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. MG says:

    Bitcoin and all those “mined” digital currencies are forged currencies:

    1. The amount of such currency is limited, but the supply of the real currency is regulated according to the needs of the real economy.
    2. They pretend to be exclusive, but anyone can create its own currency.
    3. Their value is so volatile that they are useless in the real life, as they can not preserve the value like they promise it to do.
    4. There is no law that would regulate their existence as a legal tender.
    5. They are created using energy and with this connection to energy they pretend to be like the real currency which also represents energy. But their connection is to the spent energy which does not exist anymore. They pretend to have the energy embedded, and thus look like superior to the real currencies which only represent existing energy.

    The “mined” digital currencies are a sophisticated lie.

    • Kowalainen says:

      The absolute worst thing about crypto is the wasteful use of energy and advanced compute devices. It should be outright banned.

      If we’re going to mine crypto, at least make the compute useful. Like for example grid-coin advancing molecular research, etc.

      Also, you forgot the BS money laundry they are used for.

      • cassandraclub says:

        The mining of gold is also a huge waste of energy.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Right, however, gold is also used in industrial applications. Precious metals as proxy for worth is for sure (almost) as insane as crypto. Sorry Robert. 😘

          Money should be issued based on available energy, or as a basket of various mineral with oil as the determinant.

    • solarkauf says:

      Bitcoin is a huge waste of ressources. a blockchain or crypto currency must not be so energy intensive. But it is part of the marketing to make it so complex, so that most people do not really understand.

      I think there is still a chance to preserve some electricity for light or cooking but most appliances will leave us.

      we only will preserve some knowledge, when we manage the energy imbalance with more massive more albedo in the cities or on floating solar fields(yes there is a way to coat PV cells with a radiative cooling nano structure…)

    • Sergey says:

      1. The amount of such currency is limited, but the supply of the real currency is regulated according to the needs of the real economy.

      Let’s say in 1900 when currencies were pegged to the gold standard we have 100 years of increasing world’s GPD ahead. Somewhere along the road gold standard become a limiter to world economy, because we had access to more energy (expanding economy) and fixed amount of gold. But now, at 2020 we don’t have 100 years of increasing world’s GPD ahead. Likely otherwise, we will have shrinking economy and fixed amount of currency can protect from inflation. World economy will be in deflation no matter how many paper will government print.

      2. They pretend to be exclusive, but anyone can create its own currency.

      But value of anyone’s currency will be zero. As history told us, the currency is what most people accept as currency in their mind. It could be anything – stones, wooden sticks, metal coins, bitcoin.

      3. Their value is so volatile that they are useless in the real life, as they can not preserve the value like they promise it to do.

      This market is not matured yet, we are only entering the process of an adoption of bitcoin. I believe 10+ years from now the value of it will be stable, and big chunk of world’s population will accept bitcoin as storage of value.

      p.s.
      I do believe in bitcoin, and I invest in it last 3 years. I do not believe in dollar, euro, …- as all these papers will be worthless in 10+ years.

      • MG says:

        The state is an energy system that issues a currency. We can argue whether there will be USA, EU or Russia in some time later, but if humans exist, there will be some states which will issue a currency.

        And Bitcoin is not gold or silver: it is the chemical property of these metals, i.e. their chemical stability, that predestined them for preservation of the value.

        Bitcoin is just a game: some people lose, other people win.

      • Jarle says:

        > p.s.
        > I do believe in bitcoin, and I invest in it last 3 years. I do not believe in dollar, euro, …- as all these papers will be worthless in 10+ years.

        “These papers” will be worthless but 0s and 1s on a harddisk won’t? Please expand.

