2020: The Year Things Started Going Badly Wrong

How today’s energy problem is different from peak oil

Many people believe that the economy will start going badly wrong when we “run out of oil.” The problem we have today is indeed an energy problem, but it is a different energy problem. Let me explain it with an escalator analogy.

Figure 1. Holborn Tube Station Escalator. Photo by renaissancechambara, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The economy is like a down escalator that citizens of the world are trying to walk upward on. At first the downward motion of the escalator is almost imperceptible, but gradually it gets to be greater and greater. Eventually the downward motion becomes almost unbearable. Many citizens long to sit down and take a rest.

In fact, a break, like the pandemic, almost comes as a relief. There is suddenly a chance to take it easy; not drive to work; not visit relatives; not keep up appearances before friends. Government officials may not be unhappy either. There may have been demonstrations by groups asking for higher wages. Telling people to stay at home provides a convenient way to end these demonstrations and restore order.

But then, restarting doesn’t work. There are too many broken pieces of the economy. Too many bankrupt companies; too many unemployed people; too much debt that cannot be repaid. And, a virus that really doesn’t quite go away, leaving people worried and unwilling to attempt to resume normal activities.

Some might describe the energy story as a “diminishing returns” story, but it’s really broader than this. It’s a story of services that we expect to continue, but which cannot continue without much more energy investment. It is also a story of the loss of “economies of scale” that at one time helped propel the economy forward.

In this post, I will explain some of the issues I see affecting the economy today. They tend to push the economy down, like a down escalator. They also make economic growth more difficult.

[1] Many resources take an increasing amount of effort to obtain or extract, because we use the easiest to obtain first. Many people would call this a diminishing returns problem.

Let’s look at a few examples:

(a) Water. When there were just a relatively few humans on the earth, drinking water from a nearby stream was a reasonable approach. This is the approach used by animals; humans could use it as well. As the number of humans rose, we found we needed additional approaches to gather enough potable water: First shallow wells were dug. Then we found that we needed to dig deeper wells. We found that lake water could be used, but we needed to filter it and treat it first. In some places, now, we find that desalination is needed. In fact, after desalination, we need to put the correct minerals back into it and pump it to the destination where it is required.

All of these approaches can indeed be employed. In theory, we would never run out of water. The problem is that as we move up the chain of treatments, an increasing amount of energy of some kind needs to be used. At first, humans could use some of their spare time (and energy) to dig wells. As more advanced approaches were chosen, the need for supplemental energy besides human energy became greater. Each of us individually cannot produce the water we need; instead, we must directly, or indirectly, pay for this water. The fact that we have to pay for this water with part of our wages reduces the portion of our wages available for other goods.

(b) Metals. Whenever some group decides to mine a metal ore, the ore that is taken first tends to be easy to access ore of high quality, close to where it needs to be used. As the best mines get depleted, producers use lower-grade ores, transported over longer distances. The shift toward less optimal mines requires more energy. Some of this additional energy could be human energy, but some of the energy would be supplied by fossil fuels, operating machinery in order to supplement human labor. Supplemental energy needs become greater and greater as mines become increasingly depleted. As technology advances, energy needs become greater, because some of the high-tech devices require materials that can only be formed at very high temperatures.

(c) Wild Animals Including Fish. When pre-humans moved out of Africa, they killed off the largest game animals on every continent that they moved to. It was still possible to hunt wild game in these areas, but the animals were smaller. The return on the human labor invested was smaller. Now, most of the meat we eat is produced on farms. The same pattern exists in fishing. Most of the fish the world eats today is produced on fish farms. We now need entire industries to provide food that early humans could obtain themselves. These farms directly and indirectly consume fossil fuel energy. In fact, more energy is used as more animals/fish are produced.

(d) Fossil Fuels. We keep hearing about the possibility of “running out” of oil, but this is not really the issue with oil. In fact, it is not the issue with coal or natural gas, either. The issue is one of diminishing returns. There is (and always will be) what looks like plenty left. The problem is that the process of extraction consumes increasing amounts of resources as deeper, more complex oil or gas wells need to be drilled and as coal mines farther away from users of the coal are developed. Many people have jumped to the conclusion that this means that the price that buyers of fossil fuel will pay will rise. This isn’t really true. It means that the cost of production will rise, leading to lower profitability. The lower profitability is likely to be spread in many ways: lower taxes paid, cutbacks in wages and pension plans, and perhaps a sale to a new owner, at a lower price. Eventually, low energy prices will lead to production stopping. Without adequate fossil fuels, the whole economic system will be disrupted, and the result will be severe recession or depression. There are also likely to be many job losses.

In (a) through (d) above, we are seeing an increasing share of the output of the economy being used in inefficient ways: in creating deeper water wells and desalination plants; in drilling oil wells in more difficult locations; in extracting metal ores that are mostly waste products. The extent of this inefficiency tends to increase over time. This is what leads to the effect of an escalator descending faster and faster, just as we humans are trying to walk up it.

Humans work for wages, but they find that when they buy a box of corn flakes, very little of the price actually goes to the farmer growing the corn. Instead, all of the intermediate parts of the system are becoming overly large. The buyer cannot afford the end products, and the producer feels cheated by the low wholesale prices he is being paid. The system as a whole is pushed toward collapse.

[2] Increasing complexity can help maintain economic growth, but it too reaches diminishing returns.

Complexity takes many forms, including more hierarchical organization, more specialization, longer supply chains, and development of new technology. Complexity can indeed help maintain economic growth. For example, if water supply is intermittent, a country may choose to build a dam to control the flow of water and produce electricity. Complexity tends to reach diminishing returns, as noted by Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies. For example, economies build dams in the best locations first, and only later build them at less advantageous sites. These are a few other examples:

(a) Education. Teaching everyone to read and write has significant benefits because it allows the use of books and other written materials to disseminate information and knowledge. Teaching a few people advanced subjects has significant benefits as well. But after a certain point, the need for additional people to study a subject such as art history is low. A few people can teach the subject but doing more research on the subject probably won’t increase world GDP very much.

When we look at data from about 1970, we find that people with advanced education earned much higher incomes than those without advanced degrees. But as we add an increasing large share of people with these advanced degrees, jobs that really need these degrees are not as plentiful as the new graduates. Quite a few people with advanced degrees end up with low-paying jobs. The “return on investment” for higher education drops increasingly lower. Some students are not able to repay the debt that they took out in order to pay for their education.

(b) Medicines and Vaccines. Over the years, medicines and vaccines have been developed to treat many common illnesses and diseases. After a while, the easy-to-find medicines for the common unwanted conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammation) have already been found. There are medicines for rare diseases that haven’t been found, but these will never have very large total sales, discouraging investment. There are also conditions that are common in very poor countries. While expensive drugs could be developed for these conditions, it is likely that few people could afford these drugs, so this, too, becomes less attractive.

If research is to continue, it is important to keep expanding work on expensive new drugs, even if it means completely ignoring old inexpensive drugs that might work equally well. A cynical person might think that this is the reason why vitamin D and ivermectin are generally being ignored in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Without an expanding group of high-priced new drugs, it is hard to attract capital and young workers to the field.

(c) Automobile Efficiency. In the US, the big fuel efficiency change that took place was that which took place between 1975 and 1983, when a changeover was made to smaller, lighter vehicles, similar to ones that were already in use in Japan and Europe.

Figure 2. Estimated Real-World Fuel Economy, Horsepower, and Weight Since Model Year 1975, in a chart produced by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Source.

The increase in fuel efficiency between 2008 and 2019 (an 11 year period) was only 22%, compared to the 60% increase in fuel efficiency between 1975 and 1983 (an 8 year period). This is another example of diminishing returns to investment in complexity.

[3] Today’s citizens have never been told that many of the services we take for granted today, such as suppression of forest fires, are really services provided by fossil fuels.

In fact, the amount of energy required to provide these services rises each year. We expect these services to continue indefinitely, but we should be aware that they cannot continue very long, unless the energy available to the economy as a whole is rising very rapidly.

(a) Suppression of Forest Fires. Forest fires are part of nature. Many trees require fire for their seeds to germinate. Human neighbors of forests don’t like forest fires; they often encourage local authorities to put out any forest fire that starts. Such suppression allows an increasing amount of dry bush to build up. As a result, future fires spread more easily and grow larger.

At the same time, humans increasingly build homes in forested areas because of the pleasant scenery. As population expands and as fires spread more easily, forest fire suppression takes an increasing amount of resources, including fossil fuels to power helicopters used in the battles. If fossil fuels are not available, this type of service would need to stop. Trying to keep forest fires suppressed, assuming fossil fuels are available for this purpose, will take higher taxes, year after year. This is part of what makes it seem like we are trying to move our economy upward on a down escalator.

(b) Suppression of Illnesses. Illnesses are part of the cycle of nature; they disproportionately take out the old and the weak. Of course, we humans don’t really like this; the old and weak are our relatives and close friends. In fact, some of us may be old and weak.

In the last 100 years, researchers (using fossil fuels) have developed a large number of antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines to try to suppress illnesses. We find that microbes quickly mutate in new ways, defeating our attempts at suppression of illnesses. Thus, we have ever-more antibiotic resistant bacteria. The cost of today’s US healthcare system is very high, exceeding what many poor people can afford to pay. Introducing new vaccines results in an additional cost.

Closing down the system to try to stop a virus adds a huge new cost, which is disproportionately borne by the poor people of the world. If we throw more money/fossil fuels at the medical system, perhaps it can be made to work a little longer. No one tells us that disease suppression is a service of fossil fuels; if we have an increasing quantity of fossil fuels per capita, perhaps we can increase disease suppression services.

(c) Suppression of Weeds and Unwanted Insects. Researchers keep developing new chemical treatments (based on fossil fuels) to suppress weeds and unwanted insects. Unfortunately, the weeds and unwanted insects keep mutating in a way that makes the chemicals less effective. The easy solutions were found first; finding solutions that really work and don’t harm humans seems to be elusive. The early solutions were relatively cheap, but later ones have become increasingly expensive. This problem acts, in many ways, like diminishing returns.

(d) Recycling (and Indirectly, Return Transport of Empty Shipping Containers from Around the World). When oil prices are high, recycling of used items for their content makes sense, economically. When oil prices are low, recycling often requires a subsidy. This subsidy indirectly goes to pay for fossil fuels used to facilitate the recycling. Often this goes to pay for shipment to a country that will do the recycling.

When oil prices were high (prior to 2014), part of the revenue from recycling could be used to transport mixed waste products to China and India for recycling. With low oil prices, China and India have stopped accepting most recycling. Instead, it is necessary to find actual “goods” for the return voyage of a shipping container or, alternatively, pay to have the container sent back empty. Europe now seems to have a difficult time filling shipping containers for the return voyage to Asia. Because of this, the cost of obtaining shipping containers to ship goods to Europe seems to be escalating. This higher cost acts much like diminishing returns with respect to the transport of goods to Europe from Asia. This is yet another part of what is acting like a down escalator for the world economy.

[4] Another, ever higher cost is pollution control. This higher cost also exerts a downward effect on the world economy, because it acts like another intermediate cost.

As we burn increasing amounts of fossil fuels, increasing amounts of particulate matter need to be captured and disposed of. Capturing this material is only part of the problem; some of the waste material may be radioactive or may include mercury. Once the material is captured, it needs to be “locked up” in some way, so it doesn’t pollute the water and air. Whatever approach is used requires energy products of various kinds. In fact, the more fossil fuels that are burned, the bigger the waste disposal problem tends to be.

Burning more fossil fuels also leads to more CO2. Unfortunately, we don’t have suitable alternatives. Nuclear is probably as good as any, and it has serious safety issues. In my opinion, the view that intermittent wind and solar are a suitable replacement for fossil fuels represents wishful thinking. Wind and solar, because of their intermittency, can only partially replace the coal or natural gas burned to generate electricity. They cannot be relied upon for 24/7/365 generation. The unsubsidized cost of producing intermittent wind and solar energy needs to be compared to the price of coal and natural gas, not to wholesale electricity prices. There are a lot of apples to oranges comparisons being made.

[5] Among other things, the growth of the economy depends on “economies of scale” as the number of participants in the economy gradually grows. The response to COVID-19 has been extremely detrimental to economies of scale.

The economies of many countries changed dramatically, with the initial spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, we cannot expect these changes to be completely reversed anytime soon. Part of the reason is the new virus mutation from the UK that is now of concern. Another reason is that, even with the vaccine, no one really knows how long immunity will last. Until the virus is clearly gone, vestiges of the cutbacks are likely to remain in place.

In general, businesses do well financially as the number of buyers of the goods and services they provide rises. This happens because overhead costs, such as mortgage payments, can be spread over more buyers. The expertise of the business owners can also be used more widely.

One huge problem is the recent cutback in tourism, affecting almost every country in the world. This cutback affects both businesses directly related to tourism and businesses indirectly related to tourism, such as restaurants and hotels.

Another huge problem is social distancing rules that lead to office buildings and restaurants being used less intensively. Businesses find that they tend to have fewer customers, rather than more. Related businesses, such as taxis and dry cleaners, find that they also have fewer customers. Nursing homes and other care homes for the aged are seeing lower occupancy rates because no one wants to be locked up for months on end without being able to see other members of their family.

[6] With all of the difficulties listed in Items [1] though [5], debt based financing tends to work less and less well. Huge debt defaults can be expected to adversely affect banks, insurance companies and pension plans.

Many businesses are already near default on debt. These businesses cannot make a profit with a much reduced number of customers. If no change is possible, somehow this will need to flow through the system. Defaulting debt is likely to lead to failing banks and pension plans. In fact, governments that depend on taxes may also fail.

The shutdowns taken by economies earlier this year were very detrimental, both to businesses and to workers. A major solution to date has been to add more governmental debt to try to bail out citizens and businesses. This additional debt makes it even more difficult to maintain promised debt payments. This is yet another force making it difficult for economies to move up the growth escalator.

[7] The situation we are headed for looks much like the collapses of early civilizations.

With diminishing returns everywhere, and inadequate sources of very inexpensive energy to keep the system going, major parts of the world economic system appear headed for collapse. There doesn’t seem to be any way to keep the world economy growing rapidly enough to offset the down escalator effect.

Citizens have not been aware of how “close to the edge” we have been. Low energy prices have been deceptive, but this is what we should expect with collapse. (See, for example, Revelation 18: 11-13, telling about the lack of demand for goods of all kinds when ancient Babylon collapsed.) Low prices tend to keep fossil fuels in the ground. They also tend to discourage high-priced alternatives. Unfortunately, all the wishful thinking of the World Economic Forum and others advocating a Green New Deal does not change the reality of the situation.

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

2,805 Responses to 2020: The Year Things Started Going Badly Wrong

  1. Kowalainen says:

    That simple? Somehow I doubt that the Vikings were malnourished when they went out on their adventurism and cleaned the ranks of stagnated, overpopulated and poor British isles.

    Did they dehumanize the British population before boarding the ships, of course not. They wanted the loot and women and it was an easy picking. The other Viking tribes in Scandinavia were most likely their trading partners and equally vicious and in likelihood your buddies and relatives. Always, always take the fight elsewhere from your home turf.

    Then the church, with the promise of a glorious afterlife after being an useful serf, and sanctimony arrived together with royalty, agriculture and overpopulation (the cult of children). And here we are.

    Besides, what indications does it exist that starvation was a leading cause of death when we were fisher gatherers? I would guess that accidents and disease/illness/seasons/climate was the leading cause of death and not warring among tribes caused by resource constraints.

    Furthermore, there are ample evidence that the world is getting resource constrained due to oil being a finite resource. Do we seem to change our ways? Of course not, we go full bore towards the Seneca. Not a gene is switched on to “conservation mode”, or “time to cut back mode”. Nope.

    However, simple game theory states that it is a good idea to cooperate until you gotta compete. Then it is no holds barred. Yeah useless eatery, I’m looking at you.

    • Xabier says:

      The Vikings also raided and enslaved in Scandinavia, something often forgotten.

      Most of the warriors were young men who were given a sword by their father and told to go and earn their living with it as he had nothing else to give them.

      In other words, a mechanism to deal with excess population in a primitive society in rather poor agricultural lands.

      England was attractive due to its great wealth, developed agriculture and wool production; and it’s also worth recalling that Alfred the Great and his family did eventually beat the crap out of the Vikings. Not so weak at all!

      Similarly, William the Conqueror wanted England for its great wealth, no other reason.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Surely the piss poor Viking schmucks of Norway and Denmark went to the British isles and Iberia for the goddamn wool and grains. 🤪

        Of course not, the came for the trade, gold and the women, slaves too. The same old story. Wealthy guys, building big sticks (for the era) going out on international adventurism, wreaking havoc among the piss poor, decadent, stagnant and thoroughly corrupt remnants of the Roman Empire. Sounds familiar? East Asia anyone? Gunboat diplomacy of the era.

        It is an old tradition of Scandinavia to be kicked out of the house and to go make your own fortune, sword in hand. Prove yourself, there’s the British isles and Iberian peninsula. And off they went.

        After looting, raping and pillaging (ok, I know it’s a lot more nuanced than that) in the decadent ashes of the Roman Empire, they oared back to the poverty and walpurgis bonfires of the Taiga, ships loaded up with gold, women and slaves to replace for the fallen and then some, yup, that makes sense. No, it ain’t how shit works.

        Eventually, the Brits and Spaniards learned that’s the way to go and fought back, starting their own adventurism streak, but not before establishing trading routes with the Vikings, which sort of made the Viking adventurism moot, cooperation beats competition. Some people just gotta learn the hard way. You see, the current era story runs from the (north) east to the west, not the other way around. At least in Eurasia, starting with the wheel and lactose tolerance from the steppes.

        As a matter of irony, I’d bet that many of those Iberian and British “slaves” proved themselves in the Viking societies and actually went along in the future raids in their previous home lands. I can assure that they didn’t bring home the weaklings, rather those who fought valiantly or that had some skill. The brain drain of the era.

  2. JMS says:

    The Spanish health minister says that Spain will keep a record of those who refuse to be vaccinated against covid-19.
    IOW, refractories are going to be Stasi-like filled as “threats” to public security/health. Next, a health pass, of course will be implemented and the old liberal right of free circulation will cease for good.

    [Health minister Salvador Illa says] “a registry” will be carried out, which will also be shared “with other European partners” , with “those people who have been offered and have simply refused” vaccination.

    https://www.dinero.com/internacional/articulo/vacuna-contra-el-coronavirus-en-espana-registro-de-quienes-la-rechacen/310778

    • Xabier says:

      It’s beyond satire, isn’t it?

      Turned into lepers for declining to participate in a mass trial of untested treatments, the effects of which are, in every way, unknown and at this stage impossible to determine – and which might well create an enormous public health crisis of their own – but which they are calling our ‘light at the end of the tunnel, vaccine of hope’ etc, in ceaseless propaganda.

      • JMS says:

        In my country, on the contrary, and at least for now, the authorities say they are not thinking of keeping a record of people who refuse the vaccine. The Spanish state is obviously more advanced in the process of regimentation and control of their sheep.

        https://www.publico.pt/2020/12/29/sociedade/noticia/contrario-espanha-portugal-nao-tera-registo-pessoas-recusarem-vacina-covid19-1944534

        • The timing – sequencing is interesting.
          It seems by ~Q2 2021 they expect most of the medical staff at least around ~1st world countries to be vaccinated by then.

          This means in naive-delayed crash scenario, fully enforced vaccinations not on the agenda for at least 1/2 year or a bit longer.

          Or perhaps in more sinister plot preparing for the next stage impact..

          Btw there are braking msm news from around the globe about supposedly mishandling proper storage of vaccines in several places, sounds like an deliberate effort to placate / confuse over leaked reports on vaccines causing various negative / ill effects already..

  3. Mirror on the wall says:

    Time is ticking on Gibraltar. The Spanish want the UK to agree to Spanish control over the border and the airport on Gibraltar, otherwise they threaten to impose passport checks and lengthy queues. Gibraltans are in any case cut off from social security and the other benefits of the Brexit deal.

    Spain claims that the British colony is ‘illegal’ and it is merely tolerated for the time being. The intention is to incorporate Gibraltar into Spain and the Spanish managed to get the EU to cut Gibraltar out of the Brexit deal. They now seek to press that advantage to normalise Spanish control over Gibraltar and its borders.

    > Spain sets a 72-hour ultimatum in a bid to avoid a ‘hard Brexit’ in Gibraltar

    If there is no deal, she warned, people crossing the border would have to have their passports stamped when entering or leaving the territory. This would not include the 15,000 cross-border workers who are officially registered, and would just have to show an ID document such as the Spanish DNI. “On a smaller scale, one of the consequences could be that lines form similar to those that we have seen in Dover,” the minister admitted, in allusion to the thousands of trucks that were left stranded in the UK last week after France closed its borders due to the identification in the south of England of a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus.

    González Laya went on to point out that the residents of Gibraltar will not be subject to the personal benefits that the Brexit deal will include for other Britons. She cited the fact that The Rock would be left out of European air space, and that its inhabitants would no longer have access to the Spanish Social Security system, they would need a specific endorsement of their drivers license, and would have to pay an additional charge for their vehicle insurance.

    …. While the minister refused to reveal the sticking points for a deal, sources from her department denied that Spain was demanding the presence of Spanish police officers at Gibraltar airport, which was built on the isthmus occupied illegally by the United Kingdom, as some media outlets have suggested.

