Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

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

30 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Brain Teaser. 

    “So if you don’t stand up and say something on an issue like this, when would you ever?” says ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

    Did I mention, Australia needs a Bill of Rights & the phrase “duty of care” put into legislation, then enshirined in The Constitution. 

    “Religious freedom bill would threaten human rights and create ‘religious privilege’, ACT Government claims
    16 FebFebruary 2020 

    “Last week the ACT Government suggested climate change mitigation and emissions reduction risked being “ignored” in the bushfire royal commission, …

    “But Mr Barr rejected suggestions his government “picked fights” with the Coalition Government.

    “We have a firm set of values that we will stand up for,” he said.

    “And, in this instance, the legislation that’s proposed would override the Human Rights Act, as it would other state and territory anti-discrimination legislation.

    “So if you don’t stand up and say something on an issue like this, when would you ever?”

    “When Virtue is Not Enough
    What’s Wrong with Rights
    By Nigel Biggar

    …”… A society that cares only about protecting the rights of its citizens may end up sacrificing charity, generosity, prudence, forbearance and forgiveness. What happens when legal rights and moral virtues collide?

    “Tragic controversies in France also illuminate the fraught relationship between rights and virtues. … Here the language of rights enjoins us to define free speech as the right to blaspheme, while the language of virtue enjoins us to forbear insulting the credal commitments of others, even when we find them false or absurd.

    “The problem is that sticking to the language of virtue becomes impossible when teachers and journalists are put to death for practising their trades. In this instance, respect for rights has to come first. It becomes the precondition for the exercise of virtues, in this case of toleration and forbearance. What respect, what forbearance is possible towards murderers?

    “Biggar joins a distinguished tradition of sceptics in criticising what he calls ‘rights fundamentalism’. Sometimes he hits the target, but in these two free-speech cases, it appears that rights really are fundamental, making possible the virtues that both a Christian and a secular ethicist would want protected.”

  2. “kidnap the governor of the state of Michigan. …. All of the logistics for that, the money for that, was funded by the anti-vaxx movement.”.

    And an alternate way of saying full court press “”all these different organelles”.

    Questions to Larry from “THE REALITY CLUB: Jennifer Jacquet, Francesca Vidotto, Daniel Kahneman, Lee Smolin, Nick Bostrom, Jesse Dylan, John Brockman, Carlo Rovelli, Jacob Burda
    [how does John Brockman get such a stella crew?!]

    Re TECOTP – many quotes and insights in this long piece from The Edge.

    “A Very Bumpy Ride
    Life in the Time of COVID, Part 2

    “A Conversation with Larry Brilliant, MD [12.7.20]

    “I was on a call yesterday morning with an informal group of senior WHO advisors. Every other Wednesday morning we go around the globe and get a report on how it is  … And so they look at us in the United States, . .., and they basically say, what the f!!ck is wrong with you people? They don’t understand. They don’t understand how we could have blown it as badly as we have. And we have indeed blown it really badly.”

    “We live with terrible diseases, worse than COVID in many ways, and still deal with them. Until smallpox was eradicated, we lived with it being almost everywhere, and most of us didn’t even know it. In 1967, the Summer of Love, 2.5 million people died of smallpox. Yet we had the Woodstocks and the Summer of Loves in the middle of pandemics like that because we have vaccines, which will transform the fear, the vulnerability, the sucking out of all the oxygen from the conversation that COVID and Trump both seem to do. COVID will not occupy all of our emotional intelligence or emotional time. That’ll be the biggest change that I can see.

    … an event that took place in the state of Michigan, where a group of pro-Trump, anti-lockdown militias who were dressed all in military garb with machine guns took over the state capitol and then threatened to kidnap the governor of the state of Michigan. …. All of the logistics for that, the money for that, was funded by the anti-vaxx movement. What is the relationship between a mostly out-of-state militia going into a state capitol, threatening to take over, and the anti-vaxx movement? Well, the anti-vaxx movement has an infrastructure, which was energized by those two group’s movements in the United States. Those two groups came together, and they are now cemented together in many ways.”

    “Daniel Kahneman: Can you say more about the infrastructure of the anti-vaccine movement? This is an organized movement?

