaign group Progress Scotland, found that 19% of “no” voters from 2014 now say they do not know how they would vote in a second referendum, while 13% now back independence. Of those who voted for independence, 8% would now vote against and 9% are unsure.

    Excluding voters who do not know how they would vote, the poll suggests 53% supported leaving the Union compared with 47% against.

    Of respondents with an opinion, 64% now think Scotland would become independent if a vote were to be held, which the group said was the highest proportion yet recorded on the issue.

    Meanwhile, if a majority of pro-independence MSPs are elected to Holyrood at next year’s election, more Scots believe this would be a mandate for another referendum.

    Of those who expressed an opinion, 56% would support another vote taking place against 44% who would be opposed.

    The poll was conducted between September 25 and October 5….

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/unionists-have-lost-a-third-of-their-support-from-the-referendum-according-to-poll-c38q3qg9d

    • Malcopian says:

      53%. There again we have a split that is very similar to the Brexit split. Division everywhere. I just wonder how a massive country like Russia holds together. It has Asiatic republics with unsavoury names like Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Kalmykia. If these were the names of food dishes or sandwiches, you definitely wouldn’t want them.

      When you see how the Azeris and the Armenians are at each other’s throats, we can be pleased that the good Aryan Russians are holding all those Asians in check, otherwise they would be chaos galore.

      • Xabier says:

        There are genuine movements of national liberation,which arise in reaction to real oppression, and which tend to get 95% + support, and mere nationalist/separatist agitation, which on the whole tends not have majority support as it is rooted in obsession, fanaticism and ideology more than a real need for liberty and self-respect.

        Same in Catalonia, the Basque County, etc – more or less equally divided,and very often even when people like the idea of independence, they will mistrust the fanatics who push hardest for it.

      • Oh dear says:

        “good Aryan Russians”

        M, it seems that the Slavs have been ‘elevated’ in the estimation of ‘Aryanists’ since WWII. The racial mythology tends to reflect the changing aspirations and strategies of ‘nationalists’. In reality, the Russia state is ‘Eurasian’ in its geopolitical orientation and it has no interest in an imagined ‘white nationalism’.

        Modern genetic anthropology has established that genomes in Europe are largely a three-way composition of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer ancestry, West Asian Neolithic ancestry and Bronze Age Steppe pastoralist ancestry. Russians also have Central Asian Finno-Ugric ancestry. That was all understood by physical anthropologists and archaeologists back in the 19 & 20 c.

        The introduction of the Indo-European (‘Aryan’) languages is generally attributed to the Bronze Age Yamnaya-like component from the Steppe, which has long been the dominant thesis. The introduction of the Neolithic and Bronze Age components corresponds with historical cultural shifts.

        The proportions of the three main ancestral components vary in Europe, with more Steppe ancestry in the north and more West Asian in the south. Even so, the English have more West Asian than Steppe ancestry. Over half of Norwegian ancestry is Bronze Age Yamnaya-like, while Spain is overwhelmingly of Neolithic West Asian ancestry, the highest levels bar Sardinia. Estonia has less Neolithic ancestry than others.

        As Gail has indicated, the human genome is in constant flux, which allows humans to adapt to new environmental and cultural situations. The gradual composition of genomes in Europe during past cultural transitions is interesting from an academic point of view but it does not tell us how humans will adapt in the future, apart from that adaptation tends to imply change.

        The bar chart below from Haak et al. 2015, the landmark genetic anthropology paper, shows ancestral components in modern and ancient European genomes. The population of Britain is mainly descended from the Bell Beaker culture, with complete population replacement 5 ky ago of a Sardinian-like Neolithic West Asian population by modern-like continental hybrids.

        https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/f6nxPcFTN4HebL08lbkSehgKYmcAA4kxBQnxUBK7VzYilHRR2S6DKPbAp6BS3UDJnWu9sCa0=w1920-h924-rw

    • Oh dear says:

      Fortunately Scotland functions according to established democratic procedures rather than on the personal whim of extreme Unionists who would want to keep Scotland captive against its will. Democracy is the way forward.

      • scotland will continue to make a living from oil revenues

        nobody’s told them that all they have left is cod liver oil

        • Oh dear says:

          An excellent source of Vitamin D.

          Energy decline is the principle reason why UK will devolve into regions. It has no replacement for North Sea oil and it is dependent on imports. Energy consumption per capita has been falling in UK for decades. The UK is a bourgeois construct from the imperialist period, it will not survive in new energetic conditions.

          In the meantime, many smaller EU countries have much higher GDP per capita than UK. 9 of the 10 poorest regions in northern Europe are in UK. Investment and development have been concentrated in London and the south for generations. An increasing majority of Scots fancy that they would do better in EU than UK and they are likely right.

          Times change and so do constitutional arrangements.

  42. avocado says:

    I don’t really get it. He was vaccinated, but anyway got infected and sick, and is also quarantined, but this is supposed to be a succes?

    https://tv6.news/joan-pons-the-spanish-volunteer-for-the-oxford-vaccine-positive-for-covid/

    • As I read the story, the volunteer doesn’t know whether he really got the vaccine, or whether he was in the control group. He seems to be hoping he is one of the people who got the vaccine and still got the virus. They are assuming that quite a few with the vaccine will catch COVID as well.

      • avocado says:

        According to another article, in Spanish, he was not in the control group (but it’s true he shouldn’t know it, in case it’s double blind). In this article it was said it was a good outcome he got the virus, even that he was selected because, working in the healthcare system, he was more likely to catch it, which was good for the experiment… It’s too much bizarre for me, I’ll rather stop researching about it

        • avocado says:

          Well, it looks like the guy is a complete moronee and he didn’t got he was in the control group (or that the vaccine is not working). Nevertheless, several sites repeated his story; more of this stupidities to come, I am affraid, it really looks like many people are desperated for a vaccine

        • We know that some people with the vaccine will still catch the virus.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Ditto for any vaccine. Vaccines don’t confer immunity on everyone, but they confer immunity on enough people (herd immunity) that breakouts never get started. (Many Amish communities still suffer major measles breakouts because the reject vaccinations, so no one should tell me that vaccines don’t work when administered near-universally.)