        • Sergey says:

          As I said the currency is what big chunk of population accept as a currency. As far as bitcoin market matures (current market cap is $600 billions, my guess, matured market will be at least $10 trillions in todays dollars, just like all available gold at least) its value will be stable. That will be the time when bitcoin can be used as payment for anything. There will be services (already is) what will convert your local official currency to bitcoin and vise versa on the fly, then you pay for something. So you can think of you local official currency as short term store of value, and bitcoin as long term store of value, because it will have 3 essential factors:
          1) Big chunk of population accept it as a currency (if you ask any youngster what is bitcoin, you’ll get an answer: crypto currency – everybody knows it)
          2) No government in a world can control it, nor print it.
          3) There is a finite/limited amount of it

          I am Russian and I know what my local currency – ruble is not a long-term storage of value, to store the value for long term I used to buy US dollars, gold or real estate, but it’s history now, as US dollar isn’t holding its value anymore, gold is expensive and dangerous to store, the government can forcibly confiscate it, which has happened many times in history, real estate could be worthless in the future, as Gail said. Real estate have also diminishing returns, as my government increase taxes every few years. On the other side bitcoin is very easy, safe and free to store.

          • Robert Firth says:

            But bitcoin, like all blockchain based systems, has a single point of failure. The transactions must be serialised. Destroy the last link in the chain, and the system collapses.

          • Jarle says:

            Sergey,

            something or someone more powerful than you can confiscate anything you have.

            Long time storage of value only works as long as the system works and as we here at OFW know that’s not forever …

          • MG says:

            The problem is production ability, supply chains integrity, not having money or bitcoins.

            Money can be easily created by the central banks, but not that easily bitcoins, which means that bitcoins lack flexibility.

          • Sergey, have you ever wondered why is ruble still somewhat volatile vs major currencies of the other big industrialized countries (incl. several basket cases from ClubMed)? When at the same time Russia runs relatively minuscule foreign debt, ~sane level of internal subsidies (unlike say Saudies-Gulfies), .. etc, ?

            Perhaps, the same force (entity?) able to corral or at least kick ankles of entire Russia is also able to nudge, forward and corral people in similar position or thinking as yours into this e-coin scheme..

            Frankly, I’m not attempting to question your motives, you had to act in difficult times on d/d ~ y/y basis, and this route “just” opened ahead in front of you. Lets observe it in neutral posture – It could have been genuine evolutionary new thing or not ..

            • Sergey says:

              The ruble is weak due to Russia’s technological lag behind developed countries. Russia exports raw materials (oil,gas,wood,gold,etc.) and imports goods with high added value (telephones, cars, machine tools, etc.). The ruble exchange rate is set so that Russia has a positive trade balance. So ruble has always higher inflation than dollar or euro.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Great to see someone else than me understanding the importance of technological omnipotence (as compared with others).

            • Are you seriously suggesting that the ruble exchange rate (vs USD/EUR/..) is primarily set by internal-domestic interest’s – players only (CB+govs)?

              Also, (not) surprisingly you omitted the (limit – ban) exports of grains. Is that also supposed to be filed under mere raw resource exports or is it actually added value category?

              Russian technological “lag” is both sector and path dependency (history) based – differentiated. If I recall, no one complained about “simpleton brutes” when the world needed Russians for a decade of ISS launches, waiting for the new US contractor to return into the game.

              And we can continue on many other examples and specific industries performance.

              But perhaps the bottom line is hidden elsewhere, right, some tend to believe a nation under perma clinch is not project worth pursuing.. life is so short..

              It’s better to live for the moment only, lets enjoy these carz, phones and other frivolous toyz of the day, and be happy.. lol

            • MG says:

              Russia invests energy, including the energy of the human resources, into energy production: that is why Russia is not a technological leader.

              Russia is similar to Canada: a lot of cold, uninhabitable land and providing raw materials and energy to the countries with more favourable climate, where the research, development and production is cheaper.

            • avocado says:

              I don’t entirely understand what World is saying, but I tend to believe the ruble is the most free floating currency among emerging markets. Its CB governor, Nabiúllina, had been awarded several times by world CBs board

          • JesseJames says:

            Sergey, we are witnessing the collapse of grid systems through the 2nd and 3rd world. This process will continue. With the Green New Deal in the US, grid operators through the US will start failing in a manner similar to the bankrupt California utilities.

            Bitcoin requires the seller and buyer to have a reliable supply of electricity and a way to telecommunicate.
            Granted, you can assume that the technical Elite will be able to buy and sell, even if from their solar powered homes. But the rest of the world will not.

