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. “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road: Strategic Management Edition

    – “The chicken is attempting to economize on bounded rationality and attenuate opportunism.” — Oliver Williamson

    “The chicken is choosing purposefully based on its perception of its subjective opportunity set.” — Edith Tilton Penrose

    “To position itself.” — Porter

    “Because the path is more interesting than the equilibrium position.” — Penrose

    “Learning by doing.” — Arrow

    Had to have a laugh before I read;

    “Can artificially altered clouds save the Great Barrier Reef?”

    [ yes, but will require an ocean of energy. Ceasing air movement also helps ]

  2. Three of Slomos shaky Libs recently offered to defect, and in doing so to hand government to the ALP on a plate right now, but the ALP didn’t take it up. Couldn’t take it up. They couldn’t desert the duopoly themselves, nor upset their duopoly donor oligarchy.

    It’s another reason not to vote duopoly on any ballot form whatsoever, and also reason to join one of the 30-40 minor parties that the duopoly have prohibited from participating in the democratic process where joining such a minor party would get them over the dirty duopoly’s tricky new 1500 member threshold.

    I quickly realised that pleas to morality and democracy were not going to work, and that I needed something more tangible to offer Labor to induce them to vote against the Bill. So I disclosed something to Burke that only my National Executive and I knew. It was that we had been in discussion with three moderate disaffected members of the old liberals’ parliamentary party, who were interested in leaving the old Liberals’ and sitting on the cross-bench as The New Liberals’ first parliamentary members.

    I pointed out to Burke that if Labor were to oppose the deregistration legislation, he could count on these three new members of our party to vote with his Labor to defeat the government on the floor of the house. In effect I was offering Burke the opportunity for the Labor Party to take government the next day, so to speak.

    Again Burke refused, and reiterated that it was a done deal. In other words, he was telling me that Labor would rather preserve the duopoly then take government in their own right. It was of course at that moment I realised definitively that we had become a one-party State…

  3. Svante,

    Correct. The ALP are worse than useless, just like the LNP. Both parties are completely bought by fossil fuel, mining and other corporate and capitalist interest groups. It will not prove possible to save Australia, or working class and poor people, while this power/money nexus rules Australia. They are magnifying climate change and they are magnifying the COVID crisis. They are sacrificing the environment, native plants, native animals and people for profits.

    The ALP and Albanese are terrified of government anyway. They don’t want to win government. People might expect them to do something when they can’t do that without losing donations. They are much more comfortable in opposition. The job is easier, no responsibility, and the donations and pay packets are nearly the same, all for a tenth of the stress. I am pretty convinced they are running dead. A stunned mullet could show more activity and charisma than Albo. Albo is the type of leader people pick when they want to lose.

  4. Well, someone whose words are listened to in investing (like a billionaire) has to be pumping and dumping with statements like that. My guess is he has sold his cryptos (dumped) and bought gold, so now he is pumping gold. Eventually, he will dump gold, declare gold overvalued and find some new “wonder crypto” and say it’s the real thing. Though he will also have better information than the average punter on when government(s) are likely to regulate or attack crypto, so crypto might not be the next pump. It all depends on what and his mates and enablers can orchestrate without breaking any black letter laws.

  5. The biggest economic failure by the Morrison Government – dwarfing the hundreds of millions paid out in election bribes via the park-and-ride station parking scandal – is the squandering of $13b on stupid JobKeeper handouts to firms whose turnover increased during the pandemic. The only thing Frydenberg needed to do was to make these grants conditional on revenues actually declining but to otherwise require that they be repaid.

    The most active voice criticising this monstrous waste of public money has been the AFR who have pursued the issue relentlessly. The other voice has been Andrew Leigh who has whining about firms who will not repay money that was unconditionally given to them. It has always struck me as a foolish argument given the responsibility of directors to take care of their shareholders. And for the firms whose workers experienced no job losses and whose revenues increased that is where the $13b headed. Into increased profits and dividends.

    I wonder to myself why such comparative silence on the part of the left regarding such an outrageous waste of public funds. Are they seduced by the Frydenberg argument that these shareholder handouts were a way of stimulating the economy? That’s a stupid argument since, during the pandemic, many people were in genuine need and a stimulus could have more effectively been directed through them. Or is it an even more stupid position – it seems advanced by extreme left loonies – that $13b is small bikkies and that one should never question any fiscal expansion that can be financed by debt at low interest rates.

    I fume at the station parking lot affair whereby hundreds of millions of dollars were directed into mainly marginal Liberal seats to provide support for ineffective park-and-ride policies that divert a single motorist from congesting our cities at a cost of $10,000 annual for a publicly-provided parking spot and a subsidised rail journey. But this is utterly trivial compared to the sheer ineptness of the Frydenberg oversight on the JobKeeper scheme.

    The Liberal Party are supposed to provide the better economic managers than Labor. But this incompetence makes a joke of any such claim.

  6. The Liberal Party are supposed to provide the better economic managers than Labor.

    Supposed? Who supposes that?

  7. The question that raises is this:
    Why do opinion polls consistently report that people consider the Liberals better economic managers than Labor?

  8. I think it is because (rightly or wrongly) voters are suspicious of Labor’s propensities to spend and tax. Also, a few (not many) conservatives have some limited background in business. Most of Labor’s ranks are political hacks who rose through the party machine or are ex trade unionists. They then often either become Ministers/Shadow Ministers or work for Crown Casino as political influence peddlers.

    In fact, I think the breadth of experience in both major parties is tragically narrow.

  9. You may well be right about that answer (I can’t be sure), but if it’s the correct answer it points towards two more questions:
    1. Why do so many people believe that Labor governments spend and tax more than Coalition governments?
    2. Why do so many people believe that’s a bad thing?

  10. I’ve ruin out of steam and I feel this inquiry could go on indefinitely. I don’t know is the answer. I was mainly concerned with the waste of taxpayer money.

  11. Harry, I completely concur with your critique of the design of the jobkeeper program and the waste or misallocation of debt for which taxpayers are legally responsible.

  12. @ J-d
    Supposed? Who supposes that?
    We have the same thing here in Canada. The press will endorse the Conservatives as the financially responsible government, at least at the provincial level.. After the election the new Liberal or New Democratic Party government spends the first 2 years of its mandate trying to clean up the mess the Conservatives left behind.

    Mind, the Libs & NDP can be fiscally irresponsible too but never to the heights the Conservatives achieve.

  13. I agree with Harry Clarke and Ernestine Gross re the design of the jobkeeper program and the waste of government funds by giving the rich more free money. I do not believe the actions of the neoliberal politicians in this or any other matter are mere incompetence. It goes deeper than that. It is bad faith and collusion. it is dishonesty in favor of the rich to gain favor with rich. It is intentional misallocation, robbing from the poor to give to the rich. It is socialism for the rich and free enterprise losses for the poor.

