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

12 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I agree w Alan Kohler,
    “As a result, the Labor Party is a rabbit in the headlights”

    And as Albo said, no one will notice anyway, until the next campaign. (and the dead cat has turned into a rubber ball)

    – Big percentage:
    “Over the four years covered by it, 14.1 per cent of total government spending will be funded by issuing debt rather than collecting taxes.

    “It’s more than in the four years following
    – the GFC (10.8 per cent), more than the years after
    – the 1990s recession (13.3 per cent), much more than during and after
    – the 1980s recession (8.9 per cent) and
    – twice what it was in the Whitlam years, during the 1970s recession (7.1 per cent).

    “But those percentages aren’t disclosed in the budget papers, where everything is expressed as a percentage of GDP.

    “It’s only a slight exaggeration to say the Coalition is trying to build a Scandinavian welfare system without Scandinavian taxes, using debt instead. It’s economic heresy, but politically devastating.

    “Money is going to higher unemployment benefits, child care, aged care, women’s safety, infrastructure and carbon emissions reduction at the same time as taxes are being cut, not increased.

    “It’s Reaganism redux, and half of Modern Monetary Theory – the half that asserts “debt and deficits don’t matter”.

    “Before the election after next, in four years’ time, gross government debt will be $1.2 trillion according to the budget forecasts, but probably only economists and the Financial Review will care.

    “That won’t be the time for austerity, either: There’ll be another election to win.

    Alan Kohler

  2. Please don’t say we can’t build mrna manufacturing. Main point imo – we will have to keep up 1st dise & booster shots with existing manufacturing + new variant and regional vaccine manufacturing. Soon.

    Bill Gates looks like a private property only spruker. With deep pockets. And even the music industry it seems is crying chicken little – oh no! A patent waiver will destroy us.


    “Manufacturing mRNA Vaccines is Surprisingly Straightforward

    “The poorest 125 countries on Earth — pop. 2.5b—have not yet received a single covid vaccine dose. The 85 poorest countries on Earth project full vaccination in 2023 or 2024.

    “As has the pharma industry writ large, with over 200 paid lobbyists in D.C. pushing against a WTO patent-waiver. As with Dean and Gates, these pandemic profiteers say that the issue of patents is a “distraction” because poor countries simply lack the wherewithal to use them.

    …” either in response to a new virus, or because of an mRNA-based vaccine breakthrough for an existing virus. They reason that any kind of annual covid shot will occupy the majority of existing mRNA vaccine production facilities, so any new global vaccination project will require that new production sites be built.

    “To that end, they’ve devised a process for building factories that can turn out mRNA vaccines at scale:

    “Based on our techno‐economic assessment, the RNA vaccine production process can be two to three orders of magnitude smaller than conventional vaccine production processes in terms of facility scale, and can be constructed in less than half the time with 1/20 to 1/35 of the upfront capital investment, as shown in Figure 1B “…

    [comparison costings & timelines 1c mrna vs conventional – a no brainer imo – see below ]

    By Cory Doctrow.

    Rapid development and deployment of high‐volume vaccines for pandemic response 

    “Caption – Overview of vaccine testing and manufacturing development timelines. A, Pre‐clinical development and clinical testing timelines, costs and success/failure rates for conventional vaccines and for vaccines produced using emerging platform technologies (eg, RNA vaccines).[13-22] Once the platform is developed and used to produce a licensed product, the costs and failure rates for developing further products using the same platform technology would drop substantially. The highest costs and longest development timelines are encountered in phase III clinical trials and the highest failure rates tend to occur in phase II clinical trials. B, Process development and facility construction timelines and cost estimates for conventional and emerging platform technologies with drug substance annual production capacities of tens to hundreds of million doses.[14, 19, 40-42, 59] Process development and facility design is usually initiated during pre‐clinical and clinical testing and investments are usually made as failure risks reduce during clinical development. C, Comparison of overall vaccine production rates for conventional and new platform technologies, considering the development and testing phases presented in parts A and B above. Once fully developed and validated, the new vaccine platform technologies will produce vaccines within weeks to months after antigen identification, which is at least 10‐fold faster than conventional technologies”

  3. Federal Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon told Ben Fordham on Radio 2GB this morning that there needs to be a change:

    “We have to get back to basics, remember why we were formed, what we were born to do, and that is to focus more on working-class people, and to spend less time on issues like climate change, which I acknowledge again is really important, Ben, but for most people, they wake up in the morning, they’re worried about paying off the mortgage, getting their kids to school, paying the school fees, the childcare fees, or whatever it might be, and of course the health and safety of their families. They are their priorities, and they are the things the Labor Party needs to spend more time talking about.”

    Yet our climate scientists, like Professor Schellnhuber, are telling us:

    “If we don’t solve the climate crisis, we can forget about the rest.”

    The Earth System arrived at +1.3 °C global mean warming (relative to Holocene Epoch pre-industrial age) in 2020 – per ERA5 dataset

    +1.5 °C global mean warming threshold crossing inevitable (regardless of any GHG emissions trajectory) and likely before 2030 – Risks of simultaneous crop failure will increase disproportionately between 1.5 and 2 °C, so surpassing the 1.5 °C threshold will represent a threat to global food security.

