2021: More troubles likely

Most people expect that the economy of 2021 will be an improvement from 2020. I don’t think so. Perhaps COVID-19 will be somewhat better, but other aspects of the economy will likely be worse.

Back in November 2020, I showed a chart illustrating the path that energy consumption seems to be on. The sharp downturn in energy consumption has occurred partly because the cost of oil, gas and coal production tends to rise, since the portion that is least expensive to extract and ship tends to be removed first.

At the same time, prices that energy producers are able to charge their customers don’t rise enough to compensate for their higher costs. Ultimate customers are ordinary wage earners, and their wages are not escalating as rapidly as fossil fuel production and delivery costs. It is the low selling price of fossil fuels, relative to the rising cost of production, that causes a collapse in the production of fossil fuels. This is the crisis we are now facing.

Figure 1. Estimate by Gail Tverberg of World Energy Consumption from 1820 to 2050. Amounts for earliest years based on estimates in Vaclav Smil’s book Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospectsand BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy for the years 1965 to 2019. Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be 5% below that for 2019. Energy for years after 2020 is assumed to fall by 6.6% per year, so that the amount reaches a level similar to renewables only by 2050. Amounts shown include more use of local energy products (wood and animal dung) than BP includes.

With lower energy consumption, many things tend to go wrong at once: The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Protests and uprisings become more common. The poorer citizens and those already in poor health become more vulnerable to communicable diseases. Governments feel a need to control their populations, partly to keep down protests and partly to prevent the further spread of disease.

If we look at the situation shown on Figure 1 on a per capita basis, the graph doesn’t look quite as steep, because lower energy consumption tends to bring down population. This reduction in population can come from many different causes, including illnesses, fewer babies born, less access to medical care, inadequate clean water and starvation.

Figure 2. Amounts shown in Figure 1, divided by population estimates by Angus Maddison for earliest years and by 2019 United Nations population estimates for years to 2020. Future population estimated to be falling half as quickly as energy supply is falling in Figure 1. World population drops to 2.8 billion by 2050.

What Is Ahead for 2021?

In many ways, it is good that we really don’t know what is ahead for 2021. All aspects of GDP production require energy consumption. A huge drop in energy consumption is likely to mean disruption in the world economy of varying types for many years to come. If the situation is likely to be bad, many of us don’t really want to know how bad.

We know that many civilizations have had the same problem that the world does today. It usually goes by the name “Collapse” or “Overshoot and Collapse.” The problem is that the population becomes too large for the resource base. At the same time, available resources may degrade (soils erode or lose fertility, mines deplete, fossil fuels become harder to extract). Eventually, the economy becomes so weakened that any minor disturbance – attack from an outside army, or shift in weather patterns, or communicable disease that raises the death rate a bit – threatens to bring down the whole system. I see our current economic problem as much more of an energy problem than a COVID-19 problem.

We know that when earlier civilizations collapsed, the downfall tended not to happen all at once. Based on an analysis by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov in their book, Secular Cycles, economies tended to first hit a period of stagflation, for perhaps 40 or 50 years. In a way, today’s economy has been in a period of stagflation since the 1970s, when it became apparent that oil was becoming more difficult to extract. To hide the problem, increasing debt was issued at ever-lower interest rates.

According to Turchin and Nefedov, the stagflation stage eventually moves into a steeper “crisis” period, marked by overturned governments, debt defaults, and falling population. In the examples analyzed by Turchin and Nefedov, this crisis portion of the cycle took 20 to 50 years. It seems to me that the world economy reached the beginning of the crisis period in 2020 when lockdowns in response to the novel coronavirus pushed the weakened world economy down further.

The examples examined by Turchin and Nefedov occurred in the time period before fossil fuels were widely used. It may very well be that the current collapse takes place more rapidly than those in the past, because of dependency on international supply lines and an international banking system. The world economy is also very dependent on electricity–something that may not last. Thus, there seems to be a chance that the crisis phase may last a shorter length of time than 20 to 50 years. It likely won’t last only a year or two, however. The economy can be expected to fall apart, but somewhat slowly. The big questions are, “How slowly?” “Can some parts continue for years, while others disappear quickly?”

Some Kinds of Things to Expect in 2021 (and beyond)

[1] More overturned governments and attempts at overturned governments.

With increasing wage disparity, there tend to be more and more unhappy workers at the bottom end of the wage distribution. At the same time, there are likely to be people who are unhappy with the need for high taxes to try to fix the problems of the people at the bottom end of the wage distribution. Either of these groups can attempt to overturn their government if the government’s handling of current problems is not to the group’s liking.

[2] More debt defaults.

During the stagflation period that the world economy has been through, more and more debt has been added at ever-lower interest rates. Much of this huge amount of debt relates to property that is no longer of much use (airplanes without passengers; office buildings that are no longer needed because people now work at home; restaurants without enough patrons; factories without enough orders). Governments will try to avoid defaults as long as possible, but eventually, the unreasonableness of this situation will prevail. The impact of defaults can be expected to affect many parts of the economy, including banks, insurance companies and pension plans.

[3] Extraordinarily slow progress in defeating COVID-19.

There seems to be a significant chance that COVID-19 is lab-made. In fact, the many variations of COVID-19 may also be lab made. Researchers around the world have been studying “Gain of Function” in viruses for more than 20 years, allowing the researchers to “tweak” viruses in whatever way they desire. There seem to be several variations on the original virus now. A suicidal/homicidal researcher could decide to “take out” as many other people as possible, by creating yet another variation on COVID-19.

To make matters worse, immunity to coronaviruses in general doesn’t seem to be very long lasting. An October 2020 article says, 35-year study hints that coronavirus immunity doesn’t last long. Analyzing other corona viruses, it concluded that immunity tends to disappear quite quickly, leading to an annual cycle of illnesses such as colds. There seems to be a substantial chance that COVID-19 will return on an annual basis. If vaccines generate a similar immunity pattern, we will be facing an issue of needing new vaccines, every year, as we do with flu.

[4] Cutbacks on education of many kinds.

Many people getting advanced degrees find that the time and expense did not lead to an adequate financial reward afterwards. At the same time, universities find that there are not many grants to support faculty, outside of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) fields. With this combination of problems, universities with limited budgets make the financial decision to reduce or eliminate programs with reduced student interest and no outside funding.

At the same time, if local school districts find themselves short of funds, they may choose to use distance learning, simply to save money. This type of cutback could affect grade school children, especially in poor areas.

[5] Increasing loss of the top layers of governments.

It takes money/energy to support extra layers of government. The UK is now completely out of the European Union. We can expect to see more changes of this type. The UK may dissolve into smaller regions. Other parts of the EU may leave. This problem could affect many countries around the world, such as China or countries of the Middle East.

