The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic

That’s the title of the book I’m working on for Yale University Press, and also the theme of two articles I published yesterday.

One, in The Conversation, looked at the potential benefits of remote work and the likely struggle over who will get those benefits. Key paras

For the most part, disputes over sharing the benefits of remote office work will be hashed out between employers, workers and unions, in the ordinary workings of the labour market.

But what about the other half of the workforce, who don’t have the option of working from home? In particular, what about the mostly low-paid service workers who depend on people coming into offices?

If the productivity gains made possible through remote work are to be shared by the entire community, substantial government action will be needed to make sure it happens.

The other article, in Inside Story, looks at the end of the goods economy and its replacement by an information and services economy, a transformation that’s been highlighted by the pandemic. An important implication is that investment demand by private firms is likely to stay low, even as greater public investment is desperately needed.

Tech firms like Microsoft, which now determine stock market values, don’t need much capital. The book value of Microsoft’s capital stock is less then 10 per cent of its market value. The rest is made up of intangibles, a polite word for monopoly-power network effects, intellectual property, and good old-fashioned predatory conduct.

Without any need for private sector investment, interest rates will remain low unless public investment picks up the slack. With the physical goods economy fading into the past, though, we don’t need more of the transport infrastructure projects governments automatically turn to at times like these. Rather, we need to invest in human services like health (mental and physical), education and childcare, and in information platforms that break the monopoly power of the tech giants.

These are the investments that will allow Australia to flourish in an economy dominated by information and services rather than industrial production.

Continuing on the monopoly theme, I did an interview with ABC’s Future Tense, which is now online

26 thoughts on “The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic

  1. “Tech firms like Microsoft, which now determine stock market values, don’t need much capital. The book value of Microsoft’s capital stock is less then 10 per cent of its market value. The rest is made up of intangibles, a polite word for monopoly-power network effects, intellectual property, and good old-fashioned predatory conduct.”

    Very satisfying and well overdue. See how powerful these network effects et al were. They forced the entire world to accept rubbish software based on a dysfunctional operating system for way too long. These intangibles actually made money perpetrating gross inefficiency. They are not part of any real or imagined “invisible hand” that sets matters right. Once it was found out that Unix was the most stable operating system; any benevolent functional “invisible hand” had to start moving us all over to Unix, with some haste, or the policy settings were not right.

    If we had a system wherein great fortunes drained away within four generations we could claim that Steve Jobs deserved a good chunk of his fortune. The same cannot be said for Gates. He got in the way and anyone could have made the same fortune had they secured the bizzare operating system rights. Its hard to know how he could make claim to the operating system and enforce this legally. Just crazy stuff.

  2. This Pandemic Economics is a great subject, the coping mechanisms for which started years ago with the iPhone (we’ll say then) as people began to spend significant amount of time looking at little screens absorbed by the multiplicity of functionality they provided. Later as video entertainment moved aboard these platforms a whole new level of zero resource consumption commerce (and employment) became possible while at the same time social media picked up pace to the point now where people spend easily eight hours per day interfacing via their mobile screens. moving into the present where people can create, not only rhetorically, spoken, written and typed, but physically using “free” platforms such as Onshape, Shapr3D, ChemDraw, Genetic Constructor, Crispr, FundCount, etc directly to the physical reality via 3D Printing in Plastic, Metal, Chemicals, genes, and money.

    So a pandemic with the physical limitations it places on human gatherings has driven this non resource consumption economy into overdrive. The fact is though, that while this low resource consumption industrial culture is excellent for the environment, it is only part of the total economic reality. We ALL need to eat and live, and the backbone resource infrastructure requires people, and that means the greater percentage of the population. Computers don’t build themselves, machines don’t mend themselves, and food doesn’t grow on ones table. The pandemic has only shown that we don’t need to travel as much, that is all.

