Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

45 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Looking ahead, it seems the most probable path is that COVID-19 will remain in global circulation for at least some years. If Australia and a few other countries manage to contain it nationally by some combination of testing, tracing and some degree of social isolation (much less than now but more than previously), what are the impacts? International tourism greatly curtailed – so north Queensland and Sydney hit hard. Education also hit. Service sector – restaurants, bars, cafes – restructured with fewer patrons – so lower rents. Ditto many arts venues and festivals. Cruise industry defunct. Airline fares higher.

    Aged care sector under great pressure to be more professionally run – with higher paid, higher-trained staff. So costs rise.

    What else?

  2. Hard to see how restaurants and cafes can be sustainable with fewer patrons. Their margins per customer are small and they rely on high volumes.

  3. Rent is probably the largest fixed cost – and there is usually a turnover component. We’ll see how commercial landlords react (a surprisingly large proportion of people think half a loaf is worse than no bread)

  4. If you can eradicate it domestically, then you can surely pour some serious testing resources to incoming travellers and workers ie. anyone foreign: test them?

  5. Pharmaceuticals should do very well long term if vaccines fall short and the bug has to be PReP/PEP contained as for AIDS. They’ll do well from testing. Moreover the sector could boom if reports of the bug more widely giving healthy people severe diabetes, strokes, liver, renal, and heart disease.

    Professor Peter Doherty in The New Daily:

    “Adopting the HIV strategy

    “Anti-viral drugs could be used for therapy or for prevention (of COVID-19).

    “With HIV, we never made a vaccine. The virus mutates too much. It copies back into the genome. A vaccine is almost impossible … So we handle it with drugs. What an AIDS patient does is take two or three drugs a day …These were drugs that were made from knowing the structure of (viral) proteins: structural biologists designed molecules that would fit those proteins and stop them (from acting destructively). AIDS patients take three different drugs. The reason they do that is to stop mutants emerging … Same principle you use in cancer therapy.

    “So those drugs that will keep AIDS down can also be used as what we call PReP (pre-exposure phrophylaxis). And that is, people who put themselves at risk of AIDS can take a drug called Truvada which has two of these anti-viral AIDS drugs that are also used for treatment. And if they take those every day they’re just not going to get AIDS.

    “So, if we can find drugs that eliminate (the coronavirus) early on, that may stop the late disease. If we can treat them and they don’t die, we can open up and treat it like any other infection. As long as we have treatment we’re fine.

    “If we have people who can’t benefit from a vaccine, or if we can’t get a vaccine, we could use the equivalent of HIV PRep. Everybody could take a pill every day which would stop them getting the infection. For older people, that’s nothing. They all take four or five pills a day, anyway. So that’s the other possibility.

    “And you can bet your life there are a hell of a lot of people working on drug development.”

  6. I still think domestic tourism will be huge. In 2018 6.3M aussies went OS spending an average of $4750 – that’s ~$30B taken out of the country. Post COVID that money could be spent here, plus our kiwi cuz should be allowed in.

  7. Think 1930s isolationism then think 1940s war footing. The first decade saw Australians almost becoming self-sufficient but with poverty endemic across the country. The second decade mentioned saw Australian self-sacrifice and ingenuity overcame chronic shortages; whilst the primary industries supported the largest army even seen in this country. But again poverty was endemic. So Australia can handle whatever comes next but the social costs will be enormous. Hard to see how these can be overcome in the short term. In the long run I suggest that Australia and all other southern hemisphere countries form their own unique fair trade zone. The countries of the southern Hemisphere can cooperate on eliminating international social evils like piracy, child labour and drug trafficking.

  8. Troy

    To work any test has to be very very accurate and very rapid. See faustus’ comments on previous post. The incidence will be low, so you will get a lot of false positives. Plus any false negatives will lead to an outbreak. Given the long asymptomatic period and the connectivity of the world, flights from anywhere except maybe NZ will be risky.

