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COVID-19 epidemic as the second stage of the crisis of neoliberalism

News COVID-19 Epidemic Recommended Links  COVID-19 prevention measures The threat of "Coronavirus recession" COVID-19 hoarding epidemics SARS-CoV-2 origins and a "bioengineered virus" hypothesis
COVID-19 fearmongering COVID-19 epidemic as the second stage of the crisis of neoliberalism  COVID-19 epidemic handing in the USA Absurdity of bureaucracies Federal bureaucracy blunders in handling COVID-19 epidemic in the USA Diamond Princess epidemics of COVID-19 Medical workers problems
Trump's impulsivity and incompetence Groupthink Manufactured consent Media as a weapon of mass deception Nation under attack meme Trumpcare scam The Real War on Reality
 Stability is destabilizing: The idea of Minsky moment Nineteen Eighty-Four Casino Capitalism The importance of controlling the narrative Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Neoliberalism and COVID-19

Epidemic control is not something in which a neoliberal society, based on the idea that profit is the king ("Greed is good")  motives and "homo homily lupus est" style of promotion of competition excels. It requires cooperation, which is discouraged under neoliberalism. See Neoliberal rationality  The neoliberalized healthcare is clearly rotten for 90% of the population  (truthdig)

“I was born in 1936. My father lost his job the day I was born,” recalls the Truthdig editor in chief. “Roosevelt was the hero in our house. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Why? Because the ruling class in our country, the robber barons, the rich people — and he was from a rich family — they undermined their own system. They were so consumed with greed and short-term profit and swindling, the market and everything else that they forgot about stability in society.”

We can add that the US political system after 2008 crash entered prolong crisis and its economy -- "secular stagnation" phase -- neoliberal ideology is dead, but neoliberalism marches on like a zombie. Actually pretty bloodthirsty zombie.

In case of COVD-19 the relevant public health officials may know what needs to be done, but they’re not doing it because of the reflexive reliance on neoliberal, market-based solutions is also at fault. At least in part, because state resources are simply not available. It’s also due to the way we the authority for such problems was pushed down from federal to the state and local level.  There are some things government is uniquely positioned to provide, but neoliberals are not capable of recognizing that simple fact.

As Dr. Sarah Borwein stated in her Exclusive Interview on COVID-19 with SARS Veteran  published on MedLink:

The most important thing we learned from SARS was that infectious diseases do not respect borders or government edicts, and cannot be hidden. It requires international cooperation, transparency and sharing of information to control an epidemic.

We also learned the importance of providing good, balanced, reliable information to the public. In any epidemic, there is the outbreak of disease and then there is the epidemic of panic. And nowadays, there is also what the WHO has termed the Infodemic, the explosion of information about the epidemic. Some of it is good information, but some of it is rumour, myth, speculation and conspiracy theory, and those things feed the anxiety. It can be hard to sort out which information to believe, so it is important to choose trustworthy sources. Panic and misinformation make controlling the outbreak more difficult.

Neoliberalism as a social system based on lies and disinformation so this is impossible under neoliberalism. So the fact that Trump administration is lying about the epidemic is not a bug, it is a feature (BTW Chine is a neoliberal society too; although the remnants of socialism still are visible; the same is even more true for  Russia - it is typical and rather cruel neoliberal society)

In the USA  the neoliberal policies undermined the healthcare system  to the extent that dealing with the epidemic like COVID-19 in privatized healthcare system represent tremendous challenges.  Neoliberalism takes privatization of social services such as government hospitals and health facilities to the extreme.  Privatization is the exact opposite of making health services more affordable and accessible to the public

“The first rule of public health is to gain the trust of the population.” Neoliberalism is doing exactly opposite: population distrust providers of medical services which often abuse ill patients for profit (surprise ambulance billing,  surprise hospital billing, unnecessary medical procedures like insertion of stents, unnecessary surgeries, etc). The CoVid19 is about to expose millions without health insurance, more millions with enormous deductibles and co-pays that discourage doctor visits, and still more millions who can't afford to stay home when they're sick if they want to avoid eviction and homelessness.  

TE Lawrence countykerry a month ago
Well, hygiene is fine, but that's only a secondary issue, the proverbial lock on the barn door after the horse is stolen. And clearly, we can have nationalism without having epidemics. The problem is that the current form of Capitalism is built on looong supply chains to countries with cheap labor and lots of government support. I worked for a large aircraft manufacturer for many years,whose modus operandi was to avoid outsourcing parts and structures to American companies, and it worked pretty well for quite a long time for them. But now the weak links in the 'chain' come to the foreground. Rule #1 (and the only rule!) of Capitalism is 'there is no such thing as too much profit'.

A CEO's corporate life expectancy is about 3 years, so he (usually a 'he') has to plunder fast and make a good severance deal while they have the chance. Nationalism only deals with national matters.

Meanwhile, the financial and business world could care less about the welfare of any nation, whose citizens exist merely to contribute to quarterly profits. Any given corporation does not make lightbulbs, cars, air conditioners or any other thing. The entire enterprise exists to provide huge salaries to a few hundred executives. Nations supposedly exist to provide security to their citizens, among other services, such as infastructure and public health. They have failed, badly, because of the corruption of our leadership, which now consists of elevator boys and room service for the Wealthy.

Add to this weakened emergency response capabilities and it looks like another Katrina moment. SNAFU started with CDC botching the development of virus test kits (and producing 10 time more expensive kits that China and Korea used)  and then trying to hide this by maximum restrictions on "eligible" for testing patients.  Typical for all neoliberals Trump preoccupation with the health of stock market, not so much with the health of the USA people also played some role (Although one positive thing about Trump's behaviour is that he opposed MSM panic  about the virus) The USA could benefit from replication China and South Korea path to suppressing the virus, but choose not to do so. Moreover  Trump administration created fiasco with tests which was notable, painful and will have negative consequences for the duration of the epidemics in the USA The Coronavirus Debacle The American Conservative

The president has been unwilling to tell the public the truth about the situation because he evidently cares more about the short-term political implications than he does about protecting the public:

Even as the government’s scientists and leading health experts raised the alarm early and pushed for aggressive action, they faced resistance and doubt at the White House — especially from the president — about spooking financial markets and inciting panic.

“It’s going to all work out,” Mr. Trump said as recently as Thursday night. “Everybody has to be calm. It’s going to work out.”

Justin Fox comments on the president’s terrible messaging:

The biggest problem, though, is simply the way that the president talks about the disease. His instinct at every turn is to downplay its danger and significance.

Minimizing the danger and significance of the outbreak ensured that the government’s response was less urgent and focused than it could have been. It encouraged people to take it less seriously and thus made it more likely that the virus would spread. Then when the severity of the problem became undeniable, the earlier discredited happy talk makes it easier for people to disbelieve what the government tells them in the future.

Neoliberalism  decimated social protection of workers (sick days, sick leaves, etc) and forces workers to come to the job even while having symptoms.  Part time workers (which are the fastest growing part of the US work force)  are generally treated like slaves in the USA. The vast majority of hourly employees in the hospitality business don’t have health insurance. "Average working class folks cannot afford to voluntary quarantine themselves. Or to stay home from work for any reason. Even if they have symptoms. They will continue going to work. They have to, in order to economically survive." https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/09/covid-19-and-the-working-class/

Consider the typical scenario in the US: there are literally tens of millions of workers who have no more than $400 for an emergency. As many perhaps as half of the work force of 165 million. They live paycheck to paycheck. They can’t afford to miss any days of work. Millions of them have no paid sick leave. The US is the worst of all advanced economies in terms of providing paid sick leave. Even union workers with some paid sick leave in their contracts have, at best, only six days on average. If they stay home sick, they’ll be asked by their employer the reason for doing so in order to collect that paid sick leave. And even when they don’t have sick leave. Paid leave or not, many will be required to provide a doctor’s slip indicating the nature of the illness. But doctors are refusing to hold office visits for patients who may have the virus. They can’t do anything about it, so they don’t want them to come in and possibly contaminate others or themselves. So a worker sick has to go to the hospital emergency room.

That raises another problem. A trip to the emergency room costs on average at least a $1,000. More if special tests are done. If the worker has no health insurance (30 million still don’t), that’s an out of pocket cost he/she can’t afford. They know it. So they don’t go to the hospital emergency room, and they can’t get an appointment at the doctor’s office. Result: they don’t get tested, refuse to go get tested, and they continue to go to work. The virus spreads.

... ... ...

Then there’s the further complication concerning employment if they do go to the hospital. The hospital will (soon) test them. If found infected, they will send them home…for voluntary quarantine for 14 days! Now the financial crises really begins. The hospital will inform their employer. Staying at home for 14 days will result in financial disaster, since the employer has no obligation to continue to pay them their wages while not at work, unless they have some minimal paid sick leave which, as noted, the vast majority don’t have. Nor does the employer have any obligation legally to even keep them employed for 14 days (or even less) if the employer determines they are not likely to return to work after 14 days (or even less). They therefore get fired if they go to the hospital after it reports to the employer they have the virus. Just another good reason not to go to the hospital.

In other words, here’s all kind of major economic disincentives to keep an illness confidential, to go to work, not go to the hospital (and can’t go to the doctor). That risks passing on the highly contagion bug to others–which has been happening and will continue to happen.

McJobs in service sector are in especially bad shape because they already have a third world country conditions imposed on them.  Ask Wal-Mart workers about their sick leaves problems; and Wal-Mart is not the worst retailer in the USA as for the personnel abuse.  This backfire during virus epidemics and makes the USA a third world country as for the prognosis of the severity of this epidemics in the country.  https://www.bangladeshpost.net/posts/neoliberalism-and-the-coronavirus-25315

capitalism is all about externalizing costs. “Some people” (because corporations are legally people) don’t take responsibility for their carbon footprint. “Some people” scrape the surface off the earth to get at “their” lithium. Some polluters don’t take responsibility for the health costs of their effluent.

The shorthand definition of neoliberalism is capitalism on steroids. No longer does capital have to exploit workers in its own country. It can scour the world for the cheapest, most exploitable labor. No longer does capital have to fret about environmental regulations in its own country.

Just manufacture those goods someplace where the government says air that you can’t see through, or water that is green from algae is A-OK. Those goods end up a continent away, but as long as the shipping costs are cheap (burn, baby, burn), it makes more profit than employing local people for what they think is a livable wage.

... ... ...

In sum, the strategy of wringing every last dollar out of child, prison, and slave labor for the sake of private profit is nearing the point of diminishing returns. Unleashing a fatal virus from bats into humans is a negative return. By wrecking the neoliberal-driven global economy, SARC-CoV-2 may just push the world into embodying that final section of the post-climate catastrophe, post-Ebola, post-rat fever world of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. The question is, do you find the final section pessimistic or optimistic?

Another factor is that the working class families in the USA lack any significant savings to shoulder work disruption. Presence of homeless on the streets of cities such as San Francisco is another aggravating factor.  The vulnerability of the US in the current political environment comes because the gerantocratic neoliberal regime is concerned only about the prosperity of the top 10% (and especially top`1%) of the population; all other are treated as "deplorables" (Truthdig) :

Nowhere, though, is the rusty, rickety nature of America’s civic society more recently evident than in the hilariously, harrowingly inept response to the advent of the COVID-19 virus as a global contagion. Whether it is more or less dangerous and deadly than the media portrays is quite beside the point.

The abject incapacity of any government, least of all the feds, to offer even simple, sensible guidance, much less mobilize national resources to examine, investigate and ameliorate the potential threat to human health and well-being is astonishing, even to a tired old cynic like me.

At present, the most proactive step has been to pressure the Federal Reserve into goosing the stock market — the sort of pagan expiation of dark spirits that you’d expect in a more primitive world, when a volcano blew or an earthquake hit.

One positive factor in this story is that "God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.."(attributed to Otto von Bismarck) -- epidemics in the USA actively started in March and warm weather usually halts such epidemics. If this is true, then Northern Europe/Russia/Canada/Northern USA will have at only the extra 1-2 months vulnerability, if there is a pandemic, as warm weather in those regions often comes as late as May.


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[Mar 28, 2020] People's lives have absolutely zero value to these monsters at the top, who have gotten where they are because they are so ruthless and selfish.

Mar 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 2:49 pm GMT

@tomo Hi tomo!

Yes, I would believe it.

I was a partner in a law firm where I was ultimately responsible for all civil litigation we handled. I was continually shocked and disgusted by what I saw. It was incredible. People's lives have absolutely zero value to these monsters at the top, who have gotten where they are because they are so ruthless and selfish.

We, as a society, carefully select for these psychopathic types in all high-level competitive endeavors where large sums are hanging in the balance. Their only loyalty is 1.) to themselves; 2.) to the shareholders/partners, firmly in that order, and they are VERY highly rewarded for it. That the commoner's well being holds no value to them aside from how it can be exploited to their businesses' advantage, is a truism revealed and reinforced daily. The Ford Pinto, Dalkon Shield and other horrifying high profile cases (from the era when I practiced) come immediately to mind.

Pig Pharma is by no means alone in their utter disregard for the everyday man and woman, it's just that we intuitively expect people in the medical field to want to heal the sick, not prolong it. But as the Wall Street analysts remind the heads of Pig Pharma on a daily basis: curing disease is a bad business model. Prolonging and worsening illness, just short of death, is optimal. Just ask the lovely Sackler family.

Very sad to learn it's as bad or worse across the pond, but I guess that's to be expected.

I suspect the worst of it exists in the military environment, where service men and women are apparently routinely used as guinea pigs, and often completely unknowingly. But at least they know when they sign up that they are 100% expendable ..

[Mar 28, 2020] Covid-19 Hits the Dual Economy Incomes Destroyed at the Bottom, Profits Supported at the Top

Mar 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lance Taylor, Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development, New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

This note presents broad brush illustrations from a simple accounting model of the impacts of the coronavirus epidemic on macroeconomic balance, with emphasis on fiscal interventions. The premise is that supporting effective demand is essential for sustaining economic activity. The covid-19 epidemic created mass unemployment by shutting activity down. The resulting income loss undoubtedly reduced household consumption which makes up two-thirds of GDP. The only way to restore consumption is for the government acting as the "borrower of last resort" to raise its deficit and transfer the proceeds to households. A numerical example presented below suggests that an increase of ten percentage points in the ratio of government net borrowing (spending on goods and services plus transfers to households minus tax revenues) to GDP would do the trick.

The stimulus legislation now before Congress does not go far enough. Its size -- $2.2 trillion or ten percent of GDP – is the right order of magnitude but the breakdown of spending is biased away from households and toward business, viz. , payments that may flow more or less directly to households – checks in the mail, more unemployment insurance, small business support, state and local government support, and less than $100 billion to food stamps and disaster relief – come to $1.2 trillion or 5.7% of GDP.

Big business support in the form of loans and a range of other payments amounts to $800 billion or 3.8% of GDP. No doubt, politics aside, some of this money will be usefully spent, but its contribution to aggregate demand will be slow and indirect.

Before getting into the details of demand management, a few background observations are needed.

One is that both government and business have substantial debt overhangs. The simulations suggest that an increase of about $3 trillion in the deficit of the government sector (close to the total built into the various packages now in place or being enacted) is needed to offset the macro shock that the epidemic creates. Outstanding Federal debt is $22 trillion. New issues of three trillion may be difficult for markets to absorb.

Even worse, the corporate sector's outstanding debt is $10 trillion, five times total profits before depreciation, interest, and taxes. Share buybacks, largely financed by borrowing and ranging in the upper hundreds of billions per year, have been an important driver of growth of debt. The production side of once dominant firms – think of General Electric and Boeing – has been hollowed out by financial engineering. Politics will continue to be influenced by pressures to solve financial problems for firms created by their past mistakes.

On the real side of the economy, over the last two or three decades the share of employment in sectors with low real wages, productivity, and profits increased by around twenty percent. The share of profits in national income grew at around 0.4% per year for five decades, mostly flowing through various channels to households in the top one percent of the size distribution of income. Households at the bottom of the distribution became especially vulnerable.

The major impact on economic activity will come from falling consumption of goods and services due to income losses caused by businesses shutting down. Starting from an initial income level, household saving or the difference between income and spending will shoot up with further multiplier effects on output. High profit activities such as real estate rental and leasing, finance, and information will be protected. Sectors with high employment and low wages and productivity such as retail, accommodation and food, and other services will be hard hit (education and health will be the main exception). To offset the impacts, fiscal demand creation by the government will be essential, with the required outlays depending on the size of the consumption drop and other shocks such as lower private investment and exports.

We begin with details about differences across sectors, and go on to the macroeconomic effects of the coronavirus epidemic on incomes and output.

Dual Economy

The shifts in the structure of production just mentioned created an American dual economy with prosperity at the top and near subsistence living at the bottom. Table 1 presents details for sixteen sectors, ordered from the higher to lower rows by decreasing estimates of payments per hour to labor (including "supplements" or contributions for pensions and insurance).

Real wages and productivity vary over wide ranges. The same is true of sectoral profits. Real estate takes the lion's share, followed by manufacturing, finance, business services, and information. Profits are meager from retail on down the rows, while output and especially employment shares are relatively high. The three sectors mentioned above -- retail, accommodation and food, and other services – provide around 46 million jobs, more than one-quarter of the 162 million total. Their labor payments amount to $263 billion, about one percent of GDP of $21 trillion. This number can be contrasted with $600 billion of profits in real estate. Incomes of low-wage workers do not matter

greatly in the grand macroeconomic scheme of things, but for them even a ten percent income loss would be devastating.

Table 1: Structure of production in 2016 Wages and output used to calculate wage rate per hour and productivity per hour are deflated by the GDP deflator (2019=100). Shares of real output are deflated based on each sector's own industry price index (2009=100).

Macroeconomic Balance

Before turning to the impacts of covid-19, it makes sense to review previous macroeconomic shocks such as the great recession and the smaller Trump tax reduction of 2018. A simple accounting scheme can be built around "net borrowing" (NB) levels of four institutional sectors – households (HH), corporate business, government at all levels, and the rest of the world.

For households and business, NB is equal to gross fixed capital formation plus changes in inventories ("investment") minus saving. For government, it is current spending on goods and services plus investment minus the excess of tax receipts over fiscal transfers to households. Broadly speaking, foreign NB is the current account surplus or exports minus imports. It is negative for the USA. In the jargon, investment, government spending, and exports are demand "injections." HH and business saving, taxes minus fiscal transfers, and imports are "leakages." Overall macroeconomic balance requires that the sum of NB levels across sectors should equal zero (subject to a "statistical discrepancy" between estimates of spending and incomes in the national accounts). Table 2 summarizes data for selected years. The "rates" are calculated with respect to the relevant year's real GDP.

Table 2: Net borrowing behavior in the USA for selected years (levels in trillions of dollars at prices of 2019, rates are relative to GDP)

Each year's "multiplier" is the inverse of the sum of the four leakage rates. The multiplier times the sum of injections equals output.

In a further illustration, Figure 1 shows annual net borrowing rates in the form of a bar chart. High net borrowing by the government in response to the financial crisis stands out. Even more striking at the far right of the diagram is the fiscal response to the consumption loss due to the coronavirus as estimated in Table 3 below.

Figure 1: Annual sectoral net borrowing (in the past and estimated for 2020)

The diagram and table show that business retained earnings usually provide the main source of saving, with resources also coming from households and negative net borrowing by the rest of the world (positive net lending to the US economy). The government is the principal net borrower, as underlined by its role in recent macroeconomic events and especially now.

Recession and the Trump Tax Cut

The 2007-09 recession was precipitated by private sector retrenchment in wake of the financial crisis. Household consumption was flat, while private investment fell by 30%. Household saving and business retained earnings went up, meaning that the overall private saving rate rose from 19% to 22%. Output rose between 2007 and 2009. It would have dropped dramatically if the net government tax-minus-transfer rate had been stable. But in fact it fell from 15% to 6% due to automatic stabilizers and the Obama stimulus package of around 5% of GDP. The overall impact was that private net borrowing fell by 10.2% of output while government borrowing went up by 8.6%. Reduction of the external deficit by 1.7% made up the difference.

In sum, the recession was not a disaster because of fiscal realignment. Causality ran from a private sector shock to automatic and discretionary government responses. It went the other way for the more modest Trump tax cut. The tax-minus-transfer rate fell from 11.6% to 10.7%, or about $185 billion. Output did go up by 2.9%, but the increase would have been greater if there had been a strong business investment boom instead of only a $320 billion increase. Lower business taxes were in large part distributed via dividends and share buybacks to households at the top of the income ladder with high saving rates.

Both episodes show that changing government net borrowing plays a key role in macroeconomic adjustment. More government spending on goods and services (unimportant in 2007-09) will also have to help absorb the covid-19 shock

Coronavirus and Consumption

The biggest immediate impact of the epidemic is loss of economic activity as businesses shut down in a "supply" shock. Unless they reopen rapidly, both payments to labor and profits will fall. Household consumption makes up almost 70% of GDP and will drop accordingly.

As an illustration, we can consider a consumption decrease over 2020 of $1.5 trillion from a 2019 level of $14.6 trillion, or 10% (a high but not unreasonable estimate). That amounts to seven percent of GDP. Because they have low or negative saving rates, households hit by loss of low-wage jobs at the bottom of the Table 1 ladder would be major contributors.

For households, saving basically equals income minus spending for consumption, (mostly) residential investment, and taxes. A decrease in consumption translates into higher saving, or in Table 3 a jump of the HH saving rate from 0.086 to 0.156. More saving means less demand creation so that output falls from 21.06 to 18.34 trillion dollars.