    +2.0 °C global mean warming threshold likely crossed before 2050 on current GHG emissions trajectory – Above +2 °C warming may trigger a “Hothouse Earth” scenario of self-reinforcing warming that would be beyond human control. There are also increasing risks ‘tipping points’ could begin to manifest between +1.5 to +2 °C warming.

    Climate change will affect the health and safety of families in the decades to come. We need to act now. We don’t have time to waste.

  4. Geoff Miell,

    Labor Party people like Joel Fitzgibbon are either as thick as two short planks or they lack all moral compass. Either they don’t know that failing to deal with climate change dooms us all or they just don’t care because they are getting their money now. The ALP (Anthracite Lignite Party) takes bulk donation monies from coal interests. Labor apparatchiks also take all sorts of corporate jobs as they go through the revolving door of political retirement to join their mates in big business. They are corrupt through and through and climate criminals just like the COALition types.

    There must come a point where, if politicians and corporate capitalists don’t listen to the peoples’ will, then the people must do something more direct. Anything is better than the inevitable total collapse which is on our current path.

  5. mRNA hardware sorted above. Now ‘software’.

    mRNA patents – $20m to generate. What is your guesstimate? And a question for JQ or you.

    ☆ Bargin of the millenium!
    mRNA IP $20m. Except for neoliberalism having it’s teeth into IP. 

    ♧ And today! Josh Frydenberg is going to ‘box’ them for lower tax rates: 
    “This means in its first year alone the patent box is set to deliver a $100 million gift to companies sitting on old patents without any actual new innovation.” (The Conversation below).

    ☆ Lost opportunity cost of the millenium!
    Box patents +
    We spent $500m on war memorial and $100m in Poziers. $2bn on petrol. Instead of steady funding of research. 600m/20m = 30 mRNA / other breakthroughs.

    About $20m, and 20yrs to produce mrna intellectual property….

    “Drew Weissman appears as the principal investigator on a total of 42 projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1998 and 2020, representing $18,323,060 in costs.”

    “Katalin Karikó was the principal investigator of four projects funded by the NIH between 2007 and 2011, totaling $1,234,462 in costs.”

    Here are the IP holders (which include the US government). 

    “This network analysis of mRNA-based vaccine candidates for COVID-19 reveals the web of intellectual-property claims that connect them. (Nature | 7 min read)

    This is a 3 page ‘enhanced’ pdf.

    Usual format.

    Fig. 1: Patent network analysis of mRNA-based vaccine candidates for COVID-19.
    From: A network analysis of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine patents

    Fig. 2: Landscape of scientific terms found in all of the abstracts and claims of the patents and applications that were identified as relevant to mRNA vaccine technology.

    Here are parents, costs etc.

    “Foundational mRNA patents are subject to the Bayh-Dole Act provisions

    ‘U.S. patents filed by Karikó and Weissman

    “As Table 1 shows, Katalin Karikó has been listed as co-inventor in eleven patents. All of these patents are generally directed to RNA preparations and uses. Ten of these patents also name Drew Weissman as a co-inventor and are assigned to the University of Pennsylvania. The remaining one is assigned to BioNTech RNA. At least six of these patents are subject to the Bayh-Dole provisions, as their government funding acknowledgements indicate.

    “In other words, the United States government funded and has certain rights over at least some of the foundational Karikó and Weissman patents directed to mRNA discoveries.

    “Some of these patents include broad claims. For instance, Claim 1 of the U.S. patent 8,278,036 (the ‘036 patent) is directed to “[a] method for inducing a mammalian cell to produce a protein of interest comprising: contacting said mammalian cell with in vitro-synthesized modified RNA encoding a protein of interest, wherein said in vitro-synthesized modified RNA comprises the modified nucleoside pseudouridine.” The method described in this claim emcompases any “protein of interest.” This patent was filed in the United States on August 21, 2006, issued on October 2, 2012, and acknowledges being subject to the Bayh-Dole Act provisions.

    “Other jurisdictions where Karikó and Weissman patents have been filed…

    “The licenses have been disclosed to the SEC, but with heavy redactions that keep in secret the numbers of the covered patents.”…

    Here is $100m giveaway, zero product box patent, dumbest lucky country policy.

    Cut  tax! And Josh Frydenberg is proposing ‘box patents’… “the literature on such schemes found little if any benefit for actual innovation, at great cost to taxpayers.”

    “The Treasurer says his ‘patent box’ will boost innovation. The evidence says it won’t

    “On budget night federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced Australia is getting its own “patent box”.

    “What is a patent box?
    Despite its odd name, it is a relatively straightforward concept. It means lowering the tax rate on all income derived from patents registered in a nation. About half the members of the European Union, Britain and China are among those to adopt patent boxes in some form.

    EU report said “Its results, the report concluded, “confirm these fears”.

    “Australian warnings
    This all should be known to the Australian government.

    “A 2015 report from Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist came to a similar conclusion to the European Commission study.

