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


http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

53 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. What are American Republicans up to? After the disastrous defeat at Cannae (216 BCE), the Romans are alleged by Livy to have revived the long obsolete practice of human sacrifice:
    “A Gallic man and woman and a Greek man and woman were buried alive under the Forum Boarium. They were lowered into a stone vault, which had on a previous occasion also been polluted by human victims, a practice most repulsive to Roman feelings.”
    https://www.quora.com/How-true-is-the-claim-that-after-the-battle-of-Cannae-the-Romans-buried-some-people-alive-in-the-center-of-the-city-because-of-something-written-in-the-Sibylline-books

    The story has been questioned – why murder random Gauls and Greeks, who had little to do with the quarrel and would not have been satisfactory offerings to the most bloodthirsty deities? The man they elected dictator to handle the crisis, Fabius the Warty, was a cautious conservative not an innovator. If if did happen, you can make sort of pragmatic case for the crime: it would have been a statement to themselves and their wavering Italian allies that there was nothing Rome would not do to win. Even rousing the legions early and giving them breakfast, which is how Scipio later defeated an experienced Carthaginian army at Ilipa in Spain in 206. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ilipa#Pre-battle_maneuver

    II can’t see even this sort of callous justification for the current behaviour of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Under what theory will austerity – stopping the special unemployment benefit, refusal to bail out states which are barred from deficit finance – restore their electoral chances? Trump’s package of “executive orders” is phony (see Krugman) and only works as yet another own-the-libs signal to a fraying base. It won’t restore millions of lost jobs. At best, the pandemic will plateau from uncoordinated responses, ensuring no strong recovery. It’s not just Trump facing a wipeout election but McConnell’s soon-to-be-minority caucus. Biden could pick Messalina as his VP candidate and still win.

  2. Today I had to drop my car off for an oil change. I walked home while my car was in the shop. On the way while I was walking through the wooded area east of the town a rabbit emerged on to the trail in front of me. It turned and ran. When i approached the area were the rabbit turned and ran I found a thumb drive laying on the ground. I can not say for sure that the rabbit dropped it but I really suspect that it did.
    When I got home and plugged the thumb drive in to an old computer I recieved a message that said the history of Australia has been altered. It said that in 1810 the King of England ordered that all ship log books and any other document relating to the establishment of the first English colony in Austraiia have the date for establishing the colony be changed to January 26th from the correct date of January 29th.
    If the correct date of January 29th was recognized as the birthday of a European presence in Australia the king feared that this could in the future lead to people comemorating Thomas Paine more so than celebrating the arrival of the kings SUBJECTS in a land that was civilized enough not to need or recognize even the symbolic authority of a King.
    The king and his aristocratic collaboraters feared that if Australians celebrated on January 29th that Australians would come to conclude that the legitimercy of a government is not really much determined by HOW it achieves power, but by wielding that power in a just manner for a just causes. Ok I agree it is true that Thomas Paine himself would have said that is going a bit to far in sentiment. Thomas Paine after all did not support the execution of the French King. But had Thomas Paine lived longer he would have evolved to to a point where he would have been very comfortable with the idea that what rulers do is much more important than how the achieved the power (position) to rule in the first place.
    I would send the thumb drive to Australia through John Quiggen for further inspection but after I read the message my computer and the thumb drive with it caught fire and melted.
    I really do not think that there was any kind of a virus on the thumb drive that caused the fire. I think that the fire was caused by an emergency response team of MI 5 or 6 that no doubt had some kind of early warning system to detect if this thumb drive was ever uploaded on to any computer connected to the internet anywhere in the world. Of course this early warning system uses classified state of the art technology that only a few people in the world know about.
    They no doubt reverse engineered this technology when some alien technoligy accidently fell in to their hands.

  3. PS: The grisly details of the Trump “executive orders” (most of them are not even that) from David Super at Balkinization:
    https://balkin.blogspot.com/2020/08/inadequate-unworkable-and-unlawful.html

    A particularly remarkable act of petty spite: “The President arbitrarily disqualifies the poorest of the unemployed: those receiving less than $100 per week in regular benefits.” Like the scorpion crossing the river on the frog’s back, these people can’t help themselves.

  4. Face it. The USA is crumbling and collapsing. Without a radical change in direction it will continue crumbling and collapsing. Its political and economic system thus far seem incapable of delivering any change. Any attempt by the people to get direct change will result in extremely harsh reactionary repression. Positive radical change is not impossible but very unlikely. The problems run too deep in the USA.

    1. Infrastructure collapse.

    https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/americas-grades/

    2. Societal Collapse

    See “Social instability lies ahead” – by Peter Turchin, University of Connecticut.

    “Cliodynamics is a new “transdisciplinary discipline” that treats history as just another science. Ten years ago I started applying its tools to the society I live in: the United States. What I discovered alarmed me.

    My research showed that about 40 seemingly disparate (but, according to cliodynamics, related) social indicators experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of political turmoil. My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s (see Political Instability May be a … in the Coming Decade).”

    3. Political Paralysis

    The term “Gilded Age” was used by Mark Twain to describe the 30 years after the Civil War– “shiny and prosperous on the outside, but rotten on the inside” .The corruption era post-Civil War became known to some as the “Era of Good Stealings”. With the modern stock market and elite plundering we now have the era of terminal stealings. Kleptocracy equals paralysis in dealing with corruption. Those most benefiting from corruption are running the whole show. They don’t want to change a thing. They won’t change a thing.

    The USA is no longer even shiny and prosperous on the outside. A review of studies of its infrastructure and a US tour is enough to show that. See “America: The Farewell Tour” by Chris Hedges. The US is crumbling on the outside and rotten on the inside. What has changed in the USA? Nothing. The USA has never escaped its fundamentally corrupt nature and never reformed itself. Why would we expect it to now?

  5. Curt, very sandpity. Great story tho.

    No conspiracy, the rabbit had just parachuted from a “Son of Blackbird” after hopping it from Beirut.

    The usb was contaminated with NH4NO3. The rabbit, a female, rubbed it clean – on the outside – so as not to ‘blow’ the mission.

    Even James is straying into once in a hundred year comparisons of people who must not be named.

    Ikon is at least still grounded. His son of blackbird is a holden.

    What. A. Year!

  6. No conspiracy here either. Just the Libnats day job.

    I am leaving town for 3 weeks, not because I fear covid, becauuse a 4 storey 1950’s brick building is being knocked down compliments of ‘State significance’ designation allowing EPA to approve with asbestos dust monitoring,  and NO silica dust monitoring. Next to hospital. 50m from kindergarten.n4ndoors frim my child and I. Yes. Truth is stranger than fiction.  

    I tried to get injunction but I personally am on the hook for costs. EDO says no we are not allowed be proponent. Local council,  State government, Ombo, EPA, dust disease board all said NO. Ala mines, gas. Just make it state significant and no problems! 

    Well, not for 20yrs anyway and most are smokers and and and…

    Budget 1 / 285th of nsw 2018-19 infrastructure budget. Very significant.

    And out Health Minister said due to Corvid both would run concurrently until pandemic over. Liar.

    A working hospital 1 month ago with 23 beds + icu, emergency, mental health facility is being knocked down. Now. 

    Demo contractor private 2 person co using all day labour. Intried to tell workers – they nicely turfed me out saying “we’ll lose our jobs”.

    https://theconversation.com/unused-buildings-will-make-good-housing-in-the-world-of-covid-19-142897

    A Rotarian and engineer, who installed wishing well at hospital sent me this…
    …” I’ve worked in mining all my life and silicosis is very rare.” 

    Messy reply by me…
    Love you, yet “all my life” is why we are talking.  Engineers have a different life trajectory, well educated, risk aware, secure. ” The risk is greater in those who are poor,” -wikip*

    Lack of evidence isn’t evidence of lack. A friend drives dozers at mine. Dust. No breather. Cabin poorly sealed & maintained.

    I know of 1 dead emphysema & 1 dying of emphysema. Granny has copd. Most die of infection so statistics confounded.