[6] Less globalization; more competition among countries.

Every country is struggling with the problem of not enough jobs that pay well. This is really an energy-related problem. Instead of co-operating, countries will tend to increasingly compete, in the hope that their country can somehow get a larger share of the higher-paying jobs. Tariffs will continue to be popular.

[7] More empty shelves in stores.

In 2020, we discovered that supply lines can break, making it impossible to purchase products a person expects. In fact, new governmental rules can have the same impact, for example, if a country bans travel to its country. We should expect more of this in 2021, and in the years ahead.

[8] More electrical outages, especially in locations where reliance on intermittent wind and solar for electricity is high.

In most places in the world, oil products were available before electricity. On the way down, we should expect to see the reverse of this pattern: Electricity will disappear first because it is hardest to maintain a constant supply. Oil will be available, at least as long as is electricity.

There is a popular belief that we will “run out of oil,” and that renewable electricity can be a solution. I do not think that intermittent electricity can be a solution for anything. It works poorly. At most, it acts as a temporary extender to fossil fuel-provided electricity.

[9] Possible hyperinflation, as countries issue more and more debt and no longer trust each other.

I often say that I expect oil and energy prices to stay low, but this doesn’t really hold if many countries around the world issue more and more government debt as a way to try to keep businesses from failing, debt from defaulting, and stock market prices inflated. There is a danger that all prices will inflate, and that sellers of products will no longer accept the hyperinflated currency that countries around the world are trying to provide.

My concern is that international trade will break down to a significant extent as hyperinflation of all currencies becomes a problem. The higher prices of oil and other energy products won’t really lead to any more production because prices of all goods and services will be inflating at the same time; fossil fuel producers will not get any special benefit from these higher prices.

If a significant loss of trade occurs, there will be even more empty shelves because there is very little any one country can make on its own. Without adequate goods, population loss may be very high.

[10] New ways of countries trying to fight with each other.

When there are not enough resources to go around, historically, wars have been fought. I expect wars will continue to be fought, but the approaches will “look different” than in the past. They may involve tariffs on imported goods. They may involve the use of laboratory-made viruses. They may involve attacking the internet of another country, or its electrical distribution system. There may be no officially declared war. Strange things may simply take place that no one understands, without realizing that the country is being attacked.

Conclusion

We seem to be headed for very bumpy waters in the years ahead, including 2021. Our real problem is an energy problem that we do not have a solution for.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,039 Responses to 2021: More troubles likely

  1. Shawn says:

    Hi Gail

    I have always struggled a bit to understand the specific mechanisms of decline or collapse from net or surplus energy decline. As far as I can tell from recent reading, the high energy and natural resource extraction RATES for our global industrial civilization depend the most on the power from diesel fuel burned in internal combustion diesel engines. (Of course, there are many other dependencies and drivers as you have expounded upon.)

    Diesel/Fuel Oil powers almost all extraction and transport equipment used in mining of natural resources such as the primary industrial metals, minerals, rare earths, sand, and precious metals gold and silver. This is true for the extraction of oil itself, which I would guess feeds back energy into the oil extraction process when oil’s net energy is high. Diesel fuel and engines are key also for extraction of other energy resource stocks of coal, gas, and uranium. I am guessing your 6% decline per year in energy production is partly a result of this fuel dependency. A visit to the mining section of the Caterpillar Company website provides an interesting perspective on diesel machinery contribution to resource extraction.

    Of course, a large percentage of farm machinery on industrial scale farms is also powered by diesel, so high agriculture production levels depends on diesel.

    Diesel powers heavy trucks, almost all locomotives for transport. Ocean fishing depends on diesel. Fuel oil powers most ocean transport.

    People have talked about the difficulty of substituting oil with other energy sources. It appears that diesel engines/diesel fuel are themselves are very difficult to substitute for in heavy power machinery and heavy transport. In the majority of cases, there really is no substitute in terms of engine power output and engine durability. As for the fuel itself, Biodiesel can be made, as can distillate from coal. Costs are presumably much higher than distilling from oil, or volume of fuel production much lower.

    So a 42 gallon barrel of oil produces 45 gallons (refinery gain) of fuel and other products. Various web sites show the output to be typically or on average, Gasoline 19-20 gallons, 9 to 10 gallons of diesel fuel, 4 gallons of fuel oil (sometimes lumped in with diesel output under “distillate”)), 4 gallons of Kerosene jet fuel, etc.

    How far can refineries “push” output towards one product (diesel) or another? My limited understanding is that there are refinery output limits based on the quality of the oil and other factors. If diesel fuel is only 20-23% of the output of a barrel of oil, it seems like it would be a potential bottleneck when oil production in general begins its permanent terminal decline, and society tries to manage goods and food distribution, over non-essential things like driving around in cars going for the most part nowhere. (Then there is the issue of maintaining the military heavy equipment and ships, etc. )

    Regards

    • You are talking about diesel being a particularly desirable part of the type of oil available, when distillation is performed. I would agree that for many uses, diesel is desirable.

      The people in Europe had the poor sense to encourage the use of diesel to operate private passenger autos, when they were at the same time using diesel for the commercial uses that you mention. I suppose they were thinking that diesel was most efficient, rather than trying to match uses to product availability. They never stopped to think refiners are somewhat limited in the product mix that they can produce.

      If the world economy wants more diesel, it needs to add more heavy oil production. Even the bitumen from Canada would be OK. The long chains can be “cracked” into shorter chains, if the price is right. I expect that with a high enough price, it would theoretically be possible to take up our asphalt roads and make diesel and other products out of them.

      The problem, however, is that the price of oil is not high enough. This is true for both oil and coal. For natural gas, the price bounces around a lot. Most of the time, the natural gas price is not high enough. Fossil fuel producers can continue production for a while, but not indefinitely. It is low prices that are causing a huge problem. If a lot of aircraft are not flying, this reduces fossil fuel consumption. This is part of the low price problem.

      Part of the low price problem is a wage disparity problem. There are a huge number of low wage people in the world. We know that there are a lot of low wage people in the US and in Europe. There are even more, when you count the unemployed. Also, the many low wage people in India, Africa, Bangladesh, and the many low wage countries that make the goods that we buy in our department stores. These low wage people cannot afford to buy very much of the kinds of goods that our fossil fuel powered system can deliver. They don’t buy cars or homes, or overseas vacations, or air conditioning for their homes. We end up with not enough people who can afford to buy the things the world economy makes, unless the price of oil, coal, and natural gas are all very low.