Table 3: Possible effects of the coronavirus shock

In a quirk of national accounting, HH net borrowing falls from -0.045 to -0.108, or net lending to the rest of the economy rises to close to 11% of GDP. Presumably the higher "lending" would take the form of paying off debt. In practice, that will not happen. The proper policy response would be a decrease in the government's tax-minus-transfer rate from 0.101 to 0.031, taking the form of a $1.5 trillion transfer to households, which could hold consumption spending and output stable over the year. Government borrowing would rise by 7% of GDP, or from $1.56 to $3.03 trillion (compare the two rightmost bars of Figure 1). This hypothetical percentage increase exceeds the actual change between 2007 and 2009 recorded in Table 2.

In other words, the only way to maintain economic activity is for the government to borrow to transfer money to households to support consumption. Ideally, a few hundred billion could be targeted specifically at the poorly paid quarter of the work force in the sectors in the lower part of Table 1, along with poor households who don't receive labor income.

There are more potential complications. Table 2 shows that private investment fell by around 30% between 2007 and 2009. Lower capital formation along with stable profits drove up retained earnings so that business net borrowing fell. Broadly similar shifts could be expected during the epidemic. Exports could decrease as well. On the other hand, increased government spending on goods and services would raise aggregate demand. In the rightmost column of Table 3, a plausible outcome would be a visible recession, despite government borrowing of 17% of GDP, or $3.4 trillion.

Reality check

The initial impact of covid-19 has been to annihilate labor income through the loss of employment. The challenge is to create demand to offset lost wages and consumer spending. The calculations herein are illustrative at best, although government net borrowing in Table 3 is close to the total outlay of stimulus packages approved by Congress. But there are further complications.

` As noted at the outset, more than three trillion dollars of new government debt is a non-trivial increase over the $22 trillion outstanding. Advocates of Modern Monetary Theory suggest that the Federal Reserve could absorb the new issues, adding to the 15% of government paper that it already holds. In the USA such an experiment is yet to be run.

The Fed has offered to intervene massively to buy up corporate debt, which would also run up its balance sheet. Nevertheless, bailouts for business will remain in political competition with transfers to households in bottom tiers of the income distribution which really need the money. The Obama stimulus directed less than half its outlays toward households. There could be better targeting under present circumstances.

Table 1 suggests that profits in some sectors could be taxed to help offset transfers. Real estate, finance, and information jump to attention.

Timing matters. GDP over one year is the reference frame for Table 3. If, as is likely, job losses and demand decreases are not offset over a shorter period, the effects on economic activity could be devastating.

Finally, immediate direct action is needed to overcome supply shortfalls for vast amounts of new medical and caretaker services, not to mention production of personal protective gear for caregivers.

Support from INET and help from Özlem Ömer are gratefully acknowledged.


Another Scott , March 27, 2020 at 7:13 am

One issue I take with this article is that it often classifies money as going to either labor or profits. There is a third category – suppliers. In my experience payments to suppliers has dried up since the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown. Whether because AP and AR aren't considered essential functions, because businesses, even essential businesses, don't have enough cash to pay employees and suppliers, or because they simply don't want to pay supplier. This is creating a cash crunch for businesses, who are cutting down on discretionary activities like advertising and even turning away new sales out of fears new customers won't pay. I have not seen any analysis on the impact of the loss of trade credit.

Jesper , March 27, 2020 at 8:38 am

The importance of trade-credit has been ignored for decades. I had hopes that one positive effect of the ultra-low interest-rates would have been that large customers would stop paying their suppliers so late. It hasn't happened, banks love it as they force the small suppliers to go to the bank and borrow money at high(er) interest-rate and the money lent out by banks would be the low(er) interest-rate provided by the customer.
There is a risk now that the supply-chains freeze completely due to suppliers not being paid and suppliers then stopping supply – either voluntaritly or due to going under. It might be necessary to legislate and enforce maximum payment terms.
What might possibly be happening is more and better automation of the AP/AR-functions. The current automation is often so bad that it increases employment instead of what might be the intended reduction of employment, the next automation (done by skilled professionals, not like now by when it is often done talkers) might (in my opinion very likely) permanently reduce employment.

Grayce , March 27, 2020 at 11:49 am

Aren't suppliers also the likeliest creditors to lose out in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Time to write to legislators for nuance in the regs.

notabanktoadie , March 27, 2020 at 2:36 pm

AP? AR?

Now maybe I'm blind but I see no definition of those abbreviations.

Have a little mercy on laymen, please?

Jesper , March 27, 2020 at 2:51 pm

AP=Accounts Payable
AR=Accounts Receivable (most senior executives might not know they have AR, they believe they only have cash-collectors .)

notabanktoadie , March 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Thanks, those definitions also just occurred to me on my walk to the grocery store.

It's amazing how the mind works – if I'll just give it time.

But more accurately, in my considered opinion and experience, is this:

Lamentations 3:25-26

Vag , March 27, 2020 at 3:08 pm

accounts payable, accounts receivable

notabanktoadie , March 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Thanks to you also; no businessman I, except as a paper boy in High School.

jackiebass , March 27, 2020 at 8:25 am

This has been the M.O. forever and will continue to be the M.O. Te rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

[Mar 27, 2020] How coronavirus epidemics crushed neoliberal globalism: Now Germany one of the citadels of neoliberals in Europe prohibited export of ventilators to other countries

Mar 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

augusto , Mar 26 2020 20:46 utc | 41

We know how the USofA has been over last months now harassing, blackmailing an' threatening other countries NOT to adopt the chinese HUawei 5G technologies.
Many nations were threatened, UK, Berlin, Brazil etc

Now Germany the first vassal of the Empire, 'primus inter pares' has seemingly prohibited the exportation of breathers to other countries - who of course need them most.

So what is globalism after all.

A nice idea the rich sell the morons, and tamed nations of the world. But which gets zeroed as soon as their main interests are menaced.

[Mar 26, 2020] COVID-19 and Class in the United States by Lambert Strether

Notable quotes:
"... Today supermarkets are playing a ground-zero role in our struggle to adapt to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. And grocery workers are bearing much of the the brunt of our anxiety and frustration, as we [who?] descend on depleted stores. ..."
Mar 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

In the United States, #COVID-19 began with globalization and globalizers. One thing we can be of is that grovery workers -- to whom the virus will "trickle down" soon enough -- didn't create the conditions for it, or introduce it. Let's take a look at the grocery workers before dollying back to the global. From the Los Angeles Times, " Column: How coronavirus turned supermarket workers into heroes ":

Today supermarkets are playing a ground-zero role in our struggle to adapt to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. And grocery workers are bearing much of the the brunt of our anxiety and frustration, as we [who?] descend on depleted stores.

Without masks or barriers, employees are working long hours, risking infection and battling exhaustion to do their jobs. They connect us to material essentials, like bread and toilet paper. But they're also part of the social fabric that holds us together in unsettling times.

That friendly chat with the guy restocking the egg case this morning might be my only social interaction on this shelter-at-home day. And I feel better whenever I see my favorite cashier at her register. There's something reassuring about the familiar in a world where everything has changed.

Markets are about the only place we're still allowed to gather en masse. And their employees -- pressed into service in ways they never expected -- are our new first responders. They're apt to see us at our worst, and they aim to ease our strain.

"They're dealing with a public that's fearful, apprehensive and frustrated, and it gets hostile," [said John Grant, a former meatpacker who is president of the union that represents grocery employees in Southern California]. "This wasn't what they signed up for, but they realize it's their responsibility. They've cursed how vulnerable they are, and yet they keep going out of their profound dedication to their communities."

Funny thing. The people who "connect us to material essentials" are suddenly more important than Senators and Represenatives (who can fly home), or all the MBAs in the head office, or the CEOs. Heaven forfend they collectively decided to withdraw their labor!

"Vulnerable" as the grocery workers are, they didn't bring #COVID19 on themselves or us. First, I'll look at how globalization made the "material essentials" to deal with #COVID19 so hard to obtain. Then, I'll look at how globalizers were vectors for the diseases spread.

Globalization

The story of how the United States 1% deindustrialized American by moving our manufacturing base offshore (mostly to China) is well known and I will not rehearse it here. From the New York Times, " How the World's Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask ":

The answer to why we're running out of protective gear involves a very American set of capitalist pathologies -- the rise and inevitable lure of low-cost overseas manufacturing, and a strategic failure, at the national level and in the health care industry, to consider seriously the cascading vulnerabilities that flowed from the incentives to reduce costs.

(By "reduce costs," of course, we mean "increase profits.") The shortage of masks has been the dominant narrative, but we don't make anything . If masks had not been "the long pole in the tent," as project managers say, something else would have been or will be: ventilators , gloves , nasal swabs for testing, extraction kits and pipettes , reagents , whatever. The real issue is not a shortage of this or that material essential, but a forty-year policy of globalization, supported by the ruling class as a whole, that has led to a shortage of all material essentials (and that's not even taking austerity and the general gutting of public services into account). I have altered the famous "flattening the curve" chart (here with "dotted line to show capacity") to show the effect"

Lack of "material essentials" reduces our capacity ("How many very sick people hospitals can treat"); it pushes the dotted line down. So we either have to flatten the curve further than we would otherwise have to do, or we don't, and lose lives. Thank you, globalization! And with that, let's turn to the globalizers.

Globalizers

By globalizers, I mean the 1% on down, plus the PMC (Professional Manager Class) who own and manage our globalized system. One effect of globalization has been the vast expansion of air transport and international travel, so that globalizers can do their jobs. And tha t's how SARS-COV-2 was brought to the United States :

The man who would become Patient Zero for the new coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. appeared to do everything right. He arrived Jan. 19 at an urgent-care clinic in a suburb north of Seattle with a slightly elevated temperature and a cough he'd developed soon after returning four days earlier from a visit with family in Wuhan, China.

(I'm not blaming any individual; I travel internationally myself, and there are many good reasons to do it. But international air travel was the vector that brought the virus to the United States. That is the system. I'm assuming Patient Zero travelled for professional reasons, since Wuhan is an unlikely tourist destination.)

We can make a highly suggestive correlation between globalizers and COVID-19 if we look at two simple maps. First, as is well known , one of the main distinctions between the places that are " optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward " (i.e., globalizers) and the dull provincials in flyover is the possession of passports. (A passport is a likely marker for the sort of person who asks "Why don't they just leave?"; "front-row kids," in Chris Arnade's parlance, as distinguished from, say, grocery workers, who he calls "back-row" kids.) Here is a map of passport ownership by state:

http://maps.unomaha.edu/Map_Sites/US_Passport_Map.htm

And here is a map of COVID-19 outbreaks:

The correlation is rather neat, don't you think? It makes sense that the first case was in a globalist, passport-owning city like Seattle on the West Coast; and it makes sense that the world capital of globalization, passport-owning New York City, now has a major outbreak.

Oh, and the ability to travel by air correlates to income (a proxy for class):

If one hypothesizes, as I am doing, that COVID-19 will trickle from globalizers downward, we might ask ourselves how that will happen. One answer, of course, is social interaction between the globalizers themselves. The New York Times describes " Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a 'Super Spreader ':"

About 50 guests gathered on March 5 at a home in the stately suburb of Westport, Conn., to toast the hostess on her 40th birthday and greet old friends, including one visiting from South Africa. They shared reminiscences, a lavish buffet and, unknown to anyone, the coronavirus.

Then they scattered.

The Westport soirée -- Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond -- is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed. The partygoers -- more than half of whom are now infected -- left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way.

Westport, a town of 28,000 on the Long Island Sound, did not have a single known case of the coronavirus on the day of the party. It had 85 on Monday, up more than 40-fold in 11 days.

It is the globalizers' ability to "scatter," in other words -- both internationally and domestically -- that made them such effective vectors. The Westport hot-spot was innocent, since nobody knew enough about COVID-19. Other examples are not innocent at all, where globalizers infect all those around them by trying to escape the disease. The Hamptons example is famous. From the New York Post, " 'We should blow up the bridges' -- coronavirus leads to class warfare in Hamptons ":

Every aspect of life, most crucially medical care, is under strain from the sudden influx of rich Manhattanites panic-fleeing, bringing along their disdain and disregard for the little people -- and in some cases, knowingly bringing coronavirus.

The Springs resident says her friend, a nurse out here, reported that a wealthy Manhattan woman who tested positive called tiny Southampton Hospital to say she was on her way and needed treatment.

The woman was told to stay in Manhattan.

Instead, she allegedly got on public transportation, telling no one of her condition. Then she showed up at Southampton Hospital, demanding admittance.

"Someone else took a private jet to East Hampton and did not tell anybody 'til he landed," the resident says. "That's the most horrendous aspect. The virus is already here, and we don't have any medical resources."

Everybody loves a "rich people behaving badly" story, but here's a second one. From the Los Angeles Times, " Some of Mexico's wealthiest residents went to Colorado to ski. They brought home coronavirus ":

The frantic effort to find the ski trip participants has highlighted an uncomfortable fact: It is people wealthy enough to travel outside the country who have brought the coronavirus back to mostly poor Mexico. Yet if the disease spreads, it is those with the least who will probably suffer the most.

"The virus is imported by people with the economic capacity to travel," wrote actor Tenoch Huerta on Twitter. "Those who ask that everything be closed and all economic activity stop, hurting the people who live day-to-day, why didn't they voluntarily isolate for three weeks so as not to spread it? Or should only the poor be responsible?"

The same dynamic can be inferred in Blaine Country, Idaho, home of ski resort Sun Valley :

Idaho has 123 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state's coronavirus website. That includes 37 in Ada County and eight in Canyon County. Blaine County, where Sun Valley is located, has the most confirmed cases at 52. Idaho's first case was reported 12 days ago, in Ada County. The number of people tested in the state is now up to 2,188.

(Many of the cases around the state came from travel to Blaine County.)

Finally, Berkshire County, MA:

In my home area of Berkshire County, MA, the superrich from the city who own second homes have come up en masse, buying up all the food and refusing to quarantine. The latter means they will overwhelm an already insufficient healthcare system.

-- Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) March 25, 2020

Conclusion

Of course, this rough-and-ready, anecdotal analysis is no substitute for formal, scientific contact tracing. But I don't think, at this point, we will ever be able trace the original outbreaks. And I didn't see anybody else making this argument, so I thought I'd throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. All I can say is that when I think of the grocery workers -- and all the workers -- in the Hamptons, Mexico, Idaho, and Massachusetts having COVID-19 brought to them, I become very ticked off. For pity's sake, at least can we practice social distancing by traveling only when it's essential?

[Mar 25, 2020] Rumour in the markets has it WHO held out as long as possible to avoid triggering the provisions of World Bank Pandemic Bonds

This is clearly corruption...
Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

The Alarmist , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 10:42 am GMT

@Oddly Enough

The WHO declared a pandemic 50 days later on March 11th.

Rumour in the markets has it WHO held out as long as possible to avoid triggering the provisions of World Bank Pandemic Bonds, for which investors enjoyed relatively high coupon rates in the current low interest-rate environment in exchange for running the risk of losing their principal investment if a pandemic was declared in the window period.

[Mar 25, 2020] By blockading health care products, most proably the same people who have caused all this, may seek that public health care collapsing gives a bad impression so as to get them privatized once the country in depression.

Mar 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

H.Schmatz , Mar 24 2020 23:57 utc | 112

WTF?
Six million protection masks for Germany disappeared at the Kenya airport. They were valued at a million dollars. Theft is suspected or that the manufacturer (Belgium) decided to destroy them. Nothing is accidental in disaster capitalism.

https://twitter.com/berlinConfid/status/1242413373830115329

I wonder whether those who seak war at all costs, are now trying to get us fighting for masks and ventilators....

Seeing the comments at SST on the necessities of NYC major, it seesm to me that the same people who seeks always confrontation is always ready to start a fight with its nationals for whatever reason....

In Spain, as I am seeing, even counting with the inability and greed of those at the helms, it seems to me that a "USSR 1990" effect on dissapearing health care items from the market to then make them appear at multiple times their price could be happening right now...

By blockading health care products, most proably the same people who have caused all this, may seek that public health care collapsing gives a bad impression so as to get them privatized once the country in depression.

[Mar 25, 2020] So if you are talking about people in SE Asia and the West hating Chinese for their behaviour, exemplified by the behaviour of Amy Chua to her own daughters and of her family to its Filipino servants, and the behaviour of people in Hong Kong and Singapore with their status-seeking and selfish materialist values, and their adherence to extreme Protestant Christian beliefs, bear in mind where they learned their lessons.

Mar 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Moa , Mar 25 2020 0:43 utc | 120

Jen, yes, I am very familiar with the program as I have an acquaintance who helps usher in very wealthy Chinese into Canada for a hefty fee.

That doesn't change the fact the Chinese are hated everywhere they go. This is very well documented in the book entitled World on Fire, by a Chinese American author Amy Chua who also wrote the book Hymn of the Dragon Mother.

She brags about how she pushes her children to achieve more in the second book.

In the first, she explains how her Chinese aunt was murdered by their Filipino servants because the servants were badly treated. Now, you can tell me if the two have any relation to each other.

Apart from TCM which the Chinese got from the Indians and developed, the entire Chinese civilization needs to be scrapped and started over.

Jen , Mar 25 2020 1:27 utc | 122

Moa @ 120:

The Chinese "scrapped" their civilisation starting in the 1950s. By then it was on its last legs anyway, after over 100 years of degradation from mass opium addiction brought by the British, followed by decades of foreign interference and the consequences of that interference: a messianic cult culminating in the Taiping rebellion in the 1860s and then the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th century, among other things.

Amy Chua is just one person whose mother's family came from Fujian province in SE China and settled in the Philippines, along with several other families from that part of China. (Former Philippines President Corazon Aquino also had family from Fujian.) People living in Fujian and Guangdong (the old Canton province) were exposed to more Western / European influences than other parts of China. Fujian and Guangdong are also the areas where most overseas Chinese communities living in SE Asia and the West, up to the 1980s, hailed from.

So if you are talking about people in SE Asia and the West hating Chinese for their behaviour, exemplified by the behaviour of Amy Chua to her own daughters and of her family to its Filipino servants, and the behaviour of people in Hong Kong and Singapore with their status-seeking and selfish materialist values, and their adherence to extreme Protestant Christian beliefs, bear in mind where they learned their lessons.

I speak as one of those you damn.

[Mar 25, 2020] Senator Rand Paul wisely proposed cutting war spending to help pay for the relief package. We should go much, much farther than he proposed and slash hundreds of billions of dollars in annual military spending and instead give it directly to US Citizens here at home.

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

RadicalCenter , says: Show Comment March 24, 2020 at 4:22 am GMT

@Anon As for people with jobs supposedly not needing the relief checks, speak for yourself. Completely out of touch with how much tens of millions of working Americans are living and struggling, and not just the poor or minimum-wage workers by any means.

Middle-income and upper-middle-income people in many places are struggling with housing costs and medical costs above all, and their situation generally is not improving in recent years.

As a factual correction, the proposals on both sides are not for $1,000 per family; they are for $1,000 or $1,200 or more to each adult, plus $500 for each child, and I'm glad they are.

This would be a better use of taxpayer money -- or money conjured out of thin air by the federal reserve -- than most of what the fed gov has been doing. That includes the vast sums we have spent on unnecessary wars and occupations that are neither defensive nor retaliatory.

Senator Rand Paul wisely proposed cutting war spending to help pay for the relief package. We should go much, much farther than he proposed and slash hundreds of billions of dollars in annual military spending and instead give it directly to US Citizens here at home.

We should also consider placing a permanent floor under Americans, not just a fleeting relief package that ends when this virus quiets down. Very large cuts to the warfare state and the welfare-state bureaucracy alike can provide funding for a substantial monthly universal basic income for all US Citizens age 21 and over -- with less government borrowing than we have now.

Public ownership of our God-given natural resources could provide another large source of funding for the UBI -- without any government borrowing at all.

Of course, these ideas are too responsible for either Dems or Republicans to even debate. Instead, they'll do a sensible and just thing, directly helping Americans rather than big connected corporations and banks, but they'll recklessly borrow to do so.

There is a middle way and we should be negotiating it.

[Mar 25, 2020] When one of Reagan's top bureaucrats is calling for writing down the debt and nationalisation, it is obvious that neo-liberalism is dying

Mar 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Mar 24 2020 19:20 utc | 38

1/ @35 And you can include Ontario in that farewell too.

2/ When one of Reagan's top bureaucrats is calling for writing down the debt and nationalisation, it is obvious that neo-liberalism is dying.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/54068.htm

3/ Isn't chloroquine just a new name for Jesuit's (Peruvian) bark? Or quinine. The tonic in gin and tonic?

4/ Tom Paine's 1796 pamphlet 'The English System of Finance' and Cobbett's 'Paper against Gold' are coming into their own. What Disraeli called the Dutch system of finance is what is collapsing, almost 500 years after it began. That was the contradiction in globalisation, one that Rosa Luxemburg had pointed out more than a century ago: we have reached the limits of constant expansion. And not just in environmental terms.

[Mar 24, 2020] We are headed into the unknown. Like the first stages of the collapse of the soviet union.

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter , Mar 24 2020 10:59 utc | 212

A User
Six months down the track, duopoly voting majority may perhaps be looking to do more than vote for the duopoly, but that's only a maybe. It will take a lot of hardship to pull them away from reality tv...meantime, your comment fits in here like another brick in the wall. Another pissed off human having a winge.

Doing something... seems to me a group with structure, a plan and an endgoal is required and this got out to the wider public. End goal needs to be something that would be accepted by the reality tv watching public and step by step plan to get there...
We havn't hit bottom yet, still a long way from it. Any plan will have to match the situation at the bottom and the way back. But first you gotta get two people to agree on a plan.

