Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Hanging Together

Members of Society,

  The economic crisis now underway is a seemingly infinite string of stressful moments, chained forever into the future, without apparent end. We instinctively recoil from each moment, wanting it to go away, but more stressful moments just keep being there, without respite.
  Everybody had some lockdown, which was completely rejected by many, but that rejection cannot likely withstand the massive second-wave. I expect the massive second wave of infections will come this winter, after virus spreads its seeds throughout populations in the sunny summer months, when viruses don't usually hit people as hard. 
  That is my speculation. I may well be wrong. My speculation won't be exactly right, in any case, and I will live with cognitive dissonance stress night and day. I'll have plenty of company.
  Our owners and masters are in their own power struggle against each other, disagreeing who gets to own what, and how society will proceed into times of less oil, less copper, less lithium, less well-water and so on. They are not just in two groups, I think, but many selfish sides, and none is desperate end exhausted enough to capitulate in the struggle for ownership and power. They are the most insulated from effects of the power struggle caused by expanding debts and contracting real wealth and resources. NONE of them is considering class-capitulation, redistributing most of the "assets" to lower classes, like workers, managers and beggars. Rent collection from "assets" is Their Wealth, Their Power.
 We have to build and work our own support systems. We will soon need them for our survival.

Gilad Atzmon:
​  ​Federal data shows that the nation faces a 13.3 percent unemployment rate. The fortunes of U.S. billionaires increased by $565 billion between March 18 and June 4 while the same 11-week period also saw 42.6 million Americans filing jobless claims. The results are devastating, if hardly a news item: while the American people are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer.
  ​One would have thought that the American Left and progressive political institutions would be the first to be alarmed by these developments. We tend to believe that tempering the rich and their greed, caring for working people and fighting for equal opportunities and justice in general are the Left’s prime concerns.
​  ​The American reality,  however, suggests the opposite. Instead of uniting us in a fierce battle against Wall Street and its broad daylight robbery of what is left of American wealth, the American Left is investing its last drops of  political energy in a ‘race war.’ Instead of committing to the Left’s key ideological values, namely: class struggle that unites us into one angry fist of resistance against this theft and discrimination, and without regard to our race, gender, or sexual orientation, the American Left makes us fight each other.
  ​The  silence of the Left on the current Wall Street “wealth transfers” is hardly an accident.  American Left and Progressive institutions are supported financially and by Wall Street and global financiers. This funding means that, in practice, the American Left  operates as a controlled opposition. It maintains its relevance by sustaining social and racial tensions that draw attention away from Wall Street and its crimes. The so called ‘Left’ is also reluctant to point at  Wall Street and its current theft,  as such criticism, however legitimate,  would immediately be censured as ‘antisemitic’ by the Jewish institutions that have appointed themselves to police Western public discourse.

COVID-19, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter: The Battle for Control of the Internet, Professor Anthony Hall​
​  ​Many observers have noted that the time through which we are living now seems unprecedented. We are all experiencing an amazing convergence of so many monumental developments that combine into a fast-moving narrative. In recent days the focus suddenly shifted from COVID-19 and compulsory vaccines to insurrection and anarchy from within. Suddenly the vaccine czar, Bill Gates, has been swept from the center stage of current events. Suddenly multi-billionaire Gates has been upstaged by multi-billionaire George Soros.
​  ​What is going on? What are the themes of continuity and disjuncture that characterize the strange and consequential sequence of events? What lies up ahead as we leave behind, probably forever, many familiar patterns of life. It seems that everything entered a period of ultra flux beginning in the opening days of 2020 with a US drone strike that martyred General Soleimani.
​  ​One of the unifying themes I seek to emphasize here is the importance of the Internet and the many media that feed into it as the most influential shaper of current events. When are we being played by experts in psyops and deception and when are we dealing with spontaneous developments that could not have been planned or spun to advance predetermined political agendas? What is the role of the Internet?
​  ​Who if anyone is in charge of what does or doesn't get covered on the Internet? Whose version of events will be highlighted and corroborated and thus be allowed to prevail as authoritative? When does a whistleblower become a conspiracy theorist? How does it happen that narratives convenient to advance the agendas of the rich and powerful, of the status quo, so often become reified as if they are true?

