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

36 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. The CV-19 situation is serious in Victoria. There are 75 new cases of infection today – the peak daily headcount was in March with 111 new infections. The different situation is that most of the cases now have much less determinate origins – so-called “community transmission” rather than simply being determined by international travel to Australia. Hence it is harder to “track and trace”. The Oz today slams Daniel Andrews for scare-mongering that encouraged disrespect for the law but I think his policies have been reasonably measured. Victoria has been unlucky. Victorians, like the rest of Australia, became complacent and assumed the virus was “nearly” gone. “Nearly”, of course, isn’t good enough. I wore a mask this morning for the first time in weeks.

  2. Harry Clarke,

    I agree. It is very concerning. However, I think they can still recover the situation, especially with what we have learned and implemented so far with testing, tracing, control and reaching all community groups with the message on distancing and self-isolation.

    Unfortunately, there is a small proportion of the selfish and ignorant in every society. Such people imperil everyone. The authorities tried reason and kid gloves and that worked well for most people. There may yet be a need for tougher measures if all else fails.

  3. Ikon said “Unfortunately, there is a small proportion of the selfish and ignorant in every society.”

    Central west nsw – no toilet paper again! Milk a third of shelf stacked and can’t keep supply up.

    And massive tv campaign saying “Visit now!”.

    I’m singing “Satisfaction — I cant get no”, but the travellers are singing “I’m free” or…

    “I Don’t Care Anymore
    …”I don’t care what you say – we never played by the same rules anyway. I won’t be there anymore get out of my way – let me by I got better things to do with my time I don’t care anymore I don’t care anymore…
    By Phil Collins

    Ikon, I’ll reply in next sandpit re computational complexity. In the meantime;

  4. “The economy isn’t about money. It’s about putting food on the table

    “Our Enlightenment predecessors recognized not one but five economies – and the pandemic has reinvigorated our taste for them.

    . ..” the nineteenth-century rise of corporate capitalism, Smith’s early supporters promoted the market’s “invisible hand” as superior to any other economic coordinator, notably as much more efficient than democracy. They advocated liberty for money, while ignoring equality, life and happiness. Dropping “political” from their name, they imperiously proclaimed themselves “economists”.

    Later in the nineteenth century, “marginalist” economists used the mathematical calculus to describe the behaviour of market prices, so mesmerizingly that they thought they studied nothing short of “the economy”. John Maynard Keynes became synonymous with some pushback within the ranks. However, again with the Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher era, neoliberal leaders obeyed economists’ fundamentals to restore supreme freedom to money.”

    In summary, the present tumultuous rebalancing has demonstrated the market economy to be poorly-equipped to cope with viral attacks on the animal economy, leading to renewed reliance on the domestic economy, while governments at local, national and global levels have reasserted the political economy. Finally, as players at all levels must surely soon accept, the overall, natural economy must return urgently to prominence, or we’re all shut down. ”

  5. KT2,

    Interesting article. If someone like that had taught me math (using a combination of conventional pedagogical methods and those visualization methods) I would have been a lot better at maths and maybe even liked it. As it was I got a “6” in senior physics (out of 7) and a “4” in senior Maths II. I am sure this was because physics came with many more real system models and visualizations of real systems. This was in the “old days” before desktop computers as that was the era of my education.

    I’ve experienced the effects that the KillMath writer writes about. In program modifying and then testing a computer combat simulation game (with large troops numbers) I was able to lay out Napoleonic battlefields with troops and then test en echelon attacks and oblique attacks in simulation and see why they worked. The military aspect would interest only Napoleonic military era buffs. But what it meant was that the “eagle’s eye” virtual reconstruction of battle progress on the computer screen demonstrated graphically exactly how en echelon and oblique tactics play out on an open field (all other things being equal like quantity and quality of troops).

    I’d never understood properly why such tactics would work, yet seeing it visually from above in simulation progress made it all so blindingly obvious that I couldn’t believe I had not understood it before. If someone had just put a decent set of sequential diagrams in a book (I never found one) this also would have explained why such tactics worked. This again backs up the KillMath thesis. Strings of words are often as bad as strings of maths symbols when it comes to assisting a person to visualize and understand processes over time and space.

