|Friday 03rd of April 2020
22-MAR-2020 :: COVID-19 and a Rolling Sudden Stop #COVID19
We are moving from a World of Hyper Connectedness to a World of
Quarantine. A complete Quarantine is the only way to vaccine this
c21st World of ours
#Coronavirus "has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century
pathogen we've been worried about." - @BillGates
The Price of Crude Oil is perfectly correlated to the #COVID19 Sudden Stop
"Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without work, life for free. Oil is a resource that anaesthetises thought, blurs vision, corrupts." - Ryszard Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs
“Oil kindles extraordinary emotions and hopes, since oil is above all
a great temptation. It is the temptation of ease, wealth, strength,
fortune, power. It is a filthy, foul-smelling liquid that squirts
obligingly up into the air and falls back to earth as a rustling
shower of money.”― Ryszard Kapuściński, Shah of Shahs
30 JUL 12 :: The Polana The Jewel in the @SerenaHotels Crown
I hail from Mombasa and the Indian Ocean has always held an endless
fascination for me. I recall dimly lit dhows in Tudor Creek in
Later I read Felipe Fernández-Armesto who said “The precocity of the
Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange
is one of the glaring facts of history” made possible by the
“reversible escalator” of the monsoons.
The ‘reversible escalator’ of the monsoons allowed this cultural
exchange from Goa to Maputo, from Oman to Zanzibar.
In fact, my received history includes the narrative of a grandfather
coming to East Africa as a stowaway on a dhow, more than a century
And a few weeks before, I had met Mahmud Jan Mohamed and he told me,
“You should try the Polana and Maputo.”
I kept thinking to myself that Maputo was the furthest reach of the
reversible escalator. The land of the most flavoursome tiger prawns.
Stockholm, Are You Listening? Why Don DeLillo deserves the @NobelPrize
Do you find it as obvious as I do that Don DeLillo richly deserves to
receive the Nobel Prize in Literature? And right away, as in this
I edited one of his supreme masterpieces, Libra, an exalting
experience, an editor’s dream. For now, though, let’s focus on the
major justifications for a DeLillo Nobel. The case rests, I believe,
on four propositions.
he is the least programmatic and most intuitive and sentence-driven
major writer of our time. Nevertheless the end result has been
encyclopedic and epic. Those intuitions and sentences have led him
deeper into key and previously uncharted regions of our psyche than
any other contemporary novelist has gone, and into subject matter
that, taken together, has yielded a panorama of American experience.
A partial list of his subjects and preoccupations includes cinema and
the power of the image over that of the word; the Cold War and nuclear
anxiety; our obsession with sports; technology and its often sinister
ubiquity (see: “The Airborne Toxic Event”); the shattering effect of
the Kennedy assassination and its never-answered questions; the eerily
similar effects of the 9/11 attacks; the derangements of celebrity and
fame; the comic and disturbing undercurrents of “ordinary”
middle-class life; the fevers of finance capital; the delusional
plutocratic quest for a technological fix for the problem of
mortality; and, proleptically and persistently, the inextricable
centrality of terrorism to the way Americans regard themselves and the
wider world. As he famously put it in Mao II, it is now gunmen and
bombmakers, not novelists, who shape our narratives and “make raids on
human consciousness.” This is as striking and inarguable an insight as
any novelist of our time has offered us.
The second argument for a DeLillo Nobel rests on the astonishing and
unmatched string of four midcareer masterpieces: White Noise (1985),
Libra (1988), Mao II (1991), and Underworld (1997). These novels are
permanently lodged in the record of American literary greatness. Their
tropes and sentences and cadences have radiated out into wider culture
in a dozen different ways and in a fashion that haute lit rarely does.
Pafko at the Wall. Hitler Studies. The Men in Mylex. Seven seconds
that broke the back of the American century. All plots tend to move
deathward. Men in small rooms. The future belongs to crowds. Active
shooter. (Oops, my mistake. That just sounds like a DeLillo coinage,
as so much of our contemporary jargon now does.) I have been rereading
White Noise for the first time since its publication, and it is so
brilliant—so controlled and terrifying and original and death-haunted
and just so damned funny—that I was affirmed anew in my conviction
that it is the key post-’60s novel, even more so than Gravity’s
Rainbow. American thought and speech has never been rendered in such
telling registers of irony and self-reflexiveness—the inner monologue
of our time. Every sentence bears the unique stamp of its writer. It
represents better than any other literary text just how apocalyptic
dread has become the inescapable ground note of everyday life.
