Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 09, 2020

Helena Cobban - On The “Recovery” Of Nations From Covid-19

by Helena Cobban of Just World News


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(This is Part 3 in my series “Covid chronicles.” Click here for the earlier parts. Also: The image above is from a video released Wednesday by the Chinese TV network CGTN. I’m displaying it not because I approve of its racist depiction of Americans as babies but because it’s an interesting– probably not very effective– example of Chinese public diplomacy in the English-speaking world right now.)

I have a neighbor and friend who was an early victim of Covid-19. She did not die, thank God, but (like many other survivors) she has continued to be pole-axed by the sickness for nearly two months. The recovery of nations from the effects of the disease will be considerably more long-drawn-out, and complex.


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In March, the San Francisco Fed produced a report (PDF here) assessing the longterm economic impact of 15 large pandemic events since the Black Death of 1347-52. It found that the depressing effect these pandemics had on the economies that suffered them lasted for 40 years afterwards–the blue/lilac curve here. (For what it’s worth, wars left a generally positive economic effect from about Y+5 onwards– the pink/red curve.)

Clearly, though, the countries now afflicted with Covid-19 will “recover” at different rates, in different ways, and to differing extents.

On April 14, Gita Gopinath, the super-smart Director of the IMF’s Research Department, issued a sobering edition of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook series predicting that global GDP would shrink in 2020 to 3% below what it was in 2019. This was a dramatic revision to the WEO she released just in January, in which she forecast that world GDP would increase by 6.3% in 2020.


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But the contraction Gopinath forecast in April was not evenly spread. In this chart in her blog post, she shows us– in the left half of the image– that she expected the United States’ GDP to shrink by 5.9% in 2020, while China’s would grow by 1.2%. (The precise numbers for these forecasts are here.)

All of us who are living in the United States today are experiencing the near-seize-up of the country’s economy in a very direct way. I walk and drive by shuttered shops and small businesses and by alarmingly large homeless encampments– here in the “capital of the free world”. I have a son-in-law who built, runs, and co-owns two once-bustling restaurant/bars in New York City, the fruit of 15 years of hard work. Now, at just one of them, he’s trying to pull in a little income by doing takeout. But no-one can describe this as a business plan. The “relief” money that the President and Congress have been doling out is miniscule compared to most people’s needs, and very short-term. Meantime, the cockamamie, crony-ridden, and criminally corrupt way the federal government has been responding to the medical aspects of the crisis has ensured that it will continue for several months more, bouncing around the country from place to place. It is quite possible that the next time Dr. Gopinath releases a WEO projection, the outlook for the U.S. economy for 2020 may even worse than it was in mid-April.

* * *

There are three key factors that will determine the effectiveness of any country’s ability to bounce back, economically, from the effects of Covid-19 (or of any of the other Covids that may come in its wake…) They are:

  1. The effectiveness of the medical and public-health measures that are taken.
  2. The nature of the government’s economic intervention. (I was considering breaking this out into two sub-categories: the size and the direction of any such intervention. But a wrongheaded, financier-coddling intervention would be damaging whatever its size… More on this, below.)
  3. The ability of the government to maintain public support for its actions regarding #1 and #2 above.

As I blogged here, May 6, the US government’s response to the medical/public-health challenge has been astoundingly poor. A recorded death rate as of then, of 21.78 per 100,000 of population, within just over two months from the first death, is appalling in such a rich country. (Many Covid-19 deaths may not have been recorded as such.) And in the United States, the death toll continues to mount.

In China, by contrast, the death rate was 0.33 per 100,000 and the pandemic was apparently halted in its tracks back in March. This was the result of public health measures judged by many outsiders at the time to be draconian. They included the speedy development, distribution, and, deployment of a test for the virus; a complete lockdown of the sizeable city of Wuhan; widespread restrictions throughout the whole of the rest of the country and especially at its borders; and the mobilization of numerous different layers of cadres for both medical and social-service tasks.

This past week, many school students in Wuhan returned to their desks; and CBS was even reporting that Shanghai Disneyland is due to reopen next week.

When governments have been responding to the sharp contraction of economic activity that the various quarantine and lockdown measures have caused, they have made choices between, basically, two different approaches. One ends up giving nearly all the benefits to financial institutions. And this, as NYC-based economist Michael Hudson explained here, can be done in many indirect ways– not just by organizing the whole chaotic “small business support” handout to be directed through the banks, which Trump also did.

The other, fundamentally different approach would be a repeat of what FDR did during the 1930s, in his response to the Great Depression. In his “New Deal” program, it was the federal government that ran nearly all the programs, which had a strong focus on infrastructure upgrades. The federal government did nearly all of the employing in these programs, directly. The role of banks and speculators was minimal.

Yes, the New Deal involved setting up lots of completely new programs from scratch, which took time. Yes, it involved a great increase of the role of the federal government in not just the economy but also American society more broadly… And it worked.

Guess who’s implementing FDR-style policies this time round? No, it is  not Donald Trump. It is Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to this recent article by Eva Dou in the Washington Post, in 2010 the Chinese leaders commissioned economist Liu He (now, the Vice Premier) to study how the country’s response to the 2008-09 financial crisis had gone. Liu also, it seems, included a study of FDR’s New Deal in the report his team published three years later.

Dou writes,

China’s response this year shows that it has taken some lessons from the financial crisis. Beijing flooded the country with cash and cheap credit in 2008, which kept its economy growing but resulted in years of teetering local government debt and skyrocketing housing prices, said Citibank’s chief China economist, Li-gang Liu

This time, China has announced that it will see the crisis through with infrastructure construction, a more stable if slower method of economic stimulus. Xi recently warned that houses were for living, not for speculation.

(Several other aspects of Liu’s report, as described by Dou, are also intriguing.)

* * *

What size of economies are we talking about, in the United States and China? In 2019, the United States’ GDP was counted at $21.2 trillion, and China’s at $14.2 trillion in current US $– and for a population that was four times as big. If, over the next two or three years, China’s economy can show some continued growth while the U.S. economy continues to contract– which is quite possible– then by 2022 or 2023 the economies of the two countries may be of roughly equal size.

Economic capability confers power within the international system in a number of ways. A country (or a group of countries like the EU) that has a robust economy has assets that other countries may need or crave, that it can use as leverage. These would include:

  • Its products, if fit-for-task and well-priced
  • Its technology
  • Its investment capital and other financial instruments
  • Access to its market
  • Access to its financial instruments.

Over the 75 years since the end of World War II, the United States has used all these levers of economic power. Japan and the EU (and some EU member nations like Germany or Britain) have used some or all of them. In the past 20 years, China has increasingly been able to use– and has used– all them, too.

Raw economic performance in terms of GDP does not, of course, translate directly into power within the global system. Other factors that also confer power in the global system include: the robustness of the trade and other kinds of relationships the country enjoys with other countries; having (and demonstrating) an ability to defend one’s country from external threats or internal decay; having attributes that citizens of other countries admire– these include but are not limited to a reputation for generosity and fairmindedness; having veto power in the Security Council and a strong position in  other international organizations. I will consider some of these in late blog posts in this series.

* * *

I have been watching China’s gradual rise in the world’s GDP– as well as GDP-per-capita– charts and a concomitant fall in the United States’ position in these charts, for nearly 20 years now. The United States’ decline is still relative rather than absolute. In absolute terms, its GDP is still “Number 1!” But the decline was accelerated from 2003 on, when successive US presidents decided to pour massive amounts of government revenues into large-scale and always disastrous military adventures all around the world. As of last November, Brown University’s “Costs of War” project tallied the U.S. budgetary costs of these wars, FY2001-2020, to be $6.4 trillion. These were funds that could have been invested, instead, in repair and upgrading of vital infrastructure here at home– including vital health infrastructure. But no. Instead, the money was shoveled into the pockets of the large military contractors who then used a portion of it on expensive lobbying operations designed to ensure that the sow of military spending continued feeding her offspring (them.)

When Donald Trump became president, in 2017, one of his early instincts was to pull back from the foreign wars. (This was about his only sound instinct.) The military-industrial complex then proved able to slow-walk a lot of the military-retraction moves he wanted to make… One of the other abiding themes of Trump’s presidency has been his desire to “decouple” the U.S. economy from the tight integration it had developed at many levels with the economy of China, as part of broader push to halt or slow the rise of China’s power in the global system. At the economic level, we have seen the “tariff wars” and the campaign against Huawei. At the military level, we have seen a slight escalation in the kinds of  “demonstration operations” the U.S. Navy has been mounting in the South China Sea. Mobilizing against “Chinese influence” also seems to come naturally to a president who shows no hesitation in denigrating anyone– even US citizens and politicians– who happens not to be of pale-complected European-style hue.

With the eruption of Covid-19 in U.S. communities nationwide, Pres. Trump’s pre-existing proclivity to demonize and denigrate anything Chinese has escalated considerably– spurred on, it seems, by his evident desire to find an external scapegoat to blame for the terrible situation Covid-19 has inflicted on Americans and to detract voters’ attention from the grave responsibility  he and his administration bear for their plight.

He and his economic advisors clearly realize that, with the supply chains of major US industries still inextricably tied up with companies located in China and with China still holding $1.1 trillion-worth of U.S. government debt, he can’t just cut the cord and decouple from China overnight. Yesterday, his Treasury Secretary and the US Trade Representative held a phone call with China’s Vice Premier Liu He, the intent of which was to reassure both sides that a trade deal concluded four months ago would still be adhered to.

But today, less than 12 hours after the reassuring joint statement released after the phone call, Trump told Fox News that he was “very torn” about the trade deal, and had “not decided” whether to maintain it. This, as he launches frequent verbal tirades against China for having “caused” the coronavirus crisis.