  9. If most international tourism into and out of Australia ceased, then Australia would be better off. Australians spend about two to three times more overseas than O/S tourists spend in Australia. International tourism is a big net loss to Australia. So, if local tourism grows, it’s a boost, except I would be very worried about all the extra CO2 emissions from cars, 4DWs and power boats etc.

    We can handle whatever comes compared to depression and war. The social costs of not preventing global warming will be much larger than any COVID-19 shut-down. The negative externality damage we are saving by non-essential activity shutdowns is of more worth than the shut-down economic hit.

    The Southern Hemisphere as a whole has no closely shared interests other than preventing climate change and pollution. Oceania is a natural zone of shared interests for Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Oceania. All of our aid should go to Oceania countries which need it. That responsibility is commensurate with our capabilities to make a difference and we have a much greater chance of making sure aid is not misspent on corruption and arms.

  10. I’m thinking that investment in renewables could replace investment in growth attributed to immigration, which will probably be curtailed. Also, added investment in the NBN and healthcare – these don’t require the importation if massive and expensive earthmovers.

  11. Some really bad news. The German Automakers, which have been temporarily shut down are planning on reopening soon with new policies in place to maintain a healthy workforce.
    This causes smoke to come out of my ears. If there was a phase two to follow up the coronavirus phase one to try to save the world from global warming of which the auto industry is a very important culprit these industrie would at this point be planning on transitioning mostly to the construction of solar panels.
    If phase one is not followed by a phase two then the most likely conclusion to draw (and dread) is that this temporary disruption of the unsustainable world economy was the work of a small group of people, not a large group of people. Hope would still have to be rationed if it is only a small group of people who caused this chaos.
    In fact this small group of rogue individuals might not even have to support on any government. The chances of success under such circumstamces would be dismall.
    An even more pessimisstic conclusion to draw would be that this disruption was the work of the simulation administrator. This scenario could also explain the absurd reports about the deaseas which i have previously noted in other comments. Why? Because there is no need for the meta information to make any sense as the coronavirus and how to respond to it really do not have anything to do with the purpose of the simulation that we are stuck in. The purpsose of the administrator(s) is unknown to us.
    We are just slaves of their system to ger jerked around for their benifit, not ours. Under this scenario huge numbers of people that we see as actors on this stage (in this simulation) may not even be sentient beings.

    Another comment follows. It may not seem relevent. But it is, in a very insidious way.

  12. So I watched this documentary today. It was about a patholgist in France in a fairly rural area near Strassbourg that often worked for the local Police.
    In the year 2000 he called the police to report that his wife had committed suicide. The Police came and and investigation was done. After reviewing the evidence the police ruled the death a suicide and closed the case. But relatives of the deceased hired a private detective who managed to point out enough discrepencies to get the case reopend 4 months later. So at some point the husband was arrested and charged with murder. He was not convicted until 2008. But in 2013 his conviction was overturned when it was proven by the blood spater forensics that none of the prosecution theories of how the crime could have been committed made any sense. It is quite obvious from the blood spater that no one was standing near his wife when she was shot in the head. Why this was not apparent sooner to someone the program did not detail.
    One of the most mysterious aspects of the case was that the drum magizine was loaded with initially with 4 live rounds and two empty cartriges. One of the live rounds was fired in the course of the suicide. It is not certian what the motive of the suicide was. The marriage was on the rocks. The woman was having an affair.
    I have put these facts together to come up with a very interesting solution. I really like it because of its potential implications. My intitial thought was that the man drove the woman to suicide by convincing her that in a divorce he would gain custody of their two children. Then I revised that to by concluding that he convinced his wife to committ suicide by telling her that if she did not he would kill one or perhaps even both of their children. That seems pretty straight forward. But that does not explain why there were two extra empty cartridges loaded in the revolver. A man who shoots frequently at a firing range does not leave a loaded gun in his gun box. OK if he was living in a really high crime neighborhood he might. But then it would have 6 live rounds. Not 4 live rounds and two empty cartridges.
    No he did that for purely sadistic purposes. (Or for justified revenge depending of one’s point of view)
    It was not sufficient that his wife kill herself. She had to suffer at least a little before she died. Therfore the blank cartridges were load to make sure that the first two times his wife pulled the trigger the gun did not go off causing somewhat more exasperation in his victim before she died.
    In my opinion a death such as this woman expirienced is at this point much to merciful for a General Officer in the military. It might under some circumstances be appropriate for a Colonel though.