            Individual variability: when my first grade class got the smallpox shot, everyone had big bloody wounds on their shoulders that left lifetime scars–except me! I barely had any reaction. My wise fellow first graders told me it had not taken and that I needed another shot, but fast forward to 2001 and the bioterrorism scare post 9-11, and I read that, according to a small pox expert, it actually meant I had strong natural resistance. I probably would have been one of the survivors of an actual smallpox outbreak. Of course, we don’t worry about smallpox anymore, thank God, or the vaccine, which was one of the most dangerous,.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Do we know what precisely is in this vaccine?

        Some of these vaccines have ingredient lists that read like the witches’ chant in Macbeth.

        Round about the couldron go:
        In the poisones entrails throw.
        Toad,that under cold stone
        Days and nights has thirty-one
        Sweated venom sleeping got,
        Boil thou first in the charmed pot.
        Double,double toil and trouble;
        Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

        Fillet of a fenny snake,
        In the cauldron boil and bake;
        Eye of newt and toe of frog,
        Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
        Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,
        Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing.
        For charm of powerful trouble,
        Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
        Double,double toil and trouble;
        Fire burn and couldron bubble.

        Scale of dragon,tooth of wolf,
        Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf
        Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
        Root of hemlock digg’d in the dark,
        Liver of blaspheming Jew,
        Gall of goat, and slips of yew
        silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
        Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips,
        Finger of birth-strangled babe
        Ditch-deliver’d by the drab.
        Make the gruel thick and slab:
        Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
        For ingrediants of our cauldron.
        Double,double toil and trouble,
        Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    “On the same day the World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its fight against hunger, fresh numbers from the U.S. government showed that tighter crop supplies could worsen the food-inequality crisis that’s sweeping the globe.”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.uk.investing.com/news/commodities-news/us-crop-report-signals-worsening-global-foodinsecurity-crisis-2230139%3fampMode=1

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      ““UK wheat production slumped by 38pc to 10.1m tonnes after a year of extreme weather took its toll on the 2020 harvest, according to official estimates…

      “Some East Anglian cereal farmers reported their worst-ever harvests this year…”

      https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/farming/defra-publishes-estimate-for-2020-harvest-yields-1-6875085

      • Years with bad grain harvests have been a problem since the beginning of recorded history. This is a major reason for setting aside large reserves in silos, or for initiating trade with other countries.

        • Nehemiah says:

          There have been periods of history when poor harvests were a global problem, so I would go with silos and not just dependence on imports. In 2011, some countries banned grain exports, and hungry people in the Middle East launched the Arab Spring uprisings, probably not a coincidence. On average, historical grain prices have risen as sunspots declined, and declined as sunspots have increased over hundreds of years. Svensmark, Veizer, and Shaviv have a theory that explains this. For a full explanation, I recommend the book _The Chilling Stars_ by Svensmark and Calder. (Don’t bother looking to the IPCC for an explanation–they have none!)

      • Xabier says:

        And it may well be the same this coming year in East Anglia: the weather patterns of last year are repeating themselves here,so far, and rain may well disrupt winter planting as before.

        If there is then a drought….. Repeated downturns of 30-40% or so would have a serious cumulative effect, obviously.

        Another point is serious over-urbanisation, not a good idea in one of the ‘driest’ regions of the UK.

    • I looked at the FAO Food Price Index page. What I found was less scary than this report makes it sound like.

      This is the overall Food Price Index chart shown.

      http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/worldfood/images/home_graph_1_oct.jpg

      It is not very scary. The current value is higher than it has been, but there have been much higher amounts in 2017, 2018, 2019, and even in early 2020.

      If we look at prices by commodity, this is what we see:

      http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/worldfood/images/home_graph_2_oct.jpg

      Sugar prices are very low, just as energy prices in general are very low. Meat prices are relatively low as well. Both of these are more discretionary items. If people don’t have enough income, they will cut back on these. A cutback in international trade will tend to cut back on their prices. With less meat, the amount of grain needed internationally will tend to fall as well.

      • Meat price crashed chiefly as direct result of restaurant-hotels closure.. It was fine for a moment as luxury-specialty meat items (.it, .fr, .at) appeared on sale briefly as well, and ordinary meat is on regular-repeating sale often..

      • Jason says:

        I haven’t been recording the price of beef but it is much more expensive at the supermarket than a few years ago. Can you give a possible reason why this is contrary to the above information?

        • Nehemiah says:

          Your prices are going up because you are not buying direct from the farmer! I remember back in the 1970s Jimmy Carter called together the heads of the big food companies to ask them why consumers were paying more while farmers were getting less. He never did get a straight answer.

        • Lastcall says:

          There are so many barriers, and now, intermediaries, between producers and consumers.
          They create hurdles to entry for new suppliers; but all have noble intentions. Food safety, animal welfare, product quality….etc etc
          None of these come cheap as these consultants/regulators/inspectors all ‘wet their beak’.
          The ability to produce and/or access food from outside the Industrial Food Complex is disappearing fast. Overcrowded cities and body-corp rules are not conducive to the good life.

          • These “experts” tend to be high-paid as well. These are additional services that we all “want,” so I expect that these services are not considered part of inflation.

        • Bruce Steele says:

          Check out this USDA prices for pastured pork.
          https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/lsmnprpork.pdf
          Commodity prices are about $3.00 for cuts of meat. I raise pigs and my slaughter / cut price is now $500 per pig. Pigs eat about 10lbs.of grain for each pound of body weight. So my 250lb hog has over $300 in grain costs. Add in transportation costs, pig to slaughter, butcher, back home frozen, vets freezer costs ,etc. If I sold at commodity prices I would lose money on every pig I sold.
          There are very, very few slaughterhouse for small farm operators as a consequence of the inverted profit margins. I am still in business with direct marketing and high end pork but if anyone thinks meat is expensive when they are getting commodity pork they would really be shocked with what pasture raised , small farms, and USDA processing actually is costing farmers to produce.

