Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 16, 2020

The Recovery Will Not Be V-Shaped

During the last four weeks 22 million workers in the U.S. filed for unemployment insurance. Some 10 to 15 million additional workers were not eligible but also lost their jobs.

Michael Hudson extrapolates from there:

Ross: Ultimately, where does this end? Because if in 12 weeks time, people can’t afford to enter into the social norms, enter into the economy, live, put bread on the table, where does that logically finish?

Michael Hudson: With the American economy looking pretty much like Greece. It’ll be austerity. There will be people who don’t have jobs. They are going to be evicted from their apartments. They will have run through their savings. They will not be able to pay their credit card debt and other debts so arrears are going to rise. The banks would be squeezed, but Trump says that although we can’t save the people, we can save the banks. The Federal Reserve has enough money to keep all the banks afloat, even if they’re not getting the mortgage payments, even if they’re not able to collect on their loans. The banks can now make up for the money they’re not getting by having a huge new market: lending money to private capital and to the large companies to buy out these small businesses that are going under. It’s a bonanza.

A bonanza for the 1%.

But the oligarchs who rule the United States are probably miscalculating this crisis:

“U.S. stocks are pricing in a V-shaped economic recovery even more keenly than elsewhere in the world, so are vulnerable in the case that exits from lockdowns globally and in the U.S. prove more complicated,” said Edmund Shing, head of global equity derivative strategy at BNP Paribas SA.

The crisis will not be over before the fat lady sings. That lady has not even entered the house. A recovery will not be V-shaped. The economy will not spring back into action as soon as the lockdowns are over. It will be a long slog. The U.S. economy always depends on consumer resilience. But with more than 30 million people out of jobs there will be a huge fall of demand compared to before the pandemic.

It is also likely that there will be more than one wave of the pandemic. During summer the case numbers will probably recede but they are likely to go up again during the fall. In between the pandemic will slowly burn through more of the population but mostly out of view because of many asymptomatic cases. When it comes back it will be in a different way. During the first wave the infections started first in place A then in place B then place C all depending on traffic and contact pattern. But the second wave will likely come, as it did during the Spanish flu, as one big wall that will hit all places at the same time. That will make it more difficult to allocate resources.

Pandemics are, as Nassim Taleb and other have pointed out, fat tail events where normal statistics no longer apply. They are not symmetric Gaussian distributions curves where the way down from high case numbers has a similar shape as the way up had. The way down is actually much longer and more of a very slow decline which might even include additional eruptions.

To expect a V-shaped return to a normal economy under these circumstance is foolish.

The political consequences will be huge. A wide public demand for more social policies will come into conflict with a recalcitrant oligarchy. Can that conflict be solved within the current U.S. system?

There are a few signs for hope. The first two vaccines developed in China are now in their first phase of human testing and more are coming. Some of them may actually work. A mass producible effective vaccine would mean that the fat lady has started to sing.

There is also the curiosity that most children not only do not fall ill with the covid-19 disease but do not get infected at all. Further research into the phenomenon could point to a protection mechanism that might be exploitable for the protection of adults.

On the sad side the Economist has started to systematically cover 'excess death' from the pandemic and finds that all official death numbers are serious undercounts.

Posted by b on April 16, 2020 at 17:49 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Has it ever crossed your minds that this was an intentionally weaponized cold virus with HIV inserted into it? Trusting the people who likely financed the likes of the Wuhan lab in question is a downright scary prospect. Taking their vaccine is just terrifying.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Apr 17 2020 19:20 utc | 201

Posted by: Bruce | Apr 17 2020 0:36 utc | 95

The energy necessary for all body functions is electrical energy. It would not surprise the well self educated and somewhat cynical readers of this forum to learn inquiry into these phenomena ended with several Italian scientists having been burned to the stake in a battle in which the opposition enlisted the church to declare their work heresy.
Science does not know where we get current in the body. The format in which energy performs work is current. There's no theory entertained on this matter. It is simply ignored.

The Thunderbolts project (thunderbolts.info, Electric Universe theory) discusses mainly cosmology, but there is also a branch that discusses electricity in organisms. I would say that there are rather well developed theories there, in fruitful discussion since years.

But this is quite off topic. I just had to reply because of the 'there's no theory entertained on this matter'.

