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.


http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

21 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. My daughter was bringing me up to date yesterday on the recent movement in Bitcoin prices, and I wondered whether John Quiggin would have anything to add to his past discussion of the subject.

  2. A relative broght up recent movemnt in bitcoin / crypro prices. As in “I’d best get into crypto. Do you understand crypto”?

    Ala the passenger asking the cab driver.

    No wonder greed and fomo work to promote get rich quick schemes. And keep fintech filching our financial floatation devices to keep themselves afloat. Bezzle-ish.
    *

    “Bitcoin BTC/USD price history up until January 19, 2022

    “Bitcoin’s price outlook: a potential bubble?

    “Cryptocurrencies have few metrices available that allow for forecasting, if only because it is rumored that only few cryptocurrency holders own a large portion of available supply. These large holders – referred to as “whales” – are said to make up of two percent of anonymous ownership accounts, whilst owning roughly 92 percent of BTC. On top of this, most people who use cryptocurrency-related services worldwide are retail clients rather than institutional investors. This means outlooks on whether Bitcoin prices will fall or grow are difficult to measure, as movements from one large whale already having a significant impact on this market.”
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/326707/bitcoin-price-index/

  3. Inflation – think continual, not discreet, environmental disasters as inflation driver.

    “I think we are seeing the first years of a new form of inflation, one unknown, I’d suggest,…” says James Meadway of progressiveeconomyforum.com/author/james-meadway/

    “That would mean pay rises for most of those in work and more comprehensive insurance for those not in work – preferably as a form of Universal Basic Income.”
    *

    “The economic mainstream is getting inflation wrong

    “And in the mainstream Keynesian world, if supply was going to quickly expand, increasing demand – for example, by major government spending increases – was nothing to worry about. Many mainstream economists argued that inflation would only be transitory, as a result. They were wrong.

    “There is no obvious link between issuing more money and getting more inflation: the causality is not there. Friedman was wrong.

    “Environmental shocks as a driver for inflation

    …” I think we are seeing the first years of a new form of inflation, one unknown, I’d suggest, in the years since World War Two when inflation became a general phenomenon in the developed world. (Prior to this point, prices had tended to track the general economic activity – rising in booms and falling in slumps. After WW2, inflation became pretty much continual.) It is price rises driven by successive, seemingly idiosyncratic shocks that have arisen as a result of environmental instability. Covid is the most obvious example of this; if we think of the virus as a disruption to the environment that economic activity takes place in, we can see it has acted as an enormous ecological supply shock – and one whose impacts are unlikely to fade any time soon. But in the same way we can see that (for example) the extreme weather events that have disrupted coffee or wheat production, or semiconductor manufacturing, are also smaller-scale examples of this kind of ecological shock. Each one seems idiosyncratic – some unique event disrupting production at some point in time. They’re nearly always reported like this, as CNN do here for disruption to coffee production – as just another extreme weather event that will fade away and allow normality to return.

    “But of course we know “normality” isn’t coming back. All the environmental modelling tells us extreme weather – along with desertification and greater constraints on food production – will worsen over time, as the climate rapidly changes. That means we should stop thinking about this or that extreme weather shock as a one-off disruption to production, whose impact will eventually wash out of the system, and as simply one more shock in an environment that produces them at an increasing rate.”…

    …”That would mean pay rises for most of those in work and more comprehensive insurance for those not in work – preferably as a form of Universal Basic Income.”…

    https://progressiveeconomyforum.com/blog/the-economic-mainstream-is-getting-inflation-wrong/

  4. Australia currently has a higher (7 day average) death rate from COVID than Sweden, South Korea, Singapore, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland and Japan. (91-divoc.com). I don’t see this as a low death rate among industrialised countries as the Government is claiming.

  5. In time surely a new word rooted from ‘Morrison’ shall enter the Australian lexicon and possibly receive Macquarie’s gong for word of the year. A word something akin to the sense of the C20th American ‘snafu’ but with profound overtones of ‘rotten’. My quick attempt: ‘morrisnafu;.

    Below, Macrobusiness with some commentary with a long excerpt from an article currently in The Saturday Paper, and another excerpt:

    How Morrison crashed the economy (again) – By Houses and Holes, 220124Mon
    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2022/01/how-morrison-crashed-the-economy-again/

    The Saturday Paper has a terrific expose on how PM Scott Morrison crashed the economy:

    As 2021 was drawing to a close, private pathology providers across Australia were counting up billions of dollars in profit, having met unprecedented demand for laboratory results during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The simple trick of pooling multiple samples before conducting polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests had allowed these companies to maximise profits and capacity while giving the illusion that the nation’s Covid-19 testing regime was capable of flexing should a new wave of infections break through as restrictions eased in most jurisdictions ahead of Christmas.