          • Good point! The reason meat is cheap is because people are losing money raising pigs and other livestock. I suspect that sugar farmers are also losing money at the price it is selling for.

            With restaurants not operating at full capacity, less meat is sold. Also, poor people tend to eat smaller servings of meat, or eat foods made with vegetables and grain only–perhaps a little tofu or milk/cheese, depending on the place. Poor people cut back on restaurant meals as well.

          • Xabier says:

            People will spend a fortune on fashion, etc, but complain about the cost of food -when, as you say, it really is fairly cheap these days. Quite the wrong priorities!

          • Bruce, could you pls. roughly estimate what %% of diet source your pigs from the pasture in your particular operation? I guess this varies greatly, as some could be finished later towards the season even on semi forested kind of ground (nuts, roots, herbs, ..) etc.

            • Bruce Steele says:

              To be honest pastures turn to dry lots here in Calif. when the rain season ends but I have access to winter squash seconds from June to Dec. Squash seed is high in Lysine amino acid that makes the rolled barley more nutritious. So grass in spring , not very nutritious but the pigs like it, then squash, and some acorns until the grass comes up again. Squash provides about half their diet for seven months. Sows get extra protein while lactating, canned fish, sweet potatoes, macaroni. Rolled barley year round, $392 a ton.

  44. Tim Groves says:

    Here’s another take on “the authorities admit that the COV-19 virus is no worse than flu” issue that I expect Thierry Chassine among others will take strong exception to and respond by attempting to “kill” the messenger or at the very least attack their reputation and their competence to express an opinion on a matter that should be the preserve of the medical high priesthood.

    The World Health Organization has finally confirmed what we (and many experts and studies) have been saying for months – the coronavirus is no more deadly or dangerous than seasonal flu.

    The WHO’s top brass made this announcement during a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board on Monday October 5th, it’s just nobody seemed to really understand it.

    In fact, they didn’t seem to completely understand it themselves.

    At the session, Dr Michael Ryan, the WHO’s Head of Emergencies revealed that they believe roughly 10% of the world has been infected with Sars-Cov-2. This is their “best estimate”, and a huge increase over the number of officially recognised cases (around 35 million).

    Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, later confirmed the figure, stating it was based on the average results of all the broad seroprevalence studies done around the world.

    As much as the WHO were attempting to spin this as a bad thing – Dr Ryan even said it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.” – it’s actually good news. And confirms, once more, that the virus is nothing like as deadly as everyone predicted.

    The global population is roughly 7.8 billion people, if 10% have been infected that is 780 million cases. The global death toll currently attributed to Sars-Cov-2 infections is 1,061,539.

    That’s an infection fatality rate of roughly or 0.14%. Right in line with seasonal flu and the predictions of many experts from all around the world.

    https://off-guardian.org/2020/10/08/who-accidentally-confirms-covid-is-no-more-dangerous-than-flu/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=0a763856fe26786bccd0ae4d5c850b1a40330f8f-1602329565-0-AUaJi6FNMUmLzWq1u4RyC4Ij_QNogx8ZrwmtGJA9bqpzSjVC9MqhXSqZ7sytNziDj3frBDQ5Dph6-H6T6zSbjSTyZTWMtJMRPIRHeZloKB6puLURbc39cls0DwlTFBKuVjtQVhXJ9-ATDOxXUTtm2RzoXcvq7el5to50SGyihMWwbO0M4m0_951TNEf-DC8zsf3KWAg_oJmEx7jFXLAw5mMPfDxw_g1SRwabLEz1sOKevDEkNMYe6qjPCvQFGvewOLh4pxN5uZRqhu4014ta6E9BoqGWpsa5ZFrT79h-jJ3wClsrN6yxq-a7vYORi75Bzp1PyAUPvAHXvW7XCFPVZY8N_AIttFk20RhHRekO-kkKPZqYBv5S5jmye3P1oQMjBg

    • I agree that the infection fatality rate is a whole lot lower than was earlier reported. I expect that this calculation understates the infection fatality rate, but it is certainly much, much lower than reported. Even if it really is something like 0.6%, but mostly in the elderly, it would seem to be something that the world economy could live with, without lockdowns.

      • Jason says:

        We must not let Covid dominate our lives. Correction, we must not let the Media’s and the Government’s reaction dominate our lives. Oooh, that sounds reckless.

    • VFatalis says:

      Nobody is disputing the very low fatality rate. However Thierry raised a valid point. We still don’t know everything about long term implications the virus might have. Flu has been around for a much longer time. Using a bit of caution seem totally reasonable to me.

      Not that I care much for the long term anyway but if I can avoid catching the virus by following simple hygiene rules (no kisses, clean hands) I’d be stupid for not trying. No need to go overboard, just common sense.

      • Tim Groves says:

        No kisses? Clean hands? What kind of a life is that for a human being?

        https://i.pinimg.com/originals/00/5b/86/005b860b63496d5030d1b82ae0cb0605.jpg

      • Tim Groves says:

        I will be doing my best not to make any symbolic or ritual lifestyle changes to deal with the perceived Covid-19 threat. I will continue to wash my hands after taking a dump as a precaution against a whole slew of germs and parasitic infections that I could catch from wiping my bum.

        The Indians and other South Asians have the right idea here—using only the right hand to touch food and only the left to clean the lower body regions.

        Apart from that, I will keep taking 7000 IU of vitamin D3 daily throughout the autumn and winter months along with zinc, selenium and my other favorite supplements, get plenty of exercise, plenty of sleep and plenty of laughs, and I will avoid large gatherings and staying out in the cold or the rain for hours at a time.