            Get real…grids will soon be failing in Europe. Son also in the US. You have rose colored glasses on.

            The “value” of Bitcoin depends on the worldwide GDP ultimately…and that is scheduled to go into the toilet.

    • Jarle says:

      > The “mined” digital currencies are a sophisticated lie.

      I agree, what a waste of electricity = energy.

      • Kowalainen says:

        We use money to extract energy, and consume it using the money we pay ourselves in the process.

        Using energy to create money is the fscking opposite of what it should be. It is insane. 😡

        • thanks for condensing it

          what I’ve been banging on about for years

          • Kowalainen says:

            If creating money is a side effect of burning energy in some useful process. Then fair enough.

            All crypto mining should be performed to advance science and engineering and not for some opportunistic CCP schmucks seeking to ditch China or some other money laundry shenanigan.

            I mine gridcoin, the coin is created from research grants. Submitted work packets (completed research) is paid in gridcoin. Distributed computing, paid in crypto basically.

        • Jarle says:

          Up here were using old school elec = made with falling water … the horror, the horror …

          • Kowalainen says:

            Timeless pieces of IC, a mammoth hydro power station delivering the wattage to big ass locos hauling iron pellets to Narvik, sparks flying off the pantographs, while the little kiddo resting on his bicycle watches in awe wondering how stuff works. 😇

            Now that is IC in its essence. It never gets old.

            • Jarle says:

              My father worked at hydro power stations. I remember being inside the mountain 1 km away from the daylight, 7 stories of concrete vibrating when the generator was starting up, a frightening experience for a young boy …

        • I would agree with you. Using energy to create bitcoin is opposite of the way the system should work.

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Fitch sounds alarm over government borrowing binge: Credit ratings agency warns on impact of soaring borrowing on global growth and “toxic” issue of cancelling eurozone debt.

    “Soaring public debt risks damaging global growth as investors plough money into government bonds rather than companies, a top credit ratings agency has warned.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/01/12/fitch-sounds-alarm-government-borrowing-binge/

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    “[The invasion of the Capitol] was clearly a case of extreme political instability and a harbinger of potentially greater political violence to come…

    “An outright U.S. collapse, like in the Civil War of 1860, is still extremely unlikely. But high levels of disruption could still hurt the nation’s finances by posing a danger for investors in the country’s sovereign bonds.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2021-01-12/how-government-instability-undermines-the-u-s-economy

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “When megaproject 20 Times Square broke ground in 2015, it looked like a sure bet.

    “Fast-forward five years, however, and the hotel and retail development is a mounting source of dismay, as it backs at least $1.9 billion in debt that is either in default or expected to be soon — including $750 million in commercial mortgage-backed securities bonds passed along to investors — according to three sources familiar with the matter.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/debtwire/2021/01/12/time-running-out-for-750-million-in-cmbs-debt-backed-by-20-times-square-project/?sh=7dda19156932

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “After several years of being bombarded by peak oil demand or oil glut scenarios, the market is without any doubt heading towards a major supply crisis. The COVID-era has not only removed short-term demand and increased interest in a global energy transition, it has also brought down global upstream investments.

    “Analysts have already indicated a possible peak oil investment scenario, but that has been countered by many claiming that renewables will make up for losses. The reality, however, is very worrying.”

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/The-Oil-Industry-Is-In-Dire-Need-Of-Investment.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Two of South Africa’s four oil refineries are currently offline and expected to restart next year at the earliest, while the other two facilities also face an uncertain future as oil companies are reassessing their downstream portfolios in the wake of the pandemic that crushed fuel demand…

      “Shell said two months ago it would halve the crude oil processing capacity of its largest wholly owned refinery in the world, Pulau Bukom in Singapore, as part of its ambition to be a net-zero emissions business by 2050 or sooner. Shell is also shutting down its 211,000-bpd refinery in Convent, Louisiana, after failing to find a buyer for the site.”

      https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/South-Africas-Faces-Major-Oil-Refinery-Crisis.html

    • JesseJames says:

      Exxon’s Mega Oil Finds In Guyana Are Just The Beginning article appeared on Zerohedge.

      the Liza oilfield is pumping crude oil at a breakeven cost of $35 per barrel, and with further developments, they claim that they will pump crude at an even lower breakeven price of around $25 per barrel. Given that this is an offshore oil field, neither cost per barrel sounds realistic. $25 sounds like hopium.