    “LB: It has a lot of the accoutrements of a political campaign. …—a real honest and legitimate concern—coupled with a kind of selfishness, I guess. I don’t know exactly how to describe it. A “why should my child have a 1% increased risk in order to give society a 50% increased opportunity of health?”—that kind of selfishness that’s not uniquely American, but we seem to have perfected it.”

    “We need to grasp the lessons we’ve learned in watching science travel at an exponential speed. … That leaves me with what I think is the most optimistic of the best of times/worst of times framing of this, and that is Ron Klain—Ebola czar and now chief of staff of President-elect Biden—and the scientists who are now replacing the political operatives who ran what was supposed to have been a taskforce. We’re in the problem that we’re in because of these long-term secular trends of animals and humans living in each other’s territory and viruses jumping from animals to humans. But we’re also in the short-term secular trend of nationalism.”

    “. Over the past few years, it hasn’t worked for everybody. Putin, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Trump, Brexit—these are all symptoms of the centrifugal forces pulling us apart. … That’s not my lane. That’s not something that I know a lot about. But as an epidemiologist, it’s the worst thing that could happen to us. We need to have a strong WHO, a strong United Nations, a strong global alliance for vaccines and immunizations (GAVI), a strong Global Fund, and all these different organelles that make it possible for us to deal with global threats. I would extend it a little bit out of my lane to say we need desperately to deal with climate change, nuclear proliferation, drought, and famine. But in the area that I know, we can’t stop a pandemic without having global collaboration. We have failed to learn the lessons of …”…

    “Lawrence “Larry” Brilliant (born May 5, 1944) is an American epidemiologist,[1] technologist, philanthropist, and author, notable for his 1973 – 1976 work with the World Health Organization, helping to successfully eradicate smallpox.”

    And me. I only just learnt that “In 1967, the Summer of Love, 2.5 million people died of smallpox.”. Shame. Will my child be the same now we have vaccines? Ignorant and unprepared just because I am in the top 5%?

    JQ, make TECOTP better and longer lasting than you seem to be currently planning please. It needs a future, not to be only a “this happened due to”, but a “when x y & z happen, do this x fast, this y slow, and meet these z benchmarks’. Otherwise I fear our grandkids may read something like “In 2067, the Summer of Love, 15.5 million people died of some zoonotic / bio diseases” … and, like me, will have missed it by 37 years! Shame.

  3. There’s never been a summer of (universal) love. Humans don’t love very much, certainly not nearly as much as they claim to. They love themselves and a few close to them and that’s about it. In evolutionary terms that is perfectly apt and understandable. It’s not something I say to excoriate humans just something I say to remind us to be realistic about them (us).

  4. This is unrealistic and needs to be stopped. RBA propping up coal.
    And commercial in confidence needs to go from ALL of government.

    “The Greens have issued a please explain to the Reserve Bank of Australia after it entered a $10.9m contract with Trevor St Baker’s power company to provide electricity services for RBA properties.

    “The RBA has declined to comment on the decision to engage Sunset Power International Pty Ltd, trading as Delta Electricity, telling Guardian Australia the contract and tender process are both commercial in confidence.”…

  5. Suddenly the McKinsey Types are not benchmarking any more. Probably you know the drill: Compare everyone to the best performer on some sub measure and declare everyone now has to perform as well under threat of being fired. Sometimes that just means one compares all car factories around the word and declares the one with the least working hours per car produced the yardstick. Sometimes the yardstick might not even be remotely in the same sector. Suddenly Formula One tire changes become the yardstick for regular car shops.

    So where are the consultants demanding everyone to perform like the best now hiding regarding corona? Shouldn’t they be screaming from the rooftops for almost a year now that virus eradication is the benchmark and thus should be aimed for by everyone?

  6. hix said “that just means one compares all car factories around the word and declares”…

    Eye watering numbers, with governments incentives & equity markets distorting unstoppable ev’s.

    “Stop Dissing Electric-Car Companies Already

    “They now comprise half the worth of the world’s 10 most valuable automakers, and for good reasons.

    …” This was also the year when investors reconfigured the $2.7 trillion auto industry.

    …” Electric-car companies are suddenly worth half of the total market capitalization of the world’s 10 most valuable automakers. That’s because money managers sized up the convergence of government policies and people’s preferences combating climate change and made alternative energy their biggest bet.