    But the reverse was true…

    The sweetheart deal that caused testing to collapse – By Rick Morton, 220122Sat
    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2022/01/22/the-sweetheart-deal-that-caused-testing-collapse/164277000013179#mtr

    On January 14, more than 90,000 Victorians received messages from private pathology companies operating in the state, informing them that their tests could no longer be processed. Tens of thousands of others in NSW received similar notifications over the summer break.

    Having opened more testing centres to capitalise on demand, private pathology providers were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. One company, 4Cyte, told the ABC that in late December it received 100,000 phone calls in a single day from people complaining or trying to find out when their tests would be returned.

    Rather than continue to add to a backlog of frustrated Australians, dozens and dozens of private centres simply closed or temporarily shut down. There have been 54 such examples in Victoria alone.

    Closures are not an option available to those working in the public sector.

    Public Pathology Australia chief executive Jenny Sikorski tells The Saturday Paper the sector “has been increasing its capacity during the pandemic”.

    “But it takes many weeks by the time equipment is sourced and delivered and staff are recruited and trained,” she says.

    “I think most were surprised by the speed at which Omicron took off. We have been dealing with sporadic reagent shortages during the pandemic and are competing in a market where there is global demand for supply, and that will continue during the pandemic.”

    Sikorski said that early on public laboratories were also pooling samples but only in small batches. That is no longer an option. This has contributed across the board to supply shortages in the assays and reagents used to conduct PCR tests.

    “There have been some labs that have had to stop using certain machines because they ran out of assays,” the sector source says.

    “Others are calling suppliers saying they have just two days’ worth of reagents to conduct the tests. It is very touch and go.”

    Sikorski said that, unlike private laboratories, public pathology providers “do not control the number of samples that are delivered to them, as this occurs under the clinical service mandate”.

    “Private pathology providers are able to cease testing when it is apparent that they will not be able to turn around the work within an acceptable time frame under 48 hours,” she said in a statement on January 10.

    “After this time, the result is of little utility, and the patient is left in limbo for days without knowing a result and is likely to leave isolation, placing further risk on the community…”

  6. Re: Bitcoin.
    AFAIK our host is not a fan and would like it banned. So anyone who has invested would just lose their money? We are talking a trillion here from millions of owners of BTC.
    What about the US government. They sold quite a few BTC back in the day from a confiscation. Is there any precedent for a western government selling something and then making it illegal a few years later?

  7. Since 17 December – which is roughly when the impacts of inadequate testing and beggar-thy-neighbour border policies really started to hit – there have been 1020 deaths from COVID. Assuming the broad policy settings remained the same, I’m curious on people’s thoughts about the costs of government mismanagement.

    I take the broad policy settings as:
    – opening up interstate borders
    – allowing many people to travel and gather for Christmas
    – an end to lockdowns
    – any policies which led to the caseload as at 17 December

    Areas of mismanagement would include:
    – failures of testing
    – failure to have oral treatments available for the most vulnerable
    – varied approaches to masks
    – failure to protect workers
    – inadequate preparations in health and aged care

    I’m not sure where to place the lack of income support.

  8. Joe Blow (at JANUARY 21, 2022 AT 7:11 PM): – “Yep – it seems to be about 4 weeks to peak and then 4 weeks on the other side. That was the basis of my – correct – calculation that I made on 3rd jan – to the howls of some here.

    The first reported case of Omicron variant community transmission in Australia was a school student in western Sydney on 3 Dec 2021. This student was the ninth confirmed Omicron case in NSW.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/03/nsw-student-believed-to-be-first-case-of-omicron-community-transmission

    Joe, where’s this peak you are talking about? Case numbers cannot be trusted because the PCR positivity rate is still more than 3x over 5%, mandatory PCR testing to confirm infection was abandoned on Jan 5, and RAT kit availability is still scarce and also requires people to report their results.

    Meanwhile, today (Jan 25), NSW hospitalisations have risen above the previous peak (of 2,863 on Jan 18) to 2,943. That’s 53 days (or 7½ weeks) so far since the known first Omicron community transmission. You are clearly wrong about “4 weeks to peak” (it’s so far almost double that), and it’s certainly premature (and I’d suggest likely false) for you to be claiming you are correct for “then 4 weeks on the other side”.