DeLillo “has been constructing ever more haunting geographies of
American strangeness, capturing with his restless, acute, and
unflagging intelligence the floating moods of a country unsure, it
seems, of almost everything besides its own dread and uncertainty.” At
the end of that interview I asked him about the paradox that in his
own work the figure of the writer is often presented as someone
afflicted with almost comic futility and powerlessness. This is, I
noted, far from the way he himself is regarded or how he regards
himself. DeLillo’s response was one I have never forgotten, and it is
The writer has lost a great deal of his influence, and he is situated
now, if anywhere, on the margins of the culture. But isn’t this where
he belongs? How could it be any other way? And in my personal view
this is a perfect place to observe what’s happening at the dead center
of things. . . . I am not particularly distressed by the state of
fiction or the role of the writer. The more marginal, perhaps
ultimately the more trenchant and observant and finally necessary
05-DEC-2016:: "We have a deviate, Tomahawk." "We copy. There's a voice." "We have gross oscillation here"
Don DeLillo, who is a prophetic 21st writer, writes as follows in one
of his short stories:
The specialist is monitoring data on his mission console when a voice
breaks in, “a voice that carried with it a strange and unspecifiable
He checks in with his flight-dynamics and conceptual- paradigm
officers at Colorado Command:
“We have a deviate, Tomahawk.”
“We copy. There’s a voice.”
“We have gross oscillation here.”
“There’s some interference. I have gone redundant but I’m not sure
“We are clearing an outframe to locate source.”
“Thank you, Colorado.”
“It is probably just selective noise. You are negative red on the
“It was a voice,” I told them.
“We have just received an affirm on selective noise... We will
correct, Tomahawk. In the meantime, advise you to stay redundant.”
The voice, in contrast to Colorado’s metallic pidgin, is a melange of
repartee, laughter, and song, with a “quality of purest, sweetest
“Somehow we are picking up signals from radio programmes of 40, 50, 60
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. - Albert Camus, The Plague
“In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up
in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved
A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell
ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that
will pass away.
But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it
is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they
have taken no precautions.”
"For a long while God gazed down on this town wth eyes of compassion;
but He grew weary of waiting, His eternal hope was too long deferred,
& now He has turned His face away from us. & so, God's light
withdrawn, we walk in darkness, in the thick darkness of this plague."
Why this crisis is a turning point in history @NewStatesman
Law & Politics
The deserted streets will fill again, and we will leave our screen-lit
burrows blinking with relief. But the world will be different from how
we imagined it in what we thought were normal times. This is not a
temporary rupture in an otherwise stable equilibrium: the crisis
through which we are living is a turning point in history.
The era of peak globalisation is over. An economic system that relied
on worldwide production and long supply chains is morphing into one
that will be less interconnected. A way of life driven by unceasing
mobility is shuddering to a stop. Our lives are going to be more
physically constrained and more virtual than they were. A more
fragmented world is coming into being that in some ways may be more
The once formidable British state is being rapidly reinvented, and on
a scale not seen before. Acting with emergency powers authorised by
parliament, the government has tossed economic orthodoxy to the winds.
Savaged by years of imbecilic austerity, the NHS – like the armed
forces, police, prisons, fire service, care workers and cleaners – has
its back to the wall. But with the noble dedication of its workers,
the virus will be held at bay. Our political system will survive
intact. Not many countries will be so fortunate. Governments
everywhere are struggling through the narrow passage between
suppressing the virus and crashing the economy. Many will stumble and
In the view of the future to which progressive thinkers cling, the
future is an embellished version of the recent past. No doubt this
helps them preserve some semblance of sanity. It also undermines what
is now our most vital attribute: the ability to adapt and fashion
different ways of life. The task ahead is to build economies and
societies that are more durable, and more humanly habitable, than
those that were exposed to the anarchy of the global market.
does not mean a shift to small-scale localism. Human numbers are too
large for local self-sufficiency to be viable, and most of humankind
is not willing to return to the small, closed communities of a more
distant past. But the hyperglobalisation of the last few decades is
not coming back either. The virus has exposed fatal weaknesses in the
economic system that was patched up after the 2008 financial crisis.
Liberal capitalism is bust.