    “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor is a classical political-economic argument asserting that, in advanced capitalist societies, state policies assure that more resources flow to the rich than to the poor, for example in the form of transfer payments.[1]

    The term corporate welfare is widely used to describe the bestowal of favorable treatment to big business (particular corporations) by the government. One of the most commonly raised forms of criticism are statements that the capitalist political economy toward large corporations allows them to “privatize profits and socialize losses.”” – Wikipedia.

    This will never change while our system fails to change or rather while the people fail to change it. The West is collapsing from neoliberalism. The West’s system and elites are unwilling and indeed systemically incapable of taking any real action on climate change just as they are totally incapable of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The neoliberal West faces collapse on all fronts. Meanwhile China goes from strength to strength: almost completely containing COVID-19, despite inferior vaccines (for the moment) and continuing to grow and consolidate its enormous manufacturing and technology lead over the West. There are patches where the USA still leads in technology. The mRNA vaccines are an obvious example. But this lead will be rapidly whittled and the West will, most likely, continue towhite-ant and destroy itself with neoliberal capitalism.

    The Australian government and corporations are preparing to destroy Australia by opening it up during an uncontained pandemic with inadequate vaccinated numbers (anything less than 95% of the total population will prove inadequate) and with rapid vaccine escape and immune escape being demonstrated by the virus. This will be another disaster and do further human and economic harm.

    Welcome to the collapse. Brought to you by capitalism. China is demonstrating the clear superiority of socialism and statist action over market fundamentalism, esepocially in terms of positive collective action to face common threats. Unfortunately, China has not solved the democracy equation. Its ruling elites have opted for totalitarian socialism, not democratic socialism. The last great arrow in the quiver of the West is democracy and openness in those sections of society not yet fully controlled by the dead hand of neoliberalism. Only if we can mobilize these and create genuine democratic socialism do we stand any chance at all of saving something from the disastrous wreck of neoliberal Western capitalism.

  14. scomo and gladys have been talking up the Doherty Institute modelling, arguing it offers a safe path out of lockdowns with 80% vaccination rate. the Australia Institute have made a great video going through the modelling in an easy-to-understand way, examining the critical assumptions of the model and, surprise surprise – its results are being taken out of context. based on the inefficacy of current contact tracing in NSW, given they are completely overrun, the best case scenario based on the modelling is in fact tens of thousands of cases per day within months of opening up at 80% vaccination coverage (which lest we forget is not even 60% of the actual population) check out the vid here, i really recommend it:

    also @Svante re the new liberals’ plan – i must say im skeptical that they’ve convinced 3 Coalition MPs to defect. looking at their policies they’re closer to the greens than any of the other main parties – hardly seems like the natural landing spot for a disgruntled coalition MP. if i were Burke i probably wouldnt take his promise of handing government too seriously either – of course that doesnt excuse supporting blatantly undemocratic ‘reform’

  15. That’s right Hix, it is like a marathon runner giving maybe just a few kilometers from the finish, when he or she has even run through “the wall” earlier and kept going. It is the most absurd, counterproductive and unnecessary place to give up, when the whole race is nearly won.

    Australia had a real shot at eradication or strong suppression. Now we are literally throwing all that advantage away: guaranteeing many thousands of unnecessary deaths and many more years of really serious trouble. Having 80% vaccinated will not be nearly enough. Studies already show that at least 95% vaccination of the whole population would be required plus continued NPIs as well. COVID-19 is about to mutate (most likely) into a new variant of concern that makes Delta look like a relative picnic.

    If evolution adds the features of Sth Africa’s new variant plus Lambda and Delta Plus all together in one new variant (which is actually quite likely to happen in a world where the whole world is COVID’s petri dish AND COVID easily acquires genetic code form other variants and other sources) and we will see the “Variant from Hell” arise. It is more likely than not at this stage. Any open country and any country which foolishly opens at this point will suffer an ongoing medical, social and economic disaster with effects and repercussions for decades to come.

    If I am wrong I will shut up and disappear from blogging here. People can hold me to that. To prove me wrong, COVID-19 has to be “just a cold” before 2024. But I am would want an agreement on precise objective metrics and not on numeraire metrics. And then hold me to it. Here’s everyone’s chance to rid this blog of me! Believe me if I lose that much face I will want to disappear. 🙂

  16. I’ve ruin out of steam and I feel this inquiry could go on indefinitely. I don’t know is the answer.

    Sorry if it seemed as if I were interrogating you–that wasn’t my idea! I just thought the questions were worth mentioning; I didn’t mean that I thought you were responsible for providing the answers.

  17. Further to hix’s link from ourworldindata, here is a composite diagram of case numbers for the US, UK, Denmark, Germany and Australia:

    The US is a ‘big country’. The UK is an island like Australia, Denmark is not quite an island, and Germany has a trivially sized sea border and is otherwise surrounded by Denmark, Poland, Czechia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. Like Australia, Germany is a federation with 16 States.

    Denmark plans to remove further mobility restrictions in October, about 3 months after the UK. They have now a higher vaccination coverage than the UK and, at least up to now, have suppressed the virus much more successfully than the UK . Germany is still more careful – what to do with children and the transmission of the virus by vaccinated people are still hot topics as are the ethical questions regarding how to treat unvaccinated people (young children and those medically unable to be vaccinated) in a fair manner.

    Focusing on Australia, why would Australians be worried about ‘lagging behind’ – the UK, the USA?

    What explains the Premier of NSW’s messaging? Her message to get vaccinated is an appropriate message if there is evidence of vaccination hesitancy (like in the US). But I fail to see its purpose when the problem was and still is to some extent the supply of vaccines? Surely, politicians who promote the value of ‘freedom of choice’ should also allow their population to choose between vaccines. I suppose all this is politics, which I don’t seem to be able to grasp.

    Of real concern for me is the Premier of NSW’s messaging regarding the benefits of vaccination in detail. To be specific, she fails to mention consistently that vaccinated people can become infected (although at a reduced risk) and, without being aware of it (asymptomatic) infect others. I became aware of the risk of people being mislead when I talked yesterday with a highly educated friend who was not aware of it.

    She also seems to forget that people in age groups for which AZ is not recommended are supposed to discuss their personal circumstances with their GP before getting “a jab”.

    And so forth. It is very frustrating to live in NSW at present.

  18. Ernestine Gross: – “It is very frustrating to live in NSW at present.

    Try regional NSW. It’s weeks waiting for AZ, or much longer for Pfizer. So much for ‘freedom of choice’.

    At least there are only a few known COVID cases in my LGA, but there are still idiots getting caught coming through from other regions including Sydney.

