Sandpit

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

16 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The politcal-economic consequences of the human delay in adequately responding to the challenge of climate change.
    We all die……..
    Unless…………
    Humanity starts from scratch.
    Step one would be to plan and then implement a revolution in agricultural methods of production.
    Step two would be to plan and then implement a revolution in how the food and clothing that gets produced gets transported to and distributed among the world’s population.
    Step three would be to shut down almost every thing else, except education, and research.
    Step four would be to figure out what activities people could take part in to prevent cabin fever.
    Step five would be figuring out how to collect everything steel, aluminum, and titanium that is not nailed down and converting these resources to the construction of renewable energy assets.
    Step six would be to promote a 1.8 or 1.75 child per family policy.
    Step seven would be to make sure that medical services can be maintained during of profound change.
    Step eight would be to figure out how huge numbers of people living near coast lines will be housed after they are moved further inland without adding to the problem of global warming.*
    Step nine would be to create zoning ordanences that prevent further urban sprawl.
    Step ten, we wait. We wait until there are technological breakthroughs that repair that damage that has aleady been done or until the rising earth temps. cause crop faliures leading to massive starvation.

    These are steps thet real genuine but unpopular leaders need to take. They are steps that need to be sycronized in a command economy. But I am now asking myself are such potential human leaders one trick ponies, or are they 10 step repenters?

    *This is quite a challenge. I wonder if part of the answer is to start dismanteling structures and moving them farther inland now. Can bamboo do the whole job?

    Will the Chinese Communist Party leaders and the Indian Hindu political leaders understand this simple english explination?

  2. A command economy? Why that is the standard definition of Stalinism or Facism. Get over it. Labels are misleading. They do cause much more confusion than they are worth. With out an economy commanded by the right kind of commanders humanity is going to become extinct.
    Besides the widespread idea that western nations due not have command economies is a massive delusion. Huge amounts of effort are put in to systematic efforts to confuse the populations of western nations as to who is in charge of economic decision making.
    Yes I can understand that with the number of people involved in institutional positions of oversight it is hard to believe that such treachory can go unreported. But the proof lies in öthe results that the system delivers. When a person considers that it is not hard to understand that thngs do not work as advertised.
    THE MOST IMPORTANT DELUSION that persists in the minds of the masses is that when elections are held that there are actually important CHANGES in LEADERSHIP. Do historical trends really support any confidence at all in such an assertion. If the answer is, well now that you mention it, no things have certianly not changed much for decades no mattter who was in power. In fact I wonder if a person can say that outside of the use of coal, oil and natural gas and the activities that are dependent on the use of coal,oil and natural gas things really have not changed for centuries. EXCEPT IN CUBA AND VIETNAM and MAYBE a bit in China too.
    So if elections do not change things humans have a choice to make. Wait until they are killed by those that now rule over them. Or revolt. But the tradgedy is that if the masses revolt many of them will just die faster than if they wait. Not only that but some of the better off masses will be worse off in the short term after a revolt than they would have been if there had been no revolt. Of course in time their position in life would have disappeared anyways when massive crop failures occured.
    The only people who have the capabilty to revolt are those that are supposed to prevent a revolt in the first place. If they ever chose to do so the masses should support THEM, ecthe revolutionaries.
    But how can we know that those who destroy our traditional institutions and ways of life are revolutionaries and not reactionaries?
    We can’t. Until they prove it first by proving they have not made any deals with those who have been in power. Second by proving that they will attempt to actually save EVERYONE from the effects of global warming. If they are not taking the ten steps of a repenter they are not proving that they are serious.

  3. sorry for the extra comment. But today is a holdiay, so I have extra time. This is an entertainment only comment. I was recently thinking about time loops. I was thinking about time loops because some things are true, but not very relevent. And some things are true and very relevent. Ok that could be a lie.
    In anycase i realized that 1826 days is the number of days in 5 calandear years*. Damn that is quite cool. I never had any reason to think about that before. That is until I started thinking about time loops. As even a child knows 2 plus 3 equals 5. But, 3 plus 4 does not equal 5. Nor does 1 plus 2 equal 5. 4 plus 1 equals 5 as well. But does 4 plus 1 equal 5 as often as 2 plus 3?
    Probabilites is a branch of mathamatics. And Mathamatics is a science. When and how to apply Mathamatics is an art. But to say that just because it is an art it has no relevence is a foolish proposition.

    *1826.25 might be more precise. But 1826.25 is not what is represented on a calandear.