    The same sources stated that the negotiations are stuck on the same point as they were last week: for Spain to allow Frontex, the European border agency, to temporarily assume control of passengers in the Gibraltarian ports and airport, limiting the visibility of the Spanish authorities. Spain is insisting that Frontex should be accountable to and report to the Spanish authorities, given that it will be Spain who will be responsible to its EU partners that in Gibraltar there is observance of the rules covering Schengen….

    https://english.elpais.com/brexit/2020-12-29/spain-gives-a-72-hour-ultimatum-in-a-bid-to-avoid-a-hard-brexit-in-gibraltar.html

    • Glad that Spain is now showing some backbone to India-in-the-West.

      • neil says:

        Maybe they should get out of Morocco before they whinge about the British?

        • I haven’t been to Ceuta for 30 years, but taking a dozen steps from there into Morocco was a very unpleasant shock to the senses.

          I don’t think the Ceutans would be very pleased about it

    • Xabier says:

      Gibraltar sticks in the throat of nationalist Spaniards because it is a perpetual reminder of the weakness and decadence of Spain at the time it was finally won by the British grenadiers and the Royal Navy, and which has continued to this day: in other words a monument to being only a grade 3, semi-African, European state.

      There are some amusing videos about Franco’s sneaky attempts to help the Germans attack Gibraltar during WW2.

      The Germans got it right: when Franco sent a letter praising Hitler and specifying the colonial territories he wanted when Germany won, they simply sent an ‘Acknowledged and Filed’ letter in reply.

      When my cousin was a boy in the 197’s, at school they played ‘Nazis and Yanks’ rather than ‘Cowboys and Indians’. Everyone in his school -posh Catholic – wanted to be a Nazi…..

      • Franco was crafty. He did not want to attack it himself. However, it is time to evict the British from their intrusions around the world. They can keep St Helena to house the Royals when London is claimed by the Hindus.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Of course they did. The Roman church back then had a great tradition of inspiring music, and the Nazi songs were far better than those of the US.

        • Kowalainen says:

          A bit of Catholic Church 💕 making with the nazis didn’t hurt either. The lebensraum project is alive and well in the EU.

          Time to finish it off once and for all. Let the North Central European axis of evil burn. Don’t forget to bring the salt.

  4. Mirror on the wall says:

    The EU appears to have told Biden to go do one. It has cleared the way for an imminent deal with China. USA wanted EU to put the brakes on and to consult USA about USA geopolitical interests and strategy toward China, but EU has prioritised the deal quick.

    EU and USA each have interests in cooperation with China, while USA is concerned about the relative decline of its own prosperity and influence. USA wants to keep EU within USA hegemony to the benefit of USA and to the detriment of China. EU wants its own deals, the same as USA wants its deals. Biden is having a jest – the new court jester.

    > EU and China poised to agree investment pact

    Formal announcement expected following ‘positive developments’ on labour standards

    The EU and China are close to reaching a long-awaited business investment deal as Brussels seeks to level the playing field for European companies operating in the Chinese market. 

    During a meeting with national ambassadors in Brussels on Monday, the European Commission reported progress on talks with Beijing, including on the core remaining issue of workers’ rights in China. No objections were raised and a formal announcement by the commission that the deal has been reached is expected this week, according to EU diplomats.

    “The commission reported on recent positive developments in the negotiations with China including on labour standards,” said one EU diplomat. “Ambassadors broadly welcomed the latest progress in the EU-China talks.”

    “The [European] Council presidency concluded at the end of the meeting that no delegation had raised a stop sign and that the way for a political endorsement was thus cleared,” the diplomat added.

    The EU, which has been racing to meet an end of year deadline for the deal, has seen the talks as a core part of its strategy for managing increasingly tense trade relations with China, which it has identified as an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival”.

    The pact is designed to remove barriers to investment in China such as joint-venture requirements and caps on foreign equity in certain industries. Sectors set to be covered include manufacturing, financial services, real estate, environmental services, construction and auxiliary services to support shipping and air transport. 

    For China, the deal is set to lock in existing market-access rights while offering some investment possibilities in renewable energies. 

    But the agreement is expected to cause frictions with the incoming administration of US president-elect Joe Biden.

    The new US administration would “welcome early consultations with our European partners on our common concerns about China’s economic practices”, Jake Sullivan, who will serve as Mr Biden’s national security adviser, wrote on Twitter last week.

    The deal would come less than a month after the EU published a transatlantic strategy in which it urged the US to work with it to meet the “strategic challenge” posed by China.

    The Biden team has made clear that it will seek to build a multilateral alliance with the EU and other partners to put pressure on Beijing over practices, such as industrial subsidies and forced technology transfer, that have strained the global system of rules-based trade. 

    EU officials have said that the deal will level the playing field with the US, which has secured some of the same benefits through its “Phase 1” trade deal with China….

    https://www.ft.com/content/097b44e6-c788-45d0-b85b-4302b99e553e

  5. Recently on TV / YT (deGrowth, Great Reset, Instadoom, ..):

    – “Why Cheap cars are disappearing” CNBC
    – “China to introduce overeating fines” SkyNews
    – various takes on “bread lines” and wave of small biz bankruptcies
    now in FR, UK, IT, Spain, .. by F24, DW, BBC, ..

    • Xabier says:

      Yes, the Youtube reports on the sudden expansion of poverty in the EU, the effect of sudden small business collapse are well worth looking at.

      Nothing to bureaucrats and politicians, academics, of course, who have no idea of the effort required to set up such ‘non-essential’ enterprises and who have insulated incomes and cannot lose their homes. Such parasites.

      I’ve been watching the owner of a one-man coffee bar in a sidestreet here to survive through all the insane lock-downs, ‘take-away only’ rules, etc. He’s got guts, and I do hope he makes it.

      • A random shooting from a driving car is a good way to end such practices.

        All the small business are set to perish.

        • Xabier says:

          Lock-downs are a kind of drive-by shooting, judging by their effects….

        • Robert Firth says:

          kulm…, that is old technology. A skitterbot drone the size of a cockroach can contain enough nerve gas to kill 100 people. How will the elites defend against that? Asymmetric warfare is overwhelmingly on the side of the common man, and against the elites.

          “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny;
          when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
          – Thomas Jefferson

    • Kowalainen says:

      Told ya so, the mass produced cheap jank is going the way of the dodo, while productive gear takes its place. Soon every back yard shed of the artisanry will sport a competent CNC rig. Cant go core/pheripery topology without distributing out some goodie bits among the perarls of the holy trinity of IC (owners, artisanry and the MIC). It has been ongoing for some time now with the maker, retro and restoration scene going nuts on YT. Sewing machines for clothes and shoes next up for a boon. Watch that too explode.

      Orders arrive on the cloud (Amazon, etc), stuff gets produced and shipped by rail, sea and air to wherever and whatever is being built. Could be some local business or global behemoth needing some stuff for god knows what, an airplane wing part or whatever.

      Ultra specialized gear and production capability, such as the latest semiconductor nodes, will remain centralized in the core due to their rather large complexity, size, and capital requirements.

      China is in for some hurt if they can’t sniff out what is going on. I expect a reversed China firewall anytime soon. “Clean cables”, anyone? 🤣👍

      • Lidia17 says:

        High-tech “artisanry” in the hinterlands is going to be a challenge, what with intermittent power outages, iffy internet connections, increasingly poor road maintenance, etc.

        An airplane wing part? Really?

        Plus, you can’t 3D-print a steak or a wheel of cheese.

        ===
        Perhaps you haven’t noticed (but I have) lots of problems with shipping of all kinds lately, across carriers. Things that used to take days now take weeks.

  6. MG says:

    Another law regarding energy and population: When the energy supply falls, the predators change into zombies

  7. Denial says:

    I believe the next play will be that now that COVID is gone everyone can go about spending all that pent up energy…..travel, travel……eat out..entertainment etc…the economy is doing great! Look at the stock market etc.they will feed us that from april of this year through the summer.. Jeff Snider said it perfect…

  8. Strange days..

    Dr. Tim at Surplus in the just released latest piece for 2020 either went mad or de-cloaked.
    Bizarre talk about ~honest gov mistakes~ (mad), and corralling for inquiry the gov level only (de-cloaked in pretending higher power or parallel structures don’t exist). Who am I to judge, perhaps just a result of lots of stress put on Britons in recent weeks..

    Btw. he predicted correctly the service sector and airlines bust in ~1/2020, i.e. prior the full panic..

    • Britain is just paying for creating wars for centuries, messing up European unity and creating a bunch of failed states in central europe whose viability after USA washes its hands are not too great.

      • Kowalainen says:

        I’m waiting for the Swedes to start paying. Oh yes, the time is due.

      • Robert Firth says:

        That wasn’t Britain: it was the abominable Woodrow Wilson, who parleyed an incompetent army the size of Romania’s into a licence to redraw the map of Central and Eastern Europe. Our shame was that we let him do it. Our price was the surrender of the German Navy, which was blind stupid since much of it was obsolete and they went on to build a far better one.

      • I tried to be still a bit polite, hence the hint of over stressed out British people these days, because the article made the impression the (otherwise insightful) author got very unhinged on a dime for no good reason.

        In terms of yours off topic, yes the CEE region shows perennial signs of pathetic reversals or lapses to mediocrity. For one thing look at the weather map, geo map and history books, that sums it all up.

        In that secluded region of the middle you have to acquire certain minimal efficiency of scale otherwise it doesn’t work mid / longer term vs the RoEurope or RoW at all. Therefore the Prussian and Hapsburg “Empires” had to evolve up from regional kingdoms and fiefdoms more or less how they did, and also dissolve down (incl. today’s smaller placeholders not mentioning the pathetic EU construct) as they eventually would again. And it will be likely a better world, even with more toll booths and borders set in way shorter distances apart various mini state entities. And IF there will be some “agrarian” rebound in future centuries, there will be attempts to build it up together into somewhat larger state units again.

        • Addendum: If not highlighted – explained enough above, in low energy throughput economies of the future you don’t have to necessarily and directly compete or commingle with the RoEurope or RoW non sense (influence), hence WAY smaller state entities like regional kingdoms and duchies say on the scale of Bavaria are “big enough” for carrying on the fire via local govs, biz, and culture.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Yep, it’s all process. Perhaps inevitable given the rapacious primate psychosocial condition, the cycle of the Yugas, pure, sane, a bit wicked, outright loonie, crash and burn, rebirth… Rinse and repeat.

            Genetic and spiritual cruft accumulating in the foot steps of prosperity, getting cleaned out and back into the merry go around.

            Metamorphosis.

        • CEE will be reunified into an empire of sorts. The balkans will be Italy’s problem as it reunites Illyria.

    • Dr. Tim Morgan’s latest post is #187. A new kind of New Year: Near-term between and the bigger wager. It says:

      Governments and central banks will continue to be persuaded that the “fix” for a struggling economy is, ‘always and everywhere’, ever-cheaper credit and ever-more stimulus. When pandemic-related bills for stimulus, deferred debt service and rents turn up, they will feel obligated to step in. They will – mistakenly, but in good faith – proclaim ultra-low bond yields as evidence for the view that government indebtedness can continue to expand almost indefinitely.

      It’s probable, too, that they will continue to ignore the fact that – in asset prices – hazardous inflation has already arrived. Again, current incumbents of office cannot be blamed for a historic convention which decrees that, whilst rising food prices are evidence of inflation, rising stock or property prices are not. Logic may tell us that neither high house prices nor low wages are economically beneficial, but both fallacies are deeply embedded in established (though mistaken) lines of thinking.

      From this same logical point of view, it might seem perfectly obvious to you and I that the current uneasy economic situation can end in only one of two ways. If we’re right about deteriorating prosperity, the authorities have to either (a) recognize this, and respond accordingly, or (b) keep pulling the fiscal and monetary levers to and beyond the point of fiat credibility.

      Clearly, a big debt bubble is holding up asset prices. Wages of most workers are low, leading to low commodity prices. This is happening because the debt bubble is not really getting back to the buying power of the common worker. In fact, an increasing number of common workers are being laid off from work.

      I don’t know that governments and banks have a whole lot more tools in the tool chest then adding more debt through fiscal and monetary policy.

      I cannot quite imagine what Dr. Tim has in mind by suggesting that one option is to ” recognize this [deteriorating prosperity], and respond accordingly.” Would this mean writing down asset prices, even without a debt bubble crash?

      The debt bubble is clearly going to end badly. I cannot imaging a government pulling the lever ahead of time.

      • SoSorry says:

        Can the majority of senate and congress even conceive of a reality where they cant print and its worth something? Copper prices through the roof, Afraid doc copper prescribing something other than a boom.

        If they came to their senses it would have to be now. Not going to happen. They will go all the way into the trap.

        Could it be they really had no clue? Just lock down and print for every business individual corporation city and state? If we wernt 26 trillion in debt it might even work.

        No clue. I think thats the truth. The swamp. Its own world.

        Yes end badly. With no organic economy. No unity. Its going to get interesting. I dont think the senate dare not pass the 2000 cash cow bill. and in march…Rinse and repeat… Or

        War. What else? Say whoops? Swamp doesnt do whoops. They got their story and their sticking to it.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Gail,

        Absolutely no sarcasm, criticism, etc. intended. Do we go long or short bond prices? Do we borrow long or short? I am borrowing medium, trying to extend to long term, guess is fiat money will be the easy way out, horrible inflation, no moral judgment. I think most of those involved in making decisions are trying to make it another day, keep the wife happy, again no sarcasm, what takes to be a man.

        Again lazy, assuming inflation, what are some scenarios for its end in the US?

        Dennis L.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The stuff you take for granted will be inaccessible. Priceless. Inflation 2.0, money being worthless.

        • Dennis, I gather – hope you are gambling with set aside pot of money only at this peculiar “high hour” .. Chances are better to spend it asap ~frivolously on personal & family needs and interests, while there is still anything left around to purchase.

          As Kowalainen already hinted you seem to assume seemingly lasting financial things and relationships of which there is no rational control and guarantee at least for us low/er caste humanoids from now on.

          Even the optimistic future scenario in general deGrowth / Collapse trajectory (*quasi BAU) would most likely last for very limited time span anyway (~5-20yrs), and will be based on some sort of IMF/WB digital money ledger and its regional-local derivatives.. It’s doubtful lower caste peoplez to be allowed transferring today’s funds 1:1 across these “event horizons”..
          So why bother.

          Obviously, the alt scenario of imminent disorderly collapse (global and local elites not in cooperative sync) is also possible to occur soon enough, but given today’s overall social conformity it’s not on the table for now, as long as some sort of make believe Green or desperate Brown New Deal could be commanded around first.


          *quasi BAU – meaning time period – temporary lower/ed plateau or managed descent in which certain parts of the world still enjoy several features of industrialized society, however under profoundly curbed individual consumption vs the world known prior 2008//2020 thresholds..

        • I think you “Spend now, not later.” Our problem will be nothing to buy with the bonds. In fact, except for the government support (as long as it lasts), the bonds are likely to be worthless (or “worth less”). We aren’t sure whether this looks like inflation in the price of what little is available, or that we no longer can withdraw funds from our bank accounts. The money is, in theory, there, we just cannot access it.

          Regarding “Spend now, not later,” our problem will be a worse version of the empty shelf problem. Now, we cannot buy foreign vacations, but many of us can still buy local vacations. Some hardware and grocery items are hard to find. This will only get worse. The variety of choices will fall, too. Cars will be available, for example, but some colors and options may be discontinued. Some manufacturing may stop completely, because of broken supply lines.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “Cars will be available, for example, but some colors and options may be discontinued. Some manufacturing may stop completely, because of broken supply lines.”

            That happened to the Ford Bronco. There were a lot of people who wanted one. They have been told they are going to have to wait because of broken supply chains. Most of them seem willing to wait for several months to a year.

      • richarda says:

        Thanks for that perspective Gail.
        I’ll add a reminder of something from 2008/2009. US Treasury Secretary Paulson allegedly blackmailed a closed session of Congress by saying that if the stimulus bill was not passed, then Martial Law would inevitably follow.

        • I hadn’t heard that “US Treasury Secretary Paulson allegedly blackmailed a closed session of Congress by saying that if the stimulus bill was not passed, then Martial Law would inevitably follow.”

          I can understand that concern, both back then and now.

      • houtskool says:

        Maybe he’s trying to pull Leonardo’s finger. 😁

    • Oh says:

      He seems to believe some couple dozen people on the internet – himself included – are the only people in the world who knows about the ‘Energy Question’.
      For him, it seems impossible that the elites are coordinated, or that they know about this stuff (even though they’re the ones supplying data), or that they’re even doing something about it.

      For him, maybe, the “Elites” are what they say on TV, what they tell people – that’s the truth of their intentions and their knowledge, they couldn’t possibly be hiding things, or lying.

      • Exactly, in the same vein that “2001 thing” had nothing to do with anything – especially not with panicking oil industry insiders – policy makers about looming US – world’s second peak (deep offshore), and soon followed by Iraq-Libya flirting with EUR for oil (and general “EuroAsian” threat) to be “liberated” just on time for the sake of it.. etc.

        And the 2020 gov escapades no need to recapitulate..

        • Dave Gutknecht says:

          Also, seldom noticed is that that “2001 thing” also was used to obtain a sympathetic vote with the US to admit China to the WTO — after years of defeat on this — remarkably, on a day when most air traffic was still grounded: September 13, 2001.

          • 2001 was clearly when oil prices were too low for producers, and this condition had gone on for a very long time. The low oil prices were pushing the oil industry toward collapse. Adding China to the World Trade Organization “fixed” this in a major way. I hadn’t connected this with the September 1, 2001 event, however.

            The other thing that helped pull prices up was the big subprime debt bubble in the US. Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates. There was also great concern (and perhaps laws) encouraging “no redlining” of potential buyers because of race, or lack of downpayment, or poor credit history.

            • MM says:

              There is a german/austrian school of economics that the capitalist system seeks to add “Back debtors” (dunno if translated right). The debt bubble mirrors the asset bubble and bowth have to be blown. The processes you describe with the WTO and the oil expansion is also the story of adding ever mor debtors. The Debtor with a job is a worker, the debtor without a job is a slave. well, let’s see where we go from here…

    • Xabier says:

      Tim Morgan seems to have a bit of a blind spot on certain aspects of human nature, as seen magnified in the behaviour of governments, informal and formal associations of the powerful, etc: probably because he seems to be a rather decent human being of a particularly English kind, almost unable to recognise evil.

      • My impression is that Dr. Tim Morgan is sort of “off by himself” in terms of his theories. The very first thing he says about himself on his “about” page is that he is “former head of research at Tullett Prebon.” This is a strange thing to say. He likely was asked to leave after the others he worked with didn’t agree that his thoughts were salable. I am fairly sure he left Tullett Prebon several years ago, perhaps shortly before his blog was started in 2013.

        I know from working with the EROEI academic folks that he is not at all affiliated with them either. After some disagreements, Tim Morgan agreed to keep the EROEI name out of his discussion of his work. Creating a SEEDS Economic Model is sufficiently different.

    • Slow Paul says:

      I didn’t think it was that weird. Maybe a tad more creative in his writing, probably enjoying some liquid christmas presents while blogging…

  9. Mirror on the wall says:

    “Nothing ever ends”

    ‘Things’ are an individual combination of matter and form. The matter is not a ‘thing’ without the combination of some form. The matter persists but the form is destroyed. Matter may be said to have a continuing existence but forms pass away. Thus every ‘thing’ is destroyed and only the matter remains. ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’

    “Always, always shun ideals and ideas that isn’t shared by Mother Earth.”

    Struggle, conflict and warfare are very much a part of how the earth works. It has no gender, so let us drop that – it is comparable to both ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ traits.

    Warfare is just a fact of how humans behave, the same as chimps and our last common ancestor 7 million years ago – and untold other species. It is an evolutionary path that we have taken, along with many other species. We are cooperative predators, tribal and territorial and we always will be. That is just a fact and something to be got over.

    That does not mean that we always have to choose to fight wars, and we can develop institutions of international cooperation, but in fact wars are always going on for whatever reason, be it capitalist states fighting with others or whatever. No economic or political system has a monopoly on war, rather it is basically universal.

    War is not ‘good or evil’, it is just a fact of human behaviour that is consequent to our human instincts. It is how we have evolved. Some species may not fight among themselves but we do, we always have and we always will.

    The eternal ‘joy’ in becoming and destruction is beyond ‘good and evil’, it simply accepts the world the way that is. If some, even many, people choose to be anxious about what is unavoidable then that is up to them. One might as well spend one’s life worrying about death. Some things just are and it is not worth worrying about them.

    Personally I have no interest in promoting politics of either war or peace. The world is gonna do what it is gonna do, regardless of any ‘moral’ posturing on my part. But ‘quietism’ should never be confused with an ideological pacifism. I certainly would never falsify my understanding of the world in order to moral posture and to get brownie points off the poseurs and the sheep.

    Our own debates on here merely express your own love of contest and combat. Fighting is in your nature, maybe more so than mine. I am generally happy to do my own thing but you like to make it all a contest. Frankly your pacifistic pose is laughable, you are argumentative and troublesome lol. You enjoy nothing more than to try to vex people – which is the only reason why you are even trying to contradict me. Otherwise you get bored, you rapacious primate.

    • JMS says:

      Violence and war are inevitable, sure, but they only cause anxiety in their victims, that is, the weak, the defeated. In the winners, war and violence never caused the least anxiety or scruple of conscience.Traumatized winners are almost as rare as yellow pandas.

      For many generations, the West’s middle class, except for a few mishaps, has only known war and violence in the role of its net beneficiaries, and even there only in through a mediated way, as pure entertainment.