  19. Geoff Miell, I deliberately wrote NSW rather than Sydney. I live in a LGA in Sydney with only a few known cases and I consider myself privileged, not because of the value of my modest house, but because it sits on a relatively large block of land with plenty of gardens and trees in the neighbourhood and little foot traffic on the roads. People in the Eastern Suburbs are close to two major teaching hospitals. In the Western and SW area of Sydney there are already capacity limits reached in their hospitals. I can’t even imagine the difficulties for people in regional NSW and the Far West where the next fully equipped hospital may be hundreds of kms away.

  20. People like Gladys Berejiklian seem to understand that Delta is very different from “Wuhan” and Alpha. And yet, they seem to show no understanding that the evolution of variants is not finished and that the worst is almost certainly yet to come. A novel RNA virus pathogen enters a population of 8 billion, travel-connected, mid-large, pathogen-naive mammals. Nothing of this scale has ever happened before in all of evolutionary history. This event is off the charts in almost every sense.

    The lack of humility in the face of nature etc. etc.

  21. Maybe John or an accountant can help me with this. I have a very small company – me, and I recieved the job keeper payment from March 2020, thank god. Now to get the jk payment I had to prove that my income was 30% less than the previous year which I could easily do. Now the ATO has all the info on my company, BAS statements etc so easy for them to check if I was legit. So no problems. I did not get the third payment as I earned less in the corresponding period.

    So, my question is, how could a company rort the system with all the info the ato has on them. Now I’m not a fan of any company getting tax payers money when they don’t deserve it or need it but maybe when the pandemic first hit in 2020 and the economy dived – lots of businesses sales plummeted so they were eligible for JK, then when business started to pick up in later periods for some companies, such as Harvey Norman then they did not receive any future payments.

    I just don’t see how people can get away with getting JK if they can’t prove the loss of income.

  22. In an op-ed in The Conversation on Jul 13 by Zoë Hyde, Epidemiologist at the University of Western Australia, headlined No, we can’t treat COVID-19 like the flu. We have to consider the lasting health problems it causes, it begins with (bold text my emphasis):

    Earlier this month, the Australian government announced a four-phase plan to return us to something resembling normality. Under this plan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, we will eventually treat COVID-19 “like the flu”.

    The hope is vaccines will allow us to live with some transmission without many people getting seriously ill or dying.

    But death and hospitalisation aren’t the only outcomes of COVID-19 we need to prevent. New research shows even young people can be left with chronic health problems after infection.

    COVID-19 will always be a very different disease to the flu. We should aim to stamp it out like measles, not let it spread.

    An estimated 10,000 children and 16,000 adolescents in the UK have been living with long COVID for at least 12 weeks. Around 1 in 12 children who’ve been infected report enduring symptoms. That’s a worry for any parent.

    It seems to me Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian are ignoring this sobering warning:

    The coronavirus is an airborne virus that’s more transmissible than influenza, and causes more severe disease. It’s not a flu-like illness and never will be.

    In the longer term, if governments don’t manage COVID adequately, there’s a risk workforces could be devastated and the medical systems overwhelmed.

    Is it any wonder the other states/territories don’t want to open their borders to NSW and Victoria?

  23. Further to Harry Clark’s critique of the jobkeeper program, the smh published an article tonight that is said to be based on the ABC’s 7:30 report.

    Quotes: “If they were going to pay back that money then they wouldn’t have necessarily taken it in the first place,” the Treasurer told the ABC’s 730.
    “If businesses had had to show an actual turnover decline then we wouldn’t have gotten the money out the door,” he said.

    Perhaps someone can clarify.

    I understand nobody says that the jobkeeper program was supposed to be a loan agreement, as implied by the first quote of the Treasurer. So I don’t understand what the critique is to which the Treasurer offers the defence.

    Obviously, no business can know with certainty at the time of the application how their profit will be impacted by the pandemic in 3 months time or longer. So I don’t understand the second quoted sentence.

    In the terminology of Finance, what is required is a conditional contract. That is, a contract that specifies that the money needs to be repaid if the expectations of an enterprise at the time of application regarding the stipulated loss of profit during a specified period did not materialise (the expectation was too pessimistic) at the end of the period. One can allow for the work required to make the application or remaining uncertainty, by having a clause to the effect that the repayment requirement is limited to an overestimation of the decline in profit of greater than say 5%.

    If I may say, time is an elementary factor in any financial contract and so are conditions (eg various options).

    According to the said article, “Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Budget Office showed that almost $13 billion of the subsidies went to companies that did not satisfy the requirements of the program in its first three months.” This is not a trivial amount.

    PS: The jobkeeper program has been said to be similar to the German “Kurzarbeit” model. There is an important difference. In Germany companies (not sure whether it is all or only those of a certain size) pay into a fund from which the wage subsidies are paid. The idea is like an insurance for workers during a business cycle. I do recall an interview with the CEO of Volkswagen some time in 2020 where he said Volkswagen has accumulated such high contributions in this fund that he does not expect to require public funds to supplement the wages during the pandemic under the Kurzarbeit program. Public funds (general revenue) were made available to companies, which were not in such a lucky position.

  24. In the matter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LNP, the business lobbies and now the ALP are making a terrible mistake. As Geoff Miell’s quote of a noted epidemiologist says, “COVID-19 is not influenza.” Not only is COVID-19 Delta (and still evolving) more contagious and more deadly than flu it also attacks the body in a very different and systemically more dangerous way that flu, has different sequelae (pathological consequences following disease) and is mutating and evolving much more rapidly than the flu(s) for at least a couple of reasons. All of these important differences have more serious consequences now and and donwstream will have even more serious emergent consequences. I will post again about this list of differences, why they matter and why their consequences will be very serious indeed.

    However, my intent in this post is to note the complete change in tenor of daily political economy discourse in Australia in relation to COVID-19. This change in discourse can be summed up by soundbites like;

    (a) We have to open up the economy.
    (b) We have to learn to live with covid-19.
    (c) Vaccinations are the key and “high” vaccination rates, like 70% double dose of over 16s, are “magic”.

    The major change in the discourse is that suddenly almost everyone is accepting it. We knew that the above three points were always the Federal Govt’s position but the states, even NSW for a time, dared to be different and seek eradication or at least suppression. But that all changed when Gladys B. failed to go hard and early and thus failed to suppress Delta variant. We will come back to why Dan Andrews has given up and what that tells us.

    Suddenly the new mantra is “Let’s give up.” Okay, it isn’t said like that, it is said via the a,b,c points I listed above. The next notable change was that everyone in the media and even in Labor started parroting and accepting these points and their essential implied claims. The most notable event in the last 24 hours or so has been that Dan Andrews has given up. He has given up hope and action to seriously suppress the virus. He has joined the “open up no matter what” party. He has done that by positing essentially that a single dose vaccination rate of 70% is sufficient for “more freedoms”. This position is even worse than Gladys B’s. She regards 70% double-dose vaccination rate of over-16s as “magic”. The phrase she used in the presser was “the magic 70%”. Dan Andrews obviously thinks that a single-dose 70% mark is “magic” or else he has capitulated for some deeper, darker reason.

