The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Protect People, Not Financial Ledgers

Or, as the original title said, “The Real Economy vs. The Fictional Economy.”

You may have heard that the Federal Reserve intends to create a trillion dollars a day for thirty days to support the financial markets.

This is a grim and determined attempt to make sure that at the end of this crisis, the same people control the economy that control it today.

The correct action is mostly legislative: A halt to all mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, and other bills due for the duration of the crisis. Then give a UBI to everyone. Businesses which need to keep running and need help can be given enough money (given, not loaned, not market operations) to continue for the duration. Those that don’t shutter, and their fixed costs like rent, mortgages, loans, etc. are all simply put on hiatus. For the duration that they are not operative, no interest is accrued, etc.

Those businesses which cannot survive on this basis, and which are not needed during the isolation period, are therefore obviously not critical. Let them go bankrupt. The shareholders will be wiped out, the bondholders will become shareholders. That’s how capitalism works.

This may seem unfair, as an epidemic is an act of God, but the industries asking for bailouts are ones that instead of putting aside a rainy day fund, spent all of their profits on stock buybacks, then in many cases also took out loans and made stock buybacks.

Stock buybacks are ostensibly to “return value to shareholders,” but really they are done in such large amounts because executives are granted share options, and they want the price to go up so their shares are worth more. If they wanted to return value to shareholders, they would simply pay dividends or perhaps reinvest. Companies which have been smart, for example Apple, have huge warchests and can survive a long period. Companies like Boeing who thought their job was to enrich their executives and who cares if planes fall out of the sky because they have gone to the cheapest engineers possible, well, they deserve to die. Same is true of Airlines. GE is a shell of itself, and should be allowed to go into receivership.

Companies that are important once isolation is over, and which the government doesn’t want broken up or consolidated can simply be bought up by the government. “If we’re giving you a bailout, you belong to us.” Give it a few years, sell them back for a profit, or keep them if they are natural monopolies.

But let’s move back to the original question of real economies vs. fictional ones. The real economy is the people, the buildings, and the capital equipment. The fictional one is the financial ledgers which determine who owns what and owes what. These are entirely made up by us, by rules we created and we can change those numbers and rules any time we want, as the Federal Reserve is illustrating yet again.

The job is not to preserve the fictional numbers, or to preserve incompetent ownership and control. The job is protect the real economy: people, buildings, and capital equipment.

These are two separate things. As long as the people and the stuff is still there, we can reconstitute the economy any time we decide. So we protect the people first, and the numbers last, if at all.

This crisis is also making clear who actually is important: grocery workers, logistics workers, farmers, utilities workers, people maintaining the internet, doctors, nurses, garbagemen, health assistants, etc.–people who maintain the actual goods and services we need or really, really want up at all times (like the internet).

Most of the work we do, most of the economy, is unnecessary, and a lot of it is filled with people who hate their jobs.

So perhaps this is an opportunity to see what jobs matter, make them into good jobs that people like (because essential jobs should not be done by miserable people), and then look at the other jobs and get rid of the ones that mostly create misery or pollution or goods or services we really don’t need.

This is a chance to see what actually matters, and reorient our society towards that.

More one what that would look like in future articles.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 22, 2020


How to Save the Economy and Not Kill Millions


  1. Ones and zeros, in the ether. What happens when the power goes out?

    Interesting Times, we live in. Mainstay swamp fever of the reich-wing nutballs since at least Nixon has been the Fed – like the IRS purported to be both unconstitutional and contrary to The Founders intent, something we won’t get into here now – just printing money willy-nilly with nothing to back it up. Like flat-earthers, there are still Gold Standard-ers, even silver standard, out there.

    Binary, ones and zeros. This has the potential of being a really good thing. Or not.

  2. Joan

    Eliminating useless/miserable/polluting jobs sounds like a great idea, especially since there are opportunities for very useful jobs in our economy. Plenty of maintenance and construction work to go around if we want to rebuild our infrastructure, or in my hope, create well-insulated buildings with thick walls that have sound protection and high ceilings that make high-density living comfortable and enjoyable. If the issue of sprawling suburbs could be addressed in a good way, I bet that would slow climate change.

    There’s a huge opportunity for medical aides as Boomers become elderly. Old people don’t want to be carted off to a nursing home. I bet literally all of them would choose to stay in their homes and have a part-time or full-time medical aide helping them in their daily life and to maintain their dignity as long as possible. The body breaking down is messy, and dying at home is so much better, and you’d know that aide is being paid well to help you with your diapers, etc.

    Another opportunity for jobs is teachers and assistant teachers. My school district had to handle a population explosion in the area and it was crazy. At my high school, all thirty of the desk chairs would fill up, then the second set of thirty kids would file in and sit on the floor in between the desks. (I guess the Fire Marshall looked the other way?) My teachers generally did their best, and most of them only had associate’s degrees, not bachelor’s. Plenty of jobs would open up if communities decided to put one teacher per five kids, almost like a private tutor. School would feel less like prison that way. Then you would get hopefully a positive adult role model in the child’s life that isn’t their parent, someone they feel they could talk to if they are getting beaten up at home, or someone to show them they have different options in life if one of their parents is a drunk or something.