    “”About 1 in 20 Australians aged 45 years and over had COPD in 2017–18, according to self-reported survey data
    “COPD was the 5th leading cause of death in 2017”
    https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/asthma-other-chronic-respiratory-conditions/copd-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/data

    Forget silicosis. Very rare. 
    COPD bronchitis emphysema. 
    * “Workplace exposure is believed to be the cause in 10–20% of cases.[55]”
    ” have more frequent exacerbations: in mild disease 1.8 per year, moderate 2 to 3 per year, and severe 3.4 per year.[66]”
    wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_obstructive_pulmonary_disease

    “The average age-standardised admission rate for COPD is about 200 per 100 000 people per year”

    “Chronic Bronchitis and emphysema are common types of COPD. …
    Estimates of the proportion of total COPD cases or deaths where occupational exposures have contributed are uncertain and vary across a wide range of epidemiological studies. A number of reviews have estimated values of around 15%, equivalent to about 4,000 deaths per year in GB.”

    “Estimates of the risk of silicosis following long-term exposure (2), together with information about the likely extent of past exposures in Britain, also suggest that silicosis incidence could be much higher than recorded …”
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/

    “sa la vie sa la gare à la pomme de tarre”
    Such is life, such is war, such is a potato. ☺

    Fresh air for me. 

    Any barristers reading please call quick via JQ.

  7. http://peterturchin.com/age-of-discord/

    In 2020, we have the superimposition of the climate crisis and the pandemic crisis on top of the latest secular peaks of inequality and their related social instability events. So, the case for the 2020s is far worse even than Turchin’s predictions. We have not only the endogenous forces of declining well-being and “elite over-production” (meaning elite over-control and self-allocation of resources). We also have the endogenously generated (CO2 emissions) environmental crisis with its exogenous, damaging and potentially runaway feed-backs impacting back on society and economy.

    Even the COVID-19 pandemic is a symptom and feedback of the world capitalist global system. Ever greater encrochment on the wilds means an ever-greater opportunity for pathogens to jump from wild animals to humans. The search for profits over all other values (ethical and scientific) leaves us open to these kind of catastrophes. Our high levels of interconnectedness, trade and travel along with a globally-burgeoning economic mono-culture mark a continuous trend exacerbating our vulnerability to systemic contagions (biological to economic and political).

  8. A line for your forethcoming book,

    Coal towns War, Welch, & Wayne West Virginia….

    -,Last state to get Covid
    – Used to vote Democrat,  
    Hilary blew it, 
    – Trump has capitalised. 
    – Now jails, guns, Walmart & tourism.
    – Ripe change – liken a pendulum or stoppedn clock.

    Coal towns Welch, War & Wayne, Appilation Mts, West Virginia…
    (again truth stranger than fictiion)

    Exploited by both parties and every type of industry & market by the sounds. See popn changes, especially after ww2. 

    War -WV
    Census – Pop.%±
    1930 – 1,392—
    1940 – 1,277   −8.3%
    1950 – 3,992 +212.6%
    1960 – 3,006 ,−24.7%
    1970 – 2,004  −33.3%
    1980 – 2,158      7.7%
    1990 – 417      −80.7%
    2000 – 788    +89 0%
    2010 – 862   +9.4%

    “War was formerly known as Miner’s City. It is also known for being a setting in the movie October Sky;”

    Wikipedia also notes in External Links that War’s Facebook page is – well -dead. Irony abounds. From fb “War, West Virginia is having its 19th Fall Festival this year! The event’s on Friday, September 12 & Saturday September 13 2014”.

    *Guardian last month; “”He added: “I’m hoping we can reframe the discussion to see the potential in coal communities and not just the hurt.”

    I’m hoping your forthcoming book will also assist in reframimg the debate. 

    From Anthony Bourdain shot an episode in West Virginia – Parts Unknown: Season 11 ep 1; 

    Q by AB: “What don’t they know” 
    A: “it’s that their exploited”

    ( can’t find episode online)

    Bourdain seems to put a positive spin which seems to make Eater’s review of season 11 ep 1 a negative take:
    “Biggest political tension point: Bourdain’s heart-to-heart with Allen Lardieri, a veteran who is a proud Trump supporter. “Everybody else talks around us or whatever, but this man talks just like us — like how we talk to each other in the mines,” he tells Bourdain. “It ain’t pretty; it’s just straight talk.” Lardieri believes that Trump’s victory sends a message to other politicians that “if people get frustrated enough, they’re going to put someone in there who’s not like you.“

    “One final Bourdain soundbite: “It’s so easy from afar to say that coal’s time here has come and gone; that we should let the miners move, find some other work. What other work? The state’s biggest employer is now Walmart. Whatever your views, respect these people — what they do and what they’ve paid.”
    https://www.eater.com/2018/4/29/17291412/anthony-bourdain-parts-unknown-west-virginia-recap-season-11-episode-1

    * The Guardian last month
    “Brandon Denison, the chief executive of the Coalfield Development Corporation, in Wayne, West Virginia, said: “A lot of times when we talk about a new economy in discussions about mitigating climate change, coal communities are thought of as collateral damage, and that we just need to get some money to those people to ease the pain. But our workforce has the skills needed to transform the economy.”
    * “He added: “I’m hoping we can reframe the discussion to see the potential in coal communities and not just the hurt.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/29/america-coal-mining-enery-climate-crisis

    Mines to prisons. 2010 in World Socialist Web Site 
    “Economic transformation of Welch, West Virginia: from mines to prisons
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/08/welc-a03.html

    And guess who is capitalising on mines to prisons…
    “Imagine a Conference Full of Conspiracy Theorists. Sponsored by a Prison Company. At a Trump Resort. Oh, and Don Jr. will be there.

    … “Trump needs companies like GEO Group to keep his resorts profitable. Meanwhile, GEO Group needs him. In 2016, President Barack Obama had ordered the Department of Justice to stop using private prisons, a decision that sent GEO Group’s stock plummeting 35 percent. But Trump quickly rolled back that policy, and since he took office, the prison giant has secured about $480 million in new contracts with ICE for immigrant detention, making ICE the company’s single largest source of income. In 2018, nearly 30 percent of its $2.33 billion in revenue flowed from ICE contracts.”
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/10/imagine-a-conference-full-of-conspiracy-theorists-sponsored-by-a-prison-company-at-a-trump-resort/

    And a classic gun nuts headline from last year:
    “Virginia Governor Northam Increases Corrections Budget In Anticipation Of Jailing Gun Owners
    December 24, 2019

    “As if Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s wholesale attack on law-abiding gun owners wasn’t enough, the disgraced public official and his Michael Bloomberg-bought allies in the General Assembly now want the state’s hard-working taxpayers to foot the bill for their unconstitutional schemes. The budget bill (HB30) includes an appropriation of a quarter million dollars to carry out a host of gun control measures that Northam and his anti-gun allies hope to enact.”…
    dailycaller com/ 2019/12/24/virginia-governor-northam-increases-corrections-budget-in-anticipation-of-jailing-gun-owners/

    I alao note the Daily Caller has in it’s menu “Patriots login” and Patriots Only” links. No, I didnt click. 

    ****
    Contrast these two:
    “Report: Over 8,600 Colorado businesses filed to dissolve during second quarter
    Aug 6, 2020

    “The closures took place amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A quarterly economic report released this week by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business, found 8,659 businesses dissolved last quarter, “a 5.2 percent increase from the previous year.”

    (Report:  https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/business/quarterlyReports/2020/2020-Q2SOSIndicatorsReport.pdf )
    https://www.thecentersquare.com/colorado/report-over-8-600-colorado-businesses-filed-to-dissolve-during-second-quarter/article_b2bc0ca6-d80f-11ea-b15c-f3623767e1eb.html

    Astounding – Daily Caller in 2016 arguing to make SURE they can be sacked!:

    “WV Unions Rally Against Right-To-Work

    “The state legislature commissioned West Virginia University to examine the policy. The school released a study in November disputing some of the union claims. Looking at how the policy has impacted other states over the decades, it found there was no empirical evidence to support the policy driving down wages.

    “Right to work ensures that no worker can be fired for refusing to pay a union, giving workers more freedom and providing myriad economic benefits for all West Virginians,” Huffman continued. “Big labor will stop at nothing to retain their automatic access to our workers’ paychecks, but lawmakers need to see through the mud-slinging and keep the promise of more jobs by supporting right-to-work.”

    “Republican lawmakers are also experiencing an internal problem threatening the policy. Republican Sen. Daniel Hall resigned from his seat earlier this month, putting the party majority in dispute.”
    (Report- http://www.legis.state.wv.us/News_release/documents/Right_to_Work_FINAL.PDF)
    dailycaller com/ 2016/01/13/wv-unions-rally-against-right-to-work/
    ****

    I’d say some boogaloo boys read the daily caller. Scary.