We are headed into the unknown. Like the first stages of the collapse of the soviet union.

Putin when asked about Gorbochov and Yeltsin he just says "everyone knew we had to change but nobody knew how to go about it."
Here is somewhat different because in the mainstream types, nobody knows we have to change.
We are likely to go through something akin to the soviet nineties and only then will the population know we need to change because the old ways failed.
Best to play it by ear until that point. Nothing can be done untill the wider population realise that all they have known has failed and a different start must be made. I doubt too many of our countries will have a Putin that can pull us out of the shit. And by a Putin, I mean somebody that has a vision acceptable to the majority and comes to be trusted by the majority and also has the nous and ability required.


[Mar 24, 2020] I got the "flu" in November 2019 and I had the same symptoms as Coronavirus - I thought it was going to kill me

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tim E. , Mar 23 2020 23:52 utc | 111

@68 - antares

I got the "flu" in November 2019 and I had the same symptoms as Coronavirus - I thought it was going to kill me - and while I missed some work - work demanded me back - and so I worked through some terrible times. Everyone at work was sick with different levels of symptoms. To this day I have still not 100% recovered - but I am poor and have no health insurance - and, well, everybody has been exposed for months so it doesn't even matter anymore. No one has died - but everyone has a low level persistent respiratory illness.


c1ue , Mar 24 2020 0:24 utc | 114

Again: if nCOV was really already in the US in November - where was the surge in hospitalizations? Regardless of age, ~20% of those who get it, get pneumonia or worse and need hospital care.

We don't even have that right now despite a huge number of cases. Maybe the US and Germany are different - we'll see in about 2 weeks.

Tim E. , Mar 24 2020 0:29 utc | 117
Again: if nCOV was really already in the US in November - where was the surge in hospitalizations?

Because most in US can't afford Hospitals or even have health insurance.

[Mar 24, 2020] Trump owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. that might explain his position on the virus and initial downplaying of the danger

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tor597 , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT

Actually, Trump was downplaying Corona Virus as late as March 9th.

https://mobile.twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1237027356314869761

One thing I think played a role that is not mentioned is Trumps business that he owns. He owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. Trump wont rule out government assistance for himself.

For Trump to shut down the economy and produce an effective containment, he would have had to do this knowing that his own business would be devastated.

https://mol.im/a/8138335

[Mar 24, 2020] Many Italians in Northern Italy sold their leather goods and textiles companies to China. Italy then allowed 100,000 Chinese from Wuhan/Wenzhou to move to Italy to work in these factories, with direct Wuhan flights. Result: Northern Italy is Europe's hotspot for Wuhan Coronavirus

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Felix Keverich , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 4:37 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin There is apparently a large colony (100.000) of Chinese workers in Lombardy, with direct flights between Lombardy and Wuhan, so this Italian outbreak is not a coincidence.

Many Italians in Northern Italy sold their leather goods and textiles companies to China. Italy then allowed 100,000 Chinese from Wuhan/Wenzhou to move to Italy to work in these factories, with direct Wuhan flights. Result: Northern Italy is Europe's hotspot for Wuhan Coronavirus

-- George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 18, 2020

UK had a "herd immunity" strategy from the beginning. They made no real effort at containment. British government allowed their people to become infected, and only began to change course after public outrage.

Europe Europa , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich The large Chinese population in Italy has been completely ignored by the media, in fact China itself seems to have been let completely off the hook. The focus is now on how terrible Britain and the native British people are.

Someone even posted a Tweet above by a Vietnamese person trying to claim that BRITAIN of all countries is responsible for the outbreak in Vietnam, I mean what kind of ridiculous logic is that? Vietnam bloody BORDERS China, the origin and epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, and the Vietnamese are trying to say Britain is the cause? It beggars belief.

[Mar 24, 2020] Manufacturing in cheap Third World countries and rewarding the local compradors with a permission to migrate to the West as contributing factor to the coronavirus epidemic

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 6:56 pm GMT

@AP

less globalization outside North America/Europe/Japan/Australia

You are missing the point of globalization: manufacturing in cheap Third World countries and rewarding the local compradors with a permission to migrate to the West. That's the deal, that's what globalization is.

With NA-Europe-Japan all you get is tourism and travel. I would be surprised if we can at this point convince Chinese and the other cheap labor countries to do the work and forgo the hope of migration. It was a Faustian deal and those as we know end in hell.

utu , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm GMT
@AP Calm down, man and stop the stupid blaming game. It seems that your Banderite spin also includes bashing Chinese which, on the second thought, should not be surprising as there is only one paymaster. Perhaps you should specialize in Ukraine only and leave China to more competent haters.

Compare Canada and Italy on Chinese residents: Canada has 5 times more Chinese than Italy but 62 times less infection cases and 539 times less fatalities than Italy (as of March 16). Furthermore France and UK have more Chinese than Italy.

What about tourists: In Canada 0.75 mil Chinese tourist but in Italy 3.5 mil Chinese tourists. So it must be the tourists, right?

So compare Japan with Italy on Chinese tourists: 8.4 mil Chinese tourist in Japan vs. 3.5 mil Chinese tourists in Italy. How many cases in Japan?

So what I am trying to convey is that the expression of the epidemic in different countries is not congruent with the number of Chinese residents or Chinese tourist.

We will never know where the patients zero (yes plural, there are many patients zero) really came from. For various political reasons we will not be told and what we will be told we must be skeptical about. I found interesting data about the first infected in British Columbia that has huge rather affluent Chinese population. There were as many Iranians as non-Iranians on the list.

In British Columbia cases 1 to 5 were from China though it does not appear they infected others while cases 6, 7, , 12 and 14, 15, 19 were traced to Iran. Then the case 22 was from Iran and also case 31. Case 32 was from Italy, case 35 was from Egypt and case 37 was from Germany. So out of first 37 cases over 50% were people came form Iran, Egypt, Germany and Italy. My point is that while Canada has huge Chinese population (1.7 mil) and gets 700,000 Chinese visitors per year it does not look like China was the main vector. In BC it is Iran and Europe.

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/covid-19-coronavirus-canadian-cases

One should consider a possibility whether virus introduction to Iran and the Middle East did precede its introduction in China.

Now let's return to Italy. Most Chinese tourists go to Rome, Florence and Venice. These cities were not affected as much as Lombardy where there is not that many tourists. So we are told that Chinese workers could carry the virus. So look at Prato (in Tuscany near Florence) which has the highest density of Chinese population in Italy. Wiki lists 11,882 (6.32%) for Prato while the highest absolute number is Milan 18,918 (1.43%). The numbers are probably outdated as most likely they do not include illegal residents.

On March 11 Italy had 12,246 cases.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/

So I checked what Prato had on March 11:

https://iltirreno.gelocal.it/prato/cronaca/2020/03/11/news/coronavirus-casi-triplicati-a-prato-e-il-giorno-piu-nero-1.38580402
Coronavirus, casi triplicati a Prato: è il giorno più nero

"In a single day the positive cases of coronavirus in the province of Prato have tripled: from 7 to 21 . It is the darkest day since the outbreak began. According to what was announced in the afternoon of today, March 11, by the bulletin of the regional council "

"Therefore, 314 patients are currently positive in Tuscany. This is the subdivision by signaling areas: 71 Florence, 32 Pistoia, 21 Prato (total Asl center: 124), 43 Lucca, 40 Massa Carrara, 34 Pisa, 16 Livorno (total North West Asl: 133), 12 Grosseto, 37 Siena , 14 Arezzo (total Asl southeast: 63)."

So clearly the 2nd largest Chinese community in Italy (and first in density) with 21 cases (out of 12,246 cases in Italy) did not contribute a lot to the corona virus outbreak in Italy.

utu , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm GMT
@AP Calm down, man and stop the stupid blaming game. It seems that your Banderite spin also includes bashing Chinese which, on the second thought, should not be surprising as there is only one paymaster. Perhaps you should specialize in Ukraine only and leave China to more competent haters.

Compare Canada and Italy on Chinese residents: Canada has 5 times more Chinese than Italy but 62 times less infection cases and 539 times less fatalities than Italy (as of March 16). Furthermore France and UK have more Chinese than Italy.

What about tourists: In Canada 0.75 mil Chinese tourist but in Italy 3.5 mil Chinese tourists. So it must be the tourists, right?

So compare Japan with Italy on Chinese tourists: 8.4 mil Chinese tourist in Japan vs. 3.5 mil Chinese tourists in Italy. How many cases in Japan?

So what I am trying to convey is that the expression of the epidemic in different countries is not congruent with the number of Chinese residents or Chinese tourist.

We will never know where the patients zero (yes plural, there are many patients zero) really came from. For various political reasons we will not be told and what we will be told we must be skeptical about. I found interesting data about the first infected in British Columbia that has huge rather affluent Chinese population. There were as many Iranians as non-Iranians on the list.

In British Columbia cases 1 to 5 were from China though it does not appear they infected others while cases 6, 7, , 12 and 14, 15, 19 were traced to Iran. Then the case 22 was from Iran and also case 31. Case 32 was from Italy, case 35 was from Egypt and case 37 was from Germany. So out of first 37 cases over 50% were people came form Iran, Egypt, Germany and Italy. My point is that while Canada has huge Chinese population (1.7 mil) and gets 700,000 Chinese visitors per year it does not look like China was the main vector. In BC it is Iran and Europe.

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/covid-19-coronavirus-canadian-cases

One should consider a possibility whether virus introduction to Iran and the Middle East did precede its introduction in China.

Now let's return to Italy. Most Chinese tourists go to Rome, Florence and Venice. These cities were not affected as much as Lombardy where there is not that many tourists. So we are told that Chinese workers could carry the virus. So look at Prato (in Tuscany near Florence) which has the highest density of Chinese population in Italy. Wiki lists 11,882 (6.32%) for Prato while the highest absolute number is Milan 18,918 (1.43%). The numbers are probably outdated as most likely they do not include illegal residents.

On March 11 Italy had 12,246 cases.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/

So I checked what Prato had on March 11:

https://iltirreno.gelocal.it/prato/cronaca/2020/03/11/news/coronavirus-casi-triplicati-a-prato-e-il-giorno-piu-nero-1.38580402
Coronavirus, casi triplicati a Prato: è il giorno più nero

"In a single day the positive cases of coronavirus in the province of Prato have tripled: from 7 to 21 . It is the darkest day since the outbreak began. According to what was announced in the afternoon of today, March 11, by the bulletin of the regional council "

"Therefore, 314 patients are currently positive in Tuscany. This is the subdivision by signaling areas: 71 Florence, 32 Pistoia, 21 Prato (total Asl center: 124), 43 Lucca, 40 Massa Carrara, 34 Pisa, 16 Livorno (total North West Asl: 133), 12 Grosseto, 37 Siena , 14 Arezzo (total Asl southeast: 63)."

So clearly the 2nd largest Chinese community in Italy (and first in density) with 21 cases (out of 12,246 cases in Italy) did not contribute a lot to the corona virus outbreak in Italy.

Daniel Chieh , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 7:10 pm GMT
@AP

If this started in the USA and spread elsewhere the world would have good cause to condemn the USA and to judge any subsequent efforts by Americans to help others as "the least they could do."

Chinese shipments of medical goods are actually to the risk of the own population, where hospitals are still recovering. While in some ways it is a blatant PR play, its quite a significant cost amd self-risk that goes beyond "the least they could do."

[Mar 24, 2020] Actual morality reinforces social solidarity, which is why our neoliberal overlords have been attempting to destroy it for so long.

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Dutch Boy , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 3:59 pm GMT

Actual morality reinforces social solidarity, which is why our overlords have been attempting to destroy it for so long. Social solidarity is the key to overcoming crises in general and not just the present Covid 19 pandemic.

[Mar 23, 2020] The West was exposed, not only for not being able to handle a pandemic, but also for having a ponzi scheme economy.

Mar 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tor597 , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:34 am GMT

Other things of note:

1) The West was exposed, not only for not being able to handle a pandemic, but also for having a ponzi scheme economy.

Having its citizens and its companies leveraged up to a point where America can collapse with any amount of hardship badly exposes America as being exceptionally weak.

2) Decoupling of Asia from America. For the West to try and target the Chinese, there will be fallout. It's not like white people bother to distinguish Chinese from Korean or Japanese when they harass Asians they see.

This will have consequences in Asia as Asian countries will just focus on trading with each other than have to deal with a hostile west.

3) America cannot exist in a multipolar world, it can only exist in a unipolar world that it controls. So it will not just be a decoupling of China and America, it will be escalation between America and China till one is left standing.

You can expect to see color revolutions in HK and Taiwan. Meanwhile China will have no reason to show any restraint in fighting back. China could target the west in Iran, Venezuela, or even in the US by tormenting color revolutions of it's own.

4) it is easy to say that America will just trade more with Europe, but how does that work? Drug prices are already too high in America, so now America will pay even higher prices?

Trading more with Latin America makes more sense to me, but I also don't think Latin America is up to it.

5) I honestly don't think America will be the same country after the outbreak is over. Things are already cracking early on, how will Americans pull together 3 months in?

How will America pull together if Trump pulls war time authority?

[Mar 23, 2020] Life and Death under Liberalism by Andrew Joyce

Mar 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

As stated in my review of Don DeLillo's White Noise (1985), we live in a decaying society that is in terror of death, and pathologically so. This pathology is rooted in mistaken beliefs that our civilization is dying from, or could imminently die from, disease epidemics, climate catastrophes etc., in the midst of willful and ignorant abdication of a future (via self-hate and industrialized abortion) in favor of mass immigration, consumerism, and instant gratification. Just as one has to confront death in order to truly live (or to become "authentic" in Heidegger's philosophy), our society is in constant flight from death and thus inevitably collapses into inauthentic decay. COVID-19, while not as lethal as media coverage would suggest, is a reminder of our mortality and human fragility and will necessarily have a jarring effect on a Western liberalism that has become increasingly distant from the confrontation with death.

Life under liberal finance capitalism is largely one of illusion, in which the prospect of real death is pushed far into the distance, both psychologically and culturally. Postmodern Western liberal culture is largely one of perpetual adolescence, in which the primary virtues are acting according to one's individual will, identifying oneself in a hyper-individualistic manner, and expressing these identities via conspicuous consumption and behavior. We do not "live towards" Death, with a sense of purpose and a feeling that we are part of a much grander civilizational trajectory. We do not understand that Death has shaped our historical path, and that it hangs over us in ways that should direct our actions in the present.

COVID-19, regardless of current confusion over its true mortality rate, is a corrective to illusions that "progressive" Man has overcome Nature and can shape the world according to the human image, and without consequences. Certainly throughout my own lifetime, I've grown accustomed to assertions that life expectancy will continue to increase, and that there will be an endless supply of innovations and social projects that will make the mechanics of life easier and more productive.

One increasingly expects that one will live a long life, mostly in very good health. Such a sense of security can breed all kinds of arrogance and fantasies, including the recent perverse luxury of the delusion that one can simply decide to be this or that gender. This new virus, however, presents the possibility, both in itself and its inevitable heirs, that Death is much closer than we ever thought, and that for all our technological advancement and self-congratulation, Nature need only tweak one molecule, so small our naked eyes could never perceive it, and the grave opens before us. The Age of Fantasy is confronted with the ultimate reality.

How the West responds to this realization will be a further cultural challenge. We have grown equally accustomed to the idea that we have "advanced" morally as a society, and that we have overcome some of the more "brutish" aspects of human existence that we perceive in the past. But in a world of apparently increasing plenty, such notions can be hard to test. It's always easy for a man with a full stomach to condemn the actions of the starving. The conceit of the full-bellied West that it has overcome and surpassed itself and its past will now be tested. I, of course, arise from a political and philosophical tradition that insists there is no shame in the past. I see little or no place for morality in the struggle for survival. And I also see the cracks already forming in the Western conceit. This society that is against "hate" and prides itself on "coming together" is already struggling to stop people rioting over toilet paper and bottled water. If civil order breaks down, will the proud feminists be seeking their own resources, or hoping for a strong man to protect them? If the death toll does rise dramatically, and if curfews and lockdowns are imposed and intensified, I ask: How well will your beloved multicultural societies respond? If resources become scarce and tensions rise, who will you trust? These tests are coming.

Economic and Political Fallout

Just days ago, JPMorgan projected that a recession will hit the US and European economies by July, with US GDP to shrink by 2% in the first quarter and 3% in the second, and Eurozone GDP to contract by 1.8% and 3.3% over the same periods. Sudden cessation of economic activity through quarantines, event cancellations, social distancing, and the almost complete shutdown of the tourist industry will have both immediate and longer term consequences for national economies and broader trade patterns. The mass closing of schools will expose pre-existing weaknesses in a modern system that sees women funneled en masse into the work place while their children are left in day cares or schools. According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70 percent of American mothers with children under 18 work. Through the closing of schools alone, the impact of COVID-19 will almost certainly have the greatest impact on the role of women in the workplace since World War Two, with many forced to leave work and return to the home for an as yet undetermined amount of time. How this will impact the businesses or public entities employing these women remains to be seen, but it will undoubtedly cause significant difficulties and necessitate some level of infrastructural change.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is also projected to test Western healthcare provision to the limit. It's been particularly interesting that the outbreak in Italy effectively broke the health system in Lombardy, widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Before the outbreak, it was remarked that:

The Lombardy healthcare system, characterised by quality and efficiency, is a model of reference both in Italy and worldwide. With the benefit of private partnerships in fact, it ensures its citizens and those who live in other regions or abroad have access to prime level health care with all the advantages of a public system. Lombardy has 56 University Departments of Medicine, 19 IRCCS (IRCCS means an institution devoted to excellence in clinical care and research) which represent 42% of the national total, 47 Institutes and 32 Research Centres. As a result, Lombardy and in particular Milan have always attracted the most renowned physicians in every field of expertise.

It took COVID-19 just four weeks to exhaust every hospital bed in Lombardy, force doctors out of retirement and medical students to graduate early, and provoke the creation of 500 triage tents outside hospitals nationwide. The different, and ever-politicized, healthcare systems of the United States and Great Britain are about to experience the most intensive test in their respective histories.

One of the most outspoken figures from the medical profession on social media in recent days is Eugene Gu , who has made a point of attacking the profit-seeking nature of much of the American medical establishment. Gu has argued that American medicine is essentially a pyramid scheme that profits those at the top by artificially restricting the number of doctors produced by the system:

The medical school and residency system in the United States is completely broken compared to other countries. Now that we are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, we need to reflect upon an abusive system that hurts patients and seeks to make a few specialists filthy rich. Even before the coronavirus, we created a huge physician shortage by limiting spots in medical schools to inflate doctors' salaries the same way De Beers fixes the diamond market. And we gutted primary care so that specialists like plastic surgeons and dermatologists can get rich. I took an oath to "first, do no harm." I cannot just stand by and watch as the corrupt cesspool we call our American medical system fails our patients while a few doctors, insurance executives, and Big Pharma get filthy rich. Medicine should not be a for-profit industry.

Whether or not one agrees with Dr Gu's perspective, the coming weeks and months will test both American for-profit medicine and Britain's nationalized health system, and perhaps leave long term political legacies for both.

Political consequences will also inevitably result from the approaches of individual leaders to the crisis. Boris Johnson is risking his political future on a " herd immunity " strategy that is radically different from the course of action pursued by other leaders. It's been criticized as involving the sacrifice of the older generation for a slightly prolonged period of economic normalcy and an entirely assumed future immunity among the young.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, is quickly trying to move on from a highly dismissive initial response to the outbreak. In both cases, and throughout the West, moderately "conservative" populism based on the celebration of finance capitalism and token gestures on borders will be tested to the limit by increasing strains on all aspects of social, political, and economic life. Trump, in particular, has managed to squeeze a lot of political mileage out of the performance of the stock market. With stocks tumbling, and the American healthcare system pushed to the limit, it remains to be seen whether Trump's drive to make gay sex legal in Africa will be enough to keep his voters happy.

In another return of the Real, of course, COVID-19 is doing more to close borders than any expression of political populism ever has. It was all well and good that "the world is a village" when this involved cheap and cheerful vacations, but all it took was a few houses in the throes of sickness for the rest of the villagers to wish there was somewhere they could escape to. The global village is in shutdown. All humans might be equally susceptible to this virus, but national borders, so often scorned until recently, now reveal they might have some uses after all – just one of them being the invaluable opportunity to seal and control a limited territory. How people grow accustomed to this renewed emphasis on border control may leave a lasting political legacy for the West also. In any case, we can only hope it will.

[Mar 23, 2020] Looks like the virus further damage neoliberalism

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Mar 22 2020 19:39 utc | 60

The idea advanced on the last thread [by Vk and here @7 and 39 I think] that governments should be organized around something different than economics is sound and worthy of everyone's input, ideas and objections; discussion is needed and welcome.

International human to human discussion should take place. Human experience with nation state globalism has shown just how vulnerable humanity is to organized and institutionalized corruption; the actions of the leaders of individual nations have shown the nation state system cannot be trusted.

The Covid 19 pandemic has reminded us all that we as humans <= have a right to a government that is of our collective liking, we have learned that governments must serve the best interest of the most persons, not special interest of a few. Governments which fail to serve equal right, open access and equal chance to those it governs are prima facia legitimates. Covid 19 brought the meaning of the principle of self-determination to the forefront. Everyone's life is challenged by submicroscopic beast. It takes the cooperation of all of us, to save most of us, and it takes the corruption of a few, to ruin it all, for most of us.