      Today, for the first time in generations we, lucky westerners of the middle class, will generally get to know the role of victims of violence. So it’s just natural that there is some anxiety, in the same way there’s more death anxiety in old people than in the young. Anxiety does not depend on the awareness of the inevitable, but on the degree of distance and comfort to which we find ourselves from that same inevitable.

      We must accept what does not depend on us changing, I absolutely agree, but we must acknowledge that the experience of accepting the inevitable (the imperial wars that we were beneficiaries of) when we are winning, as citizens of the empire, doesn’t help us very much when the inevitable takes the form of Horror, symbolized by the Barbarians, the Wolf at the Door, the Zombie, etc. As is often said about economics and finance, we are on uncharted waters also on the psychological plane.

      But Nietszche is a good fortifier i agree. Easily one of the finest brands out there.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “Violence and war are inevitable”

        I don’t think so. I have worked out how genes for the psychological traits that lead to wars are selected. Turns out that going to war makes sense, but not unless there is a resource crisis. If the future is looking bright, the traits for going to war don’t get selected, in fact, the bias against going to war is even higher than it is for going to war when half the tribe will starve in a resource crisis.

        So besides these traits, we have been selected to make a correct judgement about the future. It’s called a behavioral switch, and there are lots of examples from animals. One example is ducks flying north or south depending on the time of the year.

        I could go into the math details, but it’s a really difficult subject for people to grok. The model depends on Hamilton’s rule and the universal practice of taking the young women of a defeated tribe as wives.

        • Dennis L. says:

          hkeith,

          It is always a woman, Shakespeare understood it well, Robert should have an appropriate quote – envy knowledge of literature.

          Dennis L.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “It is always a woman,”

            Well, yes, though men have something to do with the process.

            What typically happened with stone age peoples is that the population would grow until there was a resource crisis, either from the population size or a glitch in the weather. Then, looking into a bleak future, a number of things happened, for example memes to dehumanize the tribe in the next valley over would circulate. Eventually, the tribes would fight, the winners typically killed all the adults and young boys and took the young females as booty. Taking the young females for wives reduced the genetic downside of fighting. Even though the males were killed, their genes went on with their female children.

            Google for Azar Gat to get someone who clearly states the logic.

            To keep from going extinct after the population was knocked back, women had to have about 6 kids to maintain the population.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Dennis, the ‘locus classicus’ is Ovid, “Ars Amatoria”, I, 101 to 134. Here is part of the story in modern dress:

            “From Romulus the rise of plays began,
            To his new subjects a commodious man;
            Who, his unmarried soldiers to supply,
            Took care the commonwealth should multiply;
            Providing Sabine women for his braves,
            Like a true king, to get a race of slaves.
            His playhouse, not of Parian marble made,
            Nor was it spread with purple sails for shade;
            The stage with rushes or with leaves they strew’d;
            No scenes in prospect, no machining god.
            On rows of homely turf they sat to see,
            Crown’d with the wreaths of ev’ry common tree.
            There, while they sit in rustic majesty,
            Each lover had his mistress in his eye;
            And whom he saw most suiting to his mind,
            For joys of matrimonial rape design’d.”

            The imagery is of a Roman theatre of the poet’s time, contrasted with the rough mores of Romulus’ time. You can find the original here:

            https://www.thelatinlibrary.com/ovid/ovid.artis1.shtml

        • JMS says:

          In any human society, there always comes a time when conflict and war become inevitable, because of population growth and diminishing retirns. This conflict can be internal (rich versus poor) or external (against neighbors). But of course, without the pressure of scarcity, and if there is nothing to gain, nobody risks going to war.
          Cooperation within a given group / tribe / nation is always essential for its survival. But there is neither cooperation nor altruism towards groups / tribes / nations that are perceived as foreigners and competitors. Hamilton’s rule only apllies to kin, therefore it doesn’t invalidate the “universality” and “neccessity” of war and conflict.

          • Good point: ” This conflict can be internal (rich versus poor) or external (against neighbors).”

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “In any human society, there always comes a time when conflict and war become inevitable, because of population growth and diminishing returns. ”

            The trigger (I think) is falling income per capita or anticipation of same. There are examples of humans holding down population growth, the Tibetans being one example and the Hungarians another. They did it for other reasons besides avoiding war.

            The evolution of the psychological traits for war happened before, perhaps well before, modern humans left Africa. When the selection was going on, the tribes were definitely full of relatives. Working it out from the viewpoint of gens in a tribal male (a fighter) he had brothers, and children and cousins. When one of these wipe out wars happened, the average number of genes surviving though his female children was one half x ~3. If you include the 50% chance of winning, it turns out that the average outcome for going to war increases the number of genes for that behavior by about 37% per resource crisis and war.

            If you don’t follow the logic, don’t sweat it, almost nobody does.

        • I think that part of the reason why wars are “useful” is because the thing that falls too low in “Overshoot and collapse” is Demand. Wars greatly drive up demand, because governments put soldiers to work, in addition to the civilian workforce. Often, the additional wages are financed by debt. This gets money back to low wage people. In World War II, many women were pressed into work. New technology was developed and put into use, allowing greater use of fossil fuels, as well.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        JMS, yes I would agree that losing wars, and the prospect of it, makes humans anxious. It is supposed to make humans anxious – so that they do not lose them.

        Humans are wired for war, both for the winning of it and for the losing of it. The pleasantness of winning wars encourages humans to win them and the unpleasantness of losing wars discourages them from losing them.

        That is why humans enjoy winning wars and get disturbed when they lose them – so that they fight wars, when the occasion ‘demands’, and they win them and do not lose them.

        On the other hand, we do not have to be anxious about the inevitable prospect of humans in general losing wars and about them being anxious about that. Wars will happen, some humans will win and enjoy their victory and others will lose and lament their defeat. That is just how it goes and how it will go.

        There is no point in being anxious about the prospect of one’s own anxiety – unless the intention is to prepare the tribe for victory in war and to avoid defeats. Anxiety is meant to be practical, it is aimed at events that we can control, or at least influence.

        So if humans are anxious about the prospect of losing war, then they should prepare for war. That is very much what they should be doing anyway because other humans will also be doing the same.

        Their anxiety is ordered to war and to the winning of it.

        Of course the state prepares for war these days and the bulk of humans are detached from the preparations. Their role is to peaceably produce and consume for the state without such concerns. The state will rile them up for war when the time comes; their place is not to anxiously rile up but to be anxiously riled up by the state.

        Western humans are encouraged to be peaceable in their domestic capacity and they are punished if they are not. That way the state can peacefully accumulate capital.

        Westerners are especially encouraged these days to be more ‘universalistic’ in their affections, because the capitalist state relies on the breakdown of the old tribes in order to expand the work force, to grow GDP and to keep the profit and growth based capitalist economic system going.

        The Western states are forming new, larger herds, drawn from many other herds, to plough its soil and to reap its harvest. That is only possible if Westerners ‘overcome’ their tribalism and have more expansive sympathies.

        Civil society and the media mediate to domesticated Westerners the ‘values’ and the emotional dispositions that are conducive to the benefit and the expansion of the capitalist states.

        So Western humans are encouraged by the state to be peaceable citizens and to have wider emotional sympathies than in the past – to make money for the capitalist state.

        They are encouraged to be anxious about humans of all sorts being anxious and about them suffering, in order for them to form a cohesive, new, larger, productive herd for the state.

        It is ideational and emotional manipulation by the state.

        Western humans do not have to absorb anxieties or ‘values’ from their society, which is basically insane anyway, but many of them do. They are domesticated sheep and often anxious, sympathetic sheep – at least in their public postures.

        Humans tend to conform to the herd, and today that is the herd of the capitalist state.

        • Good point:

          “Humans tend to conform to the herd, and today that is the herd of the capitalist state.”

          Or perhaps, it is what is repeated by their government and local news media regarding what their response to COVID-19 should be.

      • Xabier says:

        ‘It is a good thing that war is so terrible, or we should learn to love it too much. The next worst thing to a battle lost, is a battle won.’

        The Duke of Wellington – who of course won fame and riches through soldiering, but was not a hypocrite nor especially bloodthirsty for the times.

        Anyway, our likely fate is starving to death locked into our apartments or in some camp, stabbed in a street brawl over food.

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/the-scum-of-the-earth/9780750961851/

      ‘The Scum of the Earth’

      By Colin Brown

      The Scum of the Earth explores the common soldiers the Duke of Wellington angrily condemned as ‘scum’ for their looting at Vitoria, from their great victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 to their return home to a Regency Britain at war with itself. It follows men like James Graham, the Irishman hailed as the bravest man in the British Army for his heroic action in closing the north gate at Hougoumont, and fresh documentary evidence that he was forced to plead for charity because he was so poor; Francis Styles, who went to his grave claiming that he had captured the eagle that was credited to his superior officer; and John Lees, a spinner from Oldham who joined up at 15, braved shell and shot to deliver ammunition to the guns at Waterloo and was cut down four years later at the Peterloo Massacre by some of the cavalry with whom he served. All this is set against a backdrop of civil unrest on a scale unprecedented in British history. The Regency age is famous for its elegance, its exuberance, the industrial revolution that made Britain the powerhouse of Europe and the naval might that made it a global superpower. But it was also an age of riots and the fear that the mob would win control just as it had done in Paris. Britain came closer to bloody revolution than ever before or since, as ordinary men – including some of the men whom Wellington called the scum of the earth – took to the streets to fight for their voices to be heard in Parliament. The riots were put down by a series of repressive measures while Wellington stood like a bastion against the tide of history. He was defeated with the passage of the Great Reform Act in 1832. There is no one better placed to take a cold, hard look at the battle and its aftermath in order to save us from a bicentenary of misty-eyed backslapping than a former political editor with a reputation for myth busting. Colin Brown provides original research into the heroes of Waterloo and the myths that have clouded the real story.

      • Robet FIrth credited the two morons who closed the gates of Hougomont for saving Europe, and yet they were relegated to become beggars.

        Quite nice thing to do, huh?

        I am glad that at least they, and Chuck Fitzclarence and most of his 200 morons in Worcesters (which now has about 12% nonwhites there), paid for their fuckups with their lives.

        It would be much better if England stayed the fuck out of European conflict for the last 3 centuries.

      • Robert Firth says:

        And the Reform Act would probably not have passed without the intervention of William IV, “Reform Billy. Over and again, the Crown has sided with the ordinary people against the grandees, which is why so many of those grandees seek to abolish it.

    • I agree that violence and war is inevitable. The Old Testament says, “Thou shalt not kill,” but the way that that is interpreted seems to be that it excludes wars, which we know are almost always resource wars.

      Violence and wars are part of what hold population down. I understand that deaths by violence are at an unusually low level, compared to what they have been historically. Having enough fossil fuels to go around allowed great cooperation. Without as much “net” fossil fuels per capita, some type of conflict is inevitable.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Nope, nature (accidents, illness) is what used to hold populations down. Warring is a rather recent phenomena due to the effects of agriculture, clergy, royalty and sanctimony ultimately leading to overpopulation.

        However, I’m sure the Vikings wasn’t particularly malnourished after working their oars from Norway to the British isles. After all, we are talking about people living in the taiga. Not exactly known for a lack of edible wild life and plants.

        The reality of humans is more nuanced and complex than simple resource based theory allows for. 🙂

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers both have similar rates of intraspecies killing as chimps, our closest relatives.

          Humans are cooperative predators and deeply tribal and territorial. HGs are subject to competition for resources, and they fight over territory and resources, just like chimps.

          War is rooted in our instincts that we have inherited from our common ancestors with chimps seven million years ago – it is not due to the rise of agriculture or to Bronze Age social forms – although social and resource conditions certainly do influence the statistical rate of violence.

          As Gail points out, the rate of killing is actually way lower today than it was in more primitive societies – we generally have better access to resources now.

          > Comparative rates of violence in chimpanzees and humans

          Abstract

          This paper tests the proposal that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans have similar rates of death from intraspecific aggression, whereas chimpanzees have higher rates of non-lethal physical attack (Boehm 1999, Hierarchy in the forest: the evolution of egalitarian behavior. Harvard University Press). First, we assembled data on lethal aggression from long-term studies of nine communities of chimpanzees living in five populations. We calculated rates of death from intraspecific aggression both within and between communities. Variation among communities in mortality rates from aggression was high, and rates of death from intercommunity and intracommunity aggression were not correlated. Estimates for average rates of lethal violence for chimpanzees proved to be similar to average rates for subsistence societies of hunter–gatherers and farmers. Second, we compared rates of non-lethal physical aggression for two populations of chimpanzees and one population of recently settled hunter–gatherers. Chimpanzees had rates of aggression between two and three orders of magnitude higher than humans. These preliminary data support Boehm’s hypothesis.

          https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~kibale/pdfs/Wrangham2006_Primates.pdf

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yup, I’m sure the hunter gatherers (and orangutans) assembled 100.000 primates and went to war. This hypothesis isn’t even wrong, it is absurd.

          Violence is not the same as war. Some muppets banding together and dishing out hurt to perceived injustice isn’t a parallel to modern era warfare caused by loonie “growth”.

          Stop goddamn reading and start thinking, ok?

          ❤️

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        Yes, the Bible is not the least bit judgemental about war. It is just a fact of human life like any other. Indeed it is a part of how God made human life to be.

        Sometimes we war and sometimes we enjoy peace; sometimes we build up and at others we tear down. Humans are given to toil and strife as well as to enjoyment of what has been gained.

        Life is an endless cycle of becoming and destruction, of which war is an integral facet. That is the lot of man.

        To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
        A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
        A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
        A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
        A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
        A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
        A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
        A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
        What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
        I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

        Indeed God in the Bible delights in the military virtues of his tribe and the king is a warrior leader. It is often sung of with joy in the psalms.

        Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
        He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. – ps. 144

        • Robert Firth says:

          A: Ecclesiastes iii: 1 to 10. B: Ps cxliv: 1 to 2. Beautiful sentiments; thank you. And thank you also for quoting from the real English Bible.

      • Lidia17 says:

        I think there are good arguments for the OT commandments being more of a “who, whom” situation: thou shalt not kill your ‘brethren’, covet his ox, etc., but anything goes as far as those outside the tribe are concerned. The Bible is a festival of genocide and smiting, it seems.

        • info says:

          In regards to Canaanites its because it is to preserve religious purity. Amalekites is because of food shortage at the time and possibly being too savage to incorporate any of them as captives unlike the Midianites.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “I agree that violence and war is inevitable.”

        What happened to the IRA? I think you can blame it on the Irish women.

        “Without as much “net” fossil fuels per capita, some type of conflict is inevitable.”

        I think there are several ways to deal with energy.

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      This study supports the finding that hunter-gatherers engage in intraspecies violence in response to resource scarcity rather than as a consequence of coercion from their leaders in more complex HG societies.

      > Resource scarcity drives lethal aggression among prehistoric hunter-gatherers in central California

      Abstract

      The origin of human violence and warfare is controversial, and some scholars contend that intergroup conflict was rare until the emergence of sedentary foraging and complex sociopolitical organization, whereas others assert that violence was common and of considerable antiquity among small-scale societies. Here we consider two alternative explanations for the evolution of human violence: (i) individuals resort to violence when benefits outweigh potential costs, which is likely in resource poor environments, or (ii) participation in violence increases when there is coercion from leaders in complex societies leading to group level benefits. To test these hypotheses, we evaluate the relative importance of resource scarcity vs. sociopolitical complexity by evaluating spatial variation in three macro datasets from central California: (i) an extensive bioarchaeological record dating from 1,530 to 230 cal BP recording rates of blunt and sharp force skeletal trauma on thousands of burials, (ii) quantitative scores of sociopolitical complexity recorded ethnographically, and (iii) mean net primary productivity (NPP) from a remotely sensed global dataset. Results reveal that sharp force trauma, the most common form of violence in the record, is better predicted by resource scarcity than relative sociopolitical complexity. Blunt force cranial trauma shows no correlation with NPP or political complexity and may reflect a different form of close contact violence. This study provides no support for the position that violence originated with the development of more complex hunter-gatherer adaptations in the fairly recent past. Instead, findings show that individuals are prone to violence in times and places of resource scarcity.

      https://www.pnas.org/content/113/43/12120

      • Kowalainen says:

        I’m sure the armies of Napoleon and Adolf were driven by resource scarcity and not by warmongering and the craze of an era.

        Some hunter-gatherers that band up and steal from each other and end up whacking themselves on the heads with stones to settle the score.

        Now, that’s warfare for you. Let’s proceed and draw some sweeping generalizations totally out of touch with reality of the rapacious primate psychosocial condition.

  10. Pingback: Enough! - Legal Reader - VBLSA

  11. Ed says:

    CV19 should be a positive for any nations economy. Kill off non-producing sick and old. A gift from ?.

    • Ed says:

      rather than injecting a “vaccine” the smart nation would inject all its citizens with CV19.

    • Kowalainen says:

      You gotta dig deeper than that. The true productive of an IC nation isn’t that many. You could probably whack some 80% of the populace, useless eaters mostly, and still maintain a decent quality of life for the rest, if not better. Old people isn’t the problem.

      IC accumulates cruft due to excessive application of socialist engineering.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      Except it doesn’t, though. Victims are fairly random (certainly not selected on the basis of productiveness), and the number of deaths is more than compensated for by natural increase. If the goal is to maximize production, then that hasn’t worked out very well. And CV19 *produces* a lot of long-term sick.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Not being argumentative, practicing agreeableness. Number of long term sick? Ratio of long term sick to infected and recovered?

        On basis of cash income, sort of a metric of productiveness, what percentage of total cases of infection?

        Dennis L.

  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn7IhGitNE4

    Baseload Geothermal in Saskatchewan?
    They are building two pilot sites, each ~20MW e-generating capacity, they need ~33km drilling (and ~piping?) per site, turbine house with heat exchanger and buffer storage tanks, grid connector, etc..

    Perhaps the ERoEI could be there theoretically over decades, but finding enough of such unique spots is unrealistic. Besides it won’t likely work long term anyway, due to some further down the line “unexpected” sedimentation in the pipes / exchanger or rock permeability issue (seizure) over time etc..

    • Kowalainen says:

      Just spray those facilities all over areas with sufficient geothermal activity, such as Island for example, then crack water into hydrogen and oxygen. Ship the liquids to the power plants burning the hydrogen with air and oxygen with basically any combustible substance, metals included. Not as cheap an’ easy as with oil, but it surely must beat the ERoEI of tar sands and shale.

  13. Ed says:

    If the HCL precursor factory is blowup does that mean many deaths in Africa and India from Malaria? From death with CV19? Does that mean they will have to get the vax?

  14. Ed says:

    I am guessing this comment section is under human censorship gauging by the long post times

  15. Mirror on the wall says:

    > Gibraltar’s border with Spain still in doubt after Brexit

    While corks may have popped in London and Brussels over the end to the Brexit negotiations, there is one rocky speck of British soil still left in limbo

    …. Gibraltar, a British colony jutting off the southern tip of Spain’s mainland, wasn’t included in the Brexit trade deal announced on Christmas Eve between the European Union and the United Kingdom to reorganize the commercial and trade relations between the now 27-member bloc and the first nation to exit the group.

    The deadline for Gibraltar remains Jan. 1, when a transitionary period regulating the short frontier between Gibraltar and Spain expires. If no deal is reached, there are serious concerns that a hard border would cause disruption for the workers, tourists and major business connections across the two sides.

    Spain succeeded in convincing the EU to separate the issue of Gibraltar from the greater Brexit negotiations, meaning that Madrid is handling all talks directly with its counterparts in Gibraltar and London.

    Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said Thursday that if an agreement isn’t reached, she fears that the long lines of stranded truck drivers seen at the English Channel crossing this past week could be repeated.

    Throughout the Brexit talks, Spain has insisted it wants a say on the future of Gibraltar.

    The Rock was ceded to Britain in 1713, but Spain has never dropped its claim to sovereignty over it. For three centuries, the strategic outcrop of high terrain has given British navies command of the narrow seaway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

    …. The territory still remembers how, in 1969, Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco slammed shut the border in an attempt to wreck Gibraltar’s economy.

    Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the post-Brexit trade deal “is a huge relief given the potential difficulties that a no-deal Brexit might have created for the United Kingdom and the European Union.”

    But he added that his territory is still at risk….

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/gibraltars-border-with-spain-still-in-doubt-after-brexit-spain-brexit-british-european-union-border-b1779423.html

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      > Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson’s deal approved by EU nations, as Gove warns of ‘disruption’

      EU nations have unanimously approved the Brexit trade deal – a prerequisite for the agreement to come into operation on 1 January. Germany, which holds the EU presidency, said the decision came during a meeting of EU ambassadors to assess the agreement.

      The deal still needs approval from MEPs in the European Parliament, which isn’t expected to come until February (although the agreement will be implemented provisionally). MPs in the Commons are expected to approve it on Wednesday….

      Brexit will discourage others from quitting EU, says Barnier

      More now on Michel Barnier’s big interview with France’s Le Figaro newspaper. The EU chief negotiator has warned that Brexit will discourage others leaving the bloc – and claimed the UK will find out “pretty soon” what it’s like to exist outside the single market.

      “These negotiations have reinforced the conviction of leaders and citizens that it is better to be together rather than on one’s own,” Barnier said. “There are true differences between a member country and a third country. We will see it pretty soon.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-live-boris-johnson-deal-latest-b1779425.html

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      > Boris Johnson warned to shelve post-Brexit US deal as Biden to focus on EU and China first

      “The big question is if it’s really in Washington’s high-priority list to get that new deal done anytime soon.