* * *

The public-health and economic data I’ve been looking at in my last blog post and this one all strongly indicate that the balance of economic power between Washington and Beijing has started shifting very rapidly. And given the United States’ inability/unwillingness to take the public-health steps necessary to stop or even halt the spread of Covid-19, this balance will be shifting in China’s favor even more rapidly over the coming year.

All of us on this planet are moving into a post-coronavirus world, which will be one in which the strength of a country’s public-health infrastructure will necessarily constitute, and be seen as, a major component of a nation’s power. Countries that do not have a strong public-health infrastructure will not only see their power in world affairs declining speedily, they will also increasingly find themselves being excluded from normal intercourse (personal visits, trade, etc) by the countries that do.

There will almost certainly be a big decoupling– but it will not look anything  like the one that the anti-China ideologues in Washington have been pushing for. The prospects for most Americans look very grim.

Posted by b on May 9, 2020 at 15:33 UTC | Permalink

Comments

New China TV

Once upon a virus...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5BZ09iNdvo

Posted by: JC | May 9 2020 16:24 utc | 1

Thanks b. wow. Covering a landscape of square miles. And the projections, oh my! China has been in ascendance since 1992 that went under the radar.

"There will almost certainly be a big decoupling– but it will not look anything like the one that the anti-China ideologues in Washington have been pushing for"

Quite correct. And if you can't beat them, join them. The walk-back of the indictment of Huawei has begun. Huawei is too far ahead and catching up will not be anytime soon.

Exclusive: U.S. drafts rule to allow Huawei and U.S. firms to work together on 5G standards - sources

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Commerce is close to signing off on a new rule that would allow U.S. companies to work with China’s Huawei Technologies on setting standards for next generation 5G networks, people familiar with the matter said.[.]

Engineers in some U.S. technology companies stopped engaging with Huawei to develop standards after the Commerce Department blacklisted the company last year. The listing left companies uncertain about what technology and information their employees could share with Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.

That has put the United States at a disadvantage, said industry and government officials. In standards setting meetings, where protocols and technical specifications are developed that allow equipment from different companies to function together smoothly, Huawei gained a stronger voice as U.S. engineers sat back in silence..[.]

Just this week it was reported China Moves to Wean Itself of US Dollar Dependence, Steps Up Testing of Sovereign Digital Currency

and if backed by gold? the horses are out the gate with the petro-yuan.

Tariffs and Sanctions won't let you win the game.

China just reminded those in the West who are demanding compensation for "the china virus" in this stern GlobalTimes editorial:

Putting the blame on others is bald-faced political blackmail


[.]The country has sent 15 batches of medical experts to 16 countries, and it is working overtime to produce anti-pandemic materials for the world. China is never the one to be blamed.

On the contrary, it is the arrogance of some American politicians that has hindered global anti-pandemic response through cooperation and solidarity. Under the logic of some American politicians, the US is the one to be held accountable and it should compensate the international society, for the Spanish Flu, AIDS and other epidemics, the 2008 international financial crisis which led to the collapse of countless enterprises and individuals, and the wars launched against other countries the over the years which have caused millions of innocent civilian casualties and numerous property losses.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | May 9 2020 16:26 utc | 2

>> In 2019, the United States’ GDP was counted at ..., and China’s at ....

China’s economy has been the biggest for a decade already. It takes a system of bad accounting to say it’s happening only now.

Posted by: oglalla | May 9 2020 16:32 utc | 3

"wars left a generally positive economic effect from about Y+5 onwards– the pink/red curve"

Anyone really think our "leaders" won't choose the pink/red curve?

Posted by: Perimetr | May 9 2020 16:42 utc | 4

How can depicting Americans as babies be "racist"? 'American' isn't a race, is it? For that matter, neither is 'Chinese' a race.

Posted by: Chorap | May 9 2020 16:46 utc | 5

Excellent article.

Posted by: hsuan | May 9 2020 16:46 utc | 6

There are two ways to measure GDP:

GDP by current prices and GDP by purchasing power parity.

For countries such as China and Russia with low foreign debt and large reserves GDP by PPP is the most relevant measure and here China is by far the strongest economy in the world as the latest figures from IMF has the Chinese economy 35 per cent bigger than the US. It should also be noted that the Russian economy is larger than the German.

This fact is esential to understand tha American obsession with all things Chinese as economic power at the end of the day equals military power.

Posted by: Sven Lystbæk | May 9 2020 16:58 utc | 7


Thanks a million b for the opportunity to post here and not deleted. I wasn't the first but two fellows ahead of me and I wasn't sure "Once upon a virus..." Lego cartoon on topic, but I sincerely believe your diehard followers need to view this cartoon if they had not, Thanks again..

More.... America together with 5eyes are determine to destroy China, it seem Australia is changing maybe changing this week "Kevin Rudd’s anti-Murdoch media rhetoric ramps up" but he was rudely attacked by Australian Sky news and YouTube commentors...

BTW, yesterday received my $1,200 check from the fucking stoopid president and I wasn't sure I'm eligible. In my lifetime I rarely received anything free it always comes with a heavy price.

Posted by: JC | May 9 2020 17:11 utc | 8

US GDP is highly inflated by counting financial moves on Wall Street (extracting money from suckers and moving money from one hand to another) as productive activity. China's purchasing power parity already exceeds the US and I suspect its actual GDP does as well. Only US financialization is able to mask the lack of actual productivity in the US economy.

Posted by: worldblee | May 9 2020 17:11 utc | 9

I am somewhat skeptical about China chances in this race. That will be much tougher environment for China from now on. And other major technological powers such as Germany, Korea and Japan are still allied with the USA.

The major problem for China is two social systems in one box: state capitalism part controlled by completely corrupt Communist Party (which completely abandoned the communist doctrine and became essentially a religious cult ) + no less corrupt neoliberalism part created with the help of the West.

The level of corruption inherent in the current setup (first adopted in Soviet NEP -- New Economic Policy) is tremendous, as the party has absolute political power and controls the major economic and financial areas while the entrepreneurs try to bribe state officials to get the leverage and/or enrich themselves at the state expense or bypass the bureaucratic limitations/inefficiencies imposed by the state, or offload some costs. So mafia style relationship between party officials and entrepreneurs is not an aberration, it is a norm. And periodic "purges" of corrupt Party officials do not solve the problem. Ecological problems in China are just one side effect of this.

The fact that a Chinese scientist from a biolab got 12 years jail sentence is pretty telling. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00051-2

Add to this the certain pre-existing tendencies within Chinese society to put greed above everything else, the tendency clearly visible in some emigrants and to which Yen devoted one post recently. Riots in some Asians countries against Chinese diaspora are often at least partially caused by this diaspora behavior, not only by xenophobia. Note that several African countries with Chinese investments now intent to sue China for damages from COVID-19. This is not accidental.

Technologically the USA and its G7 satellites are still in the lead although outsourcing manufacturing to China helped Chinese tremendously to narrow the gap. For example, Intel CPUs still dominate both desktops and servers. All major operating systems (with the exception of some flavors of Linux) are all USA developed.

I do not see the possibility for China to quickly narrow this gap as the technology transfer might now be controlled in the same way it was controlled with the trade with the USSR via COCOM ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinating_Committee_for_Multilateral_Export_Controls )

Looks how easily the USA managed to kick Huawei in the butt and essentially deprive it of the major market.

Posted by: likbez | May 9 2020 17:12 utc | 10

thanks helena cobban! and thanks b for posting this.... great article and overview... i think it was b that mentioned on a previous thread how ''services'' account for a large part of the usa economy... what i wanted to say in response to this is how large the ''financial services'' account for as a percentage of this... the irony of the usa giving the the banks so much support is that they are also directly responsible for the erosion of so much of the wealth that really belongs to everyone... and they ain't sharing it, or only if you have a ticket in the stock market... i think the usa is in trouble, but it will be looking for a monster outside itself to blame and that will continue to be china in the absence of anything else.... thanks for your article.. i will check your site out!

@ 10 likbez... we'll see... the game and tables have changed... we'll see how it plays out..

Posted by: james | May 9 2020 17:24 utc | 11

Ms. Cobban is correct in stating power is power:

China to impose five-year anti-dumping duties on alloy-steel pipes from U.S., EU

She's also correct in stating the CCP is eager to learn with their own mistakes:

China to reform public health response and disease prevention system

Note the chosen words: they will reform their system. A world apart from the empty promises in the Western nations.

--//--

@ Posted by: likbez | May 9 2020 17:12 utc | 10

You rise important points, but I respectfully disagree with all of them.

1) I don't think China is a "State capitalism" country. The term "State capitalism" was first coined by Lenin for a very specific situation the USSR was in. Yes, the similarities are striking - and Deng Xiaoping's reforms were clearly inspired by Lenin's NEP - but it is important to state that the CCP actively avoided the term and built upon the concept both theoretically and in practice. Besides, we don't need to read Lenin's works critically, an not take him as the second coming of Jesus: when he used the term "State capitalism", he used it in a clearly desperate moment of the USSR, almost by improvisation. Lenin's last years were definitely desperate times.

Besides, the NEP didn't culminate with the capitalist restoration of the USSR. On the contrary: it collapsed in 1926 (after another bad harvest) and gave way to the rise of Stalin and the radical faction of the CPSU. The Five-year plans were born (1928), and agriculture would be fully collectivized by the end of the 1930s (a process which catapulted Molotov to the second most powerful man in the USSR during the period). By the end of WWII, the USSR had a fully collectivized economy.