    Gee, it seems to me these pesky facts/data just seem to get in the way of your false narrative that you were “correct” in your “calculations”, Joe? 😉

  9. Semiconductor manufacturing is a VERY important project – Biden Whitehouse announcement says so! A pity then that TSMC is going to out invest Intel. Intel out capitalised by $4bn by Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC, by my reading. Intel & Samsung beware.

    And Intel becoming a customer of competitor TSMC – oops.

    And Moore’s Law is a choice. What!

    James W, are you watching late tonight for “Intel … next quarterly earnings data will be published on Wednesday, January 26th, 2022”? No, nor an I. Yet…
    *

    Intel by my reading is investing about $40bn in new chip plants. Yet:
    “TSMC said Thursday that it has set this year’s capital expenditure budget at $40 billion to $44 billion, a record high, compared with last year’s $30 billion.”. From “The Intel Split” below.
    *

    “Biden-Harris Administration Bringing Semiconductor Manufacturing Back to America
    JANUARY 21, 2022

    “Intel Announces $20 Billion Ohio Facility; Latest Company to Invest in U.S., Strengthen Domestic Supply Chains”
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/01/21/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-bringing-semiconductor-manufacturing-back-to-america-2/
    *

    “The Intel Split”

    January 18, 2022

    “Intel’s earnings are not until next Wednesday, but whatever it is that CEO Pat Gelsinger plans to discuss, it seems to me the real news about Intel came from the earnings of another company: TSMC.

    “From the Wall Street Journal:”…

    “It’s worse than that, actually: by becoming TSMC’s customer Intel is not only denying itself the scale of its own manufacturing needs, but also giving that scale to TSMC, improving the economics of their competitor in the process.

    “Gelsinger’s Design Tools
    One of my favorite quotes from Michael Malone’s The Intel Trinity is about how “Moore’s Law” — the observation by Intel co-founder and second CEO Gordon Moore that transistor counts for integrated circuits doubled every two years — was not a law, but a choice:
          “[Moore’s Law] is a social compact, an agreement between the semiconductor industry and the rest of the world that the former will continue to strive to maintain the trajectory of the law as long as possible, and the latter will pay for the fruits of this breakneck pace. Moore’s Law has worked not because it is intrinsic to semiconductor technology. On the contrary, if tomorrow morning the world’s great chip companies were to agree to stop advancing the technology, Moore’s Law would be repealed by tomorrow evening, leaving the next few decades with the task of mopping up all of its implications.

    “Moore made that observation in 1965, and for the next 50 years that choice fell to Intel to make. One of the chief decision-makers was a young man in his 20s named Patrick Gelsinger. Gelsinger joined Intel straight out of high school, and worked on the team developing the 286 processor while studying electrical engineering at Stanford; he was the 4th lead for the 386 while completing his Masters. After he graduated Gelsinger became the lead of the 486 project; he was only 25.”

    https://stratechery.com/2022/the-intel-split/
    *

    “In May 2021, Gelsinger was interviewed by Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. Gelsinger stated that Intel plans to catch up with Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC and Korean chip manufacturer Samsung within the next five years. He announced a planned three and a half-billion dollar upgrade to Intel’s fab in New Mexico.[24]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Gelsinger
    *

    Intel CEO way back “Gelsinger was the lead architect of the 4th generation 80486 processor [1] introduced in 1989.[9]” 

    “A 25 year old Patrick Gelsinger designed the 486 chip:

    “A classic CPU viewed under the scanning electron microscope

    “The Intel i486 might be over 30 years old, but it’s still an incredible piece of technology. Especiall when viewed up close with a scanning electron microscope”

    *

    Bored? Dystopia happened?
    Make your own chips.

    “This 22-Year-Old Builds Chips in His Parents’ Garage

    “Sam Zeloof combines 1970s-era machines with homemade designs. His creations show what’s possible for small-scale silicon tinkerers.”
    https://www.wired.com/story/22-year-old-builds-chips-parents-garage/

  10. John Quiggin said at 5:56 am
    “I’m planning a piece on Bitcoin Real Soon Now”

    *

    Just Bitcoin? Gee JQ, all you have to do to write about crypto now, is hold in memory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in Wikipedia article “Barnett critique”,

    AND all blockchain, crypto models and, most importantly, crypto pegged to fiat currency…

    AND (1) “OpenSea, Web3, and Aggregation Theory” below.

    AND (2) Aggregation Theory

    Did I miss something JQ? Phew!

    “Barnett critique
    1) – “The Barnett critique, 
    … named for the work of William A. Barnett in monetary economics, argues that internal inconsistency between the aggregation theory used to produce monetary aggregates and the economic theory used to produce the models within which the aggregates are used are responsible for the appearance of unstable demand and supply for money.[1].”