    *As a footnote this poor woman who was driven to suicide by her husband had been kicked in the jaw by a horse about one year before her suicide and had been in great pain for six months before a second operation relieved most of the pain. That leads me to conclude that I can do better than the Gods (system administrators).

  13. I wrote another comment before the one above that was more pertinent I will now attempt to rewrite it.
    There was really some horseshit news today from Germany. It has caused smoke to come out my ears.
    The German auto manufactures, which had been shut down, are planning on reopening soon with new measures in place to ensure a healthy work force.
    This is a solid indication that there is no phase two planned to follow up the phase one coronavirus disruption of the world’s unsustainable economy. If there is no phase two one very likely conclusion that can be drawn by the absence of a second phase to disrupt or transform human life on planet earth would be that phase one was the work of a comparitely very small group of men.
    This group of rogue conspirators may not even have the support of a single government. As this disruption has damaged every government in the world, some more than other though, such a conclusion would be reasonable.
    Under such circumstances that chances of success of those attempting to save the human population from itself would be very slim. The only more pessimisstic outlook would be that this disruption to the world economy was entirely the work of the system adminitrator(s). Under this scenario there is no need for the meta data about the covid 19 virus to make anysense. This temporary disruption under this scenario would have little or nothing to do with to overall purpose of the simulation that we are stuck in.
    We have no knowledge of what the simulation administrators are up to. We are just slaves that get jerked around for their benifit. Under this scenario things do not need to make sense because we are not in a real environment. It might seem real to us. But we can not even prove that all of those who are present on the stage of world history are all even sentient beings. Some may be mere puppets whose strings are pulled from outside of our simulation. Nothing can be deduced about history or the nature of reality under such circumstances. That is a a very dark possibilty to have to live with.

  14. I am really pissed off that I got the order of my two comments backwards. I had a very good transition from the first comment to the second commnet written. I did not rewrite the transition because then it did not make any sense because there was no transmission any more. I imagine that must have forgotten to hit the post button properly and just assumed that I had posted it.

  15. Maybe the moral of the story is that the Gods do not make small mistakes. They only make really big ones.

  16. Despite all the terrible things that have happened due to COVID-19 and the corresponding policies enacted to prevent or reduce the spread – and I’m sure the negative fallout will last long beyond this initial outbreak – I wonder if it’s worth noting some of the good things that have happened since nothing can be done to change the past. These changes may be temporary, but worth discussing:
    – Restrictions on gaming venues are giving some problem gamblers a break
    – Discussions on curbing payday lenders
    – Some people are getting more exercise and using local facilities more
    – Some parents who want to spend more time with their kids are able to
    – Some people may have wanted to work from home but never had the chance
    – People learning to cook and garden
    – Telehealth becoming available
    – More people are getting experience with video conferencing and this maybe decrease some business travel
    – Security issues with video conferencing are getting more attention
    – Traffic congestion and pollution are significantly reduced and maybe some road projects will be reviewed
    – Arguments that governments are powerless to solve big problems are weakened

  17. Suburbanite,

    Yes, all good things. I would note that:

    “Arguments that governments are powerless to solve big problems” are entirely, 100% refuted and exploded. Let us hope we never hear or never permit to be uttered again that outright rubbish (the bit in quotes) and the pack of lies which goes with it, withoout making the strongest verbal of challenge on our part.. I am going to pour facts and scorn on that idea if anyone ever dares to utter to such falsehoods in my presence ever again. I am going to be VERY verbally combative in ALL situations other than the purely social. I am a VERY angry elder of the white tribe and I want to see all that vicious, exploitative, neoliberal nonsense destroyed for ever. Otherwise it will lead quite literally to billions of necessary deaths. We have to be very combative and attack such lies at every turn. Our lives, the future of humanity and the future of the planet are at stake. If one won’t eschew “good manners” when the stakes are this high, then when?