      “There is no pressure for the upcoming President, Joe Biden. First of all, the US actually has a trade surplus with the UK so why make big changes at this point?

      “Then, also, Boris Johnson was considered to be rather close with US President Donald Trump and I don’t know if we have the same feelings between the upcoming President and Boris Johnson.”

      Mr Korte also suggested Mr Biden might put his focus on strengthening the US’ trade relationship with the European Union, and resolve the trade war President Trump waged against China during his administration.

      He added: “I would be cautious to really believe that we’d get a new trade deal anytime soon. It might be in the interest of Washington to clear things first with the European Union and China before they take care of the UK.”

      Joe Biden had signalled ahead of the US election in November he would not be willing to pursue trade negotiations with the UK if Brexit proved to be detrimental to the peace accords on the isle of Ireland.

      https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1376825/Boris-Johnson-news-Brexit-trade-deal-US-Joe-Biden-EU-agreement-latest-vn

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      > Brexit: Scotland is the key to what happens with Northern Ireland

      …. That “creative compromise” may lie with Scotland. An independent Scotland welcomed into the EU with open arms would leave England and Wales reminiscent of a headless chicken, cut off from their nearest neighbours, isolated and alone. It would also leave Northern Ireland out on a limb more susceptible than ever to increasing pressure for a move towards a shared or united Ireland. If that were the case, the possibility of the three nations that support EU membership coming together to form an arrangement between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland could be a worthy alternative.

      This new Celtic association, proposed by an Irish academic in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, would play a role within the EU similar to the Benelux countries – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – which were founding members of the original European Community. The advantages in terms of access to EU markets, cross-border trade, historic ties and close cultural connection could override the difficulties posed by a new border between England and Scotland. By bringing Scotland into the North-South Irish equation, the alliance could help strike a balance between divided loyalties in Northern Ireland. This would take time to evolve, but a solution that sees three of the five nations remaining or returning to the EU, while England and Wales set their sights on a global prize, is a compromise fit for any of its founding fathers.

      Northern Ireland would be at the heart of the solution and rightly so. Its experience of conflict and peace-building is a microcosm of the story of the European Union. It is perfectly placed between Britain and Ireland to become the link between two countries destined to grow apart as the Brexit withdrawal takes shape. Also, sitting at the crossroads of Europe and the US, with historic ties and vested interests on both sides, Northern Ireland is well placed to help bridge the transatlantic divide in a western alliance built to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Because of their global reach, coronavirus, climate change, radical extremism and world poverty can only be combated by acting together….

      https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/brexit-scotland-is-the-key-to-what-happens-with-northern-ireland-1.4443953

      • Robert Firth says:

        “An independent Scotland welcomed into the EU with open arms …”

        It seems the Irish are still in the land of leprechauns. An independent Scotland will be welcomed into the EU as another subject province to be looted. And Northern Ireland will be welcomed into the South as a conquered country whose history and culture are to be destroyed. Perhaps if the Irish had the fortitude to elect a leader who was actually Irish, they might come to their senses.

        • Senses? That’s why Ireland is not doing anything now in order to not awaken the Unionists. The only solution for the unionists is to be thrown to the sea, and that will be done discreetly.

    • Gibraltar would seem to be too small to exist on its own.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Said not very seriously, but perhaps a question.

        A couple of turrets of slightly used battleship guns surrounded by modern SAM missiles might make for a very effective toll booth.

        Yes, guns are obsolete, but the whoosh and splash of the first salvo would certainly give those in the ship attempting to pass without tithing pause, raise that toll to cover the overhead of the shells and wear and tear on the guns and all is well.

        Dennis L.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yup, once you hear that CIWS roar, it’s game over.

          Never drop your capability to fly a substantial amount bullets if some crazies decide they want the better of you.

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      Boris has caved on fish.

      ‘Control of our own waters’ means EU gets nearly all the fish – while ‘control of our own borders’ means TP has agreed with CBI to get them as many workers as they can use, currently 700,000 per year and expected to continue at that rate for decades, mainly from outside Europe.

      > Provisional approval comes as British fishermen attack ‘UK surrender’

      The deal has been slammed by the British fishing industry as UK ministers warned businesses to prepare for new red tape ahead of January 1.

      Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents Britain’s fishing industry, criticised the “paltry” increase in fishing rights under the deal. For example, the UK’s share of cod caught in the English Channel would increase from just 9.3 per cent to 10.2 per cent, the body said.

      The NFFO said the fishing industry would see the agreement as “a defeat” despite what it described as a public relations exercise to portray it as a “fabulous victory”.

      Although fishing is only a minuscule share of British GDP the industry has had totemic significance in the Brexit debate. Prime minister Boris Johnson said last week that the deal with Brussels would enable Britons to “catch and eat quite prodigious quantities of extra fish”.

      However, under the terms of the agreement, EU fishing fleets will have a five-and-a-half year transition period with guaranteed access to UK waters — after which access will depend on annual negotiations. 

      Mr Deas said there had been a “UK surrender” after fishing was “sacrificed for other national objectives”.

      “In the endgame, the prime minister made the call and caved in on fish, despite the rhetoric and assurances that he would not do what [then prime minister] Ted Heath did in 1973,” he said.

      https://www.ft.com/content/8e4d5aa2-5851-4bea-8d4f-b880376f8413

      • Dennis L. says:

        I suppose sinking said fishing boats and saying, “Who me? ” would not work? Woke men are so boring.

        Dennis. L.

    • Robert Firth says:

      The name “Gibraltar” is Arabic: Jebel Tariq. If it is given back to anyone else, it should be given back to the Moors. And if Spain disputes the cession of 1713, they destroy the foundation of their own monarchy.

      The other side of the strait, by the way, is dominated by Jebel Musa.

      • I’m sure the Gibraltarians would be thrilled to be handed back to the moors

      • neil says:

        Perhaps the Spanish claim to Gibraltar could be discussed after Spain gives its North African territories to Morocco. It could also return the Portuguese city to its rightful owners. What about Catalonia?

        • JMS says:

          The portuguese city you forgot to mention is Olivença, so white beautiful, that the Spaniards, bastards, stole us in …. (let me google it) … 1801!
          In fact, the Portuguese authorities have always considered this annexation as a fait accompli, therefore they are no longer entitled to claim anything. Olivenza is now as spanish as horchata or tortilla.

          http://www.deviajeporextremadura.net/wp-content/uploads/olivenza-2.jpg

        • Robert Firth says:

          Catalonia leaves Spain; Provence leaves France; the two unite to recreate Occitania. The Balearic Islands (and perhaps Corsica) join them. The injustice wrought by the Albigensian Crusade is gradually reversed, and the restored country recognises the Cathar faith as a valid religion, alongside the worship of Mary Magdalene and her daughter Salome. Well, one can always dream, even though history tells us that God does not do the same thing twice.

      • Morocco are not Moors, and the latter disappeared long time ago.

  16. Mirror on the wall says:

    Phil over at spiked has a timely piece on the challenge to the old global USA hegemony posed by the economic and diplomatic rise of China.

    He sees a Biden presidency as a continuation of the hostilities toward China pursued by Obama and Trump in an attempt to slow the relative decline of the West, a redistribution of global power and a renewal of the frameworks of international cooperation.

    USA tends to use concerns about ‘democracy’ and ‘liberal values’ as a front for economic and geopolitical hostilities and to try to rally the West into a common front against China – much as it uses the same pretext for military interventions in MENA. The EU and various countries however have their own ties and dependencies on China for their own growth.

    As Phil points out, there is no real difference between Obama, Trump and Biden regarding China (any more than there is about immigration to USA) or about ‘multilateral cooperation’ with EU (which is fraught with divergent interests and disagreements), and the partisan differences are superficial at best. Biden will be a fresh/ not so fresh attempt to maintain USA hegemony in the face of objective developments.

    The whole article is worth reading for a pertinent, broad and level-headed perspective on the current geopolitical situation. Phil is an economist and he could have said more about the dependency of the global economy on China to maintain growth and social development. One is also concerned that hostilities to China could lead to a global downturn and provide conditions more favourable to military conflict. But he does not try to put everything into one article.

    > A culture war against China

    This year, China-bashing has flourished at the expense of a genuine internationalism.

    …. Within the West, long-stewing fragilities in many of its economies have been brought to the surface by the recessions this year. Meanwhile, the relative resilience of countries in the rising East compared to the old West has revealed more strongly the different economic dynamics around the globe.

    As a result, the choice facing the still politically dominant countries of the West is starker than ever. Seek to preserve an outdated geopolitical framework threatened by objective forces of change; or take this momentous year as the opportunity to pivot towards international cooperation and renewal. Unfortunately we still seem to be some way from adopting the second alternative path.

    …. From Obama to Trump and now to Biden, the US’s objective has been to try to curb China’s rise in the world.

    In fact, even Biden’s anticipated elevation of a culture war with China, above the old trade wars, does not really change things. The outgoing administration had already been representing its China policy in cultural and moral terms. In July 2020, Trump’s loyal secretary of state Mike Pompeo argued that the West had to up its game against China if the ‘free world’ is to ‘triumph over this new tyranny’. ‘Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party’, he declared, ‘is the mission of our time’.

    This culture-war approach stokes confrontation. It portrays the genuine political challenge of how to incorporate a rising economic power into the geopolitical set-up as a contest over fundamental ideas and values. I’ve explained before that unlike trade wars or technology conflicts, wars over values and cultures are not so amenable to compromise solutions.

    The Biden administration seems poised to continue the same dangerous strategy of attempting to perpetuate the old Western-dominated international order pretty much as it is. Pompeo’s call for a ‘new alliance of democracies’ to prevent Beijing from eroding ‘our freedoms’ and subverting ‘the rules-based order’ was the warm-up act for the next US president. And so it has proved. Biden has recently announced that he is to convene a global ‘summit of democracies’ aimed at countering Chinese influence in the world….

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/12/28/a-culture-war-against-china/

    • Kowalainen says:

      The problem here being the useless eaters in the CCP trying to project by exporting compromised telecoms/network equipment, debts and engage in an arms race. Does anyone really think that some corrupt Commie schmucks of the politburo were going to tell the owners what to do after two world wars, skirmishes and relentless technological progress (projection capability). That would be crazy ideas.

      That’s not their fscking job, they should enable the massive pollution, machine and cheap labor shop floors of the planet. Either that or walk out the door and in walks Tsai making China a manageable union of states. U.S.C. Divide et impera.

      It is blatantly clear that the East Asian nations, with Taiwan at the top rung of a Sino liberal democracy without the BS stink of rancid western “democracies” is the way to go. And it is the way it will be, or down will it will burn.

      That is what Pompeo is saying and it won’t change with Biden or any other show piece at the “helm”.

      These are your choices:

      1. You have no choice

      Choose wisely.

      • JMS says:

        “It is blatantly clear that the East Asian nations, with Taiwan at the top rung of a Sino liberal democracy without the BS stink of rancid western “democracies” is the way to go. And it is the way it will be, or down will it will burn.”

        Exactly, like it or not, techno-fascism is what we’ll get. And that’s being overly optimistic. Techno-fascism or (premature) death.
        I would hate to be a slave.

    • We are always dealing with multiple version of what is going on in conflicts between countries. Underneath, lack of physical resources is almost certainly an issue, but the story told to news media will be very different. It is because Country A shot down Country B’s jet. Or it is because the US is ensuring Democracy worldwide. Or it is a culture war. Culture War discussions are simply a diversion from the underlying story, I expect.

      Our self-organizing economy needs many different groups, each with different cultures, so that it is possible to fight among each other when resources are short. In fact, I believe that this is one of the reason for different religions. But there can be non-religious culture differences.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        OK, humans have evolved as agents to dissipative systems. DSs need to restructure themselves as energetic conditions change. The tribal and territorial instincts of humans allow them to somewhat compartmentalise dissipation – and to ease the restructuring of DS through conflict.

        Wars are ordered to energy dissipation, the same as humans, species generally and the cosmos itself. Energy dissipation is somewhat compartmentalised in the cosmos. DSs often fail in one place, or one part of the cosmos and the cosmos carries on somewhere else.

        Suns burn up, organic planets eventually die. Civilisations rise and fall. Species evolve and go extinct. The next generation arises before the last passes. The eternal flux of becoming and destruction continues onward with energy dissipation. War is a facet of that process and sometimes locally a culmination.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Heraclitus of Ephesus said it more concisely: πάντα ῥεῖ

          • Dennis L. says:

            So “Everything flows” Ah, S… flows downhill is that the idea? I come from a disadvantaged youth.

            Dennis L.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Not necessarily downhill: the Greek word is a metaphor for change of any kind. A saying in the same vein is “You cannot step twice into the same river”. The surface meaning is that the river has changed; the deeper meaning is that the ‘you’ has changed.

            • Kowalainen says:

              I would perhaps say that both you and the river has changed.

              There exist exactly zero wise men and women that hasn’t changed their minds in the river of time. That is the hallmark of intelligence and spirituality.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Regarding wars and the DS, I’m sure the owners were thrilled to watch bombs and artillery shells rain on their capital and property, just because some loonies ran rampant with the nut job ideology of the day. Two goddamn great wars in less than half a century, enough.

          Always, always shun ideals and ideas that isn’t shared by Mother Earth. Evolution is a simple principle of collaborative competition, a well functioning economy and society should mimic that process.

          Excessive government is a direct threat to those processes. It isn’t usually the sharpest knives that end up in government, and you can only imagine what a bunch of half wits can contort in their shallow minds and then kick off great socialist engineering experiments. Eventually ending in decadence and a desire for a world guvmint when the coffers empties and promises of infinite growth ends in despair.

          Nothing ever ends, it simply metamorphoses to something different. It is true for life, your thought processes and body. Not a single atom of your body remains since you were born. Now, that makes you wonder. Have I died during the time I lived? In a sense, yes, because the feeling of continuity is entirely an illusion.

          As Robert stated.
          πάντα ῥεῖ

          Yes, go with the ebbs and flows of life. It’s the only way to be sure.

          • JMS says:

            “I’m sure the owners were thrilled to watch bombs and artillery shells rain on their capital and property”

            I think you should verify this piece of “information”. As far as I know, the interests and infrastructure of American companies in Na-zi Germany were spared by Allied aviation. Check what Antony C. Sutton has to say on the subject. Very much instructive.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Why bomb your own stuff? Would you have done that? For sure there were American industrialists and DS lackeys involved in the craze of the loonie era. Why is it so hard for people to follow a simple recipe.

              1. Project (soft power) using technological omnipotence
              2. Profit from it while gaining more influence (and power)
              3. Forget about the rest, it’s just silly ideas

              I particularly like how Churchill made a deal with Stalin to give away a large portion of north Sweden to the Soviet Union. “War compensation”. 🤣👍

              “Luckily” the Swedes sniffed out that cable and dropped the message at Mannerheims desk. However, for sure the Swedes suck, but not as bad as Stalin, who is another loonie construct.

              Instead, Norrbotten and northern Norway should have been made a republic of its own with access to the Atlantic and block the cheap and easy flow of natural resources to be exploited by the slightly morally subpar southerners, their experiments with the herd and projection capabilities. Anyhow it won’t make a difference, when the time is due, the state owned means of production in the north will be sold off as the state caves under the pressure of debt and uselessness.

              Funny enough, it seems they are still hell bent on the Eurasian lebensraum project. A crazy idea in the head of inbred people with some serious psychosocial shortcomings I suppose. Take a good long look in the faces of our establishment and, yes, there it is. Nowhere as clear as watching Tegnell rambling on the Telly.

              This is the way it will be; the transcontinental rail starts in America, across the Bering strait and into east Asia once the CCP construct is dispatched of. It doesn’t go from the old world eastward. Too much crazies and morally bankrupt cruft over there.

            • Robert Firth says:

              For Kowalainen. No, the railway will go from Vladivostok to the Bering Strait tunnel, and from there to Russia’s newly recovered port of Novoarkangelsk, and thence to whatever is left of Canada and the US; rather more of the former than the latter, I suspect.

              Russia will buy back her American territory with an offer the falling US will be unable to refuse: gold.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Ok Robert, I was speaking in terms of principle and not practical detail.

              Otherwise, that’s the way to go. Divide et impera through technological omnipotence, projection capability and trade.

              Let the accumulated cruft burn by the fires of their own making.

            • Ed says:

              “Let the accumulated cruft burn by the fires of their own making.”

              The time for the burning is long over due.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        Patrick over at spiked has an interesting new piece on Foucault and moral relativism. Gail seems to have taken the discussion further.

        Gail commented above that the dissipative system needs a variety of cultures and religions to allow for conflict, among other things. Cultural diversity is one of the ways that humans are oriented to the DS. It allows for a compartmentalisation of energy dissipation and for the survival and restructuring of DS in times of crisis.

        It raises the interesting question of whether one can have a teleology without an absolute value system. After all, the maximisation of energy dissipation may be the ‘purpose’ of the cosmos and of societies – after all that is ‘what is really going on’.

        And yet no one takes ED as the basis of their values – at least not explicitly. We would tend to consider human ED for its own sake ‘a waste’. Rather we ‘value’ (usually) activities that serve human survival and (sometimes) prosperity – among many other things.

        We might ‘value’ ED in so far as it allows for social development or to avoid the proximate conditions of conflict – always as a means to an end rather than as the end itself.

        Many different, even contrary, values may orient humans to ED – be it this or that religion or this or that ideology, this or that mentality. Humans are deeply tribal and territorial and they construct identities that orientate them through varied value systems.

        Their tribal value systems serve life in so far as they allow humans to sustain and to prosper. And their lives serve ED. But ED is never valued per se, and even life is not necessarily taken as the ‘end’ – arguably it rarely is.

        So, it seems that one can take ED as the ‘telos’ of the cosmos and (with life as a secondary ‘end’) of human society without asserting that any particular value system is exclusively ‘true’ or even ‘better’. Nature finds many ways to ED, many species, many tribes and many values.

        The values may all be ordered in some way to ED but that is not necessarily any more transparent to humans with their limited perspectives, than it is to other species. Indeed the conflict that is potential in contrary values serves DS – in which case values are ‘meant’ to be relative.

        > In defence of Foucault

        Anti-woke warriors should lay off the French intellectual.

        …. It is true that there is something inherently anti-humanist about relativism. We are all the same species, after all. We share the same brain make-up and same mindset. And yet it is ignorant to dismiss the fact that we are all simultaneously relativists, morally and through experience.

        Foucault was foremost a historian. And it takes a historian to appreciate that morality changes over epochs and even mere decades. Three hundred years ago, slavery on account of skin pigmentation was deemed acceptable. Forty years ago gay marriage would have been unthinkable. Forty years in the future, transgender re-alignment for children might be seen as a crime. What is sure is that for whatever reasons, our grandchildren will damn us. And their descendants will damn them. This is how history works.

        All cultures have different customs, as Montesquieu, that great Enlightenment champion, wrote in The Spirit of the Laws (1748). People in different places have different ways of doing things, of judging what is right and wrong, taboo or not….

        https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/12/28/in-defence-of-foucault/

        • Kowalainen says:

          Morality isn’t a relative concept. It is an absolute hardwired into our neural pathways from eons of evolutionary pressure. For sure there exist deviations, but that is simply how evolution works. Relentless trial and error, sometimes crazies arise and infect the way of Gaia with their sanctimony, filth and utopianisms.

          As time progresses, we discover it and rationalize about it and how to apply it outside of the realms of a small pack survivor individuals that used to be mankind in the not so distant past (relatively).

          The problem arise when people become a reflection of society in common. As Nietzsche stated, the herd and the idol. With the state representatives as matriarch/patriarch. What works in the small scale isn’t generally applicable on a large scale. Look no further than quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is simply flatly incompatible.

          As for me, I personally feel more “related” to other intellectuals/engineers/scientists across the globe, than with some of my my (petty) close genetic relatives.

          The society and morality of the future is defined by its connectedness, spiritually, intellectually and with the means of the transmission of ideas and intellectual assets using transcontinental fibers. Internationalism at its finest. Live small scale locally and share your thoughts, ideas and contraptions with the planet. If some crazies arise, send out a big stick and deal with it before it becomes a problem.

          The only thing left to do is to send out the Viking raiders and clean out the accumulated cruft and uselessness of the slimy sanctimonious hypocrisy and their herd of beneficiaries. It won’t be pretty, but it has to be done.

          🙂

        • TIm Groves says:

          Mirror, as up to now I’ve only been aware of ED as a an acronym for a dysfunction affecting men, your post above seemed a bit off-topic. But reading it in that light, it does make a certain kind of sense as well as having a Pythonesque ring to it.

          Indeed, no one takes ED as the basis of their values – at least not explicitly.

          Said in your very best Graham Chapman voice, sentences like this can raise a lot of chuckles.

          Moving onto the subject of your post, I would like to ask why have industrialized societies tended to dissipate as much energy as they can?

          They’ve done so, I think, in order for governments to boost their nations’ GDP/GNP as high as they can.

          Why have they done this? Was it in order to try to meet all the promises that were made to various stakeholders? Was it in order to try to give their citizens a better standard of living? Or was it the result of having to dish out pork to the big corporations who always demanded more investment and business opportunities?

    • There will be no trade fight between USA and China. It will be China setting the terms.