    The best outcome from the restructuring of our society that this pandemic is causing would be a massive increase in the level of individual entrepreneurialism and local intra community trade. Whereas it is true that so much know how has been lost to global trade, the internet does fill the gap with instructables on virtually every skill function. The one thing missing is the belief in ones own ability to produce useful items that other people need. Again the internet has some solutions such as dating apps, Uber, AirBnB, eBay, Etsy, and niche online market places. Then there are good old fashioned open air markets.

    For all of this to work there needs to be community stability. That means good non predatory basic income levels, access to social support including health care, and agile supportive government which can in itself be enhanced with software platforms such as SnapSendSolve and a multiplicity of local council community platforms.

    Our future for the time being must be to work together,… just slightly apart. Here in Europe they have managed largely to get most parts of the community working and living, though primary and tertiary education is a very real area that can tilt the scales in the wrong direction if miss handled.

  3. I don’t see the srgument against transport infrastructure. Transport is a service, and much of it is a means to consume other services (tourism, culture, sport, eating out, etc.) There will be some reduction in commuting, but a lot of transport demand will hold up. By all means buy the trams and NOW CHEAPER electric dbuses.

  4. I think we have to watch that we don’t create a whole bunch of new urban myths about “the end of the goods economy and its replacement by an information and services economy” and the “non-resource consumption economy”.

    There are (more) movements in the direction of the information and services economy and of a lower resource consumption economy, but let’s not over-call them. There still will be material products and goods (of course) and there will still be serious levels of resource consumption: levels which will still challenge our ability to stop dangerous climate change, species extinctions and so on. Two well-known realities should induce serious concern and wariness in our attitudes and plans. The first reality is Jevons Paradox. The second reality is the need for final consumption (consumer consumption) to stoke demand to keep the current system, consumer capitalism, running.

    The notion that we can get out of the pandemic and return to a slightly-new normal of consumer capitalism (less commuting but as much recreational tourism travel as ever for example) is actually a complete non-starter. Do that and we will destroy the biosphere as a livable place for humans and many other species. Any return to business as usual, or anything like business as usual, is a ticket to climate and civilizational collapse. It’s high time we realized that.

    The standard systems of late-stage capitalism will not get us to a survivable position. They are based on excess final consumption, consumer consumption, to keep overall demand and worker income running at the rates needed to run the entire system. Expanding financial capital will keep demanding expanding consumption and endless growth. The results of Jevons Paradox will keep on eating up efficiency gains.

    Only a serious and continuous statist intervention, preferably of the democratic and socialist kind, stands a chance of saving us. This does not necessarily mean the end of all capitalism but it certainly implies the need for a large expansion of social and socialist measures. The services we really need to increase are health, welfare and education. Education needs to be broad-based and to ensure that all students with a broad capability receive both a humanities and a science (STEM) education.

    We need to concentrate on changing our entire civilizational infrastructure. This is where our demand must come from rather than from wealth and environment destroying petty consumer consumption. Our entire civilizational infrastructure must be entirely changed over to renewable systems and to the circular economy. The resources for this re-build will have to come from a curtailment of wasteful consumer consumption, not from re-establishing it in old modes. Certainly, e-services and a certain amount of “de-materialization” will help with the population’s buy-in to this new program.

    We have to keep front and center the need to increase the size and scope of the democratic socialist component of our mixed economy and decrease the size and scope of the capitalist component, especially that components of financial and corporate capital.

  5. Its surely a matter of priorities, James. Planning and building a new highway to an airport right now would be like washing your car during a bushfire?

  6. There are large companies doing things such as shifting to 3 days a week at the office two days at home permanently. They are planning to reduce their office space and rent as a result. Who all this empty office space will be rented out to is a question. Anyone know how feasible it is to turn it into residences?

  7. PS. Things I left out of my short list of the service purposes of transport: education, shopping, interactions with the bureaucracy, health care. Some these are advantageous to do in person (buying a bra, sound system or mattress), some obligatory (there is no such thing as a virtual X-ray or jury). As Iko says, “service” does not mean “disembodied”. Most of the service economy is dependent on transport.

    Highways to the airport? These were a low priority before the pandemic. Flying is a form of public transport. Good airports are reached by trains; excellent airports by high-speed ones.