    “Introducing a patent box might lead to more patents being filed in Australia, it said, but they would mostly be ones derived from research and development done overseas. It warned:

    “The most important cost associated with the implementation of a patent box regime is a fall in tax revenues collected from innovative companies. Since the fall is likely to exceed revenues collected from (re)allocation of IP income to Australia, the overall return of a patent box regime is likely to be negative.

    “IP Australia, the federal agency administering intellectual property rights, detailed the poor record of patent boxes in its submission to the federal parliament’s Inquiry into Australia’s Future in Research and Innovation in 2016. It said the literature on such schemes found little if any benefit for actual innovation, at great cost to taxpayers.”

    JQ-Q: how much are we paying for the patents and profit? Anyone.

    [8bn doses x (8bn x every 2yrs) ] say in 5yrs we will have made 20bn doses.
    At 1c per dose =$200,000,000 + profit of ???

    Borrow $5bn+ now.
    As JQ says “”In these circumstances, we need more public debt, not less, to restore a positive real rate of interest. That requires public investments with returns large enough to service the debt.”

    $20m over 20yrs + interest returns $200,000,000 @ 1c per dose.
    Utter. Bargin. Feel free to point out my ignorance. Please.

  6. Per the SMH article by Nick Toscano dated May 17, headlined “Rescue deal for Australian oil refineries saves 1250 jobs”, begins with:

    “Australia’s two remaining oil refineries will continue operating for at least another six years,
    saving the jobs of more than 1200 workers, after fuel suppliers Ampol and Viva Energy reached
    a deal with the federal government.”

    The Federal Government’s up to $2.4 billion rescue package is intended to also incentivize infrastructure upgrades to help refiners accelerate the production of better-quality fuels (in line with Euro-6 equivalent petrol and diesel standards as early as 2024), and improve monitoring of the minimum stockholding obligation of 24 days to act as a safety net for petrol and jet fuel stocks while diesel stocks will be increased by eight days, to around 28 days of supply.

    Ampol (for the Lytton, Queensland refinery) and Viva (for Geelong, Victoria) said they intended to keep their plants running to at least mid-2027. But what happens after that? More good money after bad? It also ignores an inevitable post- ‘peak oil’ supply world, and the existential threat of climate change – see my comment at:

  7. 2,4 Billion for 1200 jobs? The typical European coal miner is cheaper than that.

  8. Federal Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon told Ben Fordham on Radio 2GB this morning that …

    Why does it matter what he said? Was any of it accurate?

  9. John Kerry: “I am told by scientists, not by anybody in politics but by scientists, that 50% of the reductions we have to make to get to net zero by 2050 or 2045, as soon as we can, 50 percent of those reductions are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have,” Spirited responses from Greta and Mann here:
    I’ll rely myself on the earlier statement by Jacobson, Blakers, and other leading energy modellers with names:

    The statement confirrns that Kerry is not actually very bright Contrast Joe Biden’s bumbling grandpa act, belied by his remarkably successful campaign and presidency to date. For if it were true, we are in a very deep hole, since new technologies are by definition uncertain, and there is a very good chance of failure. The current suite of technologies that work, reliably and affordably – wind, solar PV, pumped hydro storage, Li-ion batteries, HVDC transmission – are the survivors from a longer list of bright ideas that failed: nuclear, OTEC, wave, kites, CSP, CCS. I think we can add to the survivor list conservation agriculture, V2G, hydrogen DRI for ironmaking, and hydrogen electrolysis, using the test of industrial (not lab) pilots that work. Shipping is on the cusp: electric ferries are in operation, and there are no great technical obstacles to running ships on green ammonia or hydrogen fuel cells. That leaves only three big unsolved problems: aviation (needs radically better batteries), cement, and carbon sequestration. They don’t add up to 50% of current emissions.

    While we’re on cement, cool new Swedish idea for batteries made of concrete, potentially as part of buildings: The storage density is still terrible, but then buildings use a lot of concrete. Needs no raw material more exotic than nickel. If we had to rely on this sort of thing as per Kerry’s unnamed “scientists”,it would be terrifying. As things stand, it’s nice to have more potential options.

  10. Comprehensive in the extreme. “Researchers are currently testing 90 vaccines”. 90. It looks luke mix n match will save some poor performers. And price.

    Why do we not manage this… details such as:
    ” The company’s stock price increased 3,600 percent in the first half of 2020. In June, The New York Times reported, a hedge fund that partly controlled the company sold off most of its shares, netting over $200 million in profits. In the wake of that reporting, the Department of Justice began investigating the company,…”

    “Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker
    By Carl Zimmer, Jonathan Corum and Sui-Lee Wee
    Updated May 18, 2021

    “Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but in 2020, scientists embarked on a race to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines in record time. Researchers are currently testing 90 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and 27 have reached the final stages of testing. At least 77 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.” …

  11. New agreements from the G7 Climate and Environment Ministers have been established in the last 24 hours. A tweet overnight from Ember, a climate and energy think tank, was on the G7 agreement:

    Good news, but the compelling scientific evidence indicates that it’s not enough.
    It seems to me there’s still a widespread delusion that the Earth System can be kept at or below +1.5 °C global mean warming. That horse has already bolted. See table 1 in:

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