Human rights come first, long before economics . No economic rationale can support the delay or justify the cost of failure for those entrusted with the power to act, should they fail to timely act with diligence on threat that human lives are in danger. Experience suggest it is not possible to leave the power, function, and direction of government to those whose responsibility it is to operate it <= something very different is needed.

Covid 19 was a wake up call , that makes real the unfulfilled and failed campaign promises in a never ending trail of campaigns. Its time for everyone to insist on truth, truth in media, truth in political campaigns, open book truth from those appointed to government, and to bring everyone's troops home. Its time for nation states to stop supporting the private oil and gas bandits, the MSM, or any other special interest, its time to make a single global currency that bears no interest and that does not require repayment of principal, its time for governments to stop arming belligerents, their own or those of anyone else (gun control should be transformed into between governments, weapons control and the persons of all humans everywhere should be equally armed), its time to stop one nation instigating or supporting regime change in another, and its time to deny government leaders from using the governments they lead, to enable private or corrupt profits. Every human has a right to life, liberty and to pursuit of happiness: <=governments were instituted to secure to mankind the enjoyment of the privilege of those rights; but it seems mankind has been lax in making these governments conform to their privilege of existence.

A $0 military budget, and no interest, no repay currency could bring the credit needed to create multi many places of employment, AWA fix ailing infra structures, improve access to, even make access globally universal. It could improve the quality of education and open to everyone<= fair play, access to capital (instead of venture capital expecting reward of profit, how about advances of capital in search of human progress). which could enable real progress on earth for mankind.

Its time to eliminate the dependency on, or even the existence of those monopolies nation states like to create out of thin air by using their power to invent by rule of law, powers that restrain true competition (license, privatized government ownership, special authority, patents, copyrights, and the private property ownership).

It time to stop over hyped , Wall Street multi global type greed which only exist because currency is used as control devise, instead of a facilitator. Nation states should facilitate humans to interact, in ways transparent to the nation state boundaries (Its economics, that encourages non sharing attitudes, that cause competitors to seek ways to use governments to restrain human inter action). Humans should try to replace foreign products with locally made goods and the foreign goods producers should be encouraged to make goods in places where the goods have a demand because demand produces jobs and provides opportunity, globalism organized to produce economic gains, often attempt to steal from locals the benefits of demand created by the locals. The local province rule should apply: that is if locals want to make it, multinationals should be denied. The billions saved to the global economy in unexpended energy consumption (no transport cost), could bring prices of goods and services to comparative advantage adjusted market price levels. I predict, the poor would prosper because they would have an opportunity to contribute to our global human society, and government would be re instituted to encourage and enforce equality for all to those it governs. Governments should restrain and deny wealth, but they should encourage and facilitate local competition. At one time people elected their representatives based on performance in accord to those ideals. Currency that carries no interest and that never needs to be repaid, challenges economic induced greed and redirects the efforts of mankind to providing that which is needed.

In 1949 the income tax in USA governed America was layered into tiers (where different tax rates were applied); the USA taxed those who made big bucks at 90% in its highest tier .. Seem to recall Briton had something similar [100% of everything over $150,000 pounds of taxable Income?]. From here => http://www.milefoot.com/math/businessmath/taxes/fit.htm <=i made a table
year rate@personal taxable income level
1941 81% @$5,000,000
1942-1943 88% @$200,000
1944-1945 94% @$200,000 The tax limited to a 90% effective rate.
1946-1947 91% @$200,000 The tax limited to a 90% effective rate (85.5% >credits).
1948-1951 91% @$400,000 The tax limited to a 77% effective rate in 1948-1949, .
1952-1953 92% @$400,000 The tax was limited to an 88% effective rate.

corporate rate from http://www.milefoot.com/math/businessmath/taxes/fit.htm I made a small table.
1942- 1945 40% > $50,000
1946- 1949 38% > $50,000
1950 42% > $25,000
1951 50.75% > $25,000
1952- 1963 52% > $25,000
1964 52% > $25,000
1965- 1967 48% > $25,000
1968- 1969 52.8% > $25,000

These numbers suggest a long winded story of useless corruption.

[Mar 21, 2020] How neoliberalism treats workers in case of calamity

Mar 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Serf

Qantas Airways: the flag carrier of Australia Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations

The crisis hit and Qantas sends home 20,000 workers or two thirds of its workforce of 30,000. Go home with no pay . The company management is proud of implementing such measures to save the Australian icon.

Qantas, once a government owned entity, is a civilisational symbol of strength and prestige. But with such behaviour, shouldn't we ask the question: what are these Strength and Prestige built upon?

[Mar 20, 2020] ProPublica reported on Thursday that republican Senator Burr sold off up to $1.56 million in stock on February 13th, as he was reassuring the public about coronavirus preparedness.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Augustin L , Mar 19 2020 23:39 utc | 231

Bernhard when will Chump and his neo-confederates drain the swamp ? "ProPublica reported on Thursday that republican Senator Burr sold off up to $1.56 million in stock on February 13th, as he was reassuring the public about coronavirus preparedness. At the time, Burr and the Intelligence Committee were receiving daily briefings about COVID-19.

Three weeks ago, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee privately warned dozens of donors about the harrowing impact the coronavirus would have on the United States, while keeping the general public in the dark.

In a secret recording obtained by NPR, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr is heard giving attendees of a club luncheon a much different message than most federal government officials, especially President Trump, were giving the public at the time.

"There's one thing that I can tell you about this," Burr said, "It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history." He added, "It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."

That pandemic claimed more than 600,000 American lives...

Burr warned the business leaders about effects on travel 13 days before the State Department released info on restrictions and 15 days before the Trump administration banned European travelers." https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/secret-recording-intelligence-chairman-warning-donors-about-coronavirus-weeks-ago-969767/?fbclid=IwAR3FdNapk5KbzhnftTNZy-PH7GGhIM-mk_0zDH2Uwj40mEXFa-nIM4B0oNM

[Mar 19, 2020] The neoliberal imperial regime is not only brittle and riven through with corruption but run by talents selected in an anti-meritocratic way

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Mar 19 2020 16:47 utc | 69

There is a common idea behind all the various theories that attribute the pandemic to government action, ruling class planning or financial manipulators.

And that is the idea that the ruling class/establishment/tptb,1%-call them what you will- are all powerful, wise, though evil, and capable of defeating any popular resistance.

The people claiming now that the virus was unloosed to enable an attack on Iran, those who claim that it was produced as a smokescreen to obscure the collapse of the financial system, those who see it as a means to steal away our last liberties and to knock a dying democracy on the head, even those who see it as an out of control experiment , if you look at their posts in the past, are generally going to be found to be the same people who thought that the US military could not be defeated, that Syria was bound to fall, that Venezuela and Cuba were toast. And that Hezbollah and Ansarullah stood no chance against the vast forces arrayed against them.

The idea is always the same: the Empire is indefatigable, the greedy mediocrities who run it (many of them public figures whose characters are daily open to examination) have foreseen all possibilities. Resistance is useless. We are all doomed.

In fact, as people who don't have the leisure to indulge themselves in these gloomy excuses for inaction and apathy are always demonstrating, the imperial regime is not only brittle and riven through with corruption but run by talents selected in an anti-meritocratic way. The reason that Petraeus, for example, rose to the top of the US military machine was that he was a slimy careerist of the sort we have all come across, and, if we have been doing our duty, trod on, in our lives: as a General he was clueless, unoriginal and, because he was immoral and cynical, quite unable to understand how Iraqis would react to his crude terrorist methods. Unfortunately he was caught out by his lust; had he maintained a respectable image he would probably, by now, be into his second term as President and making Trump look competent.

And what is true of the Pentagon is equally true of those running the US economy, Wall St and the banking system: they are utterly witless. Look around you for the fruits of their wisdom.

In fact the entire political class of the US, ably assisted by its clownish puppets elsewhere, has brought the system that they worship to the brink of dissolution. Class rule teeters on the edge of massive uprisings.

And this is not-I have already taken up too much space and time- because the pandemic was planned but because despite its predictability, the near certainty that the seven good years would be followed by plagues and famines, they could not restrain themselves from dismantling the safety nets-from flood controls to food reserves to healthcare services designed to be able to expand when needed to deal with emergencies.
(In the Canadian county in which I live the Public Health Unit founded in the aftermath of the First World War and the 'flu epidemics, was shut down, to save money, last year. Most of its functions were left to chance and the marketplace to fulfil. And now we have a pandemic.)
Instead the entire system is riddled with the weaknesses that usurious practises impose: there are empty hospitals in the Pennines because local health authorities cannot both pay interest on PPP loans and meet the payrolls of medical staff. So, following the logic of capitalism-first pay interest- local taxes, designed to maintain public health, are diverted to the money lenders. And then there is the cost of monopolised drug purchases.

And that is symptomatic of the entire system, in all its aspects: education, including the work needed to provide scientific and medical personnel, is crippled in the same way, by high fees, by capital costs swollen by interest payments, by professions designed to hoard rather than spread knowledge.

The entire system is corrupt and collapsing. And that is why,particularly in the "West" where mass indoctrination has long been part of the culture, it is necessary to recognise that it is not going to take much in the way of mass energy to bring the whole thing down. And to replace it with real democracy.


Rob20 , Mar 19 2020 16:55 utc | 72

The virus may not have been created in a laboratory but as a minimum it should be studied to learn more about its origin and spread. At the present time we only hace circumstantial evidence but it point in one direction. Certain facts are worth considering:

2)The Wuhan wet-market is not the first source of the coronavirus;

2) SARS-CoV virus was being studied and experimented on at a US Bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick. In August 2019, it was cited for unsafe conditions that may have led to contamination of wastewater;

3) The US sent over 300 military personnel to the World Military Games in Wuhan in late October 2019;

4) Four foreign military participants came down with an unknown respiratory illness during the games;

5) Genetic studies conducted in Taiwan and Japan indicate that the ancestral form of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 coronavirus does not occur in China but is found in the US and elsewhere.

Jonathan W , Mar 19 2020 17:28 utc | 90
African swine fever is also spread by man-made means even if it is not in itself man-made. Criminal elements spread it with drones The longer it takes to track down the origin even if the Chinese reportedly monitor everything, the more suspicious it becomes.

[Mar 19, 2020] The best we can hope for is that the depth of this crisis will finally force countries -- the US, in particular -- to fix the yawning social inequities that make large swaths of their populations so intensely vulnerable.

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jpm , Mar 19 2020 16:35 utc | 61

Thanks, contributors, for all the (mostly) good well-thought-out information and views on this blog during this unprecedented time of world-wide crisis. Another valuable source I've found is MIT's Technology Review such as their latest article: We're not going back to normal:
Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever.
As might be expected from the source, a lot of solid technical information but also some pertinent political commentary. The way this piece ends:

The world has changed many times, and it is changing again. All of us will have to adapt to a new way of living, working, and forging relationships. But as with all change, there will be some who lose more than most, and they will be the ones who have lost far too much already. The best we can hope for is that the depth of this crisis will finally force countries -- the US, in particular -- to fix the yawning social inequities that make large swaths of their populations so intensely vulnerable.

[Mar 17, 2020] This pandemic is demonstrating once again that the global neoliberal economy is a fragile Potemkin construct that breaks down at the slightest tension

Mar 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Mar 17 2020 0:59 utc | 106

Fully in agreement with b here. Instead of shovelling money at banksters and corporate scammers to prop up the collapsing market, the Fed, ECB and other central banks should give the cash to people who need it and will use it to buy things and stimulate the economy.

This pandemic is demonstrating once again that the global neoliberal economy is a fragile Potemkin construct that breaks down at the slightest tension. Finance capitalism is a busted flush, a blatant scam to line the pockets of the 1% at everyone else's expense. And when the going gets really tough they will sacrifice all of us to save their cowardly avaricious asses. Governments need to represent the interests of citizens, not central bankers and the obscenely wealthy. That means putting the well-being of people first, not spending trillions to "save" the stock market aka "the economy."

[Mar 16, 2020] Conswqunces of outsourcing the medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chain to a different country are acutly felt during pandemic by Jason Morgan

Mar 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
| ... ... ...

As the disease spread around Asia and then the world, however, the news focus gradually shifted, so that now many are questioning the wisdom of having so unthinkingly globalized everything and made so many industries -- including the medical industry -- dependent on a place like the People's Republic of China. "What is it like to shoot oneself in the foot?" is yet another question that has been bubbling up uncomfortably these past few weeks.

Outsourcing the medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chain to a hostile communist dictatorship with perhaps the worst public health record on the planet is the equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers' having put the emergency generators for the storm pumps at the bottoms of the levees, where they would be the first to flood during a hurricane. But globalists, like government engineers, are incapable of learning from mistakes. In fact, in their minds, disasters serve perversely to confirm the advisability of their follies. Which leads normal people to wonder, "What is going on in the globalist's mind?"

What, in other words, is it like to be a globalist? This is a question worth asking, because the answer will determine very much in the months and years ahead. Unless we can figure out how the globalist looks at the world, we will continue to be at his mercy, and will continue to face pandemics and crises that are the precipitate of his ideology. We have got to understand who these people are who have taken over our every doing, our every coming and going. Otherwise, we will keep getting done in by them.

... ... ...

Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.

Putin Apologist an hour ago • edited

China: 1.4 billion with 3,099 deaths over a period of months

Italy: 80 million and 1,809 deaths over a period of weeks

Yet China has the "worst public health record on the planet"? Really?

Amicus Brevis 30 minutes ago • edited
"But globalists, like government engineers, are incapable of learning from mistakes. "

Is this supposed to be a serious statement? The piece is clearly written for the amusement of people for whom he has very little respect otherwise it would not contain so many nonsensical generalization. I dare he or anyone to provide a definition of a "globalist" which does not make nonsense of that claim.

Outsourcing the medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chain to a hostile communist dictatorship with perhaps the worst public health record on the planet is the equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers' having put the emergency generators for the storm pumps at the bottoms of the levees, where they would be the first to flood during a hurricane.

I really would like to know what is Professor Morgan's specialty. He should know that China is not a Communist country. Just because they choose to call themselves that doesn't mean that a professor anything remotely connected to politics, government or economics would be fooled. And where one puts a factory to manufacture goods, bears no relationship whatsoever with how that country deploys those goods among its own population. The piece is not serious. It is political entertainment. And for those who assume that criticizing the rigor of a piece is the same as supporting whatever the piece is attacking, I am 100% against what the writer seems to mean when he refers to "globalism". I personally consider our monied class who shipped American jobs wherever they could find semi-slave labor to be literally traitors. So, I have very strong views on "globalism". I just dislike the disrespect shown by writers who think that they can write any nonsense, once they show that they hate the same things that their audience hates, all in the search for cheap applause. Writers should treat their readers like thinking beings, not like an audience at a bullfight who are expected to howl with applause once you wave the red flag around and shed enough blood.

That won't do, either, though. China is a place, too! In swoops the World Health Organization (the aptly acronymed WHO?): it's COVID-19 now.

A much more serious comment would be about how China bullied WHO into expressing far more confidence in China's published numbers that it had any basis for expressing. How it lavished praise on China's handling of the outbreak rather than South Korea's excellent management in their country. But educated people know what WHO is and the excellent work they do all over the world. Of the millions of lives they have saved all over the world. And that they are empowered by the governments of the world to name new viruses. That every decent person in the world knows that country names attached to diseases can generate persecution of people which is not a good thing, regardless against whom it is directed. The WHO did not name the virus at the request of China. That is one of its normal functions.

This piece is nothing short of absurd hate mongering.

[Mar 16, 2020] 'Grotesque Level of Greed'

Mar 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Owned by World's Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers to Pay for Colleagues' Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

Remember when Jeff Bezos, whose company owns Whole Foods, said he was so freakin' rich he didn't know how to spend his money so, heck, he'd start a space program? https://t.co/PjLe6MpQc8

-- Alex Kotch (@alexkotch) March 13, 2020

[Mar 15, 2020] Your country under neoliberalism: The CDC tested only 77 people this week for coronavirus.

Mar 15, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

According to Amazon's rankings, Camus' The Plague is now #7 in the Self-Help & Psychology Humor category, which is an irony Camus himself probably couldn't have gotten away with

+ The for-profit health care system in the US is already starting to crack under the pressure and the virus hasn't even really hit yet

+ Pence promised 8 million tests by the end of the week, but according to Lamar Alexander: "We are going to work as hard as we can to push this administration to continue to ramp up the number of tests but the reality is..they do not yet have the tests available and can't give us a date." South Korea, where the virus appeared about the same time it did in US, is testing 10,000 a day and has been for nearly a month.

+ Your country under neoliberalism: The CDC tested only 77 people this week for coronavirus.

+ Here in Oregon, the state health lab only has the capacity to perform 80 tests a day but that's still more than the CDC did all week.

+ Another sign of the impending crisis (and that ObamaCare was a disaster): The number of hospital beds in the US has fallen by 5% over the last ten years .

+ The US (pop. 330 million) has fewer hospital beds than Italy (pop. 60 million) and South Korea (pop. 51 million). And many of those are unaffordable for most people. Winning!

+ Larry Kudlow, who missed the great recession, "The virus is contained!"

+ On Weds night Sanjay Gupta asked CNN's Don Lemon to read the CDC's coronavirus testing stats off of his phone.

ZERO tests conducted today by CDC.

A grand total of 8 tests conducted by other public health agencies across the country.

EIGHT.

+ The Republican Governor for Ohio Mike DeWine confirmed on Thursday that only 1,000 tests are available to 11.69 million citizens who live in the Buckeye State. He further said that projections are that more than 100,000 Ohioans will be infected with the coronavirus

+ The projections for NYC are sobering, to say the least

(1/11) The #NYC Region is in trouble. Our #COVID19 case load is growing so quickly that we risk running out of hospital beds in UNDER TWO WEEKS. To avoid a crisis at our hospitals, we need to act now. 1,200 hospital beds are not enough. @BilldeBlasio @NYCSpeakerCoJo @NYGovCuomo pic.twitter.com/QLpWr6bIWQ

-- Michael Donnelly (@donnellymjd) March 12, 2020

+ Rebecca Nagle: "Look, I fully support banning travel from Europe to prevent the spread of infectious disease. I just think it's 528 years too late."

+ Matt "Gas Mask" Gaetz, one of the most ridiculous buffoons in a Congress filled with them, voted against paid sick leave. Now he's taking it , because he was exposed to COVID-19.

+ The Cuban health care system, whose doctors are even now in China testing interferon-based drugs against the virus, is going to look better and better to people in the US, as the COVID-19 does its thing here. Even the Miami Cuban nutcases may be singing Fidel's praises before this is over .

+ Maybe Jay Inslee (who promised tests would be "free") is a " snake " after all

Maybe Inslee (who promised tests would be "free") is a "snake" after all

Posted by Jeffrey St Clair on Thursday, March 12, 2020

+ The Senate won't take up House coronavirus bill until after its recess. "The Senate will act when we come back and we have a clearer idea of what extra steps we need to take," Sen. Lamar Alexander told reporters What if they never come back? One can hope

+ Why the Senate is refusing to act on COVID-19: "A key sticking point in the talks appears to be GOP demands to include Hyde amendment language in the bill to prevent federal funds from being used for abortion " Priorities, priorities

+ Joe Biden: "I don't like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don't think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body." (Biden said this in 2006 , not 1976.)

+ The World Health Organization has announced that dogs cannot contract Covid-19. Dogs previously held in quarantine can now be released. WHO let the dogs out! (The jokes will only get worse, as the virus spreads.)

+ To wit: Always scrub your hands like you just shook hands with the President

+ Come back, Marianne, your country (if not your lamentable party) needs you!

Uh, maybe we should cancel that order for 100 B-21 Raiders all equipped with nuclear bombs at the rate of $560M each, and use the money instead to pay for free testing and coronavirus treatment We need to change our thinking about all this, do it quickly, and speak it loudly.

-- Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) March 12, 2020

+ From The Plague:

"What on earth prompted you to take a hand in this, doctor?"

"I don't know. My my code of morals, perhaps."

"Your code of morals. What code, if I may ask?"

"Comprehension."

+ According to Amazon's rankings, Camus' The Plague is now #7 in the Self-Help & Psychology Humor category, which is an irony Camus himself probably couldn't have gotten away with. A viral pandemic is apparently what it takes to get Americans to read French existentialist literature

+ "Carbon Joe" Biden's entire climate change plan is budgeted at $1.7 trillion. The Fed just dropped that much on Wall Street in a single day without any public input

+ And they said we "can't afford" national health care!

[Mar 15, 2020] Priorities of the top one percent are not priorities of the bottom ninety-nice percent

Mar 15, 2020 | twitter.com

Uh, maybe we should cancel that order for 100 B-21 Raiders all equipped with nuclear bombs at the rate of $560M each, and use the money instead to pay for free testing and coronavirus treatment We need to change our thinking about all this, do it quickly, and speak it loudly.

-- Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) March 12, 2020

[Mar 15, 2020] The Jack Ma Foundation has just donated 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to America. The Chinese have also sent aid to Italy.

Mar 15, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , March 14, 2020 at 6:53 am

Just to underline the incompetency of neoliberalism, the Jack Ma Foundation has just donated 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to America. One guy on twitter said-

'Many will welcome this. Some will see it as an insult. The real insult is that the richest country in the world has waged war on science and as a result is finding itself helpless..'

The real tragedy is this. Iran has been covering up the large number of their Coronavirus deaths in the past few weeks until satellite images showed mass burial sites outside their cities. Through gross negligence, the US has also been covering up the infiltration of Coronavirus in America and trying to cover it all up in the same manner.