  9. Things aren’t that bad Iko. I remember the days when US blog comments would be full of nutters calling for the extermination of hundreds of millions. Now they are full of nutters claiming the people they used to want to exterminate want to exterminate hundreds of millions. Surely that’s progress of a sort?

  10. Twitter…

    “Dorothy Bishop
    @deevybee

    “In analysing prolific authors I looked at economics journals. In the first tranche I inspected, I thought there must be an error because in 150 journals there were NONE where one author had published 15+ papers in last 5 yr. Can any economists confirm if that seems right?”

    Silly? I relevant? Good or bad metric?

  11. Thanks everyone who replied to my request to check my maths

    @Geoff Miell thank you for explaining so clearly, I think I know where I went wrong now.

    @FaustusNotes and KT2 yes I thought there would be complications but I don’t have a computer program or the math skills to work it out at that level of complexity. Network effects sound interesting but well above my mathematical abilities. I guess maybe the government has public servants who can work out estimations for them including network effects? At least I hope they do.

    I find it worrying that some economists and political commentators are saying the economy or young people are more important than the old, disabled, and vulnerable who might die for Covid.

    Since these same people don’t care about the young and refuse to act on climate change, it makes me wonder what demographics they actually care about? Perhaps the middle aged who are non-disabled and non-vulnerable to Covid…

  12. “Since these same people don’t care about the young and refuse to act on climate change, it makes me wonder what demographics they actually care about?” – Zoe Emily.

    They (the 1%) care about themselves only. All other humans are expendable in their view.

  13. For 4.5 million people to try to claim soverignty over this big of a slice of the world’s resources is an example of massive theft. Even if Australia’s 20 or so million people are added on it is still massive theft.
    But if the trading bloc of ASEAN is added on then one getting reasonable. There is an opportunity for a win win situation here. The nations that have been bickering with China over the south China sea can relenquish their claims for slices of the New Zealand continental shelf pie.
    I doubt that such sanity will prevail though. Because to many leaders in the world are not interested in win win situations. They want to create I win you loose situations.
    Anyways I do recognize that the 1% in the US and the 1% in France would loose if my sensible reccomendation is followed.

  14. Anyone able to participate in this workshop? I guarantee it will be worthwhile.

    I had vensim in the ’90’s. I tried to realise similar with code by Majola Oothuizen. Cost me financially and personally. 

    Vensim then was too techo / engineer / math head. Ask anyone here to put in a ‘log10’ function watch argument develop. Vensim has evolved now with graphical interface ala Stella or ithink + domain expert + mathematician and even I assisted in producing a baby version of…

    “The En-ROADS Climate Workshop
    August 20, 2020
    Offered at 7am and 2pm EDT

    The En-ROADS Climate Workshop is a group experience which allows participants to visualize the impact of different climate solutions in real-time, using the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator – a user-friendly climate model developed by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative…
    – cross-sector climate solutions, 
    – explore model dynamics, and 
    – strive to limit future warming below 2 degrees Celsius. 

    “While working from home, this online event is a fantastic opportunity for your workforce, students, or community group to learn more about climate science, policy solutions, and system dynamics while engaging with the En-ROADS simulator.”
    Link to register on page. 

    “As John Sterman says, “Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work,” so we create experiences for people to use our tools with their peers to enable deeper understanding of the systems shaping our world. This approach comes from MIT Sloan School of Management.

    The simulation, developed by Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems, and MIT Sloan, runs on an ordinary laptop in a fraction of a second, is available online, offers an intuitive interface, has been carefully grounded in the best available science, and has been calibrated against a wide range of existing integrated assessment, climate and energy models.”

    “John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Professor in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. He is also the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.”
    https://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/directory/john-d-sterman

    Don’t believe me? – serious software & models:
    “For the first time, with the C-ROADS Simulator,we have a way to capture on the spot the implications of the key decisions that will be made around the follow-up to Kyoto—with sobering and powerful results.
    – Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency, Denmark

    Sternman’s consulting biz…
    https://www.ventanasystems.com/
    Software
    http://vensim.com/

  15. Zoe – ” I don’t have a computer program or the math skills to work it out at that level of complexity. ”

    Plenty of models made by experts using the computer programs. Online simulators as per EnRoads above. And many ala Geoff Miell to explain – thanks. 

    Can you build a car? Nor me. Drive? Use productivity software? Then get models. Same only different.

    Like Henery Ford said, there is a book / expert on the shelf. I loved driving stock & flow graphical models (with human readable code) built by experts and generating scenarios for questions even other experts couldn’t answer quickly.

    I’d bet you also have  Eisenstein’s faovored attribute – imagination.

    Search your desired system appending ‘system dynamics model’ and the universe awaits. Many will have online or stand alone versions. And the diagrams are illuminating too. If you still aren’t able to answer your question satifactorially, sd models will allow you to generate the question to take you further.

    Even Andy Gelman has said recently simulation with probably overtake direct statistical models soon.
    “That’s not so bad. But there are a lot of entries in the table. So let’s just simulate.”
    https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/07/15/probabilities-for-action-and-resistance-in-blades-in-the-dark/

    Staticticians, engineers, economists, end up arguing, crying ‘cos politicians are better at strategy, or wading into philosophy or dogma. Majola Oothuizen mentioned above, was seconded to the space Lab in the ’80’s. He realised he was ‘just another brain’. So he sucked the whole space lab plans in 3d into mind and was able to facilitate all those big brains. He realised all these brains couldn’t sway power brokers, NASA nor politicians. He went on to study strategy. The missing lever.

    I am sure other commenters here know all about power brokers, gatekeepers and arguments. Or the recent sandstorm here. No light. Arguments though are ‘won’. Dialogues will save the day.

    Hope you enjoy playing with and maybe even generating a scenario you can liven with. And assist others in a realisation or two. 

    Donavan said in his song Atlantis;
    “The poet, the physician, The farmer, the scientist,
    The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends. Though Gods they were – And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind…”

    And I have just realized Donavan was definitely a product of his time. Read Universal Soldier lyrics. 

    Enjoy system dynamics.

  16. “ A Rotarian and engineer, who installed wishing well at hospital sent me this…
    …” I’ve worked in mining all my life and silicosis is very rare.”

    Therefore I conclude that being a member of Rotary is not a qualification.

    There are few, if any, old stonemasons.

  17. The current Covid outbreak in NZ may have been imported on freight… testing yet to confirm (ABC). If so the qld government should rapidly shut down incoming online shopping and deliveries, post and freight from out of state, and set new sanitising and hold-over protocols for treating essential imports such as food and pharmaceuticals.

  18. While John has been advising us of the collapse of capitalism I have a very different view. I am surprised at the response (or lack of response) of world asset markets in the era of Covid-19.

    Equity markets are close to their record highs in many countries despite exuberant growth over the past decade and seemingly terrible news about the effects of the virus.

    Tio some extent economies such as the US have not suffered as much as might be thought but my guess is that the current virus crisis is seen as something transitional that will soon wash out. The US economy has contracted only about 5% and the Eurozone countries by 8.1%. These are fairly big declines but perhaps short-lived and something that canny investors see this.

    The Covid crisis has been a health issue but has not substantially destroyed much of the economic base. So far this year the US has lost 167,646 people (as of yesterday) to the virus which is around 6% of the deaths it normally experiences in total.

    80% of these US Covid-deaths involve people aged 65+ many of whom would not be in the workforce.

    Health trends might get worse in the future though the current US trend suggests lower infection numbers but stubbornly high death again, presumably, among elderly Americans not part of the workforce.

    I am not suggesting 167,646 deaths are not a grim tally. I am in this 65+ demographic myself and hardly complacent about the health effects of the virus. But the main economic impacts of the virus would seem to arise from the measures taken to control it (transfers to accommodate those affected by restrictions, unemployment benefits to those who lose their jobs) rather than through effects on the productive base of the economy. Demand has been sustained by large transfers.

    Perhaps longer-term supply resilience provides one of the reasons stock markets are remaining strong – other reasons obviously might include the monetary policy measures that have been undertaken to support the economy – particularly monetary policies that have flooded the world with money.

  19. may,

    it’s another gone bananas British popularised misconception of ‘foreigners’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Australians
    “Aboriginal Australians is a western term for the people who are from the Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Torres Strait Islands.”