      But assuming that Exxon’s best play these days were to pump oil at $25, how much would it benefit them?
      After exploration costs are recovered (perhaps they never are recovered) but assuming they are some day, they will pay 2% royalties payable on the oil produced and then share 50% profit.

      Of course, if the price stays at $35, assuming they can lower their costs to $25/barrel, this would mean for every barrel they would pay a $0.20 per barrel royalty and then share half of the $9.80 profit.

      They are pumping 120000 bid now and hope for 750000 bpd by 2026. So even at the highest estimate of 750,000 barrels per day, Exxon would make $3.5M profit/day. This would barely scratch the surface of Exxon’s capital needs. More hopium which, if assessed carefully, is designed to boost investor confidence and their stock price.

      Later they talk about a $50 dollar price for each barrel of oil…even more hopium.

      Sadly, the entire field has 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil, except we do not know the cost of recovering that oil. This entire field, at its maximum, most hopeful estimate, will provide less than 1/10th of the oil the world consumes per year.

      This is how desperate our oil situation is becoming.

    • The whole situation is just bizarre:

      Major investment institutions are currently turning their backs on hydrocarbon investments. A growing political emphasis on renewables, low-carbon or even Net-Zero production, and other energy transition policies are massively hurting oil and gas investment. The IMF, WB, EBRD, EIB, and others have also stated that they are ending hydrocarbon project financing. The well-recorded oil demand destruction during 2020 has pushed oil supply risks out of the mind of analysts is seems. Most E&P companies have curtailed their spending on upstream operations dramatically. These lower 2020 investment levels, combined with several low investment years before, are now a serious threat to the future of the oil market. Market volatility is expected to increase in the coming years, mainly due to the lower investment levels reducing supply.

      The article then goes on to say:

      2021 could be a watershed year for oil markets, in which falling investments and bankruptcies will create a supply crunch the likes of which we have never seen before.

      Perhaps, or it could cause debt defaults and job loss, as we have never seen before. Maybe there will be a money printing, and hyperinflation. Or perhaps, all of these awful things can be put off for another year.

  6. Thou Shall Not Be Deceived says:

    OMG – lock everyone in their homes — the ICU units are filling up!!!! This is unprecedented… (except that this happens 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 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’

  7. Xabier says:

    Off topic – or is it?

    Uncommonly frequent military air traffic here over the last few days, of a kind I’ve only ever noted before wars.

    In fact, I’ve never seen so many troop transports and helicopters about since just before the Iraq war.

    One explanation might be that the army here are involved in some way with vaccine distribution.

    • Ed says:

      Xabier I have noted the opposite on several days. That is clear sky, no clouds, no planes all day. Being nearish NYC this is odd.

      • Xabier says:

        The world turned upside down, Ed.

        Cambridge will be a government hub for this part of England: I know there is a nuclear bunk here, great communications, airport, lots of Big Tech stuff.

        If the students and lecturers don’t come back in such numbers, there will be plenty of empty rooms to house officials and soldiers.

        Hitler actually planned to take over my College as a palace, when he invaded England, as it is very beautiful, and it already has a huge stone eagle over the gate – just add swastika!

        I walked around in the rain today, and saw about 20 people in total.

        City of the Dead.

        Or The Damned……?

  8. Mirror on the wall says:

    Newspapers across Germany have picked up on Gail’s theme in her article about the break up of the UK.

    > German newspapers put focus on Scottish independence with Union set to ‘fall apart’

    INCREASING support for independence, the upcoming Holyrood election and Scotland’s removal from the EU are the focus of several news stories across Germany this morning.

    The Hamburg-based Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency wrote a piece on Scotland’s future in the wake of Brexit. It was published this morning by Der Spiegel, one of the top five German news sites, Handelsblatt, a business newspaper and regional daily Sächsische Zeitung, among others.