So in a few months time, will the Russian and Chinese be releasing images of mass burial sites on the American mainland that the Trump government will seek to hide?

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/483102-china-jackma-coronavirus-aid-us/

BillS , March 14, 2020 at 7:25 am

The Chinese have also sent aid to Italy.

The EU and USA were notable in their absence. To be fair, the EU has promised assistance, but the Germans and Lagarde are still stumbling around with the conditions that they want to attach.

Neoliberal overlords don't give up easily.

[Mar 15, 2020] The Real Crisis Of neoliberalism Starts Now In Europe

Mar 15, 2020 | tomluongo.me

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden by Tyler Durden Sun, 03/15/2020 - 09:20 Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

I think it's safe to say the new crisis just killed the Schengen Treaty. That ridiculous document which guaranteed freedom of movement across the European Union finally hit something it couldn't bully, COVID-19. Regardless of whether you believe the pandemic is real or not, the reaction to it is real and is having real consequence far beyond the latest print of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The lockdown of Italy isn't a temporary thing. Oh, the suspension of free movement is temporary, but it portends something far bigger.

It's the beginning of the real political balkanization that's coming to the European Union over the next few years. Old enmities and prejudices have not been stamped out under the boot heel of oppressive legislation coming from a bunch of disconnected technocrats in Brussels.

They have only been suppressed.

Because when there are existential threats there's no time or desire to virtue signal about how we're all one big happy dysfunctional family. 1 minute ago The thing is most people at Zerohedge have no idea about the reality in Germany and the other European countries and the psychicological robustness of its people. This crisis is nothing compared to the catastrophies of the 20th century. In times of challenge one can see who is strong and effective and acting in solidarity. And this is it what the extended Euroland is going to show soon. A masterplan for Euroland how to overcome this Corona problems. It takes time to adopt but things do move already in the right direction. Banning travel is a harsh measure but the right thing in this situation.

The economy will take a deep dip but there will be no catastrophy. Even when Deutsche Bank should go down that would impact the situation only in the financial markets. But luckily Euroland has a worldclass manufacturing and agricultural sector, plus there is the ECB owned by Eurolands member states.

So there is money, there is food, there is production, there are raw materials as well as energy available from Russia,.. Europe is world leader in renewable energy and recycling of waste materials., ..

So nothIng to worry about in principle. Its only one real danger, the Anglo Saxon Jewish dominated financial sector and the MIC which is still dreaming about world domination. I hope their dream is shattered soon. 12 minutes ago Thanks Tom..

But we won't comment and why?

Because the cause of the crisis is still not being addressed..

Corona of virus is simply an accelerant to a serious problem..

And that's all we'll say... 43 minutes ago Old enmities and prejudices have not been stamped out .... This has been said a thousand times across EU social media and comments in national press in developed member states. Particularly during Brexit. That the EU was flawed from the start in imagining the ******, pretend EU would ever; by adopting developed EU rules and regulations, even begin to match up to the Real EU. Pretend EU would only ever pretend - many nothing more than 1st generation democracies. So the elite in the ****** EU hand picked who was to lead that ministry or council and then all levels of locally elite society and their friends and families were greased by jobs in the bloated public sector. Now Germany is supposed to keep this "Noses in the Trough" nonsense going!

It is mind blowing to realise the damage to the EU the 'Contra os Bretoes' EU retards have done in victimising the British! The UK - an advanced G7 country with many centuries of history of sorting out, at great loss to its citizens and economy, European squabbles - long before the US was encouraged to get involved as well.

UK Remainers need to focus their efforts on the ****** EU crashing (or being crashed) out and the UK rejoining the EU and helping make the EU work the way it was sold to us British decades ago. 44 minutes ago Feudal-Vassalism it is, extended into https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocolonialism
The situation in Greece has been for about a decade worse off than in Gaza.

[Mar 15, 2020] Coronavirus update reason for alarm; (small) reason for hope

Mar 15, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , March 15, 2020 11:57 am

    As Otto von Bismarck noted "God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America."

    That's a reason for hope.

    But there are multiple reasons for despair (hoarding epidemics has shown how brainwashed people are with neoliberal rationality)

    The neoliberal society with its twisted guiding philosophy of radical individualism and competition combined with a supremacist "that could never happen here" attitude quickly falls into panicked chaos when reality kicks in and reveals the society's underlying vulnerabilities.

    Countries with weak social safety nets and an ideological opposition to social responsibility are extremely vulnerable to systemic breakdown when their societies are hit with unexpected stress.

    That is what we see in the USA. This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal Social Darwinism ("every man for himself") ethic (aka "neoliberal rationality") is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are. Including first of all neoliberal politicians (aka Washington swamp rats)

    Casino capitalism economics is fragile and huge shocks are possible.

[Mar 13, 2020] Is the whole ideo of Trump tax holiday is to speed up the privatization of SS and Medicare. Look! The deficit's growing bigger.

Mar 13, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

allan , March 12, 2020 at 2:11 pm

President Trump's Payroll Tax Holiday: Budgetary, Distributional, and Economic Effects [Penn Wharton]

Summary: President Trump just announced his support for a full payroll tax holiday for the remainder of calendar year 2020, which PWBM projects would cost $807 billion. Households in the bottom 20 percent of incomes -- those households with the highest willingness to spend their tax savings -- would receive about 2 percent of the total tax cut, limiting the policy's stimulus potential.

But Penn Wharton's analysis might be based on unrealistically optimistic assumptions –
see the comments in the replies to this tweet.

Billy , March 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Don't forget the employer's half is also waived. Nice subsidy to business while helping cripple the Social Security funds for ultimate privatization. Doesn't do anything the unemployed, those laid off or fired as they pay no taxes. Now, if it were retroactive for a year or two, that'd be different.

Oh , March 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

The whole idea is to speed up the privatization of SS and Medicare. Look! The deficit's growing bigger.

[Mar 12, 2020] Emergency Sick Leave Bill blocked from vote by Senate Republicans--Profit over People yet again.

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 11 2020 21:37 utc | 101

It's no different from the Republicans in the US Senate: Emergency Sick Leave Bill blocked from vote by Senate Republicans--Profit over People yet again.

[Mar 12, 2020] Neoliberalism in action in Italy: neo-liberal economic worship, all government bad, all private sector good, corruption good, banks worshipped as faultless guardians but actually kleptocrats.

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Mar 11 2020 3:26 utc | 72

coronawhy #48
Why has Italy not try very hard to scale up hospital bed capacity for the surge of cases over the last several days? They have deployed a military hospital but it doesn't look like it's making a big dent. Instead reports are now coming in of abandoning very old people or those with prior conditions to die largely unattended.

In Wuhan, 16 big barracks were built to treat the seriously sick. Why doesn't Italy requisition schools, move in equipment from the rest of the country, deploy doctors from other regions, call other EU member states for help?

Does it have something to do with the difficulty of getting things done even in emergencies in modern bureaucratic states?

Italy: neo-liberal economic worship, all government bad, all private sector good, corruption good, banks worshipped as faultless guardians but actually kleptocrats.

China: socialism with a mild capitalist twist, government good, private sector ok, corruption to be rooted out, banks established and policed for the public good (mostly).

Modern bureacratic states function well when government is respected and well resourced intellectually and financially. Italy has been gutted by the Thatcherite and US model of deep coercion and destruction of its socialist roots. Ditto USA and UK and the five eyes cheer squad. New entries to job markets are propagandised to avoid the state employment.

There are many nations in the world with modern functional bureaucratic states. As you can see China and perhaps Russia appear to be in that team. Perhaps some of the Scandinavian states, maybe Portugal. France abandoned its respect for the centrality of State service provider decades ago and Mitterand appears to have been an effective assassin on behalf of the neo-liberal economic monsters in France.

Jen , Mar 11 2020 3:48 utc | 73

Uncle Tungsten @ 71:

I'm sure in your comparison of Italy and China, you forgot to mention the infiltration of the Mafia (as in the real Mafia of La Cosa Nostra, La Camorra, 'Ndrangheta and maybe some others I've missed) in Italian national and regional governments, and the horrific levels of air pollution in the Po Valley region where COVID-19 hotspots like Milan are located.

Perhaps also the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church and their links to the financial industry in Italy are also a problem.

[Mar 12, 2020] COVID-19 puts neoliberalism on its knee

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 11 2020 14:25 utc | 100

COVID-19 puts neoliberalism on its knees:

Germany abandons "zero deficit" policy

[Mar 12, 2020] Experts warn flaws in US neoliberalized health system doom its readiness

Notable quotes:
"... medically fragile individuals ..."
"... there's not enough equipment. There's not enough people. There's not enough internal capacity. There's no surge capacity ..."
"... use their judgment ..."
"... epidemiologic factors ..."
"... we would recommend that there not be large crowds. If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. ..."
"... bottom line, it's going to get worse. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.rt.com

The epidemic that has so far spread to half of US states, infecting over 1,000 Americans and killing 31...

At least 10 states have declared emergencies as of Wednesday, and disease experts are throwing up their hands, urging the administration to take real-life events more seriously.

...Centers for Disease Control director Robert Redfield agreed that critical regions of the US are beyond the reach of containment, sliding into the " mitigation " stage, and blamed the botched rollout of test kits to local health workers.

The availability of accurate tests for Covid-19 has become a major sore spot, with official reassurances colliding with uncooperative reality in full view of the public. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar insisted on Tuesday that " millions " of tests were available, even as the CDC urged healthcare providers to save tests for symptomatic patients already hospitalized and " medically fragile individuals ."

In at least one case , federal officials warned a Seattle lab against testing flu swab samples for coronavirus in January, before the epidemic was widely reported, losing critical response time – mirroring the " crime " the Trump administration has tried to pin on China.

And some have warned that the US' inability to handle an outbreak is more dire than either side realizes. During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, a Republican congressman from Washington, the first Covid-19 hotspot to flare up in the US, demanded to know why his constituents were unable to get their test results while his fellow congressmen had no problem getting tested just days after coming into contact with an infected person at a DC political conference. A CDC representative admitted " there's not enough equipment. There's not enough people. There's not enough internal capacity. There's no surge capacity ." To conserve tests, the CDC has told healthcare providers to " use their judgment " and consider " epidemiologic factors " before using up a valuable resource.

Existing flaws in the US healthcare system have exacerbated the testing problem. The CDC has refused to set up standalone testing centers, placing COVID-19 screening out of the reach of the many Americans who don't have primary-care physicians and rely on walk-in clinics and emergency rooms for their healthcare. Just 8,500 Americans had been tested as of Monday, according to the CDC, and federal officials told reporters some 75,000 tests had been sent out to public health laboratories on top of one million sent to hospitals and other sites. The real-life infected numbers in the country are thus likely much higher than what is being reported.

Control measures have varied wildly across local governments and institutions and even within cities. Over 1,000 schools have closed nationwide, and cities and counties from Santa Clara, California to Westchester, New York have banned large gatherings. The National Institutes of Health's Anthony Fauci called on others to follow suit during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, announcing " we would recommend that there not be large crowds. If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. " Asked if " the worst " was yet to come, Fauci answered unequivocally: " bottom line, it's going to get worse. "

Even as new Covid-19 cases in China dwindle to near zero and cases in Italy, Germany, and other European countries surge, the US has not stepped up screenings of passengers from those countries at airports accordingly. Instead, the administration has continued to congratulate itself on " saving lives " by halting flights from China weeks ago.

See also: Watching the Hawks: The military-industrial complex vs healthcare & common sense

[Mar 12, 2020] In there a shortage of some medicine or test kits in the USA, and the normal behavior of providers of medicines and other medical goods is extremely rapacious

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 11 2020 17:48 utc | 24

About testing: who makes testing kits, how reliable they are, what is the cost?

Seems that in USA there is a shortage, and the normal behavior of providers of medicines and other medical goods is extremely rapacious. For example, Gilead company found a cure for hepatitis C. In the first year of sales, they got more than 5 billion dollars because of enormous prices they demanded. In about 2 years almost all urgent cases were cured, which is fine, and competition emerged.

Unless forced, these companies will provide nothing at cost, only with enormous markup. If you want to get, say, 10 miilion kits that hypothetically cost 250 dollars to make, they would charge at least 10 billion. Actually, the price/cost multiples have no limit at all, as in Gilead case. In the face of that, Administration should use emergency powers to impose cost controls. Manufactures could be threatened delicately to ramp-up the production if they are not willing to do it just from civic sense of duty. That would violate the most precious human rights, i.e. the rights of billionaires. Not the American way.

[Mar 11, 2020] Coronavirus Reveals the Cracks in Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... "The companies suffering from their short-sightedness FULLY DESERVE what they're getting." ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on March 11, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. While this article has a lot of helpful suggestions, it does not acknowledge that public health is a state and local, not a Federal matter. The Federal government can intervene only by invoking emergency authority, which in every case I can recall, has been done only when asked (begged) by the relevant authorities. Thus I cannot see the Federal government taking the lead with coronavirus on the medical front, as much as that is desperately needed. Look, for instance, at how it was New York State that imposed a containment area around coronavirus hot spot New Rochelle , and how New York State has started making its own hand sanitizer.

By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and commentator. Produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute

The coronavirus will eventually pass, but the same cannot be said for the Panglossian phenomenon known as "globalization." Stripped of the romantic notion of a global village, the ugly process we've experienced over the past 40 years has been a case of governmental institutions being eclipsed by multinational corporations, acting to maximize profit in support of shareholders. To billions of us, it has resembled a looting process, of our social wealth, and political meaning. Governments that wanted to stay on top would have to learn to master soft power to learn to be relevant in a globalized world, mostly acting to smooth transactions and otherwise stay out of the way.

In a globalized world, nation-states were supposedly becoming relics. To the extent that they were needed, small national governments were said to equate to good government. This hollow philosophy's main claims now appear badly exposed, as the supply chains wither, and the very interconnectedness of our global economy is becoming a vector of contagion. In the words of author David Goodhart, "We no longer need the help of rats or fleas to spread disease -- we can do it ourselves thanks to mass international travel and supply chains."

To be sure, there were many warning signs that called into question our hitherto benign assumptions about globalization: the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 (during which the Asian tiger economies were decimated by unconstrained speculative capital flows), the vast swaths of the Rust Belt's industrial heartlands created by outsourcing to China's export juggernaut, the concomitant rise in economic inequality and decline in quality of life in industrialized societies and, of course, the 2008 global financial crisis. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz described many of these pathologies in his book Globalization and Its Discontents, as did economist Barry Eichengreen, who lamented that "the nation state has fundamentally lost control of its destiny, surrendering to anonymous global forces." Both noted that globalization was severing a working social contract between national governments and their citizens that had previously delivered rising prosperity for all.

Those who would argue that the inexorable march of globalization cannot be reversed should consider the parallel during the early 20th century. Globalized economic activity and free trade were dominant before the onset of World War I; in 1914, trade as a proportion of global GDP stood at 14 percent. Needless to say, two world wars, and the Great Depression (which brought us the Smoot-Hawley tariffs), reversed this trend. The Cold War sustained regionalization and bifurcated trading blocs. Its end, and China's accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO), ushered in a new high-water mark in globalized trade.

But while it is true that viruses do not respect national boundaries, nothing has blown apart the pretensions of this New World Order as dramatically as the coronavirus, a pandemic now assuming global import, as international supply chains are severed, and global economic activity is brought to a screeching halt. We are increasingly seeing the hollow political content at the core of supranational entities such as the EU, structured more to comfort merged investor groups than strengthen public health systems.

Speaking of Europe, while the coronavirus started in China, its most long-lasting impact might be in the EU, as it has dramatically exposed the shortcomings of the latter's institutional structures. Take Italy as the most vivid illustration: The spread of COVID-19 has been particularly acute there. Being a user of the euro (as opposed to an issuer of the currency) the Italian national government risks exposing itself to potential national bankruptcy (and the vicissitudes of the volatile private capital markets) if it responds with a robust fiscal response, absent the institutional support of Brussels and the European Central Bank (which is the sole issuer of the euro). According to MarketWatch, "Italy needs a €500 to €700 billion ($572 billion to $801 billion) precautionary bailout package to help reassure financial markets that the Italian government and banks can meet their debt payment obligations as [the] country's economic and financial crisis becomes more fearsome."

The tragic case of Italy (where the entire country is now in full quarantined lockdown) provides a particularly poignant example of the gaping lacunae at the heart of the eurozone. There is no supranational fiscal authority, so the Italian government has been largely left to fend for itself, as it is trying to do now, for example, providing income relief by suspending payments on mortgages across the entire country. Here is a perfect example of where European Central Bank support for the Italian banking system would go a long way toward mitigating any resultant financial contagion. But so far, as Wolfgang Munchau of the Financial Times has noted, the ECB remains in "monitoring" mode. Indeed, the eurozone as a whole lacks the institutional mechanisms to mobilize on a massive, coordinated scale, in contrast to the U.S. and UK, and eurozone finance ministers remain incapable of agreeing on a coordinated policy response.

Other eurozone countries may no longer be complacent about the threat posed by COVID-19, but their national governments are more focused on the need to stockpile their own national resources to protect their populations. Italy remains particularly vulnerable to the ravages of this virus, as it has an aging population, so if coronavirus runs rampant through the country, it could potentially crash the nation's entire hospital system, as this account by an Italian doctor suggests.

EU solidarity, showing cracks on issues ranging from finance to immigration, increasingly resembles every country for itself.

Defenders of the EU may well retort that health care is designated as a "national competency" under the Treaty of Maastricht. But how does one expect national competencies to be carried out competently in an economic grouping devoid of national currencies (the key variable as far as supporting unconstrained fiscal capacity goes)? Additionally, the evil of decades of Brussels-imposed austerity has meant there aren't enough hospital beds, materials and staff anywhere in Europe, let alone Italy. This might well represent the death knell for a European project based on aspirations for an "ever closer union."

In spite of the manifest incompetence of the Trump administration, the U.S. at least has institutional mechanisms in place via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide Americans with clear, credible instructions devoid of political spin.

As Professor James Galbraith has persuasively argued, the U.S. government has the capacity to "establish a Health Finance Corporation on the model of the Depression-era Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Like the RFC, which built munitions factories and hospitals during and after World War II, the HFC should have broad powers to create public corporations, lend to private companies (to fund necessary production), and cover other emergency costs. Even more quickly, the National Guard can be deployed to deal with critical supply issues and to establish emergency facilities such as field hospitals and quarantine centers." Likewise, Senator Marco Rubio has "sought to expand what's called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which allows the Small Business Administration to start lending money directly instead of just encouraging banks to do so," as Matt Stoller has written.

Parenthetically, this represents a marked break with historic GOP policy, which for the most part has accepted the embedded assumptions inherent in globalization.

And while traditional monetary policy tools such as interest rate cuts are hardly adequate to stem a supply shock, Galbraith also points to the ability of the Federal Reserve to offer emergency financial support to help American companies through the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, by "buy[ing] up debt issued by hospitals and other health-care providers, as well as working to stabilize credit markets, as it did in 2008-09." Andrew Bailey of the Bank of England has made similar recommendations to the UK government.

Even with the measures proposed by Galbraith, Bailey and Rubio, virtually all Western economies, having largely succumbed to the logic of globalization, are now vulnerable, as supply chains wither. China, the apex of these offshored manufacturing supply chains, is in shutdown mode. Likewise South Korea and Italy. Worse, there appears to be a singular lack of understanding on the part of many multinational companies as to how far these supply chains go: "Peter Guarraia, who leads the global supply chain practice at Bain & Co, estimated that up to 60 per cent of executives have no knowledge of the items in their supply chain beyond the tier one group," reports the Financial Times.

A "tier one" company supplies components directly to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that sets up a global supply chain. But as is now becoming increasingly recognized, there are secondary-tier companies, which supply components or materials to those tier-one companies. When goods are widely dispersed geographically (instead of centered in a localized industrial ecosystem), it is harder for executives to have full knowledge of all of the items in their respective companies' supply chains, so the deficiencies of the model only become apparent by the time it is too late to rectify.

In the U.S. specifically, the mass migration of manufacturing has seriously eroded the domestic capabilities needed to turn inventions into high-end products, damaging America's ability to retain a lead in many sectors, let alone continue to manufacture products. The country has evolved from being a nation of industrialists to a nation of financial rentiers. And now the model has exposed the U.S. to significant risk during a time of national crisis, as the coronavirus potentially represents.

There is no national redundancy built into current supply networks, with the most problematic consequences now evident in the pharmaceutical markets. Countries such as China or India are beginning to restrict core components of important generic drugs to deal with their own domestic health crisis. This has the potential to create a major crisis, given that the U.S. "depend[s] on China for 80 percent of the core components to make our generic medicines," writes Rosemary Gibson in the American Conservative. She also notes that "generic drugs are 90 percent of the medicines Americans take. Thousands of them, sold at corner drug stores, grocery store pharmacies, and big box stores, contain ingredients made in China." Constraints on production, therefore, intensify as more and more of the manufacturing process pertaining to the drugs themselves is geographically globalized. And in regard specifically to research-intensive industries, such as pharmaceuticals or biotech, the value of closely integrating the R&D with manufacturing is extremely high, and the risks of separating them are enormous.

These are by no means new problems. We've been dealing with supply-side shocks emanating from hyper-globalization for decades, and the response of Western policymakers has largely been in the form of fiscal or monetary palliatives that seldom address the underlying structural challenges raised by these shortages. To the contrary: democratic caveats to globalization have been characterized as inefficient frictions that hinder consumer choice.