2) The corruption hypothesis is an attractive one - specially for the liberal middle classes of the post-war and for the Trotskyists - but it doesn't stand the empirical test. The USA was an extremely corrupt nation from its foundation to pre-war, and it never stopped it from growing and reaching prosperity. The Roman Empire and Republic were so corrupt that it was considered normal. There's no evidence the PRC is historically exceptionally corrupt. However, I can see why the CCP is worried about corruption, as it is a flank through which the West can sabotage it from within.

3) The COCOM tactic will be much harder to apply against China than against the USSR. For starters, the USSR lost circa 35% of its GDP in WWII. This gave it a delay from which it never recovered. Second, the USSR fought against capitalism when capitalism was at its apex. Third, the USSR collectivized and closed its economy too early, not taking into account that it still lived in a capitalist world.

China doesn't have that now. It is fighting against capitalism in a phase where it is weakened. It is open and intimately integrated economically with its capitalist enemies. It closed or is about to close the technological gap in many strategic sectors during a stage where the capitalists have low retaliation capacity. It found time to close at least the GDP gap. It found time to recover fully from its civil war and the Japanese Invasion of the Northeast.

Germany, South Korea and Japan are not technologically more advanced than the USA. This is a myth. Plus, they are too small. They may serve as very useful - even essential - pawns for the USA-side, but I don't see any of the three ever achieving Pax.

Posted by: vk | May 9 2020 17:48 utc | 12

"I am somewhat skeptical about China chances in this race. That will be much tougher environment for China from now on. And other major technological powers such as Germany, Korea and Japan are still allied with the USA."[.]

"Looks how easily the USA managed to kick Huawei in the butt and essentially deprive it of the major market."

Posted by: likbez | May 9 2020 17:12 utc | 10

Really? Suggest you read the full Reuters article linked at post 2. "Can't beat them, join them."

Au contraire, the U.S.A is not the World; its heavily indebted population is 334 million of the 7 billion inhabiting planet earth. Should the U.S. close its trading with China, tighter than a crab's derriere, do you not see the wide open trading for China with the rest of the world? i.e. India (yes they trade), Russia, Asians, Africa, EU and Middle East. China has cultivated 9 dozens of friends while the U.S. counts 8 iffy vassals.

You cited; Ecological problems!! how about the West? Squeaky clean on the ecological front: abandoned oil wells, tar sands, Flint Michigan, State of Washington shall we?

Not anytime soon will U.S. companies pull up their investments in China. Just ask J.P. Morgan why they bought control of Chinese Mutual Fund.

Some U.S. citizens are in for eye watering disappointments.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 9 2020 17:56 utc | 13

Helena Cobban is an excellent journalist and student of history. The thoroughness of her work is a beautiful thing. Surely she is right about the nature of essential power in global affairs: to be strong means having "an ability to defend one’s country from external threats or internal decay." In the case of the US, a manic and exaggerated emphasis on external threats drives a malevolent, endless policy, bringing war ever closer and threatening others with war; and at the same time the country is refusing to face up to its internal decay.

All of us on this planet are moving into a post-coronavirus world, which will be one in which the strength of a country’s public-health infrastructure will necessarily constitute, and be seen as, a major component of a nation’s power. Countries that do not have a strong public-health infrastructure will not only see their power in world affairs declining speedily, they will also increasingly find themselves being excluded from normal intercourse (personal visits, trade, etc) by the countries that do

Posted by: Copeland | May 9 2020 17:57 utc | 14

It’s great to read Helena Cobban again. I first started reading MoA because Helena complimented him at her blog. Soon after, I guess the daily grind of blogging got to her, but b thankfully continued.

If Democrats were a serious opposition party, they could seize the day

Posted by: JohnH | May 9 2020 18:05 utc | 15

Thanks for making Helena Cobban's comprehensive analysis the subject of an MoA thread, b. I noticed a comment from her on an earlier MoA thread and had intended to visit her site soon. It slipped off my lurking schedule several years ago.
So thanks for beaming Just World News up to MoA.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 9 2020 18:08 utc | 16

Democrats could seize the day by noting that China significantly contained Covid-19. South Korea did it. New Zealand did it.

Great nations win their battles. But Trump made America weak. MAWA!

Instead, Democrats are frantically trying to help Trump (and themselves) escape accountability...a bipartisan effort to make America weak. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/05/coronavirus-covid-crisis-donald-trump-george-w-bush

Posted by: JohnH | May 9 2020 18:13 utc | 17

Helena Cobban:

The “relief” money that the President and Congress have been doling out is miniscule compared to most people’s needs, and very short-term. Meantime, the cockamamie, crony-ridden, and criminally corrupt way the federal government has been responding to the medical aspects of the crisis has ensured that it will continue for several months more, bouncing around the country from place to place.

This! (emphasis mine)

Except I'm even more cynical because there are powerful interests that benefit from the early death of many elderly people and anger toward China that hastens decoupling.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 9 2020 18:24 utc | 18

Posted by: JohnH | May 9 2020 18:13 utc | 17

Even if "Democrats could seize the day.............. "
I will still never even again votes for the Democrats or anyone including Bernie Sanders or anyone like him...

Posted by: JC | May 9 2020 18:36 utc | 19

>Gita Gopinath, the super-smart Director of the IMF’s Research Department,

Pretty near stopped reading right there. IMF and World Bank are primary tools of imposing empire on the rest of the world. There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to any of their predictions, except to keep up with what is this week's propaganda.

If she is "super-smart" then she is knowingly helping to keep millions in misery. I long for the day when Gopinath and all the other stink-tankers are reduced to dumpster-diving and living under bridges. When they are holding out their begging bowls and pleading for crumbs, will they get any help, or get the back of the hand, like the rest of us?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

likbez is bias and an idiot. Did lots of searched earlier,

"Looks how easily the USA managed to kick Huawei in the butt and essentially deprive it of the major market."

Read this SCMP well researched article with neutral writer Josh Ye SCMP in HK. Follow closely Huawei and bought a Huawei Honor phone from Ebay seller from Shenzhen seller.

"Huawei’s HiSilicon becomes first mainland Chinese chip company to enter top 10 in global sales, says IC Insights"

https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/article/3083314/huaweis-hisilicon-first-mainland-chinese-chip-company-enter-top-10

Posted by: JC | May 9 2020 18:43 utc | 21

Helena Cobban wrote
"
Raw economic performance in terms of GDP does not, of course, translate directly into power within the global system. Other factors that also confer power in the global system include: the robustness of the trade and other kinds of relationships the country enjoys with other countries; having (and demonstrating) an ability to defend one’s country from external threats or internal decay; having attributes that citizens of other countries admire– these include but are not limited to a reputation for generosity and fairmindedness; having veto power in the Security Council and a strong position in other international organizations. I will consider some of these in late blog posts in this series.
"

Writing like this would make one not understand power within the global system.

Humanity is not at war with just the US and China being the proxies for the conflict.

Humanity is in a civilization war about how finance is managed by our species in the "new" world. Will it continue to be a global private finance elite driven world or will socialism come to global finance?

IMO, it is also highly misleading to compare GDP when most of US GDP is financial and not really making anything

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 9 2020 19:20 utc | 22

Posted by: likbez | May 9 2020 17:12 utc | 10

Several big problems with that statement of yours.

Chinese students perform very well (see PISA scores) and the country will have far bigger highly educated STEM work force than the US.

The US blocking chinese STEM students from the China will be a shot in the foot since a large amount of the best STEM specialists in the US are chinese.

Europe has significantly greater cooperation with China compared to the US and never agreed with the US trade wars against China. It is much more dependent on foreign trade than the US too.

Even UK did not take part in the US trade wars against China.

The Chinese market has now become the largest in the world. This is not the USSR. It is very important growing market (one of the few) and most companies are not willing to leave it. And it will be way bigger market in 2030.

The fact that 42% of global e-commerce is happening in China gives it enormous IT advantage and the world's biggest economy of scale in the IT sector.

Not surprisingly, it leads in the 5G sector and is overtaking the US in the AI sector.

Various companies have made forecasts for Chinese growth under full scale trade war conditions with the US.

Under no trade war conditions, Chinese GDP/PPP in 2030 is to be 1,87 times bigger than the US.

Under trade war conditions, Chinese GDP/PPP is to be 1,8 times bigger than the US in 2030. These scenarios include estimates of costs due to technology embargoes by the US.

In other words - a trade war does not do much to slow down China, hence the hysteria by some in the US.


Then there is the ussue of massive US debt which is to reach 120 % debt to gdp by 2030 even under conditions of massive already agreed cuts to spending with defense spending to drop by 0,7 % of GDP (140 billions of dollars decrease) and for non-defense discretional spending to be cut by 1,4 % of GDP (280 billions of dollars decrease).

This is not to mention that key cities of the US, such as New York, Chicago and LA, are basically bankrupt.

Overall, i do not see how the US will be able to outcompete an economy that will be twice as big in GDP/PPP by 2040, especially at these large debt levels it has.

On Helena Cobban's article though, i think she underestimates US as it projects GDP frops for the next years, something that no one is doing.

But there is no doubt that the Coronavirus crisis put China in initial stronger position, with China vs US growth gain of + 7,5 % (-5,9% + 1,2% April 2020) as opposed to 4 % growth gain (+2% + 6%) as estimated by IMF in December 2019.

Infact, it could be this gain and the ongoing weakening of the US due to the Corona crisis that is causing massive anti-chinese outbursts in the Trump administration. That US weakening wasn't supposed to happen. Which is causing a hysteria.

Posted by: Passer by | May 9 2020 19:49 utc | 23

Posted by: Passer by | May 9 2020 19:49 utc | 23

Edit: IMF estimate on China growth gain is 7,1 % per the new forecast and 4 % per old forecast for 2020 and 4,5 % per the new forecast and 4,1 % per the old forecast for 2021.