      These low prices are a huge problem for producers. It drives them out of business, not immediately, but a few years. It causes producers to pay very low taxes. With these low taxes, governments of oil exporting countries cannot afford food subsides and job programs that their citizens depend upon. This is part of what brings down economies.

      It is easy to think, “Diesel is terribly useful. Certainly its price must be high enough.” The problem is that the price of oil, in general, has been too low for a very long time, since about 2012. The per barrel price of oil needs to be over $100 per barrel, to be high enough. With such a high price, the price of food would need to be much higher. Many other prices would need to be much higher. The whole economic system would collapse. The world economy would enter a terrible recession. In fact, it is in a recession now, even with low oil prices.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Shawn, oil refining can “crack” heavier oils into lighter ones, thus diesel can be processed to generate more kerosine. The reverse cannot be done easily, if at all. So a shortage of diesel can be ameliorated only by reducing the unnecessary uses of diesel, eg by automobiles (use petrol) or railway trains (electrify). There is in theory plenty of scope for this strategy, but do we have the resources to implement it?

      Personally, I would like to see the private automobile eliminated, but given the present built environment the only feasible replacement is an on demand bus or jitney service, and that required a large, and fragile, IT and communications support system. Another dead end.

      • nikoB says:

        Bicycles?

        • Yep, the best transport mode for humanoids so far is “hop on / off” (e-)bicycle platform for mass transit be in lite trams, subways or suburban trains (added last coach).. Minimal investments, largest eff gain and adoption impact. So, both your distance and last mile segments are covered.

          If we get some brief window of Green New / Brown Deals from now instead of insta collapse – something like this will be implemented as obvious solution. Because it somewhat existed before (e.g. during fuel shortages of WWII) or briefly in post war East Asia..

        • Kowalainen says:

          For every auto produced, two bicycles is. Expect that ratio to go through the roof, advantage for the bicycle.

          Don’t get me wrong, I like autos. However, talk about going over the top with the consumerism and lazy-ass entitled IC princess transportation.

          Benefit of going bicycles: Health costs in IC would plummet. Imagine if every fat bloke would crank out some 40km’s every day for three years, as I did daily a couple of years ago. (until the company moved). Yeah, for sure a few broken wrists and collarbones would result. But it is a small price to pay for conserving resources and improving overall health of the decadent populace.

          • Robert Firth says:

            A bicycle is not designed to carry cargo, and the more you load it with stuff the more unstable it becomes. It is not a “workhorse” mode of transport.

            That is why I rode a tricycle; the basket over the rear wheels could carry a lot of cargo, and that load was well below the centre of gravity of vehicle+rider. I rode it to and from work, 5mi (8km) each way, and often to the pub for lunch, 3mi each way. So I guess that’s about 25km daily, and in the Cotswolds mind you. Happy memories.

            • Good point.

              If medical care is hard to get, a tricycle would seem to be a better choice for many people.

            • Kowalainen says:

              You could put a trailer behind a bicycle. Bicycles are however quite nice to work on. It’s basically a 2D plane.

              With 3 wheels, it’s a bit cumbersome to carry it around.

  2. Pingback: Gail Tverberg on this year’s possibilities… | Damn the Matrix

  3. Ric Steinberger says:

    Everything made sense except: There is no credible evidence that Covid-19 is “lab made”. The vast majority of epidemiologists and virologists have concluded that SARS-CoV-19 was transferred to humans via contact with bats (or bat feces, etc).

    • Tim Groves says:

      The vast majority of epidemiologists and virologists have concluded that SARS-CoV-19 was transferred to humans via contact with bats

      Oh, how very democratic and how very conclusive of them!

      no credible evidence…

      That settles the matter then.

      The vast majority of astrologers—including those who use computerized horoscope programs—have concluded that the stars can foretell your fate.

      I used to argue with my mum about the stoopidity of believing in astrologers all the time, but she insisted that they were the experts. And if they were good enough for Nancy Reagan….

      But couldn’t the virus have been transferred to humans via contact with bats in a lab?

      Are there no bats in labs?

      Or even more intriguing, couldn’t SARS-CoV-19 have been invented as a make-believe pathogen, with the vast majority of those epidemiologists and virologists either faking it or else credulously believing that the genetic sequencing they were doing in order to “discover” or “reconstruct” or “ascertain” the viral genome was a genuine attempt to identify the virus, when in reality it was no more valid scientifically than the drawing up of horoscopes by the vast majority of highly qualified astrologers?

      Remember, as recently as the early 17th century, scientists as Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and Pierre Gassendi all held astrology in high esteem. Some have claimed Newton also practiced astrology, although there is, to use your own words “no credible evidence” that he ever did so. The greatest scientist evah was, however, an enthusiastic practitioner of alchemy and an ardent student of theology who spent a lot of time and effort trying to work out the date of the Apocalypse and the Second Coming from biblical numerology. And, at the time of his death, Newton’s library four books on the subject of astrology, which is four more than you’ll find on my shelves.

      I am very fond of Newton, despite his rather cold, nerdy and generally withdrawn personality, because he apparently kept at least one pet cat and he had a cat flap in the door of his rooms. Some people will say that there is “no credible evidence” that Sir Isaac ever owned a cat, but in an 1827 memoir, a member of Newton’s alma mater Trinity College, J. M. F. Wright, reported the story that Newton had foolishly made a large hole for his adult cat and a small one for her kittens, not realizing that the kittens could use the large hole as well, and adding: “Whether this account be true or false, indisputably true is it that there are in the door to this day two plugged holes of the proper dimensions for the respective egresses of cat and kitten.”

      Xabier, next time you’re allowed out on temporary parole, could you nip round to Trinity College and check if that door is still there? 🙂

      In short, I think the jury is still out on the origins of this virus. There is “no credible evidence” that we know where it came from.

      • The WHO says China is refusing to grant its officials access to Wuhan as part of the inquiry into the global pandemic.
        https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/china-blocks-who-investigators-access-to-wuhan-20210106-p56rzu.html

        Gordon G. Chang, a US lawyer with Chinese ancestry:

        “The case against China rests not only on how the coronavirus came to first infect humans—something scientists will argue about for years—but also what Chinese ruler Xi Jinping did once the pathogen crippled his country. In short, he took steps he knew or had to know would spread the disease beyond his borders.

        His actions make the infections and deaths outside China deliberate, effectively a “biological weapon.” His actions taken together constitute both a “genocide” and a “crime against humanity” under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

        Beijing, of course, has suffered reputational damage for the deliberate killing, at last count, of slightly more than a million people outside China. For instance, London’s Daily Mail in April reported the Henry Jackson Society issued a report showing Beijing owes Great Britain 351 billion pounds in coronavirus-related damages. The think tank also asked for a “rethink” of relations with Beijing.”
        https://www.hoover.org/research/china-deliberately-spread-coronavirus-what-are-strategic-consequences

      • Kowalainen says:

        I would simply state that there exist no evidence for rejecting the hypothesis that the virus was lab made.