    …” Since its initial public offering in June 2010, Tesla revenue increased 241 times as revenue for the rest of the industry rose 19%, 

    …” before Tesla shares rallied 523%. Yahoo Finance said on May 28, 2019

    …”… Tesla overtaking Toyota in July as the most valuable automaker with another disruptive company: Inc. In 2006, nine years after its IPO and a few years after it became profitable, Amazon was similarly disfavored by 85% of its analysts, who didn’t recommend the shares when they traded at $32 apiece. Amazon now trades above $3,200, or 100 times what it fetched in 2006.

    …” Nio’s annual revenues have tripled since its September 2018 IPO. Nio shares surged 665% during the same period as global peers were gaining 47%

    …” when the fossil fuel industry is reporting record losses, including Exxon Mobil Corp.’s $20 billion write-down this month. The market for zero-emission electric vehicles, meanwhile, is poised to become explosive, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In 2019, 2.1 million cars, or 2.5% of the cars sold worldwide were electric. By 2030, 26 million EVs will be sold, or 28% of total sales worldwide, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. By 2040, 54 million EVs will be sold, or 58% of the global market, the analysts predict.

    …” XPeng’s revenue will grow 160% in 2021, followed by Nio’s 87% and Tesla’s 47%, when the average for the top 10 automakers will be 36%, according to the analyst estimates. They predict that XPeng, Nio and Tesla sales will increase another 94%, 68% and 28%, respectively, in 2022 when the Top 10 average will be 22%.

    …” Joining the S&P 500 index is especially propitious for Tesla. Among more than 1,200 mutual funds worldwide using the S&P 500 as their benchmark, $4.7 trillion, or 93% of them, disclosed no ownership of Tesla shares in their most recent regulatory filings. If Tesla represents 1% of the index, it could easily receive $47 billion from the passively managed assets tracking the benchmark.

    “That’s another reason Tesla shows no signs retreating.”

    Anybody going to buy Tesla ala Amazon, now? Looks lke your fund manager will, and soon.
    Plenty of short seller arricles on page too, for the naysayers.

    “…As well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea, and the US are not expected to meet their Paris Agreement targets

    …Australia is also used as a case study in the report to show environmental regulations rolled back for the energy industry, in terms of fees frozen for coal and gas exploration in Queensland.

    The Morrison government’s gas-led recovery is also highlighted.

    The report comes ahead of an online climate summit organised in lieu of a global conference postponed until late next year.

    One of the main goals for that meeting was for nations to increase their climate ambitions and to cement the rules on how to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

    One rule under contention has been the use of perceived credit from former emissions goals to be used for the Paris targets.

    Australia was the only country wanting to use the accounting method, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged his intention to drop the plan.

    He reportedly hasn’t got a speaking spot yet for the December 12 summit, led by British leader Boris Johnson and the UN.

    The UN has previously told countries their ticket to speak is commitment to stronger climate action.

    Mr Morrison hasn’t yet announced a target for net zero emissions by 2050 but is facing pressure to do so.”

    “”..What’s new in this year’s report

    The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

    However, a low-carbon pandemic recovery could cut 25 per cent off the greenhouse emissions expected in 2030, based on policies in place before COVID-19. Such a recovery would far outstrip savings foreseen with the implementation of unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, and put the world close to the 2°C pathway.

    The report also analyses low-carbon recovery measures so far, summarizes the scale of new net-zero emissions pledges by nations and looks at the potential of the lifestyle, aviation and shipping sectors to bridge the gap…”

  8. It’s official – Trump’s a loser.
    Tweeted from the anchor of CNN’s The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer:

    “This Just In. All 50 States and DC have now officially certified their presidential election results. The
    @JoeBiden national popular vote lead over
    @realDonaldTrump is more than 7 million votes – 51.3% to 46.8%. Biden has 306 Electoral Votes; Trump has 232. (270 needed to win.)

  9. 46.8% of voting Americans are total idiots, That’s a very scary number. Probably even most Biden voters don’t understand the dimensions of America’s and capitalism’s problems. That too is scary.