With all its talk of freedom and choice, liberalism was in practice
the experiment of dissolving traditional sources of social cohesion
and political legitimacy and replacing them with the promise of rising
material living standards. This experiment has now run its course.
Suppressing the virus necessitates an economic shutdown that can only
be temporary, but when the economy restarts, it will be in a world
where governments act to curb the global market.
A situation in which so many of the world’s essential medical supplies
originate in China – or any other single country – will not be
tolerated. Production in these and other sensitive areas will be
re-shored as a matter of national security. The notion that a country
such as Britain could phase out farming and depend on imports for food
will be dismissed as the nonsense it always has been. The airline
industry will shrink as people travel less. Harder borders are going
to be an enduring feature of the global landscape. A narrow goal of
economic efficiency will no longer be practicable for governments.
The question is, what will replace rising material living standards as
the basis of society? One answer green thinkers have given is what
John Stuart Mill in his Principles of Political Economy (1848) called
a “stationary-state economy”. Expanding production and consumption
would no longer be an overriding goal, and the increase in human
numbers curbed. Unlike most liberals today, Mill recognised the danger
of overpopulation. A world filled with human beings, he wrote, would
be one without “flowery wastes” and wildlife. He also understood the
dangers of central planning. The stationary state would be a market
economy in which competition is encouraged. Technological innovation
would continue, along with improvements in the art of living.
In many ways this is an appealing vision, but it is also unreal. There
is no world authority to enforce an end to growth, just as there is
none to fight the virus. Contrary to the progressive mantra, recently
repeated by Gordon Brown, global problems do not always have global
solutions. Geopolitical divisions preclude anything like world
government. If one existed, existing states would compete to control
it. The belief that this crisis can be solved by an unprecedented
outbreak of international cooperation is magical thinking in its
Of course economic expansion is not indefinitely sustainable. For one
thing, it can only worsen climate change and turn the planet into a
garbage dump. But with highly uneven living standards, still rising
human numbers and intensifying geopolitical rivalries, zero growth is
also unsustainable. If the limits of growth are eventually accepted,
it will be because governments make the protection of their citizens
their most important objective. Whether democratic or authoritarian,
states that do not meet this Hobbesian test will fail.
The pandemic has abruptly accelerated geopolitical change. Combined
with the collapse in oil prices, the uncontrolled spread of the virus
in Iran could destabilise its theocratic regime. With revenues
plunging, Saudi Arabia is also at risk. No doubt many will wish both
of them good riddance. But there can be no assurance that a meltdown
in the Gulf will produce anything other than a long period of chaos.
Despite years of talk about diversifying, these regimes are still
hostages of oil and even if the price recovers somewhat, the economic
hit of the global shutdown will be devastating.
In contrast, the advance of East Asia will surely continue. The most
successful responses to the epidemic thus far have been in Taiwan,
South Korea and Singapore. It is hard to believe their cultural
traditions, which focus on collective well-being more than personal
autonomy, have not played a role in their success. They have also
resisted the cult of the minimal state. It will not be surprising if
they adjust to de-globalisation better than many Western countries.
China’s position is more complex. Given its record of cover-ups and
opaque statistics, its performance during the pandemic is hard to
assess. Certainly it is not a model any democracy could or should
emulate. As the new NHS Nightingale shows, it is not only
authoritarian regimes that can build hospitals in two weeks. No one
knows the full human costs of the Chinese shutdown. Even so, Xi
Jinping’s regime looks to have benefited from the pandemic. The virus
has provided a rationale for expanding the surveillance state and
introducing even stronger political control. Instead of wasting the
crisis, Xi is using it to expand the country’s influence. China is
inserting itself in place of the EU by assisting distressed national
governments, such as Italy. Many of the masks and testing kits it has
supplied have proved to be faulty, but the fact seems not to have
dented Beijing’s propaganda campaign.
The EU has responded to the crisis by revealing its essential
weakness. Few ideas are so scorned by higher minds than sovereignty.
In practice it signifies the capacity to execute a comprehensive,
coordinated and flexible emergency plan of the kind being implemented
in the UK and other countries. The measures that have already been
taken are larger than any implemented in the Second World War. In
their most important respects they are also the opposite of what was
done then, when the British population was mobilised as never before,
and unemployment fell dramatically. Today, aside from those in
essential services, Britain’s workers have been demobilised. If it
goes on for many months, the shutdown will demand an even larger
socialisation of the economy.
