Monday Message Board

Another 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 Mastodon here

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

18 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “Repairing a Fractured World Economy?”

    “Richard Kozul-Wright is Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is author of Transforming Economies: Making Industrial Policy Work for Growth, Jobs and Development.among numerous other publications on economic issues. His most recent book, co-authored with Kevin P. Gallagher, is titled A Case for a New Bretton Woods.”

    Interview by Lynn Fries.

    As my description would be nowhere an succinct as Yves Smith’s here is the transcript & video of;

    “Repairing a Fractured World Economy?

    November 11, 2022 
    by Yves Smith

    “Yves here. This interview of Richard Kozul-White of UNCTAD cover a very broad scope of economic issues from the developing country perspective: how unregulated financial markets have hindered emerging countries, how the Global Financial Crisis market failure has been ignored, and how even before Covid, these countries were facing a decade of lost growth.”

    By Lynn Fries.
    Originally published at GPENewsdocs

    Reference #214;
    “Kevin P. Gallagher , Richard Kozul-Wright (2019). “A New Multilateralism for Shared Prosperity” (PDF). United Nations. Archived(PDF) from the original on July 5, 2021. Retrieved August 15, 2021″

  2. Satellite based emissions data show the oil and gas sector has been underreporting their emissions by about 2/3rds. A case of them not knowing or of deliberate under-reporting?
    Given their track record I strongly suspect the latter; this is an industry that gets governments to pay for their greenwashing out of emissions reduction funding – which those involved must think is hilarious… but I am not laughing. They are claiming high gas prices in Australia are primarily due to high demand and lack of local, nearby supply (let us drill for more) and – whilst pretty much all paying no taxes – make out they are great contributors to the economy by equating royalties to taxes and the economic harms from their rampant profiteering don’t count. Just as climate consequences don’t count. Whether mainstream politics is beholden or cowed it is clear that the price of allowing an Australian government to try and reduce domestic emissions is their support for increasing global emissions using Australian fossil fuels.
    I’d like to think they are losing their social license and that their profiteering will work like a carbon price and induce greater investment in clean energy but… governments are either beholden or cowed and large parts of our reporting media are still doing Doubt, Deny, Delay (and Disparage) in support of fossil fuels.

  3. Antibiotic madness.

    Wage & Profit rise for a powerful union. And private education.

    Dr Norman Swan said watch for antibiotics and profit motive. ABC Health Report.

    “.. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said the move was “madness” and “a recipe for disaster”.

    “This isn’t a solution for patients, this is a solution for the pharmacy lobby,” RACGP president Karen Price said.”

    And just to make sure antibiotics gain suoerbug status and alter aquatic biota:
    “Tassal and Huon Aquaculture did not announce use of antibiotics, which may contribute to growth of antibiotic-resistant superbugs”


  4. JQ, are you being scammed by Audible?

    How many returns of your audio book version of “Economics in Two Lessons” please.

    Any commet on effects on your works directly, of “chokepoint capitalism”?

    Rebecca Giblin & Cory Doctorow say:

    “Suddenly, the scam came into focus: the Amazon-owned Audible had been offering an extraordinarily generous returns policy, encouraging subscribers to return books they’d had on their devices for months, even if they had listened to them the whole way through, even if they had loved them – no questions asked.

    “Encouraged by the policy, some subscribers had been treating the service like a library – returning books for fresh credits they could swap for new ones. Few would have realised that Audible clawed back the royalties from the book’s authors every time a book was returned.

    “Good for Amazon, bad for authors
    “It was good for Amazon – it helped Audible gain and hold onto subscribers – but bad for the authors and the performers who created the audiobooks, who barely got paid.

    “Understanding Amazon’s motivation helps us understand a phenomenon we call chokepoint capitalism, a modern plague on creative industries and many other industries too.

    “But many of today’s big corporations and billionaire investors have perfected ways to make those supposedly-temporary advantages permanent.

    Chokepoint Capitalism: why we’ll all lose unless we stop Amazon, Spotify and other platforms squeezing cash from creators.”

    Audible page for Ein2L:
    – 1 credit/month after trial—to buy any title you like, yours to keep.

    “Listen all you want to a selection of thousands of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.

    $16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime

  5. 8 billion people and counting.

    But global oil production has peaked. I’d suggest a global food production peak will likely then follow, and then the global population will then soon peak.

  6. More cute transition tech

    Pursuing my whim to bring you appealing tech news, a team at Princeton preposes to clean and desalinate water with egg whites: (via CleanTechnica).