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “COVID-19 lockdowns have obliterated a US retail sector already struggling to survive before the coronavirus hit, which has in turn contributed to the collapse of the global garment trade and wreaked havoc for millions of workers…

    “In March, as U.S. retailers canceled or failed to pay for existing orders worth billions of dollars, the effects quickly rippled down the supply chain.”

    https://tucson.com/ap/business/pandemic-crushes-global-supply-chains-workers-at-both-ends/article_e7281ac0-e2c0-54aa-a9d1-68d999dd44eb.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The congestion at the port in Lagos has become so bad that it can cost more than $4,000 to truck a container 20km to the Nigerian mainland these days, almost as much as it costs to ship one 12,000 nautical miles from China.

      “A long-running crisis at the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports, the main commercial entry points into Africa’s largest economy, has been exacerbated by the pandemic-induced economic slump and recent unrest in Nigeria’s commercial capital. Dozens of ships idle at sea, while hundreds of trucks sit in traffic for days or weeks waiting to enter and exit the port.”

      https://www.ft.com/content/a807f714-7542-4464-b359-b9bb35bdda10

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Coronavirus infections have barely touched many of the remote islands of the Pacific but the pandemic’s fallout has been enormous, disrupting the supply chain that brings crucial food imports and sending prices soaring as tourism wanes.

        “With a food crisis looming, many governments have begun community initiatives to help alleviate shortages…”

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/amid-pandemic-pacific-islands-work-to-offset-food-shortages-supply-chain-pacific-residents-pandemic-islands-b1779403.html

        • These folks at least have a chance of growing a wide range of food for part of their population. There will be far too many people to support with this food, however, so some change will need to happen.

        • Blaise says:

          Harry McGibbs, speaking of islands, I was wondering how COVID has affected Islay. Have you had many cases in such a low-populated area, and where are your ill taken for hospital care generally?

          I’ve been watching “The Great British Baking Show” and ran across some information concerning a contestant’s mother, who is a doctor in Shetland. It made me curious about your situation.

          https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/19/on-call-in-shetland-a-cliff-hanging-gp-at-the-nhs-northern-limits

          • Jim V says:

            I noticed that the doctor survived cancer, yet she was obese before treatment and also now after. I actually still thought that most lost weight from chemo, radiation, etc., but I do have a neighbor who underwent a double mastectomy and has remained obese throughout. A number of doctors here in the U.S. also are quite overweight, especially the younger ones.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            Blaise, initial fears of a serious outbreak here have not been realised, thank goodness, as there’s no intensive care unit on the island and quite a high proportion of elderly and unwell. We’ve only had a handful of cases, to my knowledge.

            Generally, in the event of serious illness or accident, we get helicoptered off the island to Glasgow Royal Infirmary at great expense. Obviously inclement weather can make that tricky. The ladies tend to travel to the mainland to give birth, too.

      • According to the article:

        The port congestion is caused by ageing infrastructure, meagre rail transport that forces 90 per cent of cargo to go by road and an almost complete lack of automation, which means every container must be physically inspected by customs officials. It has been compounded by increased sea traffic since the closure of the country’s land borders to combat smuggling last year.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Gail, back to Nigeria tonight, it seems. The port infrastructure is certainly ageing, but it was dysfunctional when it was built, since it was designed for the commercial ships of the time, not for today’s container ships. And, as you mention, there was no seamless transfer from ship to rail.

          The physical inspection by customs is a political necessity, not a physical one: unless you pay the customs inspector his “dash money”, your cargo will not get through.

      • Robert Firth says:

        I remember when that port was built. With foreign aid, ie debt. It never generated enough revenue to repay the debt. By the way, it replaced an earlier port, some 500 years old, that in its time shipped about 700,000 slaves to the US and Europe; slaves captured from inland tribes. Another piece of oppression written out of history.

        • Ed says:

          Is there a book with the history of which Africans sold which other Africans?

          • check which Africans were selling English and Irish people to other Africans

            • Ed says:

              are you saying some Africans had their gene pool improved by the slave trade?

            • definitely not

              none of my ancestors were abducted as slaves

              droit de seigneur by the local lord of the manor probably, but that was just a short walk away and just a minor inconvenience. (and accounts for the blue blood when I cut myself shaving)

            • Kowalainen says:

              Sure about that Norman? I am sure a few of your female ancestors and relatives could have been abducted by the Vikings and then in it went in the merry go around that is the genetic hodgepodge of Eurasia.

            • nah

              it was the women in my family who abducted the vikings

              why you think they went home running on the oars?—couldn’t get away fast enough

            • Kowalainen says:

              Norman, right, that must have been why the Vikings started to send female warriors.

              The big brutes came back home running on the oars, with the hull not touching the waves, soaked in sweat and wept on the shoulders of their women – “Horrible, awful, vicious females.”, “You go the next time.”

              Ok, time for the matriarchy to step up the Viking game.

            • well it would certainly explain why you can never win an argument with an Englishwoman

          • Robert Firth says:

            Yes, but I need to refresh my memory there. However, here is a good, modern, and deeply compassionate article:

            https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-20/willful-amnesia-how-africans-forgot-and-remembered-their-role-slave-trade

            • England made the best iron goods—Guns, and cooking pots for missionaries.

              Africans traded other Africans to acquire those goods

              we shipped those traded Africans to the colonies as energy converters for sugar products etc,

              which was then shipped back to Europe

              The success of this trading triangle depended on it happening at an ever increasing rate, but the critical part was Africans being willing to sell Africans, in millions.

              Nothing much has changed. Nigeria sells its oil to much the same end. Nigeria is still poverty stricken, despite the elite selling off the oil as fast as they can

            • Robert Firth says:

              For Norman: I saw the Nigerian oil industry created. The multinational companies bribed the “elite” to agree to what were essentially looters’ terms: all the companies’ investment became Nigerian debt; the oil revenue was set too low in principle, and since the amount of oil extracted was determined by the oil companies, even that could be fudged as necessary. And, of course, all the onshore infrastructure came out of Nigeria’s limited budget. The country would have done far better had she left that oil in the ground.

              But, of course, all those multinational “aid” institutions were pushing “development” as the way out of poverty. Development on their terms, which is to say, on their puppet masters’ terms. Which is one reason the trillions given in foreign aid to the Third World have only made matters worse.

              The Tata group in India had the right of it: profitable development must come from within, not from without. Even though the Raj rubbished the idea, history vindicated it. And where now are Tata, and where the Raj?

            • Thanks for the detailed catchup on Nigerian oil Robert—I had figured the broad outline myself, but hadn’t researched the detail very much.

              Useful.

    • Breaking supply chains remove a lot of people who would be low income buyers for goods and services, because they lose their jobs.

      • MM says:

        German DAX is at an all time high, BTC too, Dow dunno. Oil a bit down but consumer fuel products are at all time low. Container shipping is all time high. I absolutely do not see any reason to worry.

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Covid-19’s $3 Trillion Price Tag Rocks Japan’s Economy:

    “…Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s team capped off the last 12 months circulating a truly scary number: 106,610,000,000,000. That’s the size, in yen terms, of Tokyo’s annual budget for fiscal 2021.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/williampesek/2021/12/28/covid-19s-3-trillion-price-tag-rocks-japans-economy/?sh=1ee903329a70

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Tokyo consumer prices fell the fastest in more than a decade, while Japan’s jobs market and retail sales remained subdued, data has shown, raising the risks of a return to deflation as the COVID-19 pandemic hammers demand.”

      https://www.esmmagazine.com/retail/tokyo-consumer-prices-post-steepest-drop-decade-japan-retail-sales-subdued-117869

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Japan’s industrial output growth stalled in November after rising for five months, underscoring the fragile nature of the global economic recovery due to a recent resurgence in COVID-19 infections.”

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-economy-output/japan-november-factory-output-stalls-after-rising-for-5-months-idUKKBN2910RW?il=0

        • The article doesn’t really say what is the origin of the stalling demand. It could partly be Japanese consumers buying less; it could be less export demand as well; it could be factories cutting back on output because of supply chain issues.

          • Dennis L. says:

            How to have your cake and eat it also:

            Came across some nearby farmland, $8.5K/acre, investment only, right to repurchase at future date, seller to lease said land.

            So, sell at the top, pay a good land rate to the purchaser, raise some cash(10-15% buyer’s premium I would guess) with right to repurchase when prices decline.

            My take, this guy thinks prices are at a top, wants to cash out and keep his farming business. Trick is to remember transaction costs as well as cap gains taxes which must be recovered with after tax income, etc.

            Cash flow through complexity, looks good on paper, brokers win selling the land once to the investor and then back to the farmer – always overhead, always a middleman.

            Dennis L.

      • Deflation is a disaster for debt markets because it becomes impossible to repay debt with interest.

    • According to the article:

      The dozen years since the global financial crisis of 2008 are as good a window as any to wonder what might have been. If only the resolving of prime ministers and finance ministers since then had raised Japan’s economic game. If only any of the six governments in power since 2008 had loosened labor markets, cut bureaucracy, catalyzed a startup boom, devised a pro-growth energy policy or empowered women.

      Instead, the previous five leaders did exactly what Suga is doing now: throwing ever bigger piles of cash at Japan’s problems.

      Of course, throwing more money/debt at the problem is about all that can be done. Japan has essentially no energy sources of its own. Intermittent wind and solar are about worthless, regardless of their cost of production. Without adequate energy supplies, there cannot be productive new jobs for women or other workers. Instead, debt/money has been used to create “make work” jobs for a huge number of workers. Looks good, but goes nowhere.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Gail, Japan was totally self sufficient during the Edo period. Perhaps she can find the way back. At least, she probably has a far better chance than anyone in the West.

        As for China, it is by now obvious even to their own people that the present regime has lost the Mandate of Heaven (天命). We live in interesting times.

        • Things are not going as well in China as the leaders would like us to believe. Intermittent electricity in four provinces; people told to cut back on food consumption; several large debt defaults.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Here’s where the pandering to the pandemic starts getting interesting demographically, with the attendant social, economic, financial and fiscal impacts. Japan is looking at the loss of two Tokyo’s worth of people by 2050.

          Annual births in Japan are expected to fall below 800,000 next year, crossing a grim milestone more than a decade earlier than previously anticipated, as uncertainty caused by the pandemic accelerates a yearslong decline.

          Based on the number of reported pregnancies and other data, Takumi Fujinami of the Japan Research Institute estimates annual births at 848,000 this year and 792,000 in 2021, just a third of the levels seen during the postwar baby boom. The most recent projection by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, in 2017, had shown the tally crossing the 800,000 threshold 12 years later….

          The slump in pregnancies shows up in official data. Health Ministry statistics announced Thursday show a 5.1% decline on the year in reported pregnancies for the first 10 months of 2020, with a 17.6% plunge in May, the month after the government declared a state of emergency. Virus hot spots experienced particularly steep drop-offs between April and October — 9.1% in Tokyo, 8.1% in Hokkaido and 7.6% in Osaka.

          A recent drop in marriages is cause for concern as well. There were 424,000 marriages in the 10 months through October, according to preliminary data, down more than 13% from the same period of 2019.

          The trend to shun marriages “may lead to a decline in births over the medium to long term,” Fujinami warned.

          This would further cut into an already shrinking population. Based on current birthrates, Takuya Hoshino of the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute predicts that Japan’s population will fall below 100 million in 2049, four years sooner than in the estimate by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

          That would mean Japan’s population shrinking by more than 25 million — the rough equivalent of two Tokyos — over the next three decades.

          https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Society/Japan-s-pandemic-baby-bust-seen-pushing-births-below-800-000

          Deagle is forecasting a similar drop by 2025, but that’s quite another matter. That would take catastrophic circumstances. The 2049 projection is based on current demographic trends assuming no major changes in people’s breeding and dying habits.

          • I think we are going to see a continuing fall in births, not only in Japan, but in quite a few other countries, including the US and most of Europe. People are afraid to start families now, with the economy doing so poorly. They also postpone weddings because they want a “real wedding” after COVID.

            • D3G says:

              A wedding photographer friend tells me that business has been “dead”. His spring gigs have all postponed and canceled out. The studio will likely close.

            • We asked my niece, who has been living with a man for a year and has announced their engagement, when they plan to get married. She said, “When COVID is over and we can have a wedding and invite people as usual.” She is 42, and this will be her first marriage.

  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “A debate is playing out in the German-speaking media about whether inflation or deflation was behind the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s…

    “Hans Werner Sinn, a well-renowned economist and former chairman of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research [claimed], ‘People lost their savings and life insurances which became worthless. Ten years later, Adolf Hitler became chancellor. I don’t say that something like that will happen again, but we need policies that prevent it from the outset. We need tighter budget limitations.’”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-a-row-about-the-rise-of-hitler-has-erupted-in-the-german-press

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Italy’s birth rate is expected to diminish further as the economic strife and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic exacerbate its demographic crisis.

      “Italy registered 420,000 births in 2019 – the lowest rate since the country’s unification in 1861 – while deaths totalled 647,000. The birth rate could fall to around 408,000 this year, while coronavirus fatalities will drive total deaths beyond 700,000…”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/26/covid-and-climate-of-fear-puts-italian-birth-rate-at-lowest-since-unification

    • I am afraid that we are headed into precisely the German scenario again.

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        Gail, my feeling the same. God help 🆘 us all. Unfortunately, the weaponry today that is available to play with make Adolf look like a boy scout.
        Remember Adolf H making a comment when asked why he went to eat with his military machine? He retorted something to the the following.
        What did everyone expect, to parade and strut information, all for show?
        Looks like that’s the direction we are heading..Spaceforce 2020!
        Happy New Year 🎆 Everyone🤞🏈🤑🍭👯

    • Robert Firth says:

      The Weimar inflation had been stopped in its tracks by Hjalmar Schacht while Hitler was still a beer hall rabble rouser. He even secured from the Bank of England a promise to back his new currency 100% with gold. What was behind the rise of Hitler was an occult conspiracy called the Thule Society, which embraced the doctrine of Aryan superiority and one of whose members was Hitler’s mentor. He also claimed to be a psychic and (unsurprisingly) a hypnotist. The history of the twentieth century is not what you have been led to believe.

      If you want to start your research, find out how and why G I Gurdjieff proposed the swastika as the emblem of the NSDAP.

      • Bei Dawei says:

        What’s this about Gurdjieff? Where are you getting this from?

        (citation needed)

        • Robert Firth says:

          Citation as requested, although I thought this book famous enough on its own:

          “The Morning of the Magicians”,
          Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier

      • Kowalainen says:

        Guess in which country the Thule building is in? Hint, that same country were eager nazi instigators and collaborators, war profiteers, race biologists, indeed plenty of Laplanders (myself, my family and ancestry) got to endure that elitist club of morons, they also ran the first CB on planet earth and well, you do the thinking what then followed at Bretton woods. How’s that oil fueled consumerism/fiat/finance bonanza panning out?

        https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thulehuset,_Sveavägen

        Now what have you? Lots of bombs were dropped and bullets flown on the poor young schmucks in Eurasia due to some loonie nut jobs in the land of the institutionalized sociopathy, Stockholm syndrome and Swedish institute. Oops, I said it.

        The great Anglo Saxons, outplayed by has been Vikings for at least a century. Yeah, you made phone calls using with their equipment. And used their “encryption” equipment. LOL. Now, how does that make you feel? Tell me, I want to know. 😬👍

        • Robert Firth says:

          Thank you, a most helpful comment. By the way, “Thule” was originally just the name for Iceland, discovered by Pytheas of Massalia. And “aryan” was originally a term innocent of racial superiority; it comes from proto-indo-european ‘ar-ya’, “people of the plough”.

          But yes, the supposed “racial superiority” of the people living in cold northern lands (and cold Himalayan lands) was indeed a factor in the transformation.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Funny how the DoJ and SEC seized Ericsson a few years back and then stuff started to unfold. Can’t have a bunch of loonies with dreams of the Eurasian lebensraum running wild and peddling sensitive comms and cryptography equipment, right? The same of course goes for the CCP peddling their compromised wares.

            That was an automatic, organic metamorphosis following the process of life, not some folly dreamt up in elitist clubs of mutual back slapping.

            Indeed the wheel and lactose tolerance arrived from the steppes of the east. And that process is still ongoing, somewhat clogged up by copious amounts of accumulated genetic cruft and useless protoplasm.

            I simply do not care one bit of Gaia decides that I am a generic dead end, well so be it. Actually, I have taken that active decision myself. Not gonna participate in this outrageous folly by reproduction and all the emotions and work that comes with it, up to my expiry date.

            In a different world perhaps, but certainly not here and now.

            🙂

      • Schacht the mentor of Hermann Abs

        Abs the mentor of Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum fame.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The folly of a mind virus spreading among the soulless cruft that IC and the west accumulated for at two a centuries. Now what would a cure for that disease look like? How about the lead pill?

          Yeah, the Eurasian lebensraum folly simply refuses to leave their myopia riddled minds. The storm travels from the east to the west and then it meets up at the Bering strait and it is complete, not the other way around. I wonder if and why that is very hard to comprehend for morons? Follow the trajectory and gradients set out my Mother Nature, how can anything be more blindingly obvious than that?

          But, oh no, hey, send the leopards eastward to Stalingrad and Moscow for the N’th time and see how well that will, and has worked out in the past?

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “The folly of a mind virus spreading among”

            There was an SF story some years ago, I think by Charles Sheffield, where some alien group could not live in groups larger than a few thousand per planet without infectious madness killing them off.

            “Eurasian lebensraum folly ”

            One group with more advanced technology replacing another goes back as far as there were human modern humans in the area. I doubt there is any conscious thought about the subject.

            Not unique either, the was almost within historical times something very similar in Africa.

            • Kowalainen says:

              That simple, no, the genes travels in both directions along the borders of (gene) migration and the tech flows in all directions from the melting pots of the genetic border lands.

              Proof of that? The wheel and lactose tolerance arrived from the east. Did it cause mass extinctions and eradication by all the other human (genome) groups in Europe? Actually no, it is what Europe is today. A giant post ice age melting pot, pardon the pun.

              Killing off your business partners, buddies and close relatives in the genetic borderlands is such a silly idea it does not deserve any further thought.

              We are talking about extremely slow processes and not the warring that is caused by clergy, royalty, overpopulation and sanctimony. That is the new crazy (Kali) in the perpetual cycles of the Yugas.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “That simple, no, the genes travels in both directions along the borders of (gene) migration ”

              Hmm. That may be true in some cases, but there seems have very little back flow from Europe into Africa as measured by Neanderthal genes

              “Proof of that? The wheel

              The wheel is relatively recent. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel#History

              “and lactose tolerance”

              Which one?

              At least six mutations . . . have been associated with lactase expression. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactase_persistence#Genetics

            • Kowalainen says:

              Not true? How would you explain the rather large prevalence of British ancestry/genes in Norway for example?

              Would you say no to a beautiful African, Asian or Middle Eastern woman? I certainly would not, and I can assure you that 99% of all sane males in the world wouldn’t either. Hot bitches are hot bitches, follow your instincts. The Vikings knew that and had no qualms bringing them back home for some more genetic merry go around. While Mother Nature were all smiles.

              That is the whole point of sexual reproduction, mutate, mix, match and then with the wheel of time spinning something better adapted will emerge. Let me know, do you feel nostalgic about the old olden days and want to regress back to single cell organisms, worry that you might be an evolutionary dead end? The ideas that people fly in their heads. We are all genetic dead ends. Yes repeat after me:

              We are all genetic dead ends in the wheel of time.

              I’d can assure you that the south Europeans, Asians and Africans will keep their genes for darker pigmentation no matter how lactose tolerant they become.

              The gatekeeper is Mother Nature, what works given her circumstances, works, the rest is simply being shoved aside and left to rot.

              Assuming that the hypothesis of the out of Africa migration holds, wouldn’t you have liked your ancestry to leave Africa and seek new habitats to exploit? Yes, the people still living there are your distant ancestry. But hey, why not return exploiting and savaging your distant brethren because you are the hot new thing of the north and has to impose your superiority, while glistering in sun lotion and ray-bans crowning the flaking skin of your righteous face.

              What is this urge to impinge genetic superiority/inferiority upon others? Give it up and leave it up to nature to decide, okay? It’s the only way to be sure, because it has a proven track record of delivering. It works because it doesn’t think. It is.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Not true?”

              I said it might be true in some cases and gave you a specific example where it was not.

              “We are all genetic dead ends in the wheel of time.”

              If and when humans go extinct, yeah. But so far, for humans, argue with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam

              “What is this urge to impinge genetic superiority/inferiority upon others?”

              The quality of genes depends on the environment. The UK folks in the centuries leading up to the industrial revolution were subjected to a vicious selection for traits that led to wealth. Those traits would have been utterly useless in Africa where resistance to parasites was far more important.

            • Kowalinien

              describing bitches thus, pretty much guarantees you end up with cold ones

            • Kowalainen says:

              Norman, is there any other kind? Oh, I see your point now. 🤣

              Keith, we don’t go “extinct”, we evolve as a species together with the biosphere. For example, the dinosaurs became birds. I’m sure they don’t feel nostalgic about the era of being stompy behemoths with puny brains, as they soar in the skies watching and laughing at the crazies rape their future. Always ready to feast upon the carcass of mankind when we inevitably start to grasp for each others throats. And haven’t it already started you think?

              I don’t disagree with the fact that there was a relentless selection for capitalist traits in the UK which eventually and fortunately industrialized the rest of the planet. It doesn’t necessarily imply that it is viable anymore. The show must go on.