        However, the more narrative spin and groupthink among “scientists” there exists, the more inclined I am to believe in the hypothesis being true. I.e. an increase in probability of it being true despite the lack of evidence.

        In reality, I don’t really care that much. It is what it is.
        LTG scenario 3

      • Robert Firth says:

        Tim, a minor nitpick. Astrology was decisively debunked in 200 AD by the Roman philosopher Sextus, who studied the lives of twins. Born in the same place at the same time, twins of course have the same horoscope. But they often led very different lives.

        And the evidence suggests that Tycho, Galileo and Kepler did not believe in astrology, but cast horoscopes because that was part of their job description. Indeed, as Imperial Mathematicus, Kepler was often required to cast horoscopes for important people; he wisely cast them for only one year at a time (good way to ensure repeat business, no?). But his “Astronomia Nova” of 1609 demolished totally the theoretical basis for astrology, by showing that the planets were just lumps of rock obeying the same natural laws as every other lump of rock.

        By the way, when a modern astrology talks about “Mercury Retrograde”, you know he is a charlatan. It has been known since the time of Hipparkhos that the “dolphin stars” (Mercury and Venus) revolve around the Sun, and that their motion is therefore always prograde. That discovery antedates the codification of Western astrology, and any honest astrologer should know that.

    • What I said was

      There seems to be a significant chance that COVID-19 is lab-made. In fact, the many variations of COVID-19 may also be lab made. Researchers around the world have been studying “Gain of Function” in viruses for more than 20 years, allowing the researchers to “tweak” viruses in whatever way they desire.

      We certainly have the capability of making viruses in labs of the types that are now causing problems. In fact, one reason for making viruses of a specified type is to use them as a type of carrier, to enable a vaccine (with respect to a different virus) to better enter the body. For example, a virus such as is causing COVID-19 might be used to enable a vaccine for AIDs to better enter the body. The concern is that an unfortunate accident took place; a lab assistant may have accidentally got sick with a virus intended for vaccine research and passed the illness on to others.

      This is the chronology someone sent me:

      1999 Dr. Ralph Baric University of North Carolina – Conducts Corona Virus studies

      March 2003 Hong Kong reports a deadly new virus outbreak

      2003 – The U.S. CDC (Center for Disease Control) guided by Dr. Baric and Dr. Anthony Fauchi realized that a disease [that could be easily manipulated] had the potential for good and bad, but if controlled ……could be very valuable.

      The CDC set out to patent it. Making sure they had total proprietary ownership.
      Patents were applied for:
      – Corona Virus – See Attached (US 7220852 – 2004)
      – Methods of Detection (US 7776521 Aug 2010) and
      – Methods of Production (US 7279327 October 2007)

      With the patents, the CDC had the Means, Motive, and potential Monetary Gain to turn the virus from a pathogen to a profit.

      2007 However, the CDC and NIH (National Institute of Health) researchers began to realize they had a big problem:
      If the virus was “natural”, it could not be patented.
      And if “manufactured” it was A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON!
      Either way…The Virus and everything related with it was highly illegal.
      So the CDC filed a Petition with the Patent office to keep the patents Confidential and Private.

      2012 -2013 Suddenly, all Federal Grant funds for Covid virus research were suspended. However, some lab work still continued.

      2014 – 2019 NIH sub-contracted Covid research with the Wuhan Virology Labs (China)
      with $3.37 million for further research (NIH Project #1 RO 1A 1110064-01 – Peter Daszak)

      2019 Corona virus escapes from Wuhan Labs into an unsuspecting world-wide public.

      • Ed says:

        Bless you

      • hkeithhenson says:

        > We certainly have the capability of making viruses in labs of the types that are now causing problems

        Gale, I don’t like to disagree with you, but if you are talking about designing a virus, I don’t think that is within the state of the art. It clearly will be at some point in the future, but not yet. Heck, there is at least one protein COVID makes where nobody has any idea of what it does.

        If there are papers you can point to that explain how to designing viruses, I would be willing to change my view of this business.

        • Kowalainen says:

          FFS Keith. Gain of function.

          🤦‍♂️

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotechnology_risk
          “When intentional, these mutations can serve to adapt the pathogen to a laboratory setting, understand the mechanism of transmission or pathogenesis, or in the development of therapeutics. Such mutations have also been used in the development of biological weapons, and dual-use risk continues to be a concern in the research of pathogens.”

          • JoJo says:

            Keiths argument is like monitors cant exist because a electronics assembler cant make resistors. He knows full well nothing is made from scratch.

        • The issue is more tweaking existing viruses, and combining part of one virus with a part of another virus. It is not necessary to know everything to do this.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            > The issue is more tweaking existing viruses, and combining part of one virus with a part of another virus.

            With flu viruses, this happens naturally, it’s called reassortment. But as far as I know, no researchers have ever combined one virus with part of another one. I don’t think “making” is justified.

            > It is not necessary to know everything to do this.

            If it could be done that might be the case. But as far as I know, nobody has done it yet. It would be like combining a machine gun with an automatic transmission and expecting to get something that works.

            There are lots of biological horror possibilities. Some years ago as an “is this possible” project a grad student took the published sequence for horsepox (a close relative of smallpox) and by ordering DNA strands he constructed an active virus. It was relatively easy to do, and might have contributed to the US government keeping some very large amount of smallpox vaccine in the freezers.

    • Thierry38 says:

      I am afraid you are wrong.
      This is in french but the conclusion seems rather clear.

      https://lejournal.cnrs.fr/articles/la-question-de-lorigine-du-sars-cov-2-se-pose-serieusement

      Furthermore it seems really easy to create new viruses, even for students.

    • Xabier says:

      And the man in the white coat – who isn’t an actor, really! – says that ‘Domestos kills 99% of all known germs. Dead!’

      One has to believe, you see, or one might end up imagining that Man is a lying animal….which would be shocking.

      • Robert Firth says:

        ‘Domestos kills 99% of all known germs.’

        … and it therefore encourages the evolution and proliferation of the remaining 1%, by removing their competition. How long before *those* germs occupy your home? And you?

        • Jarle says:

          “How long before *those* germs occupy your home? And you?”

          … and how long before they start planning how to get to the moon and Mars?

    • Jarle says:

      “The vast majority of epidemiologists and virologists have concluded that SARS-CoV-19 was transferred to humans via contact with bats (or bat feces, etc).”

      Most scientists in the MSM? If so, they seem to agree on anything that secures funding …

  4. Tegnell says:

    ATTENTION COVIDIOTS!!!