    Diagrams, and even better, animated diagrams or virtual simulations can really make things crystal clear.

  6. Okay, now I believe the COVID-19 situation in Melbourne is serious. The genie is well and truly back out of the bottle. The failure seems to have been in the hotel quarantine of returned travelers, supervised as it is by private security contractors. These contractors clearly are not properly trained nor prepared for quarantine security duties. This is another example of the failures inherent in relying on inappropriate contractors to perform duties with medical and security implications rather than developing and employing properly trained-for-purpose commonwealth and state personnel.

    Among other things, our society now needs proper quarantine stations (not hotels) and dedicated Biohazard Response Units in every state. The ongoing threats from novel zoonotic diseases will be continuous and escalating as the world’s food systems and ecosystems break down. So long as we continue with the industrial food system, the overpopulation/endless growth process and encroachment on wilderness areas, dangerous novel zoonotic diseases will continue to jump regularly from other animals to humans. These is already a new swine flu detected in China and declared to be capable of infecting humans.

    “A new mutated version of the swine flu that can infect humans has been discovered in pigs in China.
    Researchers said the “G-4″ strain of the H1N1 virus had all the requirements to be a pandemic virus.
    Pig farm workers had elevated levels of the virus in their blood and scientists are calling for close monitoring of those workers. Chinese officials are closely following developments and will take all measures to prevent the spread of any virus.” – MSN.

    This has all the hallmarks of being a new dangerous pandemic flu and sources are saying it “must be contained”. The virus G4 EA H1N1 has been identified and named by scientists. The strain is similar to the 2009’s swine flu and shows signs of being more deadly.

    We have entered a dangerous new era where the costs and risks of the world being hyper-connected by people movements and live animal trade movements are much greater than the over-exaggerated and largely illusory benefits of migration and free trade. I may post sometime on the falsehoods of free trade and the benefits of autarky. We are seeing even now that a considerable degree of autarkic self-sufficiency is a safer path than excessive reliance on global supply chains. This is even more so when the global supply chains are controlled by an aggressive, inimical, rising superpower. Ricardo himself, after his early enthusiasm for free trade, realized that free trade would destroy a nation. Witness the US today: industrially hollowed and destroyed by free trade, among other factors of course.

  7. It was shocking to hear how extensive the newly passed laws are in HK. This seems to be a watershed moment and not just for HK. Sad. I really feel for the young there.

  8. This is a watershed moment for the whole world. Under the cloak of the West’s (largely self-inflicted) COVID-19 crisis, China is becoming hyper-nationalist, hyper-aggressive and is making its play right now for global hegemonic power. Chinese aggression has escalated on all fronts. For many decades they have been expansionist and Han nationalist, taking over Tibet and consolidating power in Inner Monglia and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    Now, we see expansion via the “nine-dash line” map in an attempt to take over the entire South China Sea in contravention of all international law and convention and the sea rights of about half a dozen South East Asian nations. At the same time, China has escalated cyber war, wolf-warrior diplomacy and fifth-column infiltration against many nations including Australia. Further, China is pushing against India along parts of the “Line of Actual Control” disputed border between then nations. China is making incursions and attacking Indian troops in the Ladakh area in attempts to destabilize the status quo of that line and crib territory.

    The Ladakh actions are very much actions about controlling strategic heights including the ability to acclimatize troops to high altitude on-station and to set up observation posts and eventually mortar and artillery positions. These actions in turn are about controlling the valleys for lines of mobile assault, transport and reinforcement plus controlling glaciers and streams for major water supplies and even for weaponization. Some of the Indian troops were swept away by icy floods of released dam waters. Actions in such areas are highly terrain-influenced and possession of terrain advantages in pain-staking detail is crucial to all actions.