Overall new gain for China growth over the US for the 2 years is 3,5 % (3,1 + 0,4), which means that China got one additional year in GDP growth (nearly 4 %) over the US due to the corona crisis.

Posted by: Passer by | May 9 2020 20:00 utc | 24

>Gita Gopinath, the super-smart Director of the IMF’s Research Department,

Pretty near stopped reading right there. IMF and World Bank are primary tools of imposing empire on the rest of the world. There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to any of their predictions, except to keep up with what is this week's propaganda.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

Same. Maybe the crazies are right, is b even here anymore?

Posted by: Yevgeny | May 9 2020 20:09 utc | 25

@ Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

The history of the IMF is a curious one. It was one of the many international post-war institutions created in 1944-45, during the world peace hysteria that accompanied the Cold War.

Initially, though, it was expected that the IMF would play, at best, a very peripheral role. It should be, in theory, just a fund to be used in exceptional circumstances, for very tiny problems. Maybe some basket case in Africa would need a couple billions to fix itself someday, but nothing more than that. It was definitely not taken seriously, and was just a footnote in the long list of newly founded international institutions.

The capitalist star of the show during the High Cold War (1945-1975) was the World Bank, more specifically, its infrastructure investment branch, the IBRD.

However, with the neoliberal reforms of 1975-1997, the IMF quickly rose in importance. Mexico's bankruptcy of the mid-1980s was just the prelude. Then the USSR dissolved, and the IMF suddenly took the WB's place as the capitalist spearhead in the Third World. It's prestige spiked through the roof with the subjugation of Russia (Yeltsin Era), Latin America (specially Argentina and Brazil) and others. When the Asian Tigers crisis broke out (1997), the IMF gained police power, which only rose its importance as a capitalist instrument of hegemony. By 2001 - when the Asian Tigers crisis was essentially over - the IMF basically became sacrosanct, a fact of life of capitalism, a status it still enjoys in the present.

IMF's accidental rise to power - coupled with the decline of the World Bank - is a very strong evidence and a poetic illustration of the metamorphosis of the American Empire from an industrial-financial superpower (i.e. a capitalist superpower) to a strictly financial superpower.

Posted by: vk | May 9 2020 20:15 utc | 26

The capitalists have painted themselves into a corner. There is no way out from this crisis which does not involve the end of fifty years of neo-liberalism (and two centuries of the liberal Political Economy).
Look as what is going on in the United States where there is an urgent, systemic need to put large sums of money into the hands of the masses. The government in Washington cannot bring itself to do this. And even if it could the States, most of them run by hardfaced racists and poujadists, refuse to administer unemployment relief except as slush funds and in conjunction with forcing people back to work-on their employers' conditions.

Look at the EU where the Union is crumbling because the German Central Bank will not countenance any climb down from its own version of neo-liberalism which bans any expenditure in the public interest. Italy and Spain are being forced into the same position that Greece has been put into. And France must be next. There is no way that the irresistible force of hundreds of millions of voters demanding a kick start to the economy and immediate relief is not going to crush the immovable object of Thatcherism and Austrian economics.

Neo-liberalism, allied to warmongering in the MIC and dominating the political process through its ownership of both its own party and the Opposition's, has so dominated US life that the kind of reforms that Keynes saw as necessary to preserve the system from itself are unthinkable, regarded as approaching communism and held to be damaging to prospects of recovery.

As to that we shall see.
The current policy of giving money in unlimited quantities to corporations, virtually without condition, and invoicing the working class by pledging future tax revenues to repay the cost of financing, is unsustainable. It doesn't matter whether the general public wishes to pay or not, it can't pay. It can't pay its rent and grocery bill, it can't afford medical care if it gets sick. And the prospects of being able to do these things because enough of those trillions of dollars will trickle down into the labour market to make people prosperous are not very good.

Neo-liberalism, the ideology of capitalist rule, has had its chance. The crisis that we are in is showing how useless it is, how dangerous a society devoted to the profit of a few, rather than the welfare of the many is. With every new twist and turn it demonstrates its inability to govern. It wants to rollback the only measures which can contain the disease; but it is afraid to anger the public further by increasing the number of deaths. It wants to force people back to work but it will not allow them to protect themselves by combining and bargaining over conditions. But it is afraid of the reaction if it sends people back to slaughterhouses to die. And they refuse, perhaps by taking over the plants or burning them down. And to compound the confusion the Trade Unions are, with a few honourable exceptions, already committed to supporting Biden and opposing the reforms their members demand.

The system is in a crisis and it has lost its ability to defuse it. Most revolutionary situations are ended when the ruling class makes concessions, or what are mistaken to be concessions. This 'buys off' some and breaks the unity of the forces arrayed against the rulers. That is what happened in the New Deal. It is what happened in the UK in 1945. It is what the imperialists had to do, all over western europe, to keep the communists from coming to power, when they emerged from the war, in France and Italy, for example, as the most popular and powerful political forces.
FDR was as liberal as anyone else in the States, totally committed to capitalism: he was forced to make the reforms that became the New Deal. He was pushed from the left. From below.
That is the missing element in the current crisis: Trump can get away without providing medicare for all because the people who need it most-the poor and particularly the black and latino minority communities who are dying in thousands because they have no access to medical care, to nurses and doctors- are represented by and support politicians who oppose medicare just as much as the Republicans. Perhaps more. In the Democratic primaries black voters, who support medicare for all policies almost unanimously, voted for Biden who threatens to veto any such reform en masse.

The same situation is to be found in almost all the NATO countries. In the UK the Labour party is back in the hands of the Blairites and has no criticisms to make of the incompetent and callous Tories. In Canada the entire House of Commons, divided into at least five parties is unanimously committed to neo-liberalism. There is nobody to press reforms on the ruling class. The Democrats would not allow Trump, even if he tried, to introduce medicare for all.
What this adds up to- mass unemployment and increasing immiseration with no organised voice to represent tens of millions of desperate workers and their families is the likelihood of a series of explosions, riots, strikes, boycotts and direct actions.
Boilers without safety valves explode.

Posted by: bevin | May 9 2020 21:17 utc | 27


likbez "Looks how easily the USA managed to kick Huawei in the butt and essentially deprive it of the major market."


Huawei has overcome every obstacle. China is putting together the next phase infrastructure in chip design, chip and component manufacture. Intel is only important of you have customers that want Intel. Same with ARM. With the RISC-V architecture this all changes. With a cloud architecture, who cares that it's Intel? With Linux also, there is no way the US can enforce a damn thing. Huawei has the important patents on the best 5G technology. The best super computers are in China and run Linux. BTW, Huawei has had excellent financial performance this whole time.


Posted by: daffyDuct | May 9 2020 21:18 utc | 28

Unmentioned and very related to the current scene:

The US Postal Service , all thru the depression, ran the US Postal Savings accounts as "bank" accounts, free and open to all citizens, without a hiccup. And as a counterforce to all private banking up until Pres. LBJohnson quietly killed the program.

Bring back the hugely safe and successful US Postal Savings accounts!

Posted by: chu teh | May 9 2020 21:21 utc | 29

Likklemore #13

You cited; Ecological problems!! how about the West? Squeaky clean on the ecological front: abandoned oil wells, tar sands, Flint Michigan, State of Washington shall we?

Thank you that was a fine retort. Can I add to your brief mention of Flint. The lead in the water nightmare: there are at least 2000 other US cities with equal or higher lead levels. The consequences? dumb children who will lack the capacity to add numbers or comprehend text in a meaningful way. Lead destroys the future of children leaving some just plain dumb and others with difficult behaviour problems. They do not make good employees, they do not make good soldiers but they are useful for the FBI when they are looking for a scapegoat to boost their numbers.

China sorted that problem out centuries ago as did most of Europe in the past century.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 9 2020 22:27 utc | 30

here is Covid crisis brings new global influence for China? part 4 of helena cobbans 4 part series on this.. i guess she finished writing it some time today...

Posted by: james | May 9 2020 22:27 utc | 31

Trailer Trash #20

YES to that. IMF is the imperialist tool of enslavement. It is the entry point for private capital hoarders to prise loose the fabric of social cohesion and turn the threads into rope to bind the people to repay national debt. What did Joe Biden do in Ukraine? He arranged US and IMF loans to the government, stole a larger chunk of the deposit through his son and other vectors via the Burisma board etc as he slinked off back home. Then tried the same in China where he was perhaps ensnared in a compromise sting. In all cases the public repays the debt to the IMF or USA.

The IMF employs connivers in the service of global private finance. Some might call them super-smart but 'criminally smart' would be a better term.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 9 2020 22:39 utc | 32

The Fed is just following the Congressional mandate of supporting the people who fund our political system.

It should be clear that the stock market doesn't care about Main Street when you see it still going up with massive levels of unemployment.

MMT states that the Fed can create these funds that are handed out to business by the trillions but that is not what MMT 'policy' would want.

Most MMT people are actually against handouts to people in the form of a basic guaranteed income.

A major cornerstone of MMT policy though is a Job Guarantee. In times like these they would very much like to see employment supported by these government funds. Not only the basic job pool of a minimum wage job but also supporting more highly paid skilled employment such as supervising infrastructure projects etc.

MMT is more concerned with resources than money per se. It doesn't help to have money if people aren't making stuff, providing food and services etc.

Posted by: financial matters | May 9 2020 22:43 utc | 33

bevin #28

Boilers without safety valves explode.

Nailed it! The entire edifice is trembling and there could be a cascade of change. Time will tell.

Certainly the trolls have been unleashed here and elsewhere it seems.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 9 2020 22:47 utc | 34

Well Jesse Ventura is not gonna shake the foundations with the Green Party seeing he has withdrawn.

