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

59 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. That was a neat bit of magic played by Frydenberg last night – a classic shell game.

    The argument, supported by treasury, is that Jobkeeper was so good at saving companies from bankruptcy that they returned a profit.

    The get out of jail free card; supported by treasury.

    I could see that Leigh Sales was left stranded, the tide well and truly went out on her.

  2. It is just shocking how many people still do not get vaccinated. Vaccines are ready for everyone to take on every street corner for a while now in a bunch of nations, and most of those have a rather high virus circulation rate. Still, somehow, hardly any of those nations manages to get anywhere close to the coverage rate one would expect. I´ve lost another bit of the little remaining faith in human sanity i still had. This includes both the people who do not get vaccinated and the ones that are incapable of treating them in accordance with the risk they pose to others.

    Maybe one should have seen it coming in the US, with one of the two major parties campaigning on corona craziness. Maybe one should have seen it coming in Israel, with its society fractured among so many dysfunctional subcultures. Maybe even in Germany with its more or less left anti Vax conspiracy thinker (Waldorf schools etc.) tradition unifying with the far right in corona denialism. I sure didn’t – at least not in that scope. So let´s look at Italy, where all the usual suspects did restrain from corona related nonsense. While the vaccination rate there is higher than in the three other examples – it is still just 70%…..

  3. hix: – “It is just shocking how many people still do not get vaccinated.

    You may find The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, a short essay written by the Italian economist Carlo Cipolla, of interest.

    Law #1: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
    Law #2: The probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
    Law #3: A stupid person is one who causes losses to another person or a group of people while they gain nothing or may even suffer losses.
    Law #4: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that in any time and place and circumstance dealing and/or hanging out with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
    Law #5: Stupid people are the most dangerous type of people.
    View at

    This theory is something to keep in mind when inevitably hampered by human stupidity. 😉

  4. Some random thoughts.

    The five basic laws of human stupidity were advanced humorously. Even so, these are not laws at all. For example, Law #3, so called, is a definition, not a law, This possibly is a good thing in itself (to list, rather belatedly, a definition), but let’s not call it a law. Definitions are certainly needed. We need to define quantities (and maybe qualities) in order to link their relations by descriptive laws.

    We can note this an economist’s definition of human stupidity and a fairly narrow definition at that. It operates seemingly at the economic transactional level of gains and losses and limiting transactions to human-to-human transactions (no mention of damages to ecology for example).

    There is an assumption that stupidity is always an individual characteristic, ignoring the possibilities of group stupidity. It ignores compositional effects. Groups of intelligent people, following certain precepts or forced along certain action paths by precept guided behavior encountering unforeseen consequences, can act stupidly in an emrgent sense. To persist with an economic system which causes catastrophic climate change can be regarded as a continuing act of mass stupidity.

    Stupidity is relative and variable, not any set quantity we can pin down. Highly intelligent people can be really stupid at times.

    I happen to agree with the prejudice that humans can be stupid. Heck, I think ALL humans are stupid, at least some of the time. Notice that I call it as my prejudice and what “I think.” I think we are stupid relative to the levels of intelligence, real and applied, required to run a sustainable civilization. I find my prejudices to be borne out by empirical events to date.

    More than one thinker has noted that intelligence is a quantity or quality that operates better at the extremes of the spectrum for animals. It is better to have no or relatively low formal reflective and formal calculative intelligence or else if such intelligence is developed then it has to be of a very high order and coupled with high ethical standards to not be applied self-destructively and/or other-destructively and/or environmentally destructively. Humans don’t appear to meet that test. Just my misanthropic opinion of course. I might be stupid for thinking humans are stupid. 😉

  5. My wife, as a severe migraine sufferer and also as a sufferer of Transient Global Amnesia or TGA attacks (twice, which is extremely, extremely rare) has been very concerned that at age 61 she will be forced to accept AstraZeneca or nothing for her COVID-19 vaccination. She feels strongly, from her own extensive research [1] of relevant scientific literature and reputable advocacy literature that she is in a sub-group which could be at significant extra and unacceptable risk from AstraZeneca vaccination. Well, she appears now to be fully vindicated in her concerns.

    In this case, a summation update from Migraine Australia, independently validates my wife’s own research and personal concerns. To avoid any misunderstandings, I do NOT mean to imply that my wife did or does any research for Migraine Australia. She did and does not.

    The Federal Government in their political intransigence, habitual callousness and sheer bloody-mindedness have ignored growing concerns about and from small groups (statistically speaking) for whom AstraZeneca may reasonably be considered contra-indicated. The tiny costs of accommodating these small, concerned groups, who very well may have real concerns, are very trivial costs in the scheme of things. Even one person in a million saved, for less than $50 for two more expensive vaccine jabs, would surely be actuarially and economically worth it. Let alone that it ought to be a moral duty to assist all groups at extra risk especially when the costs of extra assistance are so trivial.

    ATAGI in their committee-style and also apparently simplistic,deterministic, linear and non-complex systems thinking (which is especially inappropriate in relation to complex neurological concerns) have also refused thus far to advise exceptions to over 60s AstraZenca vaccination other than for TTS (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia). Maybe if one of these committee members suffered from acute migraines and TGA (one or more attacks) they might have already arrived at a different decision. ATAGI also seem to be a weak-minded committee which lets the neoliberal bullies in the LNP bias their scientific thinking and their recommendations from a risk-based, probabilistic cost estimating method angle. That is if they use such thinking at all. There’s certainly no evidence that the government plus ATAGI are employing any risk-based, probabilistic cost estimating to make good decisions.

    Concluding remarks.