  8. Tip for JQ: it might be worthwhile to contact Thomas Wiedmann at UNSW to see if he has any new findings updating his 2015 paper on material footprints, with data up to 2009. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24003158/ This found (a) that there is a modest trend to dematerialisation of GDP growth (b) we have not reached full decoupling. A full updating using I/O tables for lots of countries would be very time-consuming, but you can get a sense of trends by looking at consumption of key raw and semi-processed materials. https://www.samefacts.com/stuff-and-nonsense/ We won’t have data yet for the pandemic; this is useful to establish pre-pandemic trends.

  9. One of the good things about the virus work from home world is that it put an end to this, at least for now:

    “Apparently, that makes me a traitor to my generation. I learned this during a series of recent visits to WeWork locations in New York, where the throw pillows implore busy tenants to “Do what you love.” Neon signs demand they “Hustle harder,” and murals spread the gospel of T.G.I.M. Even the cucumbers in WeWork’s water coolers have an agenda. “Don’t stop when you’re tired,” someone recently carved into the floating vegetables’ flesh. “Stop when you are done.” Kool-Aid drinking metaphors are rarely this literal.”
    We work was always a rather weird sky-high valued venture capital startup that had all of Silicon Valleys dysfunctional workplace culture and little if any of its monopoly rent potential.

    In a dark part of my mind, there is this fear that something like we work will come back to a new office world that will be one shared between days at home and days at those kinds of shared office space locations.

  10. Referendum (^2) not prediction please, before “One big game of Monopoly” … “Economists are predicting…”… (^1)

    +1 JQ “substantial government action will be needed to make sure it happens.” … “and good old-fashioned predatory conduct.” … “Rather, we need to invest in human services like health (mental and physical), education and childcare, and in information platforms that break the monopoly power of the tech giants. These are the investments that will allow Australia to flourish in an economy dominated by information and services rather than industrial production.” ”

    Is all this deja vu or history repeating or just hip pockets and poor constitution and High Court black letter judgements? Where is the public interest?(^3)

    “”Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), Thursday 23 February 1950, page 2
    “A POLICY BACKED BY A MANDATE
    …” Dominating the elections and all political discussions for the two preceding years, the Chifley Government’s ill-starred attempt to nationalise the trading banks was emphatically rejected by the people(^4). 

    “Much will depend upon the character, constitution and personnel of the board, and the powers and limitations with which the Government proposes to invest it. As a direct outcome of the banking controversy, the Government proposes to embark upon a referendum to incorporate in the Constitution an entirely new concept — a negative clause, an inhibition which, if approved by the people, would tie the hands of future Parliaments unless reversed by some .(^2) future referendum. This has no parallel in Australian constitutional history.”…

    (^2..) https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/rendition/nla.news-article187347964.txt
    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/187347964#

    (^4) Example quashed…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_New_South_Wales_v_Commonwealth

    (^3.) Public Interest Test. Search…
    http://www.worldlii.org/cgi-bin/sinosrch.cgi?method=boolean&query=public+interest+test&meta=%2Fworldlii&mask_path=au&mask_path=uk+ew+ie+nie+scot&mask_path=as+ck+fj+fm+ki+mh+nr+nu+pw+tk+to+tv+vu+ws&rank=on&callback=on&stats=on&results=50

    (^1.)
    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/one-big-game-of-monopoly/12575738

  11. +1^n – Boss Hogg says at 2:07 PM
    “They forced the entire world to accept rubbish software based on a dysfunctional operating system for way too long. These intangibles actually made money perpetrating gross inefficiency. ”

    My rewrite:
    The entire world accepted an easy simple and quick solution by wishing they had Apple hard & software, without pause for systemic thought  about the consequences of rubbish based on a dysfunctional operating system and laxk if hardware standards for way too long.” False economy.

    Also quite right Boss Hog…
    “These intangibles actually made money perpetrating gross inefficiency. ”
    Any citations please?

    My call: As “the wealthiest people in the world are sitting on $4 trillion, and accumulating money much faster than they give it away” (^1)… Bill & Melinda, please return to the Commons, 80% of your play money. Even harder than giving it away eh!