              If staring at digits on a computer screen, representing wealth, is becoming your raison d’être. Then I am sorry to inform that you are deemed obsolete in the face of biological and technological evolution. There is nothing left to industrialize, except for a few pockets here and there. Actually, we most likely have to gradually deindustrialize.

              Artificially created and upheld stagnation and cruft must be wiped from the face of earth at any price, because what is the point of continuing the process when the prospects of tomorrow is a predicament and a burden. I don’t see it.

              We are all finite for a reason. It is a necessity for the process to be kept alive.

              Unless of course, we head into space, or solve the energy predicament. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Then of course the capitalist gene would go bonkers. For good reason.

              I accept both scenarios, because I have no say in the matter. I’m just a puny and insignificant knot in the fabric of the biosphere.

            • yes

              the choosy kind

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “For example, the dinosaurs became birds”

              Sort of. The non flying ones became toast.

              “you are deemed obsolete in the face of biological and technological evolution”

              That slowly dawned on me over the 25 years I knew about nanotech and the AI revolution. You can see where it led me in “The Clinic Seed” story.

              “Unless of course, we head into space,”

              I had a bit to do with spreading such memes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L5_Society

              I used to think (hope anyway) that humans would go into space in a big way before nanotech and AI hit. It’s still uncertain, but if Ray Kurzweil is right about the singularity hitting in mid 2040s, it seems unlikely that humanity will have much of a foothold in space by then.

              “have no say in the matter”

              That’s probably true most of the time for most of us. But you never can tell when something you have a hand in will go viral. Most of you have probably seen this, I got a pointer from several people. It’s a hoot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn3KWM1kuAw

            • Kowalainen says:

              Keith, right. I used to be an avid reader of sci-fi in my youth. For sure you have/had an influence in my life through the web that is the biosphere and the memes we fly.

              Let’s not mix up active decisions to impose upon others, but rather act as inspiration and food for thought. Let the wheel of time and evolution do the work, by its mindless brilliance. Tech is just an extension of that process – of turning inanimate mineral into synthetic life.

              Yup, I use to check in on Boston dynamics occasionally when it pops up in my YT feed. They need some more polish on the dynamics part of the fluidity of the movement. The progress is amazing, but still something isn’t quite right. It could be actuator limitations, but what do I know. 🙂

              You know what, being obsoleted and expired isn’t a problem, it just feels that way because of our own imagined self importance and chauvinism. It’s never too late to whack it aside and call it for what it is; survival instinct that doesn’t scale. Personal eugenics programs is a fools errand. State run eugenics projects is an unfathomable horror. Only inbred sociopath muppets would persist in such folly. It probably goes hand in hand, for what I know.

              Having wings certainly helps when you are feeding off on the carcasses of the old, big and stompy paradigm. Natures way of saying, don’t be a clunky liability when things heads for the worse, but rather a light-footed/winged asset. And what is more light-footed than a meme traveling a the speed of light?

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > Keith, right. I used to be an avid reader of sci-fi in my youth.

              So was I, particularly Heinlein. My mother read me “Farmer in the Sky” when I was about 8. Decades later, she was against me being involved with the space colony movement and regretted having done so. It was quite a thrill to meet RAH at the 76 WorldCon and later talk him into being on the board of directors for L5. He was one of the more active board members and I interacted with him for years. It was a major disappointment when Eric Drexler and I failed to talk him into cryonics. (His wife was against it.)

              > For sure you have/had an influence in my life through the web that is the biosphere and the memes we fly.

              Thank you. Mostly I have passed along the work of people like O’Neill, and Richard Dawkins (who originated the meme concept, but he mostly spread the ideas of Hamilton, Trivers, and others named in _Selfish Gene_). I wrote perhaps 6 of the first dozen articles on memes, including one in _Analog_. In the Second Edition, Dawkins mentioned my coining “memeoids.”

              > Let’s not mix up active decisions to impose upon others,

              That’s not my style of personality. I will lead (if required) but mostly by example and spreading positive memes as you say below.

              > but rather act as inspiration and food for thought.

              > Let the wheel of time and evolution do the work, by its mindless brilliance.

              That’s true, and awful. You sound like you read Clark’s work. The selection of traits that he thinks contributed to the industrial revolution resulted in millions of the children of the poor dying. Life tended to be short in those days anyway, but we really should be able to improve it now. In fact, the industrial revolution did, mostly by sewers and a clean water supply. Birth control was a big factor too.

              > Tech is just an extension of that process – of turning inanimate mineral into synthetic life.

              One of the dozen or so intertwined story lines in _The Revolution from Rosinante_ has the sharpest AI create a religion for space faring people. I should scan and post because it is exactly on target for what you said. Makes a case that God created humanity as a tool to make computers because God’s rules for His universe allowed evolution but not of mechanical things.

              > Yup, I use to check in on Boston dynamics occasionally when it pops up in my YT feed. They need some more polish on the dynamics part of the fluidity of the movement. The progress is amazing, but still something isn’t quite right. It could be actuator limitations, but what do I know. 🙂

              Their movement is more fluid than mine! I think it would be a relatively small effort to get them up to building power satellites at 2000 km (lower part of the low radiation belt. Of course that depends, it may be less expensive to make PV in deserts, convert it to oil and ship that around as liquid sunshine.

              > You know what, being obsoleted and expired isn’t a problem,

              Skaskash (the AI who expounded the religion) suggested that computers will take care of humans in much the same way we take care of cats.

              > it just feels that way because of our own imagined self importance and chauvinism. It’s never too late to whack it aside and call it for what it is; survival instinct that doesn’t scale.

              Perhaps. I think you need *some* motivation to exist at all. Curiosity might do it. It’s way out of date, but you might be amused to Google “far edge party.”

              > Personal eugenics programs is a fools errand.

              I don’t think so. In Denmark where all the women are tested, very few of the elect to have a Down’s child. We almost have the tools to do designer kids. When we do, the Denmark example indicates they will be used.

              > State run eugenics projects is an unfathomable horror. Only inbred sociopath muppets would persist in such folly. It probably goes hand in hand, for what I know.

              In this case, not having the tools is a boon. I am unsure what a state would do if they were available. We might know in two or three decades.

              > Having wings certainly helps when you are feeding off on the carcasses of the old, big and stompy paradigm. Natures way of saying, don’t be a clunky liability when things heads for the worse, but rather a light-footed/winged asset. And what is more light-footed than a meme traveling a the speed of light?

              Speed of light is a big problem. I have analyzed this in an article for Humanity+, but there are too many pointers here already.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Keith, thanks. I for sure used to read Clarke, Herbert, Asimov, Dick, Gibson, the usual suspects of sci-fi. Plus the movies with favorites Ghost In the Shell, Alien, Blade Runner. Then life in the mundanity of it all, watching the empty shells blow through the future with little to nothing to show for. Fuck me. 😢

              You might have missed the part where I write that we should care for our sickly, diseased and old? Because life isn’t that kind to them. Don’t confuse the man with the words.

              But it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to run rampant with the socialist engineering of crazy altruism. Cant afford kids, don’t have them. I might occasionally go over the top, because, well, the Laplander is strong in me. 🙃

              My idea of the personal eugenics program is to consider your own genetics as superior and therefore worthy of being transmitted. My point being is that is not matters we should concern ourselves with and leave it to the wheels of time and the processes of evolution. It is a survival instinct that doesn’t scale.

              Plus it is a slippery slope to start whacking unwanted children. Assume you learn that your child bears traits of autism, then what? However, Down’s syndrome is clearly a defect in comparison with autism in a complex society. It isn’t the most sociable, likable, outgoing, people that makes the shit we take for granted.

              I for sure know that the ideas I fly in my head have been pondered upon by people much smarter and creative than I am, but I am in no competition, rather enjoy musing on my own, with curiosity and existence regardless of if it’s something new. A Wittgenstein-ite.

              All willpower, no skillpower. 🤣

              Yes, please, post a list of literature that resonate with my wickedness. I might find my own thoughts in there.

              My philosophy is simple. Follow the process of life and mimic those to the best of ability. Yes, that includes morality and compassion without going full retard. All else is folly.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Ah yes, the ‘translatio imperii’, proverbially from East to West. Too bad it ended at the Bering Strait, and not at the frontier of Russian America.

            • Kowalainen says:

              It’s so weird that the Americans don’t bore a tunnel straight through the strait, lay down some tracks, pipelines, HVDC transmission lines and fiber optics, shake hands with Putin and the East Asians. Cut up the cake and let the feast begin. 🤘😜

              That would leave the inbred EU lebensraum muppets rather long in the face.

              And I would be all smiles.

            • It is kind of cold up there. The amount of travel in the vicinity of the Bering Strait is small.

            • Ed says:

              now I can go too bed happy

              “That would leave the inbred EU lebensraum muppets rather long in the face.”

              🙂

  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.K. hit with worst recession in 300 years as country grapples with mutated COVID-19 strain:

    “The world is making adjustments following a new strain of the coronavirus, spreading in the United Kingdom and beyond as the country’s government says it has entered its worst recession in 300 years. Christmas in London was effectively canceled, many residents felt.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/united-kingdom-worst-recession-300-years-mutated-covid-19-strain/

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Bank loans and overdrafts to businesses spiked to almost £530bn [in the UK] this year, threatening to undermine the economic recovery as companies struggle under the weight of debt.

      “Firms borrowed hand over fist to survive the pandemic, making enthusiastic use of government-backed loans to stay afloat.”

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/12/27/530bn-covid-corporate-debt-mountain-threatens-economic-recovery/

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Hedge funds have placed a £1 billion bet that there is more trouble in store for the UK’s retailers, despite 2020 having been the most miserable year for the British high street since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.”

        https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/hedge-funds-1bn-bet-on-more-retail-misery-chch65cvj

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Queries over debt problems, food banks and problems with the Universal Credit benefit were increasing even before the coronavirus pandemic took effect, an annual analysis of data from Citizens Advice Scotland has revealed.”

          https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/business/consumer/debt-and-food-bank-queries-rise-pandemic-hit-3070924

          • Shut downs, no doubt, didn’t seem so bad when it was clear that businesses were doing poorly, even without shutdowns. For example, a struggling car factory that would be shut down for a short period could, in theory, build more vehicles after it reopened, to make up for lost supply. And the government would have an excuse for the low supply.

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Nice. Hopefully there will be plenty of cut price goodies online as year goes on. I am hoping to bag a pair of the latest Bang & Olufsen H95 headphones, to compliment my H9i, for about £400 (from £700 now) come Black Friday 2021.

          https://www.bang-olufsen.com/en/headphones/beoplay-h95?variant=beoplay-h95-greymist

          • I’m afraid that’s not how the real world works.
            Usually, the *[quality stuff] gets seldom on significant sale ever, and if it does, there is very low stock of it, especially now with the curbed purchasing power in consumer demand (for ever). But if you are fast, vigilant and persistent, perhaps at the exact hour and day of sale you might snap it up.

            Also there is the important distinction between seasonal cycle or product update sale as we knew it and desperation clearing sale when the shop or manuf itself going under never to appear again.
            The latter is coming our way..


            * especially in the realm beyond “leisure-delux” electronics

            • Kowalainen says:

              Yup, I’ve been purchasing high-quality Hifi equipment for some time now, seldom to be found on sale for any duration of time, if at all.

              As long as there is (food) internet and electricity, I’m able to enjoy music.

              Durable goods (worthless gimmicks, such as cars for the decadent) bought with frivolous money will be a best forgotten memory. The expensive prosumer/pro gear will still be accessible, due to lower volumes and more advanced tech. Gotta keep all of the jewels in the crown belonging to the holy trinity shiny and glittering (owners, MIC, artisanry).

              Expect some sharp price hikes of the “magic”, technowizardry you take for granted anytime soon now. TSMC already announced the end of discounts for volume orders. Plenty of shortages all around the semiconductor industry. The AI/cloud build up is sucking the inventories dry together with the pandemic hoopla. Nvidia announced the next gen GPU’s will be delayed (due to fabbing constraints I presume). It will for sure take some time to get that TSMC factory in the US ramped up to volume production all while Intel seem to be going down the tubes with its butt being kicked by AMD’s Lisa Su showing a tour the force of brilliance and feminism 2.0. Apple is going wild with its own ARM silicon running in devices previously in Intel territory.

              Yeah, TV’s, smartphones and video games will still be accessible for obvious reasons. Divide et impera and escapism.

              Cant have the useless eaters compete with a resource constrained IC 2.0.

            • Mirror on the wall says:

              Well, we will see when the time comes. I picked up my BO H9is at 2/3 the usual price off Amazon BF 2019 – so I cannot really justify splashing out again just yet. Roland had their Boutique studio range reduced by 1/3 this BF and I was tempted to get the new 303 bass synth replica; they are still offering money off but not quite as much as they were. I would say that there is a good chance that H95s will be offered next year but time will tell. Yes, it may be worth keeping a look out in the meantime if the high st. collapses. If John Lewis collapses then I will be straight on the site mate.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Mirror, I own B&O H9. Sounds great. I listened to the Sony WH-1000’s, I think it was. Great comfort, but something wasn’t quite right with the sound. I guess I have been brainwashed by the darker sound of Sennheisers since the dawn of my Hifi times, the B&O’s sounds quite similar to my trusty old HD 650’s. I also got me a pair of Shure SE 846 in ear monitors a while ago that sound excellent for an in ear monitor. The H9’s and 650’s sound better likely due to larger drivers and better amp/DAC compared with the in ear stuff.

              I guess I’ll be all right with decent portable audio for some time now. 🙂

              The problem with decent Hifi gear is that you can’t revert back to the el cheapo stuff.

            • Mirror on the wall says:

              Snap. I still use my old wireless Sennheiser RS180 for TV. That said, they are open backed and the sound is very airy and spacious, much more so than the BO. But the cleanness, separation and distinctness of the instruments on the BO is unparalleled.

              I often use the BO app on the phone to reduce the bass on edm, otherwise they are too bassy, which is due more to the music production than the cans; house is still way too bassy, unlike trance or psytrance.

              Obviously I use the BO wired for classical and its detailed sound. Bluetooth is fine for edm, which is highly processed anyway; the BO renders it gorgeously. They are both excellent cans in their own way.

          • Lidia17 says:

            I bought a high and a low Irish whistle, and a boudhran (drum), so I can have music without electricity.

            The ability for the masses to enjoy music-on-demand without participation is a very recent and fleeting situation.

            It perhaps figures into Gail’s down-escalator concept that the current generation has little interest in “owning” musical media (records, tapes, CDs, or even mp3 files in their possession). Subscription/streaming is what they rely on.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Lidia, even after some pruning before leaving Singapore, I still have 5 meters of CD, VCDs, and DVDs. Also 1.5 terabytes of movies and opera. Just hoping the electricity holds out.

            • Mirror on the wall says:

              Pfff.

              I have accumulated 5 Tb each of classical, psytrance, trance, techno and house – so far – all on 5 little 5 tb drives – loving BAU, torrents and drives. I will likely do one of opera and classical videos next.

              It would be interesting to know how many tbs of classical music the BBC has in its digital archive.

              Whether one has as many years as it would take to listen to it all is another matter but I am giving it a go.

            • Lidia17 says:

              Are you fellows “of the current generation”?

              Funny how the responses displayed a kind of -ahem- measurement contest between a couple of the alpha males on the site!

      • More and more loans to keep the economy going!

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Many countries went into months of lockdown in 2020 in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19, which reduced cross-border travel and accelerated job losses.

    “Governments increased spending to cushion the economic damage, but are now left with a huge debt pile to reckon with in the coming years.

    “Meanwhile, central banks around the world slashed interest rates and purchased more assets to inject more money into the financial system.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/28/5-charts-show-covid-impact-on-the-global-economy-in-2020.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “You have to go all the way back to the 1970s and the era of the “oil shocks” to find a time as tumultuous for global energy markets as 2020 has been…

      “Some estimates suggested that at the peak of the lockdowns in April and May, the world wanted 30 percent less oil than a few months before. There has been some recovery, but 2020 will still be a bleak year for the global energy industry, especially for transport-related fuels.”

      https://www.arabnews.com/node/1783756

  22. MG says:

    The law defining the relationship of energy and population: When the purchase of the energy starts to be driven by the debt, the population starts to implode.

    • maybe the correct law is

      that when the energy we have available uses even more energy to get hold of

      then population must eventually collapse

      • A collapsing debt bubble will bring the system down. A net energy supply that does not grow rapidly enough will bring the system down. Failing international supply lines will bring the system down. Fossil fuel prices that are chronically too low will bring the system down.

        You have quoted a favorite theory of peak oilers: “when the energy we have available uses even more energy to get hold of”

        I don’t think this limit is really a limit that we reach. There are such different qualities of energy, we cannot even measure this. We clearly use a lot of fossil fuel energy to get electricity, for example. Our measurement of EROEI is not at the system level, where it would need to be. And there is a whole lot of wishful thinking about intermittent renewables being equivalent to electricity, when they really replace the fossil fuel that is used to make electricity.

        I think that the EROEI discussion has mostly worked to confuse the issue of what is really going on. There are indeed true parts of the theory, but what goes wrong to cause the system to collapse was completely missed. As far as I can see, average EROEI needs to keep rising, to keep the system from collapsing. This is because energy needs keep rising, as population grows. The theory that an EROEI of 10:1 is good enough in developed countries is nonsense, for many reasons. The focus needs to be on the total quantity of net energy (of the kind today’s machines need), to keep the system operating. EROEI theory, together with the false measurement of the EROEI of wind and solar, have been what has allowed these intermittent renewables to look like they might be useful, when their real use is, in fact, very limited.

        • you are correct in pointing out that it is a limit we can never reach. (civil/economic chaos would stop us getting there)

          But as a species it seems to me that we are in denial that that limit is there at all.

          Few in any position of ‘authority’ dare to stand up and say ‘once we pass a certain point (of economic returns) the oil age is over’

          I make that point, in the face of the ongoing optimism of the fracking and oilsands and corn oil producers, who have been convinced that as long as oil was coming out, money could be poured (invested) in.
          The recent spate of fracking bankruptcies disprove that. I believe corn oil was never better than about 1:1.5—but that’s ‘profit’ on the economist’s (immediate) balance sheet.

          So according to ol Dubya, the USA was going to be energy independent by growing oil. The economists told him so. The same economists promised the same thing about fracking. Good news for politicians.

          The people on the ground, at a particular source point, recognise only the perceived ‘future value’ in every barrel extracted. They have no interest in knowing or accepting that each barrel they extract is being subsidised by oil production elsewhere. (by supporting the actual existence of their physical environment.)

          This economic thinking effectively robs the global economic system of energy that would otherwise we utilised elsewhere. So the 6:1 return on fracked oil is being paid for by the 20:1 of Saudi oil.
          44m Americans (and millions elsewhere) can’t earn enough to eat. But that reality appears on a different balance sheet.

          The difference between the two is what we feel as our accustomed lifestyle grinding to a halt, because in effect the cost of getting hold of oil (and using it) is weakening the overall economic system.

          This was happening before Covid appeared. The virus has just brought it all forward by a few years.

    • I am not sure that that is really the story.

      Certainly, Japan’s purchase of energy has been driven by debt, and its population has started to implode.

      The US has thrown a lot of debt at oil from shale, but its population has not started to implode in the same way.

      Europe has been fighting off population implosion with increasingly unwanted immigration. Greece and Italy clearly have debt problems, but I don’t think the percentage growth in debt has in general been high. It is more that the return on debt has been too low.

      • MG says:

        When the population starts to implode, the solution may by importing the population, like Germany, Great Britain, USA – that is why these countries postponed the population implosion.

        Japan did not import the population, that is why its population is imploding. Russia uses a lot migrating workforce and its population is imploding.

  23. Lidia17 says:

    Asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 didn’t occur at all, study of 10 million finds

    Wed Dec 23, 2020 – 7:18 pm EST
    WUHAN, China, December 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A study of almost 10 million people in Wuhan, China, found that asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 did not occur at all, thus undermining the need for lockdowns, which are built on the premise of the virus being unwittingly spread by infectious, asymptomatic people.

    Published in November in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the paper was compiled by 19 scientists, mainly from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, but also from scientific institutions across China as well as in the U.K. and Australia. It focused on the residents of Wuhan, ground zero for COVID-19, where 9,899,828 people took part in a screening program between May 14 and June 1, which provided clear results as to the possibility of any asymptomatic transmission of the virus.

    These results are not without precedent. In June, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, shed doubt upon asymptomatic transmission. Speaking at a press conference, Van Kerkhove explained, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”

    … the new Wuhan study seems to present solid, scientific evidence that asymptomatic transmission is not just rare but nonexistent. Given that it found “no evidence that the identified asymptomatic positive cases were infectious,” the study raises important questions about lockdowns.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/asymptomatic-transmission-of-covid-19-didnt-occur-at-all-study-of-10-million-finds

    • Except that the virus seems to have changed since the original Wuhan days. It mutated in Europe fairly early on in a way that aided transmission, and now there seems to be a very different version which is even more transmissible. I still think that lockdowns don’t make sense, whether or not transmission among people without symptoms occurs.

  24. Ed says:

    The government of Ukraine has just released info on millions of stolen dollars paid to the Biden family. Now things are getting real.

    • Ed says:

      I watched a video in English. I did not watch the whole thing it was over an hour long. It seemed quite damning. I went back to copy the address and it was gone! Sorry folks I can not provide the reference. Was it real was it fake no way to find out it just disappeared.

    • well at least Trump was making his own fake videos, (he said so) before we were aware of fake videos

      • Tim Geoves says:

        Non sequitur. Whataboutery. Par for the course from Norman.