  4. I highly reccommend the Book, A Socialist Defector, From Harvard to Karl Marx Allee. The book is a biography of Victor Grossman a US serviceman who defected to the East Germans during the Cold War.
    I had two key take aways from the book. First, that the Soviet system in general and the East German system in particular did not lose the cold war because the west had the better economic or political system.
    The west won the cold war because they had greater access to better quality fossil fuels than the east had, and the west exploited the natural and labor assets of the 3rd world to a greater extent than the Soviet Union giving the masses in the west a higher standard of living than they would have had had they not had accesss to middle eastern oil or the other valuable assets of the less developed countries which the west claims that it bought at “market value” and therefore did not steal it.
    My second take away was that the Soviet-Warsaw Pact survelence state was actually justified. But, that it was not implemented properly.
    None the less to say that the Soviet and East German system was better than the western capitalism does not say very much. Western Capitalism sets an extremely low bar.
    Cuba has rescued the Soviet model in purely economic terms. Of course Cubans are poor. But when a person considers what they have achieved in terms of measurable indexes of human developement the nation stands out as a paragon of human virtue. But this example is not decisive evidence of the supiriority of that economic manner of doing things.
    Two potential alternatives to the Cuban Model in a non emergency situation are Parecon and a highly regulated form of capitalism in which the tax code would discourage the exploitation of vulnerable populations by making it impossible to benifit through the exploitation of vulnerable populations. The regulations would also have to prevent unsustainable extraction of environmental resources.
    But now humanity IS in an emergency situation. It does not matter whether or not a person accuses me of climate alarmism Climate alarmism is 30 years over due. If people who are leaders and not manipulators rule over us these leaders can declare when the emergency is over. Then a somewhat larger population of well trained and educated sages can decide which of the 3 alternatives would best serve humanity in the foreseeable future.

  5. How are nations with very good corona numbers dealing with outside arrivals?

    My first assumption was that most would do it like South Korea. In South Korea, everyone can enter, no matter what the purpose is, but a 2-week quarantine is mandatory. The quarantine costs about 1000 Euro, including food and accommodation typically in an upmarket hotel. Not so, almost everyone else has at least a ban on tourists, often also on foreign students.

    Australia and New Zealand only allow residents and nationals plus a few exceptions for specialists to enter. Similar in Japan. Taiwan recently allowed foreign students to enter again. Cuba has some enclave where regular tourism is allowed under rules that minimize contact to locals.

  6. Addition: China and Thailand also appear to be closed off pretty strict.
    Guess that leaves only South Korea for poor tourists. Cuba seems to be fighting local outbreaks again and is back to full closure. Sucks, my next pre COVID-19 travel plans used to be Czechia, maybe Paris oh well….time to discover the love for hiking and car driving it seems.

  7. Hix, the kiwis have announced they’re reserving 10% of their quarantine spots for non-citizens, mostly necessary guest workers. The election that’s going on right now pits more of the same against a more capitalist “anyone who can pay” approach and a promise to use the privatised quarantine system that worked so well in Victoria.

    Yeah, apparently the right wing in Aotearoa have lost their minds.

  8. It’s interesting to see how the pandemic has highlighted the differences in approach and outcomes between the western nations and some Asian nations – particularly Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea and China. All of these countries have faced outbreaks and all of them have gone in hard and early with varying results. I find it interesting how disconnected the Australian commentariat and even many in the medical community are from these countries. I wonder if it has something to do with how researchers collaborate and traditional connections (or possibly a misplaced and unacknowledged sense of superiority born of ignorance).
    Given Australia’s location and luck with keeping COVID infections low it seems we should forging closer ties with the region on a research sharing level rather than just seeing the region as a source of exploitable fee paying students.
    This should be extended to a culture as well. You only need a short visit to any of these countries to see that in many fields there are things done better if not in a more advanced way than they are here – somehow many Australian’s remain ignorant of how fast and far we are slipping behind.

  9. Suburbanite,
    You forget to mention NZ and Greece and Denmark and Norway and Finland and Germany, in the list of countries that have managed the coronavirus pandemic well, allowing for vastly different geographic and demographic differences.

    You should check the professional literature in Australia and in the EU regarding the exchange of scientific knowledge between say China and the respective locations. You may be surprised about the extent of information exchange.

    Credible sources (eg virologists and epidemiologists) have often been asked about the difference in curtailing the spread of the virus in the Asian countries and the EU countries. One of the arguments presented is that these Asian countries had experience with SARS (while Australia and the EU did not). Another argument pertains to wearing face masks. There are two aspects to this topic. One is the lack of availability of face masks, particularly early in the pandemic but re-emerging in some EU countries. In this regard the lesson learned in the EU is the dependence on China in supplying face masks was a big mistake (a negative consequence of globalisation and cost minimisation). The other aspect concerns the prior experience in the Asian countries in wearing face masks (higher public acceptance in these countries). Related to the face mask issue is the issue of protective equipment for medical staff as well as the public (eg hand sanitisers) and the activities of China in buying up such equipment in other countries (!).