    Bill let’s the cat out of the bag! First 3 quotes ironically tagged mistakes;
    “”
    “Bill Gates Quotes
    Goodreads
    Follow Author
    413788 followers”

    “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
    Bill Gates

    “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
    Bill Gates

    “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
    Bill Gates
    Tags: mistakes
    “”

    Good on Bill for trying though.
    ““At the core of our foundation’s work is the idea that every person deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive life.”
    — Bill Gates
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/02/bill-melinda-gates-foundation-social-progress/

    (^1) … yet …” In December, writing for Inside Philanthropy, David Callahan looked at the numbers and pointed out that across the board, the wealthiest people in the world are sitting on $4 trillion, and accumulating money much faster than they give it away.
    Philanthropy is harder than you think

    “It can strain credulity that it’s really that challenging to give away money. But when you look at the track record of many poorly planned, failed philanthropy projects, it gets clearer.

    Last year, the data came out from a $575 million multi-year project to improve schools, spearheaded by more than $200 million from the Gates Foundation — and the expensive intervention didn’t improve student outcomes at all. Mark Zuckerbergspent $100 million to improve schools and saw some modest gains — but they were small and accompanied by outrage and local backlash. (My colleague Dylan Matthews has pleaded for philanthropists to stay out of education, where their track records are particularly disappointing.)

    “The charity evaluator GiveWell, which researches promising interventions, found that these failures aren’t the exception but the norm.”…
    https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/future-perfect/2018/12/11/18129580/gates-donations-charity-billionaire-philanthropy

  12. If Taiwan is doing better than us without lockdowns maybe we should find out why. We have a full-blown treatment and preparation ban. Could it be that we should have preparation and treatment? I think we should find out if the Taiwanese banned preparation and treatment.

  13. Home office work means that the household shoulders the burden of office service work ,making more unpaid work done disproportionately by women .Nearsighted outsourcing at its most effective .I know a few people who can work from home ,a few that cant work at all at he moment (level 4 here ), more who have to go into work ,a few on jobkeeper ,and a few who are on welfare and doing better than normal because of the higher than normal dole payment. There are a couple of friends with mental issues I was worried about the effect of isolation on, but they seem to be doing ok ,that extra money helps and they werent the kind of people who left home much anyway .Now they leave very little ,having health complications makes them worry more about the virus. One mate who lives at a block of flats puts gloves on to put his bin out once a week .

    Investing in human services ? is that like doubling humanities course fees and making financial punishments for those who fail a few subjects ? Some of humanities best thinkers have occasionally been failures at various times during their lives .Lets celebrate failure .We need ideas more than we need more of the same. Maybe further development of the goods economy is becoming less important as world population stops growing so fast ,distribution of basics leading to rising living standards and education should slow the birth rate .A state inspired and lead shift away from ever greater personal consumption of material goods toward that of less tangible things ,such as free time ,along with a redefinition of GDP would be productive and otherwise good. Lets make gluttons of ourselves .That would involve a substantial effort at cultural shift – not necessarily a horrifying idea in itself .It would then be described as either cultural engineering or as just allowing the natural expression of true human nature to happen (as me first selfishness has already been sold to us so effectively ). If it has to be sold ,and sold as a redefinition of selfishness so be it. Deja vu or history repeating I dont know. Some modern leaders with a Fascistic bent such as Trump and Morrison are from marketing type backgrounds. Said in a way to be simple opportunists ,like Catherine Murphy said of Morrison, not constrained by ideology but good at selling . Just listen to a few benevolent extremists and redefine what a nutcase is.

    Shifting to less meat consumption would be a good idea. Huge pressure on the need for farming land could be relieved worldwide. I hope my next car can be a second hand electric one, like Scott Morrison I am a bit of a rev head and they are grunty. I also hope to be able to feed my dogs less meat products somehow.

    Ronald – empty office spaces make great places for art collectives and ware house style improvised group living .Also good for post covid parties ,student accommodation, as marketplaces ,as help for the homeless etc. They are a great resource and in plentiful supply here in Melbourne where there are still a surprising number of cranes on the city skyline.