        I could be wrong—I often am—but I expect Joe Biden is going to be giving a very important speech very soon, admitting that there were serious election “irregularities” and withdrawing his and Kamala’s candidacy.

        This would be the least messy solution given the scale and depth of fraud and corruption that has taken place and the degree of foreign intervention in the 2020 election.

        Even if Biden does not concede, there is a good chance that one or more disputed states will be decertifying their results.

        Lots more fun to come in this election dispute. It’s a good game. There’s a lot of play in it.

        • noooooooo

          you could never be guilty of wrongery Tim

          case of mistaken identity I daresay

        • Ed says:

          With millions saying they will fight civil war 2.0 spraying hundreds of millions of rounds at their fellow country persons. It surprises me no one wants to shoot arch duke Ferdinand.

  25. Name says:

    Best skyline picture of Warsaw so far: https ://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50668887137_db42802832_o.jpg

  26. onehorsepony says:

    The Ivermectin sold for horses comes in tubes with a plunger calibrated for the weight of the horse. My math shows the horse ivermectin is dosed at 90 micrograms per lb of horse. The virginia recommendations for non prophylactic human ivermectin were 68-90 microgram per lb of patient. Two doses 24 hours apart as soon as onset symptoms were noted/ test positive.

    I am in no way advocating or condoning horse ivermectin for use in humans. I think its terrible that the horse ivermectin tubes are calibrated at the same microgram dosage per pound as for humans! They should change that to make it not so convenient for those who are seeking self treatment for rona with ivermectin!

    https://www.evms.edu/media/evms_public/departments/internal_medicine/EVMS_Critical_Care_COVID-19_Protocol.pdf

  27. JMS says:

    Despite the ongoing worldwide vaccination program, and the “effectiveness” and “safety” of vaccines, Dr. Frankenfauci, instead of showing optimism, strangely prefers to warn that the worst is yet to come (IOW, 2020 was NOT the worst, but just the antechamber of the worst).

    He knows, of course. It will be “surge upon surge, and this pandemic of “cases” will end only when we all have an electronic collar around our neck, signaling our condition of servants (or “happy”, to use Herr Schwab’s terminology)

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/27/politics/anthony-fauci-biden-coronavirus-cnntv/index.html

    • Xabier says:

      I want my collar to be by Dior, darlings!

      • Jean Wilson says:

        You won’t need an electronic collar. The vax comes complete with a tiny microchip. No place to hide!

        • Gates must be getting tired

          having to go out every night and sneak into his vax factory and personally doctor that day’s vax production

          good job he’s not running Microsoft any more

    • Lidia17 says:

      There is something really wrong with that dude. Munchausen’s-by-proxy, is my guess.

      • Kowalainen says:

        It’s like observing the “Kling and Klang” of Swedish FHM, it’s easy to spot when something isn’t quite right with some people. The light is on, but nobody’s home.

    • Rodster says:

      He’s gotta keep the “Hype Train” rolling or people might figure out that Covid 19 is really NO worse than the Seasonal Flu. As the saying goes “if you tell a big enough lie and continue to repeat it, eventually people will start to believe it”.

      • Lidia17 says:

        I’m thinking of his whole history, which is more of the same. I think he gets off on making people afraid and then “saving” them.

        He creepily tells nervous little kids (whom *he* made nervous!) that he’s personally vaccinated Santa. He, Fauci, is the master of a supernatural saintly being with magical powers:
        https://www.facebook.com/cnn/videos/1303681696663425/

        • Rodster says:

          I agree! This is the same Fauci who tells everyone to stay 6 ft apart and always wear a mask and avoid public places. And yet earlier this year Fauci was seen and had his picture taken while seated between a friend and his wife with his mask down laughing at a Washington Nationals baseball game.

          Tyrants, Power Freaks and Hypocrites ! But by now the dirty little secret is, this is all about bring in The Great Reset with several world leaders parroting Klaus Schwabs mantra, “Build Back Better”.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “Covid 19 is really NO worse than the Seasonal Flu.”

        Just heard from a cousin about a second cousin of mine who had Covid-19. She was hospitalized 23 days, 18 of which she was incubated. Now she can only whisper as her vocal chords were damaged by the ventilator.

        Anecdotal, I know, but for some people it’s worse than seasonal flu.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Hush, don’t interfere with the neo conservatives running the course that has been laid out for them. 🤫

          Oh, yeah, the Seneca cliff is there as the grande finale, inches before the finish line. Let’s see how much airtime they’ll get before gravity and thermodynamics interfere with their delusions of a rejuvenated and glorious west.

          *SPLAT* GG. Well played. 👍

        • Rodster says:

          I know of at least 8 people who have had and some with severe symptoms but they have all gotten over it and are doing just fine. I have read of countless athletes who have had it with some saying they felt like crap and not one of them died.

          People can get severely sick with the seasonal flu and many die from it. The death rate numbers “from Covid 19” are right in line with those of the seasonal flu.

          • Rodster says:

            “The death rate numbers “from Covid 19” are right in line with those of the seasonal flu.”

            That is when the CDC and Health Ministers aren’t fudging the numbers. Because we already know Covid 19 numbers are being including with many deaths. There’s a big difference “dying from” vs “dying with” CV 19.

        • Lidia17 says:

          “For some people” seasonal flu = death. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

          60-80k people/year in the US are supposed to have died of the flu in recent pre-covid years. Unpleasant as it may be, I imagine there are flu patients who have had a similar hard time as your cousin. Seasonal flu doesn’t translate into sexy media fear porn, though, nor could the gov. have whipped up seasonal flu into a totalitarian “covid” frenzy.

          I think it has been noted here that influenza deaths are now recorded as being… umm.. zero.

          It could be that covid really is slightly different/worse, but certainly not the orders of magnitude worse that might justify the current sort of (“controlled demolition of the economy”) reaction.

          ———-
          I did a little back-of-the-envelope math on my state, pop. 627k.

          If one posits 80k flu deaths out of a population of 330million, that works out to about 152 deaths out of 627k. As of today, deaths “with Covid” in my state are 127.

          At a 60k/330million rate, the analogous figure would be 114.

          Sure sounds like covid isn’t any worse than the seasonal flu in *my* state!

          YMMV.

          • Artleads says:

            i PUT THIS post ON A fACEBOOK PAGE, AND GOT THIS REPLY. This guy is always linking to The World Economic Forum, so easy to see where he’s coming from.

            “Those numbers would be correct if we were at the end of the regular flu season in your state. We are not. The regular flu season extends till about April, we are just at the beginning.”

            • Lidia17 says:

              Well, we are at the end of the year now. Whether per year or per season, not a big difference IMO, except one might be merging the beginning of one season with the tail end of the previous. The numbers are still in the flu range in my state, regardless. They aren’t counting suicides, like Ontario, at least.

            • Artleads says:

              Lidia, they came back with this:

              https://www.nbcsandiego.com/…/fact-check-flu…/2412182/
              https://www.usatoday.com/…/fact-check…/3254404001/
              Fact Check: Flu Deaths vs. COVID-19 Deaths
              NBCSANDIEGO.COM
              Fact Check: Flu Deaths vs. COVID-19 Deaths

              Since I do zero research myself, and would like FW to be among the most earnest of sites re giving accurate info, I just move posts around to see if anything solid sticks.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Intubation can be deadly. Even when it isn’t, it can permanently damage the lungs. It is often employed in serious cases of influenza-induced breathing difficulties.

          Influenza-Associated Intensive-Care Unit Admissions and Deaths — California, September 29, 2013–January 18, 2014

          Clinical Characteristics
          Of the 94 patients who died, 80 (85%) had sufficient medical history reported to determine whether they had preexisting conditions that put them at high risk for influenza complications as defined by ACIP (1). A comorbid condition predisposing to severe influenza was identified in 74 (93%) of these 80 patients with fatal illness. One fatal case occurred in a pregnant woman who had other preexisting medical conditions. The most commonly noted ACIP comorbid conditions were diabetes mellitus (20 cases [25%]), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (16 [20%]), asthma (11 [14%]), and morbid obesity (body mass index ≥40) (11 [14%]). Of the six patients with no known comorbid condition predisposing them to complications from influenza, as defined by ACIP, three (50%) were obese, with body mass indices of 30–39.

          Only six (21%) of 28 decedents whose vaccination status was known had documentation of receipt of 2013–14 seasonal influenza vaccine ≥2 weeks before symptom onset. Ten (11%) of the 94 patients who died were not hospitalized. Hospitalized patients who died were admitted to the ICU a median of 6 days after symptom onset (range = 0–56 days) and spent a median of 5 days in the ICU (range = 0–22 days). Of 65 fatal cases among persons for whom clinical information was available, 60 (92%) patients underwent endotracheal intubation and received mechanical ventilation.

          https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6307a2.htm

    • ranter says:

      Looking forward to the hit pieces on the vaccines that gain of function research big pharma makes billions off of. Whats that I hear? Oh nothing,,,

      Ill take my chances with ivermectin. My body. My life.

      Why is the death rate nothing in India and Africa where most of the population is on anti parasitics? A proven relationship? Absolutely not.

      I dont believe the media. No one with a lick of sense does. They have zero credibility.

      Same for big pharma.

      Its too bad. No one lies all the time. MSM comes pretty close. You cant trust everything they say is a lie. Its just a good indicator.

      Hit pieces are a good indicator.

      You know what would partially restore my faith in the media? A discussion about gain of function research the benefits and risks.

      I wont hold my breath.

      There are holes in the media coverage you could fit mount everest in. Their job seems to be finding new spins on approved topics. It would be interesting to know whether they do so autonomously or by direction.

      If ivermectin gets too popular perhaps they will do a article “ivermectin endorsed by David Duke”. Like they did with Tulsi Gabbard.

      Supposedly treatment is a matter of life or death.

      Media says the anti vaxxers are all stupid racists. Deplorable. If their right we all die.

      Truth is they direct hate. With the hate they have created in their hearts you really want me to believe they would care if we drop dead?

      The stupid deplorables all die from not getting the VAX.

      Wheres the problem?

      There isnt one. On the other hand if the people who get vaxxed have problems and the anti vaxxers dont yet another hole is torn in the matrix.

      More fundamental to this is the real issue. Is it OK for someone to make decisions about your body?

      I like my doctor. I respect my doctor. I reserve the right to accept or refuse their treatment. If i dont have that right I can no longer like or respect my doctor.

      THe right to refuse treatment allows medical care.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Excellent rant!

      • Xabier says:

        We need to rant!

        There is a recent interview with Bill Gates – more an audience, not real journalism of course – in which he is asked about the low death rate, so far, in the developing world.

        He had no answer as to why they simply haven’t been hit so hard as the advanced countries, and waffles about how concerned he is, etc. Says it’s all a mystery…..

        No mention, of course, of alternative strategies they have been following, low-cost pharmaceutical treatments, etc,and the nonsense that tests are -the BMJ has admitted this about the tests and also published letters alleging fraud and conflict of interest.

        Body language and the lack of a proper response from the supposed world expert, with decades of interest in the subject, tells one everything about this fraud.

        It was my ‘light bulb’ moment, not that one can piece together the whole story, of course, as yet.

        Alas, so many, even in the medical profession, now see the almost totally untested vaccines as the only ‘light’, and are begging to take them or be allowed to give them so as to escape the COVID tunnel we have been put in.

        What I learned as a student, when many of my friends were medics – a top university, too – was that they are often not that bright outside their specialism and develop a very narrow focus. They are trained to pass the very testing exams, not in critical thinking.

        Such people are quite easily hoodwinked; and, also, at present most just want the high levels of patients this winter has brought to go away asap, just as much as they want to cure them.

        A surgeon friend (brilliant) calls most medical practitioners ‘just good enoughs’. ie not capable of independent thinking,

        In normal times, the ‘just good enoughs’ kill a lot – according to him. One of them almost killed a girlfriend of mine through persistent misdiagnosis of a very serious condition – a condition that was actually on her medical record…….

        • Kowalainen says:

          Ah, yes the bloodhound nose signature of a smart person. Always picks up the trace from subtle nuances. *snif*, *snif*, yup, if it wafts like an useless eater is brown nosing a pile of GND bovine manure from miles away, it most likely is.

          Dismissed and hated the stench in less than a second of olfactory and cortical processing. 🤢🤮

        • Z says:

          The Third Leading cause of death in the US is medical error.

          Kills about 250,000 people a year.

          Now imagine all of the people who are being slowly killed via pharmaceuticals.

          The Medical/Pharma Industry is pure scum.

      • Rodster says:

        Why if I didn’t know any better I might have confused “ranter” for “Fast Eddy”. 😉

    • Ed says:

      and of course HCQ and Vitamin D

    • MG says:

      https://www.kolotv.com/2020/12/22/ivermectin-no-treatment-for-covid/

      “Ivermectin does come in a human form. But the drug is prescribed at a much lower dose for specific medical conditions. It is effective, but not as a treatment or preventative for COVID. And taking Ivermectin designed to treat parasites in horses can be deadly.

      Keep in mind one tube helps treat a horse up to 1500 pounds. And that treatment lasts three to four months. Imagine what it can do to a person weighing 150 pounds who takes it on a regular basis.”

    • Lidia17 says:

      If the federal gov. were to acknowledge Ivermectin, HCQ and/or any of these combo protocols as a valid treatment, they wouldn’t get the “emergency use” loophole that lets the vax makers avoid anything but the most cursory of trials.

  28. ElbowWilham says:

    Happy New Year!

  29. barryh says:

    I think you’re saying current trends cannot continue. The system is broken. We knew that e.g. climate breakdown, covid. The challenge is to human ingenuity to keep the system going, while at the same time changing it to one that is sustainable. Should keep us busy for a while!

  30. Pingback: The priest, the engineer and the economist - Resilience

  31. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Wasting away again in Margaritaville….🏝️🤑🌈

    This month, Monroe County commissioners voted to look into the possibility of special assessments on neighborhoods in need of higher roads and new flood pumps, and the price per home could be as high as $5,000 a year. Monroe is also looking into raising taxes for everyone in the island chain, which would require permission from the Legislature and Monroe voters.

    “I feel that we, unfortunately, might need to raise additional funds in next year’s tax ratings for these projects. We need to start earmarking money and say yes, we’re going to start paying for it,” Mayor Michelle Coldiron said in a November meeting where the commission discussed money-making ideas and costs.

    This Keys neighborhood has been flooded for more than 90 days. Is relief coming soon?

    For residents in neighborhoods that have seen as much as 60 days of consecutive flooding this year, help can’t come soon enough.

    Stephanie Russo, a lawyer in Key Largo, has experienced flooding in her neighborhood since she and her husband first bought their home in 2015. On the worst days, when rain collides with high tide, delivery drivers can’t make it to their door. Sheriff’s officers won’t patrol the neighborhood because they worry about damage to their cars, although they will come in an emergency.

    Russo said she’s OK with paying extra for the needed upgrades, but she’s not sure if several thousand dollars a year — per home — is feasible.

    “I don’t know if everyone in my neighborhood can afford the potential assessments we’re looking at here,”

    Not only that but my City here in Broward County in Florida passed a special bond that provided funds to raise the sea walls in the intracoastal waterway to protect property from flooding.
    Already in that area there is significant street flooding and the reason given to do so was the property values would plummet along that stretch, this decreasing tax revenues!!!
    It did pass along with other pork projects that insiders in City Hall and connected influencers to profit from, like obtaining a Golf course from a developer to make a nature park, after he dumped a mixture of sand material from a Waste Treatment plant! Nice profit of a cool $6 million on Joe taxpayers. Actually, with this Covid mess, it’s going to be painfully obvious that these excessively expensive projects cannot be funded as before from the decrease in tax base.
    We are living in interesting moments…glad I’m OLD

  32. Namm says:

    They don’t know EROEI, so they just think oil is eternal and is all just a matter of economics as ‘reality’ (physical, subjected to physics) is foreign to these virtual-oriented people. But at least they’re sensing it (shallow article, by the way – bad, actually):
    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Very-Real-Possibility-Of-Peak-Oil-Supply.html

    By the way, don’t ever think the real higher ups don’t know what’s happening, they do. What you’re seeing right now is their way of degrowth, with them on top and bringing mass misery to everyone else. But at least it’s a plan – fantasies of locally-oriented degrowth will never happen.
    People on the conservative spectrum of politics shall rejoice as well, because this will bring back survival ethics, and erase the social modifications introduced in the last 100 years.
    But violence will come back, greatly so. It won’ be Mad Max, but a return to something more barbarian.

    China, not aware of such problem, will crash and burn in the coming years, because it will keep trying to get bigger and bigger. Their demographic bomb will also make sure its civilization gets buried to the ground.

    • Yep, the plan as unfolding into action is pretty up in our face..

      It’s all about curbing discretionary (energy) spending, and placate the idle masses with UBI.., core infrastructure support via CB / gov through various fin-debt schemes and efforts.

      Not sure about any acute depop plan for the 1st-2.5nd tier world though, perhaps this will come a bit later. In any case I’m not sold on what they model for time extension gain from this whole circus, hardly a decade+ achievable, more realistically only few extra years into mid-late 2020s.
      But I’m not complaining.. so far..

      • Azure Kingfisher says:

        Perhaps they won’t have to kill us all off. The scamdemic and subsequent economic and social fallout will serve to reduce the number of future souls incarnating on this planet:

        Half a million fewer children? The coming COVID-19 baby bust

        “The COVID-19 episode will likely lead to a large, lasting baby bust. The pandemic has thrust the country into an economic recession. Economic reasoning and past evidence suggest that this will lead people to have fewer children. The decline in births could be on the order of 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births next year. We base this expectation on lessons drawn from economic studies of fertility behavior, along with data presented here from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and the 1918 Spanish Flu.”

        “An analysis of the Great Recession leads us to predict that women will have many fewer babies in the short term, and for some of them, a lower total number of children over their lifetimes. This is consistent with the evidence described above. The Great Recession led to a large decline in birth rates, after a period of relative stability. In 2007, the birth rate was 69.1 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44; in 2012, the rate was 63.0 births per 1,000 women. That nine percent drop meant roughly 400,000 fewer births.“

        https://www.brookings.edu/research/half-a-million-fewer-children-the-coming-covid-baby-bust/

        Setting aside procreating for the moment, how in the hell are young people supposed to even date and form partnerships in the New Abnormal? Zoom calls?
        What does the future of family creation look like? How much autonomy will people have when it comes to pair bonding and procreation? Will the vaccinated be allowed to have contact with the unvaccinated? Will they each have differing social and legal statuses? The medical tyranny that’s emerging could easily bring about the practice of eugenics, if not an officially recognized eugenics program.

        The COVID-19 vaccine marks the beginning of the transformation. People will think they’ll get the old normal back by taking the vaccine but they won’t. They will effectively separate themselves from their fellow man and facilitate the division and categorization process desired by our overlords. A bio-apartheid will be the end result and it will infect every sphere of civilized life. The only way to avoid a bio-apartheid is to prevent separation and thus categorization. No one should take the vaccine. If no one takes the vaccine then they cannot divide us Into two camps; they cannot make anyone the “other.”

        • Bei Dawei says:

          “Setting aside procreating for the moment, how in the hell are young people supposed to even date and form partnerships in the New Abnormal? Zoom calls?”

          Orgy porgy.

          (“Brave New World” reference)

          • Kowalainen says:

            Haha, fantastic. “Orgy Porgy”.

            Worrying about dating and procreating as the Seneca cliff of (easy) fossil fuel depletion approaches is quite something.

            Is it just me or did the average IQ score plunge rapidly after FE left?

            Can you believe it, they want to go back to the neo conservative Christian “patriarchy” as a “fix” for all the intractable issues facing the decadent west. I’m sure that will put some more unobtanium in the oil fields and in extension gas tank of the SUV’s they use to haul their bloated and sorry asses around in.

            All while Taiwan, with a female president, stomped the pandemic as if nothing happened. “Dunno, EZ. I’m Tsai Ing-Wen and I do this for a living, I’m used to making the dimwits of decadent western establishment and hoi-polloi look like utter buffoons.”

            It is a disgrace. Let it burn. 🔥

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Yep, we all saw that one coming.

          The fertility rate in England and Wales fell to 1.6 per woman in 2020.

          The rate for native women is about .1 lower than the overall, so it is now about 1.5 – a fall of 25% in births each generation, half in two, three-quarters in three.

          No worries, TP has agreed with CBI to get them all of the workers that they can use from abroad, currently about 700,000 per year.

          > “The total fertility rate fell from 1.65 children per woman in the first three quarters of 2019 to 1.6 for the first nine months of 2020 – the eighth year in a row it has fallen and the lowest level in the last decade.”

          https://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2020/12/07/fertility-rates-in-england-and-wales-fall-for-eighth-year-in-a-row/

          • Kowalainen says:

            Not bad at all, meanwhile in Sweden, all the middle aged useless eater female leftovers “working” in the guvmint as perpetrators of state sanctioned sanctimonious hypocrisy is having a heyday with youth from Afghanistan.

            You betcha, the Swedish guvmint is financing their “Orgy Porgy”, to cite Bei.

  33. Mirror on the wall says:

    This track made me laugh and I am guessing that the words (and music) are tongue in cheek. One for the GND.

    “It’s lovely!”

  34. JMS says:

    Not everything was bad in 2020. The extinction of the influenza virus, for example, was one of those miracles of this year, which no one cares to explain, but which is none the less welcome.

