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.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

58 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. My call – greenwashing & extension of pollution and capital /IP recoup, via technology. 

    ^1. “Long-term plans call for 12 plants at a total cost of $50 billion, each capturing 2 million metric tons of CO2 a year, according to Haru Oni.

    “we now emit over 34 billion tonnes each year.”

    34,000,000,000 T÷ 2,000,000 T =  0.00588% reduction in Co2 “long term”.

    A fine use – not – of capital and fossil fuel powered hyorr cars. “After spending $22 million on the pilot plant, Porsche buys a 12.5% stake.” Wow.

    ^1. “This synthetic-fuel startup just got $75 million from Porsche

    “The efuel-making process at Haru Oni starts by capturing CO2 from the air and using wind power to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen. The carbon and hydrogen are used to synthesize methanol, and the methanol is then turned into longer hydrocarbons using ExxonMobil’s methanol-to-gasoline process.”

    …”in 2024 and 145 million gallons (550 million L) by 2026, at a cost of about $7.6 per gallon ($2 per L).

    “[In Chile] it is wind energy—you could expect that maybe in the US there could be solar energy as a source, also in Australia. That always depends on the location, but in principle that should and will lead into investments in that two additional areas: North America, and Australia,” Steiner said. Long-term plans call for 12 plants at a total cost of $50 billion, each capturing 2 million metric tons of CO2 a year, according to Haru Oni.

    “Porsche has been testing the synthetic fuels in motorsports, and Steiner told Ars there had been no issues at all with the drop-in fuel.”

    Can’t find petrol**, vs “Haru Oni starts by capturing CO2 from the air and using wind power” vs other transport (H) etc, fuels.

    “Techno-economic and environmental assessment of Gasoline produced from GTL and MTG processes

    ‘The results indicate a higher overall yield for the MTG process with a net economic value of around $568 per tonne of gasoline produced and 0.2 tonne of CO2-e emitted per tonne of product. Furthermore, increasing the percentage of methanol being processed to gasoline indicates to have more net economic profitability but with increased amounts of CO2 emissions. These results indicate the significance of MTG process and can be further studied to identify the optimal percentage of methanol being processed to gasoline as a trade-off between economic and environmental benefits.”

    “Synthetic fuels (Methanol to gasoline)
    “Our methanol to gasoline (MTG) process selectively converts methanol to a single fungible liquid fuel and a small LPG stream.”…

    ** Judging by lax uptake of fuel standards, we won’t get it before we go electric and V2G! Sarc.

  2. I think the Liberal – Nationals – far right – capitalist class Coalition can win again .Australia might already be a disfunctional democracy one party state .These are the trends all over the world in countries like ours ,compulsory voting alone cant save us .If they can win this one after performing so badly, the Coalition has been so dominant for so long federally that we are in danger of having no viable opposition at all. We may already have passed into that alternate reality .It doesnt seem to matter what our government does wrong ,their base wont desert them – those that might do so already did so long ago .The veil has dropped ,the ” he might be a mongrel but he is ‘our’ mongrel ” sentiment is being openly and explicitly expressed (by Andrew Bolt for example). Our mongrel simply has to lower taxes ,reduce regulation and find a threat to protect ‘us’ from . The business class ,oligarchs ,the misled ,and the fearful will then vote for him- that can be just enough ,if it looks close they just go harder right and that works.

  3. Porsche is weird, considering it is a subsidary of VW, which is overall oriented towards a fast electric switch.

  4. The outcome of this federal election depends on how much anger there is in certain electorates. The electorates dominated by racism will always vote for the LNP but some marginal electorates can swing either way. This election reminds me of 2007 when John Howard finally lost the swinging voters who deserted him. The same may happen this time around.

  5. War crimes and genocide

    The vicious massacre of at least 300 Ukrainian civilians in Bucha has shocked the world, even after the indiscriminate – or possibly targeted – shelling and bombing of residential buildings, hospitals, theatres and the like in many other places. To a lawyer, these are all war crimes, in the sense of culpable violations of international humanitarian law as codified in the Geneva Conventions. Far more civilians have died in Mariupol than in Bucha.

    I suspect however that the cases are distinct in public opinion. The bombings, shellings and blocking of humanitarian aid reflect a traditional military logic of indirect pressure through terror and deprivation, going all the way back to the fictional biblical siege of Jericho and Timur’s all too historical massacre of the entire population of Isfahan in AD 1387. War crimes of this type are ordered by commanders, who are legally and morally responsible for them. In civilised militaries, subordinates are formally required to disobey illegal orders, but this is largely a pious hope. In contrast, atrocities like Bucha and My Lai were perpetrated by individuals or small units, acting for the emotional release of revenge, not from any calculation of military effectiveness. In Bucha, the mass grave and radio intercepts do suggest a measure of coordination, implying intent or complicity by officers at some level, as with Lieutenant Calley. The murders were committed at close quarters, and the evasions and rationalisations so common in the first type or war crime are no longer available to the perpetrators. The immediacy of these crimes gives them a greater emotional impact on observers like us.

    The revelations of Russian atrocities may not have much influence on the course of the war, beyond stimulating scattered retaliation by the generally better-behaved Ukrainians. But they do complicate the peace. Independent investigations at all levels and war crimes trials will now go on the list of Ukrainian demands, which Russia cannot accept without regime change.

    And what about Ukraine’s many non-belligerent allies, including the USA, the EU, Britain, and Australia? The sanctions we are applying are severe, and a major component of the overall pressure on Putin The price for their removal will give the allies seats at the peace talks. What are our war aims and red lines? Do we too insist on trials for war crimes, if this prolongs the war? Is this purely Zelinsky’s call, with hardening public opinion in Ukraine ( ? Personally I would give first priority to full restoration of the February 23 de facto borders, second to reparations, funded by raiding Russia’s frozen $600 bn in foreign reserves, third to war crimes, and recovery of the Donbass and Crimea last, but I don’t get a vote here.

    The issue is linked to Zelinsky’s repeated characterisation of Russian atrocities as genocide. It is easy to dismiss this as political hyperbole. In common parlance,, genocide is the attempted or realized physical extermination of a people, which clearly goes well beyond anything the Russians are doing. But common parlance is wrong. Zelinsky is a Jewish Ukrainian, and a representative of two identities targeted for genocide in the last century, so may well know what he is talking about.

    The concept was developed by Raphael Lemkin while the great genocides were taking place. It aimed to capture in particular the Nazi project to destroy all national and ethnic identities in Central and Eastern Europe other than that of the Aryan German master race, some by extermination, others by subjugation, decapitation of elites or enslavement. Lemkin did recognize Stalin’s Holodomor as a genocide of the same type.

    Lemkin’s concept became part of international law in the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 – but only partially. The concept of genocide (Article 2) is broad, as he proposed:
    “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such”,
    but the crime of genocide is defined restrictively as a short list of five actions including mass murder but not assaults on cultural or political identity such as linguistic discrimination, “reeducation” and population transfers.