For now, we should start by reducing our supply chain vulnerabilities by building into our systems more of what engineers call redundancy -- different ways of doing the same things -- so as to mitigate undue reliance on foreign suppliers for strategically important industries. We need to mobilize national resources in a manner akin to the way a country does during wartime or during massive economic dislocation (such as the Great Depression) -- comprehensive government-led actions (which runs in the face of much of today's prevailing and increasingly outdated economic and political theology). In other words, the revival of a coherent national industrial policy.

To save the global economy, paradoxically, we need less of it. Not only does the private/public sector balance have to shift in favor of the latter, but so too does the multinational/national matrix in manufacturing. Otherwise, the coronavirus will simply represent yet another in a chain of catastrophes for global capitalism, rather than an opportunity to rethink our entire model of economic development.


Harry Shearer , March 11, 2020 at 3:12 am

But but but ."redundancy", which engineers like, is in direct conflict with "efficiency", which economists revere. Think of how many "smart" appliances we can invent and market if we don't have to make health-care and manufacturing robust again.

vlade , March 11, 2020 at 5:27 am

Cheetah paradox. The fastest land animal, but often dies if injured as can't hunt and has no fat to speak off to take it through lean times.

NC has discussed number of times that you can't have "efficiency" and "reduncancy". Of course, if your drive is short-term profit, it requires efficiency, and redundancy is just a cost.

The smarter companies that have built redundancy, will be the predators left once the injured cheetahs die off.

jaratec , March 11, 2020 at 6:07 am

Out of curiosity, can you name some companies that have built redundancy?

Amfortas the hippie , March 11, 2020 at 8:25 am

does my little farm/doomstead count?
multiple redundancies has been a large part of The Goal for a long time.

as for actual businesses, no except maybe for the more esoteric sectors of FIRE .are "exotic financial instruments" redundant?

"just in time", "warehouse on wheels", as well as globespanning supply lines have worried me since i learned of them.
"efficiency" as a weapon, that eventually gets turned on oneself.

Wukchumni , March 11, 2020 at 8:34 am

My favorite tale of redundancy going away was the oxygen system on commercial airliners. In the past it had 3 or 4 independent redundant systems built in and cost around $20k per seat, and then the cost cutters came up a single digital oxygen system costing only around $500 per seat.

Synoia , March 11, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Yes: Ford and General Motors. If you cannot buy from one company, there are alternatives. The companies are single points of failure. The combination of multiple single point of failure provide redundancy and resilience.

Supporting the Historical US concept of "truce busting" and encouraging competition in all markets.

flora , March 11, 2020 at 3:19 pm

old joke:
Libertarian market CEOs used to be called financial tigers. What are they called now? Ans.: financial cheet'ahs.
ba dum tsssh

-- –

Thanks for this post.

Paul O , March 11, 2020 at 5:30 am

Indeed. As an both an engineering (core mobile network infrastructure) and an econ graduate (PPE and life long interest) this has been an (perhaps, the) issue for me over the last 30 years. There are many ways in which redundancy and resilience have been degraded. Not least in terms of people with the combination of deep technical understanding and problem solving skills.

Baking in fragility in the name of efficiency. Efficiency? Well maybe, but only on a short enough timeline. And timelines have been getting shorter (to validate 'cost cutting').

urblintz , March 11, 2020 at 4:18 am

I don't like to be a smart-fanny and do appreciate the thinking and expertise that shines through this fine essay. I learned an enormous amount and feel better prepared to argue the subject.

But the second half of that last sentence

" the coronavirus will simply represent yet another in a chain of catastrophes for global capitalism, rather than an opportunity to rethink our entire model of economic development."

taken by itself, makes everything before it, well redundant. of course it will.

alex morfesis , March 11, 2020 at 4:18 am

and and and .the "tax planning" departments at majorco international will be crying on about all their masterful overseas tax siloing now having to come apart by having to actually re-shore production oh the pearl clutching to come .

Lambert Strether , March 11, 2020 at 4:50 am

> To billions of us, it has resembled a looting process, of our social wealth, and political meaning

What do you mean, "resembled"?

Ignacio , March 11, 2020 at 5:37 am

I usually like reading Auerback's posts but in this exceptional case I had to stop reading at about the 10th paragraph or so. It is the case that in the heat of the moment we are not having good reaction and fear is driving us a little bit mad.

Leaving our personal phantoms and demons to ride free when we should be carefully thinking on our personal safety and the fate of the social structures that sustain us is not good idea. For instance, identifying Italy as the core of the problem is IMO a misrepresentation of facts. A small city in Northern Italy was, just by chance, the first place in EU where the outbreak started showing all its virulence and it took us by surprise because we were all in denial.

Not only in the EU, a few days ago Mr. Strether left a link in his Water-cooler citing American economists saying that the US would probably not be reached by the epidemics. As an example on how in denial we have been, take a look at this letter sent to the editor of eurosurveillance the 21st of January by physicians from Marseille asking why so much fear about the new disease when they had tested and identified 0 Covid cases in their hospitals while we should focus on flu or rhinovirus. It is almost certain they are now regretting having this letter sent.

Though M. Auerback IMO rigthly crtitizices the fragmentation of the institutional and political framework in the EU, in comparison with the all powerful globalized supply chains, I cannot agree more, I also think he is missing how the institutional response is being organised. After the initial denial, the response to the emergency is necessarily reactive (think of equipments in short supply). In Madrid we are just about 7 days behind of Italy in epidemics development and I can see the same phenomenon here. We are starting to see that we could soon be in short supply of treatment equipment in hospitals. Schools and universities are closed starting today and large gatherings prohibited and yesterday some panic scenes in supermarkets were seen, just like in Italy. The government has programmed a set of measures that are going to be implemented as their necessity is seen such as delaying tax or mortgage payments, and some other help with a focus in small companies and autonomous workers. Both Italy and Spain will almost certainly give a kick in the ass to austerian stupidity and do things necessary to try to mitigate the damage and I bet there won't be any EU institution denying whatever support needed because, ya know, the BCE and other institutions will realise their survival is at risk if they try to be too orthodox in an emergency situation. So far, IMO, the biggest mistakes have been made in China from the very beginning of the outbreak to the brutal quarantines imposed. I think that in the EU, keeping open borders was good reaction.

We will see how this unfolds in the US. This said, I wish the best for Americans of both Americas, Asians, Oceanians, Europeans etc. I hope that authorities around the world have good reaction with this emergency.

ObjectiveFunction , March 11, 2020 at 7:46 am

Good comment, I agree. I've been offline for a bit, so forgive me if mentioned already, but early irruption of the virus in Italy is no mere accident. Chinese groups have bought up Italian luxury brands and then imported thousands of Chinese sweatshop migrants to preserve the coveted Made In Italy label while keeping costs low. Same arrangements in Spain I think, but you would likely know better than I.

For so long as people can't be arsed about where their food clothing and shelter really comes from, there will always be loopholes devised by the unscrupulous. The arbitrage toothpaste is very hard to put back in the tube.

I greatly enjoy Auerback's (and Hudson's) work although I am no socialist (to my mind, today's bankster or McKinsey wanker simply becomes tomorrow's third deputy minister for banana bending – regardless, it's still a small club and most of us ain't in it).

But in order for nations, however defined, to regain self-sufficiency, cartelization of labor enforced in law is going to have to become a thing again, whether it's via unionization, craft guilds or certification (credentialism by any other name would smell as sweet).

Hayek's Heelbiter , March 11, 2020 at 6:41 am

One question: Why does Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat , extolling the glories of globalization, still have a job paying no doubt tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, while many better informed and infinitely more prescient NCers have trouble putting groceries on the table?

Curious minds wonder.

John Wright , March 11, 2020 at 11:29 am

I realize your comment was rhetorical.

But..

Why does Friedman still have a job after all of his globalization cheer leading and war mongering?

Answer: Because he writes what his bosses want him to write.

In the upside-down world of USA media, people who give good advice (Chris Hedges and Phil Donahue on the Iraq War) get fired, while those who give bad advice (Friedman on almost everything) keep their jobs.

The contempt Friedman has for people may be illustrated by his "Suck on this" comment directed at innocent Iraqis who he judged needed to see US military power directed against them.

This is the USA, where harmful media people are brought down by sex-scandals (Charlie Rose, Chris Matthews) not by the quality of their media work.

Synoia , March 11, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Does this make me look fat?
Yes your majesty.
Off with his head!!

It is a human problem. Not just a US behavior. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The CEO of a large company is no different from the Baron in a Feudal Barony. The President of the United States is an Elected Monarch.

Mike , March 11, 2020 at 8:58 am

I don't get the article's point about a fractured EU response vs a coordinated American response. CDC has been torched by budget cuts and the nurses association in the USA – didn't they say few hospitals have any plans in place for an outbreak? Each country is going to have it's own challenges – good show on Joe Rogan this week and goes into 45% of Americans are obese – a big risk factor when combating Covid-19.

Also a revelation was nearly all generic drugs use in America are sourced from India and China. EU borders have been very fluid for decades, its not an easy thing to shut down for any reason and yes a lot of the response has been reactionary. So back to Globalisation – there are risks, this is the price.

David , March 11, 2020 at 9:02 am

Some good points, but a couple of quibbles.

Globalisation is not the same as trade. Trade, it's sometimes hard to recall, was originally "I'll swap you what you want for what I want." So the English exported wool, for example, and imported silks and spices. Globalisation is an attempt by an insane MBA student to restructure the world economy to be maximally "efficient" without concern for externalities. Globalisation is going down for sure, but of course it will take a lot of perfectly respectable trade with it.

I'm also getting a bit tired of reading that viruses "don't respect national borders." Of course, if there were groups of independently moving viruses, travelling through Europe on their little feet, they wouldn't think to contact the authorities when they cross national borders. But viruses have to be transported by something, usually people, and people (as in China recently) can be required to respect borders. Already there are signs that Free Movement in Europe is coming under strain (Slovenia closed its border with Italy yesterday) and judging by the violent reactions of the "no borders" lobby, they are worried that it may be one of the many types of collateral political damage.

One other thought: this epidemic may be the first in living memory where the PMC, politicians and media figures are disproportionately affected. (I can't think of a single case of a politician who's ever died of flu). The PMC etc. travel a lot more, get out a lot more and mix a lot more with foreigners. When there's no cure, some of them – CEOs, Ministers, media pundits, bankers – are going to die. What then? Already, the more contacts you have, especially with other countries, the worse things will be. Lawyers will find courts closed, consultants will find organisations less ready to consult them, business junkets and conferences will be cancelled, holidays postponed and upper middle-class parents will find that Tarquin and Miranda are unexpectedly at home because the European School in Florence has been closed. Some things will be very hard to bear.

Wukchumni , March 11, 2020 at 9:44 am

The changes coming on account of the virus will be substantial, and if we're all sitting on the sofa, afraid to leave the house for a year, supply chains will be rusty @ best when Coronavirus finally makes off for parts unknown, or pretty much wrecked.

There are very few among us who can afford to miss work and paychecks, and not only that, but those crazy preppers for once are 100% correct (why they don't concentrate on food primarily, is a mystery) in that everything we eat comes from somewhere else typically.

The extraordinary plum of the USD being the worlds' reserve currency looks to be in trouble too, and in a weakened state of things, might just turn into any other fiat monetary instrument.

The internet will change as well, with much of the world stuck in place, i'd expect traffic on here to explode, in that I can't think of a better time waster.

There's also the aspect of the Coronavirus hangover even after it departs, survivors won't let loose of their newfound way of living so easy.

periol , March 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm

I will never forget reading the Wikileak where the US state department was strong-arming an African government on behalf of Shell Oil. It drove home for me the reality that governments and corporations both serve their wealthy elite masters, and don't even pretend to serve the people they ostensibly represent.

That made me realize it's always been this way.

I was in high school when NAFTA went through. I remember reading all the dire warnings from people opposed, and all the glowing thoughts from those in favor. Now, in hindsight, it has been much worse for everyone except the wealthy. The dire warnings weren't dire enough.

Coronavirus isn't a black swan. People have been predicting a pandemic would strike a blow to globalization for a long time. The companies suffering from their short-sightedness FULLY DESERVE what they're getting. I'm sure hoping the fallout hits the corporate landscape hard . Let's see some naked capitalism in action.

Massinissa , March 11, 2020 at 8:39 pm

Your comment reminds me of Smedley Butler's 'War is a Racket' from about 100 years ago. It was true then and its true now. And I'm talking about government practices in general, not just war: You could take 'War' out of the title and replace it with anything else the american government does these days and it would still hold true.

Stratos , March 11, 2020 at 1:31 pm

"The companies suffering from their short-sightedness FULLY DESERVE what they're getting."

They do indeed. That is why they are lobbying the White House for bailout economic assistance funds. It would be a real stinker if they are bailed out with tax dollars and the average citizen is forced to pick up their own medical and time-off-the-job tabs.

[Mar 11, 2020] Fatalism, neolibralism and the USA society

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Bogdanich , Mar 11 2020 21:09 utc | 83

I should have clarified, I'm an American living in the United States. That said, it bothers me. The absolute lack of any detectable level of courage or fortitude in the face of diversity (hard times) is just stunning. Old people die. Everyone dies over time. Viruses like the flu or SARS, or COVID-19 accelerate that process from time to time. It's just what viruses do. There is no cure for either death or viruses. If you want the biblical "Ye shall surely die."

The worst estimates of "excess deaths" in the U.S. is currently 480,000. Let's call it 605,000. 605,000 out of a population of 310 million is a death rate of 0.2%. Point two percent. If this was a deer heard and the managers were assured that the virus did no other damage and that the point two percent would be overwhelmingly composed of the aged and infirm they would consider intentionally introducing the virus to other herds that were too large.

The panic and cowardice is doing more damage than the disease. The level of fear and panic and the lack of dignity about a life process that you know or should have known was coming for as long as you were sentient is just appalling. The whole society is pusillanimous. There's just no other conclusion. It's outrageous compared to the whole of human history. No other generation in history panicked so much over so little.

/div>

Paul Bogdanich@111

America society is not organized to deal with crisis on its own soil at a community based level due to globalization and the warfare economy that you are well aware of.

First, the closing down of schools is a good example as the increase in poverty among the 99% has resulted in schools having to take on providing food to a large segment of children. It is even worse for the children who are homeless in America while millions of dollars a day go to overseas wars. In New York City along there are about 110,000 homeless children. America has no means to deliver such food aid to children except through school attendance! Even worse is that most of this food is ultraprocessed junk and food like substances as required by the corporate food industry.

Second, most workers must continue to show up even if sick or they face going bankrupt and are already deep in debt to the banks. This creates another petri dish for transmission of the virus which is otherwise going to happen due to a lack of food supplies, except in Mormon and similar communities.

Third, About half of Americans have one or more serious medical conditions, most of which are due to either bad diet (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) or drug use (alcohol, tobacco, or hard drugs).

Fourth, Americans are generally sedentary and cocooned indoors leading to vitamin/hormone D3 deficiencies and toxic organics exposure in home products.

Fifth, we have a sick care system in the US that tries to maximize revenue flow to medical corporations through excess drug distribution and other symptom treatments (think snake oil salesmen in the old west). Once again, prevention via better diet is the correct but unprofitable choice. See books such as "food fix" and "The Hacking of the American Mind" for further details.

Sixth, oil people who will die generally have deficient immune systems which make them susceptible to secondary infections and lung inflammation responses. Strategies to improve immune response are not profitable compared to vaccines and thus lots of old people will die.

Seventh, as hospitals rapidly fill up with patient with coronavirus secondary infections anyone with injuries or disease conditions (e,g, gall bladder and appendix infections will have a much higher chance of dying). As some 97% of prescription drugs are imported from China there will be dramatic shortages.

Eighth, even with calling out the national guard, there will be a large increase in crime as America has over million gang members who are generally well organized. Pity those who cannot defend themselves.

Ninth, collapse of the food and other essential services distribution over several months will contribute to violence and perhaps starvation, especially among pets and farm animals.

Tenth, since most political leaders in the US attended the AIPAC and CPAP conferences, where they were exposed to infected individuals, they will have a much higher infection rate, especially since they tend to be old and in bad health. The collapse of government decision makers will lead to local communities having to sink or swim.

You are correct about the lack of courage in Americans. More importantly, response to a crisis is 80% mental Americans generally are unwilling to give up their comfort and conformity mindset.

Do not know why anyone would want to serve in the US military. Seems like you now recognize your mistake.

Paul Bogdanich@111

America society is not organized to deal with crisis on its own soil at a community based level due to globalization and the warfare economy that you are well aware of.

First, the closing down of schools is a good example as the increase in poverty among the 99% has resulted in schools having to take on providing food to a large segment of children. It is even worse for the children who are homeless in America while millions of dollars a day go to overseas wars. In New York City along there are about 110,000 homeless children. America has no means to deliver such food aid to children except through school attendance! Even worse is that most of this food is ultraprocessed junk and food like substances as required by the corporate food industry.

Second, most workers must continue to show up even if sick or they face going bankrupt and are already deep in debt to the banks. This creates another petri dish for transmission of the virus which is otherwise going to happen due to a lack of food supplies, except in Mormon and similar communities.

Third, About half of Americans have one or more serious medical conditions, most of which are due to either bad diet (hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) or drug use (alcohol, tobacco, or hard drugs).

Fourth, Americans are generally sedentary and cocooned indoors leading to vitamin/hormone D3 deficiencies and toxic organics exposure in home products.

Fifth, we have a sick care system in the US that tries to maximize revenue flow to medical corporations through excess drug distribution and other symptom treatments (think snake oil salesmen in the old west). Once again, prevention via better diet is the correct but unprofitable choice. See books such as "food fix" and "The Hacking of the American Mind" for further details.

Sixth, oil people who will die generally have deficient immune systems which make them susceptible to secondary infections and lung inflammation responses. Strategies to improve immune response are not profitable compared to vaccines and thus lots of old people will die.

Seventh, as hospitals rapidly fill up with patient with coronavirus secondary infections anyone with injuries or disease conditions (e,g, gall bladder and appendix infections will have a much higher chance of dying). As some 97% of prescription drugs are imported from China there will be dramatic shortages.

Eighth, even with calling out the national guard, there will be a large increase in crime as America has over million gang members who are generally well organized. Pity those who cannot defend themselves.

Ninth, collapse of the food and other essential services distribution over several months will contribute to violence and perhaps starvation, especially among pets and farm animals.

Tenth, since most political leaders in the US attended the AIPAC and CPAP conferences, where they were exposed to infected individuals, they will have a much higher infection rate, especially since they tend to be old and in bad health. The collapse of government decision makers will lead to local communities having to sink or swim.

You are correct about the lack of courage in Americans. More importantly, response to a crisis is 80% mental Americans generally are unwilling to give up their comfort and conformity mindset.

Do not know why anyone would want to serve in the US military. Seems like you now recognize your mistake. /div

[Mar 11, 2020] Another big bonus is that the virus will primarily kill old people, which means that European governments can pay out less retirement pensions and welfare benefits in the future. Neoliberal economics is the big winner here.

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Mar 11 2020 23:01 utc | 132

Italy's economy will be crushed, but the bankers will still get their money. In fact, it's another opportunity to impose further 'austerity' on Italy (as neoliberal economics abhors spending on government services), and to force Italy to take out more loans from Germany and France.

Another big bonus is that the virus will primarily kill old people, which means that European governments can pay out less retirement pensions and welfare benefits in the future. Neoliberal economics is the big winner here.

[Mar 11, 2020] Experts warn flaws in US neoliberalized health system doom its readiness

Mar 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

The epidemic that has so far spread to half of US states, infecting over 1,000 Americans and killing 31...

At least 10 states have declared emergencies as of Wednesday, and disease experts are throwing up their hands, urging the administration to take real-life events more seriously.

...Centers for Disease Control director Robert Redfield agreed that critical regions of the US are beyond the reach of containment, sliding into the " mitigation " stage, and blamed the botched rollout of test kits to local health workers.

The availability of accurate tests for Covid-19 has become a major sore spot, with official reassurances colliding with uncooperative reality in full view of the public. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar insisted on Tuesday that " millions " of tests were available, even as the CDC urged healthcare providers to save tests for symptomatic patients already hospitalized and " medically fragile individuals ."

In at least one case , federal officials warned a Seattle lab against testing flu swab samples for coronavirus in January, before the epidemic was widely reported, losing critical response time – mirroring the " crime " the Trump administration has tried to pin on China.

And some have warned that the US' inability to handle an outbreak is more dire than either side realizes. During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, a Republican congressman from Washington, the first Covid-19 hotspot to flare up in the US, demanded to know why his constituents were unable to get their test results while his fellow congressmen had no problem getting tested just days after coming into contact with an infected person at a DC political conference. A CDC representative admitted " there's not enough equipment. There's not enough people. There's not enough internal capacity. There's no surge capacity ." To conserve tests, the CDC has told healthcare providers to " use their judgment " and consider " epidemiologic factors " before using up a valuable resource.

Existing flaws in the US healthcare system have exacerbated the testing problem. The CDC has refused to set up standalone testing centers, placing COVID-19 screening out of the reach of the many Americans who don't have primary-care physicians and rely on walk-in clinics and emergency rooms for their healthcare. Just 8,500 Americans had been tested as of Monday, according to the CDC, and federal officials told reporters some 75,000 tests had been sent out to public health laboratories on top of one million sent to hospitals and other sites. The real-life infected numbers in the country are thus likely much higher than what is being reported.