    “Egg whites are a complex system of almost pure protein that — when freeze-dried and heated to 900 degrees Celsius in an environment without oxygen — create a structure of interconnected strands of carbon fibers and sheets of graphene. In a paper published Aug. 24 in Materials Today, Arnold and his coauthors showed that the resulting material can remove salt and microplastics from seawater with 98% and 99% efficiency, respectively. “


    The effectiveness is startling – far higher than activated charcoal, the standard method for low-volume filtration. The raw material is cheap and scaleable, and anyway they can source the protein other ways. It’s not clear if the method can be scaled up to large desalination plants with high throughput, but there is a huge need for small-scale decentralised water purification.

    The PR anecdata are revealing. Professor Craig Arnold had his aha! moment contemplating a cafeteria sandwich. He is obviously a skilled scientific entrepreneur too, and secured funding and collaborators (including other Princeton departments and international partners in Italy) to see the offbeat project through to publication.

    I make no apologies for selecting news like this on aesthetic grounds. We ignore the impact of aesthetics on choices at our peril – not always for good, as with racism. They are a fundamental aspect of personal and group identity, not just a subjective matter of taste. Arnold’s cute and witty idea surely helped him secure the varied backing he has needed to carry out the science, and will continue to support him as the idea moves towards commercialisation. As with this comment, it is certainly generating favourable publicity.

    Let’s hear it for kittens.

  7. Profit price spiral.
    Any ideas how and when a semblance of balance might prevail? Will new Industrial Relations laws level the field?

    By PAUL DONOVAN “The writer is chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management”

    “Policy has more routes to lower inflation if the cause is about profits.”

    “… Companies have passed higher costs on to customers. But they have also taken advantage of circumstances to expand profit margins. The broadening of inflation beyond commodity prices is more profit margin expansion than wage cost pressures.

    “How is this happening?”

    “That is because today’s price inflation is more a product of profits than wages.”

    “And consumers seem to be buying stories that seem to justify price increases, but which really serve as cover for profit margin expansion. Indeed, the soundbite economics of the Twitter era helps this process along.

    “This unconventional inflation means higher unemployment and lower wages are not the only possible cure for it. Policy has more routes to lower inflation if the cause is about profits.

    “The profit crisis is the inflation-driving pressure we don’t talk about”
    By business reporter Daniel Ziffer

    “Dr Denniss said rising wages costs have played an “insignificant role” in the recent inflation spike.

    “His recent research suggests bigger pay packets account for just 15 per cent of price increases, while profits have played a much larger role, accounting for about 60 per cent of recent inflation.”

  8. JQ. Please propose a new research project. You have done everything else.
    Except my brain.

    Jim Simons, “the most successful hedge fund manager of all time” will appreciate your proposal.

    Suggested title:

    Neuro Dynamics of
    Decisions, Prospects & Outcomes. Economics and the Brain

    “Simons Foundation Seeks Proposals for New Neuroscience Collaborations”

    “The foundation will prioritize cross-disciplinary collaborations integrating many levels of analysis, methodologies, ways of thinking and scientific communities.

    “The collaborations should encourage conversations within and across fields while bringing together diverse groups of researchers to investigate important questions about the basic principles of brain function.

    “Investigators in a Simons Collaboration are expected to openly share data, code, analysis pipelines, protocols and reagents with the broader community. The foundation expects proposals to include junior investigators and investigators from a diversity of academic disciplines, genders, races and ethnicities.”

    Jim Simons (mathematician)

    “Due to the long-term aggregate investment returns of Renaissance and its Medallion Fund, Simons is described as the “greatest investor on Wall Street,” and more specifically “the most successful hedge fund manager of all time.”[4][5][6]”

  9. James, you’ve done it again!! – hope for the hopeless!! (Well, I have a little bit … ) You’re stillllll my favorite man on the internet. (Don’t worry, I know you’re married.)

    I don’t find eggs to be un-aesthetic though, in the first place? I didn’t quite get that. But no matter, this is still awesome. Someday I will be able to wash fleece garments again… ; ) Ha. Anyway.

  10. 8, 9, 10 or 11 billion humans. 1 Earth.

    Where to concentrate efforts to slow population increases?

    I was mildly astounded to read, just 8 countries:
    “According to United Nations models, …
    “Most of the projected increase in the global population between 2022 and 2050 is expected to occur in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.”
    (Above in newsletter text, not article below.)