    “The critique runs counter to another large literature arguing that
    2) – money does not matter in macroeconomic policy and advocating monetary policy disconnected from monetary measurement. That alternative view was first advocated by John Maynard Keynes and
    3) – challenged by Milton Friedman.[3] More recently the
    4) – counter view has been advocated by Michael Woodford[4] based on theory originated by Knut Wicksell. Although separate from
    5) – the Lucas critique, the Barnett and Lucas critiques share the view that models based on internally inconsistent economic theory can produce misleading inferences and misguided policy.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnett_critique
    *

    Here is the AND (1):-

    “OpenSea, Web3, and Aggregation Theory”

    “In short, OpenSea has power not because it controls the NFTs in question, but because it controls the vast majority of demand.

    “Crypto’s Aggregators
    “One of the reasons that crypto is so interesting, at least in a theoretical sense, is that it seems like a natural antidote to Aggregators; I’ve suggested as such. After all, Aggregators are a product of abundance; scarcity is the opposite. The OpenSea example, though, is a reminder that I have forgotten one of my own arguments about Aggregators: demand matters more than supply.

    “To that end, which side of the equation is impacted by the blockchain? The answer, quite obviously is supply. Indeed, one need only be tangentially aware of crypto to realize that the primary goal of so many advocates is to convert non-believers, the better to increase demand. This has the inverse impact of OpenSea’s ban: increased demand increases prices for scarce supply, which is to say, in terms that are familiar to any Web 3 advocate, that the incentives of Web 3’s most ardent evangelists are very much aligned.

    “The most valuable assets in crypto remain tokens; Bitcoin and Ethereum lead the way with market caps of $874 billion and $451 billion, respectively. What is striking, though, is that the primary way that most users interact with Web 3 are via centralized companies like Coinbase and FTX on the exchange side, Discord for communication and community, and OpenSea for NFTs. It is also not a surprise: centralized companies deliver a better user experience, which encompasses everything from UI to security to at least knocking down the value of your stolen assets on your behalf; a better user experience leads to more users, which increases power over supply, further enhancing the user experience, in the virtual cycle described by Aggregation Theory.

    “That Aggregation Theory applies to Web 3 is not some sort of condemnation of the idea; it is, perhaps, a challenge to the insistence that crypto is something fundamentally different than the web. That’s fine — as I wrote before the break, the Internet is already pretty great, and its full value is only just starting to be exploited. And, as I argued in The Great Bifurcation, the most likely outcome is that crypto provides a useful layer on what already exists, as opposed to replacing it.

    “Moreover, as I explained in a follow-up to The Great Bifurcation, this view of crypto’s role relative to the web places it firmly in an ongoing progression away from technical lock-in and towards network effects:”…

    https://stratechery.com/2022/opensea-raises-money-bans-nfts-openseas-value-cryptos-aggregators/
    *

    AND (2) re Aggregation Theory!

    – Arrow’s impossibility theorem (category Voting theory)
    Muller, Eitan (1983). “Essentialaggregation procedures on restricted domains of preferences”. Journal of Economic Theory. 30 (1): 34–53. doi:10.1016/0022-0531(83)90092-3
    56 KB (7,338 words) – 20:35, 13 December 2021

    – Barnett critique
    internal inconsistency between theaggregation theory used to produce monetary aggregates and the economictheory used to produce the models within which
    10 KB (1,230 words) – 15:28, 22 December 2020

    – Choice theory
    choice theory, a conglomerate of models and results concerning the aggregation of individual choices into collective choices Glasser’s choice theory, a psychological
    514 bytes (95 words) – 12:55, 16 June 2019

    – Complexity theory and organizations
    are dynamic networks of interactions, and their relationships are not aggregations of the individual static entities. They are adaptive; in that, the individual
    20 KB (1,836 words) – 09:38, 25 September 2021

    – Cultural consensus theory
    Cultural consensus theory is an approach to information pooling (aggregation, data fusion) which supports a framework for the measurement and evaluation
    14 KB (1,974 words) – 05:55, 17 December 2021

    – Social choice theory
    incompatibility of various axioms, as in Arrow’s theorem, revealing an aggregationproblem and suggesting reformulation or theoretical triage in dropping
    24 KB (2,755 words) – 02:02, 4 January 2022

    – Theory of constraints
    The theory of constraints (TOC) is a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small
    43 KB (5,953 words) – 11:50, 6 January 2022

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=Aggregation+Theory&go=Go&ns0=1

  11. Many reports of an Israeli study of a fourth covid19 booster for the over 60s say it has much better effect than the third shot, but is it comparing apples with oranges, ie., the months later waning effect of the third shot with the recent effects of the fourth? If so doesn’t it imply boosters for over 60s continuously at no more than two months apart? Hospitals need a break like this!