    To be frank, I am a bit sick of hearing about ‘superiority’ and based in ‘ignorance’. Of course you may wish to speak for yourself.

    The fact is that Australia and the EU countries and the UK have a political system, which may be labelled ‘liberal democracy’ (not to be confused with party labels such as LNP; the ALP fits into liberal democracy, too, as do the Greens). Some of these countries have a constitution which guarantees freedom of mobility, freedom of association, freedom of carrying out their profession (from doctors to nurses to entertainers to shop keepers, etc) – eg Germany – and others, such as the UK, have conventions that amount to the same thing. Governments may curtail these freedoms only under exceptional circumstances, such as a pandemic (because to ensure public health is another obligation of governments), but even then proportionality of the measures is required and these measures are tested in public debates if not in the highest court of the land. A lockdown like in Wuhan would be ‘unconstitutional’ (including established conventions) and it would not be accepted by the public.

    There is an intellectual, philosophical and political history to the notion of ‘liberal democracy’ just as there is an intellectual, philosophical and political history to the form of government and associated conventions in the Asian countries. In both cases there are subtle differences between the countries and even within regions of countries.

    There is no need to rank the systems. Acknowledgement of the differences is sufficient. Such an acknowledgement does not exclude scientific cross fertilisation nor does it require social and economic strict separation.

    As always, IMHO.

  10. The mask thingy dingy is really highly over rated. If a fish can swim in the Amazon river a corona virus can end up in your nasal passages even when a mask is being worn, especially indoors. Masks, of the kind being worn by the public, give a false sense of security.
    Short of wearing a hazmat gas mask the best thing that a person can due to protect themselves if they do not already have type O blood is to give themselves a type O blood transfusion. If you do not have medical insurance or if you medical insurance will not pay for such a transformative proceedure a person should stay at home as much as possible.
    Amazon Prime, Netflix, and BBC are collaborating on a new series called Ms. Maisel meets Mrs. Marple which will make it worthwhile to stay at home.

  11. It is very hard to compare jurisdictions and their response to COVID-19. National definitions of “death by COVID-19” vary widely. National testing and even state (Länder, county, oblast, province) testing rates also vary widely. Consolidated world statistics are not official so far as I know. Worldometer statistics are widely quoted but they are not official or cross-checked in any, again way so far as I know. Some countries may be massively under-counting either because of poor or non-existent data gathering and/or because of official but surreptitious policies of under-counting.

    I don’t think we have a very good handle on the global situation at all. The data in developed countries with basically democratic governments, a free press and robust science establishments is probably the most reliable. That data paints a very bad picture. Maybe I have impossibly high standards, or something, but I view any performance other than effective eradication of the virus as an abysmal disgrace and a medical, social and civilizational failure which can and should be sheeted home to neoliberal capitalism and its anti-fact, anti-science agenda.

    We could have effectively eradicated this virus in developed countries. We should have effectively eradicated this virus in developed countries. We should have stopped it in its tracks at the outset. Among the developed countries only Taiwan and New Zealand have put in good performances. Japan has put in a passable performance. Australia has put in an almost passable performance even with its many great advantages in this matter (sea moat, long way from anywhere else, low population density, good public health system).

    The COVID-19 pandemic has seen, if not the Failure of the West per se, the failure of the West’s political economy, social and medical systems. I rate the West’s performance in toto as an F. If we keep getting F’s like this we will decline and collapse very rapidly. The bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic to date are – relatively speaking – tiny harbingers of the crises to come. If we can’t handle these early challenges it bodes very ill for us in facing the grave challenges coming next. We have to set vastly higher standards and keep to them if we want to survive.

  12. Thanks Enestine

    I didn’t mention New Zealand or other European countries because I wasn’t making a rigorous international comparison. New Zealand has put Australia to shame in terms of resolve and decisiveness. That doesn’t change my observations on how some countries in Asia have performed.

    I’m also not advocating authoritarian government – although I think it’s easier to find fault with other systems of government when historical and regional factors are diminished and the corruption of our media and politics by money is over looked.

    Singapore and Hong Kong did experience SARS-1, but that is not why their responses so much from some western countries. They are both high-density cities so the challenges containing an outbreak are greater. They didn’t make a dogs breakfast of SARS-1 and then “learn” to take it seriously. They took SARS-1 seriously and acted quickly. For all the faults you might find with Singapore their civil service is generally very competent. The use of Face masks in Singapore and Hong Kong is more common than in Australia, but not anywhere near as common as in Japan.

    The outbreak in Wuhan gave countries around the world a head start to prepare, and it was telling that the only early decisive action taken in Australia was to halt travellers from China while allowing infected travellers in from the US and the UK without quarantining.

    In terms of my comments about connections and collaboration with colleagues in Asia – that is just my personal observation. I don’t have any data to back it up, although it would be interesting to see any if it’s available.