    It comes after the director of research at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, Barbara Lippert, said an independent Scotland could be “top of the list” to join the EU.

    She said Brexit has been a “gamechanger” for how people in Europe view the UK and added there would be “broad openness” to indy Scotland joining the bloc.

    In Der Spiegel, the newspaper headlines the piece: “The [UK] Government is playing with fire”. It is followed by the subdeck: “Prime Minister Johnson is hoping for a globally successful UK after Brexit – but the nation could fall apart. The Scots are working on the next attempt at secession. Others could follow.”

    In Dresden-based Sächsische Zeitung the headline reads: “Is Britain turning into Little Britain?”

    The subdeck follows: “No sooner has the kingdom separated from the EU than new trouble threatens the island. Because the Scots want their independence.”

    In Handelsblatt, there are also quotes from Holger Nehring from the University of Stirling. The headline is: “German expert: Scots are frustrated with London.” It continues: “According to a German expert in Scotland, the British government is to blame for the continued approval of Scottish independence from Great Britain.”

    In Der Spiegel, the story opens with the point that Scotland is looking for a fresh referendum and reintegration into the EU. Robertson explains that the country wants to be part of the largest single market in the world and wants a new vote within the next parliament.

    Referring to Westminster’s ruling out of a new vote for a “generation”, Robertson said the UK Government is “playing with fire when it tries to block democracy in Scotland”, adding this will only increase support for independence.

    The story goes on to point out that a lot has changed since 2014 – particularly Brexit. Fabian Zuleeg, the chief executive and chief economist of the European Policy Centre, says that 62% of Scots voted Remain is significant.

    He says: “Now only independence can create the possibility of EU membership, which is desired by the overwhelming majority of Scots.”

    Hughes adds that for people under 35 between 70-80% are pro-independence and pro-EU.

    The article also touches on the coronavirus pandemic, explaining: “The badly managed corona crisis in London gives proponents of Scottish independence hope more than ever that they will break away from Great Britain.”

    Speaking to Curtice, they say Nicola Sturgeon is seen as “much more competent” at tackling the virus than Boris Johnson. Curtice told the agency that while Johnson doesn’t seem to care about the details, the First Minister “sounds like the chief medical officer, like a top scientist”.

    The professor references increasing support for independence in the polls, which have the figure up to 58% in recent cases. “There is no doubt that Boris Johnson involuntarily became the best recruiter for the national movement in Scotland,” he said.

    Another expert, Robert Hazell from University College London, told the dpa that Scotland leaving the UK could lead to a referendum in Northern Ireland on reunification with Ireland as well as an independent Wales.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19007065.german-newspapers-put-focus-scottish-independence-union-set-fall-apart/

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      The price of Scottish fish is collapsing after Brexit. They cannot get it through the border checks into EU in time for it to get to markets fresh, so it is being offloaded locally at collapsed prices.

      Boats have inevitably switched to operating out of Denmark instead which allows them to avoid Brexit borders. That suggests the end of the Scottish fishing industry thanks to Brexit. Why would boats operate out of Scotland when it is more profitable for them to do so out of Denmark?

      UK companies – generally – realised last week that they may as well shift their operations to EU rather than try to import to there with heavy border costs.

      TP completely failed to think through the implications of Brexit, which are ‘catastrophic’. They dumped free access to the largest market in the world for a trading area that is smaller than their own territory. No wonder Scots want out of UK – it is Brexinsane.

      > Scottish fish prices ‘collapsing’ by as much as 80% due to Brexit bureaucracy, industry warns

      Exporters are struggling to get their produce across the EU border in time due to additional safety checks and administration

      Scottish fish exporters have warned that prices are “collapsing” due to delays shipping goods to the EU after Brexit.

      The burden of red tape has led to a backlog of seafood which cannot make it across the border in time to be sold at markets in France and beyond. With limited access to their main customers Scottish fishermen have been faced with a glut of perishable goods.