    ONTARIO DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY (AKA MARTIAL LAW LITE)

    OMG – lock everyone in their homes — the ICU units are filling up!!!! This is unprecedented… (except for most years)

    2018 – Surgeries postponed due to severe flu cases overwhelming Toronto ICU https://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/02/13/toronto-hospital-flu/

    2017 – Surge in patients forces Ontario hospitals to put beds in ‘unconventional spaces’ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/04/16/surge-in-patients-forces-ontario-hospitals-to-put-beds-in-unconventional-spaces.html

    2016 – More than 4,300 patients treated in hallway of Brampton Civic Hospital last year https://www.cp24.com/news/more-than-4-300-patients-treated-in-hallway-of-brampton-civic-hospital-last-year-1.3657561

    2013 – Hospitals overwhelmed by flu and norovirus patients https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-headlines/hospitals-overwhelmed-by-flu-and-norovirus-patients-1.1108376

    2012 – Hospitals overwhelmed by surge of flu cases https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/hospitals-overwhelmed-by-surge-of-flu-cases/article562037/

    2011 – Hospitals overwhelmed by surge of flu cases https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/hospitals-overwhelmed-by-surge-of-flu-cases/article562037/

    Now imagine if hospitals were paid to list flu as the cause of death — when the cause of death was actually heart disease, cancer, etc… but the person had the flu…. The flu death totals would blast off into space!!!

    “Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/24/fact-check-medicare-hospitals-paid-more-covid-19-patients-coronavirus/3000638001/

    And then there is the testing lie. As Dr MIke Yeadon points out (and many others) the test they use is ultra sensitive and it picks up particles of dead coronaviruses in people who are not at all sick.

    This drives the false positives through the roof (no wonder so many people who are + show no symptoms!!!).

    If you tested positive with the past month then you die in say a car accident – the cause of death is listed as covid. Of course it would be – the hospital gets 13k for that!!!!

    You want lots of Covid deaths – easy – pay for ‘covid deaths’

  5. hkeithhenson says:

    Reply to Tim Groves from the last set of comments.

    > Keith, their may be a gene that causes people to believe in Hamilton’s rule and lack of this gene causes people to be skeptical of it.

    > In fact, there could even be a gene that causes people to believe that all human behavior can be genetically determined.

    I think you are trying to be funny here. But there are behaviors that are undoubtedly genetic. “Waltzing” mice are an obvious example. Ducks flying north or south depending on the season are an example. I think capture-bonding is a clear example of an evolved psychological trait in humans. https://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Capture-bonding I think the psychological traits that lead people who are unhappy about the future into wars or related behaviors are based in genetics.

    > I call Castor and Pollux on Hamilton’s rule because nurture, culture and learning plays such a big role in forming and guiding human behavior that genetics must take a back seat to them.

    > Mr. DNA may predispose us toward acting in certain ways, but he has a lot of competition from other vectors and influencers.

    That’s true and obvious, but for a trait to evolve, it requires only a statistical predisposition. You can walk on the very edge of a cliff. Few people do because they have fewer ancestors who did that. I won’t do it, and I am the sort who climbs radio towers and repels down 100 m cliffs.

    > That UK ambassador in China last year who jumped into a river to save a drowning Chinese girl while dozens of her much closer “cousins” ignored Hamilton’s rule and stood around filming the entertainment on their smartphones teaches quite a bit this piece of alleged evolutionary biology.

    I venture to guess that her siblings or parents would have been more likely to jump in then even the ambassador (and good for him,) My brother rescued a guy in the Hawaiian Islands some years ago. The guy was about to be bashed against sharp rocks by the surf. My daughter pulled a two year old out of a street when she was 3 years old, so it’s a trait I know about.

    > Also, I am quite certain that I would be more likely to save my close friends in Japan who have supported me for years than I would my brothers in England who have done diddly squat for me these last four decades. But the minute somebody gets on my ex-friend list, they will just have to save themselves. Genetic closeness has nothing to do with it.

    Perhaps. How do we know someone is genetically close? We don’t carry around 23andMe gene machines, We assume because it is statistically true that those who we grew up with are related and treat them that way. Friends who are close to us tend to be treated like relatives because 100,000 years ago, your tribe member friends were to some degree relatives.

    > J.B.S. Haldane was pulling our legs when he said that he would willingly die for two brothers or eight cousins.

    You got it wrong, it was more than 2 brothers and more than 8 cousins. And IIRC, his statement was qualified by saying that he _should_ be willing (because such would increase the number of genes with this trait. And again, that’s statistical. What happens most of the time is that we do things that aid relatives to the extent the benefit is more than what the aid costs us considering the closeness of the relation.

    > Everybody knows it doesn’t work like that. Some people will jump into a river or rush onto a highway and risk their lives trying to save a complete stranger or even a dog or a kitten.

    EP makes the case that *all* human behavior is the result of evolution, either by selection or as a side effect of selection. If this happens to be common, what caused it to evolve?

    > Others will balk at the risk. And some will even enjoy the spectacle of other’s coming to grief

    There is variation in psychological traits even with ones that have been under heavy selection such as capture-bonding. My wife told me a story out of one of Diamond’s books where a captured woman did not become complaint. The tribe that had captured her burned the inside of her thighs with hot rocks and bound her legs together till they stuck. This made her a cripple who could only crawl when Diamond saw her. Did she reproduce? I don’t know, but I doubt it and thus genes for the capture bonding psychological trait became slightly more common.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Nice reply Keith, Thanks for going to the trouble.

      I don’t have the time and I guess this isn’t really the place to respond to every point you’ve made. I agree with some of them and not with others, and I appreciate your correction regarding Haldane. If he said “should” rather than “would”, what does that imply? Is there an implied “if”? => I should do this if my behavior is controlled by genes that strive to maximize their future existence.

      The “we are slaves of our genes” viewpoint doesn’t add up. There are so many other things vying for a say in how we humans behave that “genetic tendencies” can only play a marginal role. You will probably still walk along the edge of a cliff if you have sufficient motivation, such as a gun at your back, a large stack of gold bullion ahead of you, or a maiden in distress to rescue—even if, for genetic reasons, your stomach gets queezy while you’re doing it.

      As for the Diamond story, even if it was true, are there any human genes for “the capture bonding psychological trait”? Is there really any “credible evidence” for such a thing? How a captive is treated by their captors will make a huge huge difference to whether they ultimately become “compliant”.

      >EP makes the case that *all* human behavior is the result of evolution, either by selection or as a side effect of selection. If this happens to be common, what caused it to evolve?