  18. I assumed that you had made a typo – but unfortunately there really are some people talking about “necessary deaths” in relation to COVID-19 so it’s good to clarify.

  19. “Australia’s coronavirus testing rated one of most accurate in world,” Hunt says.

    When Scomo and his spokes-people said we had the highest testing rate in the world, several times, I checked and it was a lie each time. I bet this is a lie too. I actually would not be surprised if most of our testing kits are faulty and we currently have a very false picture. How can we trust a single thing this government says? I do not believe we can.

  20. Is Hugo making some point here? I mean, beyond ‘pushing people off buses is bad’? I ask because of the ‘wantonly abuses his white privilege’ irrelevance.

  21. The false narrative continues. The asserstion made in this article that C02 releases have only droped 5.5 percent since the shutdown started may be true. But the part where is says that we need to reduce emmissions by 7.6% per year to keep global warming under 1.5° C continues to spread a thought virus throughout US society if not the world. A true narrative would point out that temps. have already risen 1.5° C. since pre industrial times.
    The message that every news outlet should be reporting is that to avoid runaway global warming the world needs to make a 33% reduction in CO2 emmisions every year until the amount is 5%, or at best 10% of what it is was in 1990. I maintain that we humans are unlikely to ever be able to reduce our CO2 emmissions to 0. Therefore we will not survive unless we can develope nuclear fussion power or achieve some other energy breakthrough that allows us to correct the damage that we have already done and will do in the future.

    The blue ocean Arctic is not very far off. The melting of the Trunda is already under way.

    The behavior of the world’s leaders and the behavior of those that serve the world’s leaders has been totally inexplicable for decades. Is it any wonder that I think that it is possible that such gross irresponsiblity is caused by a computer simulation that I (or we, those of us who have self awarness) are trapped inside of, which is running for a purpose which is kept secret from us.

    A variation on that thought is that there are people inside of the simulation who know what the purpose of the simulation is, but of course have to keep it a secret.

  22. Hugo,

    Always unwise to provoke a crazy person. In Washington DC last year a crazy young white woman of about 25 and built like a female rugby player ran screaming straight at me, unprovoked. I braced myself while trying to look inoffensive and non-threatening. Not sure if I succeeded in that. She swerved at the last second and crash tackled a large metal trash-bin a few meters from me and then ran off screaming. A black woman abused me and pushed me in the back in a NY subway… near the tracks! Again, completely unprovoked. There are a great number of crazy and drug crazy people in the USA wandering around untreated in the USA. It’s a crazy, dangerous country, on all levels. The political economy attitudes of even the certifiably sane are off-the-chart right wing. I felt I was on another planet.

  23. If the USA persists on its current path it will collapse. It will collapse economically, it will collapse socially and it will collapse politically. In short, it will disintegrate and fall apart. Americans have to decide what they want. Do they want 600 plus billionaires and counting or do they want a surviving and viable nation? They cannot have both.

    The USA is a kleptocracy and kakistocracy. These are two sides of the one terminally corrupt system. In a kleptocracy corrupt leaders use their power to exploit the people and resources of the nation in order to extend their own wealth and political powers. Kakistocracy is government that is run by the least qualified and most unscrupulous. Donald Trump fits the bill on both counts but he is just the tip of the iceberg. The entire corporate and government structure of the USA is corrupt to the core. The Republican / Democrat power duopoly is entirely corrupt. They receive almost all their funding from the rich and they do the bidding of the rich.

    If Americans are too foolish, too credulous, and too filled with false consciousness, laziness and selfishness to turn out and vote to really change their nation (which means voting for candidates other than Republican and Democrats) then they will continue to get collapse. When Americans talk about “freedom” they mostly mean the freedom to be selfish. There is little in the American way of life that is about helping their fellow man.