    The deeper, darker reason exists, I believe. Big business in Australia has signed press statements arguing that the economy must be opened up. One can only imagine the strength of the behind-the-scenes lobbying and the outright threats to withhold donations from parties that refuse to open up. Dan Andrews capitulation speaks to pressure from Big Business and Federal Labor. Federal Labor is very weak on COVID-19 suppression and supports the Morrison government’s position with minor quibbles so the ALP can pretend to be different.

    There is almost certainly pressure from the USA government and USA big business for Australia to open up. US government and US big business are joined at the hip. The USA is not a nation. It is a business. Certain US corporations make a lot of money in and from Australia and clearly feel a threat to their business models from a nation that won’t open up. I strongly suspect that Australia’s access to sufficient vaccines (Pfizer. Moderna and J&J) has been made contingent on opening up in a manner acceptable the USA government for and on behalf of US big business. Don’t open up and the vaccine tap will be turned back to a trickle. Vaccine diplomacy of a different kind: the kind that says do what you are told or no vaccines for you.

    The hang-dog manner in which Dan Andrews announced his capitulation indicated to me that he had been spoken to by the “big boys” and the big boys left him in no doubt that he and Victorian Labor would be destroyed if they did not comply. Annastacia Pałaszczuk’s capitulation likely can be only hours or at best days away, although there might be a wrinkle. Qld. has two or three significant lobbies, the mining lobby, the professional sports lobby and the small business lobby, likely in that order.. The mining lobby wants complete opening. The sports lobby may want Qld. to remain a special bubble supporting elitist, professional sport. It will be interesting and likely demoralizing to our view of genuine democracy to see how this one plays out.

    Once again, all this is a neoliberal TINA situation – There Is No Alternative. This alluring siren’s full name is Tina Fay Accompli. Tina hies not from France or Italy, as you might think from her name, but from the good old USA. Her father’s name is Richard or as he likes to be called, Rich. His full name is Rich White Liberal. The Liberals are an old family who like to pretend they are not descended from the Whigs of ye Olde England. The early Liberal forerunners, as the Boston “Brahmins”, originally considered that killing natives, trading slaves, running grog and running opium to China were all jolly good fun activities. Now they pretend they were always against all that stuff while still rolling in the family money from those original sources and stocking up the police forces and prisons to crack down on black, brown and even red-necked white trash when they go too far “off-leash”.

    Tina Fay Accompli is by Rich White Liberal out of (Plain) Jane Capitalism. The more things don’t change, the more they self-perpetuate. Orders have come down from on high in the global capitalist system, run by the USA, that Australia must open up and vulnerable Australians must die for oligarchic profits. Same old sh**. Prepare for a collapsing hospital system and people dying at home and on the hospital ramps. Among other things. Australia is not permitted to show that even Delta could be suppressed. Thtr would show up the USA, the UK and others in the global capitalist system. Suppressing the virus and saving lives would be…well… socialist. That is forbidden. It might interrupt the flows of exploitative super-profits.

  25. Kurzarbeiterfürsorge. 

    Simon Birmingham says “to sanction a clear inquiry” – if you are on our team.

    Well said Harry Clarke says @12:53 PM … “The biggest economic failure by the Morrison Government – … is the squandering of $13b on stupid JobKeeper handouts to firms whose turnover increased during the pandemic. The only thing Frydenberg needed to do was to make these grants conditional on revenues actually declining but to otherwise require that they be repaid.”

    Ernestine, the German version of Job Keeper, the “Kurzarbeit” model you mention, sems to be better than Job Keeper in various ways. It’s rules have been relaxed due to the pandemic.

    I am unable to determine if it has a claw back provision dependent on turnover, yet the employer has to pay 80% of social security payments to keep them from abusing employees and government. 

    A major flaw, as with most neoliberal democracies it that …
    …”In particular, marginal employees—who disproportionately work in the services sectors—do not make social security contributions, and are therefore not covered by Kurzarbeit.

    “They are among those likely to suffer the most from the sharp recession. To avoid potentially large social costs, the government should consider alternative ways to provide income support for this vulnerable segment of the population.”

    “Temporary workers – around 2% of the workforce – were also eventually covered by the current scheme after it was instigated. But many marginal workers, or so-called “mini-jobbers”, as well as many self-employed who don’t pay social security contributions are not covered, which critics of the scheme say is one of its downsides.”

    “But the policy’s history goes back much further, to approximately 1910, when it was first introduced as a way of tackling a capacity cutback in the potassium salt industry. Affected workers received a Kurzarbeiterfürsorge, or “short-time work welfare”, payment from the German empire.

    “It has subsequently been most typically used to help overcome short-term problems such as flood damage or bad weather impacting the construction industry.”

    I too saw Josh Frydenberg on 7.30 Report. I could not stand his obfuscation and after 3 questions and 3 lies and misdirections, I hit the off button. I have resolved to write directly to PM&C, and Andrew Leigh. And lobby my ‘rusted on’ acquaintances to, for once in their lives, vote for another party. 

    Who do you recommend to vote for excluding ALP & LibNats?

    And Andrew Leigh commenting on no JobKeeper claw back. What to say. He was saying the right thing – where is the clawback provision. Yet he voted for it! ALP is poll driven now. Like a hip pocket voter. Had ALP remained opposing stage 3 tax cuts and railed against no clawback provision, Andrew Leigh would be able to say we, the ALP, would have saved, to quote Harry & Ernestine’s figures; “According to the said article, “Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Budget Office showed that almost $13 billion of the subsidies went to companies that did not satisfy the requirements of the program in its first three months.” This is not a trivial amount.”. 

    My question to Harry, Ernestine, JQ, anyone; 

    If subsidies due to pandemic currently run at say $2bn per week, what is the percentage of that cost caused by late vaccinations?

    Or, what is the change in productivity due to slow vaccine rollout?

    Or what is the ineffctiveness rate in dollar terms of the late vaccine rollout.

    Or, opportunity cost of botched vaccine rollout.

    I don’t expect replies but it would be nice for an expert here (hint) to quantify inefficiency of vaccine rollout in;
    death (100 nsw), 
    etc etc.


    I tried. You?

    The ” ATO Tip-Off Form” says “By completing this form, you are helping keep the system fair for everyone.”

    Yet when I tried to enter any business with > $10m turnover who received JobKeepr the form returns;

    “All fields marked with * are mandatory.
    Fix the following errors:
    Error 1 of 2
    Entity name This field is required.
    Error 2 of 2
    State/ territory This field is required.”

    I then tried the anonymity assured tipoff phone number;
    They just don’t want to know. And do the “Chill” free speech by saying ok to tip off anonymously but when selecting what area to report,  the recording states “this call will be recorded and a unique voice printo to identify you will be created”. VERY CHILLING.