      EP (evolutionary programming) makes an absolute claim that I would tend to recoil from taking seriously. Human behavior depends on the situation, the environment, the subject’s past experience. I might be more amiable to a less general claim regarding specific human behavioral characteristics. But It’s been decades since I really delved into the subject so I would need to read and think quite extensively before I could attempt to debate the issue.

      It seems to me, in my ignorance, that the “we are slaves of our genes” viewpoint explains all behavior as being genetically controlled. And by explaining everything it explains precisely nothing. One might just as well say, everything is the will of God. That’s really cleared things up, hasn’t it?

      • Kowalainen says:

        Well, of course we are shaped by our experience, otherwise, what’s the point of schools. However, a large part of the shaping is shaped by the predispositions.

        I consider it as an attractor (gravity well) in nonlinear dynamics. We simply can’t avoid becoming what we are, and what we become is shaped by our experience.

        It is simply adaptation to the circumstances as given by nature, in evolutionary terms; we evolve our traits and psyche according to the rules set by the genetics.

        It is the dance of yin and yang ☯️.

      • Xabier says:

        Moreover, all the major spiritual Paths address the possibility – even necessity – of transcending our basic inheritance of dominating instinct, etc.

        This creation of the ‘New Man’, the ‘True Human’, the ‘Knower’, the ‘Adept’, etc however it is put according to the local culture – is what is parodied in a materialistic way by the Transhumanists of today.

        It is their rather clumsy way of reaching towards the light with no reference to the true and effective path of spiritual growth and sacrifice -and above all of humility. Trusting all to technological cleverness, cunning, fraud and murder.

        The Transhumanism of the Great Re-set is egoism and pride in overflowing measure, which of course makes it both very appealing and, unfortunately, likely to be very powerful in the short term.

        Just like Hitler’s Third Reich, which we are apt to forget also sought both technological dominance and to perfect mankind according to a plan of the crudest materialism, and with a hierarchy of cruelty and arrogance.

        Elon Musk thinks it’s ‘funny’ to watch an implanted pig run on a treadmill……

        But, we may hope, like the Reich also doomed to failure after much suffering.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        > I should do this if my behavior is controlled by genes that strive to maximize their future existence.

        Exactly. Take the 3 brothers saved by a suicidal gene to save them. How do the genes fair after such an event? Brothers statistically share half their genes, so each one has a 50% chance of having the gene. So after such an event where a brother sacrifices himself and his genes, there are (statistically) one and a half copies of the gene. If he does not, then there is only one copy (his). It is not hard to see in an environment where such conditions existed that there is a 50% per episode increase in the number of such genes.

        > are there any human genes for “the capture bonding psychological trait”? Is there really any “credible evidence” for such a thing?

        Patty Hearst, Elizabeth Smart, hundreds of (mostly) women who were captured and incorporated into native American tribes. The psychological trait is behind Stockholm syndrome. I make a case that the capture-bonding psychological trait is behind battered spouse, SM-BDSM, frat hazing and army basic training. All are examples of induced bonding.

        > How a captive is treated by their captors will make a huge huge difference to whether they ultimately become “compliant”.

        Absolutely, see Stockholm Syndrome.

        > EP (evolutionary programming) makes an absolute claim that I would tend to recoil from taking seriously.

        Sorry, EP is evolutionary psychology.

        “Evolutionary psychology is not simply a subdiscipline of psychology but its evolutionary theory can provide a foundational, metatheoretical framework that integrates the entire field of psychology in the same way evolutionary biology has for biology.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology

        “My contention, simply put, is that the evolutionary approach is the only approach in the social and behavioral sciences that deals with why, in an ultimate sense, people behave as they do.”. (Silverman 2003) Confessions of a Closet Sociobiologist: Darwinian Movement in Psychology http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep0119.pdf

        > It seems to me, in my ignorance, that the “we are slaves of our genes” viewpoint explains all behavior as being genetically controlled.

        Not in detail. You might have cereal or eggs for breakfast, or skip it entirely, but sooner or later you eat or die from starvation.

        > And by explaining everything it explains precisely nothing.

        It’s explained a awful lot. Read into the Wikipedia article. All of it can be tested when we get the technology to understand brains and the genes that construct them.

        > One might just as well say, everything is the will of God. That’s really cleared things up, hasn’t it?

        It implies one of the more interesting questions, what is the function of religion? It’s a widespread human psychological trait that dates back to before modern humans left Africa. It must have been under selection at some point in the past or it is a side effect of something that was under selection.

        Religions or related like communism can be classed as xenophobic memes, but why would the ability to carry such memes be selected?

        Any ideas?

        • Kowalainen says:

          The “function” of religion arise when the mind realizes that it is finite in time and vulnerable.

          It is the delusion of ending in a blissful eternity, conveniently avoiding the nothingness before being born. It is not possible to feel anything while non-existing, because there is no associated brain process that does the “feeling”. Worrying about dying is like worrying spending billions of years in nothingness before being born.

          It is merely a non-instantiated process of the universe. A set of possibilities among an uncountable number of combinations and configurations.

          I’m tired of all the charlatans delivering hopium. Fine, if it is a private matter of hoping for the pearly gates and enduring the Kali Yuga. I just view it as reckless with a finite amount of time in existence. That is the true gift of life, to experience the majesty. But the myopia of the ordinary for sure is a comfort zone.

          Pro tip: Worry about life instead of death.

          🤗

          • hkeithhenson says:

            Your answer is at the wrong level for my concerns.

            A large fraction if not a majority of people are susceptible to picking up a religion. It is a psychological trait. The evolutionary psychology view is that all human psychological traits evolved. To evolve, there needs to be selection, i.e., those who had this trail left more copies of their genes than those who did not.

            The question is why? I am not going to fault anyone if they can’t come up with an answer. I can’t either.

            • I think gods arose in parallel with our ability for abstract thought

              I don’t think any other creature looks up at the stars, or admires the beauty and grace of a leopard–particularly if you’re an antelope.

              we saw the unpleasant products of volcanoes–hence hell

              and the mostly beneficial deliverances from the sky–hence heaven

              the odd bolt of lighting was obviously the result of some misdemeanour or other.

              churches, it has always seemed to me, got established by the first fire makers. The prime requisite of fire is to keep the rain off it. The secret of fire making would give one a high standing in the community. (a secret to keep in the family, hence you get lines of succession–kings and so on)

              Hence the ‘holy’ building. The fundamental religious ceremonies even now often take place behind a screen of some kind, where ordinary mortals cannot see. How many thousands of years has that been going on?

              Thus religion gets ingrained in our psyche.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              This is still the wrong level.

              The selection when on at least 40,000 to 70,000 years ago because those who stayed in Africa don’t seen to be different in this respect from those who left.