  13. With due respect above commenters…
    Asia, Africa, Sth America are not so good as descriptors of a homogenous set.

    And. Did I mention Mongolia & JANUARY!
    View at Medium.com

    MNT 2.4 billion to be spent on COVID-19 prevention during 2020 election
    https://www.montsame.mn/en/read/226828

    I posted those 2 above on
    https://johnquiggin.com/2020/05/25/monday-message-board-462/#comment-224285

    And Mongolia gets renewables via funding from…
    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/11/16/china-general-nuclear-to-invest-2-5-billion-in-wind-solar-in-mongolia/

    Strange world.

  14. Suburbanite,

    I don’t agree with your assertion that NZ has put Australia to shame (regarding the coronavirus management) and I don’t assume New Zealanders would agree with your opinion.

    “The outbreak in Wuhan gave countries around the world a head start to prepare, and it was telling that the only early decisive action taken in Australia was to halt travellers from China while allowing infected travellers in from the US and the UK without quarantining.”

    My reading of your statement, quoted above, suggests you have talent as a PR person or ‘spin doctor’ as some of us refer to this art of writing.

    Well, yes Australia took a decisive action to close borders to travellers (other than Australian citizens) from China and this was a good decision in my opinion. At that time, who could have known the extent to which the virus had been transmitted from Wuhan (directly or via travellers within China from some other cities in China) to the rest of the world![1] So, why should the Australian government have banned travellers from the US and the UK at that time? There is no logical reason. IMO, it was outrageous for China to try to restrict Australia’s sovereignty regarding borders by objecting that Australia took a decision before the WHO had announced a pandemic.

    As for your concerns of lack of connections and collaboration with (scientific) colleagues in Asia, it seems to me there was lack of connection and collaboration between medical doctors (high quality and widely respected) and the officials in China in late 2019!

    All of your comments are your opinions, as you say. I suggest an end to opinion mongering and to wait for the outcome of the investigation or study of the origin and dissemination and related topics of the coronavirus in China, as agreed with Australia, the EU, China and others.

    [1] There is quite good data on the transmission of the virus from China to other places. To give some examples:
    The first coronavirus case in Germany (person 0) involved a transmission by a Chinese employee of a German company from China who had visited the head quarter in Bavaria. This person reported to the German company that she had been visited by her parents from Wuhan before she left for the short trip from another city in China to Germany.
    The first case in France was due to a Chinese traveller, as it was in Australia.
    The hardest hit area in Italy is the Lombardy in the North of Italy. There are many business connections in this area (particularly Milan) with China.

    I must be quite clear here, there is no suggestion that the individual Chinese involved had known about their infections. Only a decisive border closure by China in or around December 2019 could have made a significant impact on the spread of the virus.

  15. “The outbreak in Wuhan gave countries around the world a head start to prepare….”

    Quite the contrary. The lie that it was a natural Wuhan outbreak, rather than a terrorist attack, faked everyone out. Because the virus was already rife in the US and probably in other countries as well. Now you go on to say so yourself, essentially. More or less right? While we had this nonsense going on that it was a naturally based disease, springing up, by an unprecedented act of lightning paced evolution, on the concrete of Wuhan … all our guys were getting infected through the United States.

    “You’ll never drill for oil on the city streets” says Meat Loaf and acts of advanced evolution don’t occur on the concrete and you never had any reason to believe this was a natural occurrence in the first place.

    So we didn’t have any time to prepare. We were faked out by the media, which is a partner of terrorism always. We were faked out in multiple ways. The ways in which we were blind-sided were baked into the original attack.

  16. Ok this is an obtuse comment. And it is going to sound like I am shouting my own horn. I am tooting a horn but it is for someone else.
    Many years ago when I was a frequent participant in Feral Scholar Blog of Stan Goff someone said something that has had an impact on me for years. He said, unfortunately I forget exactly who he is, but if I had to guess it would be either Michael Anderson or Manuel Garcia Jr., that there is no such thing as an unplanned economy. The only question to be answered is who is going to plan the economy. That short statement is much more valuable than many an econmics textbook. If the method of handing out Nobel prizes was fair he would have won many years ago.
    But I now have something that in a sense tops that. I would not win a Nobel prize for economics for my insight. But if there was a prize for Buddhist insight I would win the Golden Wheel, if such an award actually exsited.
    My Koan is, and I have often demonstrated this in the past, Democracy is an illusion. The one party state is an illusion. There is only anarchy. Who will be the one(s) to impose thier will over the top of this anarchy is the first question to settle. I have never summed it up in this way before.
    Ok some people may wish to quibble with the originality of my Koan because it is clearly inspired by what either Michael Anderson or Manuel Garcia Jr. said in the distant past.
    That is what standing on the shoulders of team mates really means.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s