    Fourth COVID vaccine shot raises resistance to serious illness for over-60s: Israel January 24, 2022
    JERUSALEM, Jan 23 (Reuters) –
    “A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine given to people over 60 in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than thrice-vaccinated people in the same age group, Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday.
    https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/fourth-covid-vaccine-shot-sharply-raises-serious-illness-resistance-over-60s-2022-01-23/

    The ministry also said the fourth dose, or second booster, made people over 60 twice as resistant to infection than those in the age group who received three shots of the vaccine.”

    Fourth COVID vaccine shot found to be highly effective
    By Jeffrey Heller January 24, 2022
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/fourth-covid-vaccine-shot-found-to-be-highly-effective-20220124-p59qn0.html
    “The ministry on Sunday said the study it conducted with several major Israeli universities and the Sheba centre compared 400,000 people over 60 who received the second booster with 600,000 people in the age group who were given a third shot more than four months ago.

    As elsewhere, Israel has seen COVID-19 cases spiral due to Omicron. But it has logged no deaths from the variant.”

    Fourth Dose for Older Adults Triples Protection Against Serious Illness: Israel Study
    By Lina Saigol
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 6:20 am ET / Original Jan. 24, 2022 5:38 am ET
    https://www.barrons.com/articles/fourth-covid-vaccine-dose-older-adults-study-51643020681?refsec=coronavirus
    “A fourth Covid vaccine dose given to people over 60 offers a threefold protection against serious illness than those who received three shots, Israel’s Health Ministry said.

    The ministry said the figures are the result of preliminary analysis by several major Israeli universities and the Sheba Medical Center, the Times of Israel reported…”

    Fourth Covid Shot Is Not Enough to Stop Omicron, Study Finds
    By Lina Saigol
    Updated Jan. 18, 2022 8:37 am ET / Original Jan. 18, 2022 5:33 am ET
    barrons.com/articles/fourth-covid-vaccine-shot-omicron-pfizer-moderna-study-51642501988?refsec=coronavirus
    “A fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine boosts antibodies but is not enough to prevent Omicron infections, according to a preliminary study in Israel…”

    Early Omicron Breakthroughs Show mRNA Vaccines’ Weakness
    Researchers viewed infections in German visitors to Cape Town
    Only mild and moderate disease was experienced by subjects
    By Antony Sguazzin Updated January 20, 2022
    bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-19/mrna-boosters-don-t-block-omicron-south-african-study-shows
    “Preliminary data from an Israeli trial involving 154 health workers — released Monday, just two weeks after that study began — showed that a fourth dose of Pfizer’s shot didn’t prevent infection with omicron. Still, those in the trial had mild symptoms or none at all.”

    Fourth Pfizer Dose Is Insufficient to Ward Off Omicron, Israeli Trial Suggests
    Preliminary data found inoculation did increase antibodies
    Those with 4th shot only slightly less likely to get variant
    By Daniel Avis Updated January 18, 2022
    bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-17/israel-trial-suggests-4th-dose-not-warding-off-omicron-infection
    “A fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was insufficient to prevent infection with the omicron variant of Covid-19, according to preliminary data from a trial in Israel released Monday.

    Two weeks after the start of the trial of 154 medical personnel at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, researchers found the vaccine raised antibody levels…”

  12. UBI. This study proves poverty causes…

    …”Poverty has also been associated with differences in children’s brain development. “However,” notes Noble, “until now, we haven’t been able to say whether poverty itself causes differences in child development, or whether growing up in poverty is simply associated with other factors that cause those differences.”

    “The study reports that infants whose mothers received $333/month had more high-frequency brain activity compared with infants whose mothers received $20/month.”

    “Cash Support To Poor Mothers Helps Babies’ Brains”
    https://scienceblog.com/527929/cash-support-to-poor-mothers-helps-babies-brains/
    *

    “The impact of a poverty reduction intervention on infant brain activity

     Sonya V. Troller-Renfree, Molly A. Costanzo,  
    Greg J. Duncan, 
    Katherine Magnuson, 
    Lisa A. Gennetian, 
    Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Nathan A. Fox, and Kimberly G. Noble

    PNAS February 1, 2022 
    119 (5) e2115649119;
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2115649119
    https://www.pnas.org/content/119/5/e2115649119
    *

    https://www.babysfirstyears.com/

  13. JoeBlow, I know very very little about crypto currencies and yet I already have a bias against them (as they seem most useful for, well, people doing extra-legal activities …) Although it sounds like blockchain tech may be useful. I have only a dim grasp of it.