    Putin has repeatedly denied the existence of a Ukrainian national identity. “We [Ukrainians and Russians] are, without a doubt, one people.” – Kyiv, December 2013. https://www.brooki of There is little doubt that the Russian war aim is the genocide of the Ukrainian people in the sense of Lemkin’s original concept and the header to Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, but not in the legal sense of the list of five crimes. It is more than likely that this Big Lie has been propagated to Russian soldiers even more than to consumers of state-controlled TV. The encounter with real live Ukrainians shouting “go home” (often more crudely put) must have created extreme cognitive dissonance, a state of mind predisposing to atrocities.


  6. Its a pity America and its Western empire didnt use its uncontested time at the top to make a world better able to avoid problems like Putin ,or at least to be able to fix them if hey arise. Instead we focused on wealth extraction organised by networks of oligarchs and their politicians with all the suffering and cruelty that can involve . We made deals with butchers and corrupt autocratic regimes ,sponsored coupes and insurgencies ,we turned a blind eye when it suited us. We defied the UN to make war when we felt an urgent need .We lost moral authority ,we stuffed it. Faith in democracy , humanity and international order is draining away .Unfortunately people can look at our concern for Ukraine and see hypocritical self interest if they want ,that makes things a lot harder.

  7. Cracking story. From bleeding edge global warming alert, to paranormal.

    “50 years ago, John Bockris saw the future of Australia’s climate crisis

    “The South African-born electrochemistry professor was in a lecture hall at Flinders University in 1973 and he was answering a question from the audience at an energy conference organised by the UN.

    “You’d have to be a non-scientist to reject it,” he said.

    “”If it were possible to use coal for say 100 years, we have plenty of it, and so do many countries,” Professor Bockris told an ABC crew after the lecture.

    “The difficulty of using coal over those long terms is that it produces carbon dioxide.”

    “Gesturing pointedly with his left hand, he explained that humans were now producing carbon dioxide at a faster rate than it could be absorbed by plants through photosynthesis, and so it was building up in the atmosphere.

    “Now, it can be shown that that does unfortunate things to our atmosphere,” he said.

    “To put it very briefly, it makes the climate change.”

    “S06 E8 – The 49-year-old energy prophecy that is finally coming true

    “The sixth season of If You’re Listening tells the story of Australia’s turbulent history with climate change, and what that means for the future.

    “As we approach a federal election where climate and energy is a key battleground, this 8 episode series will examine how Australia wasted decades fighting change, instead of capitalising on it”

  8. Germany is planning to introduce a 9 Euro per month ticket for the entire public transport network accross the country valid from juli-august, sort of by accident. It doesn´t really work very well for longer trips on a single day – e.g. Hamburg Munich only using regional trains takes 12 hours and requires to switch trains a lot, using all train options, it takes 6 hours. On other routes, the time differential is smaller and for round the country trips, it should work great.

    The original intention was just to subsidice a ticket valid in one´s homeregion as a more symbolic countermeasure against high fuel prices. ‘Those regional monthly tickets cost something between 15 and 90 Euro a month, depending on zones included and eligibility for reduced tickets. Often even less for University students, typically free for school students.

    Regional trains are notoriously empty (so empty in fact, that i doubt even the environment benefits) and that timeframe tends to be a low period, so the actual costs to society should be close limited.

    Well, if i´m still unemployed then (likely), that is actually unemployed as opposed to just to sick to do anything usefull (still good chance), i´ll sure use that one a lot, as far as corona numbers allow it. For the acclaimed official goals, that ticket will do little.

    Rich people with long work commutes will still go by car and receive some of the most perverse subsidies out there encouraging such behaviour, and the poorest bottom saves 5 Euro a month for three month – since those usually arrange their lives arround small public transport zones anyway. They tend to either be occupied with stupid jobs or too sick or both, and definitly too poor to missues the ticket for leisure trips. The odd poorer person with bad public transport connection will still have bad public transport connections, thus going by car anyway, receiving far less subsidies than rich people and/or people doing longer commutes. Public policy arround that topic remains a joke.

  9. Duck & Cover!
    “India’s Inadvertent Missile Launch Underscores the Risk of Accidental Nuclear Warfare” …”On March 9,”… “a weapon system developed jointly by India and Russia. India soon stated the launch was an accident.” … ”
    … “the Pakistan Air Force detected “a high speed flying object” inside Indian territory change course and veer suddenly toward Pakistan.* It flew deep into Pakistan and crashed. The object was a BrahMos cruise missile, a weapon system developed jointly by India and Russia. India soon stated the launch was an accident.

    “The firing of the BrahMos missile falls within a long history of accidents involving military systems in India. Military aircraft have strayed across the borders during peacetime. India’s first nuclear submarine was reportedly “crippled” by an accident in 2018, but the government refused to divulge any details. Secrecy has prevented the investigation of an apparent failure of India’s ballistic missile defence system in 2016. Engagements between India and Pakistan can arise from such accidents

    “especially when managed by overconfident organizations.”
    [Putin for example.]

    James Wimberley says:
    …”* It will only take one accident in the ageing legacy reactor fleet to prove the Germans right”

  10. JQ, how about starting a new chapter?
    – Economist Rebellion.

    We will crowd fund your bail. You can use United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres as a reference. 😊

    “Climate scientists are desperate: we’re crying, begging and getting arrested

    Peter Kalmus

    “On Wednesday, I was arrested for locking myself onto an entrance to the JP Morgan Chase building in downtown LA. I can’t stand by – and nor should you

    Thu 7 Apr 2022

    “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.” – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

    “I’m a climate scientist and a desperate father. How can I plead any harder? What will it take? What can my colleagues and I do to stop this catastrophe unfolding now all around us with such excruciating clarity?

    “On Wednesday, I was arrested for locking myself to an entrance to the JP Morgan Chase building in downtown Los Angeles with colleagues and supporters.

  11. Philosophers, correct me.

    “In Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein famously said that “if a lion could speak, we could not understand him”.

    A bit like Russia and much of the rest of the planet at the moment. Who is The Lion?
    …”It isn’t because I didn’t understand the meaning of the worlds, but because I had no ability to relate the words to a situation or world that I knew, so the meaning was lost on me.”…
    by Corey Mohler.

    A Lion says to Bertrand Russel: “Sure. If we invade countries now, we can achieve lasting peace”.

    BR says “we can have peace by … being peaceful!”

    BR says to Wittingstien “you were right Wittingstien”

    Witingstien replies “I told you that even if a lion could speak, we could never understand it”.