        A Scottish friend told me an anecdote about Glasgow back in the 1940s and 50s, and perhaps earlier. The city had a GP system that was supplemented by a pool of reserve doctors who could be sent to the areas where they were needed on any particular day.

        The city was and is famous for the intense rivalry between its two most famous football clubs, Celtic and Rangers—a rivalry compounded by the fact that the supporters of Celtic were almost all Catholics and the supporters of Rangers were almost all Protestants. So attending an Old Firm derby was a powerful experience with a strong element of sectarianism or even tribalism to it.

        Most of the spectators were working class men who worked at manual or physical jobs and got their hands dirty. Most were also not very well nourished and therefore prone to catching colds in the damp cold Glasgow winters. On top of this, most would have been drinking before the afternoon game and waiting outside in the terraces, without the benefit of a roof over their heads, exposed to whatever the weather threw their way for several hours before and during the matches.

        Now we get to the really interesting bit. The health authorities noticed over the years that a lot of people would come down with colds or flu or worse following each Celtic-Rangers game, but they also noticed that the people getting sick tended to be disproportionately the supporters of the losing team. If your team won, you would be more likely to go out and celebrate by drinking with your mates and having a fine time, and not catch the sniffles. But if your team lost, you were more likely to lament, be miserable, and come down with a bad cold.

        Armed with their statistical knowledge, on Saturday evenings during the football season, the Glasgow health authority was able to predict where most doctor’s surgeries would be busy and allocate reserve doctors to Catholic or Protestant areas of the city accordingly, all based on the result of the afternoon’s derby.

        https://www.intosport.co.uk/user/acatalog/celtic-billymcneill-finalprint-PA519095.jpg

        • Xabier says:

          And of course they were all totally drunk, which rather disproves the medical warning against drinking any alcohol at all (disobeyed by most doctors it must be said.)

          Happy drunk skunks, hale and hearty. Depressed drink skunks, down with colds.

          • Xabier says:

            During the Peninsular War it was observed that on campaign -which meant a lot of exposure to the elements – those who abstained from alcohol -especially brandy – died at a higher rate than those who indulged.

            Brandy taken daily was in fact regarded as a medical treatment, rather like Churchill’s note from his doctor when he went to Prohibition America.

            So, with the serene smile of Enlightenment on our lips, Cheers!

    • Nehemiah says:

      The number is bogus, because “10%” is just a wild goose guess by a corrupt WHO. We have precise numbers for US medical professionals, mostly working age people, who contract covid. About 1 in 200 die. There is now a debate about just how many people may have pre-existing resistance to the disease, but I would prefer to err on the side of caution and be wrong than to err on the side of optimism and be wrong. Let us say that, if we just “let ‘er rip,” ultimately 50% of the population contracts covid. If 1 in 200 die (based on solid data in a first world country among people who best understand how to respond if they become infected), that would be 800,000 dead Americans in a fairly short time, but actually many more because we know the elderly will die in much larger numbers than the working age population. It seems rather callous just to write them all off unnecessarily.

      • avocado says:

        What do you mean with “write them all off UNNECESSARILY”? If I was a 70 years old, I’d prefer to get out, see and even hug my kid and die in case it’s God’s will and not remain a lone prisoner in my house/care house doing nothing, just to help government’s statistics

        • avocado says:

          Of course, If I was 70 years old and have to die in order for my son to get a job I would certainly do it, specially at this point of history

      • Actually, we don’t really know how many how many medical professionals contract COVID. There are likely a lot of medical professionals who had COVID without symptoms and without a test, so no one knows about them. If we added them to the base, a reasonable guess might be 1 in 300 or perhaps even 1 in 400 medical professionals who catch COVID die.

        As I explained elsewhere, there is a lot of loss of life from actions we might take to stop COVID. The fact that we can’t see them as directly doesn’t make them less real.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thank you, Gail, and I agree. It seems perhaps 25 at most of those infected have serious symptoms. But I suspect 80% of those under lockdown are experiencing severe stress: physical, emotional, financial, … In my view that is a truly absurd trade off.

  45. Tim Groves says:

    A new medical study indicates that TOILETS are a key mode of transmission of SARs-CoV-2. The alleged virus spreads predominantly through orofecal contact: hand –>flusher–>faucet–>door knob–>phone–>food–>mouth–>face. Masks and social distancing may be protecting us to a limited extent from a limited aerosol transmission risk. But unless we all start living like Howard Hughes, we will never be safe from the much greater orofecal transmission risk.

    Orofecal transmission occurs with a number of viruses. Enteroviruses, for example, are positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses and transmit through the intestine. They affect millions worldwide each year and can be found in respiratory secretions and the stool of infected persons. Over 90% of infected individuals with enteroviruses have no symptoms or have non-specific symptoms. Norovirus is largely spread by the orofecal route through person-to-person contact, contaminated food or water, or from the aerosolized vomit of an infected person. It often occurs among those living in close quarters and leads to outbreaks on cruise ships and healthcare facilities that often requires quarantining of the facilities. Transmission of norovirus, therefore, shares some similarities with SARs-CoV-2 including superspreading events.

    Mounting evidence suggests that superspreading events have driven many of the local epidemics. Subsequent to identifying the index case in a French holiday chalet, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 11 additional people [Danis K 2020]; a single case travelling on a bus and attending a mass gathering appeared to be responsible for infecting 25 individuals [Chen Y 2020]; and the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in South Korea was exacerbated by super spreading events in confined settings, including a hospital, a church and a gym. [Shim E 2020]

    Cluster sizes of more than 100 cases have been identified for hospitals, elderly care, worker dormitories, food processing plants, prisons, schools, shopping, religious events and ships. The vast majority of these were indoor settings.