    Still, I would like to offer as a possibility that maybe the US gov could just tell people, we will not enforce any of these contracts/agreements. So it isn’t making it illegal, it is just telling people they are completely on their own. They can’t go into court if things go wrong.

  14. Identity politics and fighting horizontal prejudice …
    “is an opposition that the system is entirely capable of managing”.
    *

    “The First Privilege Walk

    BY CHRISTIAN PARENTI
    NOVEMBER 18, 2021

    “How Herbert Marcuse’s widow used a Scientology-linked cult’s methodology to gamify Identity Politics and thus helped steer the U.S. Left down the dead-end path of identitarian psychobabble.”

    …”As formal social barriers are removed, the number of elite posts held by people from once marginalized identity groups have increased, but at the same time the majority of people—regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation—have seen their economic conditions badly deteriorate under the ruling class policy assault that is neoliberalism. Thus, we have three women on the Supreme Court, yet the average woman is poorer than was the average woman in 1975.

    “In other words, fighting horizontal forms of prejudice, while important, is not the same as, nor does it add up to, the vertical conflict: class struggle over who controls the economy and how the social surplus is distributed.”

    “But it is an opposition that the system is entirely capable of managing and even using to manage society as a whole. The struggle against horizontal oppression is now officially deployed by hierarchical institutions such as the military and corporations so as to engender new forms of consent and legitimacy. In short, the Privilege Walk and the seemingly radical ideology it propagates are fugazi—fake. The real effect of a focus on “privilege” is to hide the problems of class power and exploitation that are at the heart of capitalist social relations.”

    https://nonsite.org/the-first-privilege-walk/

  15. JQ tweeted yesterday (Jan 25):

    I keep seeing cost comparisons for EVs and ICEs over 5 years. But cars last ~20 years. If you are going to stop at 5 years, need to take resale value into account.

    What if global petroleum fuel prices continue to rise and fuel supplies become scarce? I’d suggest that scenario (with accumulating indicators suggesting it’s increasingly likely soon) would put a big dent on ICEV resale value.

    In Nate Hagen’s The Great Simplification audio podcast Episode #03, duration 0:54:27, US petroleum geologist Art Berman explains oil from the ground-up. Questions answered include: How much oil is left and what are future prospects for oil production and the economy?

    Nate Hagen says from time interval 0:17:59:

    We do know that many, many countries in the world have some sort of a Gaussian normal curve, and are on the downslope unequivocally and will never regain, ah… new highs. Do you have any comment on that?

    Art Berman then says from time interval 0:18:18 (bold text my emphasis):

    Ah absolutely. In fact, today, the… really, the only countries in the world, that are still on the upswing, ah… potentially, are the United States and Canada. That… Everybody else, is either on some sort of a plateau, or is past peak.

    Later, on IEA and EIA oil production forecasts, Art Berman says from time interval 0:21:29 (bold text my emphasis):

    Yeah, so… I don’t think that there’s a lot of geologists, or geophysicists, or even engineers that work for those agencies, and so they’re just dealing with numbers. And, and this is not, you know in any way meant to, to criticise them, but, ah… they just project numbers. And for those of us that actually look at the details, ah… we find out that there’s a certain amount of, of inequality in the distribution of this, this shale oil and tight oil as well. And so these, you know, these big numbers that sometimes are thrown around that say, oh, we’ve got, you know, we’re going to be producing as much tight oil in 2050 as we are today – well, those include way beyond proved reserves. I mean, that includes, ah… possible resources, probable resources – in other words, a resource is something that may be there, or may not, but we, we haven’t found it yet. And so those, those very big numbers are… they’re not, they’re not made up, but they’re not exactly real either. So my take is, that… I think we’ve got… probably about ten more years of shale oil, or tight oil, before it gets, you know, just as, as thin and expensive as conventional oil, and then we are going to be in big trouble. And, and I say ten years and, you know, that’s kind of a ball park. You know, we easily could be there in five, maybe… maybe we get lucky and, it doesn’t happen for fifteen, but in real life terms, it doesn’t matter – ah… we’re in trouble. At some time in, maybe in our lifetimes but, you know, certainly in my children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes.
    https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/03-arthurberman

    On Jan 19, Wealthion published a YouTube video titled When Will Energy Prices Come Down? Maybe Never Warns Industry Expert | Art Berman, duration 0:58:06, (see/hear below) of an interview between Wealthion host Adam Taggart and his guest, US petroleum geologist Art Berman. On the question of future US tight/shale oil production, Art Berman says from time interval 0:24:49:

    That’s over. We’ve worked through… the… you know, the flush period of, of another source of oil. We’re not… We haven’t used it all up yet, but the growth has pretty much gone. And so now we’re back to where we were fifteen years ago, and saying, well, if demand keeps going up, where’s the supply going to coming from? And the answer is: We don’t know, we just don’t know. And the market knows that, and that’s why prices are high.