    See “Keeping JobKeeper payment fair”
    “Employees may contact the ATO Tip-off line on 1800 060 062 if they are concerned they are receiving wages funded by JobKeeper in substitution for a payment they would normally expect to receive upon termination.”

    Parochial hypocrisy as in what is good for the goose won’t be used by the gander if not on ‘our’ side:
    “Simon Birmingham: It is important that that we expect transparency from the World Health Organization, from China, and frankly all countries around how the virus started, how it’s been controlled, where controls worked and where it’s failed. And the work that we’ve been undertaking as a government is to try to encourage the rest of the world to sanction a clear inquiry into how the WHO’s powers can be strengthened in the future, so that they could have weapons inspector type of powers to go into countries and demand and expect information in events such as an unfolding pandemic.”

    +1 Ikon;
    “Suppressing the virus and saving lives would be…well… socialist. That is forbidden. It might interrupt the flows of exploitative super-profits”.

    See FMG – $40bn super profit.

    Last word goes to JQ:
    “Resource rent tax statement
    MAY 26, 2010

    “The statement calls for informed debate about the proposal and takes no position on particular design issues, such as the choice between the existing system used for the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (40 per cent on returns above about 11 per cent) and the government’s proposed Resource Super Profits Tax (40 per cent on returns above the bond rate, with a corresponding offset for returns below the bond rate).

    “My own view is that the RSPT design would be more efficient, but the losers under this design (those who can confidently expect high profits) have been very vocal, while the potential gainers (smaller miners undertaking riskier projects) have not given the government any support. Add to that the fact that the PRRT design is long-established (making scare campaigns a little bit harder) and simpler and there is a strong political case for a compromise along these lines. The most important thing is that the government cannot and should not back down on the basic principle of a resource rent tax.”

  26. Thanks for the update Ernestine.

    Apparently the Government can recoup other types of rorts associated with JobKeeper – splitting firms into two to evade maximum size constraints and hiring dummy workers etc but not rorts associated with “failed” expectations of losses. The AFR quoted Charlie Munger yesterday “show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome”. It is apt description of the unscrupulous greed instinct.

    Generally I am angry with the carefree way governments in Australia throw tax-payer dollars around. The rorts and stupidities can amount to billions of dollars (e.g. the submarine fiasco) but my pet targets are often for smaller examples.

    One that got right up my nose was Gladys Berejiklian’s oversight of a $5.5m grant to the Wagga Wagga Clay Shooters cCub. Most of the media attention centred on Gladys’ alleged dalliance with the local MP Daryl Maguire. I couldn’t care less about that.

    My question was why the State Government of NSW should give $5.5m to a purely private sports club to build a “convention centre” for them. Gladys was tackled on the issue and her response was “this is justified because it happens all the time” (or words to that effect).

    Again I suspect that these rorts escape criticism from the left of politics because of a “government-good-private sector-bad” bias which I see as sheer madness. But Gladys is right. Our politics have degenerated into Governments buying their way into office by buying votes that benefit particular interest groups assuming complacency from the community at large.

    If you are a lefty and want bigger government surely its activities should be directed at socially useful concerns rather than attempts to buy votes from narrow interest groups. Most of those supporting this sort of commonsense seem to be on the right of politics rather than the left. It is surprising.

  27. Yes the Covid tide has turned .It seems there is now no alternative . Everyone thinks ‘live with it’ is inevitable but surveys of public opinion show that almost no one wants that as the chosen policy option .I suppose that is the problem ,the amazing Conservative machine has once again convinced everyone to go down a road no one wants as if its not a choice .There is another case in Brisbane now ,a truck driver from NSW .People in Victoria are thinking whats the point in trying again ? .I know vulnerable people who just want to open up and seem to think there never was any alternative. If China can keep it out we can too. We are an island ,we never had proper quarantine.

    From ABC radio news – UK research suggests double jab people are 50 % less likely to develop long covid and 75% less likely to need hospitalisation .This is bad news individually as each person might contract covid multiple times over a few years .It is also bad news nationally when millions are infected.

    The way Gladdys repeats ‘70% and 80% double dose ‘ endlessly makes me think of ‘double plus good ‘ from 1984. This is all very frustrating given the level of destructive hysteria the Conservative machine gleefully generated over the relatively extremely tiny threat of terrorism.

  28. It seems to me the campaign to get Queensland’s Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk to open the Queensland border once the COVID 2nd-dose vaccination rate reaches the ‘magic’ number is on at Radio 2GB.

    I’ve heard Ray Hadley has been heavily criticizing Palaszczuk today on Radio 2GB for her comments made apparently yesterday about her not wanting to expose Queensland children aged under 12 years (who won’t be COVID vaccinated) but would be still vulnerable to getting it.

    Ray Hadley on air has been referring to the Queensland Government’s Department of Health advice on COVID and its risks for children. So I had a look to see for myself at the webpage titled COVID-19 and Kids: What you need to know, dated Aug 5, beginning with (bold text my emphasis):

    Since the start of the pandemic, parents and carers have been able to draw some comfort in the fact that children represented only a small proportion of COVID-19 cases worldwide. However, the Delta strain, which has become the dominant strain in many countries, is increasingly infecting children and young people in numbers that may challenge the idea that the youngest members of society face minimal risk from COVID-19. And if that’s no longer the case, what does that mean for schools as we enter this next phase of our new normal? How much do we know about the risks of vaccination in children? Here’s a breakdown of the current facts and expert advice about COVID-19, vaccination and children:

    This is the bit I heard from Radio 2GB that Ray Hadley is promoting on air today (the bit in bold):

    Is the delta strain more dangerous for children and young people?
    There is no evidence that Delta variant causes more serious illness in children specifically
    Reassuringly data from the UK suggests admission rates for children have not increased despite emerging reports across the world that admission to hospital may be increased in young adults compared to previous variants. The good news is the vast majority of children with the Delta variant continue to experience a mild infection. Severe infections in children requiring intensive care unit admission or leading to death remain surprisingly uncommon throughout the pandemic.

    IMO, what Queensland Health is stating is apparently contradicted by epidemiologist Zoë Hyde (see my earlier comment above). Is Zoë Hyde wrong? She links to UK data (latest dataset dated Aug 5):

    Strangely, I didn’t hear Hadley mention the next section of the Queensland Heath advice, which states (bold text my emphasis):

    Are infants more at risk?
    The latest published data suggests infants are at an increased risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19 compared to young children, but with a similar risk to adolescents. Approximately 10% of babies appear to need admission to hospital to receive oxygen, in a similar way to other winter viruses. These are important and serious infections, but these babies almost all recover without needing support from intensive care. This is very different to the experience in the elderly, particularly those with existing health problems.

    I think Ray Hadley is playing a very dangerous game with people’s lives and wellbeing.