  12. “Global Electricity Review 2022

    10% – Share of global electricity from wind and solar in 2021

    50 – Number of countries with over a tenth of electricity from wind and solar in 2021

    38% – Share of global electricity from clean power in 2021

    +7% – Rise in power sector CO2 emissions

    +5% – Demand for electricity

    29% – Share of demand growth in 2021 met by wind and solar


    “Our dataset comprises annual power generation and import data for 209 countries covering the period 2000 to 2020. For 2021, we have added data for 75 countries which together represent 93% of global power demand. You candownload the data or use our Data Explorer.

    “This summary report—and the data behind it—is an open resource …”

    “Climate change: Wind and solar reach milestone as demand surges

    “To do that, scientists say that wind and solar need to grow at around 20% every year up to 2030.

    “The authors of this latest analysis say this is now “eminently possible”.

    “What we’re seeing right now is gas prices across Europe and across much of Asia being 10 times more expensive than they were this time last year, where coal is three times more expensive.

    “The war in Ukraine could also give a push to electricity sources that don’t depend on Russian imports of oil and gas.”

  13. I am….
    “Efficiently Irrational: Unraveling the Neural Mechanisms of Human Choice Behavior

    “Paul Glimcher, Ph.D.Julius Silver Professor of Neural Science 
    Professor of Neuroscience and Physiology Professor of Psychology, Economics and Psychiatry 
    Co-Director Institute for the Study of Decision-Making, New York University School of Medicine

  14. How are the game theorists at the Pentagon and in the Kremlin reading the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict? My assumption is that this is largely a NATO-Russian conflict with the Ukranians providing the canon fodder – acting as a proxy for NATO. I don’t have an answer to my question (who can assess the psychology of Putin and the resolve of NATO) but just some scattered thoughts.

    Putin has forced a rejection of the MAD nuclear deterrence option with his claim that Russia will use a nuclear attack if the existence of Russia is threatened. He states he would prefer a global nuclear conflict to a world with a prospering non-Russia but no Russia. I assume that this is believed to be a credible threat by NATO and the US who are still maintaining some restrictions on the delivery of heavy weaponry to the Ukraine. In short they don’t want to create a pretext for a global conflict with nukes.

    But the weaponry that is being delivered and the incredible resolve of the Ukrainian people is potentially creating an unstable situation. Suppose the Ukraine does defeat Russia in the east and Putin is left with nothing except economic sanctions from the west, huge numbers of Russian casualties and a significant loss of face. Will he resort to tactical nuclear weapons to devastate the Ukraine on the understanding that NATO will, as is the case at present, not wish to escalate the conflict to a global one. Victory for the Ukrainians in the east could result in a global conflict. Of course, I want the Russians defeated but I fear this unintended outcome.

    Giving away sections of Ukraine’s east to the Russians to avoid a wider, more costly conflict seems like a reasonable bargain for the US, NATO and maybe even the Ukraine itself. The difficulty is in the dynamics – if Putin’s threats can achieve this outcome once then will they not be repeated both with respect to the rest of the Ukraine, the Baltic States and Poland?

    If NATO enforce a red line on the US of nukes by Russia then everything hinges on whether this threat is believable. If you are going to threaten here then you will create a response from Russia that makes it necessary to enforce the threat if the red line is crossed. It’s a really tough decision.

    I remember in the 1960s that people were marketing nuclear shelters in the US and other countries. There was real fear of a nuclear conflict. I feel the same fear today. We have not been closer to an all out nuclear conflict since the Cuban missile crisis. President Kennedy estimated the probability of an all out conflict then as between even and 1 in 3. Surely we are approaching those types of odds today. It is a scary situation with the battlelines, if anything, hardening. Talk of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, and increasing military resolve in countries like Germany, have been responded to by threats from Russia to locate nuclear weapons on the borders of its neighbours.

    Arguments that the US should negotiate directly with Russia sound good but what is there to negotiate. The US has stated that the Ukraine will not be joining NATO and it seems the Ukrainians have accepted this. Currently Russia is an invading force and seems intent on forcing Ukraine away from its economic and cultural focus on Europe. It wants an expanded empire not just neutral neighbours. I can’t see an easy way out via such negotiations.

    Just some thoughts.

  15. Excellent post on “Early Lessons from the War in Ukraine” 

    Phil Goetz said…

    “Wait, we have defenses against nuclear missiles? Why haven’t I heard of this?”

    April 14, 2022


    “Early Lessons from the War in Ukraine”

    “Russia has long made sure that any major warship deployment is accompanied by a tug in case of mechanical failure, something unthinkable in the western navies. 

    “The US invests a ton of time and money in making sure that its forces are doing all of this, and while it isn’t perfect, it has produced a level of peacetime readiness that is frankly astonishing. 

    “Economic problems also seem to be showing up in the quality of Russian equipment.”…

    – “First and foremost, Russia has strong incentives to hush up any problems they may have, as they have long had a strong export sector, and every incentive to make their hardware sound as impressive as possible.

    “Western militaries and contractors have this same incentive, but it’s counterbalanced by free-speech laws that allow journalists to talk about problems with their nation’s equipment, which Russia obviously lacks.

    – “Second, there’s a general ignorance of the problems that military equipment faces, which results in many rather fantastic claims being taken seriously.

    – “Third, Russia has long struggled with corruption, so it’s quite plausible that many tests are “passed” without being run honestly, with the expectation that they won’t be tested enough in service for the problem to become apparent. 

    “The US has spent the last 20 years developing missile defenses, and has largely worked out the practical problems involved, leaving us with systems that work, but that are not available in sufficient numbers to deal with a Russian attack. We could solve this quite easily, given that Russia can only have 1,500 strategic nuclear warheads under the current arms control treaties.

    “With such a shield, we would be far safer if Putin or Kim Jong-Un decide to start lobbing missiles at us. Russia would undoubtedly object, but they have lost all standing as a reasonable actor on the world stage, so we should ignore them. Putin could use to withdraw from the arms-control agreements and build more nukes, but we’ve bankrupted Russia before and we can and should do it again if they object.

    Did some searches re Pentagon & game theory. Do they scrub references? Seems so. 1 book. That was it in goog & ddg. Shhh.

  16. I guess the Russian use of Tactical nuclear weapons is a possibility too .Maybe Putin could say he will use one to destroy the CBD of Kiev in 24 hrs time ,giving everyone a chance to get 10 km away .The recent destruction of Russias lead war ship was a massive moral victory .Donated weapons that can do that will provoke Putin .I watched a US military YouTube video about their Javelin anti tank shoulder launched missile. A child could use it properly with about 5 minutes training. The missile itself costs about $ 150’000 ,you just sight the target ,lock it on fire and hide .It is low recoil and blowback as the main thrust only turns on after it has popped out and is 10 or 15 meters away . Weight of the loaded launcher is about 20 kg . Range is up to 5 km , the projectile goes up high and comes down on top of the tank where amour is weakest, that might be why there seems to be lots of picture’s of tanks with the turret blown off .I cant see how these dont make tanks obsolete .If the tanks ammunition blows up too that just turns a broken burnt tank into scrap metal .Apparently the sunken ships ammunition blew up ,I wonder if the missile that hit it was smart enough to go for that spot .