    Some evidence suggests that close contact does not increase the risk of transmission. A convenience sample of 533 close contacts (404 actively monitored) of nine early travel-related cases in the United States identified two additional cases; both secondary cases were in spouses of travel-associated case-patients. [Burke 2020] No transmission was found among the 389 non-household contacts who completed active monitoring. For community contacts many reported having face-to-face contact (27/35; 77%) with the travel-associated case or spending time within 6 feet (34/38; 90%), and nearly all (43/45; 96%) could remember being in the same room as the travel-associated case-patient. Fewer (8/28; 29%) reported being within six feet of the patient while the patient was coughing. No community contacts were subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19.

    While most human Coronaviruses are considered not to transmit fecally this is not the case in animals. Feline coronavirus, for instance, is typically shed in feces of healthy cats and transmitted by the orofecal route to other cats.Pigs are also infected by the transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus via the fecal-oral route. Bat Coronavirus infects the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts of bats seemingly without causing disease. Transmission following exposure to camel feces has also been considered to be biologically plausible, although no evidence indicates whether this is possible.

    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/sars-cov-2-orofecal-transmission/

    • Robert Firth says:

      In other words, don’t use the toilet after a bat. Irrelevant joke:

      Doctor: I’m sorry, Madam, but your daughter has a social disease.
      Mother: That’s bad. Could she have caught it in a public toilet?
      Doctor: It’s possible, but it would be rather uncomfortable.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      So the moral of this story is: never flush a public toilet.

    • This is from an “Open Evidence Review” of existing reports regarding COVID transmission from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, published on July 16, 2020. It looks as the possible role of Orofecal Transmission–in other words, some of the virus from feces enter humans through the mouth. They conclude, “Overall the evidence is low to moderate quality.”

      Patients with digestive symptoms would seem to be the ones mostly likely infected in this manner. These patients seemed to be fairly common in China, but less common here, as I understand the situation.

      Some transmission may be possible this way, but chlorine in the water tends to kill the virus. It would seem to be at most a minor source of transmission, I would think.

      • When I checked to see, China uses only a tiny amount of chlorine in its tap water, far less than recommended and used elsewhere. This way, the delicate flavor of tea is not disturbed by the taste of chlorine. https://qz.com/619014/chinas-tap-water-could-be-a-major-breeding-ground-for-superbugs/

        I know from experience that China doesn’t normally stock its bathrooms with toilet paper or with soap. There is often a sign saying, “Please don’t put toilet paper in toilets.” Their sewage system cannot take it. In fact, surges of storm water can also lead to the sewage systems being overwhelmed. Many/(most people with high enough income) drink only boiled or bottled water because of the many water issues in China.

        • Nehemiah says:

          When Western researchers studied the diets and health of Chinese peasants in the 1970s, they found the peasants rarely suffered from the degenerative diseases we feared most in the West, but infectious disease from poor sanitation was common. The spread of sanitation and vaccination around the world is a mixed blessing. Far fewer children are dying in childhood, but mutational load is accumulating in the species. Eventually, if current practices continue, individually sub-lethal mutations will accumulate to the point that no amount of medical or sanitary intervention will prevent mass suffering and death. That was the primary threat that motivated the now derided eugenics movement. As the great geneticist William Hamilton pithily wrote in his magnum opus, _The Narrow Roads of Gene Land_, “The hospitals are coming.”

    • Yep, thanks for the details, -orofecal- lolz in fact I was suspecting that, and pulling Howard like precautions from the early months of the year as much as possible, people around thought I’m nuts..

      Not directly touching any public handles, buttons, and what have you, wearing protection.. The last time I’ve been to public or even office toilet several decades ago..
      Howard for the win!

  46. MG says:

    Why do the religions fail?

    It is the growth that makes the religions not attractive: as the population rises, the resources diminish. The answer is the atheism. The god, as the embodiment of growth, is unwanted. The words about loving other people can not be realized, as the individuals become poorer and poorer.

    That is why godless religions/philosophies like buddhism become more popular. The figure of the almighty god who is just and loving is a contradiction in such situation of depletion and scarcity. Why should you pray for something or other people when there is a surplus of population and if you have something more, the poor population will rob you?

    You have no energy to pray, just to meditate about the horrors that are happening around you.

    The idea of the sin makes sense only if it is implemented with all consequences, i.e. the acceptance of celibate or population reduction in the level of the individual people. The sin is to increase the population when the resources are diminishing and there is a rising poverty. However, the religions tend to manipulate this in a way that God can send you resources out of nothing, even if there is a growing mass of the poor. In such situation, the religions loose their credibility.

    The resurrection of Jesus Christ was witnessed by women, by men only subsequently, and the women tend to be more religious.

    The resource constraints need severe population control, otherwise war and epidemics collapse the system.

    • MG says:

      I would propose automatic population controls, when the population starts to plunge into poverty. It was the population control that saved China in the past. Are there any other solutions?

      The Chinese tried the horrible terror of Mao Tse-tung era and found the population control to be a solution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy

      “It was introduced in 1979 (after a decade-long two-child policy),[2] modified beginning in the mid 1980s to allow rural parents a second child if the first was a daughter, and then lasted three more decades before the government announced in late 2015 a reversion to a two-child limit.[3][4] The policy also allowed exceptions for some other groups, including ethnic minorities. Thus, the term “one-child policy” has been called a “misnomer”, because for nearly 30 of the 36 years that it existed (1979–2015), about half of all parents in China were allowed to have a second child.[5][6][7]”

      ” In 1980, the central government organized a meeting in Chengdu to discuss the speed and scope of one-child restrictions.[2]
      One participant at the Chengdu meeting had read two influential books about population concerns, The Limits to Growth and A Blueprint for Survival, while visiting Europe in 1979.”

      We know that the problems are much deeper, however, this can help dampen the big disasters.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Last year my son married his Chinese bride in Chengdu. In mt speech, I introduced his older sister, older brother, younger brother, and younger sister (that’s four different Chinese phrases). The unofficial feedback is that this was met with broad approval.