    Slide Deck: https://www.artberman.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/WEALTHION-JAN-17-2022.pdf

  16. Crypto fans would love…

    “A world without banks”

    “But on the whole, Ireland carried on surprisingly well without any banks. The strike ended in November, and is remembered now mostly as a case study for just how a country might operate without a banking sector.”

    [Thanks to Gareth E.]
    Links:
    – Irish bank strikes (1966–1976)
    – How six-month bank strike rocked the nation
    – How Pubs In Ireland Literally Saved The Country’s Economy
    – The Irish Bank Officials’ Association
    – The Irish Banking Crisis: A Parable

    https://generalist.academy/2022/01/18/a-world-without-banks/

  17. Stunningly good address by our Young Australian of the Year 2022, Dr. Daniel Nour.

    Beyond passion, he has a calling. I cannot think of a more powerful, driven compassionate address in recent memory. I urge all to each and share.

    “Australia Day Address 2022 – Dr Daniel Nour
    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/specialbroadcasts/australia-day-address-2022—dr-daniel-nour/13719084

    Dr. Daniel Nour founded Street Side Medics.

    “Our founder, Dr. Daniel Nour, and his fellow directors shared a vision of providing an exceptional standard of healthcare to the homeless community. We are able to carry many of the burdens that homeless people experience by exploring and addressing the barriers keeping them away from healthcare services.”…
    https://www.streetsidemedics.com.au/what-we-do

  18. Correction sort of.

    Reviews of;
    “Cash Aid to Poor Mothers Increases Brain Activity in Babies” by Andrew Gelman & astralcodexten.

    Proves & causes. Two words I should not have used.

    “KT2 says:
    January 25, 2022 at 3:51 pm
    “UBI. This study proves poverty causes…”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2022/01/24/monday-message-board-541/#comment-250160
    *

    Andrew Gelman also dummied a pre-test eeg to test results. And praised data access of study. Good.

    “I’m skeptical of that claim that “Cash Aid to Poor Mothers Increases Brain Activity in Babies”

    Posted on January 25, 2022 5:00 PM by Andrew

    “A journalist pointed me to a recentresearch article, “The impact of a poverty reduction intervention on infant brain activity,” which stated:

    “This looks like what they found! Again, full credit for a rare case of clean data sharing. I wish in the published article they’d shown the color graph with all 435 paths. It would’ve been easy enough to do.


    “In the absence of a pre-test measurement or more granularity in some other ways, it just doesn’t seem like there’s enough going on in these data for any average treatment effect to show up.

    “Another way of saying this is that, to the extent that there is an effect, we would anticipate that effect to be highly variable, with some kids benefiting much more than others.

    “My impression from reading the article and the quotes in the newspaper was that the researchers were like, yeah, sure, it’s not quite statistically significant, but that’s just kind of a technicality because if you get enough data your p-values will go down. But that’s not right! I mean yeah, it is correct as you get more data your p-values will go down—but you don’t know where the estimate is going to end up. The effect might be negative, not positive, or it could just look patternless.

    “So I think the main message from the data so far is not that there’s evidence for an effect, and not that the effect is zero (not statistically significant != no effect), but just that, given the design of the study, the data are too noisy to learn anything useful about the effects of this particular treatment on this particular outcome.

    Conclusions
    “Where does that leave us?

    https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2022/01/25/im-skeptical-of-that-claim-that-cash-aid-to-poor-mothers-increases-brain-activity-in-babies/

    Via;
    Against That Poverty And Infant EEGs Study…
    https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/against-that-poverty-and-infant-eegs
    *

    JQ, perhaps you might edit original comment to include a link to this comment please.