    .Some say Putin isnt so much into the idea of Russia or that of empire building but is primarily concerned simply with staying in power to avoid loss of wealth or even prosecution and imprisonment. A common trap for autocrats .He just started the war as a distraction .That clever move works as a distraction in all sorts of political settings ,not just ours. Inequality in Russia and personal hubris mean that he is fighting a costly and difficult security and surveillance operation on the home front too . For him it will be hard to keep these expensive wars going long term .

  17. The might of Russias military has again been shown as a bunch of incompetent unprofessional disorganised goons, who amuse themselves by murdering, raping and pillaging defenceless homeowners..

    This is indicative of how Russia as a whole operates, a lawless bunch of thugs whose main industry is terror, drinking and stealing. They are their own worst enemies

    May Putin and his cronies get their just desserts and may it be soon.

  18. Hasn’t Putin threatened tactical nukes of airports supplying weapons? Poland for example?

  19. Harry, do you have a reference for “The US has stated that the Ukraine will not be joining NATO and it seems the Ukrainians have accepted this.”?

  20. I stated in baldly but I think my claim is accurate. Zelensky has said many times he would like to join NATO but that NATO won’t allow it. On US and European views: https://www.washington

  21. I used to be a bit of a Russophile. Admired their defeats of Napoleon and Hitler. Russia did the heavy lifting in WW2 in Europe, after all. They were supplied with weapons just as Ukraine is supplied now. Love Tolstoy’s works. He detested the Russian state. I guess he knew a thing or two.

    Germany was reduced to rubble and split in two for a long time for its WW2 transgressions. Hard to think that Russia deserves to get away with what it has done. Conquest of Russia is not possible of course. However, implacable economic sanctions for decades, if need be, are fully justified. Long term, Russia needs to be reduced until it is no longer a threat to anyone. There is something about Russia. It seems incapable of anything except dictatorship.

    It is very likely Russia can be reduced over time. Indeed, it is reducing itself. Dictatorship, corruption, crime, alcoholism, COVID-19 infection, demographic collapse and economic collapse. All happening and all self-inflicted. They have entirely lost any sympathies I had for them.

  22. We should all be Russiaphiles. We should be taking tourist trips to Moscow and St Petersburg. Our businesspeople should be doing deals with Russian businesses. Russian scholars should be visiting our universities and we should be learning Russian and visiting theirs, their ballets and symphony orchestras should be touring the world. Putin has created a failed opportunity and replaced the obvious advantages of peaceful cooperation with barbarism. NATO is a defensive alliance and offered no military threat to Russia at all. The damage Putin has delivered seems long term and it is interesting to ask what drove this bizarre mentality in Russia. The barbarism of the Russian military in the Ukraine seems to reflect Russia’s difficult history.

  23. Harry Clarke,

    No, the responsibility runs deeper. The Ukrainians said “we fought to free ourselves.” They hold the Russian people responsible for not doing the same and they are correct.

  24. The new war on drugs is people smugglers. And it will be as effective. And take as long to reverse… “barely moved by the constant drip-feeding of three word slogans [Stop the boats]
    that are too easily our substitute for considered thought” Ray Gibbons.

    We of course are able to set up humane human escape and transfer centres and visa systems. But the bunyip aristocracy  & chumocracy, supported by popular press, three word slogans, demigogs and dummies, will prevent others from being seen as us.


    “Well, basically it’s a racket which is run by people smugglers to make money – and they make huge amounts of money,” … “Alexander Downer says ‘no one will end up being able to reside in the UK if they pay a people smuggler’, in UK Home Office video”

    Fortunately, Ray Gibbons provides an antidote to chumocracy and the evil of demonizing refugee policies:
    “Can a society – a structured group of people – be dysfunctional, normatively evil, can it knowingly cause harm? This essay deconstructs the roots of settler sovereignty as it emerged in Australia and whether the rapid flowering of an invasive culture has led to a society that remains infected by its dispossessory provenance. If so, the question then is: Can we adapt, can we modify the worst of our collective behaviours, or must we become yet another failed evolutionary experiment as we stare across a ruined landscape, of the past, of the future, cowed into catatonic lethargy, barely moved by the constant drip-feeding of three word slogans that are too easily our substitute for considered thought”

    “Can a Society be Dysfunctional? The politics of induced suffering
    Ray Gibbons

    “History as Landscape: Why Australia needs a Bill of Rights …

    And here are the reverse mafia; the WORST virus… The Oxi(ford)-moron Chumocracy. 
    …”the Torysphere with an entertaining story, wrapped in Oxford-tutorial-level plausibility, larded with quips and selected statistics and appeals to ancient English traditions of liberty, Burke and all that.”

    “After all, his caste expected maximum personal freedom

    “Their lack of scientific training did not dent their intellectual confidence.

    “the outsourcing company Serco,”

    “Why 1980s Oxford holds the key to Britain’s ruling class

    “Simon Kuper’s ‘Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK’ is published by Profile on April 28

    Proles link:

    Upper classes link:
    [Irony 1. It is in the ft.
    Irony 2. It is behind a paywall – chuckle]

    Bunyip aristocrats have been inculcating some via Alexander Downer. Allowed to do his dirty work – by us in ‘News’ papers since 1985…
    “Murray Valley standard” “alexander downer” ”

    “By 1985 Alexander Downer was local member and author of the federal parliamentary column.”

  25. Stop the slogans!

    I remember TV reportage, footage, of Alexander Downer running excitedly through the halls of power during the development of the Tampa incident. He was gleefully excited that they (LNP) had an event to manipulate and milk to the utmost to stoke up ban-the-boats hysteria. It was egregious and preposterous. The perceptive will note I just used two of Downer’s favorite of that time. However, thedifference is I have applied them accurately. It was immorally disgusting too to watch.

    I remember too the pompous Downer’s fatuous demand during the WMD fiasco that Saddam Hussein PROVE that he didn’t have WMD. As any legal theorist knows you cannot prove innocence (as in extensive and complete innocence). No matter how many places the WMD inspectors looked, they could not prove that WMD was not somewhere else. That is why the law focuses on proving guilt of a specified act of commission or omission, illegal under law, and demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt by objective, corroborated evidence (ideally).

    Modern LNP politicians are never honest and never act in good faith. This statement does not necessarily mean I think other politicians do demonstrate these qualities.