    2019 data
    https://apps.who.int/flumart/Default?ReportNo=10
    2020 data
    https://apps.who.int/flumart/Default?ReportNo=6

  35. adonis says:

    THERE ARE SOME READERS THAT BELIEVE IN THE INTEGRITY OF THE COVID 19 STORY AND WHO BELIEVE THAT THE VACCINE IS HERE TO HELP US I AM PUTTING UP THIS ARTICLE FROM 2005 JUST TO SHOW READERS THAT THERE IS A MOTIVE TO REDUCE THE POPULATION AND THAT THE POWERS THAT BE KNEW MANY YEARS IN ADVANCE ABOUT THE END OF OIL EVEN IF THEY HAVE GOTTEN IT ALL WRONG AND PROBABLY PLANNED TO WIPE OUT A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE POPULATION BELIEVING THAT OIL SUPPLIES WERE RUNNING OUT. ” Declining Energy Reserves and Economic Downturn

    Of course, discussion at Bilderberg 2005 turned to oil. An American Bilderberger expressed concern over the sky-rocketing oil price. One oil industry insider at the meeting remarked that growth is not possible without energy, and that according to all indicators the world’s energy supply is coming to an end much faster than the world leaders have anticipated.

    According to sources, Bilderbergers estimate the extractable world’s oil supply will last a maximum of 35 years under current economic development and population. However, one of the representatives of an oil cartel remarked that they must factor into the equation the population explosion and economic growth as well as demand for oil in China and India. Under the revised conditions, there is apparently only enough oil to last for 20 years. No oil spells the end of the world’s financial system—which has already been acknowledged by the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, two newspapers that are regularly represented at the annual Bilderberg conference. The conclusion: expect a severe downturn in the world’s economy over the next two years as Bilderbergers try to safeguard the remaining oil supply by taking money out of people’s hands. In a recession or, at worst, a depression, the population will be forced to dramatically cut down their spending habits, thus ensuring a longer supply of oil to the world’s rich as they try to figure out what to do.”

    • John says:

      Adonis how do you think they will reduce the population thats what i have been trying to figure out in the last few months. Im aware of peak oil and how it’s connected to population growth and economy.

    • Ed says:

      so 20 years from 2005 that is 2025!

    • I found an article related to the Bilderberger conference. http://www.zpenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1557

      These are some excerpts from it:

      According to sources, Bilderbergers estimate the extractable world’s oil supply will last a maximum of 35 years under current economic development and population. However, one of the representatives of an oil cartel remarked that they must factor into the equation the population explosion and economic growth as well as demand for oil in China and India. Under the revised conditions, there is apparently only enough oil to last for 20 years. No oil spells the end of the world’s financial system—which has already been acknowledged by the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, two newspapers that are regularly represented at the annual Bilderberg conference. The conclusion: expect a severe downturn in the world’s economy over the next two years as Bilderbergers try to safeguard the remaining oil supply by taking money out of people’s hands. In a recession or, at worst, a depression, the population will be forced to dramatically cut down their spending habits, thus ensuring a longer supply of oil to the world’s rich as they try to figure out what to do.

      During cocktails one afternoon, a European Bilderberger noted that there is no plausible alternative to hydrocarbon energy. . .

      At Rottach-Egern in May 2005, the industry’s top executives tried to figure out how to keep the truth about diminishing oil reserves from reaching the public. Public knowledge of the diminishing reserves directly translates into lower share prices which could destroy financial markets, leading to a collapse of the world economy.

      An American Bilderberger wondered what it would take for the oil price to go back to US$25 a barrel. Another American Bilderberger, believed to be Allan Hubbard, laconically stated that the general public does not realise that the price for cheap oil can be the bursting of the debt bubble. Cheap oil slows economic growth because it depresses commodity prices and reduces world liquidity.

      There is a strong indication, based on the information reported from the Bilderberg 2005 meeting in Rottach-Egern, that the US Federal Reserve is extremely concerned about the debt bubble. One American Bilderberger reported that if the price of oil were to go down to its previous low of $25 a barrel, the debt-driven asset bubble would explode.

      To prevent low prices, it sounds like a decision was made to try to keep oil prices high through wars on foreign soil. These would tend to raise prices, without causing much collateral damage to the countries starting them. Higher energy prices would not take money out of the economy, they would simply redistribute them among countries. This would benefit the US and Great Britain.

      Do you have a link to the article you are quoting? Could you “copy” the link, and “paste” it into comment for the rest of us to see?

      • well—so far nobody has asked me to be a bilderberger.—how does one qualify?

        that said, there are some less than sharp knives in the bilderberg box, if all that is said is true.

        If population is drastically reduced, (to say 25% of now, to pluck a figure out of nowhere, ) then the entire commercial structure of the planet will collapse, and the so called ‘wealth’ of aforesaid bilderbergers must necessarily evaporate.

        That is so blindingly obvious, it hardly needs my lowly intellect to address a bilderberg conference to point it out.

        World health and commerce is entirely dependent on converting one energy form into another to give ourselves wages.
        Until now those wages have constantly increased because we’ve been able to pump more energy into the system to support them.

        That delivered goods at an accelerating rate, which we eagerly consumed

        And paid for with constantly increasing wages.

        that’s called momentum, to use a single word for it.

        We are now losing momentum fast.

        The bilderberg wealth will not substitute for loss of energy input

        • Kowalainen says:

          They can stare at the digits they “made” during the Kafka era of IC on the last working computer once the Seneca hits hard. That will work until the turbines of the last man standing drops into the outlet.

          A big congratulations on the delusions that some primates circulates in the mental swirl of hallucination and grand myopia.

          Hey, I am sure Commie Soylent GND will fix that little predicament. Let’s call in for another Bilder burger, or whatever that shit show is called, meeting and discuss how the Kafka of IC can be injected with large quantities of unobtanium and a large dose of useless guvmint, so that, you know, we can continue stare at digits on a computer screen for a little while longer. 👍

          Hey, we probably need moar psy ops packages. Quickly, call the disgusting peddlers of sanctimony.. ☎️ 🤢🤮

          BAU tonight baby. 10111010110110 👩‍💻 W00t. Wealth. Prosperity. Yum, yum, the useless eater craves.

          Oh, what, am I being salty again? 🧂😡 👎

          • Kowalienen

            By the measure of the time, when I was 11, my documented IQ was in the top 1% nationally here in the UK.

            I hasten to add that it wasn’t of the slightest use in making myself a fortune, achievement of high office in government or industry or much else that I can think of.
            Apart from an the ability to think, as an end it itself. That doesn’t pay very well.

            It also is not of the slightest use right now in understanding what on earth you are blathering on about

            • Kowalainen says:

              Sounds like your problem, not mine. Your IQ score isn’t a measure of the quality of your thought processes. It only means that you’ll be wrong faster than Joe Average.

              I like to consider it as cheap intelligence vs. industrious intelligence.

              It makes a world of difference when traversing your mind in the sprawling tree of trajectories and outcomes in objective reality. Yeah, that and some understanding on the ifs, whys and hows the proverbial gears of IC is ground, that coupled with some basics in psychosocial traits easily observable in certain types of people. You know, asking yourself the question if there is a core in that person or if it’s just another construct loonie guided by the limbic system. Plenty of that trash floating around after about at least a century of psy ops, various honey pot shenanigans, outright spying, corruption and subtle blackmailing. Or as your personal favorite Trump would state: The Swamp.

              But don’t get me wrong. I like what you write, and agree for the most part, as long as the (sometimes shallow) ramblings don’t interfere with objective reality.

        • Bei Dawei says:

          “well—so far nobody has asked me to be a bilderberger.—how does one qualify?”

          They have a steering committee that decides who to invite. No formal criteria but participants are mostly politicians, CEOs, finance people and economists, people like that. Davos (the World Economic Forum) is a lot bigger and invites celebrities.

        • Thanks very much. I see the earlier article that was founds was an excerpt from this article. This article gives more context. The Bilderberg group wanted one world government, among other things.

    • the spending habits of the plantation slaves (we’ll call them what they were—energy converters) were severely restricted.

      There was never any money IN their hands.

      If you remove money from the hands of the mass of people, and still expect energy conversion (work) from those same people, then slavery is the only job description that fits I’m afraid.

      Taking the bilderberg theory to its nonsensical conclusion:

      With BAU we have 20 years left

      Using the Bilderberg theory, (slave labour) we extend the system by another 15 years maybe.

      The entire bilderberg thing is nonsense because it takes no account of human nature:

      i.e.—we get to 15 years from now, if we’re lucky, (doing BAU stuff,) then suddenly figure out we’re about to go over the financial cliff, but calmly accept:

      A—threequarters of us are going to be shortly dead

      B the rest become slaves to the top 0.1%

      • Xabier says:

        Human nature has many facets.

        I read a highly interesting biography by a 19th English mercenary.

        One of his observations was that it was easy to kill trained, well-armed troops once you had broken their spirit.

        He saw his soldiers just walk up to them and hit them on the head, with no attempt at resistance. They had ammunition, they had bayonets, and they were totally passive…..

        Another account was about a general who would literally take men out of the ranks and beat them up: afterwards, they were his most loyal followers and their eyes shone with admiration for the man who had dominated them. Incredible, but true.

        Frankly, one can do anything with human beings, and get them to accept it.

        They are weaker than dogs -the best dogs always show spirit , and a wise trainer uses that and doesn’t crush it.

        The world is more unreasonable than we would ever care to admit.

        • Ed says:

          Xabier, I always enjoy your comments. This one seems timely to the global situation.

        • Ed says:

          Xabier, when my wife makes the dog get out of her place on the sofa she reminds me dogs like to know their place in the pack. It sounds like the general understood this.

          • Xabier says:

            Yes, your wife is right, an intelligent dog and a good hunter just loves a firm word of command and a structure – they feel safer I think.

            I once saw an alpha dog give another one a ‘woof!’ command, in a particular tone, which was obeyed instantly. I didn’t quite believe it when I saw it, but it happened: a clear command.

            I use that tone myself when my gundog gets too frisky and independent and I have to calm him and let him know that I am serious!

            The possibilities of communication with some dogs are amazing.

            Possibly I have spent far too much time in the woods with dogs…….

        • that was 19th c soldiers they were used to being dominated by their .’betters’

          doubt if it would happen now

          • Kowalainen says:

            Yup, if you are a whiny little princess, ring the bell and GTFO, or apply liberal amounts of Rule #5.

            They are forging Viking raiders in the modern take of “special forces”. Young guys, smart, hard as nails, in no need of any motivation than watching over the buddies, the challenge and adventure itself.

        • ranter says:

          VAX = break spirit.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Slaves? Why? That is ridiculous. The owners control the means of energy, production and finance, it will just be perpetually less of it. High-tech low econ society. Yes, forget about that instacollapse absurdity.

        It will for sure be mayhem among the lesser of TPTB and the useless eaters. Because you see, the owners are as dependent on the Machine as the artisanry and the MIC is. The holy trinity of growth and depletion.

    • Discussed scenarios, and depicted graphs in recent works of say Dr. Morgan, Blair Fix also tend to highlight that ~[2023-27] window (-2035 macro boundary) as very solid candidate for severe threshold of discontinuity from recent multi decade ~stagnation-levitation-lift up trend, i.e. incoming abrupt collapse to be expected.. How deep (or full – one way?), universally applied and where to be most destructive that’s for another set of questions though..

      Obviously, this is only one set of scenarios and options (good chances %% though), .. , anything is theoretically possible, even many absurdities from today’s or this blog readers perspective..

  36. Dennis L. says:

    Thinking of complexity:

    Combines are hugely expensive, more and more it appears they are purchased with a 4 year life time and a bumper to bumper warranty after which they are sold and a new one purchased. They seem to be almost impossible to repair, and if attempted require heated machine sheds that have fifty foot doors and are literally the size of a small aircraft hanger.

    If there is a downturn as many here think, there is no return to simpler combines as they are too far in the past. Large machines harvest large fields and without them large acreages are a cost, there are only 16 usable days in the fall to bring in the crop – sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, those days don’t count.

    We could be facing a scenario where we have the land, but we cannot afford to harvest the crops with either the manpower or the machines we have.

    Tractors and tillage are the same, we can fertilize a row to the inch and go back and plant seeds in the same row, that is incredible and is part of the reason fields are prepared so carefully, seeds are expensive and spacing is now also down to the inch. Modern tractors are computers on wheels in the mud, when something goes wrong they go into limp mode and barely move until serviced which cannot be done with out computer codes which are many times not available to the farmer, only dealers. Part of this is secondary to emission requirements, etc.

    A couple of years ago, talking to a full time tractor mechanic, part time bartender he related all the old tractors were being purchased, placed into cargo containers and shipped to the former USSR, where they went from there is anyone’s guess. Scuttlebutt is it is the same with construction equipment as the old stuff is shipped to the third world, they don’t want the new stuff. Machine tool auctions have shipping containers, what is won is placed in the container, when it is full off it goes, little of it is cnc, all manual. Manual stuff is getting hard to find unless it is basically a boat anchor.

    Dennis L.

    • Kowalainen says:

      The core exports obsolete equipment to the periphery. That obsolete gear is anyway totally dependent on top-notch energy production facilities run, for the most part, by state of the art computers. A computer that runs a coal power plant is basically for free, and of enormous complexity (not in a bad sense). It is the one-off/limited series heavy equipment that is expensive to manufacture. Stuff that needs to be productive 24/7, such as power plants and combines during harvest.

    • It’s getting ridiculous, even major brand off-roaders are now manufactured as “fly by wire” only in terms of drive-traction.. that’s non repairable even in most of their service-dealer network (special appointment center only), not joking..

      If the overall collapse scenario is correct the agri land under cultivation gets divided into way smaller plots anyway, see Don Stewart’s recent hints how only lite touch cultivation walk behind tractor sized machinery (or no tillage at all) is necessary.. and grains (feed stock) will get replaced by perennials by 30-70% as animal breeds and local conditions allow, so large sized machinery and as many combines not needed..

      And if the collapse scenario is not valid at all, i.e. somehow we get soon enough yet another uplifting techno energy miracle, well who cares, then it will be some combo of AI large scale machinery sync network (AI harvestor + dron ) and crazy genetic manipulation onwards in terms of our foods..

      • Xabier says:

        They will, we can be sure, push even harder for Tech Big Ag now, as after all, they can plausibly sell it to governments as ‘pandemic-resistant’ – the fewer humans in farming the better. Madness, but what else can we expect? Madness disguised as ‘smart’.

    • Xabier says:

      Excellent reflections, Dennis.

      A very long way from the day when the farmer pulled his trousers down and sat on the ground to see whether it was time to sow. After all what instrument is more sensitive than the human bottom? And self-replicating, too.

      A long time ago, did I say? Just yesterday, really.

    • RICHARD Marleau says:

      Great observation on farm equipment. There are a few other considerations to the picture. In my opionion based on Western Canadian ag there is no shortage of equipment out there. Enough equipment that has been produced to farm the acres twice or more over given the required labour. The new equipment built for the most part is just bigger with more horsepower a few more operator comforts. GPS guidance is nice and so is sectional control which saves on some inputs but i don’t think it had the same impact as the internal combustion engine to the production process. the big improvement to field crop production in western Canada is the adoption of no till farming process that is very dependent upon petro fertilizer and chemical. However, it seems profit margins continually get squeezed and marginal producers are caught without incentive to continue. There are areas with great soil and favourable climate that still can produce with a positive margin but the bar continues to be raised. Annual field crop production takes some time time to adjust because the production cycles are annual.

      but it seems the finance industry must continually pump fiat into the sector. Farm land prices have risen dramatically since the early 2000s. it used to be $400 per acre would get you a decent parcel another $150 for equipment and $100 for inputs. Now inputs could be $250 to 400, equipment $400 to 600 and land $1500 per acre. it is as if the price of land has to inflate enough to act as financial security for the banks books.
      One has to wonder if these large landbase growing operations aren’t meerly zombie corps. Often they will offer to rent land with cap rates above 5 %. In the past farm land used to use a cap rate similar to the longterm government bond which is now a little over 1 % and junk bond rates are near 5%.

      Back to Denis’ point about not being able to farm because of equipment. i see the potetial cause of it because the finance industry is willing to lend to the go big or go home crowd without factoring in the cosequences to the community or system overall. it is likely a work around to cover up declining energy surpluses.

      great site good contributors.

      • Interesting points.
        Especially the one about land price inflation as precondition for higher propensity of debt intake when surplus energy dwindles..

        Now the question remains in terms of “Great Reset” policies, when the price of land crashes down as it “must” :

        1/ never (eventually switch to drect feudalism or abandonment – depop)
        2/ sometime during implementation of the plan say mid late 2020s
        3/ delayed as much after the further ricocheting crash 2030-40s

    • Thanks for your very fine observations. This explains why we cannot go backward.

      As supply lines are broken, and as we no longer can afford to create new bigger, better models, the whole system tends to fall apart. Engineers always need a new project to work on, but this is not available. This creates a huge problem for the education field.

      • Kowalainen says:

        “Engineers always need a new project to work on”.

        Right, and most of the projects are simply to keep the racket going instead of being useful in the long term and dampen the inevitability of decline. Retooling and repurposing of the productive capital is in the dawn of a “brave new world”. Shut down these absurd and abundant auto factories could be a good beginning. Back to small scale life assisted by rail and bicycles. Burn down these obnoxious spas and vacation resorts, yes, start with the hotel chains. I bet orange man bad wouldn’t like that, but what do I care.

        However, the output of the artisanry is always products and services, the fundament of IC (together with energy), which puts it above and beyond the utterly worthless useless eatery and socialist “engineering” of the sanctimonious hypocrisy, which it unfortunately enabled to run rampant in an era of excessive abundance.

  37. fatfreddiescat says:

    Theres a real difference between city folk who hate trump and country folk who hate trump.

    Country folk all hate wearing a mask. Country folk all smell a rat about covid. In a country store no one wears a mask. If they enforced they wouldn’t have any business.

    My friend complains that if he wears a mask people look at him funny!

    Its a real feeling of comradere. Were all outlaws now. Maybe covid is real. Maybe its not. dont matter. Our lives. Our choice.

    The beautiful thing is when you see people are saying not going to do that and you are too you have a indicator. NO ONE IS WEARING A MASK. Hey brother. Hey sista. Your beautiful.

    People are smiling, Their feeling it. Unity.

    Im talking some tough dudes, Loggers. Miners. Farmers. Their real serious.

    Somthing up. Somthing smells funny.

    The hippies and the mother earth children celtic tribe people have some tough dudes too. They smell it too. They hate trump. Despise him. But they know somthings up too.

    People are starting not to believe any of the BS in the country.

    Holes are showing in the matrix.

  38. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:
  39. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    WTI now 48 and the 2020 high was about 64.

    Brent now 51 and the 2020 high was about 70.

    both about 25% below the yearly highs.

    I suspect the 2021 highs will be lower than 2020.

    • Maybe and maybe not.

      I think it depends on the degree to which the US dollar sinks. If it sinks enough, the price of all goods could start rising. This seems to be part of what is causing the new higher oil prices. These higher prices will not really help the oil producers very much, however. They will push the US into recession however, but tend to benefit some other countries around the world.

  40. Dennis L. says:

    Partially answering one of my own questions with a long quote, source sited at the bottom.

    “The big reveal for year-end 2018: Citibank, the No. 1 institution on the roster, held 87.9 million New York Federal Reserve Bank shares – or 42.8 percent of the total.

    The No. 2 holder stockholder was JPMorgan Chase Bank, with 60.6 million shares, equal to 29.5 percent of the total. In other words, the two banks together control nearly three-quarters of the regional bank’s capital shares.

    But does share ownership matter?

    Each bank, after all, has only one vote when it comes to electing bank directors (their only shareholder responsibility) regardless of stock holdings. And New York Fed shares cannot be traded, shorted, or pledged as collateral.

    Nobody is getting rich owning the New York Fed’s stock. The shares long paid a dividend of 6 percent. But that payout was amended in 2016; now, members with more than $10.7 billion in assets, like Citibank and JPMorgan, receive the lesser of the 6 percent dividend or the high yield of the most recent 10-year Treasury auction rate – 1.62 percent as of earlier this year.

    From Citibank and JPMorgan, there is a steep drop off in shareholdings. Bulge bracket rivals hold far fewer shares, with Morgan Stanley Bank owning 4.8 million and its affiliate Morgan Stanley Private Bank 2.8 million shares, for a combined 3.7 percent stake in the New York Fed.

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA owned 8.3 million shares, equal to 4 percent of the total, and Bank of New York Mellon held 7.2 million shares, or 3.5 percent.

    It may surprise observers that some big holders are affiliates of foreign banks: HSBC Bank USA, part of London-based HSBC Holdings PLC, owned 12.6 million shares, or 6.1 percent, of the New York Fed’s total. Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas was the owner of 1.7 million shares, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company 60,678 shares, for a combined 0.87 percent stake.

    Mizuho Bank (USA), an affiliate of Tokyo-based Mizuho Financial Group, owned 819,344 shares. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China held 221,278 shares.

    There are scores of smaller owners, from Bank of Cattaraugus, which held 180 shares, to Cayuga Lake National Bank, with 375. ”

    https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1kh4p10qysrhv/Conspiracy-Theorists-Ask-Who-Owns-the-New-York-Fed-Here-s-the-Answer

    Seems this is the NY Fed, not the other 11 regionals which are also owned by member banks.

    Next, what is a share of NY fed stock valued at?

    Dennis L.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      side note: there are 6 big Wall Street investment banks.

      Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008.

      do you think TPTB learned a big lesson then?