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torres_Strait_Islands#Demographics_and_languages
    “Torres Strait Islanders, the Indigenous peoples of the islands, are predominantly Melanesians, culturally most akin to the coastal peoples of Papua New Guinea.”

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torres_Strait_Islanders
    “Torres Strait Islanders (/ˈtɒrɪs-/[3]) are the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them as Indigenous Australians. Today there are many more Torres Strait Islander people living in mainland Australia (nearly 28,000) than on the Islands (about 4,500).”

    Yes, TI aboriginal people were in contact with Australian aboriginal people from northern Cape York. TI aboriginal people also were in contact with PNG aboriginal people. I assume the practice of cultivating bananas on TI came originally from PNG where it and other agriculture was practised well before 2000ya. Rainforest dwelling hunter-gatherer Australian Aboriginal peoples situated over 1000km to the south in the Queensland Wet Tropics certainly would harvest endemic banana species native to that forest but afaik they did not practice banana cultivation nor had direct trading contact with TI people.

    … And when the FNQ coastal and Coral Sea SE trade winds cease and prevailing winds more or less reverse for around 4 months in summer the coastal Australian Aboriginal peoples were rather wary of any seasonal contacts with PNG aboriginal head-hunter raiding parties that sailed as far south as Townsville from well prior to 2000ya. During that season FNQ and NQ coastal Aborigines kept a sharp eye out and scrupulously avoided fishing off the coast and visiting GBR islands for ceremonial purposes or for sustenance!

  20. “…environmental crisis with its exogenous, damaging and potentially runaway feed-backs impacting back on society and economy… The search for profits over all other values (ethical and scientific) leaves us open to these kind of catastrophes… a globally-burgeoning economic mono-culture ”

    Iko, something that may be of particular interest:

    https://goodanthropocenes.net/grassroots-economics-complementary-currencies-for-community-resilience-in-kenya/

    https://goodanthropocenes.net/seedbank/

    theconversation.com/is-humanity-doomed-because-we-cant-plan-for-the-long-term-three-experts-discuss-137943 linked to goodanthropocenes.net/

  21. The approval for Whitehaven to expand their mining license is a slap in the face of the public. By legislating against having to consider the flow on effects (trickle down?) of coal combustion the govt made it easy for their committee to find in favour of the miner.

    It’s a known fact that carbon, when released into the atmosphere, acts to inhibit the release of energy derived from solar radiation.

    Locals ie farmers, councils et al were most unhappy – they disputed the premise that benefits would/had trickled down to the community and they disputed the projected employment figures. They do have some experience with the industry as there are already a number of mines in the area.

    I doubt that any govt would want to deprive their citizens of the flow on benefits from resource development.

    https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/Pages/bill-details.aspx?pk=3717

  22. Just a small excerpt, from a rep of Narrabri Council

    “ We would like to highlight that the benefits of this project will largely accrue to the proponent’s shareholders, who, I understand, are based across various parts of the world; however, we stress that the impacts of this project will be borne by the residents of Boggabri and the ratepayers of surrounding Local Government areas
    well into the future. We maintain that the assessment report did not adequately consider the cumulative impacts of this project on the community”

    Click to access narrabri-shire-council-transcript.pdf

  23. Zoe Emily,
    You state:
    “I find it worrying that some economists and political commentators are saying the economy or young people are more important than the old, disabled, and vulnerable who might die for Covid.”

    Many of those testing positive for COVID-19 are front-line health workers. If too many of these workers get sick and remain out of action for extended periods (but not necessarily dead) there’s a risk the health system will collapse.
    See: https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/many-of-those-testing-positive-for-coronavirus-are/12497492

    You also say:
    “Since these same people don’t care about the young and refuse to act on climate change, it makes me wonder what demographics they actually care about?”

    I’d suggest “these same people” apparently have no idea of the dangers and risks.

    Today, the Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) determined that the proposed Whitehaven SSD-7480 Vickery Extension Project be approved. The proposal sought to:
    * increase total coal extraction to 168 Mt (+24.4%);
    * increase the peak extraction rate from 4.5 to 10 Mt per annum (+250%);
    * increase the disturbance area by 776 hectares, compared with 2,242 hectares for the previous Approved Project.

    The life of the Vickery Extension Project is for 25 years from the date of consent.

    In the “Statement of Reasons for Decision” document, it included paragraph #220:

    “The Commission acknowledges the concerns raised by the public in paragraphs 188 to 191 above, including submissions by the BFCG in relation to the burning of fossil fuels as an energy resource and meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets. The Commission notes that the ‘carbon budget’ approach suggested in some submissions is not endorsed by the Paris Agreement, the Australian Government or the NSW Government. Furthermore, neither the Australian nor NSW Government have indicated that the development of new coal mines or the expansion of existing mines be prohibited or restricted in any way for the purpose of achieving Australia’s NDC.”
    See: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/resources/pac/media/files/pac/projects/2020/03/vickery-extension-project/determination/vickery-extension-project–statement-of-reasons.pdf

    I’d suggest there’s a risk this same argument could be used by the IPCN for any fossil fuel project, like the SSD-6456 Narrabri CSG Project also currently being determined by early Sep 2020.

    Yet climatologist Professor Will Steffen told the IPCN Commissoners at Day 2 (Jul 3) of the public hearings (transcript pages 28-29):

    “…virtually no country is on track to meet their Paris targets. So countries like us are signatories to – to the Paris Agreement. But if you actually look at the commitments these countries have made, that would take us to a 3.2 degree Celsius world, which is in – in my view, an ….. world. It will trigger a lot of feedbacks in the climate system, melting of permafrost, burning of the Amazon Forest and those sort of things. They’re high probability events at 3.2 degrees. So there – there’s a huge gap, the credibility gap, between countries that are signatories to the Paris Agreement and what their commitments are, and there’s a second gap between what their commitments are and what they’re actually doing.”
    See: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/resources/pac/media/files/pac/transcripts-and-material/2020/vickery/200703-vickery-extension-project–public-hearing-day-2-transcript.pdf

    I’m unable to comprehend how the encouragement and approval of any new, or extension of existing, high GHG emission project that continues to operate into the 2030s, 2040s, and in some cases beyond 2050, is compatible with the NSW Government’s plan “to deliver a 35% cut in emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels” and then the “goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”.
    See: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/climate-change/net-zero-plan

    I’d suggest you have every reason to worry. I wonder: Are governments facilitating our deaths, by incompetence, or is it by design?

  24. JQ, seems my replies are held?

    Narrabri Council has investors onside.

    Thanks to and glad these:-
    “Investors are trying to shut down fossil fuel companies from the inside — this is what they’re doing

    “Whitehaven’s current plans threaten to waste investor capital on projects that are incompatible with a Paris-aligned energy transition, and unrealistic in light of market shifts already underway,” the official documents lodged with Whitehaven said.”

    https://abc.net.au/news/2020-08-13/shareholder-fossil-fuel-resolution-whitehaven-coal/12546830

  25. JQ, – BANG UP TO THE ELEPHANT ^☆ – when writing becomes a slog or in need of quotes, inspiration or supporting references, just dive in…

    Abundant phil / econ jamboree of 2020 relating too covid. Indexed by month.

    I didn’t get half way down list. Huge source materials. I’ll  be reading “Studying Fascist Propaganda by Day, Watching Trump’s Coronavirus Updates by Night” first.

    Sample keywords:  Risk, ubi, Wolff, justice, education,  precarity, Trump … 
    -Anhe Le answers the question: What does coronavirus show us about how to make decisions under uncertainty?
    – Viktor Ivan ković answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for how we should view (un)acceptable risk?

    ****
    Thank’s to:
    Author Jef Delvaux’s

    ” Statement of Intent 
    “At the beginning of the pandemic I was disoriented, felt overwhelmed in some respects and underwhelmed in others. To deal with this permanent state of confusion and anxiety, I found myself seeking and finding comfort in the testimonies by other members of the broader philosophical community. 