  26. Alan Rappeport, “Bitter fight looms as Russian default edges closer”, smh 18/4/22, contains the following information:
    A) Factual
    1. Russian sovereign debt of $US650 million due on 4/4/22, grace period to 4/5/22
    2. Total Russian debt in foreign currency denomination is $US75 billion
    3. Russian frozen bank deposits estimated to be $US320 billion (which is about half of Russia’s total foreign reserves. I don’t know whether these deposits include currencies other than US dollars and Euros. I am confident in assuming the bulk of this amount is in US dollars and Euros).
    4. Russia’s annual revenue from energy exports estimated as $US200 billion.
    5. EU sanctions restrict rating agencies from rating Russian debt.

    B) Promotional (can’t think of a better word)
    1. Rating agencies don’t know what to do
    2. Default on debt obligation on 4/5/22 may trigger negative flow-on effects in financial markets due to derivatives
    3. Court actions are expected in the case of default. Outcome unpredictable due to lack of precedence. Which Courts?
    4. Default will damage Russia’s ability to borrow on the international capital market.

    Regarding items 1. to 3. of section A): A non-payment of the debt obligation on 4 May by Russia may be due to either the Russian Central bank does not have enough foreign reserves in the currency denominations or Russia refuses to pay on the grounds that sanctions make it impossible to meet the debt obligations while it is obviously known that Russia is able and willing to meet its financial obligations.
    In the latter case, I would expect the Russian President, Mr Putin, to issue a statement to the effect of demanding the juristictions in which Russian bank assets are frozen to pay the holders of Russian debt securities the amounts due to them out of the Russian accounts. Proper transactions account data to be supplied to Russia. They may wish to appear generous by offering a service fee of say 0.0005% for administrative costs that would otherwise be borne by Russia and cover foreign exchange transaction fees if required and against an invoice.

    Not long ago the Russian President disturbed international commodity (price of oil and gas up a lot) and financial markets (value of the Rouble increased) by demanding payment for Russian exports in Roubles. The German Chancellor, Mr Scholz, retorted that the contracts are written in Euros. Now what?

    The resolution was even simpler than what I had in mind. I assumed the solution has to be such that Putin can claim the exports are paid in Rouble and Scholz (taken here as a representative for EU countries) can claim they are being paid in Euros. My idea was that Gasprom bank would create a subsidiary in a country that is not participating in the sanctions (eg Israel; Switzerland participates). The EU’s Euro payments to Gasprom bank would be passed on to the subsidiary, which exchanges the Euros into Roubles at the Russian Central Bank and then Gasprom receives its revenue from the Central Bank. The actual outcome was much simpler: Payments in Euros to Gasprom bank, second account in Roubles at the same bank. So the link with the Russian Central bank was internalised via one foreign and one domestic currency account in one bank. Commodity markets and foreign exchange values stabilised.

    Regarding item 4 of section A: I keep on reading about the currency value of Russian energy exports and I keep on reading arguments that these numbers provide the foundation for the demand of an immediate stop of coal, oil and gas imports from Russia as these payments “finance the war in the Ukraine”.

    While it is the case that these revenue numbers, together with items 1. to 3. of Section A) indicate Russian sovereign debt has a low default risk under normal conditions, it is also the case that revenue is not the same as profits. While it may be the case – and probably is during the condition ‘war’ – that the Russian government can force the energy producers to reduce their retained earnings and the payments to managers, the production costs are strictly positive.

    According to EU energy economists (reference supplied if required) the profit margin on oil exports from Russia are the highest and this margin is very low on gas.

    This item is irrelevant regarding the topic of the smh article in general and with respect to gas in particular.

    Regarding item 5. of section A): The EU rule seems to me to be very sensible. We all know the role played by rating agencies in the creation of the GFC. I have formed the opinion after reading up on the data used by these agencies that rating agencies are at best (ie no business relationship between the agency and the institution to be rated) an information aggregator, assuming the components of the financial system can be described in aggregate by a stochastic process with upper and lower bounds. In this case some or all traders in financial markets could buy ‘ratings’ instead of doing the research themselves. The state of a war may be enough to create values outside the upper and lower bounds. Having a war and sanctions on a significant segment of the financial system of the aggressor (Russia) is surely enough to violate the assumption of a ‘stable stochastic process’. IMHO the EU imposed this ‘no ranking of Russian debt’ on the rating agencies, just in case they can’t figure this out all by themselves.

    Regarding section B:
    IMHO, items 1. to 3. are examples of how the media contributes to the creation of uncertainty in financial markets.

    Item 4. This item reminds me of the saying ‘everything is a nail for the man with a hammer’. The hammer in this case is the perspective of the City of London, Wall Street, or, more generally how ‘we’ in ‘the West’ think about economics.

  27. “Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

    …”… Hume’s problem of induction and Goodman’s grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality, closed timelike curves, and several other topics of philosophical interest.  I end by discussing aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis.

    “Weighing in with 70 footnotes and 126 references, the essay is basically a huge, sprawling mess; I hope that at least some of you will enjoy getting lost in it.”

  28. Ernestine, Russia is already “create[ing] a subsidiary in a country that is not participating in the sanctions”, so still half the world for Russia to plunder & play monopoly. And make war.

    And we can appoint Harry for tourism “We should be taking tourist trips to Moscow and St Petersburg” (I assume Harry you meant “before Ukraine” – I hope.

    We (I) should have listened to Garry Kasparov in “The Wall Street Journal” on January 4, 2001, from recent Ted tallk. Link to transcript at end.

    Q: what effect on both, if Germany ceases energy imports from Russia tomorrow?  

    “In early March, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov toured the Gulf states, meeting with senior officials in the capitals of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.”

    “As the French Are Leaving Mali Russia Moves In to Fill the Vacuum
    Nov 17, 2021

    “However, the French decision has also opened the door for the Russians to have a much larger military and economic presence in Mali. The new government of Mali’s military junta has moved toward a closer relationship with Moscow despite French misgivings”.

    Garry Kasparov …”Actually, my first article of warning was published in “The Wall Street Journal” on January 4, 2001. I saw evil because I heard evil. Putin was telling us what he was. All we had to do was listen. When Putin said that there was no such thing as a former KGB agent, I knew Russia’s fragile democracy was in danger. When Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, I knew Russia’s newly independent neighbors were at risk. And when Putin talked at the Munich Security Conference in 2007 about a return to spheres of influence, I knew he was ready to launch his plan. It was the language from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939. The language Hitler and Stalin used to divide Europe. And a year later, in 2008, Putin invaded the Republic of Georgia. 2014, Ukraine.

    “It’s a paradox, isn’t it? Dictators lie about everything they have done, but often they tell us exactly what they’re going to do. Just listen. Anyone who is surprised at Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine must not be aware about his long record, beginning with the Second Chechen War in Grozny more than  decades ago. Vladimir Putin has been a war criminal from the start.”

  29. IMHO Russias problem is that they have a dreadful government model, it’s very narrow and entirely vertical. It was like that during the czars and still exists today. The emperor has a sneeze and everybody sneezes.