Whether the desiccated neoliberal structures of the EU can do anything
like this is doubtful. Hitherto sacrosanct rules have been torn up by
the European Central Bank’s bond buying programme and relaxing limits
on state aid to industry. But the resistance to fiscal burden-sharing
of northern European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands may
block the way to rescuing Italy – a country too big to be crushed like
Greece, but possibly also too costly to save. As the Italian prime
minister, Giuseppe Conte said in March: “If Europe does not rise to
this unprecedented challenge, the whole European structure loses its
raison d’être for the people.” The Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic
has been blunter and more realistic: “European solidarity does not
exist… that was a fairy tale. The only country that can help us in
this hard situation is the People’s Republic of China. To the rest of
them, thanks for nothing.”
The EU’s fundamental flaw is that it is incapable of discharging the
protective functions of a state. The break-up of the eurozone has been
predicted so often that it may seem unthinkable. Yet under the
stresses they face today, the disintegration of European institutions
is not unrealistic. Free movement has already been shut down. Turkish
president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent blackmailing of the EU by
threatening to allow migrants to pass through his borders, and the
endgame in Syria’s Idlib province, could lead to hundreds of
thousands, even millions, of refugees fleeing to Europe. (It is hard
to see what social distancing might mean in huge, overcrowded and
insanitary refugee camps.) Another migrant crisis in conjunction with
pressure on the dysfunctional euro could prove fatal.
If the EU survives, it may be as something like the Holy Roman empire
in its later years, a phantom that lingers on for generations while
power is exercised elsewhere. Vitally necessary decisions are already
being taken by nation states. Since the political centre is no longer
a leading force and with much of the left wedded to the failed
European project, many governments will be dominated by the far right.
An increasing influence on the EU will come from Russia. In the
struggle with the Saudis that triggered the oil price collapse in
March 2020, Putin has played the stronger hand. Whereas for the Saudis
the fiscal break-even level – the price needed to pay for public
services and keep the state solvent – is around $80 a barrel, for
Russia it may be less than half that. At the same time Putin is
consolidating Russia’s position as an energy power. The Nord Stream
offshore pipelines that run through the Baltics secure reliable
supplies of natural gas to Europe. By the same token they lock Europe
into dependency on Russia and enable it to use energy as a political
weapon. With Europe balkanised, Russia, too, looks set to expand its
sphere of influence. Like China it is stepping in to replace the
faltering EU, flying in doctors and equipment to Italy.
In the US, Donald Trump plainly considers refloating the economy more
important than containing the virus. A 1929-style stock market slide
and unemployment levels worse than those in the 1930s could pose an
existential threat to his presidency. James Bullard, the CEO of the
Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, has suggested the American jobless
rate could reach 30 per cent – higher than in the Great Depression. On
the other hand, with the US’s decentralised system of government; a
ruinously expensive healthcare system and tens of millions uninsured;
a colossal prison population, of which many are old and infirm; and
cities with sizeable numbers of homeless people and an already large
opioid epidemic; curtailing the shutdown could mean the virus
spreading uncontrollably, with devastating effects. (Trump is not
alone in taking this risk. Sweden has not so far imposed anything like
the lockdown in force in other countries.)
Unlike the British programme, Trump’s $2trn stimulus plan is mostly
another corporate bailout. Yet if polls are to be believed increasing
numbers of Americans approve of his handling of the epidemic. What if
Trump emerges from this catastrophe with the support of an American
Whether or not he retains his hold on power, the US’s position in the
world has changed irreversibly. What is fast unravelling is not only
the hyperglobalisation of recent decades but the global order set in
place at the end of the Second World War. Puncturing an imaginary
equilibrium, the virus has hastened a process of disintegration that
has been under way for many years.
In his seminal Plagues and Peoples the Chicago historian William H
It is always possible that some hitherto obscure parasitic organism
may escape its accustomed ecological niche and expose the dense human
populations that have become so conspicuous a feature of the Earth to
some fresh and perchance devastating mortality.
It is not yet known how Covid-19 escaped its niche, though there is a
suspicion that Wuhan’s “wet markets”, where wildlife is sold, may have
played a role. In 1976, when McNeill’s book was first published, the
destruction of the habitats of exotic species was nowhere near as far
gone as it is today. As globalisation has advanced, so has the risk of
infectious diseases spreading. The Spanish Flu of 1918-20 became a
global pandemic in a world without mass air transportation. Commenting
on how plagues have been understood by historians, McNeill observed:
“For them as for others, occasional disastrous outbreaks of infectious
disease remained sudden and unpredictable interruptions of the norm,
essentially beyond historical explanation.” Many later studies have
come to similar conclusions.