    The Chinese are playing for keeps up there in the Ladakh and other ranges. This follows their age-old strategy (from about the era of the first unification of China) of tactical, strategic and demographic “creep”. (Not to be confused with mission creep.) Kilometer by kilometer they take territory very slowly and patiently while consolidating infrastructure and support behind it. Behind that again, they populate territory by out-posted settlements. Demographic movement and continuous “press and pulse” population flooding is used to consolidate their over new areas behind the front lines. This an age-old Chinese form of total incremental war practiced over long time periods. It’s a form of war which the West does not yet seem to understand (so far as I can tell).

    The West has been addicted to rapid expeditionary war and (relatively) rapid conquest. This worked in a world not full demographically and where there was a wide technological gap. And the West itself had a demographic flooding (and disease) advantage in conquering the New World and Oceania. Notice that the demographic flooding and disease advantage now belongs to China. However, inadvertently COVID-19 is at least temporarily China’s “smallpox weapon”. China has not been slow to realize this and begin pressing its advantages across all its frontiers and into cyber space.

    In addition, China still avows it will retake Taiwan. Realistically, Hong Kong is China’s whether we like it or not. Ethnically, Hong Kong is mainly Han Chinese. They constitute approximately 92% of the HK population. This matters in a Han nation which is strongly Han nationalist. HK is part of the contiguous mainland along with its very close islands; with all that entails economically, militarily and strategically. Hong Kong is China’s. We can and should forget about it. China will take it and possess it any way it wishes and the West can’t and won’t start a hot war to stop it.

    The age-old answer to China is the correct one. Containment. Geographically, China is eminently containable. There are natural containment lines all around it and no reason acceptable to international justice and world peace as to why China should ever be permitted to expand beyond its natural lines. Leave China alone inside its current lines. Vigorously resist further expansion. Every nation surrounding China has good reasons to contain China, even Russia. Containing China does not mean strangling China. Live and let live. But if China continues to be aggressively expansionist beyond its natural geographic boundaries, most of the rest of the world will react and has the means to react at all graduated levels from trade wars, sanctions, to strategic interdiction of trade to mutually assured destruction. The rest of the world will never permit China to rule it. Full stop. China needs to understand this. We know how evil their worst thoughts are precisely because we know how evil our own worst thoughts are. Everyone needs to ratchet back and stay calm, China perhaps most of all while the West has its own problems which are making it feel very touchy and insecure. To pressure a wounded but still very dangerous beast (infinitely dangerous for practical purposes) is very unwise.

  9. Meanwhile, I am being paid to give a Chinese company a pep talk so they’ll believe in themselves and stop pretending to be Japanese.

  10. So whats the difference between a quarantine station and a quarantine hotel. Sounds kind of pointless to build up new infrastructure when it is in all likelyhood only needed for a year or two while many hotels are empty during that time. Hope the implicaton there is not that the “statiion” is supposed to look like a prison. That would be utterly unecessary. The quarantine hotels in South Korea seem to work just fine.

  11. Ikon, if you liked kill math, this will make you cry as we are capable of this, yet never let the kids at it.

    This is how I want my variables, graphs & equations please.!/InteractiveExplorationOfADynamicalSystem

    Brett Victor is also developing with a 10, 50, 100+ yr plan to make humans have agency over IT & computing.

    “Gapminder in the world” in dynamicland interface…

    Ernestine, hope all is well. I’d be keen to hear your and others response to equation manipulation in the above Interactive Exploration Of A Dynamical System

  12. Troy, if Australia has trouble with difference between “subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government” and “holding the government to minimum standards of decency” then China just may have problems telling the difference as well.

  13. hix,

    In good design, structure follows function. Hotels are structurally designed to be hotels. Quarantine stations can be designed, in the modern context, to be proper and yet non-prison-like quarantine stations. This relates to localities, structures, facilities, amenities and support. No person with any foresight and actual present choices sets up an ill-designed quarantine facility in the city center and then staffs it with poorly trained private security from the dormitory suburbs. That is a recipe for… exactly what has happened in empirical fact in Victoria.