      At the fish market in Peterhead on Monday, prices of some items had plunged as much as 80 per cent below normal levels as sellers sought desperately to offload their catch.

      Industry trade body Scotland Food & Drink said that one-third of the Scottish fishing fleet was now tied up in harbour with some boats sailing to Denmark instead of the UK to avoid “Brexit bureaucracy”.

      Fish landed in Denmark and then transported by road to France and Spain remains within the single market, so avoids customs and food safety checks.

      Fishermen have complained of five-hour delays at the border with Scottish langoustines and other produce being rejected by buyers because it is spoiled by the time it reached them.

      Describing the situation as a “catastrophe”, businesses said orders from Europe were also drying up because of Boris Johnson’s new trade barriers.

      Seafood is highly perishable and relies on a seamless flow across borders, but small test consignments sent to France and Spain that would normally take one day are now taking three or more days, if they get through at all.

      “Our customers are pulling out,” Santiago Buesa, director of SB Fish told the Reuters news agency. “We are fresh product and the customers expect to have it fresh, so they’re not buying. It’s a catastrophe.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/scotland-fish-prices-brexit-delays-b1786095.html

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        The three logistic hubs in Scotland have all shut down access to EU to small and medium sea food businesses because of post-Brexit rules. Their businesses are finished as things stand. So much for the ‘sea of opportunity’ that Boris boasted of when he unveiled his horror Brexit deal over Christmas.

        Fishing communities in Scotland were the least enthusiastic about Scottish independence before the horror deal was unveiled, because they thought that Boris would get them more fish. Well, the fish and sea food industries are now collapsing in Scotland. This will only lead to increased support for Scottish independence and to rejoin the EU, which is looking inevitable now.

        > Logistics companies halt EU exports due to post-Brexit red tape

        Scotland exports high-value seafood to the EU

        Logistics companies have halted groupage loads to the EU as they look to avoid the worst of the disruption caused by post-Brexit red tape and paperwork.

        Groupage is the consolidation of multiple small loads into a single lorry, meaning inadequate paperwork on one product can end up delaying an entire truck’s worth of goods.

        The suspension of the service is particularly damaging for small and medium-sized companies who typically cannot afford to send their goods individually. Freshly caught seafood requires transport to Europe within 12-24 hours, leaving it as one the worst affected sectors.

        “It effectively means we can’t export to the EU,” said James McMillan, MD at Loch Fyne Seafarms, costing the business about £10k-15k of sales per day, or up to £60k in an average week.

        Scottish producers rely on one of three logistics hubs in the country to transport their loads, all of which have stopped taking groupage loads in the past week, said McMillan. “We’ve had to tell some of the boats to stop fishing because we just can’t sell the same volume into the UK as you can in Europe.”

        https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/brexit/logistics-companies-halt-eu-exports-due-to-post-brexit-red-tape/652022.article

      • Oh, dear! The UK is losing its fishing industry.

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      The verdict among the experts is that Scotland would be at the front of the queue to be welcomed back into the EU upon a successful Scottish independence referendum.

      EU admits countries on their merits and Scotland is seen by the EU as a prime candidate along with Iceland and the other EFTA countries for membership. Europe now understands why Scots want to split with the UK and to join with the EU, and Scotland is seen as prepared and disposed for EU membership.

      Scotland voted clearly to remain in the EU in the Brexit referendum and recent polls show that around 70% of Scots want back in. The Scottish parliament is retaining its legal compliance with EU and it is proactively building ties with the EU and its member countries.

      Scotland would be a feather in the cap of the EU and it would restore the EU’s image and confidence as a growing force in the world after Brexit.

      > Independent Scotland could be ‘top of the list’ to join EU and won’t have to ‘get in line’ behind other countries

      AN independent Scotland could be “top of the list” to join the European Union, an expert has claimed.

      Barbara Lippert, the director of research at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said she believed there would now be “broad openness” to Scots rejoining the EU if IndyRef2 is successful.

      Ms Lippert added that Brexit had been a “gamechanger” for many in Europe in understanding why some Scots want to leave the UK.