      • Nehemiah says:

        “It was the population control that saved China in the past.” — 2 points. First, Chinese fertility was already heading down. When I saw a graph, the adoption of the 1 child policy was virtually unnoticeable. And all of China’s neighbors had no difficulty getting fertility below replacement without adopting draconian policies.

        Second, when the 2 offspring per parent policy was implemented in multiple species under controlled, laboratory conditions, it *always* led to the extinction of the breeding population from the accumulation of many individually (but not cumulatively) sub-lethal mutations. To keep the population genetically sound over time, you have to allow reproductive competition and differential breeding success.

        • MG says:

          The population of the humans is different from the animals, as the human society is developed based on the one-time resources and otherwise often totally incapable individuals survive thanks to the e.g. robots and automation, technology based on the actual abundant energy etc. or some individuals, otherwise completely healthy, decide not to propagate.
          The scarcity in the past often promoted marriages between the relatives and the accumulation of the genetic mutations in the progenity.

          The humans act against the nature, as they create and maintain their own environment using additional energy.

          The natural selection does not work in humans, the humans tend to die out when the mutations are accumulated and the resource base is depleted, which leads to the collapse of their particular environment.

          The humans create higher and higher complexity using more and more energy creating newer and newer environments and causing irreparable pollution, environnental damage depleting the soil irreversibly.

          Definitely, the humans are not animals, which live in the natural environments.

        • Do you have any links about your second point? “To keep the population genetically sound over time, you have to allow reproductive competition and differential breeding success.” I would assume that it is true, but in the United States we try to save every baby, no matter what seems to be wrong: very low birth weight, cerebral palsy, blind, deaf, etc.

    • The religions we think of today had their origins when economies were growing. The ideas they promulgate are often the right ones when there are plenty of resources. Share with others makes sense, when there is more than enough to go around. Treat others as you would want to be treated is another one that doesn’t work well, when resources are inadequate.

      I agree that in some sense we need new religions now. Governments have tried to give us a new religion, in all of the absurd models put together by economists and by scientist studying energy problems. Just believe in what our modern wizards can do and the system will be saved. There is now no need for heaven to reward those who are good and a hell to punish those who are bad, to make up for earth’s deficiencies. ( I can sort of imagine a heaven might be possible, but not hell.)

      • MG says:

        The religions become too complex, too. E.g. judaism at the time of Jesus Christ was a very complex set of rules, prohibitions etc. When a simple religion comes, like the Christianity was at that time, it easily overcomes the old complex cult.

        It is also interesting that after the Jesus Christ, the judaism and the fall of Judea, the era of the philosophers came, i.e. the judaism lost its religious power, became more like a philosophy or a religion promising revival of the collapsed Jewish kingdom.

        Definitely, the religions that become too complex are destined to die.

        • Nehemiah says:

          Judaism: first, since the time of Christ, Judaism has become even more complex (as the tradition of the Pharisees continued to expand to form the full Talmud that exists today), yet this highly complex religion is thriving. The only drawback is that the “heavy yoke” (Jesus’s description) of detailed regulatory obligations make it hard to attract converts, but it also discourages free riders and has allowed Judaism to survive when some other faiths did not.

          Second, the desire of the Jews for a worldly messiah who would restore the Davidic kingdom was already strong in the time of Jesus. If you recall, Jesus lost most of his followers when he refused to transition to the revolutionary political movement they wanted, insisting instead that his kingdom was “not of this world.”

          • MG says:

            I agree with you that Judaism has become even more complex after Jesus Christ, that is why today’s Israel is an atheist state and the members of the conservative Judaism are a subsidized minority that is not liked by the atheist or other majority in Israel, with their high birth rate thanks to the state support and privileges.

      • MG says:

        It is the periodic simplification that keeps e.g. the Christianity alive: when the catholicism became too complicated, the simplified protestantism came, or when the protestantism becomes too complicated, some new sect arises…

        • Catholicism never really reached the northernmost tier of Europe, including my ancestors in Norway. Catholicism is strongest in the South of Europe and the areas settled by people from the South of Europe.

          • MG says:

            That is true: too much complexity can not survive under harsh conditions, i.e. the lack of energy.

          • MG says:

            The fasting is a complexity reduction, as some religious orders constitute complexity reduction within Catholic church: that is why religious orders can be successful also in the colder areas, where catholicism has problems to become rooted.

            The winter in the mild areas is also a complexity reduction: this probably greatly contributes to the success of the mild areas as regards the civilization progress, besides the additional energy.

            The periodic complexity reduction in the form of a crisis is inevitable, but today, we witness a deeper crises, which is not going to mean a restart soon, it is more like a prolonged continued depression, the Japanese way shrinkage of the first world.

          • Christopher says:

            “Catholicism never really reached the northernmost tier of Europe, including my ancestors in Norway.”

            I don’t know what you mean by this.

            I would say that the scandinavian countries where catholic for five centuries. The northernmost medieval cathedral in the world is the Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim. Bishops and monasteries connected scandinavia to the Vatican.

            • I expect you are right. Perhaps the Catholic Church got to Norway and was mostly displaced by the Lutheran Church, after the Reformation. Wikipedia claims that Norway is estimated to be 5% Catholic, 70% of whom were born abroad.

            • Nehemiah says:

              You are correct. The Scandinavians were RC for about 500 years before Luther and Calvin. If you look at the spread of Protestantism, it spread to areas that spoke a Germanic language (not Ireland, which had not yet adopted English at that time), and a few lands that were not Germanic speaking, but were under strong Germanic cultural influence–Finland and the Baltic states. A few German states stayed RC because that was the adopted rule: the people of a state would adopt the chosen faith of the ruler (this being before German unification).

            • MG says:

              The Medieval Ages were warmer, so when the colder times came, the simplified protestantism replaced too complex catholicism in the harsher environment.