    This crisis caught us on the hop. I understand why Andrews and others made the decisions they did. But going forward we will need fully modern quarantine stations once again. The world’s honeymoon without serious epidemic waves is over… for the next hundred years probably… if we survive at all.

    What use are sports stadiums and other such useless fripperies? We need more hospitals, doctors, medical research and yes… quarantine stations. We need to get serious or we are bound for extinction as a species. The era of self-indulgent bread and circus governance are over. This is the era of survival against existential threats.

  14. The private security part sounds like the problem, not the design of a hotel. Usually that means underpaid, undertrained and no legal authority to do anything.
    Guess if i had to design the quaranteen, id have both a big stick (actual police) in the background and lots of care as a visible element – social workers, intercultural experts,translators, nurses, that kind of training.

    Now granted, this a more dramatic case when it happens in a quaranteen facility at a country where corona was almost extinct. The basic principle seems to be however universal: Put up some low paid private security guard to surveil quranteen or people in general. That´s what they do here in Germany aswell whenever some low income residental block, asylum seeker home or something like that is put under quaranteen. Don´t bother having a social worker at site 24/7, those make short visits sometimes at best. And never ever bother to have anybody with an intercultural communication degree or heaven forbid someone who has formal training in the dominant foreign language go there. No place in the “stellenplan” for that, and no budget or flexibility to hire anybody temporarily at a decent rate. Unless maybe he´s a McKinsey Consultant. At least they already were allowed to ruin general asylum seeker processing. Basically more people are rejected faster now, but in such a slopy copy paste way that every asylum denial is a sure long court case now. Maybe they´ll soon be allowed to let their interns make shiny powerpoints about how to do quaranteen right for 3000 Euro a day. Yes McKinsey actually got paid 3000 Euro a day for interns. Which is pretty close to the monthly salery of a social worker.

  15. Almost as cute as kittens

    Heartwarming Finnish research looking to make solar panels as good at absorbing solar radiation as the nanostructured black scales on butterfly wings:

    They suggest gains of up to 66% in the “short-circuit current”, apparently a significant metric.

    The bad news is that this isn’t even a lab result but the output of what-if computer modelling. The Finns still have to invent the zero-gravity screwdriver of a practical way of putting a cheap weatherproof surface coating on a commercial solar module that functions just like the butterfly scales.

    This is not very likely to work. It serves mainly as a reminder that solar PV is a young technology, only 65 years old, and we can still expect a lot of improvements in different directions. Not that we really need them for the transition, but they will nevertheless be welcome.

  16. Ronald I’m interested in your pep talk. Please tell us more!

    Yesterday in Japan we had 132 new cases of the rona, 67 in Tokyo. That’s up from about 30 cases in Japan and 5 in Tokyo on the day of reopening. Compared to the USA that’s not exactly explosive growth but it shows that reopening when you have even a handful of cases is not manageable, as Victoria has also shown. This is in a country which only allowed bars to reopen last week, where gyms are still applying strict rules on entry and use, and where everyone is wearing a mask all the time.

    The Tokyo city govt had established a series of metrics for reintroducing lockdown. We passed them two days ago but the governor announced immediately that the govt would ignore the metrics and instead reinstitute an expert panel they had previously dissolved, and take advice from the panel. THis is widely believed to be because there is an election on Sunday, and she doesn’t want anyone going to the polls thinking she’s messed up. We’ll therefore likely be back in lockdown in another week or two, when I expect we will be at 150 or so new cases a day in Japan and 100 in Tokyo.

    Had we extended the initial lockdown by 2 weeks it would be over now. Had we gone into lockdown a week ago when it was clear reopening wasn’t working (before the bars and nightclubs reopened) we would be facing a light period of restrictions. But if we go into lockdown next week we’ll be looking at another month to two months of economic pain as we wait for the case load to go down. It also means our impending reintroduction of travel in Asia will have to be delayed until the end of summer.

    This is what it looks like when you think that you can manage this virus by foisting the responsibility on individual “safe choices” like masks and social distancing. You cannot control this virus by individual actions. Only collective action, through strict lockdowns, contact tracing, and case isolation, can beat it. And until every country recognizes this and follows China, NZ and Vietnam’s path, we will never beat it.