  10. Climate Act Now
    22 hrs ·

    The annual Climate Change Performance Index was released this week. An independent report, it focuses on the countries responsible for 90% of global emissions, and rates each country based on their progress on emissions, renewables, energy use and climate policy. Take a bow Scott Morrison for holding Australia back at 54th place out of 61 overall!

    Climate Act Now
    2 hrs ·
    UNEP Emissions Gap report 2020 – Pt 1
    “Are we on track to bridging the gap? ABSOLUTELY NOT!.”
    so says Inger Andersen Exec Dir UN Environment Programme in her intro to this year’s report.
    “Overall, we are heading for a world that is 3.2°C warmer by the end of this century.”
    The Paris targets are no longer enough to deliver the required emission reductions to avoid the worst of global warming.
    She urges governments not to waste the unique opportunity presented by Covid recovery investment as a boost for a low carbon future.
    As one of the biggest exporters of fossil fuels and a member of the G20, Australia has a responsibility to step up and take firm action on climate change. We need Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill adopted into law!
    What is the Climate Act?
    The Climate Act is a proposed law to ensure the long-term safety, security and prosperity of Australia by achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050.

  11. Trade should occur if both parties genuinely want it to and also between functionally equal parties without power imbalances. If they don’t want to trade (and hopefully war, theft and slavery are not involved) then trade simply should not happen. Both China and Australia are, or ought to be, free to trade or free not to trade with any other nation as much or as little as they wish to in each case of a good. Pretexts and reasons should not even need to be given. “We don’t want your product” is the equivalent of a 1,000% tariff (say) and vice versa. Why fart about with false words and trumped up claims?

    Problems occur when people try to make generic trade agreements outside each specific trade itself. Cover-all trade agreements are pointless except as the tool of the powerful, the deceptive and the manipulative who can wield such agreements to their benefit. The smartest polity would contract no trade agreements at all, only trades. If others did not wish to “play ball” then autarkic, near self-sufficiency for a larger polity is the best bet; provided it has a wide suite of resources, which Australia does, for example, have.

    Most trade, like most market transactions (look at the labor market) is actually conducted by the richer party with the hidden but express purpose of taking advantage of the other party and the side-effect of making the second party poorer relatively, if not absolutely. Market capitalism is basically an exploitative, negative-sum game at its heart. The positive sum comes from productive science (tempered by impact science), productive labor and productive natural capital and resources.

    Market capitalism is then a negative sum game for unequal distribution of the largesse of the actual and genuine positive sum game, which is something quite different from capitalism itself. Capitalism does not facilitate production. It parasitizes on it and even often sabotages production. Look how US neoliberal capitalism parasitized on the medical system and sabotaged it and then sabotaged the people of the USA, who are now dying in droves as a result. No other analysis can adequately explain this horrendous failure.

    If we don’t repeal capitalism we are done for.

  12. Australia’s CSIRO today published “GenCost 2020-21: Consultation draft”

    “With little scope for further improvements to gas and coal generation technologies, the CSIRO confirmed that only negligible cost reductions in the fossil fuel technologies can be expected in coming decades – this sees the cost gap between renewables and fossil fuels continue to grow into the future.”

  13. Keynes said “in that the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts.”

    Best / master economist? 

    Twitter nominating Tooze, Carney, Deaton, Gita Gopinath …

    Someone in twitter needs to post to JQ’s twitter.

    Best comment – “the one who agrees with me”.

    From Mike Bird @Birdyword, the pic of text below was found at Marginal Revolution.

    Mike Bird
    “Who, still working and prominent today, would fit Keynes’ definition of the master-economist?”

    The quote:
    “The study of economics does not seem to require any specialized gifts of an unusually high order. Is it not, intellectually regarded, a very easy subject compared with the higher branches of philosophy and pure science? Yet good, or even competent, economists are the rarest of birds. An easy subject, at which very few excel! The paradox finds its explanation, perhaps, in that the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts. He must reach a high standard in several different directions and must combine talents not often found together.  He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher – in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature of his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near the earth as a politician.”

    “That is from Keynes’s 1924 essay on Marshall, reprinted in Essays in Biography. Most of all, it is Keynes describing himself!”