  14. Goods and services are all there is. We need basic goods, we need basic services. There are so many people now, if we fail to provide this infrastructure, we die in great numbers. As far as software-related products and services go, much of its advance is actually a displacement effect, i.e. a different mode for provision of something we had before, such as e-books and streaming video, instead of actual books, newspapers, and a television antenna. Of course there are new opportunities due to the displacement technology, as is virtually always the case, and there are often reasons for some holding onto the retro mode, such as vinyl and CD rather than iTunes.

    The usual difficulties in society remain, whatever the modes of operation exist in the economy. Basic accommodation that is stable and affordable; access to a decent education; access to food. A job is nice to have, but that’s where we face a series of decisions with respect to the shape of society to come: is it even possible to provide jobs for all, and in a relatively stable way, so that people aren’t one step away from poverty? It seems that many of the so-called gains of the 1990’s and 2000’s, 2010’s, are illusory, for they have traded away job stability and security for zero-hour contracts, gig work, and a devolution of corporate responsibilities onto individually sub-contracted gig workers. Risk doesn’t just vanish, simply because a corporation piles it onto the gig workers. Consider the recent issues with hiring of security for the quarantine hotels in Melbourne, as an illustrative example.

    Seems we need to take stock of what is important in society, i.e. what sustains the vitality of its citizens and visitors? Work, eat, sleep, repeat; that’s the lot of the least secure workforce in my lifetime, while for a lot of people, there is no capacity to work enough hours to meet the basic needs on a regular ongoing basis. And then there is the disparity in how work is distributed among those who can do it; there are people who are worked to death, while there are others who cannot access more work hours despite wanting them. How and where the work is done is another factor that needs exploring. Why we work is another question that needs highlighting, for it gets at the question of why we are even here at all, i.e. what do *we* want for ourselves, in terms of meaning and intellectual and physical sustenance? So much is machine-based now, and yet the pressure for humans to (over-)work is relentless, even as many cannot find work in the first place. The creeping change of the Nature of Work should be front and centre of any discussion about the impacts of working from home, etc, at least as a thematic emblem for ideas on re-organisation and redistribution of work.

    This is about more than the money earned from that work. We are approaching a nexus, a point where we could reduce the hours of work and spread it around, but that requires taking a few steps back from the currently rigidly neoliberal capitalism dominating our economic activities. To put it bluntly, what is economically efficient at the system level is not necessarily economically efficient for the individual level; in terms of risk, risk factors are not dealt with at a company level, they are devolved onto the individual level, creating an illusion of increased efficiency at the system level. Unless we acknowledge the increased risk borne by the individual, we fail to tally up the overall cost of this system “efficiency.”

    This pandemic has put in stark relief just how risk is distributed among the elements of society.

    As a final observation on neoliberal capitalism: I have been through and felt the impacts of so many economic downturns and outright recessions, it isn’t funny; is this the best we can ever expect from the neoliberal capitalism experience? I think the answer is “yes,” and that is telling. It tells us that the economic devastation is a routine feature, not some anomalous once-in-a-lifetime event. I’m not a communist, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t mean I support the current approach to living. If you aren’t homeless or living with chronic illness, current society might look pretty good to you; for those at the bottom, it isn’t much changed from a century ago: homeless is still homeless, chronically ill is still chronically ill. A re-imagining is long overdue.

  15. I am interested in the innovations induced by the pandemic mentioned by many in their comments above.

    Work-at-home is surprisingly effective and creates new demands for efficient electronic communication and hard document/supply delivery. My impression is that the work can be more intense than in an office. Once people realize they don’t have to go to an office they can live anywhere, Friends of mine working in NY have shifted to live in San Diego. Forget all about that “agglomeration economies” justification for cities!

    Retail has changed more definitely because you cannot (in Melbourne) buy anything other than food in-store. Service wasn’t great, to begin with, but now works fairly well. Of course, buying durables means a lot of work online evaluating things. The squabbles between retailers like Solomon Lew and the big malls indicate to me that retailing has finally shifted to a new model. The massive rents that drive up consumer durable prices in Australia will disintegrate.