Yet the notion persists that pandemics are blips rather than an
integral part of history. Lying behind this is the belief that humans
are no longer part of the natural world and can create an autonomous
ecosystem, separate from the rest of the biosphere. Covid-19 is
telling them they cannot. It is only by using science that we can
defend ourselves against this pestilence. Mass antibody tests and a
vaccine will be crucial. But permanent changes in how we live will
have to be made if we are to be less vulnerable in future.
The texture of everyday life is already altered. A sense of fragility
is everywhere. It is not only society that feels shaky. So does the
human position in the world. Viral images reveal human absence in
different ways. Wild boars are roaming in the towns of northern Italy,
while in Lopburi in Thailand gangs of monkeys no longer fed by
tourists are fighting in the streets. Inhuman beauty and a fierce
struggle for life have sprung up in cities emptied by the virus.
As a number of commentators have noted, a post-apocalyptic future of
the kind projected in the fiction of JG Ballard has become our present
reality. But it is important to understand what this “apocalypse”
reveals. For Ballard, human societies were stage props that could be
knocked over at any moment. Norms that seemed built into human nature
vanished when you left the theatre. The most harrowing of Ballard’s
experiences as a child in 1940s Shanghai were not in the prison camp,
where many inmates were steadfast and kindly in their treatment of
others. A resourceful and venturesome boy, Ballard enjoyed much of his
time there. It was when the camp collapsed as the war drew to a close,
he told me, that he witnessed the worst examples of ruthless
selfishness and motiveless cruelty.
The lesson he learnt was that these were not world-ending events. What
is commonly described as an apocalypse is the normal course of
history. Many are left with lasting traumas. But the human animal is
too sturdy and too versatile to be broken by these upheavals. Life
goes on, if differently than before. Those who talk of this as a
Ballardian moment have not noticed how human beings adjust, and even
find fulfilment, in the extreme situations he portrays.
Technology will help us adapt in our present extremity. Physical
mobility can be reduced by shifting many of our activities into
cyberspace. Offices, schools, universities, GP surgeries and other
work centres are likely to change permanently. Virtual communities set
up during the epidemic have enabled people to get to know one another
better than they ever did before.
There will be celebrations as the pandemic recedes, but there may be
no clear point when the threat of infection is over. Many people may
migrate to online environments like those in Second Life, a virtual
world where people meet, trade and interact in bodies and worlds of
their choosing. Other adaptations may be uncomfortable for moralists.
Online pornography will likely boom, and much internet dating may
consist of erotic exchanges that never end in a meeting of bodies.
Augmented reality technology may be used to simulate fleshly
encounters and virtual sex could soon be normalised. Whether this is a
move towards the good life may not be the most useful question to ask.
Cyberspace relies on an infrastructure that can be damaged or
destroyed by war or natural disaster. The internet allows us to avoid
the isolation that plagues have brought in the past. It cannot enable
human beings to escape their mortal flesh, or avoid the ironies of
What the virus is telling us is not only that progress is reversible –
a fact even progressives seem to have grasped – but that it can be
self-undermining. To take the most obvious example, globalisation
produced some major benefits – millions have been lifted out of
poverty. This achievement is now under threat. Globalisation begat the
de-globalisation that is now under way.
As the prospect of ever-rising living standards fades, other sources
of authority and legitimacy are re-emerging. Liberal or socialist, the
progressive mind detests national identity with passionate intensity.
There is plenty in history to show how it can be misused. But the
nation state is increasingly the most powerful force driving
large-scale action. Dealing with the virus requires a collective
effort that will not be mobilised for the sake of universal humanity.
Altruism has limits just as much as growth. There will be examples of
extraordinary selflessness before the worst of the crisis is over. In
Britain an over half-million strong volunteer army has signed up to
assist the NHS. But it would be unwise to rely on human sympathy alone
to get us through. Kindness to strangers is so precious that it must
This is where the protective state comes in. At its core, the British
state has always been Hobbesian. Peace and strong government have been
the overriding priorities. At the same time this Hobbesian state has
mostly rested on consent, particularly in times of national emergency.