Posted by: Phil | Apr 17 2020 19:20 utc | 202

joetv
They needed the old Europe to flatten its age pyramid;
they wanted to create a "shock and awe" within the protesters
while at the same time pretend to their aging populations that they are protecting them -while in fact letting the medical staff infect them because left without equipment and untested.
The elders are those who vote, so they decided to lockdown even the people who live in nearly empty villages rather than make the rich jealous and instead of simply identifying who was medical staff and essential staff and let those only travel by car etc. Instead they have locked everyone (at least in Italy, France, Spain, speaking of EU countries, but many other countries followed the same "democratic" model), to let them know it is possible.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 17 2020 19:22 utc | 203

@ 203 william gruff... how about a return to farmers markets? 100 mile diet and etc. etc.??

@ 204 karlof1.. nice sentiment at the end.. good luck with that..

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2020 19:25 utc | 204

james @211L "how about a return to farmers markets?"

I'm all in for that, and if things degenerate as seriously as my worst-case imaginings then that might even be necessary. Of course, that is not "worst-case" because I have anything against farmers' markets. On the contrary, despite predictions by VK, whose analysis I otherwise greatly respect, I believe that farmers' markets will flourish after the working class works themselves up to revolution to replace capitalism. I say it is "worst-case" because it could come about as a result of distribution and processing systems owned by the multinationals collapsing completely. In that situation communities will be forced to organize to procure and distribute food independently of the corporations. The end result of that will likely be something like farmers' markets, with goods procured relatively locally. What makes this "worst-case" is that the transition will take time. Just look at the irrational hysteria Americans exhibit with regards to Chinese "wet markets", where foods are not frozen and vacuum packed into supposedly sterile individual serving sized plastic wrappers. "Vegetables, poultry, seafood, all just sitting out in the open? OMG! Diseases!" Americans will have to get used to getting their food closer to the source (fresher), but they have not yet even gotten used to even microwaving their own meals on a regular basis, much less cook a real meal.

It is funny seeing articles in the popular print media giving lessons on preparing "pantry meals".

"Pantry meals!"

"Pantry meals" are apparently meals prepared from basic ingredients, as opposed to being removed from a box and stuffed in a microwave oven while still frozen. I suppose that I am old fashioned for believing that "pantry meals" are the default and don't require a special term other than just "meals", but apparently preparing meals from ingredients has become such a novel concept that popular media has been flooding the news aggregators with tutorials on how to do it.

Anyway, there will be a lag between when the commercial processed food supply dries up and people figure out that there are other ways to supply themselves with nutrition. Then there will be even further lag while they figure out how to make that happen by organizing expeditions to secure food in bulk for their communities and setting up distribution points (markets). Things will get dicey for many people while they work these details out.

Of course, some communities already have farmers' markets, and those markets will likely act as nuclei for larger efforts that can supply whole towns and cities to coalesce around. Still, the supply disruption will be... interesting.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 17 2020 20:23 utc | 205

Brian Davey 176 - Thank You for that big-picture-perspective post. R Buckminster Fuller wisely warned us that we will become obsessed with comprehensivity or go extinct - might have been in his Grunch of Giants - I don't remember - and I've personally had all the rational proofs for 20 years that we're going to murder the stupid idea to allow no-limits to personal fortunes or succumb to the results of having the next and the next wealthpower giants - but people I encounter seem incapable to jump out of their wellworn mental grooves and SEE the root cause of all our greatest global troubles - nothing convinces them to stop straining gnat consequences of allowing unlimited fortunes whilst swallowing the camel of overpayunderpay - but anyway you sound like u might be one of the human herd's bellwethers and I'm very much looking forward to checking out your website and reading your book!

Posted by: Phryne's frock | Apr 17 2020 21:08 utc | 206

@Old and Grumpy #208
The HIV thing was thoroughly discredited; the paper it was based from was withdrawn.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 17 2020 22:18 utc | 207

c1ue @215

There are many reasons for the paper to be withdrawn*. The Nature article that supposedly discredited the Indian team's findings has itself been discredited. There is no debate over what the Indian team discovered. The only debate is if what they found could have occurred naturally, which remains debatable.

* I'm sure you can think of many, but for me I would be terrified to call out for crimes against humanity a global hegemon that assassinates its perceived enemies as casually as you swat mosquitoes. A global hegemon that is real sensitive about any criticism whatsoever. A global hegemon that is still massively sore weeks later about a single tweet suggesting that the bioweapon unleashed on China might have come from the US.