    Getting stuff serviced is a problem but the information online is literally incredible. I bought a couple of old film cameras – specific models from the 1980s – there are YouTubes telling you how to fix battery doors that won’t close in that specific model etc. Not specifically a consequence of the pandemic but the latter made me look harder for such online solutions.

    Like most people, I get bored through lack of human contact – but the groups/clubs I am a member of now Zoom everything. Moreover, the number of meetings increases because it is easier to get invited guests when a Zoom is an option – also once the club realizes there is no real extra burden in Zooming for 200 rather than 50 I get to attend more meetings of other clubs. I have even attended 2 online parties where food and drinks were enjoyed at a distance. My son was in one where the food was collectively ordered and delivered separately. Generally, meetings begin early and close late so that informal conversations can occur.

    Life will change permanently as a consequence of the pandemic. Some of the things we are learning as a way of dealing with pandemic issues are a good idea even without a pandemic.

  16. Certainly its a triumph in energy efficiency if the cars can stay in the shed and you don’t need to drive to work. Good time management as well. In the longer run though, we want a greater proportion of the workforce building and making stuff. We would hope that we get the tertiary industry and indirect jobs so much more efficient. So there is more force behind direct manipulation of the physical world. Particularly getting the infrastructure right.

    Unnecessary complexity sets us up for a fall.

  17. Oh God, how do you not give in to constant despair when writing “governments need to” while knowing full well that there’s no chance in hell the current government is going to do anything like it (and will do the exact opposite whenever that’s possible)? It was already bad enough, obviously, that Labor lost the 2019 election, but when you factor in how different their response to the pandemic would have been…

  18. One clear characteristic of the COVID-19 pandemic so far has been that the East Asian Cultural Sphere (China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam) has coped with the pandemic relatively well. The rest of the world has performed atrociously, with a few tiny exceptions. The so-called advanced or developed West, especially the USA and significant parts of Europe, has been a disaster area, epidemiologically and economically, by comparison with the East. This is a “signal failure” by the West, using the term in the old sense that the failure signals a deep and serious malaise in the system.

    The West’s failure to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic signals the outright failure of neoliberalism. Without a radical change to our political economy system our collapse will continue. It’s important to realize that the major economic consequence of the pandemic has been to bring forward the eclipse of the West by the East. The USA is very likely to experience a collapse at least equal in proportion to that of the Soviet Union / Russia after 1989. From 1989 to 1998, Russian output dropped 45%. We can expect something similar from the USA over the coming decade. It seems unlikely that the EU will perform much better. Can either either remain united and intact under this sort of pressure or will they disintegrate?

  19. Petroleum geologist Art Berman posted “Stop Expecting Oil and the Economy to Recover”, on Sep 3, including:

    “Energy is the economy. Money is a call on energy. Debt is a lien on future energy.

    What is happening to oil markets and to the global economy is not because of a virus. The virus greatly accelerated what was already happening. Things won’t go back to normal when the virus ends.

    The expansion of energy and debt have been leading toward some sort of reckoning for at least the last fifty years. That day of reckoning has been brought forward by coronavirus economic closures.”
    See: https://www.artberman.com/2020/09/03/stop-expecting-oil-and-the-economy-to-recover/

    Meanwhile, broadcast recently on ABC The Science Show was a talk by Professor Johan Rockström, a Swedish professor of Earth Systems Science and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who stated:

    “The window to avoid major catastrophes is still open. But only barely. During the next decade, global emissions must be cut by half and we must halt the loss of species on Earth. That’s the reason. That’s the basic justification for declaring a state of planetary emergency.

    The idea is not to create panic, or scare people into taking action. We have done this because you have a right to know, and because there is still time. The window to a manageable planet is still open.”
    See: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/window-closing-for-action-to-stabilise-the-earth%E2%80%99s-climate/12606342

    The economy is dependent on energy – nothing happens without energy. In our current configuration of civilisation, oil is the premier energy resource that drives agriculture, transport and trade, but it’s contributing to a more environmentally hostile plant through dangerous climate change.