  14. The Republican controlled US Senate on Friday overturned Trump’s veto on deep state war making / war profiteering and voted in the biggest Democrat MIC spending bill. Where in 2021 will Biden strike first? Where the bloody hell will Scummo be for sure?

  15. Guess we do not get a new one this week.

    Corona, corona: Lucky you are Australians. For the rest of the world that tends to show up on English sites, mainly not so much. We just started a more serious shutdown today in Germany. And it was ample time to do so. The priorities still are all wrong just like the first time. Private life and education is now seriously constrained by binding laws.

    For work, only “recommendations” are made. Meaning, everyone can pretty much do what he wants, or more precise what his boss wants. No binding remote work order, not even a ban on bigger in person meetings. In some cases, the same task done as (bad paid) work is perfectly legal, while it is banned as a volunteering activity. Ireland did the opposite during their shutdown.

    They kept schools open, but mandated remote work whenever that was possible. My preferred option would be to do both. If I had to pick, my priority would be the inverse one. Education is more important and profits more from in person approaches than office work.

    Education is even more important for the almighty gdp on the long run. The social measures like extended kurzarbeit* and now the very generous payments to shop/restaurant owners/artists can barely be called social measures, since they skew towards keeping upper middle class people in their upper middle class position.

    *While kurzarbeit is nothing new and in a first step paid through peoples social insurance contributions, the vast extension of eligibility will in the end be covered by more subsidies, not by raising contributions.

    Forgot to mention: Churches, in particular the mainstream Christian ones also get super special treatment of course. There is a difference between holding up religious freedom as a constitutional right and allowing mass assemblies whenever a church feels like doing them in my opinion. Until recently even load singing and no masks seem to have been allowed. Fortunately the big ones are at least somewhat reasonable themselves, containing the mask less load singing. The evangelicals and other sectarian types have a habit to be less reasonable regarding corona. Just lucky that those are limited in number.

  16. I predicted not long after the start of this pandemic that COVID-19 would have “many stings in its tail”. I have been proven correct so far. The “many stings” I predicted included;

    (a) The pandemic lasting longer than anyone expected;
    (b) Herd immunity proving either a myth or too costly to purchase in terms of deaths.
    (c) Yo-yoing shutdowns if nations failed to near-eradicate the virus.
    (d) Potential cross-infections of other species, wild and domesticated.
    (e) Mutations of the virus.
    (f) Difficulties in creating a safe and effective vaccine.

    So far, every prediction has been proven correct with the possible exception of the last. We might now have a safe and effective vaccine (or two). However, I would not count these chickens at this stage. There is plenty of time and scope for the vaccines to go wrong and/or for the virus to mutate to vaccine immune strains. Indeed, with so much virus running wild and the vaccine ramp-up being relatively slow, the chances for mutation and evolution of vaccine-resistant strains is much increased.

    I would be in no haste to open up Australia or the Australia-New Zealand bubble. Rather, I would be planning for a ten year bubble, at least. The world will be in COVID-19 riddled mess for at least another decade. Originally, the correct policy was hard lock-down to near eradication. China did it. Taiwan did it. New Zealand did it. Vietnam did it. To name most of the few that did it. It worked, although it takes constant testing, tracing and quarantining to keep it working, especially when the rest of the developed and semi-developed world idiotically (no other term for it) let it run wild.

    I could proven wrong on the decade prediction but I see no cogent reason to make any other prediction. Nations that near-eradicate (if the vaccine works) will still need to remain isolated bubbles from the rest of the world where it will take much longer to roll out the vaccine. The world likely will need to rise to at least 10 billion vaccine doses in the peak vaccination year, as this will likely turn out to be a mutating virus and one where immunity fades in any case over 6 to 12 months. Why so many vaccines? 5 billion people times two shots a year equals 10 billion. That would about give global herd immunity one would guess.

    There isn’t enough horseshoe crab blood in the world. Why would I say that? Liebig’s law of the minimum states that growth (or production) is dictated not by total resources available, but by the scarcest resource available. The scarcest resource for making safe vaccines may well be horseshoe crab blood. Don’t believe me?

    We are hitting all sorts of limits now. These limits mean we cannot control pandemics, cannot control climate change, cannot control the future of homo sapiens on earth.