Control measures have varied wildly across local governments and institutions and even within cities. Over 1,000 schools have closed nationwide, and cities and counties from Santa Clara, California to Westchester, New York have banned large gatherings. The National Institutes of Health's Anthony Fauci called on others to follow suit during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, announcing " we would recommend that there not be large crowds. If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. " Asked if " the worst " was yet to come, Fauci answered unequivocally: " bottom line, it's going to get worse. "

Even as new Covid-19 cases in China dwindle to near zero and cases in Italy, Germany, and other European countries surge, the US has not stepped up screenings of passengers from those countries at airports accordingly. Instead, the administration has continued to congratulate itself on " saving lives " by halting flights from China weeks ago.

[Mar 11, 2020] COVID-19 puts neoliberalism on its knee

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 11 2020 14:25 utc | 100

COVID-19 puts neoliberalism on its knees:

Germany abandons "zero deficit" policy

[Mar 11, 2020] Six Quick Points About Coronavirus and Poverty in the US by Bill Quigley

Mar 11, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org

... ... ...

One. Thirty-four million workers do not have a single day of paid sick leave. Even though most of the developed world gives its workers paid sick leave there is no federal law requiring it for workers. Thirty seven percent of private industry workers do not have paid sick leave including nearly half of the lowest paid quarter of workers. That means 34 million working people have no paid sick leave at all. As with all inequality, this group of people is disproportionately women and people of color. More than half of Latinx workers, approximately 15 million workers , are unable to earn a single sick day. Nearly 40 percent of African American workers, more than 7 million people , are in jobs where they cannot earn a single paid sick day.

Two. Low wage workers and people without a paid sick day have to continue to work to survive. Studies prove people without paid sick days are more likely to go to work sick than workers who have paid sick leave. And workers without paid sick days are much more likely to seek care from emergency rooms than those with paid sick leave.

Three. About 30 million people in the US do not have health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation . Nearly half say they cannot afford it . They are unlikely to seek medical treatment for flu like symptoms or seek screening because they cannot afford it.

Four. Staying home is not an option for the homeless. There are about 550,000 homeless people in the US, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless . Homeless people have rates of diabetes, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS at rates three to six times that of the general population, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Shelters often provide close living arrangements and opportunities to clean hands and clothes and utensils are minimal for those on the street. Homeless people have higher rates of infectious, acute and chronic diseases like tuberculosis.

[Mar 10, 2020] Mr. Market Loses It Over Coronavirus Risk Oil Tanks, S P Futures Trades Halted on Limit Down Overnight, Gold Jumps naked cap

Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Mr. Market has finally digested that the world isn't prepared for coronavirus and the US is particularly poorly set up to cope, thanks to our fragmented public health system and overpriced, privatized and less than comprehensive health care. That bad situation is made worse by the CDC being short on resources and hamstrung further by the Trump Administration's PR imperatives.

At a minimum, the market rout may force the Administration to go into overdrive on real world responses, but I doubt it has the capacity. For starters, Pence is badly cast as a crisis manager. But as we'll discuss briefly, the US has such hollowed out capacity on the medical front that a better response would have needed to start weeks ago to have much hope of blunting outcomes.

The US' best hope is that hotter weather will slow the infection rate, but that's not coming soon enough to rescue the Eastern corridor or the West Coast from San Francisco Bay north from serious propagation till at least mid May (and San Francisco doesn't get all that hot except when the weather gets freaky).

... ... ...

A Bloomberg story described how the prospect of low oil prices weighs directly on stocks

While the energy sector is now the third smallest in the S&P 500, a change from a decade ago when the industry made up 11% of the benchmark, tumbling oil prices is yet another risk for traders to contemplate.

"If WTI falls into the low $30s and stays there, it's going to cause lay-offs in the oil patch and stresses in the high yield market -- like it did when oil fell dramatically in 2015," said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

Real World Situation Ugly

The US is still in Keystone Kops mode. We don't have remotely enough coronavirus tests being done. We have no idea when we will have enough test kits ready. No one is even talking about how to implement a system like the drive by tests in South Korea which is not only efficient but even more important, greatly reduces risks to patients and doctors versus having to show up in a waiting room. We have lots of ad hoc measures, like conferences cancelled, businesses ordering travel bans, some schools halting classes (most recently Columbia University ).

But too many people are operating on a business as usual basis, including Congress. An estimated 2/3 of its members attended the AIPAC conference, where two a participants tested positive for coronavirus (oddly, the press has taken little note). An attendee at CPAC, a large conference for conservatives, also tested positive for coronavirus, but only two Congresscritters are self-quaranting .

Readers Monty and Leroy R posted a link to an account from a surgeon in Bergamo on how a hospital in one of the badly-hit areas is holding up . I strongly urge reading it in full (Leroy also linked to the original in Italian ). Key sections:

I myself looked with some amazement at the reorganization of the entire hospital in the previous week
I still remember my night shift a week ago spent without any rest, waiting for a call from the microbiology department. I was waiting for the results of a swab taken from the first suspect case in our hospital

Well, the situation is now nothing short of dramatic The war has literally exploded and battles are uninterrupted day and night. One after the other, these unfortunate people come to the emergency room. They have far from the complications of a flu. Let's stop saying it's a bad flu. In my two years working in Bergamo, I have learned that the people here do not come to the emergency room for no reason. They did well this time too. They followed all the recommendations given: a week or ten days at home with a fever without going out to prevent contagion, but now they can't take it anymore. They don't breathe enough, they need oxygen .

Now, however, that need for beds in all its drama has arrived. One after another, the departments that had been emptied are filling up at an impressive rate. The display boards with the names of the sicks, of different colors depending on the department they belong to, are now all red and instead of the surgical procedure, there is the diagnosis, which is always the same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia

I can also assure you that when you see young people who end up intubated in the ICU, pronated or worse, in ECMO (a machine for the worst cases, which extracts the blood, re-oxygenates it and returns it to the body, waiting for the lungs to hopefully heal), all this confidence for your young age goes away And there are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, we are only doctors who suddenly become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us.

The cases multiply, up to a rate of 15-20 hospitalizations a day all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the emergency room is collapsing. Emergency provisions are issued: help is needed in the emergency room. A quick meeting to learn how the to use to emergency room EHR and a few minutes later I'm already downstairs, next to the warriors on the war front. The screen of the PC with the chief complaint is always the same: fever and respiratory difficulty, fever and cough, respiratory insufficiency etc Exams, radiology always with the same sentence: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. All needs to be hospitalized. Some already needs to be intubated, and goes to the ICU. For others, however, it is late. ICU is full, and when ICUs are full, more are created. Each ventilator is like gold: those in the operating rooms that have now suspended their non-urgent activity are used and the OR become a an ICU that did not exist before. I found it amazing, or at least I can speak for Humanitas Gavazzeni (where I work), how it was possible to put in place in such a short time a deployment and a reorganization of resources so finely designed to prepare for a disaster of this magnitude .Nurses with tears in their eyes because we are unable to save everyone and the vital signs of several patients at the same time reveal an already marked destiny. There are no more shifts, schedules.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has another fine piece on the coronavirus outbreak. He flags that the UK is very poorly situated to handle it, with only 1/6 the ICU beds per capita of South Korea. As an aside, the US has 10x as many per capital as the UK but read the Bergamo piece again. The entire hospital has been turned into a coronavirus ward. Lord only knows what happens to accident victims .are some hospitals in each region being set aside for regular emergency care?

Here is AEP's take on Italy and the implications :

Data from China suggest a death rate of 15pc for infected cases over the age of 80. It is 8pc for those in their seventies, and 3.6pc in their sixties (or 5.4pc for men). No elected government in any Western democracy will survive if it lets such carnage unfold .

Unfortunately, the early figures from Italy seem to be tracking Hubei's epidemiology with a horrible consistency. The death rate for all ages is near 5pc. While there may be large numbers of undetected infections – distorting ratios – Italy has tested widely, much more than Germany or France.

For whatever reason, the Italian system seems unable to save them. The death rate is six times the reported rate in Korea, even adjusting for age structures. Is it because the Italian strain has mutated into a more lethal form (we don't yet have the sequence data) or because Europeans are genetically more vulnerable?

Is it because Italy's nitrogen dioxide pollution is the worst in Europe (the UK is bad too), leading to chronic lung inflammation? Is it the chaotic administration that led to a catalogue of errors in the hotspot of Codogno? If you think Britain's NHS has been starved of funds, spare a thought for Italy, Portugal, Spain, or Greece .

The US is about to face its grim reckoning. It has the best health care in the rich world – and the worst. Pandemics exploit the worst.

Let's tease out AEP's line of thought. The US is sorely wanting in operational capacity despite being able to provide top flight care for certain types of ailments.

US hospitals are now overwhelmingly run by MBAs. It's difficult to conceive of them being able to execute the sort of rapid reordering of space and duties described in Bergamo. It's not simply that the top brass is too removed from the practice of medicine to have the right reflexes. Unless ordered to do so, they will also be loath to devote enough resources to tackling the disease. When a crisis hits, they won't be allowed to charge (in their minds) for coronavirus services. They'll want to preserve as much hospital capacity for "normal" full ticket services as possible. They might rationalize that by arguing that they don't want to risk more of their staff's health than necessary.

But even worse, remember that most hospitals no longer control much their staffing. They've outsourced specialist practices like emergency room doctors .and those have been bought up by private equity. If you think private equity won't exploit this crisis for their gain, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

One possible silver lining to this probable tragedy is if the US medical system performs as badly as it appears likely to is that it might finally end the delusion that there's a lot (aside from individual doctors and nurses) in the current system worth saving. The broad public needs to make sure that their crisis does not go to waste.

[Mar 10, 2020] Since advent of neo-liberal economics and the fifty plus year assault on the government sector, they have a partisan employment service instead of classic bureaucracy

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Mar 10 2020 6:41 utc | 111

dltravers #103
The response is reasonably good considering the size of the bureaucracy they have to move. ... Let us hope both sides put aside the nonsense for a while and get it together.

Unfortunately they don't have a bureaucracy. Since neo-liberal economics and the fifty plus year assault on the government sector, they have a partisan employment service instead. Little skill or intelligence, a century of wisdom erased, no capacity to act and totally ossified in manoeuvrability.

To trust in any meaningful bureaucracy to motivate, let alone move, you would have to look for a state that values human rights, trusts its citizens and scientists and administrators and refrains from denigrating public medicine and health services.

Good luck finding that effective and resourced public medicine in the USA right now.

... ... ...

[Mar 10, 2020] Italian healthcare system vs the USa healthcare

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Andrea , Mar 9 2020 22:27 utc | 69

Everyone here talking badly about our national health system while we have one of the healthiest and oldest population in the world. Nothing it's collapsing here and we are doing our best, something that I'm not sure can be said about other Nations.
We have many positives because here, in Italy, we test a lot of people and for free. How much does it cost to be tested in US? Are you sure that a very expensive health care system, like the one in US, can handle this virus better than our free for all health care system?
In a couple of months you'll get the answer, don't worry.
Good luck to everyone from Italy.
Andrea

[Mar 10, 2020] Should big corporations get another bailout then

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

SteveR , Mar 9 2020 20:16 utc | 39

Likklemore@32

"Should big corporations get another bailout then ."

Of course corporations will be made whole again just like in 2008. Yet they will continue spouting that Medicare for All is an evil socialist program - the very thing that would allow all people to get taken care of and at least helping contain the spread. The Democrat leadership in the House is now looking at a $350 billion corporate bailout ( how will they pay for it) - yet are viciously against Medicare for All and Bernie. A new Yale Study shows Medicare for All will prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths and will save $450 billion - each and every year. And of course Trump also would like to cut health programs and social security. Trump and Pelosi are both on the same donor team - it is like professional wrestling working for the wealthiest against the workers.

[Mar 10, 2020] In certain European countries private hospitals are already deriving their Covid-19 cases to the public system

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

H.Schmatz , Mar 9 2020 22:11 utc | 61

I am seeing how irresponsible people at certain blogs where they have themselves as oustanding intelligent people, probably only thinking in ther shares´ value, are spreading disinfo in the same sense of that twitted by Trump.

Laissez faire will not work. In certain European countries private hospitals are already deriving their Covid-19 cases to the public system ( of course the government should act asap on this taking extraordinary measures to force them absorbe their clients or even requsition their beds for a public health emergency as it is this one ). This only will accelerate the rate of lack of ICU beds and respirators.

There are already Twitter threads by health personel as the one linked by b, estimating the exponential grow will easily come of this epidemics.
A Spanish doctor in Madrid was already saying that the time will come where triage will be needed to prioritice who accedes to the respirators/ICU beds once the health system overwhelmed...I only hope those irresponsibly denying this is a global pandemic emergency and spreading disinfo through their media to be the first discarded by triage, as they are only making things worse, along with guarantor of their tax cut Trump. I bet them there will be a respirator for Trump, but for them, that is in the air.

In Madrid, after the huge demonstrations of Women´s Day yesterday, new cases have jumped to the rate of Italy. Today all schools and universities closed in the same city. Heads shoukd be already rolling.

Then, we are not counting on the possibility that thing here will not go so orderly than in China. In Italy, to the public health crisis, they add a probably public order one, with several revolts in jails because of restriction of visits...
Just some hours ago some dozens of inmates of a prison in Foggia were running free in the streets taking advantage to commit crimes as they go out robbing cars and menacing commercial activity...

https://twitter.com/Matteo_LT/status/1236982039439646720

Probably as a result, already the whole Italy closed, there is no more red zones, prohibited to move throughout the peninsula. 60 million people.

For those irresponsibly claiming from the same blogs that this will cease with the good weather, people are reporting from Argentina where today there was around a hot summer day, that there are increasing cases there.

Harvarad University and the WHO have already discarded this epidemics will behave like the estational flu..

Coronavirus 'highly sensitive' to high temperatures, but don't bank on summer killing it off, studies say


[Mar 10, 2020] Virus spread and umpaid sick leave

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Mar 9 2020 22:16 utc | 63

Dear B,

In the hospitality industry in Australia, paid sick leave is available to full-time and part-time employees. The man employed at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Hobart (in Tasmania) was likely employed as a casual. He is known to be a student in his 20s and is currently in isolation at hospital.

From FYA.org.au: If You're Young and Work In Hospitality, You Need To Read This.

"... Don't come to work sick. You will spread your gross germs around, make everyone else sick (including customers!) and you'll be pretty useless anyway. Australians recognise that it's in all our best interests if you STAY THE HECK HOME while you're unwell, and that's why you've got the option of paid sick leave if you're employed on a full time or part time basis.

If you're employed on a casual basis, you're entitled to unpaid sick leave. You are supposed to subsist during your illness on all the lavish savings you've accrued from your extra four-bucks-fifty-five-an-hour in casual loading. This is clearly problematic, and a lot of young casuals are forced to attend work sick out of economic necessity ..."

It is likely that many if not most COVID-19 cases in several countries so far have also been spread by people working in health, hospitality and other related service industries where most workers are on casual or temporary contracts with either unpaid sick leave or no sick leave.

[Mar 10, 2020] Japan to punish reselling of masks for profit with year in prison, 1 million fine -- or both

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 10 2020 11:41 utc | 122

Japan to punish reselling of masks for profit with year in prison, ¥1 million fine -- or both

I thought these "totalitarian" measures were only possible in China...

Shizuoka politician apologizes for making ¥8.8 million selling pricey virus masks

I thought this kind of local level corruption and cronyism only happened in the "degenerated" ranks of the CCP...

--//--

More circumstancial evidence the South Koran government is cooking the numbers:

Government's 'self-praise' in virus fight taking flak

"The number of tests is large because the nation has a large number of people suspected to have caught coronavirus. However, the government is declaring a victory by turning it the other way around," Hong said on his Facebook.

All the evidence indicates South Korea is just following the capitalist modus operandi of chasing the rabbit: it is only testing the people who are already showing symptoms. There's no evidence those containers with fast food tests are working on a significant scale: there are a lot of factors that make a random individual in South Korea to stop in one of them to get itself tested; just making them freely available is not enough. Besides, just because an individual who stopped by the container tested negative, it doesn't mean it won't get infected after, as it will go back to its daily routine (because capitalism can't stop, it needs to keep its wheel spinning).

I don't trust the capitalist numbers around the world for one simple fact: they don't have the means to test everybody and to stop their own economies in order to preserve the non-infected from being infected in the near future. An illustrative example of this can be observed in the Czech Republic, which went from just five cases on March 3rd (three on March 1st) to 40 on March 10th - one of the new infected having just arrived from Italy. Those numbers indicate Czech Republic did absolutely nothing to stop the epidemic, and that they probably have much more than those 40 - they just haven't tested enough.

[Mar 10, 2020] The USA is particularly poorly set up to cope with COVID-19 epidemics, thanks to our fragmented public health system and overpriced, privatized and less than comprehensive health care. That bad situation is made worse by the CDC being short on resources and hamstrung further by the Trump Administration's PR imperatives

Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

New Wafer Army , March 9, 2020 at 5:29 am

The glue appears at the start of the article:

"the US is particularly poorly set up to cope, thanks to our fragmented public health system and overpriced, privatized and less than comprehensive health care. That bad situation is made worse by the CDC being short on resources and hamstrung further by the Trump Administration's PR imperatives."

Basically, it is expected that Europe manages the crisis less badly.

Eustache de Saint Pierre , March 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm

It has been interesting watching Dr. John Campbell's growing realisation & some shock that everything is not well with the US healthcare system & he has received some abuse but also support from Americans for his growing criticism.

His listing as requested of his 2 degrees & Phd, never mind his long front line experience & his books I think shut some up for perhaps thinking that he was only a nurse, but perhaps he shouda gone to NakedCapitalism.

[Mar 09, 2020] Cooperation, not hoarding is the key in overcoming any epidemics

Mar 09, 2020 | blogs.scientificamerican.com

It also feels like a scam: there is no shortage of snake oil sellers who hope stoking such fears will make people buy more supplies: years' worth of ready-to-eat meals, bunker materials and a lot more stuff in various shades of camo. (The more camo the more doomsday feels, I guess!)

The reality is that there is little point "preparing" for the most catastrophic scenarios some of these people envision. As a species, we live and die by our social world and our extensive infrastructure -- and there is no predicting what anybody needs in the face of total catastrophe.

In contrast, the real crisis scenarios we're likely to encounter require cooperation and, crucially, "flattening the curve" of the crisis exactly so the more vulnerable can fare better, so that our infrastructure will be less stressed at any one time.

[Mar 09, 2020] One day, Americans will fully understand , with horrible consequences, that not every single human transaction must revolve around making a few people obscenely rich

Mar 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

TKK , says: Show Comment March 9, 2020 at 5:06 pm GMT

@Commentator Mike In America, you are on your own.

At international arrivals in Atlanta, the overwhelmingly black TSA staff are not taking temps by infrared or taking any pro active measures. If they are, it was hidden from me. It seems- obtuse- to constantly harp on the catastrophe that is AA hires- but there it is.

Its the busiest airport in the world, BTW.

A sinister side note; Delta offered me an $83 upgrade for first class when I went in to delay another trip. It's a $6000 ticket to fly first class. My total would have been a little over $500. Dangling the carrot as everyone cancels.

One day, Americans will fully understand , with horrible consequences, that not every single human transaction must revolve around making a few people obscenely rich.

[Mar 09, 2020] COVID-19 and the Working Class by Jack Rasmus

Highly recommended!
Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

US politicians and media are reporting approximately 500 cases of the virus in the US as of March 8. The actual number is almost certainly much higher, however. Perhaps as much as 10-fold that number, according to some sources. Why?

There's the problem of reporting only tested cases so far, and there's still a lack of available tests even to test and to verify all those infected without symptoms.. And even those showing symptoms may have been determined initially as not infected by the tests, since reportedly many of the early test kits were defective. Meanwhile, those without symptoms or pre-symptomatic are not being tested at all.

The Fiction of Voluntary Quarantine

Then there's the policy of voluntary quarantining those who have come into contact with someone who was tested and found infected. It's not working very well. Those who have come in contact with carriers of the virus are asked simply to stay home. But do they? There's no way to know, or even enforce that. The case example why voluntary quarantining doesn't work well is Italy.

Most of the northern Lombardy region, including the financial center of Milan in that country, is in 'lock down' right now. But all that means is voluntary quarantining. People are asked not to leave their town, or the larger region. But is that stopping them traveling around their town in public places? Or within the larger region? And spreading the virus there? Apparently not. Reportedly, infection for those tested have risen in just two weeks to more than 6,000 in Northern Italy. CNBC reports that, in just one day this weekend, that number increased by 1200! So much for voluntary quarantines. There's no way, no sufficient personnel, not even accepted procedures, with which to daily check on those (in Italy that means hundreds of thousands) in voluntary quarantine.

The Real Costs to Workers

Average working class folks cannot afford to voluntary quarantine themselves. Or to stay home from work for any reason. Even if they have symptoms. They will continue going to work. They have to, in order to economically survive.

Consider the typical scenario in the US: there are literally tens of millions of workers who have no more than $400 for an emergency. As many perhaps as half of the work force of 165 million. They live paycheck to paycheck. They can't afford to miss any days of work. Millions of them have no paid sick leave. The US is the worst of all advanced economies in terms of providing paid sick leave. Even union workers with some paid sick leave in their contracts have, at best, only six days on average. If they stay home sick, they'll be asked by their employer the reason for doing so in order to collect that paid sick leave. And even when they don't have sick leave. Paid leave or not, many will be required to provide a doctor's slip indicating the nature of the illness. But doctors are refusing to hold office visits for patients who may have the virus. They can't do anything about it, so they don't want them to come in and possibly contaminate others or themselves. So a worker sick has to go to the hospital emergency room.