      The whole UK left the European Union last year, despite Scots having voted against the move in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and the Scottish Government hopes an independent Scotland would be able to again be part of the group.

      Ms Lippert, who is an expert in EU enlargement, insisted that Scotland would not be put “in the same basket” as Western Balkan states looking to join, such as Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania.

      She told an online event, organised by the European Movement in Scotland, that Scotland has a “far better image” than those nations.

      She added that in terms of membership criteria “Scotland will look like a bright spot”.

      She stated: “I think it will be top of the list of candidates, maybe together with Iceland and other Efta (European Free Trade Association) countries, which could also line up in the future.”

      Another expert, James Ker-Lindsay, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, dismissed any suggestion Scotland would have to “get in the queue” to join behind other nations, who had already said they wanted to join the EU.

      He told the event: “I’ve seen people say this, if Scotland wants to become independent, if it wants to join the European Union it is just going to have to get in line behind the Western Balkans.

      “And there is absolutely no reason to believe that is the case at all. That is not how EU enlargement works.

      “It is simply a case with the European Union if you are ready, and there is a political will to take you in, then you join.

      “You don’t have to defer that membership behind any other country that might be in advance of you.”

      He added: “In many ways I could see the European Union wanting to take Scotland in to show that enlargement is still something.”

      https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/6527442/scotland-independent-rejoin-european-union/

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      Supermarket shelves are emptying in NI.

      The major UK supermarkets have written a joint letter stating that post-Brexit export rules to NI are simply ‘unworkable’ and that the situation is only set to get worse once the ‘grace’ period ends in April. The future of the entire NI grocery market is in question with now unviable supply chains.

      The solution for the supermarkets is the same as for everyone else: simply cut the UK out completely. Why would supermarkets import stuff into the UK to then have to pay border costs to export into the EU when they can just import straight into NI and knock stuff up there? Why would they source stuff in UK when they can source equivalent stuff in Ireland and sell that in NI at a greater profit?

      The result of Brexit will be the growth of an all-island economy and the reduction of trade between Britain and NI. TP/ DUP seriously blasted the UK in both feet with Brexit.

      Recent polls show that support for a united Ireland has risen to around 50% in NI, and that is only going to rise now that Brexit has happened. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, referenda must be held in the Republic and NI once it seems likely that a majority in both jurisdictions would vote for unity. That is only a matter of time now.

      > Supermarkets warn Brexit rules ‘unworkable’ amid Northern Ireland disruption

      UK supermarket chiefs have sounded the alarm over the threat to food supply chains in Northern Ireland posed by new Brexit trade rules.

      A letter to cabinet office minister Michael Gove, seen by Yahoo Finance UK, from leading food retail chiefs warns disruption is “inevitable” unless new border requirements from April are replaced or a grace period extended.

      Some Northern Irish supermarkets have already seen gaps on shelves and been forced to drop certain products or source alternative Irish goods since the start of the year.

      Britain’s departure from the EU customs union and single market, and an UK-EU agreement to prevent a harder border on the island of Ireland, have instead created new barriers to trade across the Irish Channel.

      READ MORE: ‘All pain, no gain’: Brexit red tape vexes UK firms and shoppers

      Goods moved between Britain and Northern Ireland now face new paperwork and some even risk tariffs, as they are being partially treated like UK exports to the EU.

      Regulation will be ramped up in April at the end of a current ‘grace period’ for traders like supermarkets, who will need vet-signed export health certificates for every product derived from animals and plants. Such rules are already in force for other traders.

      Five UK supermarket chief executives and Helen Dickinson, the head of the British Retail Consortium, have written to the UK government calling the border arrangements “unworkable” in such a timescale.

      Their letter says finding a long-term solution with the EU is “essential,” with more time needed to create one and implement it. They are “happy to discuss our issues and solutions directly with EU officials,” they say.

      It appears to suggest the viability of their supply chains could be at risk, asking the government to “work with us to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Northern Irish grocery market.”

      The CEOs of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, the Co-op and M&S signed the letter.

      https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/northern-ireland-food-disruption-brexit-supermarket-shelves-090302167.html

      • MickN says:

        Good grief- if you’re trying to be Harry’s single issue Mini-Me please put in just a few lines and the link.