  17. Ikon, Turchin shows “political stress indicator” at levels lending weight to your statement “cannot control the future of homo sapiens on earth”.

    See graph:
    “Modern era now eclipses then lead up to US Civil War

    “The “political stress indicator” has been on the rise
    Lead-up to Civil War (1820-1860)
    Modern era (1980-2020)”
    Source: Peter Turchin

    “America in November 2020: a Structural-Demographic View from Alpha Centauri

    …” Each side sees the world in Manichean terms and increasingly endorses violence as the necessary means to prevent the other side from staying in, or coming to power. As a result, we are in an extremely fragile state, which in technical terms is known as the revolutionary situation. ”

  18. Homeless epidemic needs to be treated as per;
    –  ‘flattening the curve to protect capacity’ immediately, followed by
    – huge 30yr funding at 0% for infrastructure, to
    – eliminate homelessness.

    Same <1% rentals vacancy rates where I live in central nsw. As some now boast in town "we don't rent it long term niw, it is now an air bnb"! The curse of tourism where I live.

    "Charity turns people away as Central Queensland homelessness crisis is tipped to be one of the nation's worst

    "Key points:
    ● An Equity Economics report predicts there will be a 31.9 per cent increase in homelessness and a more than 55.2 per cent increase in housing stress in Central Queensland next year
    ● The Real Estate Institute of Queensland says Rockhampton recorded its lowest vacancy level on record at 0.3 per cent in October
    ● Roseberry Queensland’s Colleen Tribe says the low vacancy rate is leading to people living in overcrowded homes, moving away, or sleeping rough in tents, caravans, or cars

    Report titled "Everybody’s Home". Commissioned by Habitat for Humanity.(^1.) HfH is a religious based charity doing the work government neglects.

    "Rediscovering the Great Australian Dream: Addressing intergenerational poverty through social home ownership

    "Executive Summary
    For many Australians the prospect of home ownership is well beyond their reach. At the same time the number of families facing insecure housing, waiting lists for social housing, and unaffordable rents continues to rise.

    "With over 173,000 Australians on public housing waiting lists(1) and estimated housing shortages of around 553,000 affordable properties for low-income renters(2) there is an urgent need to find new solutions to the housing challenge."…

    Click to access Rediscovering-the-Great-Australian-Dream-Social-Home-Ownership-Report-12-January-2014-2.pdf

    ^1. – not so sure about HfH 'business' model???

    "To date Habitat for Humanity Australia has built more than 160 homes in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland.

    "Families partner with Habitat for Humanity in the construction of their home. Each partner family receives an interest free, 20 year loan based on 95 percent of the market value of the completed home.

    "Partner families contribute 500 hours of their own time in the planning and construction phases. This is called ‘sweat equity’ and is recognised in the 5 percent discount on market value that we return to them. For example, if a home is valued at $300,000, the partner family will have accumulated effectively $15,000 in equity, from their own efforts, on the day they move in.

    "As part of Habitat for Humanity’s pay it forward model, partner family loan repayments go towards building new homes for other families in our program."…

  19. The second tranche of Submissions to the Australian Parliament House of Reps inquiry into the Climate Change Bill 2020 has been published this morning, added to the first tranche of 70 published last week.
    So far there are a total of 229 items listed, and the last number so far is #553.
    Now includes:
    #455 Prof Will Steffen
    #474 Prof John Quiggin

  20. Had to post this stunning Pope cartoon. Frydenburg & Christiansen’s coal torture chamber. Or as they’d have it- coal’s tourtured chamber.

    Note the Insurers are on the operating table being revived Ibguess, hopefully to get well enough to fund coal, super fund’s hamstrung, and feet to the fire. Not sure of original art.

    Very educational. Thanks Pope.