Being shielded from danger has trumped freedom from interference by
How much of their freedom people will want back when the pandemic has
peaked is an open question. They show little taste for the enforced
solidarity of socialism, but they may happily accept a regime of
bio-surveillance for the sake of better protection of their health.
Digging ourselves out of the pit will demand more state intervention
not less, and of a highly inventive kind. Governments will have to do
a lot more in underwriting scientific research and technological
innovation. Though the state may not always be larger its influence
will be pervasive, and by old-world standards more intrusive.
Post-liberal government will be the norm for the foreseeable future.
It is only by recognising the frailties of liberal societies that
their most essential values can be preserved. Along with fairness they
include individual liberty, which as well as being worthwhile in
itself is a necessary check on government. But those who believe
personal autonomy is the innermost human need betray an ignorance of
psychology, not least their own. For practically everyone, security
and belonging are as important, often more so. Liberalism was, in
effect, a systematic denial of this fact.
An advantage of quarantine is that it can be used to think afresh.
Clearing the mind of clutter and thinking how to live in an altered
world is the task at hand. For those of us who are not serving on the
front line, this should be enough for the duration.
V, L or 'Nike Swoosh'? Economists Debate Shape of Global Recovery @economics
Economists are serving up a menu of alphabet soup in trying to
forecast the world economy’s recovery from what is set to be the
deepest recession since at least 2009 and perhaps since World War II.
A V-shape in which the rebound is as swift as the slump was the
favored trajectory early on, but now more are starting to worry about
The most pessimistic are looking at global growth tracing an L or a W
-- or a more mangled path that bears little resemblance to Roman
“There is a complex relationship between the path of the virus, the
effectiveness of virus containment and economic support policies, and
the behavior of the private sector,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. economists
led by Bruce Kasman said in a report to clients this week.
“Consequently, there is enormous uncertainty about the path ahead,
bringing to mind the adage ‘forecasting is hard, especially the
Analysts including Macquarie Group Ltd.’s Larry Hu, however, note that
a lot will have to go right for those kinds of upbeat numbers to
sustain themselves in China -- especially with prospects for a
second-quarter global recession, further spread of the virus,
worsening deflation, and domestic property market woes.
The virus lingers into June and social distancing rules take time to
be loosened. While there is a release of pent-up demand driven in part
by the stimulus of governments and central banks, consumers don’t race
back to shops or restaurants.
That’s because factories and other workplaces take time to return to
full capacity and not every job lost in the crisis is won back.
Some need to repay debts they built up during the crisis. Trade also
remains sluggish as each trading partner is slow to pick up. The
recovery eventually materializes, but not until late 2020 or beyond.
Looking at China’s trajectory and its impact on South Korea and the
rest of the region, Chong Hoon Park, head of Korea economic research
at Standard Chartered Bank Korea Ltd., favors a ‘U’ over a ‘V.’
“I think the Chinese slowdown is going to drag on,” he said on
Bloomberg Television Wednesday. “I’m not that optimistic we’re going
to see a V-shaped recovery, with the Chinese recovery unclear.”
The virus runs into the second half of the year, forcing social
distancing rules to remain beyond June.
Even if it fades before the summer, there is still a chance the
recession will be lengthier than anticipated or the recovery will be
In this scenario, people continue to cut back on services spending --
opting to keep with their home theaters -- and resist taking holidays.
Debts built up before or during the crisis become hard to pay down,
setting off a spiral of default and business bankruptcies that create
fears of a credit crunch. Equity markets fail to bounce.
Governments have to deliver more stimulus after their previous efforts
failed to spark demand, but that takes time to arrange.
At Nomura Holdings, economists led by Rob Subbaraman say an L-shape
would be their worst-case scenario in the U.S. Erik Britton of Fathom
Consulting says a prolonged slump will be hard to avoid if Covid-19
returned, meaning the outlook is either a ‘V’ or an ‘L’ with not much
The virus returns. Academics at Imperial College in London have warned
that if efforts to control the pandemic are loosened prematurely, the
virus could stage a comeback.
That would mean the re-imposing of restrictions, reigniting
uncertainty and forcing the closing of workplaces and service
providers again. The result is a recovery followed by a lurch back
“The key risk to our baseline V forecast is a potential return of the
virus in the third quarter,” said Keith Wade, chief economist at
Schroder Investement Management Ltd.
“In economic terms this would lead to a double-dip recession with
businesses closing again as restrictions on movement are re-imposed.”