    “It seemed worthwhile to compile the various ways in which the pandemic was impacting philosophical activity; hopefully to the benefit of anyone who takes an interest in the particularities of philosophers responding to the pandemic.”…

    [my numbering – too extensive]

    1. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics Vol. 30 (4) May 2020Official Journal of the Asian Bioethics Association.Issue entirely dedicated to Covid-19.
    Table of Contents…
    – The Economics of COVID-19 in the Philippines by Leandro S.Estadilla
    [- more]

    2. H. Orri Stefánsson, Three Mistakes in the Moral Reasoning About the Covid-19 Pandemic, in: the Working Paper Series of the Institute for Futures Studies.
    Table of Contents…
    – Background: A virus Grinds the World Economy to a Halt

    3. 07/13/20 – COVID-19: What are the ethical issues?, in: Norton Learning Blog.
    Ken Barton interviews Jonathan Wolff.
    Central quote: ‘Yes. The pandemic is a health crisis. It’s also an economic crisis. But underlying all of this, a moral crisis.’

    4. 04/20/20 – Aveek Bhattacharya and Fay Niker, Philosophers’ Rundown on the Coronavirus Crisis, in: Justice Everywhere.
    – Matthew Adams answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for the feasibility of social justice?
    – Diana Popescu answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for the adoption of UBI?
    – Anca Gheaus answers the question: How does coronavirus help us to imagine a just society?
    – Lisa Herzog answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for economic precarity?
    – Nicolás Brando answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for education?
    – Merten Reglitz answers the question: What does coronavirus show us about the need for internet access?
    – Christian Baatz and Julia Hermann answer the question: What does coronavirus show us about how to fight climate change?
    – Anhe Le answers the question: What does coronavirus show us about how to make decisions under uncertainty?
    – Viktor Ivanković answers the question: What does coronavirus mean for how we should view (un)acceptable risk?

    5. 04/20/20-  Lukas H. Meyer, Marcelo de Araujo, The COVID-19 Pandemic and Climate Change: Why Have Responses Been So Different?, in: E-International Relations

    6.  04/20/20 – Juan Cruz, La pandemia es una tentación autoritaria que invita a la represión [Interview with Carolin Emcke], in El País.
    Translated title: “The pandemic is an authoritarian temptation that invites repression”, english version in Web24 News.Central quote: ‘Está quedando a la vista también que el Estado no puede retraerse infinitamente de su responsabilidad, que hacen falta infraestructuras públicas, bienes públicos, una orientación hacia el bien común.’
    Translated quote: ‘It is also becoming clear that the State cannot infinitely withdraw from its responsibility, that there is a need of public infrastructure, public goods, an orientation towards the common good.’

    7.  04/20/20 – Matt Bennett, Following the science: trust, experts, and COVID-19, in: Open for Debate.
    Central quote: ‘The relevant facts underdetermine policy, which must also be led by what we value most, and what we want to achieve with our public health response.’

    8. 04/20/20 – Boris Groys, Борис Гройс: ‘Коронавирус стал селебрити, которому завидуют’, in: Эксперт Online.Translated Title: Boris Groys: ‘The coronavirus has become an envied celebrity.’Alex Zaitsev provided a summary: ‘The coronavirus has become viral, it’s the celebrity number one. We are no longer discussing Trump, we are discussing the virus. Those who are downplaying the virus (“Look, it’s not even dangerous!”) are downplaying it like Michael Jackson’s celebrity status.’

    9. 04/17/20 – Andrew Marantz, Studying Fascist Propaganda by Day, Watching Trump’s Coronavirus Updates by Night [interview with Jason Stanley], in: The New Yorker.
    Portrait of how the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 impacts his course
    Propaganda, Ideology, & Democracy.

    10. 04/16/20 – Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Coronavirus lays bare the staggering class inequalities that divide America, in:The Appeal.Central quote: ‘ Asking whether we should frame our domination in terms of class as opposed to gender or race is rather like a person with a boot on their neck debating whether their predicament is truly about the boot, the foot inside of it, or the sock in between.’

    11. – 06/15/20- Six Political Philosophies in Search of a Virus: critical perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic [Upcoming event announcement: Online Public Event], in: London School of Economics and Political Science  Description: The COVID-19 crisis has brought a number of interesting questions in political philosophy to the fore. What are the limits and ethical role of the state? What is the importance of personal liberty and collective interest? Is state surveillance justified?Speakers: Gerard Delanty, SonjaAvlijaš, Crisóbal Garibay-Petersen

    [Event:- Six Political Philosophies in Search of a Virus: critical perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic
    Monday 15 June 2020
    Hosted by LSE’s public event series – COVID-19: The Policy Response
    – A podcast of this event is available 
    – A video of this event is available 
    https://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2020/06/202006151300/pandemic ]

    *****
    Jef Delvaux contact;
    https://philosophy.gradstudies.yorku.ca/current-students/students/

    Via;
    http://dailynous.com/2020/04/16/philosophy-covid-19-bibliography/

    ^☆”BANG UP TO THE ELEPHANT”
    This phrase originated in London in 1882, and means “perfect, complete, unapproachable.”
    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/53529/56-delightful-victorian-slang-terms-you-should-be-using

    I hope you post about one of these Ikon.
    Enjoy.

  26. KT2,

    Being time-pressed, I am not sure that I can follow your above leads currently. My current interest, if I had time, would center around the issue of magical thinking. Modernity, as we have discovered recently, has not removed magical thinking from peoples’ repertoires of responses to reality. If anything, we have seen a florid outbreak in magical thinking along with late stage neoliberal capitalism in general and the COVID-19 outbreak in particular. Conspiracy thinking is often bound up with magical beliefs of course. Conspiracies involve everything from aliens to humans with improbable or impossible technologies plus superhuman foresight and planning abilities.

    Capitalism encourages magical thinking. Indeed, it centrally trades on magical thinking. Hence, the contemporary epidemic of magical and conspiracy thinking should be no surprise.

    https://inthesetimes.com/article/magical-thinking-response-covid-19-coronavirus-capitalism

    A book I would like to get hold of when I get time again to read is:

    “Magical Capitalism – Enchantment, Spells, and Occult Practices in Contemporary Economies”

    Editors: Moeran, Brian, de Waal Malefyt, Timothy (Eds.)

  27. Svante @ 4:26

    thanks for that, I sort of knew but it’s good to have verified info.
    being an idiota outside of my own small (fascinating for me) area of expertise and trying to avoid being boggled by the firehose effect , small bits of verity are prized , and the bulldust of “true belief” makes me somewhat peevish.

    the bit about raiding is not confined to just one area of the globe.
    e.g.
    up until about the early 1700’s raiders from the Barbary coast got all the way up to the Cornwall coast
    looking to replenish human stock for the slave markets, not lunch.

  28. The Dow came close to record levels yesterday as the US economy went into one of the worst recessions in 100 years with a surprisingly low 5% output loss. Why are asset markets so strong?

    The market reflects future expectations and it could be that investors see few long-term implications of Covid-19. The 160,000 deaths the US has experienced is 80% concentrated among people not in the workforce so supply should be resilient while the transfers to those unemployed and the explosive growth in the US monetary base should help sustain demand as well as providing exceedingly low returns on fixed interest securities.

    Maybe. But this explanation is one that I hold without much conviction. You can justify any stock market trend by making guesses about how expectations are being formed. You could also imagine a major correction occurring and investors muttering among themselves “Why could we ever have been so optimistic?”

  29. Ikon, “Magical Capitalism ” is on my list. Thanks.

    From inthesetimes link:
    “Blood­suck­ers die if their host dies.”. Zombies vampires are very hard to get rid of. Where are their hospitals? Triaged by the big 4 + ICU in jersey. Crypts in delaware.

  30. I can’t yet…
    Anyone able to participate  I guarantee it will be worthwhile. I had vensim in the ’90’s. Life got in the way. I tried to realise similar with code by Majola Oothuizen. Cost me financially and personally. 

    Vensim then was too techo / engineer / math head. It has evolved now with graphical interface ala Stella or ithink + domain expert + mathematician and even I produced a baby version of…

    “The En-ROADS Climate Workshop
    August 20, 2020
    Offered at 7am and 2pm EDT

    “The En-ROADS Climate Workshop is a group experience which allows participants to visualize the impact of different climate solutions in real-time, using the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator – a user-friendly climate model developed by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. 
    – cross-sector climate solutions, 
    – explore model dynamics, and 
    – strive to limit future warming below 2 degrees Celsius. 

    “…learn more about climate science, policy solutions, and system dynamics while engaging with the En-ROADS simulator.”

    Link to register on page. 

    As John Sterman says, “Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work,” so we create experiences for people to use our tools with their peers to enable deeper understanding of the systems shaping our world. This approach comes from MIT Sloan School of Management.