        • MG says:

          When the accumulated matter outperforms the energy, the system collapses. It can be due to the lack of available energy, or too much matter, i.e. houses, cars that no one can afford or wants.

          The house or car is an asset when it serves its purpose, but when the car is stranded in a warehouse unsold or the houses are empty, the form a hindrance to the energy flows, a burden.

      • Nehemiah says:

        “The religions we think of today had their origins when economies were growing.” — Maybe if you think of the Methodists, Mormons, and Pentecostals as separate religions rather than sects of a broad religion. But if we look at Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, then Judaism was born (in the view of most historians and archaeologists) during the Dark Ages that ensued upon the collapse of the Bronze Age. Islam was born in the Dark Ages that followed the decline of the late antique Roman Empire. Christianity was born during a warm and prosperous era, but still an age of excruciatingly slow economic growth, and it rose to cultural and political preeminence during the Dark Ages.

        • I was under the impression that Hinduism, Judaism, Shintoism, and Buddhism started around the same time, very long ago. It was at the time language was getting better. Trade among countries seems to have started. The world was, in some sense, better off than it had been before, with the use of trade and the improving use of language, even if it wasn’t “growing” in the sense we use today. Metals were starting to be used. I was sort of lumping Judaism, Christianity and Islam together. I wasn’t thinking about the recent variations that you are talking about.

          • Nehemiah says:

            I suspect you are thinking about the rise of “Axial Age” religions, a theory of Karl Jaspers. Jaspers placed his Axial Age between 800 BC and AD 200. Many important religious and philosophical teachers appeared during this thousand year period, which most have included both ups and downs in the human condition.

            Let’s look at the four religions you mention. Judaism is the easiest to date. A strict reading of OT chronology puts its origin circa 1400 BC, but many archaeologists say the data better fit conditions of circa 1200 BC. Judaism underwent additional elaboration during the age of the prophets, and later during the exile and post-exilic period, and further elaboration in the rabbinic age that followed two failed revolts against the Romans.

            Hinduism: traditionally placed circa 2000 BC following the arrival of the Aryans, but the Aryans probably incorporated some earlier traditions from the Dravidians. Supposedly the oldest scriptures, the Vedas, go back to 3000 BC. The broad and variable religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent were only classified together under the umbrella term “Hinduism” with the arrival of the British colonizers.

            Buddhism: an offshoot of Hinduism started by Gautama Siddhartha called the Buddha. His dates are hotly debated. The books I read when I was young generally placed him in the 6th century BC, and probably dying in the early 5th century BC. I tried to google more precise dates, but apparently more recent research has moved him forward by about a century–late 5th to early 4th century BC.

            Shinto: a tough one. Buddhism arrived in Japan circa AD 550, and the term Jindo was coined to describe Japan’s uncodified pre-Buddhist spiritual traditions. Centuries later, attempts were made to turn Japan’s “Jindo” traditions into an organized and cohesive indigenous religion which was dubbed Shinto, apparently circa AD 1300, but some scholars prefer a somewhat later date for Shintoism as it is now understood.

            • Interesting! I remembered that someone had written a paper or book on this subject.

              There is obviously a lot of sharing of ideas among the religions of the world. Jews didn’t start out with an idea of hell, but eventually the idea got picked up somewhere along the line. The idea of sacrifices to gods seem to have been passed around, as well. The need to treat your neighbor well is another idea that seems to recur in multiple religions, as well.

      • Artleads says:

        WHY HEAVEN BUT NOT HELL?

    • Robert Firth says:

      MG, the resurrection was observed by one woman: Mary Magdalene. Who on finding the empty tomb said to a supposed gardener “They have taken my lord and I know not where they have laid him”. Which tells us two things: (a) she was indeed supposed to be Jesus wife, and (b) the whole scene is plagiarised from a Hellenistic romance novel. Perhaps an early version of the story of Chaereas and Callirhoe.

  47. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The resurgence of Covid-19 across Europe and elsewhere is sparking fears of a reversal in the global recovery over the winter. While fiscal policy will continue to do much of the heavy lifting, economic uncertainty is putting renewed pressure on central banks to act. Here’s what we expect from them over the coming months.”

    https://think.ing.com/articles/central-banks-whats-left-in-the-toolbox/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Covid-19 has pushed the global economy into the worst downturn since the Great Depression, says The Economist. During the 2008 crisis, real house prices fell by 10%, and similar pain was expected this time. Yet house prices in developed countries rose by 5% in the second quarter. In Germany, they were up by an annual 11% in August.

      “There are two main causes. Firstly, massive monetary stimulus from central banks has kept borrowing costs low… Secondly, governments have stepped in with massive fiscal support.”

      https://moneyweek.com/investments/property/602115/a-global-property-boom

      • Also, I would think, because there was a huge difference on how the shutdown affected the rich compared to the poor. The rich came out well. When they had to work at home, they discovered they needed more space. Commuting was no longer as important, so they could move to someplace more appropriate. The poor could never afford to purchase homes, even before COVID. They were suddenly worse off. But this didn’t affect home prices.

  48. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Turkey has once again raised the cost of borrowing by the back door as the lira sinks towards the threshold of 8 to the dollar. The lira has dropped 25 per cent this year and is already at record lows…

    ““[Authorities] are very worried about the lira,” said Paul McNamara, an emerging markets portfolio manager at GAM. “It’s finally beginning to register that they need to [further] tighten liquidity.””

    https://www.ft.com/content/5dab847f-4bc8-4127-b5ba-7025f7d1be60

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Why Turkey hired Syrians to fight for Azerbaijan…

      “…the ones fighting on Turkey’s behalf in Libya most likely are hardened militias who see Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s self-styled Sunni-power leader image as palatable, and do so in support of Ankara’s regional geopolitical manoeuvres, the ones in Azerbaijan, reportedly hired by private contractors, are those who suffer from economic destitution back home, and see this as merely a job that pays.”

      https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/why-turkey-hired-syrians-to-fight-for-azerbaijan/

      • Nehemiah says:

        “the ones in Azerbaijan…see this as merely a job that pays.”—So just like American soldiers. I remember when US soldiers were captured in Iraq and questioned about the ethics of the US invasions. The soldiers all replied, “I’m just doing my job. ” Washington found that embarrassing. That doesn’t mean they won’t be effective soldiers, though.