  19. IS COVID19 AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO HUMANITY?

    Key scientists have declared coronaviruses potentially pose an existential threat to humanity. Let us be clear what this means. An existential threat is a threat to something’s very existence. It means human extinction in this case. The declaration of potential existential threat appears in clear form in this paper:

    “Universal Coronavirus Vaccines — An Urgent Need”
    Authors – David M. Morens, M.D., Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

    The statement of potential existential threat is given in explicit terms:

    “The past 20 years have witnessed four fatal coronavirus outbreaks: SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome, 2002 and 2003), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, since 2012), and now Covid-19 (since 2019). Scientific evidence and ecologic reality suggest that coronaviruses will emerge again in the future, potentially posing an existential threat. The betacoronaviruses that caused these epidemics are globally distributed in numerous species of bats. The full virologic and geographic extent of this enzootic reservoir is unknown; however, it has been increasingly spilling over into humans and other mammals. Because of genetic and structural receptor conservation among mammalian species, many of these animal betacoronaviruses are “preadapted” for infecting humans by binding to angiotensin-converting–enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors, which facilitates viral spillovers and ongoing transmission. Some animal coronaviruses that may have pandemic potential have already been identified, and many more remain to be detected.” – Morens, Taubenberger, Fauci.

    What has changed? What has changed is that one coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has solved the problem of easy access to human cells in the lungs and also to capillary and blood vessel tissue cells. With the advent of the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants this problem has been solved to a high degree of efficiency, effectiveness and immune evasion. What this means is that SARS-CoV-2 has the keys to the human body and it can potentially share them, by viral recombination, with the entire clade of coronaviruses in all animal reservoirs, especially but not only in bats. It might not even need to share the gene code as convergent evolution can also occur. And the more we encroach on wild animal populations the more likely such convergent evolution will occur.

    NeoCoV (recently discovered to be spreading in bats in South Africa) is an example of this potential problem though it is not mentioned in the paper above.

    “Scientists from Wuhan, China, recently discovered the NeoCoV coronavirus — which has a high death rate and transmission rate — is spreading through bats in South Africa. NeoCoV is a virus connected to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS COV). One in three people infected could die from NeoCoV. The virus was first found in a bat population and has been known to spread among animals. NeoCoV has traits from both MERS-CoV and the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2.” – Deseret News, Utah.

    This is highly concerning.

    “Scientists said they’re unsure what’s next with NeoCoVand and if it will pose a threat to humans in the near future. “Whether the virus detected in the study will pose a risk for humans will require further study,” the World Health Organization told Russian news agency TASS. The virus is reportedly one mutation away from being a major threat to humans.” – Deseret News, Utah.

    Once the spike method to enter human cells as efficiently as Omicron does is available, it illustrates the potential dangers from convergent evolution and viral recombination. In the latter case, Omicron as the latest SARS-CoV-2 threat, or rather its spikes complement, can be viewed as the Trojan horse which could carry more coronaviruses into humans once other coronviruses acquire this access method. SARS-CoV-2 has very efficient keys to the human body and can potentially hand them around to its entire coronavirus family by viral recombination.

    The article by Morens, Taubenberger, Fauci also notes that our current mRNA and DNA vaccines are essentially stopgaps. They are NOT the solution to this crisis and we can see even now how they are progressively failing. We need a new ground-breaking vaccine which attacks the nuclear capsid of the virus and of ALL coronaviruses. Apart from suppression and eradication by physical measures (isolation and quarantine) this is new idea appears our ONLY way out of this so far endless crisis.

    “Finally, we urgently need universal coronavirus vaccines. In the United States, the Covid-19 pandemic has been partially controlled by standard public health measures such as social distancing, masking, isolating sick and exposed people, closing places where people congregate in close quarters, and other measures, as well as by SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (two messenger RNA vaccines and one adenovirus-vectored vaccine). As important as these vaccines are, however, their protective efficacy wanes over time, necessitating booster doses. Vaccination has also been unable to prevent “breakthrough” infections, allowing subsequent transmission to other people even when the vaccine prevents severe and fatal disease.” – Morens, Taubenberger, Fauci.

    This passage essentially points out that the current vaccines are progressively failing and the SARS-CoV-2 virus is breaking through. Although the article doesn’t say it, we as the discerning public can see that these vaccines are progressively failing and the clear trend is to the requirement for continuous boosting (we are up to four vaccines now for some). There is no clear end in sight to this trend with the current generation of vaccines. Without a universal, effective and permanent vaccine to SARS-CoV-2 we face an interminable battle with coronaviruses trending always to greater vaccine escape and eventually to a potential existential threat to humans. These are the clear implications. I wonder when the population will realize how much danger they are in? I wonder when the political class will start telling the truth about this disaster?

    (But no, the political class are doubling down now on supressing COVID-19 deaths data. I will post about this shortly.)

    Meanwhile Here is the paper by Morens, Taubenberger, Fauci.

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmp2118468

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