    Most Americans have no idea how to change their system. Few even recognize it needs changing. I am no promoter of China. It is run by an authoritarian party and a dictator. However, socially and economically it is maintaining cohesion during the COVID-19 crisis and weathering it far better than the West. What I see happening right now is the collapse of the West. The collapse is due to the greed and corruption of last stage capitalism and its crony, kleptocratic, kakistocractic nature.

    What we need is democratic socialism. True democratic socialism is nothing like the Chinese system. One, the Chinese system is not democratic. Two, the Chinese economic system is now simply State Party crony capitalism rather than the corporate crony capitalism of the USA. The difference with the Chinese model is that competing capitals are disciplined in the national interest or at least in the Party’s interest. In the US model, competing capitals act in full Veblenian mode where business sabotages industry and the nation.

    China has fooled the USA comprehensively. Just as one can fight fire with fire (if one knows what one is doing) one can also fight capitalism with capitalism. By adopting state party capitalism, China has been able to use global labor arbitrage and currency manipulation to move much of the USA’s and the world’s manufacturing base to China. American competing capitals were greedy enough to aid this strategy as it made them richer while making the whole USA relatively poorer and large pockets of the USA absolutely poorer.

    While the nominal dollars flow back to the USA and while they can buy overseas products with these nominal dollars, well off Americans believe themselves richer while failing to see the hollowing out of their country’s manufacturing and productive base. When this process goes too far as it has we now we see what happens in a global crisis like the pandemic. The nominal dollars are of no use when real stocks are low. In this case, masks, personal protective equipment, ventilators, treatments, pharmaceuticals and capacity to manufacture same are all lacking. Also, adequate hospitals, trained staff and the research base are inadequate because they were left to run down.

    Nations which do manufacture (mainly, and soon to be solely China, under BAU) will first retain all requirements for themselves and only release the remainder (if any) if it suits their realpolitik goals.

    This crisis has shown the fundamental idiocy of neoliberal capitalism and how it fails to compete even with the dictatorial state capitalism of China, which though far from acceptable in many ways, can take concerted statist action when necessary and has built up its public system. Democratic socialism would be far more equitable and effective than both the American and Chinese systems. However, I give the USA about 1% chance of reforming itself and about 99% of collapsing into anarchy. Their theory / analytical deficit of what is happening is abysmal. Obviously, their collapse will collapse the world system, and even China. I think we have very little hope. We have to keep trying of course but there is little hope now with these problems looming along with climate catastrophe and the sixth mass extinction. All this occurred because the world went on a final orgy of consumption from 1990 onward, under the auspices of neoliberalism (market fundamentalist capitalism).

  24. Curt, we still have not managed to push the climate issue much past that denialist inspired bottom line of has to be cheaper for commerce and industry to do emissions reductions than for them to NOT do emissions reductions to be acceptable. Pare away the inspired rhetorical fluff of statements of support for emissions reduction policy by the BCA and others and that is what is left. Oh, and that is, it must be cheaper up front for businesses, WITHOUT counting externalised climate costs – with their support for carbon pricing so conditional that they will always find cause to object and oppose and obstruct any specific policies that look capable of being enacted.

    I think we are incredibly lucky (not discounting the hard work of optimists in the face of ridicule aided and abetted by mainstream politics doing appeasing gestures and/or giving greenie inspired solar and wind projects enough rope) that solar and wind have been the energy breakthroughs that can now, in many circumstances, get under that bar. Only to discover that for the biggest players of commerce and industry, even with RE meeting their requirement that it not cost more, they won’t support it because theirs are the businesses that clean energy has to displace! “Can’t cost more for Businesses” appears to not mean “cost more on average across all Businesses”, but for ANY individual (such as fossil fuel producing and using) Business.

    We will see if any great and world changing energy technologies emerge over time – improved energy storage looks more crucial and with more near term potential than fusion IMO – but meanwhile we should be applying the world changing technologies we do have, at the scales needed to be world changing.

  25. In the long run I suggest that Australia and all other southern hemisphere countries form their own unique fair trade zone. The countries of the southern Hemisphere can cooperate on eliminating international social evils like piracy, child labour and drug trafficking.