  17. I agree with faustusnotes (July 2, 2020 at 11:47 am) in this case. Collective and responsible social action is the only way to beat this virus. Pressures to open up society and the economy too early and at inappropriate junctures are coming continuously from pro-capitalist politicians, capitalists themselves and the petty owners of pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Capitulating to these pressures leads us straight back into disaster every time. The only correct policy is near-complete eradication followed by relentless testing and tracing of outbreak cases.

    Victoria’s epidemic is once again out of control thanks to the idiocy of opening up too soon; of preferring football, beers and coffees over public safety, of preferring individual selfishness over community responsibility and preferring to use hotels and private security guards rather than using statist approaches and facilities. It is typical of neoliberal policy to starve the state of funds over long periods. Then when a crisis arises, the state, as the only central authority with the power to properly deal with such crises, has no capacity to respond. The neoliberals prefer this because then state contract monies can go to their private sector mates, including in this case private hotels and private security companies whose staff completely bungled their brief in the most disgraceful and nation-threatening manner. Need I mention the shenanigans which led to this outbreak?

    The key to control is compartmentalization and hard lock-downs as required. Given that Victoria has failed so abysmally, the whole of Melbourne should go into hard-lock down immediately. All other states should ban ALL travel to and from Victoria until this outbreak is completely eradciated. All the non-essential businesses which spread the virus including professional sport should be completely locked down again in Victoria.

    Neoliberal capitalism is currently self-destructing. Without a socialist and democratic revolution we are doomed.

  18. Spot on, Iko. The reason all the other states are doing so well is because they have rejected capitalism and neoliberalism and embraced socialism.


  19. Agreed Ikonoclast. China has shown with its response to resurgence (in comparison e.g. to Japan’s and Victoria’s) that fast, aggressive response with the potential of over-reaction is much much more important than carefully ratcheting up partial measures. This disease can be controlled but if you let it slip just once you’re in big trouble, and the longer it’s allowed to hang around at low and “controlled” numbers the greater the risk that it will escape control. This is what has happened in the USA – some of the states seeing sudden growth (like Idaho) had a “contained” epidemic of just 20-50 cases a day for months, but then something happened, it slid out of control and now they can’t put it back.

    The only option is to hit it hard, early, and keep the entire affected area under control until it is down to 0. I fear that most countries are not going to understand this until another 6 months have passed, and if we don’t have a vaccine by then the entire world will have to keep going through this process until we all finally realize we need a coordinated global lockdown.

    As an example of this, right now 5-7 states in the USA are completely out of control but there are a bunch of others like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania that are beginning to see small rises from previously “controlled” conditions. The current burst in those 5-7 states will probably begin to be controlled in the next week to month (with a return to aggressive lockdowns) and then the next 5-7 states will see a boom. Sometime in that 2-3 month period, states that had it under control (NY and NJ, for example) will be reinfected by the new epidemic states, and the cycle will repeat. Until coordinated action is taken, it will keep reappearing, and the world cannot return to normality while these extremely populous nations are breeding grounds for this virus.

  20. Barring the collapse of civilization, I think Ikonoclast may have a job ghostwriting for Bloomberg! Maybe Noah Smith read your posts. 

    I am not shocked, yet constantly amazed to watch America place itself in a position where the phrase “the U.S. could collapse like Venezuela” is appearing in media outlets like Bloomberg. No one can tell the future, yet… “Without fixes for infrastructure, education, health care and government, the U.S. will resemble a developing nation in a few decades.

    “Large-scale unrest would undoubtedly result and — in the worst-case scenario — the U.S. could collapse like Venezuela.

    “This is an outcome to be avoided at all costs. But it’s an outcome that is no longer out of the realm of possibility, thanks to the complacency, arrogance and misplaced priorities of U.S. leaders and the deep and bitter divisions among U.S. voters.”