  21. This one hasn’t even been built yet and would seem to put the crony in png capitalism.

    “Doesn’t Stack Up: Australian Energy Company Accused Of Spruiking Unnecessary Coal Power Project In PNG

    Climate Justice Nogat Coal

    “A new report from CELCOR (Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc) and the Jubilee Australia Research Centre has raised significant concerns about a proposal from an ASX listed Australian energy company, Mayur Resources, to build the Pacific’s first coal-fired power station in Papua New Guinea,

    “Brisbane-based Mayur Resources,, plans to build a 52MW coal-fired power station sited at Lae wharf, within the city limits, in PNG’s second largest city.”…

  22. KT2, re your comments on the Pope cartoon. If only the world were so innocent. The insurers are not being revived!!

    It goes by various names, but calling it forced drinking is good enough. The description in the link below doesn’t fully describe the 3rd degree escalation of stuffing the victim with water fit to burst then punching, kicking, or clubbing them on the stomach beyond the point of rupture. The cartoon shows the insurer about to get it mildly to the 2nd degree. Note the assistant torturer with only the one heavy rock ready to be placed on the victim’s bloated stomach. Somewhere there will be more heavy rocks to slowly pile on up to the 3rd degree.

    Warning!!! Torture could be gruesome graphic history if only it was all now just historical court and zealous religious records and woodblock etchings. But it persists so much globally it rarely makes the news today, and civilized powers in civilized manner, of course, manage to suppress most of their own active complicity in the torture so zealously done in our name or that of their gods:

  23. What part of Bezos’s wealth increase, from $110Bn to $220Bn in SIX MONTHS during 2020, IS / IS NOT an Economic Consequence Of The Pandemic? Anyone?* 

    I fear TECoTP won’t provide a way for me to discern or decide… Due to “that it is no longer the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich who decide”. ^2.

    Imo, wealth increase is a big consequence JQ, yet I don’t see this in your synopsis nor previews. Front and centre. This is exceptional, and vanishingly rare, to be so extreme in all history. (yes – worth two commas) 

    10 mins – Listened to the Religion & Ethics Report (^4.) last night. “Philanthropy from Aristotle to Zuckerberg.” Followed by the Pope’s biographer on UBI announcement from Vatican. (about time). These two wrote biographies of The Pope. 10mins

    Philanthropy – 3/4 of all philanthropic foundations  started in the past 20yrs.

    $1.2 to 1.5Tn unspent.

    25 men – 8 fund managers – made same amount as ALL kindergaten teachers in US, a ratio of 21/1 teachers to hedge fund managers. How much and when will they distribute?

    Early march hedge fund uk made £2.5Bn. NNT has said how much the fund he ‘advises’ made this yr.

    Bill Gates –  Polio – vaccinated 2.5Bn children. But… Melinda taught bill finally to listen l, and do Reciprocal Philanthropy. 

    “Figure 1 The share of wealth of the richest 10% in Italy, 1300-1800
    Source: elaboration based on Alfani (2020a)”
    … from …
    “Pandemics and inequality: A historical overview

    Guido Alfani 15 October 2020

    “The relationship between pandemics and inequality is of significant interest at the moment. The Black Death in the 14th century is one salient example of a pandemic which dramatically decreased wealth inequality, but this column argues that the Black Death is exceptional in this respect. Pandemics in subsequent centuries have failed to significantly reduce inequality, due to different institutional environments and labour market effects. This evidence suggests that inequality and poverty are likely to increase in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.”

    “How philanthropy benefits the super-rich …
    “The result has been what the late German billionaire shipping magnate and philanthropist Peter Kramer called “a bad transfer of power”, from democratically elected politicians to billionaires, so that it is no longer “the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich who decide”.

    Paul Vallely is the author of the highly-acclaimed history Philanthropy – from Aristotle to Zuckerberg. He also wrote Pope Francis: the Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism, a much-expanded revision of his international best-selling and critically acclaimed biography Pope Francis: Untying the Knots. All are published by Bloomsbury


    ^4. Listen to Paul Vallely here…


    ^5. Reference with Irony.
    “This article is published in collaboration with Thomson Reuters Foundation ”

    “There are more than 15 million millionaires and close to 2,000 billionaires in the world, while 10 percent of the population live on less than $1.90 a day, said the report, which was funded by the Swiss bank UBS.”


    ^6. “The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke … Is Now Officially Broke

    (** Bezos declined to sign Giving Pledge started by “the james bond of philanthropy” to give away +59% of wealth whilst living. Bezos may yet do this.)

    …”the former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has finally given all his money away to charity. … In other words, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the  James Bond of Philanthropy.”

    * Oh, we are waiting for JQ’s book.

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