Yes, there are many reasons for that paper to have been withdrawn, but most of those reasons originate from it being accurate.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 17 2020 23:11 utc | 208

@ 213 william gruff.... pantry meals.. now that is bizarre! i guess that is as you say, one step up from a microwaved meal, or another term for actually putting a meal together.. here on the westcoast farmers markets are very popular and becoming more popular all the time.. in fact even though the communties are mostly closed down they are going to allow these to open up in the next week or two if they haven't already - essential is how it is viewed and 2 meter social distancing will have to be maintained... i don't know how much of this happens in the usa large cities - maybe more then i know! i know they happen in vancouver..

the response to wet markets is also quite bizarre for different reasons.. i guess when someone like dr. fauci says they have to get rid of them, people go into tailspins and believe what the dr. says... hopefully everyone will get beyond all this madness, but it is not a given..

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2020 23:56 utc | 209

Posted by: Phil | Apr 17 2020 19:20 utc | 209

Thank you for the suggestion, but thunderbolts.info deals with astronomy, physics and cosmology as you mentioned, and not with biology. I searched all the articles containing the word "current."
The comments they make about the site that reference the human body are a bit beyond their scope, and metaphorical in nature. "There's no theory entertained on this matter." That's really the case, and yes it is amazing and I'm glad it caught someone's attention. It will be entertained.

Posted by: Bruce | Apr 18 2020 1:09 utc | 210

@foolisholdman #207
The source "b" article here cites a Chinese study saying hydroxychloroquine does not seem to do anything except confer anti-inflammatory effect, so citing random studies just isn't helpful.
I prefer to look at the study itself - how many people? What stage of disease? How much HCH was given? What kind of testing and what were the results?
Doing this for the 2 Raoult studies showed both were highly flawed, whatever the Raoult fans want to say.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 18 2020 17:08 utc | 211

@William Gruff #215
Perhaps you can post some links to your sources from which you derive this view that the withdrawn paper is accurate.
Equally, that the "refutation paper" - which there wasn't one - was withdrawn. The 'uncanny' paper was withdrawn because literally hundreds of reputable scientists pointed out numerous problems with its methodology and conclusions.

What I've seen is this:
1) National Institute of Health paper - which was peer reviewed unlike the 'uncanny' one
This paper says:

HIV-1 did not contribute to the 2019-nCoV genome

Current report conducted careful examination of the sequences of 2019-nCoV, other CoV viruses and HIV-1 as well as GenBank database. Our results demonstrated no evidence that the sequences of these four inserts are HIV-1 specific or the 2019-nCoV viruses obtain these insertions from HIV-1. First, the results of blast search of these motifs against GenBank shows that the top 100 identical or highly homologous hits are all from host genes of mammalian, insects, bacterial and others. There are only a few hits on coronaviruses, but none of them are HIV-1 related. Blast against viral sequence database also showed these insertion sequences widely exist in all kinds of viruses from bacteriophage, influenza, to giant eukaryotic viruses (Table 1). More hits were found for coronaviruses and a few also hit on HIV-1 sequences than the search against the entire database (Table 1). However, while the 100% match between the insertion 1 and 2 sequences and the HIV sequences were found in 19 entries, the matches between the insertion 3 and 4 sequences and HIV-1 sequences were rather poor (from 42% to 88%). Moreover, the insertion 4 sequence ambiguously hit multiple different genes (gag, pol and env) in the HIV-1 genome, suggesting that similarities (as low as 42%) between them are too low to be reliable. Search these four insertion sequences against HIV-1 Sequence Database (https://www.hiv.lanl.gov/components/sequence/HIV/search/search.html) yielded similar results. Sequences that completely match the insertion 3 and 4 sequences were not found in any HIV-1 sequences. This clearly shows that these insertioin sequences are widely present in living organisms including viruses, but not HIV-1 specific. All these regions in HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein are highly variable with many large insertions and deletions, indicating that they are not essential for biological functions of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. The detection of completely matched sequences of 1 and 2 insertions in only a few HIV-1 strains demonstrated that four insertions are very rare or not present among tens of thousands of natural HIV-1 sequences. This also explains why four insertion homolog sequences could only be independently found in different HIV-1 genomes [8]. Because of their poor identities to and rareness in the HIV-1 sequences, HIV-1 could not be the source for those insertion sequences in the 2019-nCoV genome.