  21. First they tried to blame aborigines (BLM rallies) for the outbreak ,then they tried to blame immigrants (not enough non-english info) ,but it turned out to be the free market (private security firms) that was to blame after all. One guard has reportedly said they had only 5 minutes training.

  22. KT2

    The link you posted @ 30 June 2020 AT 2:29PM was worthwhile opening. I was more than pleased to note the author of the paper addressed the question “what is ‘the economy”? – a question I had raised on this thread and elsewhere on several occasions, particularly regarding macro-economics.

    The author, Michael Symons, does an excellent job, IMO, in succinctly reviewing the history of the meaning of ‘the economy’, going back to ancient Greece and the return to 19th century economics in the middle of the 20th century.

    You picked a crucial quote, KT2, “They [19th century corporate capitalists] advocated liberty for money, while ignoring equality, life and happiness.” Liberty for money is a spot on expression to characterise what JQ called financial capitalism. Instead of supporting people directly or indirectly via businesses, the post 1975 financial system evolved into a system that demands people support it.

    Symons uses food as a quintessential physical commodity for ‘equality, life and happiness’ . It may be comforting to note that not all of economics has followed what became the practice. General equilibrium theory post 1950 developed exactly in the opposite direction of the economics that was practised. The efficiency criterion in these theoretical models is unambiguously based on ‘life’ that depends on physical, ultimately nature (a “commodity is described by its physical characteristics, time of availability and location of availability”), ‘happiness’ not comprehensively but restricted to the economic aspects such as individuals’ personal rankings of desirability of commodities (“preferences”) and equality is not totally ignored ( each individual has at least enough wealth such that he/she can choose at least a little bit of whatever is on offer – the minimum wealth condition to ensure that ‘freedom of choice’ is not an empty phrase).

  23. Smith9,

    In relative terms you are correct, despite your sarc. Australia rejected going down the complete neoliberal path as did the USA. We partially adopted neoliberalism and we partly kept some social and public assets plus some measure of better governmental control of society. This put us on the cusp of being able or not able to deal with this pandemic. We had other advantages too: a small population, a dispersed population and long distances from the rest of the world. All this has left us teetering on the brink of disaster, when with our natural advantages we should have fully eradicated the virus by now.

    In summary, natural geographical advantages plus not being 100% neoliberal yet is what has saved us… so far. But private enterprise greed, stupidity and incompetence having been doing their best to sabotage our nation by spreading this virus everywhere.

  24. KT2,

    I am quite derivative when it comes to economic and ecological analysis. I just synthesize from what the smartest writers have said.

    The USA looks like it will become an undeveloped nation again. But what will we call it? A regressed nation? A de-developed nation? Or just a failed state?\

  25. KT2, I had a look at the two visualisation programs. The visualisation program for dynamic processes is certainly user friendly in terms of how to operate it. IMO, it is most useful for people who write the differential equations because they have made up their mind as to what the equations are and they save time and mental energy to explore a huge range of parameter value dependent processes.

    The demonstration of this program involves a theoretical model with 2 variables which are empirically observable (predator and prey). If one can link an element of the theoretical model (say food availability for prey), which is empirically observable, then one can use the program to make predictions about the the growth rate of predators in a most convenient way.

    There are simulation programs used in economics, involving nonlinear systems and visualisations for quite some time. Since humans do have the ability to change the rule of the game (eg institutional changes or simply to change their mind) the description of a dynamic process is, unfortunately, not as straight forward as predator and prey.

  26. Ernestine, thanks and interesting cimments I will digest. I will have more to say about tools and complexity in subsequent sandpits.

    And if econo / social models were as simple as preditor prey, Id be treasurer.

  27. Ikon said: “The USA looks like it will become an undeveloped nation again.”

    My / Ikon’s confirmation bias? I have a problem with ‘growth’ rate of economies too. And add my #7 headwing – ‘discursive pandemic state actions’;


    …” The paper is about “how much further could the frontier growth rate decline?”