    I don’t know what makes you think that the countries of the southern hemisphere form a natural grouping. Countries which are entirely in the southern hemisphere include Angola, Bolivia, Eswatini, Fiji, Peru, and Vanuatu. Countries which are mostly in the southern hemisphere include Brazil and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). Countries which are partly in the southern hemisphere include Colombia and Uganda. This is not a club that I am eager for Australia to join.

  26. I said in another post that Oceania would be a more natural grouping. It would still be very weak as a trade grouping compared to the world economy. The best we (Australia) could do would be to make it a mutual aid grouping. All Aussie aid for example should go to the Oceania grouping. Our capability is maybe enough to help Oceania a bit. Our capabiliity does not extend beyond that.

  27. Iko, the USA won’t collapse. Yes, they’ll keep goning along their merry way towards greater and greater inequity and yes money will dictate public policy and who gets elected. However, those pulling the strings won’t let it collapse – it’s against their interests.

  28. chrishod, I just felt like saying something provocative an un PC.

    It seems as if lots of people have that kind of impulse, because lots of people act as if on such an impulse. I don’t know why, though. It’s an ugly impulse, and people who act on it make themselves seem ugly.

  29. +1+ What Michael Marmont said. 

    Why are we NOT asking ONLY this question; “what kind of society do we want?” 
    … which puts the ‘us’ back in charge, and puts government and markets back in their box, allowing for a better, more inclusive social policies, to emerge? We would then be able to see clearly the underlying health inequalities crisis.

    “Social equity and COVID-19
    …”As we emerge from the pandemic, whatever you do, don’t go back to a fetish about debt and deficit, go forward to an important question; what kind of society do we want?

    …”Faced with a crisis, you can rack up all the debts you like. Well, I would say that the underlying health inequalities in our society also represents a crisis. The problem is we just don’t see it as that.”

    “Low income is related to poorer housing, poorer diet, fewer social amenities, worse working conditions. (…) After adjustment for age, sex, race, smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep habits, leisure-time physical activity, chest pain, diabetes, or cancer, there was still an increase risk of 1.6 for those with inadequate incomes.

    “There is a remarkable gradient in health and life expectancy: the higher the grade of employment, the longer the life and the healthier the life.

    “In Australia, for example, we see a clear gradient: the fewer the years of education, the higher the risk of death. Men and women in their 40s with fewer than 12 years of education have a 70 per cent higher mortality rate than the most educated.”

    “Understanding this gradient, Sir Michael said, dramatically changed people’s perceptions.

    “[People] have no difficulty understanding that poor people have poor health … [They] find it much more challenging to understand why people in the middle should have worse health than those at the top.”

    JQ said; “That is, if all of society worked like the health care system at its best, we could regard the political project of social democracy as a success.”

  30. Ten Bagger*? Taleb has advised on a 3-400 bagger.

    It seems this fund doesn’t bother with black or white swans. And Ikon, don’t show this to your son!

    …”the fund generated a 3,612% return on invested capital in March, and a phenomenal 4,144% year to date”.

    Isn’t this financialising disaster? What if we all pile on?

    “Black Swan” Hedge Fund Advised By Nassim Taleb Returns 3,612% In March

    “During the financial crisis, when most hedge funds suffered catastrophic returns forcing many to gate their investors, Mark Spitznagel, who is perhaps best known for the phrase “I spend all my time thinking about looming disaster”, made what the WSJ reported was “huge gains” with his “black swan”-targeting hedge fund Universa Investments, which not incidentally is advised by Nassim Taleb. Then, in August 2015 during the infamous ETFlash crash, his fund reportedly made a gain of about $1 billion, or 20%, during a single, turbulent day when the VIX briefly broke and ETF trading went haywire for several hours.

    Fast forward to March when the biggest “looming disaster” in decades finally struck, and when Universa hit the proverbial payday it was waiting for ever since the inception of its tail-hedge fund – which is basically deep out of the money puts which roll every month – in March 2008.