    It might seem I am taking government and ATAGI decisions personally. That’s because I am. Every scientific, political and business decision IS personal when it personally affects people, especially by affecting them prejudicially and deleteriously. The political is personal, always, because the political so very often does personal damage especially, but not only, under neoliberal capitalism.

    Note 1. My wife is a retired librarian with qualifications which include research librarian credentials including database and on-line searching. She knows what she’s doing when she researches.

  6. A couple of longish-shot green technologies making progress.

    “Netherlands-based start-up Oceans of Energy has announced it will deploy a 3 MW off-shore floating PV array off the Belgian coast in the North Sea. The plant, which the company describes as a full-scale demonstrator, will be co-located with an unspecified wind farm. “This project will bring the cost to €0.15 per kWh,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine. “In future projects, we expect to deliver clean energy everywhere in the world for less than €0.05 per kWh.” ”

    This is not of much direct interest to Australia, with a limitless supply of desert land. But there are a lot of offshore wind farms elsewhere to piggyback on, with potential for a seaweed bonus underneath. The surprising thing is that the developers use selected standard solar panels, not pricey bespoke ones.

    Meanwhile, a heavyweight Japanese consortium has reported progress on photocatalytic hydrogen generation, bypassing the electricity stage completely. This is a long way from rivalling catalysis economically, and may never make it if electrolysers get cheaper quickly, but still it’s nice to know.

  7. Well, standard solar panels are made out of glass and silicon with aluminium frames, if I am not wrong. Salty water shouldn’t bother them and their connections too much so long as their design and installation avoids excessive galvanic corrosion on metal components and connections. Again, I guess here.

    Yup, I agree Australia effectively has a limitless supply of desert land. It’s solar farm heaven except for dust and sand which can be tolerated. Australia also effectively has a limitless supply of windy coastline: great for wind generators. One could say that Europe has a limitless supply of adjoining desert in the Middle East and North Africa. Are they too far away to export electricity directly to the Mediterranean countries and hydrogen or methane synthesized from solar power to Northern Europe?

  8. Hi Ikon & Mrs Ikon,

    I fully concur with Pfizer pref in your circumstance Mrs Ikon.

    These doctors linked below, contracted covid early in 2020. There stories made me get AZ, even though I am anaphylatic to bee stings. I am now taking 100mg / day asprin until clotting risk passed – about 6-8wks.

    One of them stated ” clotting from covid 800x more than vaccine, why isn’t this front page news”, and I think specifcally “Take low dose asprin for non oclusive thrombises”. Please do not take this as advise. They knew what they were talking about. Their year later stories were life crushing as they are still suffering.

    Migraine sufferers may probably want Pfizer as outlined. My GP, who is not my GP anymore, was so wishy washy in advice I will not be returning. Loathe finding a new gp tho.

    For the doc who had severe neurological symptoms, the neurologist said the only reason he is still alive is because he was, as a habit, taking low dose Asprin. 100mg / day lowers platelet count by about 0.3% from memory. Please check Mrs Ikon.

    My father, at 82 was on 6 medications a day. He felt they were excessive, but his doc wouldn’t consider removing one by one to see how interactions or single effect may assist / deter conditions. So he just stopped taking ALL of them. Cajones! Love you Dad. 

    3 weeks later in hospital, new doc reviewed all medications, lowered dosage on 2, kept 2 same,  ceased 2, and prescribed low dose Asprin. He felt better physically & psychologically. And returned to the garden. He planted 600 onions & 200 garlic later that year. Mum & Dad were home produce retirement green thumbs, even tho I’d seen him once only in the garden before retirement. And he lasted another 12 years. 

    My only advice for Mrs Ikon is to seek out every Pfizer provider locally and ask to be on missed booking quick attendance replacement list. They hate wasting shots. 

    I won’t go into the numerous examples of queue jumpers I know of. They are in my developing Covid Royal Commision submission. Solicitors! Wealthy. Entitled. Time will out them.

    The solicitor, when trying for second dose got caught out by a lock down, so missed 2nd dose. Don’t know the outcome yet.

    Best of luck.

    The ABC Science Fricrion 

    The long COVID doctors
    (Part 1 of 2)

    In October 2020, three UK doctors shared with us their devastating personal experiences of COVID-19’s bizarre and disabling symptoms.

    Months after they were initially infected, they were still grappling with ‘long COVID’ symptoms.

    We’re bringing you their stories again, because in Science Friction’s next episode, Natasha follows up with each nearly a year on, as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson controversially lifts all pandemic restrictions in England.

    What they have to say about what’s happened in their lives since will surprise and shock you.

    A cautionary tale for Australia too as we grapple with a major outbreak of the coronavirus’s Delta variant.

    Long COVID doesn’t discriminate. Healthy people. Young people. Those who apparently had a mild case of COVID-19.

    Are we facing another pandemic … this one silent, confusing, and harder to diagnose? Will vaccinations help?

    Listen to part 2 here.
    Read a feature by Natasha Mitchell about the three doctors here.

    Dr Ian Frayling 
    Consulting genetic pathologist and medical practitioner 
    President, Association of Clinical Pathologists
    St. Mark’s Hospital, London and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland
    Wales, UK

    Dr Nathalie MacDermott
    Paediatric infectious diseases doctor
    Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
    NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Paediatrics (Infectious Diseases)
    Kings College London

    Dr Amy Small 
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    More information:
    From Doctors as Patients: A manifesto for tackling persisting symptoms of COVID-19 (15 September 2020)

    Why we need to keep using the patient made term ‘Long Covid’ (1 October 2020)

    Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group

    Long haulers are redefining COVID-19 (Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 2020)
    Duration: 35min 17sec

  9. KT2,

    Thank you. A very interesting post with very interesting looking links. I plan to follow up all links in detail. Thanks again.

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