What now? will the USA stagger over a cliff into oblivion or can it find a decent champion in the coming months?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 9 2020 23:20 utc | 35

"The level of corruption inherent in the current setup (first adopted in Soviet NEP -- New Economic Policy) is tremendous, as the party has absolute political power and controls the major economic and financial areas while the entrepreneurs try to bribe state officials to get the leverage and/or enrich themselves at the state expense or bypass the bureaucratic limitations/inefficiencies imposed by the state, or offload some costs. So mafia style relationship between party officials and entrepreneurs is not an aberration, it is a norm. And periodic "purges" of corrupt Party officials do not solve the problem. Ecological problems in China are just one side effect of this."

As many noted, corruption in USA is in some sense smaller, because a lot of corrupted activities are legalized. Sorry for pasting a large quote from NYT

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Ms. Kelly, an aide to Mr. Christie, wrote in an email to officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, called the communication “an admirably concise email.”

She went on to write that “the evidence the jury heard no doubt shows wrongdoing — deception, corruption, abuse of power.”

“But the federal fraud statutes at issue do not criminalize all such conduct,” she wrote. “Under settled precedent, the officials could violate those laws only if an object of their dishonesty was to obtain the Port Authority’s money or property.”

And, she wrote, “the realignment of the toll lanes was an exercise of regulatory power — something this court has already held fails to meet the statutes’ property requirement.”

It is not the first time that the justices have shown their skepticism of public corruption cases. In 2016, it unanimously overturned the conviction of Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia who was accused of accepting luxury products, loans and vacations from a business executive in return for arranging meetings and urging underlings to consider the executive’s requests.
--------------------
A quarter of American GDP goes for defense and health care. Both areas are a veritable swamp of greed, rapacious overpricing, peddling unneeded products etc. And it is not like the remaining 75% is an oasis of honesty. An average terminal cancer patient has a better percentage of healthy cells.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 9 2020 23:20 utc | 36

uncle t @ 31
Thank you for the shoutout and additional input on topic. Some commenters are adhere the "we're exceptional" -

How many are aware?
Flint, Michigan and Hanford, Washington. Hanford nuclear waste 1987-2020 an area of 580 square miles [1,500 square kms]. In 2020, the Cleanup plan still not a priority. "During the Cold War, Hanford produced about two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal, resulting in the nation’s largest collection of highly toxic radioactive waste."

Russia, China, Iran, Russia, China. Sadly there will not be a cease-fire anytime soon. In the midst of a global health crisis -

This is sick, pardon the pun.
=========

Posted by: Likklemore | May 9 2020 23:56 utc | 37

"The recovery of nations from the effects of the disease will be considerably more long-drawn-out, and complex."

That first chart, the blue and red one, has nothing to do with real economic "recovery of nations," since it charts the real rate of return on investments not actual economic recovery, which would be measured by GNP growth, wage growth, or something similar.

So what the chart uses as its measure is profits on investments. Dumb, but makes total sense from the big bank, investor perspective. Take it as more evidence of the George Carlin rule: "They don't give a f#ck about you."

Posted by: fairleft | May 10 2020 0:18 utc | 38

Feb 2020, WSJ published "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia" Walter Russell Mead and China retaliated expelled three WSJ reporters from China.... US counter retaliated imposing limited China's journalists in USA and just yesterday".... fresh visa restrictions on Chinese journalists as media again finds itself a target"

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3083654/us-imposes-fresh-visa-restrictions-chinese-journalists-media

Tit-for-tat "Ninety day limits on Chinese citizens are latest in series of tit-for-tat measures targeting reporters and news outlets from Washington and Beijing"

"New York Times Beijing bureau chief Chris Buckley (Australian) became latest foreign reporter forced to leave country on Friday"

My opinion’s China ultimate will win. Why? Most if not majority Chinese News Media reporters, anchors and presenters in the USA uses, locals (Americans) WHITE, Asians or Black reporters. CGTN productions in three countries, Beijing, Washington, D.C., and Nairobi Kenya not sure they have a production studio in UK.

Posted by: JC | May 10 2020 0:58 utc | 39

The irony of Jesse Ventura withdrawing from the Greens candidate selection process because he says he would have to leave his work and lose his health insurance. Odd that he called it that way and even more intriguing that he calls the Green Party for zero health insurance cover for candidates to contest the highest office in USA.

Now what is the Green Party policy on Health Care for all?

Perhaps Jesse is positioning for something else - perhaps not.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 10 2020 1:06 utc | 40

fairleft @ May10 0:18:

That first chart, the blue and red one, has nothing to do with real economic "recovery of nations," since it charts the real rate of return on investments not actual economic recovery, which would be measured by GNP growth, wage growth, or something similar.

Modern economic measures didn't start until relatively recently. A statistically meaningful measure of the effect of pandemics (which are infrequent) requires using data that is available. "Natural Interest" can do that.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

What's interesting (and scary) about this chart is that wars bring inflation/expansion and pandemics bring deflation/recession. Judging from this chart, a government might be inclined to counter the economic effects of the pandemic with a war.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2020 1:20 utc | 41

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2020 1:20 utc | 43

Nope, "Natural Interest" can't do that. It's a measure of investor profit, not a measure of the economy. GNP or GDP or wage growth or similar measure economic prosperity.

After the Spanish Flu:

"The economy grew 42% during the 1920s, and the United States produced almost half the world's output because World War I destroyed most of Europe. New construction almost doubled, from $6.7 billion to $10.1 billion. Aside from the economic recession of 1920-21, when by some estimates unemployment rose to 11.7%, for the most part, unemployment in the 1920s never rose above the natural rate of around 4%."

Posted by: fairleft | May 10 2020 2:14 utc | 42

All US taxpayers will be pole-axed by the Lower Manhattan sickness for the coming years: https://wallstreetonparade.com/2020/05/congress-sets-up-taxpayers-to-eat-454-billion-of-wall-streets-losses-where-is-the-outrage/
All quickly rubber stamped by Washington's Congress & Senate herds of course.

Posted by: Antonym | May 10 2020 2:49 utc | 43

fairleft: It's a measure of investor profit

No. It's a theoretical construct that estimates where interest rates would be if markets were balanced so that the economy has maximum production without shortages that would raise prices and thus increase inflation.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2020 3:03 utc | 44

@bevin | May 9 2020 21:17 utc | 28

>The capitalists have painted themselves into a corner. There is no way out from this crisis which does not
> involve the end of fifty years of neo-liberalism (and two centuries of the liberal Political Economy).

I thought the same in 2008. Did not happen.

> Neo-liberalism, allied to warmongering in the MIC and dominating the political process through its ownership
> of both its own party and the Opposition's, has so dominated US life that the kind of reforms that Keynes saw
> as necessary to preserve the system from itself are unthinkable.

That's true but neoliberalism evolved in different direction: Trumpism ("national neoliberalism") is essentially neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization. Domestically it looks more and more like a unique "Americanized" flavor of neofascism. The latter historically proved to be a resilient social system (Spain)

> The current policy of giving money in unlimited quantities to corporations, virtually without condition,
> and invoicing the working class by pledging future tax revenues to repay the cost of financing, is unsustainable.

OK. But what is the countervailing force ? There is none. By definition creating a viable political opposition in a national security state is impossible. Note that the USSR crumbled only when KGB changed sides. And that Nazi Germany did not crumbed until Soviets took Berlin, and, despite all the misery of the last year of war, there were fierce fight for Berlin (and heavy losses for Soviets)

> Neo-liberalism, the ideology of capitalist rule, has had its chance. The crisis that we are in
> is showing how useless it is, how dangerous a society devoted to the profit of a few, rather than the welfare
> of the many is. With every new twist and turn it demonstrates its inability to govern.

Neoliberalism will most probably survive COVID-19 epidemic like it survived the crisis of 2008. You can argue whether quarantine was necessary or not and about the level of incompetence of Trump administration, but you can't deny that the measures taken by the USA government somewhat softened the blow and the social system remains intact.

Again, there is no viable countervailing force to MIC and financial oligarchy, and the two party system is very resilient and essentially guarantee that the internal political situation will stay this way. Looks like only external shocks or disintegration of the country under the pressure from far right nationalists can crumble this system.

> What this adds up to- mass unemployment and increasing immiseration with no organised voice to represent tens
> of millions of desperate workers and their families is the likelihood of a series of explosions, riots,
> strikes, boycotts and direct actions.

In the USA the family of three can survive when each of the adults earn just $10 per hour (which means income around $40K a year). Real misery is reserved mostly to single mothers and unemployed. You can't compare the situation in the USA to the situation in "neoliberalized" xUSSR countries where it is really about physical survival and large percentage of population live of ~$2 a day. Do we see riots in those countries ?

> There is nobody to press reforms on the ruling class

Now you are on something.

Posted by: likbez | May 10 2020 3:51 utc | 45

it's interesting to me how there can be many interesting ideas expressed in a post and yet some will want to negate the post for this or the other reason.. i suppose it's human nature... if michael hudson had written a special post to moa, i am sure some would pan that too, lol... funny enough helen mentions michael hudson in a positive light in her post as well.. so helen had the gall to play along with the data on the economic numbers for usa verses china, instead of challenging the validity of them... if she had went into a tirade on the world bank and the imf, it would have pleased more of the posters... yes, the world bank and imf are a part of the problem and it is doubtful they are going to go away any time soon... what does the venerated michael hudson suggest here?? china and russia are both a part of the imf system... why are they being duped? lol.... probably because they also recognize they have to work within this system until such time as it will become obvious it is no longer relevant..

again, i think it is a really worthwhile article helen has written and it does articulate the problem the usa finds itself in.. covid has not helped the usa or western system of governance any as i see it, but has put it in a bad way... i encourage others to read the article part 4 in her series that i linked to @ 32...

@28 bevin.. thanks... good rant and commentary..