    “The latest UN population update, released in July this year, also revises its long-term projection down from 11 billion people to 10.4 billion by 2100.

    “World population hits eight billion — here’s how researchers predict it will grow

    “United Nations model predicts a slower rate of population growth than was previously estimated.

  11. Economist Steve Keen was interviewed on ABC TV’s The Business, saying the planet cannot sustain 8 billion people.

    0:00:00: “When you add up the mass of humans, and the animals the humans breed to eat, compared to the mass of the rest of the animals on the planet, we’re over 95 per cent of the mammal mass on this planet. That’s at 8 billion, and there’s just no way we can keep on going at this rate without basically wiping out the life support systems that we ourselves depend on.

    On orthodox economics & neoliberalism, from time interval 0:00:39:

    The simplest thing is they ignore the role of energy in production. They simply think you can wack workers and machines inside a factory and goods will come out the other end. My little insight was that, ah, a worker without energy is a corpse; a machine without energy is a sculpture. If you want a worker work, and the machine turn, you’ve got to give them both energy – now food for the human and oil for the machine, fundamentally. And they ignore that – they just leave it out. Now once you take it into account, if there’s a fall in energy availability there’ll be a fall in GDP, and it’s virtually one-for-one. And when they put their stuff into the model, and they do include energy their way, they say oh, 10 per cent fall in energy, maybe one per cent fall in GDP. They are so fundamentally wrong that when it comes to an energy crunch, the real world will tell us the economists have got it wrong and it will be too late for us to do anything.

    0:02:37: “GDP is transformed energy, and then if you don’t have the energy then you don’t have the GDP. At the moment, you know, virtually 85 per cent of energy comes from fossil fuels. We’re now seeing in a crisis like the flash floods out in western New South Wales just yesterday, ah, there’s drought in America, ah, drought in Europe as well, the ridiculous heat bubble here, so I’m wearing nothing but a shirt, ah, this weird stuff, at some point is going to cause a catastrophe, maybe a crop failure. We have to take this seriously, and because of economists, we haven’t.

    I suspect Steve Keen’s plain speaking is what many people don’t want to hear.

  12. KT2, N: thanks to both. At 76, it’s nice to have any size of fan base!

    It occurs to me that many eggs are thrown away by shops when they reach their sell-by dates. Perhaps the albumen can be extracted without an increase in the hen population.

  13. James, any time you post, it is a worthy read. Tech or diplomacy + history + geopolitics + current events, I will never match.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  14. “Learning to live with COVID-19 in Australia: time for a new approach”
    By Catherine M Bennett

    Slightly dated now imo.

    “Announcing the winners of the 2022 PHRP Excellence Awards

    “Highly Commended – Perspective paper

    “Learning to live with COVID-19 in Australia: time for a new approach”

    Catherine M Bennett
    8 September 2021. 

    “The emergence of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has made Australia’s ‘COVID-zero’ strategy unviable. As signalled by the Australian Government’s National plan to transition Australia’s national COVID-19 response, we need to plan a pathway forward for life beyond lockdown. However, this plan must be guided by long overdue discussions on our tolerance for serious illness, and hospital and intensive care unit capacity. The modelling that informs the national transition plan remains relevant, even with increases in case numbers, but one crucial thing that does change if cases continue to escalate is the effectiveness of test, trace and isolate models. As we move into suppression mode with higher rates of the population fully vaccinated, we will no longer need to find every case. This is among the many shifts in approach that will shape our transition by early 2022 to living with – and controlling – the disease.”

  15. There’s been a sharp rise in NSW hospitalisations – see graph tweeted @crudeoilpeak on Nov 18:

    Looks like a fourth SARS-CoV-2 wave is emerging before this year ends.

    Deaths from SARS-CoV-2 in Australia were:
    Period _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Days_ Accumulated Total _ Total for Period _ Average deaths/day
    2020, Mar 01 to Dec 31: 306 _ _ _ 909 _ _ _ _ _ _ 909 _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.97
    2021, Jan 01 to Dec 31: 365 _ _ 2,239_ _ _ _ _ _1,330 _ _ _ _ _ _ 3.64
    2022, Jan 01 to Nov 18: 322 _ _15,967 _ _ _ _ 13,728 _ _ _ _ _ 42.63

    On current trajectory, there will likely be 15,500+ deaths for the full year-2022.

    When will governments mandate mask-wearing in ALL public indoor settings, to ease the burden on medical facilities & staff?

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