  29. The political class has capitulated to the lords of capitalism. The people get no say. Morrison has given up, Berejiklian has given up and Dan Andrews has given up. They are all going to let COVID-19, a deadly and still rapidly mutating disease, and rapidly mutating to ever worse major variants, spread unchecked. That’s the plan. Vaccinations which fail to give worthwhile protection within as little as 6 months will not not stop infection, spread, and many, many more deaths. We can expect this global crisis to worsen by a factor of 10 to a factor of 100 by the end of this decade. That is the clear trajectory of this situation.

    A variant worse than Delta has already arisen and is spreading. This shows the clear progression, so far, to a “doomsday variant”.

    We have no understanding yet of what limits there might be on how bad COVID-19 could be become. However, there are continuing occurrences which show that the “latest and worst” COVID-19 variant can be rapidly superseded by the appearance of an even worse variant at roughly the rate of a new serious VOC every 4 months. And this rate could accelerate also.

    I am still predicting total disaster for all nations which fail to suppress or eradicate COVID-19. Disaster will be especially rapid for nations which open back up to the world vaccinated or not.

  30. Another interesting twist on the JobKeeper issue. On March 22 last year Gerry was interviewed on “60 Minutes” where he argued sales in Harvey Norman were up 9% because of panic buying. The following week he forecast a 50% fall in sales and claimed the JobKeeper benefits. Boom led to bust in a week! OK he has since returned $6m in JK benefits but is reticent to reflect on the reasons for his change in heart – he initially said he would not repay anything. The AFR today wonders whether that reticence is due to the fact that the bulk of the JK benefits – $15m – that were paid to his franchises around the country have not been returned. The AFR conclude (in unusually brisk language that I abbreviate to accord with John’s preference to keep the language clean):

    :…the $15m of taxpayer benefits Gerry resolutely clings to was worthy public expenditures for the panoramic window of insight it has provided into the character of this miserable ba…rd”.

    Great stuff from the AFR and congrats for its great coverage of this issue.

  31. JQ, do you agree with Cory Doctrow;
    “Meanwhile, good credits – like those that Stripe gets from Climeworks AG”

    Or now Swiss Re on Climeworks CCS deal?

    “Swiss Re and Climeworks launch partnership by signing world’s first ten-year carbon removal purchase agreement

    “Swiss Re and Climeworks, a leading specialist in carbon dioxide air capture technology, are partnering to combat climate change. The partners signed the world’s first long-term purchase agreement for direct air capture and storage of carbon dioxide, worth USD 10 million over ten years. For Swiss Re, the collaboration marks a milestone towards its goal of reaching net-zero emissions in its own operations by 2030. The partnership is also a sign of Swiss Re’s support for the carbon removal industry and gives the Group early access to the new carbon removal risk pools and asset classes.

    Cory Doctrow says:
    …“Meanwhile, good credits – like those that Stripe gets from Climeworks AG for carbon sequestration at $775/ton – cost more than fake ones for not logging a forest that no one was ever going to log.

    “Incentives matter. Gresham’s Law produces a market for lemons.

    “All of this is firmly within market orthodoxy. That’s the core of the bargaining stage, after all: “Can’t we just keep doing exactly what we’ve always done and hope for a better outcome?”


  32. The Frydenberg defence of JobKeeper: “If [businesses] were going to have to pay back that money, then they wouldn’t necessarily have taken it in the first place and you would have seen jobs being lost.”

    Surely then Joshie ought to be against any form of Robodebt along the lines: “If [disadvantaged people] were going to have to pay back that money, then they wouldn’t necessarily have taken it in the first place and you would have seen people starve.”

    But it is no surprise to me that he hasn’t said anything like that. In Joshie’s world ” It’s the poor what gets the blame, and It’s the rich what gets the pleasure .”

  33. Harry,

    Many people in the true blue seat where I live are furious about the Robbo-debt vs the jobkeeper fiascos. It may not fit some stereotypes but there are many traditional Liberal voters who have not completely lost their sense of social justice nor their concern about social cohesion nor their understanding of basic business wisdom in the sense that having poor people in society is not good for revenue. So the treatment of the people under the Robbo-debt fiasco is widely condemned as is the corporate welfare – sloppy contract writing – under jobkeeper.

    Not that I wish to increase your blood pressure, but another topic is the amount of money spent in NSW on consultants (formerly known as large accounting firms; I am sure you know their acronyms) is another area that needs a spotlight on. I haven’t read many of the consulting reports. But the once I did read are certainly below the standard I did set for assignments. For example, in the executive summary one reads an assertion that this or that will occur, on the basis of their analysis. A few pages after the executive summary this assertion is watered down and it finishes a few pages later with a “may be”. The data and the analysis is ‘commercial in confidence’.

    Two dimensions (‘left’ vs ‘right’) are insufficient for my purposes.

  34. John Street says:” It’s the poor what gets the blame, and It’s the rich what gets the pleasure .”


    “Billionaire wealth gains made during the COVID-19 pandemic could pay for half of Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget package”

    Bezos + 66.4%
    Musk + 612.8%

    “Institute for Policy Studies. Capitalism seems to be anti-fragile.

    “U.S. Billionaires Got 62 percent Richer During Pandemic. They’re Now Up $1.8 Trillion.
    With apoligies for lack of formatting.

    Name Net Worth 
    Mar. 18, 2020 
    ($ Millions) Net Worth 
    Aug. 17, 2021 
    ($ Millions) 17 Month Wealth Growth 
    ($ Millions) 17 Month % Wealth Growth SourceIndustry State Gender Age

    Number of Billionaires

    Jeff Bezos$113,000 $187,994 $74,994 66.4% AmazonTechnologyWashingtonM56

    Elon Musk$24,600$175,361$150,761 612.8% Tesla, SpaceXAutomotiveCaliforniaM49

    Bill Gates$98,000$130,617$32,61733.3%MicrosoftTechnologyWashingtonM64

    Mark Zuckerberg$54,700$128,936$74,236135.7%FacebookTechnologyCaliforniaM36

    Larry Page$50,900$117,388$66,488130.6%GoogleTechnologyCaliforniaM47

    Larry Ellison$59,000$117,336$58,33698.9%OracleTechnologyCaliforniaM76

    Sergey Brin$49,100$113,412$64,312131.0%GoogleTechnologyCaliforniaM47

    Warren Buffett$67,500$105,017$37,51755.6%
    Berkshire Hathaway
    Finance & Investments

    Steve Ballmer$52,700$85,920$33,22063.0%MicrosoftTechnologyWashingtonM64

    #10, 11 & 12 Waltons

  35. This is one of the most balanced and sensible articles I have read about COVID-19, vaccinations and other measures. It rejects anti-vaxerism but it does honestly talk about the very real problems and lack of firm knowledge we face. This includes the continuing lack of verified and peer-reviewed empirical data during a pandemic when the pathogen is mutating faster and the disease developing faster than our ability to do large scale valid studies, review and publish data. It also deals with the problem of over-hyping the protections that vaccination will give us and thus (sometimes unintentionally) de-emphasizing the other important measures we must continue to take.