Posted by: james | May 10 2020 4:00 utc | 46

by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2020 3:03 utc | 49

You seem to be bamboozled by a word salad. 'Interest' is the profit a lender makes by loaning money. Low interest rates are 'bad' for lenders, for Helena Cobban, and for the Federal Reserve economic historians who made that chart. A low natural interest rate is an idiotic guide to how well or not well an economy is doing, unless you are a lender.

Posted by: fairleft | May 10 2020 4:47 utc | 47


James says "there can be many interesting ideas expressed in a post and yet some will want to negate the post for this or the other reason".
Yep that is what makes at least 90% of the debates at moa(most of which are merely exercises in contradiction) so tiresome.

Someone makes a post that contains one or more interesting & thought provoking notions, but next thing you see is a post from some lightweight criticising the original poster for some perceived 'sin' or for being guilty of faulty thinking about some irrelevancy. In this case a data source.
If the OP begins to respond by rationally pointing out why that particular fact/resource/line of thinking/publication was used, the whinger will respond by pointing out some other alleged problem in the O.P.'s reply.
I have long ago come to the conclusion that there is no means of addressing a whiner's complaint because it isn't the real issue. The real issue is the whiner's need to get one up on another poster.
Yje issue becomes much worse should one post anything that conflicts with the groupthink of the MoA zeitgeist.
There are a few issues I consider important but which I choose not to post about any longer. Few if any responses are worth considering, those free of ad hominems, merely repeat the accepted wisdom without offering any sort of counter argument.
I cannot for the life of me comprehend why anyone who considers themself a 'critical thinker' would accept a contrarian, but totally binary world.
where the bulldust purveyed in the west about our political systems is torn away then slapped straight on those who 'the west' considers despicable.

It is crazy because if such thinking were ever able to cause a change, such an uncritical acceptance of strangers & the steps a society must take to function fairly, would be a case of outta the frypan into the fire.

Posted by: A User | May 10 2020 6:02 utc | 48

I tend to ignore academic articles contrasting 21st Century pandemics with those in predominantly agrarian economies centuries ago. They are interesting in their own right but not prescriptive in any way unless you are obsessed with Labour Theory of Value and Ricardian Rent Theory. That the global economy is in deep trouble was evident in 2019 and it is now enduring a step-change down into the abyss. The frantic 2008 policy of propping up Asset (Debt) prices with easy liquidity through Bank Money now meets the reality that Main Street is being poleaxed even more than hitherto.

Hospital chains in USA are in the hands of private equity as are Care Homes and whole swathes of infrastructure. Where PE does not hold the equity, management has simply leveraged to the hilt as at Boeing. Using Debt to fund Share Buybacks is the biggest waste of capital and puts business in run-off like a Mutual Fund. In the time Covid-19 has been in the Media most Western governments could have set up a Manufacturing Facility to produce PPE to any specified design. It is not like starting a space program.

The truth is that Politics is full of lawyers - nice schools, nice universities, nice offices with the highest-tech product being a PC and a Webcam. In the days when military service was combat related rather than pen pushing and degree chasing, and people actually knew how trucking functioned and machines ran in factories - it was evident how the command system worked from desk to shop-floor.

Today it is all Windbaggery.

Failure is too well rewarded and Success easily wiped from the Doers by the Talkers.

They wondered if Wuhan was China's "Chernobyl Moment" - Gorbachev said it was Chernobyl that destroyed the USSR costing 35% GDP - in fact it is the Chernobyl for The Western Societal Model. After all, Wall Street should be able to fix this situation - Masters of The Universe - they are where the Physics grads go to program trading systems - that is where the talented are sucked into the Brave New World.

Why hasn't Wall Street solved it. What has Jamie Dimon done - he is always ready with comments

Time to Re-Engineer these Societies towards Substance and away from Speculation

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | May 10 2020 7:57 utc | 49

re #44, #47

The real profit from lending money in a fractional reserve, fiat ponzi scam comes from the capital portion of the repayments. Why is it that banker bonuses kept coming while interest rates crept ever lower? Why haven't banks been going broke left, right and centre?

THAT is the dirty little secret that needs it's moment at centre stage in the full glare of the spotlights. Fortunately for the bankers the media are loath to let that little secret get too far out of the bag.

Given how long they have been avoiding talking about the subject, one could be forgiven for thinking they were somehow benefiting from the scam, but being paid exorbitant salaries for simply talking to a camera lense while wearing greasepaint and nice clothes takes such a lot of skill, especially while uttering complete nonsense and endless lies./sarc

Posted by: eagle eye | May 10 2020 8:25 utc | 50

"... it not because I approve of its racist depiction of Americans as babies"

What?!?

There are literally thousands of comic strip cartoons every day in Western media deploying Americans as infantile. They are all racist?

Sadiq Khan allowed a giant plastic baby doll depicting Trump in diapers/nappies to be inflated and blown around London when Trump last visited. So I assume that was "racist" behaviour by the London mayor too?!

Welcome to an upside down I guess. Jeez....

Posted by: Skeletor | May 10 2020 8:33 utc | 51

This lock down stupidity needs to end now.

i wonder if the average age of our government was say 30, do you think they would have chosen to lock down the country? No.. Its because the average age of our government is more like 68.. We are sacrificing ourselves to protect the old, the least productive part of our society.
Im 33, i have had the virus, it was mild.i have had worse colds. Im running out of money! unlike pensioners who get there cash regardless i need to earn it. Furthermore the pension these people currently draw i will never see, we realise now that pensions as they were cannot be sustained, but yet they still have them. If they are like my grandparents they retired over 20 years ago.. 2/3 of my life, and have drawn private/public pensions since, they consume the vast majority of the NHS resources so they can stay alive another day and continue drawing pensions. The old people of my country also own the majority of the property, i rent my house of a couple in there 70s, i pay them over £1000 per month to live here. i cannot afford to buy.

When i do get a little bit of work at the moment i head out to find the roads and shops populated with fucking pensioners, all driving around in there stupid tall and narrow cars doing 40mph in a 60 oblivious to the world and economy that is around them paying them their pensions and protect them.

my attitude is simple.. if you dont want to catch it, dont go out.. no need to lockdown everybody, just the ones who fear this.. like you B. Its my right to live or die as i chose, not under the kosh of the fucking gray mafia.

ive already given up following the 'rules' fuck em all.

Posted by: jack lockwood | May 10 2020 9:36 utc | 52

@likbez - you obviously did not read the article by Helena Cobbin, or most likely you do not like her thoroughly researched conclusions, i.e. that USA's health infrastructure is a broken piece of shit, and that China's much more robust health system did an FAR better job of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. But right wing asshat neoliberals who hate China, such as yourself cannot accept the grim realities playing out right now before everybody's eyes in USA, as its citizens are only "#1" in terms of COVID-19 infection and morbidity. Keep praying to that giant portrait of Ronald Reagan on your fireplace mantel for Earthly release. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later :-D

Posted by: deschutes | May 10 2020 9:43 utc | 53

"Our outcomes are similar to the state of Pennsylvania, where the median age of death from COVID-19 is 84 years old. The few younger patients who died all had significant preexisting conditions. Very few children were infected and none died. Minorities in our communities fared equally as well as others, but we know that this is not the case nationally. In sum, this is a disease of the elderly, sick and poor. ...

"COVID-19 is a disease that ravages those with preexisting conditions – whether it be immunosenescence of aging or the social determinants of health. We can manage society in the presence of this pathogen if we focus on these preexisting conditions.

"What we cannot do, is extended social isolation. Humans are social beings, and we are already seeing the adverse mental health consequences of loneliness, and that is before the much greater effects of economic devastation take hold on the human condition."

- Dr. Steven Shapiro, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center chief medical and scientific officer

https://inside.upmc.com/shapiro-economy-roundtable/

Posted by: fairleft | May 10 2020 10:05 utc | 54

likbez | May 10 2020 3:51 utc | 45

Excellent points. The neoliberal hell will not stop unless there is a powerful countervailing force. Probably will need to come from outside.

No idea why deschutes at 53 decided to call you a 'right wing asshat neoliberal'. Weird.

Posted by: fairleft | May 10 2020 10:10 utc | 55

@ Paul Greenwood | May 10 2020 7:57 utc | 49

Time to Re-Engineer these Societies towards Substance and away from Speculation

I wholeheartedly agree with almost all of your post. Almost, because to me the economic problems have been evident not since 2019 or 2008 but since before the turn of the millemium.

Also, I am somewhat pesimistic about the options for re-engineering society. The decay is not only pervasive in politics, but has thoroughly affected all layers of management in both private companies and public instutions.

Remember how the "management" fad started in the 1980's, that is when the drastic turn away from substance was set in motion. I do not doubt that it had been in planning for much longer, but that is the time I reckon it really hit the streets.

Posted by: Lurk | May 10 2020 11:04 utc | 56

The baby in the drawing has a lock of orange blond hair on his crown therefore that depicts Trump and it's not racist.

I have been stating that business should restart with people older than 60 and people with proven underlying conditions not returning to work yet and schools should reopen. However, very strict distancing and house to house social restrictions should be enforced during this time until next Spring or Summer. Reopening this way would help to spread herd immunity during the summer among healthier people and help to keep the economy from crashing completely.

However, now I'm gobsmacked by news that some children in the U.S. and Britain are coming down with Kawasaki disease and TSS symptoms and there have been deaths reported.

If these symptoms are definitively linked to Covid, then this is terrible news, but there is no way society can hold on in total lockdown with the economy in free fall.

There must be a sense of proportion: reopen business with strict social guidelines and restrictions, and hold off all types of gatherings and mass social gatherings as well.

This is an imperative right now if we are to survive this: back to work, but with strict containment.