​The Illusion of A Rapid US Recovery, James Galbreath​
​  ​The United States has built an economy based on global demand for advanced goods, consumer demand for frills, and ever-growing household and business debts. This economy was in many ways prosperous, and it provided jobs and incomes to many millions. Yet it was a house of cards, and COVID-19 has blown it down.​..​  
​  ​Today, the US produces for the world, mainly advanced investment goods and services, in sectors such as aerospace, information technology, arms, oilfield services, and finance. And it imports far more consumer goods, such as clothing, electronics, cars, and car parts, than it did a half-century ago.
​  ​And whereas cars, televisions, and household appliances drove US consumer demand in the 1960s, a much larger share of domestic spending today goes (or went) to restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts, gyms, salons, coffee shops, and tattoo parlors, as well as college tuition and doctor’s visits. Tens of millions of Americans work in these sectors.
​  ​Finally, American household spending in the 1960s was powered by rising wages and growing home equity. But wages have been largely stagnant since at least 2000, and spending increases since 2010 were powered by rising personal and corporate debts. House values are now stagnant at best, and will likely fall in the months ahead.​..
​  America’s economic plight is structural. It is not simply the consequence of Trump’s incompetence or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s poor political strategy. It reflects systemic changes over 50 years that have created an economy based on global demand for advanced goods, consumer demand for frills, and ever-growing household and business debts. This economy was in many ways prosperous, and it provided jobs and incomes to many millions. Yet it was a house of cards, and COVID-19 has blown it down.
​  ​“Reopen America” is therefore an economic and political fantasy. Incumbent politicians crave a cheery growth rebound, and the depth of the collapse makes possible some attractive short-term numbers. But taking them seriously will merely set the stage for a new round of disillusion. As nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality show, disillusion is America’s one big growth sector right now.  

​There's a Crisis in US Capitalism​  ("Capitalism" doesn't mean what it used to mean, either.)
​  ​Capitalism has always had business cycles. The capitalist enterprises that produce goods and services are distinctively organized around the conflicted relationship of employer and employees and the competitive relationship of markets. These central relationships of capitalism together generate cyclical instability. Wherever capitalism became a society’s economic system over the last three centuries, business cycles recurred every four to seven years. Capitalism has mechanisms to survive its cycles, but they are painful, especially when employers fire employees. Widespread pain (unemployment, bankruptcies, disrupted public finances, etc.) brought the label “crisis” to capitalism’s cyclical downturns. Only on special occasions, and rarely, did the cyclical crises in capitalism become crises of capitalism as a system. That has usually required other non-economic problems (political, cultural, and/or natural) to reach crescendo peaks around the same time as a cyclical economic downturn. Today is a time of crisis both in and of U.S. capitalism.
​  ​U.S. economic policy now focuses on what is already the worst business cycle downturn since the 1929 crash. As data accumulate, it may well prove to be the worst in global capitalism’s entire history. Forty million jobless U.S. workers find incomes lost, savings disappearing and over-indebted family finances worsening.
​  ​Today’s mass unemployment also threatens those still employed, the remaining 120 million members of the U.S. labor force. Mass unemployment always invites employers to cut wages, benefits and working conditions​.

Asymptomatic or minimally-symptomatic spread of coronavirus seems to be extremely common among young, healthy people.​ Most of these guys had not been "sick".​
​  ​A U.S. Navy investigation into the spread of the coronavirus aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier has found that about 60 percent of the roughly 400 sailors tested had antibodies for the virus, three U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday. 

​That's my warning, but what is the alternative? Take vitamin-D, please; 5000 units per day.​ Prepare yourself.
​  ​Coronavirus cases in the United States have been slowly ticking up since the Memorial Day holiday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The coronavirus has now infected nearly 2 million people in the U.S. and has killed at least 111,014, according to Hopkins data.
​  ​Public health specialists warn that a slow burn of infection through the summer could lead to a massive resurgence this fall.

​Public Health Guy​


  1. Good roundup today. It has been obvious for some time to anyone that was not sleeping in their high school physics class, that you cannot run a system based on the need for exponentially increasing energy consumption in the face of declining energy availability. Just how this sucker would blow up wasn't obvious, especially since the masters of finance seemed to be able to always pull another rabbit out of their hat to stave off the inevitable, but as whoever said, what can't go on forever, won't. And what we are watching now is how what can't go on forever is stopping from going on.
    All the diversionary stuff like virus and riots and whatever happens in the future to take our eyes off the sad fact that eternal growth on a finite planet is not possible, the physical universe will keep on playing by its thermodynamic rule book.
    Collapse is chaotic, but the declining energy based collapse is not necessarily obvious. There is no obvious relationship between riots and virus lockdowns and a declining resource budget, but there we have it, nonetheless. When putting a happy face on reality is no longer possible, we can always find something unrelated to blame.
    But as always, after the storm clears, there's something new, not necessarily what we were used to but maybe not such a bad alternative.

    1. You might have been reading Gail Tverberg's blog. I immediately thought of it. This is how she explains things.