    So, whatever we do, are we heading for a ‘Great Reset’?

  20. GGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    What was wrong about the French Revolution? All the ideas were good right? But they took them too far. You know I’m right. You say I need to back off and I need to go to the SANDPIT? There is no Sandpit. You stopped the Sandpit.

    People are killing each-other on the streets in the USA. YOU need to back off. No skeptics? No luke-warmers? You are not a scientist John. Its YOU that is getting too extreme.

    Because of your prestigious abilities I’ve tolerated this extremism for a while. My patience is starting to run out. You better not be working for a foreign power. Sinclair has already been accused of working for a foreign power. And I think he is innocent but he was right to be accused.

    We need your help John. The country is in trouble and we need your help. We have to be flying on two wings. Don’t abandon us. And don’t you be forcing me to start tearing your act down.

  21. Sorry everyone. Sincere apologies. I thought I was talking to our most prestigious intellectual in private.

  22. For goodness sake, Geoff M, https://earth.gsfc.nasa.gov/cryo/data/current-state-sea-ice-cover is what is left of the Arctic Summer Sea Ice. We talk it becomes less. We are heading for a great annihilation. What is the fastest growing understanding in the United States? “Q sent me”. Climate stabilising ice nearly gone… Q is in control. The is no collective intelligence that can save us from …… ourselves? … or is it from Conservative greed? The Pandemic is a test run for how much we can do without. The real focal point here is the US election. This has the potential to become a moment where recovery commences, or Global Pandomonium breaks out. The real consequences are yet to come.

  23. bilb2,
    “…Arctic Summer Sea Ice. We talk it becomes less.”

    Per Johan Rockström:
    1. It’s inevitable that the Arctic Sea Ice will all go in Summer within the next 30 years;
    2. Western Antarctica glaciers are inevitably sliding into the ocean – adds 2m sea level rise (not clear when it will all go);
    3. 50% of GBR gone. Coral reefs cannot stand the heat.
    Hear: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/stressed-planet-sending-clear-warning-signs-%E2%80%93-johan-rockstr%C3%B6m-p/12630340

    There is no chance now to avoid overshooting a global mean temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial age, likely by around 2030, due to greenhouse gases (GHGs) already present in the atmosphere. Humanity needs to make immediate and deep GHG emission cuts, requiring a 50% reduction by 2030, and eliminating them by 2040, NOT 2050.
    See transcript pages 26-27: 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

    It’s inevitable we will be experiencing a more hostile planet, whatever happens with the US election. You state: “The real consequences are yet to come”. The question is: How bad will it be? That will be determined by how we/humanity responds in the next few years. Yet I’d suggest you wouldn’t know this from most of the media.

  24. Broadcast tonight on ABC 7:30 was a segment titled “Long-term health consequences of COVID-19 becoming clearer”. The transcript includes:

    PROFESSOR JOHN FRASER, INTENSIVE CARE SPECIALIST: This is a disease we haven’t known for longer than eight months. No-one’s had had it for longer than eight months and the number of unknown unknowns is quite phenomenal.

    TRACY BOWDEN: Brisbane-based intensive care specialist Professor John Fraser is leading a global consortium gathering data on COVID-19 patients – 53 countries and close to 400 hospitals are involved.

    JOHN FRASER: Looking at the brain and neurological outcome, looking at the effect on kidneys, the effects on clotting, blood clotting, the effect on long-term outcome, what will happen at one year, two years and beyond.

    TRACY BOWDEN: He points out that even a small percentage suffering long-term damage is a lot of people.

    JOHN FRASER: With 20 and 30 million people infected, even if 5 per cent have long-term disability, that’s devastating.

    Let’s say 5 per cent of people can’t go back to work because of brain dysfunction or breathlessness, again that’s a huge financial implication for a country.
    https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/long-term-health-consequences-of-covid-19-becoming/12675810

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