This must happen now, or we are all doomed.

Posted by: Circe | May 10 2020 11:07 utc | 57

One more thing: whomever tries to defraud Covid relief to personally enrich themselves now while there is death, suffering, and need (and people should be assigned to investigate this), such individuals should not only be fined and forced to pay back whatever they defraud, but a certain amount of jail time should be imposed. Whomever, is younger, able and can work must return to work. Period.

Posted by: Circe | May 10 2020 11:23 utc | 58

@ jack lockwood | May 10 2020 9:36 utc | 52

At least you make a honest and clear case for unfettered narcissism.

You cannot lay all of the blame with your grandparents for the fact that your parents have been uncritically agreeing to the stripmining of society, something that has been going on since long before you were born. They were all into it, even you agree implicitly. You do not seem to even know about the concept of solidarity, because in your time, you have never witnessed any of it.

When your grandparents were your age, it was the norm that savings were made for pensions. Ask yourself what has happened since then? Your parents' savings were stolen while they were distracted and bamboozled with artificially inflated asset prices. Where are your savings from your pop-up job in the gig economy?

As to your complaints about sluggish elderly drivers, look at you. Egocentric moron.

Posted by: Lurk | May 10 2020 11:30 utc | 59

Gita Gopinath, the super-smart Director of the IMF’s Research Department,

Pretty near stopped reading right there. IMF and World Bank are primary tools of imposing empire on the rest of the world. There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to any of their predictions, except to keep up with what is this week's propaganda.
Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

Exactly. Fatal error, that one. Overall, this is at core an article that uses neoliberalism (read: banking) as its foundation. Why are the measures of "economic health" based on interest rates? Why no better sources than the San Francisco FED and the IMF? Why this obscene fawning to IMF debt-prostitutes and political genocide-mongers?

MoA has really changed its spots recently. So much so, I decided to reread the "Peek on Syria" article to look more closely at its style:

First of all, Syria in the title, but the article starts elsewhere, and takes until the 9th paragraph to get to Syria, and even then only 5 very short paragraphs about Syria. If there were no other questions I would not notice anything - but it does not particularly compellingly have the flavour of B's writing, and seems a little bland. In the article as a whole, the English language seems a little out of character for B, with very few and rather tiny grammatical errors - not compellingly so, but enough to be less than reassuring.

[Iraq] will have to borrow a lot of money most likely from the IMF. The money may come with U.S. conditions.

Hmm. Iraq has a big pile of problems on its hands, but the way the "answer" is worded seems rather USA-flavoured, as though Iraq borrowing from the IMF is even remotely viable politically, given that would automatically make its other political problems far more intractible. Does not sound like a "Bernhard" statement to me. may come with U.S. conditions.??? Is that what is commonly referred to as an "understatement"?

Overall, no strong conclusions can be drawn, but considering that "Peek" article is the only non-Covid article amongst the last 13 articles and open threads [since 28th April], it is disappointingly bland and unconvincing. As several readers have pointed out, B's Covid analyses have been markedly different in tone from earlier articles, and disturbingly fawning to the MSM narratives and to elitist narratives. The number of articles deferential to the NYT recently has been quite astonishing ... and now even deferential to the IMF!

B lives alone, as far as I know. Is there an MoA regular in Germany who knows B personally? Please give him a telephone call and ask if he is alright.

Posted by: BM | May 10 2020 11:37 utc | 60

Posted by: Circe | May 10 2020 11:07 utc | 57 "people with proven underlying conditions not returning to work yet"

You mean the...
diabetics (34.2 million, 26.8 million diagnosed, and 7.3 million undiagnosed)
obese (35 million men and 35 million women); overweight (99 million - 45 million women and 54 million men)
asthma (25 million; 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children)
chronic bronchitis (9.0 million; 3.6%)
emphysema (3.8 million; 1.5%)
heart disease (30.3 million; 12.1%)
hypertension (77.9 million - 1 out of every 3; 33.2%)
kidney disease (6.0 million; 2.4%)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 10 2020 12:03 utc | 61

Pretty easy to spot the tattoo-sleeved, cranial-pierced, hipster baristas with no productive skills in here as they are manically demanding that everyone else go to work. After all, they cannot go back to slinging idiot-proof pre-measured lattes until real working people are out and about, so they shriek for everyone else to go back to normal.

But isn't the current situation just a huge basket of opportunities for real bold entrepreneurs? If one is some hero type like the guy above who has "given up following the 'rules'", then the marketplaces are theirs for the taking, what with all of the competition shut down. If one wants the capitalists' economy to be "re-opened", then they need to be like the fabled entrepreneurs that worked for their wealth and take the initiative oneself instead of demanding that others do it for them.

Or are the whiners demanding that the economy be "re-opened" really just kids wishing their parents would go back to work because that is who actually pays the rent on their hipster apartments?

Something these individuals will have to confront is that things are never "going back to normal". A new normal is being born, and it ain't very normal.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 10 2020 12:21 utc | 62

Boris Johnson says - - - ‘’Stay alert’’ This country needs lerts.
I say ‘don’t be a lert’
It’s a faite accompli !
Lock down worked to a limited degree, dispite the government’s dragging their feet, always doing the right thing a few months to late.
Lockdown failed for the above reason it was deliberately sabotaged .
End lockdown now and the mortality rate will increase tenfold.
The point is this whole debate here is wasted time.
They want to kill you, they will kill you. Lockdown or no lockdown.
Becouse that’s what the Israeli govenment want. Hence the lobby groups, Epstein ! Boris will do what he is told to do.
Sorry there is no good news in this comment, there is no plan.
Stay safe stay healthy, go down fighting. And to hell with their economy !
MOA appears to be the front line of the battle now, many people have been tricked and fooled.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 10 2020 12:41 utc | 63

@61

Because Americans' dietary habits like drinking a pound of soda every day on a per capita basis, while eating everything stuffed full with corn screams healthy. (sarcasm)

Posted by: JW | May 10 2020 12:43 utc | 64

I confess that I did not read very much of this article this a.m., but the first thing that struck me is the comparison of China and the US. IMO, it is like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. The US is not China. It is not anything like China. For one thing, we can vote (your opinion of the validity of this notwitstanding). The people of China cannot vote. They do not even have the illusion of choice. In the US we can go where we wish, live where we wish, move all around the country if we wish without telling any of our government representatives anything about it. In China, from what I understand, everyone is tied to their place of birth. They may live in another city but any big events in their life refer back to that spot; that is their residence. When I lived in China, as a foreigner, if I left the country and returned I had to go to the police station with my landlord and passport and get papers stamped. So did the citizens of China. They would be in the police station with their "family book", registering some move. What? Well, okay, but we in the US do not have to do that (unless one is a registered sexual predator). I used to say, "the Chinese love to micro-manage". Our government representatives, for whom we vote, as the Chinese do not, do not require that we go to the police station with out family book and register some geographic move we made. It is just a different ballgame.

Posted by: lizzie dw | May 10 2020 12:50 utc | 65

"This [real workers going back to work for their bosses' profits] must happen now, or we are all doomed."

I really laughed at that.

What is doomed is the American empire. It will take a few years for that doom to play out, but history books will likely put the date for the demise of the empire back in March.

The burger-flipping servant economy isn't coming back, and it will be decades before America can rebuild a significant manufacturing economy. Get used to this "Greater Depression" because it will be with us a while, particularly after the next couple waves of the covid hit.

Hint: If you don't have a big 75" wall screen TV yet and want one, you might want to make that investment before the "decoupling" goes any further. They will cost a year or two salary afterwards.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 10 2020 12:50 utc | 66

"In the US we can go where we wish, live where we wish, move all around the country if we wish without telling any of our government representatives anything about it."

Holy sh~t! Has someone been living under a rock since their brains were entirely successfully washed back in the 1950s? Are there really people so profoundly and shockingly ignorant as to still believe that nonsense in this day and age?

I am stunned by the outrageous stupidity.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 10 2020 13:02 utc | 67

I would repeat that comparisons like lockdown/no-lockdown and Denmark/Sweden can be misleading because the causes of the spread of the virus and the measures to prevent, and to take care of the diagnosed and sick are complex. For example, the methods of treating old people, do they stay with families, and if not, how is the assistance and care organized, had huge impact. How many tests are performed? What happens to the people tested positively? What are the sanitization measures? How about masks and protective measures by health care providers?

I know that USA screwed up a lot on simple, low tech measures, to a large extend because the political system is seriously incapable, a pre-existing condition which is perhaps more acute under the current Administration and "divided government". So-called health care infrastructure is bloated and should be sufficient with some easy to do augmentation.

In the case of Russia and Belarus, the methods seem very similar, the outcomes are so-so but still much better than in Western Europe and North America, and very similar to each other. Belarus skipped the lockdown. Partly because of the mentality of the leader, "work is the best medicine", partly because unlike Russia, they do not have the financial reserves to do it. Finland can borrow with credit rating and access to international banking, Belarus not so much.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 10 2020 13:28 utc | 68

Rio de Janeiro do not have any beds available.
Numbers will rise.

Posted by: Zico the Musketeer | May 10 2020 13:37 utc | 69

I've forgot to mention, full mandatory lockdown is being considered.

Posted by: Zico the Musketeer | May 10 2020 13:40 utc | 70

BM | May 10 2020 11:37 utc on "Peek on Syria".

[Iraq] will have to borrow a lot of money most likely from the IMF. The money may come with U.S. conditions.

BM: Hmm. Iraq has a big pile of problems on its hands, but the way the "answer" is worded seems rather USA-flavoured, as though Iraq borrowing from the IMF is even remotely viable politically, given that would automatically make its other political problems far more intractible. Does not sound like a "Bernhard" statement to me. may come with U.S. conditions.??? Is that what is commonly referred to as an "understatement"?