    “It is a good time to reflect again on how we have performed for you as a risk mitigation strategy, if for no other reason than to give you some reassurance and even solace following one of the scariest months for markets on record” Spitznagel writes in his investor letter sent out to clients earlier today, and then delivers the good news: the fund generated a 3,612% return on invested capital in March, and a phenomenal 4,144% year to date.”
    By Tyler Durden
    Thu, 04/09/2020

    I’d better let Taleb speak for himself, (selectively) especially as he agrees with me “that the rich should be taxed as disproportionately as necessary, “though as locally as possible.” 

    The Pandemic Isn’t a Black Swan but a Portent of a More Fragile Global System

    Or do the course;
    *Risk taking not risk management”

    *Risk taking not risk management
    Number 14: July. 6-10 2020

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb will deliver about 60% of the lectures and will sign the certificate

    2 day program (no mini-certificate), $2950,

    5 day program (with mini-certificate), $7400 (Early signup discount $2200 and $5900 respectively before June 10, 2020)

    * Ten Bagger – “He also co-authored a number of books and papers on investing and coined a number of well known mantras of modern individual investing strategies, such as Invest in what you know and ten bagger. Lynch is consistently described as a “legend” by the financial media for his performance record,[6][7] and was called “legendary” byJason Zweig in his 2003 update of Benjamin Graham’s book, The Intelligent Investor.[4] ”

  31. Troy Prideaux ,

    You presume those pulling the strings know what they are doing in every respect. They do know what they are doing in relation to increasing their own wealth. They don’t know what they are doing in relation to running an efficient, effective and equitable nation. They are like prodigal sons who inherited estates from wiser (or more lucky) forebears. They don’t know how to maintain the estates or the lands and environments they came with. And they don’t know how to look after the health and incomes of their workers.

    The USA will collapse back in relative terms, especially in relation to China. It will become a semi-shambolic mess like Russia but it will still have an economy about three times Russia’s. China will greatly outstrip the USA unless China collapses back too, which is also possible. The total level of world production is unsustainable. Collapse is on the cards across the board. The wisest will collapse back the least. The most foolish will collapse back the most.

    On the metric of COVID-19 infections and deaths per capita and taking these as a reonable proxy for health, equity, efficiency and wise preparation or foolish blindness, the USA comes up as the most foolish of all large nations, by far. The empirical results speak to this incontrovertible fact.

  32. Things to remember though:
    The USD is still the worlds trading primary reserve currency.
    The USD is a sovereign currency with unlimited supply capability
    The US still (generally) has the most advanced technology in the world – and by some margin
    Greater inequity (like it or not) does actually support manufacturing competitiveness
    Any global superpower (economically or militarily) is built on manufacturing
    Chinese economy is built on debt to a far greater extent to the US economy
    A great majority of Chinese advanced tech is stolen from foreign institutions (universities, private corporations) and the US and others have been cracking down on such technological & industrial espionage.
    US has more global investment than anyone else

    Yes, there are many faults and flaws in the US, but I’d tip a civil war or social revolution before economic collapse. That’s just my humble opinion though

  33. Troy Prideaux,

    Things to remember:

    The USD is still the worlds trading primary reserve currency.
    How much longer though?

    The USD is a sovereign currency with unlimited supply capability.
    Meaningless/ Only real resources matter including the nation’s people and their health and education.

    The US still (generally) has the most advanced technology in the world – and by some margin.
    No. China has caught up. A pragmatist in geostrategic terms does not care if it’s patent “theft”.

    Greater inequity (like it or not) does actually support manufacturing competitiveness.
    No. The USA’s manufacturing share is declining relative to China’s.

    Any global superpower (economically or militarily) is built on manufacturing.
    True and rhe USA’s manufacturing share is declining relative to China’s.

    Chinese economy is built on debt to a far greater extent to the US economy.
    Debt is meaningless. It can be written off. A superpower can ignore all other debtor nations whenever it wished

    A great majority of Chinese advanced tech is stolen from foreign institutions (universities, private corporations) and the US and others have been cracking down on such technological & industrial espionage.
    Doesn’t matter, the Chinese are equally if not more advanced now.