    There is no political opposition, fear and repression are part of the social fabric. Russians steal from Russians, Russians beat and kill other Russians out of fear. You grow to accept the life, it is very predictable, it has some compensations 🙂

    After the fall of USSR and the Berlin Wall you would think that eastern countries would be ecstatic but not quite so, Angela Merkel talks about a the feeling of loss, like a father dying.

    Putin has figured this out and he isn’t alone, people like to see a strong person as their leader. He/she may not be right or humane or even likeable but being strong gets the nod.

  30. This paper by Gerd Gigerenzer is important.

    “The remedy is the same as in Point 2: to invest in educating people to become risk savvy so that they can critically evaluate governmental policies.

    “These three points bring to light the individualistic bias that the libertarian paternalism program inherited from its intellectual source, the heuristics-and-biases program (e.g., Kahneman and Tversky 1972). Virtually every blunder is attributed to a flaw in the human mind, even if part of the problem lies in industries that persuade individuals into unhealthy behaviors, from smoking to fast food to excessive alcohol consumption. As we will see, strategic interaction and social intelligence are mistaken for logical error (Point 1), errors are attributed to lack of rationality rather than to lack of education (Point 2), and choice architects are assumed to be benevolent philosopher-kings rather than employees of organizations that may pursue conflicting interests (Point 3).

    “On the Evidence for Systematic Deviations from Rationality

    “I will restrict my analysis to three of the allegedly stable cognitive errors cited by Thaler and Sunstein (2003, p. 176) above:”…

  31. KT2: thanks for the Gary Kasparov link. Kasparov is correct: totalitarians tell you what they are going to do, despite doing so through relentless lying. It sounds paradoxical, but isn’t in practice, for they essentially speak in a codified manner. They present things as if they were already true, and leave it to the minions to interpret their master’s big lie as if it were a command to make this happen. The classic example is unemployment: a dictator might say, “there is no unemployment,” and have the unemployment figures fudged to make it seem so; a totalitarian, in contrast, by saying the same thing, is actually issuing a command for the *dismantling* of all unemployment welfare, etc, *as if it were no longer necessary*. Then of course the 0% unemployment statistic is correct by default. This is how the totalitarian ensures a self-fulfilling prophecy. Heck, the minions might even take a mobile crematorium around the streets at night, plucking up any now homeless (formerly unemployed) people and efficiently destroying all evidence of unemployment. Or they might dump the (formerly) unemployed people in another country, in permanent exile. This is how the totalitarian mind-set rules. Kasparov is clearly patently aware of this. The bigger surprise is how many people simply aren’t aware of this. History has given us at least two world-shaping examples in the 20th century, i.e. Hitler and Stalin, so it isn’t for want of a historical exemplar of totalitarianism.

    Even now, in the Trumpian America strata, the masters big lie is continuing to see the minions charging through the courts, haranguing the legislatures, and giving speech-for-hire stump speeches that ensure the big lie lives on, perhaps to become a reality through their own efforts to thwart a democratic election. Big case of projection, another of the totalitarian’s propaganda methods. Even now, there are people who think it is so obvious Trump didn’t win, and so obvious the election was fair and not stolen, they are apt to treat the people still circulating the big lie as merely snake oil salesmen who are simply hoping to make some cash out of it. In this way, they perhaps fatally dismiss it all as mere performative action, rather than as bad faith action with dual purposes, i.e. to make cash *and* to make the big lie reality, post hoc. This is why Trumpian behaviour is so corrosive in a democracy; bad faith acting is the kryptonite that can bring a democracy unstuck.

  32. Thanks Don. We have Clive Palmer & Craig Kelly fulfilling your statement “merely snake oil salesmen who are simply hoping to make [cultural, power & policy projections] (some cash) out of it. In this way, they perhaps fatally dismiss it all as mere performative action, rather than as bad faith action with dual purposes, i.e. to make cash *and* to make the big lie reality, post hoc.”.

    Don, in an early Ukraine war thread, after much toing & froing by all of us, yiu got around to, my paraphrase, saying, as Russia et al will continue in this vien if not stopped by a coalition of forces, we may as well go in boots and all now. I am coming around to that view.

    You said “They present things as if they were already true, and leave it to the minions to interpret their master’s big lie as if it were a command to make this happen”.

    We in our llittle bubble don’t seek out “how the totalitarian ensures a self-fulfilling prophecy.”.

    I didn’t seek this link, it came from an aggregation site which I like as it has many & diverse links I may not usually see in my bubble. But upon opening this link I came across “the minions to interpret their master’s big lie as if it were a command to make this happen”.

    Don’t click on this link unless you want to hear about the neo-nArt-Zee’s hiding in the Ukraine steel works tunnels, and the total opposite of our sanitised news. It is a clear eyed well written daily Situation Report by pro Russian, married to a Dual citizen US / Swiss vias holding smart propagandist. Don’t ask him why he lives in USA though!
     !!! Warning – at least turn off cookies if visiting this site. I won’t be returning as my 2 clicks only add weight !!!

    “Sitrep: Operation Z
    April 12, 2022
    thesaker is

    Somewhere between 300 & 1,000 civilians reported to be in with remnants of  what Russuan will call neo’N’s’ -Azov’s hideout  – “… 3,000 fighters defending the city against up to 14,000 Russians.”.

    Russia, beside “smoking them out” will in the end,  use the euphemism of “flamethrowers”, aka  thermobaric weapons / bombs, causing a fireball and vaccum from which there is no escape. Even in tunnels. In a;

    “‘Fortress in a city’: steel plant becomes Ukrainian hold-out in Mariupol

    “Outnumbered forces concealed in the vast factory are the eastern city’s last line of defence against the Russian invaders

    “The Azovstal iron and steelworks, one of Europe’s biggest metallurgical plants, has become an apocalyptic redoubt for Ukrainian forces who are outgunned, outnumbered and surrounded seven weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “…and covers more than 11 sq km (4.25 sq miles), containing myriad buildings, blastfurnaces and rail tracks.

    “The Azovstal factory is an enormous space with so many buildings that the Russians … simply can’t find [the Ukrainian forces],” said Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst based in Kyiv.

    “That’s why they [the Russians] started talking about trying a chemical attack; that’s the only way to smoke them out,” Zhdanov said.”

    Via Reuters 
    (Reminder – this is just ‘news’ and is slightly better than hearsay to a court)
    Fri 15 Apr 2022

    “Thermobaric weapons are controversial because they are much more devastating than conventional explosives of similar size, and have a terrible impact on anyone caught in their blast radius.

    Has Russia used thermobaric weapons in Ukraine?

    In a tweet, the MoD said that Russia had confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine.

    “It said: “The TOS-1A uses thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects.” The Russian military calls the units “heavy flamethrowers”, which can fire rockets up to 9km.

    “Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, has also accused Russia of using them in its invasion.