              The trait to have religions emerged about the same time as speech and wearing clothes. I don’t know if there is any connection or not.

              What conditions in that long ago time made it more likely that those who could have religions would survive and reproduce more than those who did not have this trait?

              Perhaps I should reword it, those who had the ability to form beliefs were more likely to survive, though the question is still why?

            • People need to have friends who are not relatives. Religions are one way of getting people together, to get acquainted. They are important for this reason, alone. It helps promote intermixing genes, rather than simply marrying a close relative.

            • seems to me that wearing clothes evolved as a double thread of human progress

              if you drape an Animal skin across your body, you can get closer to other similar animals for stalking killing and eating.

              doing that also keeps you warm, so you can forage into colder regions for longer

              it’s a simple step after that to inventing the bone needle, and using sinew to stitch skins together

            • Lidia17 says:

              Religion is a technology that’s an upgrade to mere tribal/familial ties. It’s “Family 2.0”.

              Allows for larger cohesive groups and communal projects, thus higher energy throughput (building cathedrals, pyramids, etc.)

            • I agree. It is a step toward cities.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > Religion is a technology that’s an upgrade to mere tribal/familial ties. It’s “Family 2.0”.

              Perhaps. Make up a story about how this help get the genes of people who had it into the next generation. If you can make up such a story, we can test it with biology. If nobody can imagine any story at all, we can’t test.

              > Allows for larger cohesive groups and communal projects, thus higher energy throughput (building cathedrals, pyramids, etc.)

              70,000 years ago? That’s not consistent with the archeological record. Even so, how does building a cathedral help with getting children into the next generation?

            • Tim Groves says:

              Again, apologies but I’m too busy to say much at present. But humans generally like to know, and if they don’t know they tend to be anxious.

              So if they can’t actually know, the next best thing is to have faith.

              And if somebody comes along proffering claims to knowledge and others accept these claims and have faith in them, anxiety is reduced.

              Add extra claims about damnation for doubters, and I do believe we have a winner.

              In our own enlightened times. Just look at the Dems in Congress and in the Media and on Twitter with regard to damnation for doubters. The psychological implications are ginormous.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > damnation for doubters

              I have seen this before. There are also spectacular examples out of the past. One of them was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Crusade

              The thing I find remarkable about the current cult movement is the rejection of mask and in some cases the rejection COVID as a cause of disease. It may be the first major epidemic where political (or perhaps cult affiliation) is a risk factor.

            • this anti vac cult thing cross pollinates itself with the current discussion on religion.

              you must/must not ‘belong’ to whichever thread of anti-this or anti-that that most closely equates with your tribe.

              people are ‘conspiring’ against you, to force you to do something against your will, or to control your mind,

              this list is mind numbingly endless.

              but essentially 000s of individuals a participating the (fill in here)… hoax, in order to (fill in here)… so that the entire population of the world will become ( fill in here) —-

              Hardly anyone (can’t be just me) stands back and points out that all this rubbish has only existed since ‘social media’ existed.

              Yes, we had religious manias in past times, but that was localised, and didn’t do long term harm except to the odd witch who got burned, or scientist who got locked up.

              Now, any idiot can release a media virus, and have it round the world in seconds, so millions of other idiots can agree with it.

              There’s a whole string of them, appearing one after the other. Month in–month out.
              When one loses impetus, another kicks off, equally nutty, but always carrying the same theme: that thousands of people are secretly plotting the downfall/control of humankind—somewhere.

              An actual event is never just that. It is always a plot by somebody.

            • Lidia17 says:

              You might find what you are looking for at Rob’s “unDenial” site. He posts here sometimes. Look into the Varki proposition.
              https://un-denial.com/

              Even if you don’t buy that theory… there’s also the off chance that we have religion and it serves no purpose whatsoever. For evolutionary purposes, all traits don’t need to be favorable—they only need to *not be* unfavorable.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > there’s also the off chance that we have religion and it serves no purpose whatsoever.

              That seems rather unlikely. The mechanisms behind being able to have a religion look to me to be as complicated as a spleen or a hand, and few thing those have not been under evolutionary selection.

              > For evolutionary purposes, all traits don’t need to be favorable—they only need to *not be* unfavorable.

              There is genetic drift, but that seems unlikely to end up with complicated brain mechanisms. The other thing is that whatever was the selective mechanism it happened a long time ago, thousands of years before agriculture or any evidence in the archeological record for something that we might consider as religious today.

              I don’t understand it.

            • Artleads says:

              ROB’S UNDENIAL SITE

              “Communities of writers or painters could be established in which bad taste would be against the law. Ethnic communities could be established to preserve language and customs.”

              Sounds good

            • Robert Firth says:

              Religion is very, very old. The oldest paintings at Altamira in Spain have been dated to 33,000 BC, and they show clear religious motifs. If we can infer religion from the way we disposed of our dead, we can take that date back another 10,000 years, to Cro Magnon times. All of which is described in the one indispensable book on the rise of religion, “The Gate of Horn”, by G R Levy. The title, by the way, is taken from Homer.

              Why? The official explanation is that we have a ‘sensus divinitatis’, a God given ability to perceive Him through means inaccessible to biology. A more secular explanation is that we have evolved a perception of “agency”; that the phenomena of everyday life have a purposive cause (and hence, of course, a final cause).

              For example, that rustle in the grass may be just the wind, or it may be a tiger stalking me. Vote for the wind and be lunch; vote for the tiger and flee to live again. And now there comes a thunderstorm. Is it just a quirk of nature, or is it the anger of the sky god? Be safe: appease the sky god. An easy bet, since you are a (male) priest, and the sacrificial victims you throw down the cenote will be female.

              So a perception of agency can be beneficial, which is why it has persisted. And it can be empowering (for the priests), which is why almost all religions indoctrinate their followers with it. You can see this (fictionally) in action in almost every episode of BBC TVs “Father Brown”.

  6. Bill Owen says:

    What if China is using its recommendation of “lockdowns” to degrade its rivals? Irrelevant as to whether they designed the virus or just picked one that occurred naturally. There’s a long thread (linked at bottom) by Michael Senger about how Chinese strategists have been working on Unrestricted Warfare using “Gentle and kind things” against us, such as social media, or popular mass-media outlets:

    “A Prescient Chinese Book
    In 1999, two former Chinese People’s Liberation Army (“PLA”) senior colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, published a book, Unrestricted Warfare, in which they reimagined warfare in a post-nuclear age.

    Recognizing that the ubiquity of ultra-powerful nuclear weapons meant a reality of mutually-assured destruction, the authors posit that going forward, nations seeking to attack (or merely control) an adversarial superpower would need to wage war in an innovative and intelligent manner. Qiao and Wang believed that in the post-nuclear age, rules of engagement would fundamentally change, making customary rules of war obsolete.