    US has more global investment than anyone else.
    Doesn’t matter if a superpower nationalizes foreign ownership.

    Yes, there are many faults and flaws in the US, but I’d tip a civil war or social revolution before economic collapse. That’s just my humble opinion though.

    There could be civil war in the US. It would be disastrous. We need a democratic socialist revolution at the ballot box. Americans are probably too conservative and fundamentalist for that, politically, economically, socially and religiously. Their ideas are backward, stuck in the obsolete capitalist mindset and their unfettered capitalism is the pathway to collapse. I wish the Americans would wise up. I doubt they will.

  34. Social equity and COVID-19, KT2? Job Guarantee, Ikonoclast? Those from the PM who dreamt up robodebt all by himself? Anyway…

    Per Capita has just released a report on the need for redesigning employment services following the COVID-19 economic shock. A major redesign is badly needed ,but better would be a return to a pre-Howard CES.

    Redesigning Employment Services after COVID-19
    Posted 27 Apr, 2020 at 06:00h in Homepage Feature, Work and Workers


    “Per Capita is an independent progressive think tank, dedicated to fighting inequality in Australia. We work to build a new vision for Australia based on fairness, shared prosperity, community and social justice.

    Our research is rigorous, evidence-based and long-term in its outlook. We consider the national challenges of the next decade rather than the next election cycle. We ask original questions and offer fresh solutions, drawing on new thinking in social science, economics and public policy.”

  35. The return to a CES won’t happen, of course. As a government agency it couldn’t make generous political donations to liblab like the useless and corrupt Jobactive employment service contractors do.

  36. Mrkenfabian,
    Thank you for your response. That the leaders of business, politics, and the military in almost every country act so irresponsibly should cause any sane person to consider the posiblity that these people are incapable of independent thoughts of any kind.

  37. A Swedish company called Modvion has put up a 30m wind turbine tower in engineered wood, with full-size towers planned for later this year. The CO2 savings at scale would not be enormous, as turbine towers don’t use an awful lot of steel for their lifetime output, but every little helps. The caveat for all wood building is that the wood must be sourced from sustainably managed second- or nth-growth forests. Modvion uses spruce, which is grown in-country, so they are probably OK on this. Similarly for the rigorous quality control required for engineered wood – there have been problems in the USA with this, probably from timber companies with an old-fashioned culture. This is not Grandpa’s carpentry.

    Click to access 200429-The-first-wooden-wind-power-tower-has-been-erected-in-Sweden_ENG.pdf

  38. James,
    the report is quite interesting. I wonder if engineered bamboo would also work. In addition i wonder if the CO2 savings has been underestimated. Using wood after all will remove carbon from the carbon cycle in addition to not adding to it by not needing to smelt steel.

  39. Done a first during this crisis that i´ve never done my live, i wrote complaint and or/suggestion mails. All regarding covid measures. Might aswell have saved my time. The only one who got a sort a serious looking response was from a supermarkt chain (another mail to jet another supermarkt got a copy paste non response)- but then i´m going to guess the real result is to get the person who didn´t keep distance which is at the bottom of the food chain in trouble, while what they should have done is some sort of training day for all staff. The two i was actually expecting a real response for and frankly even sort of thought that there is a good chance of actually changeing the two small things suggested – both would have been like 20 min work and had a good chance to limit risks quite significantly, well the policy seems to be to just ignore that kind of mails.

  40. I’m going to build a medieval stone keep ringed by wooden watch towers. Looks like I will be right up with the latest technology. 😉 This will be to keep the COVID-ZOMBIES out. These will be COVID-20 zombies from the first mutation. These zombies will be runners not shamblers and afflicted with an uncontrollable urge to spi and bite. The pathogen will occur after COVID-19 gets into Australian fruit bats and recombines (shares RAN segments) with a lyssavirus (same genus as rabies) already present in Australian bats. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Who says I have been watching too much dystopian stuff? You’ll be the first they bite. They sense fear and complacency. Nobody expects the COVID-20 zombies.

    Just joking. Thought I would channel Curt K. 😉

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