    “The simulation, developed by Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems, and MIT Sloan, runs on an ordinary laptop in a fraction of a second, is available online, offers an intuitive interface, has been carefully grounded in the best available science, and has been calibrated against a wide range of existing integrated assessment, climate and energy models.

    John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Professor in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. He is also the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. 
    https://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/directory/john-d-sterman

    Serious software & models driveable by mere mortals;
    “For the first time, with the C-ROADS Simulator,we have a way to capture on the spot the implications of the key decisions that will be made around the follow-up to Kyoto—with sobering and powerful results.
    – Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency, Denmark

    Sternman’s consulting biz…
    https://www.ventanasystems.com/
    Software
    http://vensim.com/

  31. Zoe + song lyrics for Ikon.

    ” I don’t have a computer program or the math skills to work it out at that level of complexity. ”

    Plenty of models made by experts using the computer programs. Online simulators as per EnRoads above. And many ala Geoff Miell to explain – thanks. 

    Can you build a car? Nor me. Drive? Use productivity software? Then get models. Same only different.

    Like Henery Ford said, there is a book / expert on the shelf. I loved driving stock & flow graphical models (with human readable code) built by experts and generating scenarios for questions even other experts couldn’t answer quickly.

    I’d bet you also have Eisenstein’s faovored attribute – imagination.

    Search your desired system / question appending ‘system dynamics model’ and the universe awaits. Many will have online or stand alone versions. And the diagrams are illuminating too. If you still aren’t able to answer your question satifactorially, sd models will allow you to generate the question to take you further.

    Even Andy Gelman has said recently simulation with probably overtake direct statistical models soon.
    “That’s not so bad. But there are a lot of entries in the table. So let’s just simulate.”
    https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/07/15/probabilities-for-action-and-resistance-in-blades-in-the-dark/

    Staticticians, engineers, economists, end up arguing, crying ‘cos politicians are better at strategy, or wading into philosophy or dogma. Majola Oothuizen mentioned above, was seconded to the space Lab in the ’80’s. He realised he was ‘just another brain’. So he sucked the whole space lab plans in 3d into mind and was able to facilitate all those big brains. He realised all these brains couldn’t sway power brokers, NASA nor politicians. He went on to study strategy. The missing lever.

    I am sure other commenters here know all about power brokers, gatekeepers and arguments. Arguments though are ‘won’. Dialogues will save the day.

    Hope you enjoy playing with and maybe even generating a scenario you can live with. And assist others in a realisation or two. 

    Donavan said in his song Atlantis;
    “The poet, the physician, The farmer, the scientist,
    “The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends. Though Gods they were – And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind…”

    And I have just realized Donavan was definitely a product of his time. Read Universal Soldier lyrics. 

    Enjoy system dynamics.

  32. Harry Clarke,

    The stock market is being pumped up by money creation. There’s no mystery to it. Big bond holders are getting free money as the government buys back bonds at higher prices than face value (to push down interest rates). Then the former bond holders buy stocks, thus pumping up the stock market. Magical capitalism! The alchemy of wealth creation with the newly created wealth going to the already rich, in the US anyway.

    Of course, that means there is a widening disconnect between the financial economy and the real economy. Eventually the pyramid of paper values or fictitious values must collapse. Many will be left with a lot of worthless “paper”, or electronic bits with the value 0.

    “The rich and their polit­i­cal ser­vants are about to find out the same thing that The Mil­lion­aire on Gilligan’s Island did: When times get real­ly tough, that stock cer­tifi­cate is worth less than a sin­gle coconut. And you’re going to have to go pick that coconut yourself.” – Hamilton Nolan.

  33. Isnt the US stock market only being held up only by strong tech stock prices ? ;- anticipating that a ‘Screen New Deal’ will be the way out of our Covid 1984 world . Doubling down on security and surveillance capitalism is a palatable plan.

    It feels to me like everyone is currently holding their breath as long as possible .Hoping for a vaccine fueled snap back to happen soon ,before having to admit anything went wrong .Strange days indeed, like some kind of twilight zone .Bernard Salt thinks there will be a generation of young people mentally marked (in a good way) by this like many of our grand parents were by the great depression or WWII.

  34. Could be so, Ikonoclast, but if so then many investors are getting it wrong and will be punished. The smart ones will be shorting the market if the bubble theory is right.

  35. Thanks & Happy birthday Woz.

    “Steve Wozniak at 70: Here’s to the bloke behind Apple who wasn’t a complete… turtleneck

    … Jobs refused to give certain early Apple workers stock options, including the firm’s 12th employee Daniel Kottke. Woz gave Kottke – and other snubbed staffers – $10m of stock from his own portion, saying it was “the right thing” to do. … first post-Apple business created the world’s first programmable remote. He also served on the board of directors at Danger, which created the Hiptop (also known as the Sidekick), helping to pave the way for today’s Android and iOS smartphones.”…
    https://www.theregister.com/2020/08/11/steve_wozniak_at_70/

    From my Android.

    Mac / Apple stories?
    My first – SE
    2nd – cx thru to imacs. Foolishly went to windows.

    Mark Heffernan & John McLuckie of International System Dynamics, built respectively, actual F1-11 body, wing, engine system dynamics model and air force operating protocols incl ‘preparedness’ in Stella / ithink. Version didn’t support so many variables so software maker, High Performance Systems, (now iseesystems.com/) coded a special version enabling both models to  be combine into a single model.

    The above was done on a IIcx!

    Mark pressed go mid afternoon. 5.30 and still… run icon … finished before I got in next day – 19 hours with zero halt or error. Model stock & flow diagram when printer at 45% reduction was eight A0 sheets. Mark had to my knowledge the biggest working memory. 

    JQ I recomend Mark, who is still building great system dynamics models and it seems helping save lives now.

    “Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry

    “The impact of strengthening mental health services to prevent suicidal behaviour

    Jo-An Atkinson, 
    Andrew Page, 
    Mark Heffernan, 
    Geoff McDonnell, 
    Ante Prodan,Bill Campos, Graham Meadows, Ian B Hickie

    First Published December 12, 2018 
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867418817381
    “Conclusion:
    This study suggests that more than one-quarter of suicides and attempted suicides in the Greater Western Sydney population catchment could potentially be averted with a combination of increases to hospital staffing and non-secondary (non-acute) mental health care. Reductions in tertiary care services (e.g. psychiatric hospital beds) in combination with these increases would not adversely affect subsequent incidence of suicidal behaviour.”

    Better get another Mac before rapacious apple puts them on the cloud.

  36. Harry Clarke,

    Shorting is about timing as well as simply being right in the long run. My son is a micro-investor, meaning most of his stock market “plays” are in the $5,000 to $20,000 range for an overall “Kelly bets” system he runs for about a $200,000 tranche of his assets. Of course, he does in-depth due diligence before every investment. He utilizes his software engineering and math knowledge to calculate potential risks, returns and investment weightings.

    He has already shorted the US market once this year. He actually held a position where he had 10x-ed his $30,000 of shorts bets in the last post-covid downturn but he got greedy and held on too long. The start of the major rally rapidly reduced his position back to a “mere” 2.5 x before he unwound his position. He said to me that he had underestimated how much and how soon “they” were prepared to pump the market. “They” is actually the US Government and Fed of course who operate to pump up (over-inflate) the market for themselves and their rich mates.

    I assume (this is just my assumption) that either an arcane quant knowledge base or an unprovable-in-law “conspiracy of understood signals” already exists such that an in-group probably will know when to short for the “big one”, meaning the main crash to the lowest floor of the whole cycle. Given the amount of rigging and insider-knowledge behavior known of and already proven in the current system (LIBOR is only one example) to believe the system is in anyway an honest or a genuine competitive market would be to be naive in the extreme, IMHO.

    It’s very interesting for this “socalist dad” to debate with his “capitalist micro-investor son”. I learn a lot, that’s for sure. Most of what I learn is how crooked the capitalist system is and how inefficient at meeting real people’s needs and real ecological system needs. My son would not agree with me. He still thinks the market works to some degree but he is also cognizant of the extent of market manipulation going on. He laughs about it and plans to profit further on it. Indeed he has already done so, getting 40% returns before tax for each of the last two financial years. In a sense he is in the business of predicting both the market and its manipulations by dishonest players in a dishonest and rigged system. Two get two 40% annual returns could be luck. Time will tell if his system is better than chance.