        • Xabier says:

          Bravo, MickN!

          Water off a duck’s back though……

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Keep your abuse to yourself. This is not your website and no one is asking your permission to post anything. If you do not like Gail’s themes or how this site works then go somewhere else, no one is stopping you.

          • MickN says:

            It’s just such a bore to have to scroll through all your turbo-posts to get to the interesting comments. I’m surprised it’s legally allowed to copy whole articles without permission.
            Looks like you were right Xabier!

            • cutting/pasting swathes of someone else’s stuff is certainly difficult to read

            • Mirror on the wall says:

              The British state nationalists complain and abuse whenever the break up of the UK is discussed on here. But this is not a British state nationalist website. If they feel uncomfortable with Gail’s themes, as some do with other themes of collapse, then they do not have to come on here.

              We all have limits to our psychological comfort but it is one’s own responsibility to find zones in which one is comfortable. You do not get to control the entire internet to make your own nationalistic egos comfortable.

              If you want a website that is psychologically comfortable for your own egos then go to a British nationalist website – this is not one.

          • Xabier says:

            I’ve been here for 6 years, Ohwhatabore, and I like the company very much – well, most of it.

            So I will not be moving on until the internet crashes, or the swat vaccination squad does me in…….

            • Mirror on the wall says:

              Again, keep your abuse to yourselves. You do not ‘claim’ Gail’s website as your ‘territory’ by hanging about on it for time. This is not a British nationalist website and you do not get to tell other people what themes they can discuss or what they can post. So cut out your abuse. Either like the website or lump it. If you do not like what other people post, and you are incapable of interacting with them without abusing them, then just stay away from them like any normal adult would. We are all guests here, so stop bashing your nationalist chests like a gang of chimps.

            • MickN says:

              You were right first time Xabier- absolutely pointless. One very petulant duck.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        Hauliers and retailers in NI have branded Boris’ Brexit deal an ‘unmitigated disaster’. The transport of goods between Britain and NI has already collapsed to 1/3 of its usual rate. It is trashing all the supply chains. Lorries end up sat in Britain with no goods to bring back to NI. One-way haulage does not ‘work’ very well as it doubles the cost of the transportation.

        > DUP: Brexit deal for Northern Ireland is an ‘unmitigated disaster’

        Britain left the European Union’s single market and customs union on New Year’s Eve, introducing a raft of paperwork and customs declarations for those businesses that import and export goods with the bloc. In order to keep the border open between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, a separate agreement was struck that requires a regulatory border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

        Officials from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have stated that the Brexit deal for Northern Ireland is an ‘unmitigated disaster’, calling for its suspension. At a hearing of the Commons Northern Ireland committee, MPs heard evidence from hauliers and retailers about the problems the new arrangements were causing compared to EU membership.

        MP Ian Paisley Jr, the DUP’s communities spokesperson who sits on the committee: “They’ve basically told us that the protocol and its workings, on day six, is an unmitigated disaster. That’s one of the reasons I was against it, because I think a blind man on a galloping horse could have told you it was going to be an unmitigated disaster.”

        Seamus Leheny, policy manager for Northern Ireland in the Logistics UK group, said the new customs demands were hitting companies throughout the supply chain. “One operator sent 285 trucks to GB, they only got 100 of those back to Northern Ireland,” he told reuters.com. “The knock on effect is they can’t service NI (Northern Ireland) exports going back to GB because they’ve got lorries and equipment sitting in England waiting for loads that aren’t ready yet.”

        Lorry traffic through Holyhead, the UK’s second largest port, has fallen to about one-third of its usual capacity. Since 1 January, drivers have had to provide specific paperwork to take goods between the EU and the UK.

        https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9282299/dup-brexit-deal-for-northern-ireland-is-an-unmitigated-disaster/

  9. Ed says:

    articles explains one possible reason for CV19
    https://consentfactory.org/2020/12/16/year-zero/

  10. ElbowWilham says:

    Great writing as always.

    Subscribing to comments…

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