That raises another problem. A trip to the emergency room costs on average at least a $1,000. More if special tests are done. If the worker has no health insurance (30 million still don't), that's an out of pocket cost he/she can't afford. They know it. So they don't go to the hospital emergency room, and they can't get an appointment at the doctor's office. Result: they don't get tested, refuse to go get tested, and they continue to go to work. The virus spreads.

Even if they have health insurance coverage, the deductible today is usually $500 to $2000. Most don't have that kind of savings to spend either. Not to mention copays. So even those insured take a pass on going to the hospital to get tested, even if they have symptoms.

The media doesn't help here either. Reports are typically that those who are young, middle age, and in reasonable good health and without other complicating conditions don't die. It's the older folks, retirees with Medicare, or with serious other conditions, that typically die from the virus. Workers hear this and that supports their decision not to go to the hospital or get tested as well.

Then there's the further complication concerning employment if they do go to the hospital. The hospital will (soon) test them. If found infected, they will send them home for voluntary quarantine for 14 days! Now the financial crises really begins. The hospital will inform their employer. Staying at home for 14 days will result in financial disaster, since the employer has no obligation to continue to pay them their wages while not at work, unless they have some minimal paid sick leave which, as noted, the vast majority don't have. Nor does the employer have any obligation legally to even keep them employed for 14 days (or even less) if the employer determines they are not likely to return to work after 14 days (or even less). They therefore get fired if they go to the hospital after it reports to the employer they have the virus. Just another good reason not to go to the hospital.

In other words, here's all kind of major economic disincentives to keep an illness confidential, to go to work, not go to the hospital (and can't go to the doctor). That risks passing on the highly contagion bug to others–which has been happening and will continue to happen.

Here's another financial hit for the working class: child care. Schools are beginning to shut down. Even where no cases are yet confirmed. Stanford University just decided to discontinue all in class sessions and revert to all online education. But what about K-6 and pre-school? Or even Jr. high schools? When they shut down, kids must stay at home. But most working class parents can't afford nannys or baby-sitters. Not everyone works in an occupation or company where they can 'work from home'. Do they send the young kids to grandma's and grandpa's, who are more susceptible to the virus? With their kids required to stay home, they must miss work, and risk even losing their jobs. We're talking about millions of families with 6 to 12 year olds. And who knows how long the schools will remain shut down.

In short, wages lost due to self-quarantining, forced voluntary quarantining after hospital testing, the cost of hospital emergency room visits (whether insured or not), the unknown cost of the tests themselves (the government says it will reimburse them but they don't have the $1,000 or more cash out of pocket in the first place), the cost of paying for nannys or baby-sitters for young school age children when schools shut down–i.e. all result in a massive out of pocket expense for most workers that they don't have.

Workers figure all these possibilities of financial disaster pretty quick and know that the virus will mean a big financial hit if they miss a day's work, or even if they don't. So they keep working, hoping they'll recover on their own, refusing to get tested because of the potential loss of work, wages, and income, and crossing their fingers that their kids' school districts don't shut down.

Economic Contagion Channels: Supply Chains, Demand, Asset Deflation, Defaults & Credit Crunch

What this all means for the US economy is obvious. Household consumption was already weakening at the end of last year. Most of consumption was driven by accelerating stock valuations, which affect those in the top 10% who own stocks; or by taking on more credit–credit cards, which affects the middle class and below.

Over $1 trillion in credit card debt is what has been largely driving middle income and below consumption. Mainstream economists argue that defaults on credit card debt are only 3% or so, and thus not a problem. But that's a gross average across all 130 million households. When this data are broken down, middle income and below family credit card debt is around 9%, a very high number more like 2007 when the last economic recession began.

Then there's auto debt. As of 2018, reportedly 7 million turned in their keys on their auto loans. As in the case of credit cards, auto debt defaults will rise as well in 2020. Then there's student debt, over $1.6 Trillion now. Defaults there are much higher than reported as well, since actual defaults (defined as failure to pay either principal or interest) have been redefined to something else other than actual default.

Add to all this the likelihood is very high that job layoffs will now begin by April, as the global supply chain crisis due to virus-related cuts in production and trade. More job loss means less wage income and thus less household spending and more inability to deal with the costs of the virus for most working class families.

Let's not also forget the price gouging for certain products that is beginning now to appear, both online and in stores. That reduces working class real incomes and thus consumption too. Meanwhile, certain industries are already taking a big hit and layoffs are looming in travel companies of all kinds (airlines, cruise ships, hotels, entertainment). In places where the virus effect is already large, a big decline in restaurant, sports and concerts, movies, etc. has also begun.

The two big economic contagion channels impacting employment thus far are supply chain production and distribution reductions, and local demand for certain services (travel, retail, hospitality, etc.).

But a third major channel has just begun to emerge: that's financial asset deflation in stocks, oil & commodity futures, junk bonds & leveraged loans, and currency devaluations.

Stocks' price collapse leads to business shelving investment and even cutting back production. That means more job loss, reduced wage incomes, less spending, and economic slowdown.

Oil and commodity prices now collapsing also lead to energy industry layoffs. More importantly, in turn that will lead to energy junk bond market collapse–potentially spreading to all junk bonds, leveraged loans, and even BBB grade corporate bonds (which are really redefined junk bonds not investment grade bonds).

In other words, the collapse of supply chains, production-distribution, and industry by industry demand in the US may become even worse should the financial markets price collapse can lead to a general credit crunch. And that translates into a general economic real contraction. That's precisely what happened in 2008, in a similar chain reaction from financial crisis to real economic crisis.

Workers are aware of all this possibly leading to longer run economic stress. In the short run, they consider possible wages loss if they reveal or report they have the virus, or get tested: i.e. lost wage incomes: the cost of immediate medical care; the cost of child care, etc. Better to tough it through and continue to go to work is a typical, and rational, response.

This is already going on. Hundreds of thousands with, and without, symptoms are not being tested; nor will most of them volunteer to be. Except for those on cruise ships who are forced to be tested (and they're mostly retirees and elderly), few workers can afford to allow themselves to be. The infection rate is thus already much higher and will continue to rise. Voluntary quarantining doesn't work much (again just look at Italy, or even Germany, where in one week cases (tested) rose from 66 to more than 1000). So out of economic necessity and to avoid personal economic devastation, they continue to work. But that doesn't have to be.

US Policy Response: No Help for Working Class

US policy has been, is, and will continue to be a disaster. Trump's cuts to health and human services in the past seriously hampered the US initial response. Tests had to be sent to Atlanta and the CDC for processing. Early test kits often failed. Only now are they getting to the states–to late to have a positive initial effect on the spread. Those suspected of exposure to others confirmed infected were simply sent home for 'voluntary quarantine'. Initial legislation of $8.3 billion just passed by Congress provides for 'reimbursement' for voluntary testing, with no clarification if that covers the $1,000 hospital visit as well or just the cost of the actual test!

There could be, however, a government response that financially supports workers and allows them to be properly tested and treated.

An Alternative Policy Response

Why doesn't the government simply say 'go get tested for free' and the hospital will bill the government for the costs? Not the worker pay up front with money he/she likely doesn't have. Why isn't there emergency legislation by Congress or the states to require employers to provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave, like other countries? And law guaranteeing employers can't fire a worker sick with the virus for any reason? Or tax credits to working class families for the full cost of child care–paid to a nanny or to the worker–if they have to stay home in the event of a school district shutdown?

While business-investor tax cuts will almost certainly be the official government response, few of the above measures for working class Americans are likely. In America working class folks always get the short end of the economic stick. Congress and presidents pass trillions of dollars in tax cut legislation ($15 trillion since 2001 to investors, businesses and the 1%), but have raised taxes on the working class. Companies with billions of dollars in annual profits pay nothing in taxes–and actually get a subsidy check from the government to boot. Just ask Amazon, IBM, many big banks, pharmaceutical companies and more!

It can be expected the virus will have a large negative impact the standard of living and wages of millions of working class families. They will have to bear the burden of the cost with little help from their government. Meanwhile, businesses and investors will get bailed out, 'made whole', once again. In the process Consumption spending–the only area holding up the economy in 2019–will take a big hit. That means recession starting next quarter is more than a 50-50 likelihood.

In fact, the investment bank, Goldman Sachs, has just forecast that the effect on the US economy in the coming second quarter of this year will be a collapse of GDP to 0% growth.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus is author of the recently published book, 'Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression', Clarity Press, August 2017. He blogs at jackrasmus.com and his twitter handle is @drjackrasmus. His website is http://kyklosproductions.com .

[Mar 09, 2020] COVID-19 Reveals Trump's Planned Obsolescence by JP Sottile

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's narcissism obscures something both far more pernicious and far more permanent than his oft-televised obsession with himself and that's the fact that he's been busily making Milton Friedman's "Supply Side/The Bottom Line Is The Only Line" dream an intractable reality. ..."
"... Since taking office and taking complete control of the news-cycle, Trump has been systematically starving Federal agencies of resources, personnel and attention. He has, through the sycophants and lobbyists he's installed around the Executive Branch, been pushing out career professionals and barely replacing them with also-rans. And he is dismantling every aspect of government he cannot use to reward his corporate clients or punish political apostates. ..."
"... The idea is to cripple the Federal government from within instead of doing the hard legislative work of changing the laws that legally compel government action. As a result, many of the regulations on the books are becoming functionally irrelevant . Some laws are being rewritten by the lobbyists who used to lobby against 'em, but mostly the Executive Branch is being systematically emaciated by the political equivalent of chronic wasting disease. ..."
"... And any coronavirus-related "incompetence" you see being reported is a feature, not a bug, of this Re-Great'd America. And that's because Trump is not an outlier. He is a culmination. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

As COVID-19 begins its inevitable "community transmission" phase around the United States, the purveyors of the conventional wisdom are largely focused on President Trump's (and by extension, prayerful Vice President Pence's) incompetence and his self-serving, empathy-free approach to the coronavirus. And it is true that, as with all things Trump, it seems that all he really cares about is the stock market and its effect on his reelection bid. But Trump's narcissism obscures something both far more pernicious and far more permanent than his oft-televised obsession with himself and that's the fact that he's been busily making Milton Friedman's "Supply Side/The Bottom Line Is The Only Line" dream an intractable reality.

It was a dream that first took flight when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. The dream was often made manifest by the neoliberal lurch and deregulatory impulses of President Bill Clinton. But it is Trump who's come closest to fully realizing the dream of ending responsive government. It should come as no surprise, though. Trump lifted, among other things , his " Make America Great Again " slogan from the Gipper. He's also taken Reagan's anti-FDR pitch about the dangers of government (see "The Deep State") and, with the help of a motley crew of Tea Partiers, Evangelicals and corporate Republicans, transformed it into, as Steve Bannon calls it, a " War on the Administrative State ."

Since taking office and taking complete control of the news-cycle, Trump has been systematically starving Federal agencies of resources, personnel and attention. He has, through the sycophants and lobbyists he's installed around the Executive Branch, been pushing out career professionals and barely replacing them with also-rans. And he is dismantling every aspect of government he cannot use to reward his corporate clients or punish political apostates.

The idea is to cripple the Federal government from within instead of doing the hard legislative work of changing the laws that legally compel government action. As a result, many of the regulations on the books are becoming functionally irrelevant . Some laws are being rewritten by the lobbyists who used to lobby against 'em, but mostly the Executive Branch is being systematically emaciated by the political equivalent of chronic wasting disease.

It's an approach first pioneered by Reagan devotee Grover Norquist, who advocated " starving the beast " of government down to a manageable size before "drowning it" in a bathtub. It's an idea currently being implemented with wide-ranging effect by Trump, who, like Reagan before him , is accelerating the bankrupting of the already debt-laden treasury with a combo of tax cuts and massive spending on a world-dwarfing defense industry. Eventually, the theory goes, the "safety net," a.k.a. "entitlements," and other "common good" spending will collapse under the weight of the financial limitations generated by profuse borrowing to fund market-distorting tax cuts and to dole out subsidies and tax gifts to cronies and key corporations. All the while, the ever-less regulated chemical, oil, defense, agricultural and (most importantly of all) financial industries will continue to hoard assets through the rinsing and repeating of the supply side boom-and-bust scheme, a.k.a. the business cycle.

Frankly, this all looks like the endgame of a long plan to undo the demand side economy created by the New Deal. Along with the seemingly (but not) contradictory spike in Unitary Executive power (which is about protecting rackets, shielding enforcers from prosecution and about enforcing political compliance), this is a transformation decades in the making and Trump is the perfect salesman for this final episode even better than Reagan or Clinton because his "flood the zone" narcissism is the ultimate, 24/7 distraction for a people addicted to binge watching, inured to scripted reality shows and motivated by belligerent infotainment.

Reagan was the first actor to hit his marks on a stage set for him by the interlocking forces of Big Oil, Big Defense and Wall Street. Not coincidentally, this same Venn Diagram of power has profited mightily from Trump's Presidency. Rather than an actor, though, Trump is the barking emcee of the final season of the American Dream Gameshow a program that was initially cancelled in 1980, but somehow kept running in syndication on one of the two crappy channels a "free" people have been given to chose from. But now, the final credits are closer to rolling that ever before.

As such, Trump is the omega to Reagan's alpha. And any coronavirus-related "incompetence" you see being reported is a feature, not a bug, of this Re-Great'd America. And that's because Trump is not an outlier. He is a culmination.

This article first appeared NewVandal .

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, published historian, radio co-host and documentary filmmaker (The Warning, 2008). His credits include a stint on the Newshour news desk, C-SPAN, and as newsmagazine producer for ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa.

He blogs under the pseudonym “the Newsvandal“.

[Mar 09, 2020] Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will self-quarantine after CPAC interaction

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ARN , Mar 9 2020 1:14 utc | 47

It seems this nice;) senator may have corona CNN reporting..

"Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will self-quarantine after CPAC interaction"

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz will self-quarantine in Texas after interacting with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake," Cruz said in a statement. "

Cruz said in a statement he is "not experiencing any symptoms" but "out of an abundance of caution" he will remain in Texas until a full 14 days passes after the interaction.

"The people who have interacted with me in the 10 days since CPAC should not be concerned about potential transmission," Cruz said.

[Mar 08, 2020] Neoliberalism shows its ugly face during the COVID-19 epidemic

Notable quotes:
"... the American little people of all stripes are feeling frightened and abandoned by the great GDP god of the globalists. Being prepared for something is about all we little people can hope to do. And all the chattering class can do is still call us names. The joy of that. ..."
Mar 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 6 2020 22:48 utc | 41

US Dear Leaders face difficult decisions regarding mass closures of everything. The poor social infrastructure can't handle major disruptions. Closing schools could maybe cause more harm than staying open, since many students depend on going to school just to get two meals. Some places even have special summer programs so kids can eat all year round.

In addition, without public school babysitters many families would be f*cked but good. There is nobody to look after kids while the parent(s) are struggling to make a living. It is just as bad if the kids get sick - who will stay home and take care of them?

Closing schools would also devastate school finances since many revenue sources pay based on number of bums-in-seats. If the bums-in-seats drops to zero...

Hourly workers like bus drivers and custodians and food service workers would be laid off. Some might qualify for unemployment compensation, many others would not. Lots of economic devastation among those folks in any case.

The medical consequences may get bad, but for the overall economy already stretched to the limit, mass closures will be a catastrophe.


CitizenX , Mar 6 2020 22:55 utc | 44

... The virus appears to be real. If part of this is a psy-op, would that not also link to a higher probability that it could be bio-engineered? Released intentionally? Another 9/11-esque? Cover for an Western Economy in collapse? Myriad possibilities.

I'm in Seattle, it's no joke around here. I may have had it myself which I posted about here recently. Comparing this to people dying from car accidents or "normal" flu every year is retarded. This will (and already has) have profound impact on local and international economies- ie peoples lives dumbass.

I've seen enough humans living in tents, cars and streets around here to make my stomach turn. The impact from this may put many more in dire scenarios that do not even get the flu. Certainly the potential implications of where this came from and how far it will go should at least raise eyebrows from anyone with a shred of critical thinking and compassion.

daffyDuct , Mar 6 2020 23:16 utc | 47
I heard a Wall Street expert today say on CNBC that, in some US states, if an employer demands or permits a sick employee to be at work, any other workers who contract the disease can get worker's comp. The employer is liable.

Apparently there's also an uptick in PC/laptop sales for those working from home.

jared , Mar 7 2020 0:09 utc | 55
We dont have a government in the US in the sense of people who manage policy and services and budgets and laws and such. At this point its pretty much every man woman child for themselves. We know how those people stuck on cruise ship feel.

And of whom Trump said (reportedly):
"he wanted the passengers to remain on the ship because he doesn't want to see the total US case numbers 'double' as soon as it docks"

karlof1 , Mar 7 2020 1:20 utc | 71
The coming economic fallout from Coronavirus will test the advice I've given people over the years about where to work within the overall economy: Make certain you're on the "Needs" side of the economy, not the "Discretionary" side.

As when the shit hits the fan, needs will always be needed while discretionary demand fades to zero.

Frackers are already using euphemisms to cover their massive Ponzi Scheme failure, while the entire Just-In-Time Neoliberal business model gets ready to collapse. The massive debt bomb created by the Fed is close to imploding. The great irony of it all stems from the revelation that the virus likely originated within the Outlaw US Empire--the parasitic worm is close to entering the host's brain.

vk , Mar 7 2020 3:06 utc | 84
@ Posted by: Grieved | Mar 7 2020 2:18 utc | 77

Even if it turns out to be a "nothing burger", the resultant will be that the capitalist countries affected by the virus will emerge poorer and even more unequal than before. That's because they are resorting to monetary devices to try to "fight" the virus. These will only give big business the tools and the narrative to play siege economy (a.k.a. Disaster Capitalism); they'll hoard what is most needed, wait for small and medium businesses to go bankrupt and reap the spoils from the ground when the epidemic is over.

Some people in Wall Street are even celebrating the COVID-19, since it is basically just killing the elder . That's because, if the elder die sooner than later, it would be a boon to the pension funds, who are betting against (shorting) their clients' life expectancy.

Old and Grumpy , Mar 7 2020 14:25 utc | 130
People are panicking because they don't trust the American system of doing governance and business. Gone are the days of local communities working together, or even having say over their hospitals that they built. Still wondering why the communities didn't get any money when said hospitals were sold to some network, but I am digressing here. Sorry. Then it was not that long ago (Reagan presidency) that drugs, materials, food, and so on were made here.Our financial overlords said that wasn't efficient, and we need to ship abroad. Now we just make parasitical managers. I dare anyone to say what tangible gain the managerial class brings other than college degrees and a insatiable lust for power.

So with a possible bioweapon escaping, or released, the American little people of all stripes are feeling frightened and abandoned by the great GDP god of the globalists. Being prepared for something is about all we little people can hope to do. And all the chattering class can do is still call us names. The joy of that.

It didn't start with Trump. There are plenty of Democrats to blame. Harry Truman gets the primary "buck stops here" award for allowing the CIA to be created. Trump will never do this, but he needs to appoint someone apolitical to start investigating our myriad deep state biolabs. Watch who first comes out with a vaccine.

[Mar 08, 2020] Rich usually misbehave during the epidemic

Mar 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 7 2020 14:40 utc | 131

A weekend reading for your amusement:

Rich People Have Always Been Assholes During Plagues

When the first waves of plague swept medieval Europe, the disease killed both the rich and the poor indiscriminately. In July 1348, King Edward III of England's 12-year-old daughter died on her way to Spain to marry King Pedro of Castile. And though he was still mourning, the king threw a giant tournament at Westminster in the fall, despite instructions from clergy and doctors that moderation and abstinence were the key to survival. Nearly 672 years later, rich people still want their travel and amusement even amid coronavirus fears, and in typical fashion, they're doing everything they can to make sure sickness remains the province of the poor.

--//--

[Mar 08, 2020] The working class and the rich Class distinctions exposed by response to Covid-19 pandemic

Mar 08, 2020 | www.wsws.org

bipartisan cuts have been made to public health programs and emergency preparedness readiness. Opportunities afforded by the experiences with SARS and the Middle East Respiratory syndrome to develop vaccine programs have gone unheeded, citing costs to produce such vaccines. This is the nature of for-profit medicine that demands a guarantee on such investments. The estimates for a vaccine discovery and production can run over a billion dollars.

Compounding this dire situation is the barbaric reality that almost a quarter of workers have no guaranteed sick leave. This impacts the service industries most harshly which are also the most exposed to the public because of the nature of their work. In the starkest expression of utter disdain for the health of Americans, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former drug company executive, told Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois, that no promises could be made to make a vaccine affordable, let alone free for the public. "We can't control that price because we need the private sector to invest."

According to an Uber driver by the name of Alvaro Balainez, 33 years old, "If one of us gets sick, we will have no choice but to keep driving. We don't have medical savings, because we're barely making enough to pay our rent or bills." Despite public health warnings, these workers will be compelled, by the sheer realities of their non-existent bank accounts, to carry on working and gamble with their own health and those they will expose.

The Washington Post noted that workers who prepare foods at restaurants and school cafeterias or nursery and child day-care workers have the nation's lowest rates of paid sick leave in the private sector, at 58 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that at least one in five food service workers have reported to work despite having symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting.

President Trump's remarks only cut across the warnings made by health providers and infectious disease experts about the contagiousness of the disease and higher than expected fatality it poses when he said, "a lot of people will have this and it's very mild. They'll get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor. You never hear about those people. So, you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu- or virus. We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work -- some of them go to work but they get better."

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