    Anti-vaxers are given short shrift but Governments and government officials are also criticized for giving over-simplistic and out of date messages; which messages likely will contribute to future public skepticism and damage to trust in authority as new problems inevitably arise.

  36. More bad news . Dr Karl Kruszelnicki thinks that this Corona virus is likely to mutate to become worse over time because it is most similar to the avian coronavirus first found in the 1930 ‘s which has done so until the present day . Most chickens live their entire short lives bathed in ,or drinking, the latest vaccines from the moment (literally ) that hey are borne .Avian Coronavirus is now so contagious that chicken farming would not be possible without vaccines. An entire flock can be infected in 24 hours. He said this human Corona virus is likely to mutate fastest when it is in a large population less than fully vaccinated with a vaccine that is not 100 % effective – such as the human population it is now in. He thinks that in the future we will be regularly vaccinated with vaccines tailored to our personal genetic profile and the profile of the strain of Corona virus we are most likely to come in contact with .Vaccination soon after birth ( like the chickens !) is also a possibility.

    The director of mental health from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne was just on the radio saying that based on the latest data there is no discernible rise in mental health issues due to the lockdowns in Victoria. The Victorian coroner has already said that suicides were down 7% last year.

  37. AP, the accidental premier of Qld, may well be onto something re the importance of vaccinating children before any opening up to the plague boosters from down south. The relative risk ratios for myocarditis associated with covid19 have just been found to be equal highest of all age cohorts for those patients aged over 75 and those under16.

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    AAP News
    Study: Myocarditis risk 37 times higher for children with COVID-19 than uninfected peers
    Melissa Jenco August 31, 2021

    Across all ages, the risk of myocarditis was almost 16 times higher for people with COVID-19 compared to those who aren’t infected. The myocarditis risk is 37 times higher for infected children under 16 years and seven times higher for infected people ages 16-39 compared to their uninfected peers.

    NOTE that this period is well before the presentation of the Delta variant in the USA.

    The large US CDC study of myocarditis associated with covid19 covers the period March 2020 to January 2021 inclusive. The ”Our World in Data” graph for the share over time of SARS-CoV-2 variants in analyzed sequences shows Delta was not detected in the USA before the third week of April 2021:

    Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
    Association Between COVID-19 and Myocarditis Using Hospital-Based Administrative Data — United States, March 2020–January 2021 Early Release / August 31, 2021 / 70

    ..After adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics, patients with COVID-19 during March 2020–January 2021 had, on average, 15.7 times the risk for myocarditis compared with those without COVID-19 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 14.1–17.2); by age, risk ratios ranged from approximately 7.0 for patients aged 16–39 years to >30.0 for patients aged <16 years or ≥75 years. Overall, myocarditis was uncommon among persons with and without COVID-19; however, COVID-19 was significantly associated with an increased risk for myocarditis, with risk varying by age group. These findings underscore the importance of implementing evidence-based COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination, to reduce the public health impact of COVID-19 and its associated complications.

  38. Dismembering government …
    by John Quiggin
    … New public management and why the Commonwealth government can’t do anything anymore. That’s the title of an article I’ve just published in The Monthly
    Opening para
    “I don’t hold a hose, mate.” …


    Where did that post linking the Monthly article, “Dismembering government” of 31 August go?

    Yes, “The pandemic and the shrinking of Australian politics” by Waleed Aly there is also a good read. Part of that brought to mind the blatant boomer economic M. O. of Tweedledee or dum:

    Labor leader Anthony Albanese enjoyed his own uptick in news from the housing market on Tuesday less than 24 hours after the party officially dumped its negative gearing policy when he and former NSW deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt sold their Marrickville investment property for $2.35 million.

    The bullish sale price more than doubles the former couple’s purchase price of $1.115 million nine years ago and comes less than five days before it was scheduled to go to auction.

  39. Yes,leaky vaccines leading to the evolution of more virulent strains is a real possibility. It’s a fairly new area of immunological research.

    An enormous set of problems has arisen and will continue to arise in blindly promoting vaccination over all other measures. Note, this is not anti-vaccination position. It is a position which says “use vaccines with studied care AND with multiple other measures”. The original position which should have been taken with respect to COVID-19 should have been for early, total eradication. This decision should have been taken at the cost of shutting down world people movements for all but the most essential movements and by using the most stringent ring-fencing and quarantine measures.

    Unfortunately, this method was not adopted or not consistently adhered to except for just a few countries. To my knowledge only China, Taiwan and New Zealand are still suppressing the virus and not giving up on its containment. The rest of the world was unable to try, did not try or gave up trying. Australia fits in the group who gave up. We had a real chance, have given up and we will suffer serious consequences as a result.

    The Federal and NSW governments have betrayed the people of Australia and are outright lying to us. Their current set of statements and claims being made about the virus and the vaccines to the populace are one big set of lies. We will not be safe at 70% and then 80% double-dosing of over-16s only with few other real measures and with demonstrably leaky vaccines with vaccines escape and immune escape. Indeed, such settings could even be the settings best designed (as it were) to generate the maximum chances of evolving and unleashing more virulent strains.

    Of course, we placed ourselves (Australia and most of the rest of the world) in the position of needing to “stampede vaccinate” in the face of an uncontrolled outbreak. This did not need to happen but realism says “It did happen so where to from here? The rapid vaccination process is now necessary. The neoliberals have once again sabotaged all possibilities for alternatives and choices, as is always their wont, and forced us down this TINA path.

    Where we still do have discretion and choices is in how many other measures we add to the rapid vaccine roll-out AND then keep even as the rollout approaches an asymptote limit be that 80%, 90% or even more. We will have to extend vaccination, as far as deemed safe, to all ages even possibly down to infants. Without a vaccination rate of over 90% and even over 95% of total population we will have little to no hope of being safe (the wide vulnerable groups) without continuing many other stringent measures.

    Annastacia Palaszczuk is right to point out the high death rates which will accrue from the LNP’s highly ill-advised phased opening plan. If anything, she is low-balling what will really happen. Under the LNP phased plan, if followed to their clear current intentions, our hospitals will be overwhelmed under the weight of cases and death rates will spiral. The AMA seems to think the very same thing albeit they say “could” not “will”. Is this a “could” we want to risk? Another possibility canvassed as likely is that he hospitals will cope with COVID (just) but not cope with everything else. Forget about any elective surgery and even very possibly forget about some urgent and emergency surgeries especially as the chances of catching COVID-19 in the hospital or environs may be significant.