    Certainly, some of the dishonesty and the “grey gifts” in the Australian system come out during his due diligence processes. He finds companies who are getting millions of dollars in hand-outs from governments, local, state and federal. These handouts are not nearly accounted for by the rights and considerations that governments or the public get in return for semi-bankrolling projects with gifts of public monies, not even loans!

    The Australian building and construction industry is corrupt through and through both at the high end commercial level and at the residential construction level. This is well known and attested to by multiple sources of evidence. I can write about this if anybody wants me to. Overall, I would go so far as to say Western capitalism overall (I know little about Eastern capitalism) is systemically and terminally corrupt and will collapse soon because of its corruption, its disregard of ordinary people and its disregard of planetary limits.

    Anybody who thinks this system is good and healthy is living in fantasy land, again IMHO. I expect a rolling collapse leading to more rolling collapses and/or wars and revolutions on a global scale. Whether or not any set of multiple revolutionary advances in all of the fields of science, technology, democracy, ethics and political economy can save this dire and now near-catastrophic situation remains to be seen. I am not hopeful but neither am I totally despairing. A complete system revolution is needed and it might still be just possible. But Neoliberal BAU = Civilizational Collapse.

  37. Iconoclast, I don’t think that there are secrets to shorting successfully. It’s just a very risky strategy as the trend of the market is up. Lots of very smart investors have gone broke shorting an overvalued bubble-driven market because, as you say, their instincts are right but their timing is wrong. I have traded stocks for 50 years but these days buy-and-hold unless I need cash to pay bills. As my non-dividend income is zero I must sell periodically to live.

    I was so tempted to short a stack of stocks in February-March. What a disaster that could have been!

    I don’t think capitalism can be written off. It has just been so successful and the socialist alternatives have been just so disastrous. (I don’t believe China is a socialist country – it is an authoritarian capitalist system). The idea that well-intentioned individuals can outperform the anarchy of capitalism provided the latter has reasonable social democratic constraints operating is a fallacy. The difficulty is where to draw the line between markets and policies which prevent social excesses such as inequality and environmental destruction.

  38. Harry Clarke,

    We agree on some things. Probably best to start with the agreements first and then the “counterfactuals” if that is the correct term.

    Shorting is risky. My son claims to only risk what he can afford to lose on shorts. He also claims he can do it in a manner which limits potential losses but still allows for a good upside. I guess he follows a kind of rapid reaction stop-loss strategy.

    However, some market players with insider knowledge and/or the weight to move the market the way they want can probably reduce their risks differentially compared to “ordinary” market players.

    “The difficulty is where to draw the line between markets and policies which prevent social excesses such as inequality and environmental destruction.” Fair comment at one level and maybe in another historical time, say the 1960s. At the present historical juncture, I think it is glaringly obvious that neoliberal capitalism has gone way over the line. It is equally clear that regulation has been far too lax. I mean both financial and industry regulation.

    “I don’t believe China is a socialist country – it is an authoritarian capitalist system.” I agree basically, albeit with cavils rather than caveats.

    I think current neoliberal capitalism can be written off now but I am only confident in that judgement because of its external contradictions with a world of finite limits. Even neoliberal capitalism could possibly overcome internal contradictions indefinitely which is a quite un_Marxian thing to say. There is still a way capitalism could survive and turn into a system in some ways indistinguishable from socialism. The capitalist-socialist dichotomy itself could melt away. This seems like a paradoxical thing to claim. I may post on it sometime soon.

    I’m relatively unimpressed by markets and the market system except for markets for non-necessities. I annoy all sorts of people from both sides of the left-right divide by listing the large range of goods and services I regard as fundamentally non-necessities even if I use some too. Methinks people protest too much in favor their own pet obsessions and indulgences. Never mind, I am prepared to permit markets in a wide range of non-monopolizable, non-necessity goods and services provided all negative externalities and environmental costs are counted properly and in a sustainable fashion. Isn’t that big of me? Does it not make me a great defender of markets 😉

    However, financial markets I regard mostly as boondoggle. It’s pretty clear from the burgeoning climate crisis and the capitalist world’s signal failure to deal effectively with the COVID-19 crisis that we have been investing too heavily in the wrong things. The financial markets have self-referential financial system “look-ahead” but little to no real system “look-ahead” whether that refers to the needs of real people, real economies or real biosphere systems. The problem occurs because finance uses and aggregates subjective “human use-value dimensions” rather than using real system objective dimensions for aggregations.

    The assumption or apologia of capitalism was and is that the aggregation of subjective human use-values, even more than objective need-values, is a good or adequate and best-possible heuristic for socio-environmental look-ahead. The “best-possible” thesis is impossible to evaluate on historical data alone as it does not allow for emergence and evolution of novel systems in inter-connected complex system sets. The “good or adequate” thesis is potentially assessable on empirical grounds. I argue from the data I have viewed, merely as a thinking layperson, that collapse is imminent in historical terms (which might mean another decade or two at most.) Collapse itself I would regard as empirical evidence that capitalist markets did not provide an adequate planning and look-ahead heuristic for socio-environmental sustainability. Collapse of this projected sort would certainly refute capitalism logically and empirically. Just to be clear by way of contrast, a mega-meteor or comet strike on earth would destroy capitalism too but not refute it.

    “In backtracking algorithms, look ahead is the generic term for a subprocedure that attempts to foresee the effects of choosing a branching variable to evaluate one of its values. The two main aims of look-ahead are to choose a variable to evaluate next and the order of values to assign to it. ” – Wikipedia.

    “Socio-Environmental Systems: Tightly linked social and biophysical subsystems that mutually influence one another.” – SESYNC – National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

  39. Ikonoclast, I am not keen on the phrase “neoliberal capitalism”. It is too loaded and emotionally-charged (like, for example, the word “pornography”) to be able to be sensibly used. Basically I prefer the idea and the substance of a market economy that is managed to deal with environmental, other externality, and distributional issues. Where you draw the line is difficult. There are no simple guidelines on where significant externalities and where significant distributional inequities lie. Some on the left see problems everywhere without recognizing that removing all frictions might make things worse.

    I agree that the excessive financialization of the economy is a real problem.

  40. An interesting CoalWire this week. https://endcoal.org/2020/08/coalwire-334-august-13-2020/ Some straws in the wind:

    “The [Cambodian] government’s support for new coal power projects has alarmed some major manufacturers. Adidas, Puma, Gap and bicycle manufacturer Specialized, along with other companies, have written to the government warning that its support for expanding coal power makes Cambodia a “less attractive” place to invest as it goes against their carbon emissions reduction targets.”
    A pity that consumer and investor pressure in rich countries only works for cutting emissions and not for providing decent working conditions in factories, but there it is.

    “BHP has agreed to pay US$840 million [not a typo] to AES Gener, a subsidiary of the US-headquartered AES Corporation, for the early termination of power purchase agreements for its Escondida and Spence copper mines and processing plants in Chile. The agreements were tied to generation from AES Gener’s 558 MW Angamos coal plant, which was first commissioned in 2011.” That’s a lot of money to pay for the privilege of buying much cheaper renewables to run your mines!

    “Glencore has proposed a two- to three-week shutdown of some coal mines in the New South Wales Hunter Valley and central Queensland during the September school holidays in a bid to cut Australian thermal coal production by seven million tonnes in 2020. It is estimated that up to 10,000 mine workers will be asked to take annual leave.”

    And while we’re on Adani:
    “The Chief Financial Officer for the Adani Group, Jugeshinder Singh, told an analysts conference call that the company would not participate in the Indian Government’s auctioning of coal blocks unless it was for “mining services”. [….] On the call Singh said coal-related businesses “are becoming an increasingly insignificant part of the group’s portfolio” and described the company’s controversial Carmichael coal project in Australia as “a support business for Adani Power.””

  41. PS. From an IEEFA report on BHP’s struggles to exit thermal coal, including the Mt. Arthur mine in NSW https://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Divestment-vs-Sterilisation_What-to-Do-With-BHP%E2%80%99s-Stranded-Coal-Assets_August-2020.pdf:
    “A potentially positive outcome would be for BHP to sell to Adani, in return for Adani agreeing to cease its near-decade long delayed Carmichael HALE [high ash, low energy] thermal coal mine proposal in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. This could be a win for BHP (exiting a problem asset), a win for Adani (securing a long term high quality thermal coal supply for its Indian import coal-fired power plants), and a win for the planet (by not opening up the Galilee and subsequent carbon emissions avoided). But financial assurance will be a major roadblock”.