        • When I investigated World War I, I found that coal miners were easy to recruit because they were so poorly paid and their old job was so dangerous that joining the army seemed to be an improvement. IIRC, the government tried to put a stop to the coal miners leaving, because they were needed in the mines.

          • Nehemiah says:

            It has long been my opinion that coal miners and oil field workers are just as much national heroes as soldiers and mothers.

    • Tightening liquidity may help the lira, but it will make purchasing property and investment in businesses very expensive. We will see what happens.

  49. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.S. Shale Faces Another Year Of Contraction In 2021… – With Joe Biden leading in the polls, the odds of access to federal lands for U.S oil and gas producers getting curtailed now looks reasonably high.”

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Shale-Faces-Another-Year-Of-Contraction-In-2021.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Banks and other secured lenders hold greater portions of the debt that’s currently dragging oil and gas drillers into bankruptcy, which points to more contentious restructurings and asset sales as many of those lenders face significant losses, experts say.”

      https://www.law360.com/articles/1318528/oil-gas-bankruptcies-may-drag-as-secured-debt-swells

      • Back when more of the debt was held by bondholders, I expect that it was easier to get a delay in payback.

        Also, I remember that the sale of assets in the past often was for only a small share of the amount lent with the resource as collateral. This was not expected. People had expected energy prices to always rise.

    • oilprice.com is mostly “moreone” outfit, Biden (and that W) are very indu$try friendly in actuality (they are right wingers of centrist uniparty).. but even with that the resuscitation of US alt oil is not very likely at least on previously achieved scale..

    • With low oil prices, it is hard to see why lack of access to federal lands makes any difference.

  50. Harry McGibbs says:

    ““The crisis is worsening, and the airline industry’s very survival is at stake,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, president of the American Public Transportation Association…

    “Amtrak this month slashed operations and its workforce, furloughing 2,050 workers. The 11 percent reduction in its workforce came as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis, which has substantially cut into its revenue.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2020/10/09/incredible-whiplash-airline-workers-talk-crisis-transit-uncertainty-over-stimulus-persists/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “As the first chills of winter arrive, it’s increasingly clear that the global airline industry is as deep in the hole as it ever was… Airlines burned through $51 billion in the June quarter and will eat a further $77 billion in cash in the six months through December.”

      https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/the-worst-for-aviation-industry-is-probably-ahead-of-it-rather-than-behind-120101000101_1.html

    • Robert Firth says:

      “The crisis is worsening, and the airline industry’s very survival is at stake …”

      Paging Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin.

    • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

      OK, view from the front lines at a major Airport in South Florida.
      Slow time of the year, but very especially thin passengers overall.
      Our flights loads have increased, but then our flights we have are down. Going ahead with the layoffs and waiting to see if Congress will approve another lifeline to cancel them.
      This article from the Points Guy is troublesome, the bookings for the winter Season in November have NOT improved, even though the number of flights available are increased. Bad omen and the cash burn must be fast and furious.
      The virus coverage on mass media, I believe, will be a death blow to a number of Carriers, especially those with a big debt load to service.
      Likely, see a pseudo free market nationalization re-regulated airline Industry after a bankruptcy clearing of the books and labor union contracts.
      There’s an old joke in the airline industry that if a carrier can’t fill a plane over Thanksgiving, then they are doing something wrong.

      That may just be the case at American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines this Thanksgiving.

      New numbers from travel data firm OAG paint a harsh picture of the upcoming holiday. Bookings for November at American and United are at roughly a quarter of where they were at this time last year. And reservations at Delta Air Lines are at only 12% of 2019 levels.
      https://thepointsguy.com/news/thanksgiving-airlines-november-schedules-american-delta-united-southwest/

      And
      Airlines are still in trouble
      Look no further than the United States to see that airlines are still in trouble. After receiving billions in support in March and April, airlines have again turned to Congress in an attempt to secure more funding. Thus far, however, those bids have proven unsuccessful.

      Most carriers are still burning through significant amounts of cash. Just a few days ago, the IATA released an alarming statistic that, globally, airlines are burning through nearly $300,000 per minute. This will put cash burn globally in the second half of the year at a whopping $77 billion.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Harry,
        Please correct me if I am wrong, the airlines used almost the same amount of cash as they are requesting in aid to repurchase stocks, boost the stock. They traded equity for debt, too damn bad, go back to having company repurchase of stock illegal.

        Travel via plane for pleasure is most likely over, finish it. We all know growth is over, it will most likely not hit all segments at the same rate, air lines had poor management, they are toast no matter what. Trim overhead, get rid of the financial, genius, engineers. What a joke, those engineers couldn’t build a box with only four sides.

        Sorry about you, this sort of thing happens.

        Dennis L.

    • Public transport everywhere is likely to have a problem. Amtrak is only a small part of the US rail system, fortunately, but it is important in the US Northeast for people in the area between Boston and Washington.

      I wonder how Europe’s train system will fare. It will need even more public support than in the past, I would expect.

      City bus systems will have difficulty everywhere, I expect.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Amtrak is a joke. It boasts the heaviest and slowest “high speed train” in the world, built by its corrupt contractors. When I lived in Pittsburgh, my children would sometimes ride it to friends further east. If it arrived only three hours late, you were lucky. The railway station where I waited for them had parking for five cars. No more were needed.

      • Matteo says:

        right now there is no train connection left between Portugal and Spain, save for a regional train linking Galicia with a small northern Portuguese town called Vigo. Across Europe important night trains like the Paris-Milan-Venice Thello have been shut down.