    We need better ‘news’, and a serious look at the institutions we think are acting on our behalf. And a say in the changes and policy. 

    That is why I think the “This paper by Gerd Gigerenzer is important.
    “The remedy is the same as in Point 2: to invest in educating people to become risk savvy so that they can critically evaluate governmental policies.”…

  33. Update on my post of 19/4/22, affecting the sentence “My idea was that Gasprom bank would create a subsidiary in a country that is not participating in the sanctions (eg Israel; Switzerland participates).”

    Today (Sydney time), the Spiegel online reports that after long deliberations Israel has given up its stance of neutrality toward Russia.

    I am not sure whether giving up a stance of neutrality implies imposing sanctions.

  34. I watched the video clip by Garry Kasparov. I assume he spoke to a US audience. This may or may not affect the colour of the speech. Irrespective of the audience, my assumption is that a Russian borne person with analytical abilities of a top chess player and access to information outside their home country is in a better position to read between the lines of state media and politicians in Russia than someone like myself, sitting today in an armchair in the leafy part of sunny Sydney.

    For what its worth, I’d like to point to one complication, which itself may call for an interpretation from a Russian cultural perspective. The complication concerns the privatisation of Russian state owned enterprises (big ones, primarily in the natural resource sector and heavy industry) during Putin’s predecessor area, namely Boris Yeltsin (president 1991 to 1999).

    IMHO, it is not possible – or at least highly unlikely – to have a functioning democracy without having a reasonably fair distribution of income and wealth in a capitalist society. During the Yeltsin years, a shock therapy was applied in Russia to get from a centrally controlled economy to a capitalist economy. Instead of moving slowly towards a market oriented economy, keeping an eye on the income and wealth distribution, the Yeltsin policy resulted in a form of feudalistic capitalism. That is, a small group of individuals gained ownership and control over crucial assets that belonged to the people, via the state, in an extraordinarily short period of time. These people are now referred to as the Russian oligarchs.

    The wiki entry on Boris Yeltsin provides more details on his life. Yeltsin

    In 1993 I was on sabbatical leave in Mannheim, Germany. I lived in a University visitors house where I met 1 physicist, 1 economist, 1 philosopher from the University of Novosibirsk (Siberia) and 1 then 10 year old child. These academics were collecting small sums of money to finance the acquisition of a part required to repair a research computer at the University of Novosibirsk. Although I don’t remember the then $ amount of the cost, I do remember it was ‘cheap’ by local and Australian standards of assessing price relativities. The physicist, a female, told me when they go back home they will have to live largely from the produce in her grandma’s garden. (The ten year old boy tried to teach me the Russian alphabet. Can’t remember whether I forgot the lessons as early as on the flight back to Australia somewhere over India or shortly thereafter.)

    It seems to me the Russian people paid a high price for the confusion of democracy with the wild-west type of capitalism during the Yeltsin years. Moreover once established, the system of oligarchs and their links to the government seems to reproduce itself, leading forward to the past.

  35. On 2 Mar 2008, Fatih Birol, then chief economist at the International Energy Agency, wrote in an op-ed that included:

    We are on the brink of a new energy order. Over the next few decades, our reserves of oil will start to run out and it is imperative that governments in both producing and consuming nations prepare now for that time. We should not cling to crude down to the last drop – we should leave oil before it leaves us. That means new approaches must be found soon.

    Few took any notice. And now…

    US petroleum geologist Art Berman tweeted earlier today (Apr 20):

    U.S. crude oil + condensate production base declines at 39% per year.
    This is the natural decline rate if no new wells are drilled.

    And on Apr 17:

    Incremental world crude + condensate production has been declining except for U.S. since the November 2018 peak of 84.5 mmb/d.
    March 2022 output was 80.4 mmb/d.

    Is humanity about to experience the ‘Seneca Effect’? – see Wikipedia for “Seneca effect”.

  36. Garry Kasparov is an Azerbaijani or Azeri (same thing) and not a Russian. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many of the former Soviet republics left “Russia” with alacrity. Couldn’t wait to sever ties. However, Kasparov certainly understands many aspects of the Russian system and mentality. Just don’t call him Russian! I don’t think he would thank you for it. 😉

    My wife and I were in the Soviet Union on a tour in 1991. The 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt, also known as the August Coup happened 9 days after we left Moscow and were In Helsinki. Soviet Union was a mess when we were there. Some vignettes:

    (1) Smolensk – A hilly little town with battered trams that looked like they needed panel beating. A grocery shop a bit like an old Aussie 4 Square store but it had mostly empty shelves. The odd tin of tomatoes here and there. One long shelf had one safety razor set and one shaving brush with the roughest bristles you ever saw. These were “Made in Czechoslovakia”. A peasants market outside sold a few fresh tomatoes and not much else. Hotel “rouble store” stocked with 2 boiled eggs and few bits of bread. Nothing else.

    (2) Moscow – Stayed in Russian-American joint venture hotel across the road from Kiev Station (I guess on the line that went to Kiev.) Few guests. Many rooms unfinished. Our room had no curtains. No room service. Middle of the night, machine gun fire from down near the station and up at a bridge. Next day all the gypsies we had seen up neat the bridge abuttments were now “disappeared”. Later that day I saw tip-trucks with gypsies in the back (still alive). Looked like they were being trucked out of the city.

    I could add many more anecdotes like getting rotten meat for dinner at Leningrad’s biggest hotel which had no hot water. English guide told us, “They haven’t had hot water here for 6 months.”

    Noticed how our English guide and German bus driver hated Russians. They made it glaringly obvious to us and to the Russians they shouldered past everywhere they went. Not being judgemental. Just seemed to me like a lot of nationalities on the continent disliked each other… a lot. Lots of history there. Maybe it’s changed.

  37. Before Yeltsin. A great backgrounder.

    I watched on SBS recently:
    “Meeting Gorbachev”
    A wrap of everything leading into and briedly touching on the Yeltsen years. Spoiler – Gorby got shafted.

    Has actual resignation signing with Gorbachev, realising was being played for the cameras so signed before crew ready, much to the consternation of Yeltsen propagandist cronies in room.

    “Meeting Gorbachev” was for me anyway, interesting and interspersed with archival, and bonus, reflective comments from power players from the time, which gave it added weight. No better vision than hindsight.

    “Meeting Gorbachev”
    1h 31m
    “Werner Herzog meeting Mikhail Gorbachev opens a fresh door to some of the most significant happenings of the late 20th Century from nuclear disarmament to the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War. It also puts into perspective today’s era of populist political leadership.”

    Then there is this, but not released to SBS. Ive not seen it. May be streamed on pay services.