Tick-Shape Also known as the “Nike swoosh,”
this scenario allows for businesses and spending to slowly resume as
limits are eased more carefully than they were introduced.
The level of economic output stays beneath the level of its pre-crisis
trend well into 2021 and there’s a lack of animal spirits as people
remain cautious of over-spending or taking long-distance trips,
especially if they have to deal with debts.
“The sharp downturn will be followed by a slightly flatter upturn that
ultimately goes beyond the pre-coronavirus level of GDP,” Holger
Schmieding and Kallum Pickering, economists at Berenberg Bank, said in
“By and large, we expect GDP to surpass its late-2019 level roughly
two years after the trough.”
Without a vaccine for the coronavirus, we are barreling towards a depression-like downturn that could rival the 1930s, writes @stevelevine
Just weeks after the stock market crashed in 1929, President Herbert
Hoover assured the country that things were already “back to normal,”
Liaquat Ahamed writes in Lords of Finance, his Pulitzer Prize-winning
history of the financial catastrophe.
Five months later, in March 1930, Hoover said the worst would be over
“during the next 60 days.”
When that period ended, he said, “We have passed the worst.”
Eventually, Ahamed writes, “when the facts refused to obey Hoover’s
forecasts, he started to make them up.”
Government agencies were pressed to issue false data. Officials
resigned rather than do so, including the chief of the Bureau of Labor
And we all know how that turned out: The Great Depression.
The problem is more grave than the worst downturns of the past, Sheng
said. “This time round, we are facing an unprecedented health,
economic, financial, social, and geopolitical crisis at the same
time,” he said.
“Worse, no one is emotionally prepared for the rapid escalation and
Until there is a vaccine, any expert who says they can predict an
outcome is misinformed or lying. The only conclusion that is certain
is that the virus and its fallout will not pass any time soon.
23-SEP-2019 : I, therefore, am putting out a "conviction" Buy on Netflix at Friday's closing price of $270.75.
And this brought me to Netflix. Netflix spearheaded a streaming
revolution that changed the way we watch TV and films.
Optimists point to the group’s global reach. It is betting its future
on expansion outside the US, where it has already attracted 60m
Netflix is not a US business, it is a global business. The Majority of
Analysts are in the US and in my opinion, these same Analysts have an
international ‘’blind spot’’
Once Investors appreciate that the Story is an international one and
not a US one anymore, we will see the price ramp to fresh all-time
I, therefore, am putting out a ‘’conviction’’ Buy on Netflix at
Friday’s closing price of $270.75.
2-SEP-2019 :: the China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. #COVID19
China EM Frontier Feedback Loop Phenomenon. This Phenomenon was
positive for the last two decades but has now undergone a Trend
The Fall-out is being experienced as far away as Germany Inc. The ZAR
is the purest proxy for this Phenomenon.
African Countries heavily dependent on China being the main Taker are
also at the bleeding edge of this Phenomenon.
This Pressure Point will not ease soon but will continue to intensify.
2-MAR-2020 :: The #COVID19 and SSA
The First Issue is whether The #CoronaVirus will infect the Continent.
We Know that the #Coronavirus is exponential, non linear and
multiplicative.what exponential disease propagation looks like in the
Real world exponential growth looks like nothing, nothing, nothing ...
then cluster, cluster, cluster ... then BOOM!
That means that, if you are not diagnosing all cases, one death today means 800 true cases today. Tomas Pueyo
This is an issue: You only know the official cases, not the true ones.
But you need to know the true ones. How can you estimate the true
It turns out, there’s a couple of ways. And I have a model for both,
so you can play with the numbers too (direct link to copy of the
First, through deaths. If you have deaths in your region, you can use
that to guess the number of true current cases.
We know approximately how long it takes for that person to go from
catching the virus to dying on average (17.3 days). That means the
person who died on 2/29 in Washington State probably got infected
Then, you know the mortality rate. For this scenario, I’m using 1%
(we’ll discuss later the details). That means that, around 2/12, there
were already around ~100 cases in the area (of which only one ended up
in death 17.3 days later).
Now, use the average doubling time for the coronavirus (time it takes
to double cases, on average). It’s 6.2.
That means that, in the 17 days it took this person to die, the cases
had to multiply by ~8 (=2^(17/6)). That means that, if you are not
diagnosing all cases, one death today means 800 true cases today.