Piotr: Actually, this is a HUGE blunder in the article. I have only one data point: Trump administration threatened to freeze 35 billions on Iraqi funds in American banks if Iraq completes the expulsion of American forces. One f...d up thing in Iraq is the failure of restoring electricity production, and the dependence on Iranian electricity and Iranian gas for the power station. As we know, it is much cheaper to build power stations that run on natural gas than on crude or coal, and the fuel costs are lower, so it seems that Americans blocked the most economic solutions to the problem. And as a bonus (for Americans), the failures in electricity supplies were a major motivation in riots that caused government crisis.

This there is no problem with IMF borrowing money to Iraq or not, but the direct dependency on USA that can give the access to Iraq's money or not. Extremely colonial dependency, without using "international tools" like IMF.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 10 2020 13:46 utc | 71

...
B lives alone, as far as I know. Is there an MoA regular in Germany who knows B personally? Please give him a telephone call and ask if he is alright.
Posted by: BM | May 10 2020 11:37 utc | 60

Having been a student of writing style since I was 7 or 8 years old (more than 60 years), I can assure you with complete confidence that the b who composed the Syria post you objected to is the same b who was scripting MoA posts in 2010/2011. He has never, and would never, write the sort of reverse-engineered (conclusion first > evidence after) long-winded drivel you just wasted space on.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 10 2020 13:55 utc | 72

New infections on rise in Germany just days after its leaders loosened social restrictions

The Western nations lifting or loosening their forms of lockdown are clearly doing that because they can't take it anymore, in opposition to really flattening the curve.

My guess is Germany has a very powerful petite bourgeoisie, which was able to exert enough political pressure on its government to prematurely lift its restrictions. Also, Germany still has an imperialistic interest in the geopolitical game (i.e. keeping the EU together), hence it is naturally more inclined to lift its restrictions and "go back to business" sooner than the rest.

--//--

@ Posted by: lizzie dw | May 10 2020 12:50 utc | 67

If I offered you to choose any place to live in the USA, would you choose to live exactly where you live now?

There is no freedom of movement in capitalism (or "liberal democracy", if that makes you feel better). The difference is that, in capitalism, movement is restricted by the price of land (rent), instead of direct State coercion.

Yes, China has the hukou system, which restricts in some aspects movement of people. But it was always intended to be temporary, and is being gradually and inexorably relaxed. Today, it is almost non-existent. It will disappear, as the consensus in the CCP is that it is a living fossil. When China's urbanization is complete, it is expected to be rid of.

--//--

@ Posted by: lizzie dw | May 10 2020 12:50 utc | 67

Wait, what?!

I don't know in which universe you live, but in my universe (which is the real world) China do have free and universal elections. Yes, the ultimate leader (nowadays, Xi Jinping) is not directly elected - but so isn't Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, whatever guy is governing Spain or any other parliamentary democracy.

Another difference in Chinese democracy that many westerners think is weird is that China has only one viable political party - the CCP. However, it is simply the case that the CCP has fused with China's electoral system, which means anybody can affiliate to the CCP and dispute local, regional and then national elections. Xi Jinping's father, for example, was a victim of the Cultural Revolution, and was grown up in a poor distant agrarian village and still manage to become the most powerful man in China. If that's not meritocracy, I don't know what it is.

Posted by: vk | May 10 2020 14:34 utc | 73

@lizzie dw

I'd rather live in a functional country governed by grownups that I didn't vote for, than a dysfunctional country governed by an overgrown drooling manchild or by a greed-maddened warmongering Wall St. buckwhore that I maybe did vote for.

If making Americans register with the local police when they move from one part of the country to another could somehow magically stop y'all from endlessly finding another country that absolutely needs to be bombed to rubble and have its citizens slaughtered, I'd do it tomorrow.

Posted by: Stonky | May 10 2020 14:55 utc | 74

Stonky | May 10 2020 14:55 utc | 74 (making register)
Automatic license plate reader network with cops everywhere in US...yes, the precision has latency, but that's the case always...and one is obliged now to notify the State of your address and change of address for ID and Driver's license...

This is to say that making Americans register with the fuzz has been in place for many years.

The bombs still fall, Friend. Sorry.

Posted by: Walter | May 10 2020 16:09 utc | 75

@ 45 likbez... good commentary... thanks... i am curious if bevin has a response to your comments..

@ 48 a user... thanks.. your perspective is helpful.. i am quite capable of being confrontational, but generally it doesn't pan out at a place like moa or on the internet.. so much nuance is lost in this format.. i am getting fairly tired of the line '' it isn't the same b' and shit like this...i see it as more of a reflection of the poster saying this then anything about b.. yeah, b had a fall and hit his head and he just hasn't told us, lol... really?? this is my best attempt at humour this morning - not very good, i'll admit...

@ 49 paul greenwood.. good comments.. i found your comment "Gorbachev said it was Chernobyl that destroyed the USSR costing 35% GDP" and how covid is like this for the west an interesting parallel here... on speaking of jamie dimon, here is a quote from feb 25th 2020 -"I had this nightmare that somehow in Davos, all of us who went there got it, and then we all left and spread it," Dimon said Tuesday at the bank's annual investor meeting. "The only good news from that is that it might have just killed the elite." - at the time - "The number of coronavirus cases has topped more than 80,000 across the world. There have been 2,700 deaths, with the vast majority in mainland China." link here..

on april 6th this is what he had to say "Dimon expects a "bad recession," he wrote in the letter released Monday, saying that in the most adverse scenario, gross domestic product could plunge at a 35% annual rate in the second quarter and that a downturn would last through the rest of the year. The unemployment rate would spike as high as 14% in this environment.
But Dimon added that "this scenario is quite severe and, we hope, unlikely." link here.. i'd be curious from an update from him a little over a month later...

Posted by: james | May 10 2020 16:25 utc | 76

likbez@45
2008 was a different sort of crisis. It was possible for many people to pretend that nothing was happening and that life would go on. The immediate changes were few.
This is different, it is more like 1929, already unemployment levels are at 1931 levels and some. But the key point is that the ruling class is incapable of taking the very small steps it needs to consolidate its position. Instead it is already trying to take advantage of the crisis to screw the poor: instead of medicare for all we are going to see healthcare coverage for millions fewer; families which have long been, barely, able to navigate the system are going to have to throw up their hands in despair- "the kids need to go to the dentist, but we have no insurance, no money, no work..."

Spanish fascism, by the way, was only preserved, in the face of massive popular disillusion, by the United States as a part of the politics of which Gladio was a part. The alternative to Franco was socialism or communism and, just as in Italy and France, the Empire was not going to allow that. Instead they kept Franco in power, based US troops in the country and ensured that the economy was well supplied with capital. Don't blame the Spanish for Franco, everyone thought he was finished in 1944, blame the US government. And of course HMG.

"Real misery is reserved mostly to single mothers and unemployed."
And there are, what?, 30 million currently unemployed. We are not talking here of demoralised victims who are used to their fates but of people whose 'careers' have been interrupted, suddenly. Hundreds of thousands of them aspiring millionaires, Warren Buffets in ovo and tomorrow's Bezos and Gates.

"You can't compare the situation in the USA to the situation in "neoliberalized" xUSSR countries where it is really about physical survival and large percentage of population live of ~$2 a day. Do we see riots in those countries?"

What we see is massive migrations-the countries that you talk of have been losing population for years. And that is going to have to stop too. The safety valves are all being closed down. Just as the dreams are being ended.

Posted by: bevin | May 10 2020 17:06 utc | 77

fairleft @ May10 4:47

You seem to be bamboozled by a word salad. 'Interest' is the profit a lender makes by loaning money.

"Natural interest" is not a market rate of interest. It's an estimation that reflects economic capacity.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 10 2020 17:41 utc | 78

...(Many Covid-19 deaths may not have been recorded as such.) i stopped there. as so many death attributed to covid 19 are not related to it. period. two month into that lockdown, like anybody else in europe, and two month of reading, thinking and so on : that covid19 BS kills 99% of cognitive capacities of 99% of the people. i'm as scared of it as i am of the terrorist threat : not one second. same narrative, same BS.

Posted by: alain | May 10 2020 19:25 utc | 79

Posted by: jack lockwood | May 10 2020 9:36 utc | 52

Wow, you got covid AND you lost your job? Man that sucks, what a bummer... what do you do?

Posted by: hopehely | May 10 2020 19:30 utc | 80

uncle tungsten says:
The irony of Jesse Ventura withdrawing from the Greens candidate selection process because he says he would have to leave his work and lose his health insurance
_____________________________________________________
I think Jesse is just being honest
I know that is unheard of by anyone running for office.

There is a lot about Jesse that rubs me the wrong way but I believe he's got integrity. And he knows it. And he knows that is the only thing that he got that has ever really worked. So he just says what he is thinking.

Posted by: jinn | May 10 2020 22:38 utc | 81

wonderful to read Helena Cobban here; I read her since she was at Christian Science Monitor and she is one of the best I have known.
thanks for the article and it will need a while to digest it.

Posted by: bystander 04 | May 10 2020 23:08 utc | 82

people pole axed by a disease have not had the correct treatment

the only treatments that are shown to work are Hydroxychloroquine protocol and plasma

These are being used more in some countries than others

Posted by: brian | May 11 2020 2:52 utc | 83

ridiculous social control enforced by police in Belgium.
theyd do better to quarantine the sick not the healthy, who will become sick
https://nationalpost.com/news/world/could-you-pick-four-lockdown-friends-belgians-must-make-tough-choices-as-restrictions-ease
#lockdown #COVID1984

Posted by: brian | May 11 2020 3:13 utc | 84

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