Or in other words: the so-called unique sequences are neither unique to HIV nor are uncommon anywhere else. The 'uncanny' paper talked about 4 sequences: 2 only exist in a very small subset of HIV (and note, HIV is also a single strand RNA virus like nCOV - i.e. replicates badly and mutates easily), so clearly aren't "core" HIV functionality. The other 2 are so common that they are present in multiple locations/genes. None of the 4 factor into HIV or nCOV functionality.

2) Robert Garry, a published researcher on nCOV, told Snopes

the so-called HIV sequences are very short — nothing more than random chance.

3) And Francis Boyle: he's actually a lawyer. Not even a scientist or doctor. Francis Boyle faculty profile at Illinois U

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 18 2020 17:28 utc | 212

@William Gruff #215
Perhaps you can post some links as to:
1) The retraction of the paper criticizing the 'uncanny HIV' paper. The 'uncanny' paper was withdrawn because literally hundreds of reputable scientists pointed out numerous methodology and conclusion errors in that paper.
More importantly, I saw this paper back in February: NIH not retracted paper


HIV-1 did not contribute to the 2019-nCoV genome

Current report conducted careful examination of the sequences of 2019-nCoV, other CoV viruses and HIV-1 as well as GenBank database. Our results demonstrated no evidence that the sequences of these four inserts are HIV-1 specific or the 2019-nCoV viruses obtain these insertions from HIV-1. First, the results of blast search of these motifs against GenBank shows that the top 100 identical or highly homologous hits are all from host genes of mammalian, insects, bacterial and others. There are only a few hits on coronaviruses, but none of them are HIV-1 related. Blast against viral sequence database also showed these insertion sequences widely exist in all kinds of viruses from bacteriophage, influenza, to giant eukaryotic viruses (Table 1). More hits were found for coronaviruses and a few also hit on HIV-1 sequences than the search against the entire database (Table 1). However, while the 100% match between the insertion 1 and 2 sequences and the HIV sequences were found in 19 entries, the matches between the insertion 3 and 4 sequences and HIV-1 sequences were rather poor (from 42% to 88%). Moreover, the insertion 4 sequence ambiguously hit multiple different genes (gag, pol and env) in the HIV-1 genome, suggesting that similarities (as low as 42%) between them are too low to be reliable. Search these four insertion sequences against HIV-1 Sequence Database (https://www.hiv.lanl.gov/components/sequence/HIV/search/search.html) yielded similar results. Sequences that completely match the insertion 3 and 4 sequences were not found in any HIV-1 sequences. This clearly shows that these insertioin sequences are widely present in living organisms including viruses, but not HIV-1 specific. All these regions in HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein are highly variable with many large insertions and deletions, indicating that they are not essential for biological functions of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. The detection of completely matched sequences of 1 and 2 insertions in only a few HIV-1 strains demonstrated that four insertions are very rare or not present among tens of thousands of natural HIV-1 sequences. This also explains why four insertion homolog sequences could only be independently found in different HIV-1 genomes [8]. Because of their poor identities to and rareness in the HIV-1 sequences, HIV-1 could not be the source for those insertion sequences in the 2019-nCoV genome.

In summary: 2 of the 4 sequences are only present in a small fraction of known HIV virus variants (HIV is single stranded like nCOV so is subject to major mutation). The remaining 2 are common across a wide range of organisms and are present in multiple sections/genes. None of the 4 have anything to do with nCOV transmissibility.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 18 2020 17:34 utc | 213

RE: Posted by: Kickasso | Apr 23 2020 12:15 utc | 330

Many thanks for your brilliant tautology re metabolic syndrome (MetS) and COVID-19 !! Please consider studing up on the many well-known risk factors before spewing such pro-lockdown, lockstep, new world order salutes.

For starters:

Just weeks before first reports in 2009 of a young Mexican child being infected with a novel H1N1 “swine flu” virus in Veracruz, the WHO had quietly changed the traditional definition of pandemic. No longer was it necessary a reported disease be extremely widespread in many countries and extremely deadly or debilitating. It need only be widespread,like seasonal flu, should WHO “experts” want to declare pandemic. WHO H1N1 symptoms were the same as a bad cold."

William Engdahl: Can We Trust the WHO?

And once you actually get up to speed, you might also wish to tackle oh, I don't know, etiologically relevant risk factors including zinc and lipoic acid deficiencies, excess consumed methionine, incurred Gram negative derived lipopolysaccharides that escaped from the gut, inadequate vitamin D, poor nutriture, etc. Before you jump on your favorite hobby horse de jour !! Just a thought...

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Apr 23 2020 14:36 utc | 214

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