    “The only point which is certain [about future warfare] is that, from this point on, war will no longer be what it was originally. Which is to say that, if in the days to come mankind has no choice but to engage in war, it can no longer be carried out in the ways with which we are familiar. [W]ar will be reborn in another form and in another arena, becoming an instrument of enormous power in the hands of all those who harbor intentions of controlling other countries or regions.”

    Published by PLA Press — and therefore at least tacitly endorsed by PLA leadership — the book sets forth various tactics whereby developing countries, “in particular China,” could compensate for military inferiority to the United States. It foretells a “weapons revolution” in which societies would pivot away from expensive warheads and mass casualties, and instead launch attacks of the mind — weapons would be “symbolized by information” and powered by psychological rather than traditional weaponry. Future wars would thus be waged on “a level which is hard for the common people — or even military men — to imagine,” grounded in the concept that even the most sophisticated military force “does not have the ability to control public clamor, and cannot deal with an opponent who does things in an unconventional manner.”

    “Some morning people will awake to discover with surprise that quite a few gentle and kind things have begun to have offensive and lethal characteristics.”

    “Gentle and kind things” such as social media, or popular mass-media outlets, perchance? The authors specifically imagined as much, stating that China could “create many methods of causing fear which are more effective [than casualties],” including the use of “media weapons . . . focused on paralyzing and undermining [the United States].”

    “We can point out a number of means and methods used to fight non-military war, some of which already exist and some of which may exist in the future. Such means and methods include psychological warfare (spreading rumors to intimidate the enemy and break down his will), [and] media warfare (manipulating what people see and hear in order to lead public opinion along). Methods that are not characterized by the use of the force of arms, nor by the use of military power, nor even by the presence of casualties and bloodshed, are just as likely to facilitate the successful realization of the war’s goals, if not more so.”

    Everyone who has lived through 2020 appreciates the enormous force of media in fomenting public fear. The level of fear achieved in early March not only permitted politicians to impose lockdowns, but allowed them to become more popular for doing so. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even admits on tape that lockdowns “are not the best” way of dealing with a pandemic, but are used because “people are scared” and “they want everything closed.”

    Lockdowns harm us. They fracture society. They lead to the shaming of former friends, to apps created exclusively to snitch on neighbors. They kill people. Yet they are being imposed, and reimposed, everywhere.

    Except in China.”

    Excerpt from:
    https://staceyrudin.medium.com/unrestricted-warfare-lockdown-as-a-new-concept-weapon-in-the-post-nuclear-age-670086b834a9

    Long thread from Michael Senger about the broader picture:
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1348324838167908352.html

    • Minority Of One says:

      This might be all true, but I doubt it will help them in the long run. China has severe financial worries of its own. Bankrupt banks, multiple bankrupt companies (1000s?), 60+ ghost cities etc. Plus China will be prone to the same issues of falling oil and coal supplies as everywhere else. While some folks in China understand peak energy related issues very well, with a little help from Gail, I suspect that the CCP is clueless.

    • Jarle says:

      “What if China is using its recommendation of “lockdowns” to degrade its rivals?”

      Given what the US has come up with it possible *and* understandable. Not ok at all with common men and women in the first world but nothing worse than what the US has thrown on common men and women elsewhere …

    • The long thread from Michael Senger is interesting. It gives some of the background on the lack of use of lockdowns in the past, for example.

  7. Jimmy says:

    Oil rents (% of GDP) has never topped 5% on a global basis in the last 50 years.

    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PETR.RT.ZS

    Today global oil revenue is less than $5billion/day while global foreign exchange is $5trillion.

    It’s the debt that is killing everything, along with monetary and fiscal policy and taxes. There is lots of cheap oil and especially cheap natural gas available.

    Klaus said on the record last summer a CYBER pandemic is all but certain…

    • Xabier says:

      Dr Strangeschwab is pretty good at his ‘projections’, isn’t he?

      So one would probably be advised to take note of that.

      Wouldn’t it be odd if a cyber-pandemic happened in the depths of winter?

  8. Renewables together with pumped hydro storage are entirely feasible where the topography allows to build upper and lower pondage with appropriate heads.But these projects are not pursued with vigor. Instead, new energy hungry projects are approved and built like in Sydney.

    Billions of dollars in new building projects a good sign for Sydney’s construction industry, analysts say
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-11/the-construction-projects-set-to-transform-sydney/12993078

    All the while:

    Blistering assessment gives Australia ‘just months’ to fix nation’s energy security
    Australia has “just months” to fix major problems with the electricity market, according to a blistering assessment of the state of the energy sector
    Chair of the Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, said “years of insufficient action” and “band-aid solutions” have characterised Australia’s response to growth of renewable energy generation.
    She warned the market needed a rapid redesign to ensure the lights stay on.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-05/energy-security-board-report-reliability-renewables-regulation/13031922

    I did this research:

    11/12/2020
    NSW power supply problems November 2020 (part 2)
    https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-supply-problems-november-2020-part-2

    26/11/2020
    NSW power supply problems November 2020 (part 1)
    https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-supply-problems-november-2020

    Australia’s old coal fired power clunkers are reaching the end of their lives
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/extending-liddell-power-plant-s-life-among-worst-options-regulator-20201206-p56kzw.html

  9. avocado says:

    Good piece Gail, while I have minor disagreements, as you know, especially about centripetal forces

    BTW, where did you got the 6.6% energy fall rate? Oil felt circa 8% last year, which I suppose puts the overall rate close to 2 or 3 (but I really don’t know)

    • avocado says:

      Sorry, I meant centrifugal forces (btw, physicists say centrifugal forces are ficticious, which is perhaps also true in geopolitics)

      • Robert Firth says:

        avocado, this physicist disagrees. Jump on a roundabout, and you will find centrifugal forces are very real. They do not occur in an “inertial” frame of reference, but the frame of reference is a matter of choice. The Earth is not an inertial frame of reference (it rotates), but any analysis of Earth based phenomena had better use a geosynchronous frame of reference, otherwise it will be unable to explain tornadoes, hurricane, trade winds, tides, and so on, all of which are created in part by centrifugal force.

  10. RICHARD Marleau says:

    great article as always. on point #9 hyperinflation and more debt. it seems to me that while the banks or goverments can create more money with very little marginal cost they cannot create profits to pay the debts back. In some respects the low capitalization rates and super high p/e ratios are accurately reflecting the situation that earnings/profits are in short supply now and into the future. The unknown or unanswered but implied to be a low variable is what the risk premium should be for default of payment or repayment.

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