    “GORBACHEV. HEAVEN is a documentary film about changes that reverberated throughout the world wrought by one man. … Gorbachev’s short time in power was marked by the collapse of this empire. He was the architect of Glasnost and Perestroika, policies that gave the citizens of the Soviet Union – what Ronald Reagan called “the Evil Empire” – a chance to be free. He tore down the Berlin Wall. But at the same time, under his rule, the Chernobyl nuclear facility exploded and its destruction was concealed. Citizens demanding independence in the Baltic states died. Soldiers wielding shovels brutally suppressed protesters in Tbilisi. And Soviet tanks menaced, and killed, peaceful demonstrators in Baku. The Soviet empire collapsed under him – and he is condemned by his own people.”…

  38. Pandemic folly = mixed views.

    JQ, I hope “The Consequences of the Pandemic”, indicate changes over time, referencing Prof Mike Toole’s response, epidemiologists ‘now’ mixed views, and the waning of care.

    “The views among epidemiologists, however, were mixed.

    “Prof Mike Toole from the Burnet Institute … said Australia currently had one of the world’s highest rates of new cases a day, averaging dozens of deaths daily.

    “How can you say we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic when we reported 50,966 new cases [on Wednesday]?” he said.

    “People are still living in the belief that Australia somehow avoided the worst of the pandemic, they don’t seem to mind the fact that more than 4,000 people have died from Covid in less than four months this year. That’s twice as many as the combined number of deaths in 2020 and 2021.”

    From; “Epidemiologists split over easing of Covid restrictions in NSW and Victoria”

  39. There will be more.
    Sounds like _ _ _ _ _ _ has ….”a much higher human cost [than US] to match the much more radical project of converting the socialist economies to (hyper)capitalist economies via shock therapy within only a few years.”

    From “Deaths of Despair in Comparative Perspective”

    “In the case of the United States, hundreds of thousands of deaths have been associated with industrial decline in the wake of the neoliberal reorganization of the economy. 

    “In Eastern Europe, total excess deaths reach the millions, a much higher human cost to match the much more radical project of converting the socialist economies to (hyper)capitalist economies via shock therapy within only a few years. The epidemics of deaths of despair in the West and the East were not historically unique events that idiosyncrasies of the particular countries could explain. Dysfunctional health behavior in the form of alcohol and drug abuse is central to both deaths of despair epidemics. However, these are proximate and not ultimate causes and, in most cases, are on a shared causal pathway linking upstream economic dislocations to individual ill health.”

    Annual Review of Sociology

    “Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Sociology, Volume 48 is July 2022.”

  40. KT2, you wrote: “Q: what effect on both, if Germany ceases energy imports from Russia tomorrow?”

    What do you mean?

  41. Switzerland condemned Russia and did so to maintain its neutrality.

    So anything is possible.

  42. A bad flu season in Australia kills around 1200 people per year, either directly, or via knock-on effects due to respiratory inflammation and gunk from the infection, which can lead to pneumonia, and death. Obviously there might be some unreported/missed cases, but 1200 is the ball park for the fatalities in an entire calendar year! Note that this year we have already had 4000 fatalities from Covid-19, and many of them would be from the “milder” Omicron variant(s), since it had become dominant early in 2022.

    In the not so distant past, I’ve made a bit of a racket about the death *rate* of the current “let ‘er rip” phase of the pandemic mis-management in Australia. We could have done better than this, I believe, even with the Omicron level of transmissibility.

  43. So Tesla had another great quarter, which maybe pushes the share value to “only” 4 times overvalued if you are optimistic – and Elon Musk gets a ceo salery of some 24 billion in stock options. Worst shareholder ripp off in history by a ceo and no one cares.

  44. Our deaths year to date are nearer 5000 than 4000 according to the Guardian . I dont know the average number of people in hospital with covid but it must be more than 1000 .This is costly . I am sure if it were children rather than the elderly and disabled who were paying the price attitudes would be different. I have avoided it so far and intend to see how long I can last . I am the only one wearing a mask at my place of (part time ) work now. Wearing an n95 properly is very good protection .

    Nial Ferguson has 6 ‘killer apps ‘ which he says explain the Christian Wests superiority . He left out the two best ones – land seizure and slavery .According to some estimates the British extracted more wealth via plantation sugar from one single Caribbean island than the value of all gold taken from South America by the Spanish.

  45. sunshine: – “Our deaths year to date are nearer 5000 than 4000 according to the Guardian .

    Yep. Per, cumulative total deaths attributed to COVID in Australia are:
    1 Mar to 31 Dec 2020: _ _909
    to 31 Dec 2021: _ _ _ _ 2,239 _ _or 1,330 deaths over 365 days
    to 23 Apr 2022: _ _ _ _ 6,969 _ _ or 4,730 deaths over 113 days (so far)

    sunshine: – “I dont know the average number of people in hospital with covid but it must be more than 1000 .

    Per, COVID hospitalisations as at 23 Apr 2022:
    NSW: 1,617
    VIC: _ _449
    QLD: _ 528
    SA: _ _ 246
    WA: _ _258
    TAS: _ _ 41
    ACT: _ _ 57
    NT: _ _ _46
    AUS: 3,242

    sunshine: – “This is costly .
    Yep. And with social restrictions reduced further, I’d suggest it will get worse. IMO, so many wrong decisions by Premier Perrottet et. al. The next few weeks will tell how much worse.

    sunshine: – “I am sure if it were children rather than the elderly and disabled who were paying the price attitudes would be different.

    Some are, but it seems apparently not enough to warrant action.

  46. sunshine said;
    “He left out the two best ones – land seizure and slavery”.

    Just read another “land seizure and slavery” example – a comment below – as I was reading JQ’s review of Sachs book “The End of Poverty”,
    …because I was reading today:
    “Opinion: A negotiated peace is the only way to end Russia’s war on Ukraine”
    Opinion by Jeffrey Sachs

    Sachs doesn’t come of well from some of his big poverty interventions.

    Last comment on JQ’s review of “The End of Poverty”:
    “Kevin Carson says:
    September 4, 2005 at 4:35 am
    ” Driving people from the subsistence/gift/barter economy into the money economy may cause a significant jump in GDP, while reducing real standard of living. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, when the Brits seized the best 20% of land in Kenya for settlers and drove off the native subsistence farmers, and used a poll tax to force other subsistence farmers into the wage labor market, the GDP probably went through the roof. Conversely, if sweatshop laborers homesteaded land currently used to produce cash crops for Cargill, and took to direct exchange through LETS systems and mutual banks, nominal GDP would probably go down considerably–even though real quality of life would soar.”

    “Following severe financial difficulties of the British East Africa Company, the British government on 1 July 1895 established direct rule through the East African Protectorate, subsequently opening (1902) the fertile highlands to white settlers.

    …”but Africans were excluded from direct political participation until 1944, when the first of them was admitted in the Council.”

    We do it digitally now, and it seems, try to fix it digitally! 

    “Kenya wants to stop illegal land seizure with Blockchain”
    31. Dezember 2018

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