    This paper raises basic questions about the process of economic growth. It questions the assumption, nearly universal since Solow’s seminal contributions of the 1950s, that economic growth is a continuous process that will persist forever. There was virtually no growth before 1750, and thus there is no guarantee that growth will continue indefinitely. Rather, the paper suggests that the rapid progress made over the past 250 years could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history. The paper is only about the United States and views the future from 2007 while pretending that the financial crisis did not happen. Its point of departure is growth in per-capita real GDP in the frontier country since 1300, the U.K. until 1906 and the U.S. afterwards. Growth in this frontier gradually accelerated after 1750, reached a peak in the middle of the 20th century, and has been slowing down since. The paper is about “how much further could the frontier growth rate decline?”

    And this paragraph below seems to show, not really capitalism eating itself so much as tribes and localities providing the ‘catalyst for’ capitalism to eat itself. From pg.20 #9. “What to do about it” is both depressing and obvious. This needs printing in every newspaper read by MAGA devotees – Trump supporters;

    “Some of the headwinds contain a sense of inevitability. The most daunting is headwind (4), the interplay between globalization and modern technology, which accelerates the process of catching up of the emerging markets and the downward pressure on wages and real incomes in the advanced nations. In the U.S. the process of downward wage adjustment continues apace as southern states lure foreign auto and aircraft manufacturers with the promise that pesky unions will not be a problem and that wages can be lower than in northern unionized states. This in turns puts pressure on legacy firms in the north to introduce two-tier wage systems that pay new entrants half the traditional union wage, as has occurred in the Midwest auto industry in the past few years. The “revival of American manufacturing” is heralded in the media without recognition that this is part of an ongoing process that erodes the number of highpaying middle-class jobs available to those without a college education.”

    Robert J. Gordon Working Paper 18315

    An oldie but a goodie – August 2012

  28. Good idea? Or too cluture war-ish? I am sure someone associated with this site may use such.

    Climate Strike Software Licence

    Climate Strike Software is software that uses the Climate Strike License, a software license that developers can use to prohibit the use of their code by applications or companies that threaten to accelerate climate change through fossil fuel extraction.

    “Copyright Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met: 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution. 3. Neither the name of the copyright holder nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. 4. The software may not be used in applications and services that are used for or aid in the exploration, extraction, refinement, processing, or transportation of fossil fuels. 5. The software may not be used by companies that rely on fossil fuel extraction as their primary means of revenue. This includes but is not limited to the companies listed at 

  29. The link below is to the university degree program that Michael Shellenberger (currently being promoted by the Murdoch press as some kind of authority on climate and the environment) completed. Not a single natural science or natural science-based course in the entire program.

  30. I must admit I don’t understand how doing an Arts or Humanities course would make people forget about or deny science. I did a Humanities course, a long long time ago. I still remembered my Senior sciences and a couple of undergrad science subjects I passed. Plus, I hung out with Environmental Scienced friends in my spare time and had interesting discussions with them. There’s no excuse for forgetting the fundamentals about science and becoming a science denier. I’m not sure how that happens to people except in one way. They learn to prevaricate for a new paymaster.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair.

    They sell out to “the man”.

  31. It seems to me that this is a promising way of addressing the CV-19 epidemic. Everyone self-tests every day and, for between $1-$5 in cost you know your infection status on a piece of testing paper. This can guide your personal behavior with respect to family and friends. In addition, your workplace can demand a copy of your daily test as a precondition for going to work – restaurants and other venues can demand a check of your test status before they let you in.

    Its an adaptive alternative to what might be a will-of-the-wisp search for a vaccine.

    The proposal, interestingly, comes from a leading economist and an epidemiologist.

  32. The Greens won a paltry 5.6% of the vote in Eden Monaro, an electorate that was devastated by bushfires just 6 months ago. You’d think that if anywhere would be receptive to Greens’ world view, it would be the south coast of NSW. But it evidently ain’t. This is a sad and inconvenient truth.

  33. Smith9,
    Planet Earth (especially the USA) is not ready for primetime as a drama series, only a tragi-comedy.

  34. Reality is getting too horrible. Fair warning I may be retreating into escapism. I rather like this video. These two chaps are being iconoclastic in manner of which I approve.

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