    I have noticed in my own (limited) circles how people are credulously accepting much that the LNP are saying. In particular they are accepting that vaccination will be pretty much a fail-safe way of totally stopping the virus for them (apart from a few sniffles). However, if the vaccine reduces your serious risks by 66.6% (which the latest data shows is about all one can realistically hope over the period of waning efficacy) and you start going out to events, gatherings etc. four times as often as you did during a lock-down, then you will be at greater risk.

    The vaccinations plus the over-hype of the efficacy of vaccination could well have the perverse effect of intensifying the pandemic and increasing serious outcomes and deaths. This is especially so as 1/3 of the population at 80% adult vaccination, at least, will still be unvaccinated until vaccinations can safely go to under 16s and even to small children and infants. To me this seems somewhat akin to the Jevons Paradox. Make energy use more efficient and we end up using more energy. Make people somewhat safer (objectively) but make them feel much to over-safe (subjectively) and they will “run out” and engage in riskier behaviors.

    A proportion of our population are currently showing poor levels of self-control and self-denial relative to the requirements for control of this pandemic. This segment is being pandered to by current policies. Our population seems overall less capable of self-control and self-denial relative to previous generations. This is not because they are congenitally weaker in the moral, physical or any other sense. It is because their cultural training from infancy had been biased to continual self-indulgence and to lack of real challenge plus they are more continually assaulted by much greater temptations. I refer of course to rampant and unregulated capitalist consumerism.

    Capitalist consumerism has weakened us and made us more stupid and more ignorant. The more stupid occurs from poor diets. Poor diets and poor exercise regimens, along with sleep disturbance, all operate to make us less intelligent and less consistently capable of applying our than we would otherwise be. The manufacture of ignorance in the service of profit making from and manipulation of the ignorant has been turned into both a science and an art form. Fox News in America represents the near nadir of this process in news and current affairs. From advertising to computer game design, advanced psychology and neourology insights and discoveries are applied via designed and intentional manipulation of the dopamine reward system of the brain, to program and direct behaviors. Applied to the still plastic brains of very young children to teenagers, these techniques rewire brain firmware to create people who may not ever be able to change this subtle early conditioning.

    Understanding that all these things are connected is neither paranoia nor is it mysticism. It is scientific complex systems thinking. It is a plain, empirical reality at our current level of scientific thinking that physical, bio and human systems are all one overall system of interconnected and interacting sub-systems. It’s no accident that this pandemic arose under a form of capitalism and that that form of capitalism is unable to deal with it. These disasters (climate change and pandemics) were and are inherently inbuilt into the axioms of capitalism which flout (for a time) the fundamental laws of the geo and bio systems we properly discover ourselves to be fully embedded in. Unless we change our system (unregulated capitalism) we cannot change away from its systemic effects. Under late stage capitalism we are doomed to keep failing egregiously and grotesquely as we are doing now.

    All complex system analysis leads to the discovery of the need to dismantle capitalism. Every critique of this society leads ineluctably to the same conclusion. Change or collapse.

  40. Best get vaxxed anti vaxxers analogy. Any better?


    David Walsh
    Posted on September 2, 2021

    “Memo from David Walsh to staff, about vaccination at Mona, 2 September 2021

    “A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity.
    —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    “What happens when we want to undertake a journey, but a government-mandated intervention delays it, because, they say, it serves the greater good? Is that an infringement on our rights?

    “I’m talking about traffic lights. Today, while taking the kids to school, I had to wait for a total of six minutes while cars went somewhere else. Of course I could have ignored those dastardly traffic lights, but ignoring them, potentially, has consequences. I might get in trouble with the very authorities that I’m resisting. Is running those lights a legitimate protest? Perhaps I should protest by making things worse (I could stand in the middle of the intersection, at great risk to myself to enhance the risk to others—that’d work). I might kill myself. But I’ve got a fancy car that’ll protect me. Perhaps I should run those lights, window down, arm out, middle finger extended. But if I run those lights, others might suffer. Most times, though, I’ll get through unscathed, and cause no diminishment to others. Am I feeling lucky, punk? And anyway, aren’t we a bunch of self-interested, greed-is-good, mother£@!#ing capitalists? Why should I look after others?

    “But I stopped at the red lights. So did everybody else. If traffic lights are a part of a global conspiracy to turn us all into pawns of the government, or Bill Gates, or 5G, then I’m a government tool. Or just a tool. And so is everybody else.

    “I’m going to make vaccination mandatory for staff at Mona. If that makes you see red (lights) despite the previous three paragraphs let me, briefly, talk about the nature of risk.”…

  41. Believe. Don’t mention NPI, worse SARS-Cov-2 variants, kids… nor anything else beyond belief.

    Join the believers. Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies.

    Belief is the Goldman Sachs bottom line being fed directly into the political calculus through the many revolving doors here and everywhere, and being robustly seconded by other global plutocracy patrons of the political class:

    Global Economics Comment: Waning Vaccine Efficacy and Boosters: A Review (Milo), August 31

    Click to access global-economics-comment_-waning-vaccine-efficacy-and-boosters_-a-review-milo.pdf

    “…Taken together, waning vaccine immunity against infections and the more transmissible
    Delta variant help explain the recent outbreaks in early vaccinated economies such as
    the US and Israel. While the risk of rising infections in other highly vaccinated
    economies will likely grow as time elapses from vaccination, we continue to believe that
    the economic impact of virus resurgence will likely be moderate in highly vaccinated
    economies given robust vaccine efficacy against hospitalizations and the usage of
    booster shots to curb infections.”

  42. Steven Hamilton offers a confused defence of Frydenberg re the JobKeeper issue in today’s AFR. Its actually hard to work out what he is saying since he says he would have included a “clawback” provision. But then he says it doesn’t really matter that a clawback was not used because (i) Labor didn’t oppose the non-clawback policy when it was passed in parliament; (ii) that had it been used firms would fake losses to get the benefit and (iii) that the handout is a transfer rather than a distortionary subsidy so that the only cost is the impact of the extra taxes needed to fund the handout and that these tax costs are small.

    Reason (i) is silly. If Labor endorses a foolish policy it remains foolish regardless. The Pope is not a member of the ALP. Reason (ii) seems unlikely to me. In most cases a firm is best-off doing the best it can and then claiming losses. Displeasing customers and getting rid of workers is not going to be a sensible action for firms. Reason (iii) is correct but irrelevant. Bad transfers do matter not just the efficiency-reducing distortions induced by the transfers. If you don’t believe this please get the government to fund a $100m property in North Queensland for me. After all the only damage would be the deadweight losses required to achieve this handout and you can forget about the minor efficiency losses associated with the extra taxes. This move would gain low community support.

  43. I’d be cautious about anything that RealClear publish, they are a Trump friendly zone.

    There has also been some concern expressed online about vaccine resistant COVID-19 strains. They do exist but are unstable – currently the delta strain is the dominant strain.

    And just like chickens, vaccination against coronavirus will save the day.

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