  42. PPS: From the same IEEFA report:
    “Since European colonialization, more than 60,000 mines in Australia have been left abandoned and unrehabilitated. As of 2017, NSW has seen just one mine closed, rehabilitated and relinquished.”
    Footnote numbers omitted.

  43. Harry Clarke,

    Your arguments are rhetorical. There are probably two purposes to rhetorical argument;

    (1) To convince without evidence or logic and usually with appeals to emotion or prejudice.
    (2) To signal summary dismissal of an opponent. It is to say, “You won’t ever convince me so don’t bother trying”.

    The dismissal of an heterodox opponent is even more effective when performed in front of a crowd of the orthodox with the correct emotional and prejudicial appeals. This is all just to say I get the signals. I will never convince you. Indeed arguments like mine will never convince the bulk of the current populace, at least those over about 35. What does that leave? In the stark terms of vigorous revolutionary praxis it leaves violence or natural force majeure.

    I reject violence as I have written several times on this blog over the years. Specifically, I reject the instigation of violence including the instigation of reactionary or revolutionary violence. However, I do not reject self-determination and self-defence. Leaving that aside, in what sense can one talk of revolutionary praxis against reactionary repression without violence? The idea entails waiting for natural force majeure to change the game. This view of natural force majeure needs to be explained. It’s simply the idea that capitalism contains or rather generates or “emerges” its own external contradictions. The real, ultimate and fatal problem with capitalism turns out to be not its internal contradictions, which it can continually resolve and rise above, but its external contradiction with nature. Capitalism as a system is in opposition to the systems of nature. Capitalism destroys nature and then the natural feed-backs destroy capitalism. Simple. Empirically demonstrable. In progress. About to come to culmination. Arguments don’t convince. The force majeure of nature will.

    Those who can’t ever be convinced are mostly old. They will die relatively soon of old age or of the civilizational collapse induced by natural feed-backs. (I too am old by the way.) The young will see the world very differently. In this sense, revolution will advance one natural death at a time. No need for humanly instigated revolutionary violence. The natural systems will run the necessary destructive revolutionary phase and do the cruel work. The place for revolutionary praxis lies first in accurate prediction. The accurate predicters of collapse will over time gain intellectual, persuasive and political authority. The high priests of capitalism will be defrocked and banished so to speak. The second task for revolutionary praxis is development of the manifesto for change. The revolutionary action is first intellectual before it is political or physical. The rebuilding of a new system is the true creative revolutionary work; not the tearing down of the old system which clouds the mind and bloodies the hands. The hands of the new human revolutionaries can be blood free. Nature itself will shed the necessary blood in a salutary demonstration and refutation of capitalism as capitalism brings its destruction down upon itself by the feed-backs from disrupted natural systems.

  44. Back when it was possible for me to drive on the Hume highway I would marvel at the ongoing construction of the new 3 cable and poles type of safety barrier running alongside the road .I suspect the contract would be a massive ‘ grey gift ‘ . I think that money could save a lot more lives if spent elsewhere. 4 sides of a divided road for 300 km from melbourne to albury/wodonga must be approaching 1000 km of barrier building and it was almost complete last time I drove there – a huge project . Besides that the barriers are unpopular with motorcyclists and the roadside mowing crews, they also prevent motorists from pulling off to the side anywhere but at approved places.

  45. sunshine,

    Our Australian capitalist system literally runs on grey gifts, endemic corruption and widespread exploitation. Without the massive subsidies for capital, and the massive cost-shifting by dumping negative externalities on nature and poorer humans, capitalism would collapse right now. With the subsidies it collapses later, when the natural systems of the biosphere collapse.

  46. See above re John Sternman.

    I’d like these models as online interactive explorable explainations.

    “Estimating COVID-19 Under-Reporting Across 86 Nations: Implications for Projections and Control

    93 Pages
    Posted: 1 Jul 2020
    Last revised: 4 Aug 2020

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School of Management

    Abstract
    COVID-19 prevalence and mortality remain uncertain. For all 86 countries with reliable testing data we estimate how asymptomatic transmission, disease acuity, hospitalization, and behavioral responses to risk shape pandemic dynamics. Estimated cumulative cases and deaths through 10 July 2020 are 10.5 and 1.47 times official reports, yielding an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.65%, with wide variation across nations. Despite underestimation, herd immunity remains distant. Sufficient early testing could have averted 39.7 (35.3-45.3) million cases and 218 (191-257) thousand deaths. Responses to perceived risk cause the reproduction number to settle near 1, but with very different steady-state incidence, while some nations experience endogenous rebounds. Scenarios through March 2021 show modest enhancements in responsiveness could reduce cumulative cases ≈80%, to 271 (254-412) million across these nations.

    Rahmandad, Hazhir and Lim, Tse Yang and Sterman, John,
    Estimating COVID-19 Under-Reporting Across 86 Nations: Implications for Projections and Control
    (August 3, 2020).
    Available at SSRN:https://ssrn.com/abstract=3635047

  47. US navy officers have now been trained to navigate using paper maps and sextant etc ,without any digital help. This is because the US military is already vulnerable to being crippled by cyber attack from China .The US is fast losing the advantage in space ,the ultimate high ground .

  48. I would expect and hope that all naval and merchant marine officers are fully trained in navigational matters; first in map reading and dead reckoning, then in celestial navigation with sextant and longitude by chronometer and finally in GPS navigation (understanding principles and application in all cases. Anything less than that would be an abandonment of some of the proper principles of their education. Learning techniques in order of historical development has multiple scientific, philosophical and pedagogical benefits. In addition, loss of advanced technologies will not completely incapacitate operations which could still be effected with more basic technical skills.

    Speaking of the US. Yes, it is fast losing its advantages across the full geostrategic spectrum. China’s economy is already considerably larger than that of the USA on the PPP measure. China’s economy is also much larger on the measures of concrete use and steel use (proxies for infrastructure building and maintenance) and on the measures of industrial manufacture and already at least on a par in high technology measures. China has closed all the gaps that matter and opened its own leads, except in the full translation of economic power into conventional and nuclear military power. China also leads in the cyber and asymmetric power fields known collectively as “Grey War”. Americans and the West are in denial about these plain facts.

    This brilliant essay addresses the topic of Grey War.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-cold-war-is-over—and-the-grey-war-has-begun

    If and when the USA becomes a second rank superpower like Russia (actually more like Russia times about three) it scarcely matters in one important sense. Any superpower and even some regional powers (India, Pakistan) can and do possess enough nuclear weapons to effectively ensure mutually assured destruction and/or nuclear winter. The USA will decline into being a “mere” regional hegemon over the Americas, the Atlantic and half of the Pacific.

    This doesn’t give China automatic global control. China is more geographically contained than USA or the West. Of the significant powers that ring China, only Russia is likely to stand as an ally in the foreseeable future and there are plenty of reasons for Russia to fear China rather than ally with it. Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Western Europe are all “natural” enemies of China with significant shared interests (as they see it currently) in maintaining containment of China. I am not saying these perceptions are necessarily objectively correct but simply that this is the way the world appears to be aligning currently. That could change. Ppredictions are difficult, especially about the future.

  49. Iko ; I will have a look at that essay . I just finished reading Alfred W McCoy s latest book about the end of the US empire. The last chapter concerns what might come next expressed as several different scenarios ,I was going to summarise that for the next message board. US as regional hegemon is one of them .Written pre Covid ,he thinks the empire will be over bar the finger pointing by 2030. He thinks Russia will never be economically big enough and that China (like Russia) will remain incapable of creating a world empire because it has so little soft power. Empires normally rely on some kind of cultural attraction along with all the military and economic force .America had this in spades but is squandering it fast. A network of compliant elites in allied countries is always needed. People respect China’s power but who really wants to be Chinese ? ,or Russian for that matter . McCoy lays out a devastating comparison between the current state of the US and China in terms of infrastructure ,education and technological innovation . In 2014 China made over 800,000 patent applications compared to just 285,000 for Americans .China has a network of communications satellites backed by the worlds most powerful supercomputers that is now almost fully operational .In 2016 China launched the worlds first quantum communications satellite utilising super secure transmission by entangled photons .

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