    There’s so many ways good jobs could be created where people could work with dignity. Just getting the massive global monopolies off our backs would do so much. Local small businesses could create everything a community needs, with local farmers and gardeners and ranchers in the surrounding area, and only the rare item needing to be shipped in from out of town. I remember my father’s hometown used to have a main street full of one-man/woman small businesses: a tailor, a shoemaker, book binder, etc. That was before Walmart moved in just outside of town and ran everyone out of business. Now that whole street is boarded up. Who actually wants to work at a Walmart?

    Sorry for the long comment!

  3. Stirling S Newberry

    I will be blunt:

    1. Stay at home. Not “Let other people stay at home while I go into work.”
    2. Delay mortgage payment and rent. Not “delay mortgages but not rent.”
    3. Start testing everyone. Not “test the rich and everyone can go fuck themselves.”
    4. Remove the President. Not “Rally round the President.”

    Otherwise, things will get ugly. Very ugly. e^x ugly.

  4. Mel

    My fear is that down in town, this is going to take out the nonessential deli, bookstore and sporting goods shop. The two supermarkets, big drug chain, and box retailers will survive. Small capital will get destroyed at the end of the economy where even small amounts of capital are hard to accumulate. When we crawl out of the shelters again, everything that’s left will be inhuman.
    I was trying to work in Craig Murray’s article this morning, but it isn’t happening. . Still, it seems relevant.

  5. anon

    We know what should be done, but is there any hope with the people we have running the show? Trump could have easily invoked the Defense Production Act and he didn’t. If the people in power really wanted it, we could produce the required masks for every health professional in this country this week. This is blatant corruption and a failure in leadership.

    Trump called the virus a hoax. Trump chose to cut a crucial CDC role in China in summer 2019, months before the pandemic started in Wuhan, a role that would have been key to notifying the American people what was happening there at the time. Now he calls COVID-19 the China Virus because he will need a scapegoat – this time the enemy will be Asians instead of Mexicans and Muslims – when everything goes to hell and millions die.

    Everything you have stated will not happen because of the politicians Americans have chosen to elect. They’d rather blame the other than themselves, and so it goes. All we can do at this point is stay safe and protect ourselves and our families. Everything else feels hopeless and out of our hands at this point.

  6. Willy

    It’s hard to get the message out when the consumer livestock has been conditioned to graze quietly and just mind their own business. Nobody worries about the slaughterhouse. Everybody knows that there’s a tipping point (outside of sleeping cattle), where a stampede inevitably happens.

    But I have seen videos where cows happily gather near accordion players. And others where bulls kick the crap out of their owners.

  7. Ivory Bill Woodpecker


  8. Hugh

    I agree. This is a teachable moment, but at the national level no one is teaching and no one is learning. The coronavirus is a clarion call for a national healthcare system, for universal single payer, but the topic is scarcely raised. It exposes the malevolent incompetence of Trump and his Administration, but beyond them the Congress, the political classes, and beyond them, our elites and rich in general.

    As the 2008 financial meltdown showed, our overclasses were malevolent and incompetent then. They have learned nothing since. In fact, it looks like a repeat. Trump and Congress talk a trillion dollar stimulus but it gets real vague who gets it, except probably not that much of it is going to those who really need it. Meanwhile the serious money, tens of trillions, is going through the Fed to the rich and corps.

  9. nihil obstet

    IBW, that’s a real neoliberal cartoon, preaching that all the ordinary people should sit down, shut up, and trust to those with technical skill. It’s what permitted economists with credentials from elite universities to justify the policies that got us where we are now. After all, who else can read the formulas that supposedly define our economies. I could go on with the details of how the cartoon works to say that people’s anger is always silly, but yes, the elites are frustrated now that people are angry at the Fed throwing trillions of dollars at our smug captains of industry.

  10. nihil obstet

    Ian, I look forward to reading your thoughts on the reorientation of our society around the things that matter. The big split between those of us who want a universal basic income and those who want a job guarantee (why not both?) I think comes down to whether people need help spending their time in non-destructive ways. And by “help” I mean having a boss essentially laying out their choices or lack thereof on everything from schedule to specific tasks.

    First question is how do we develop goods and services and provide people access to them. Do we need “jobs”? I’m intrigued with especially the early years of the internet when it seemed that an awful lot was done out of pure interest and commitment. Those who were there, was all that driven by the hope of eventually monetizing the effort, or would people have kept doing it so long as they didn’t have to worry about financial survival? How will organizations form and operate? I’m a big fan of volunteering, but there are precious few organizations that can survive the long haul without a backbone of paid staff, i.e., jobs.

    In short, how do we reimagine our society.

  11. someofparts

    “You may have heard that the Federal Reserve intends to create a trillion dollars a day for thirty days to support the financial markets”

    Hitler is quaint compared to these monsters.

  12. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Soooooo…I guess Blazing Saddles was a neoliberal movie?

  13. There should be no bailout dollars provided directly from the federal government itself. All bailout money should be sent by the federal government to states, and county and municipal governments. The states administer unemployment, and medicare and medicaid, right? That’s where the money needs to go. The  county and municipal governments license local businesses, so they should be the sources restaurants, bars, bookstores, gift shops should look to for a bailout. I think county and municipal governments should get enough federal dollars to hand out two or three months of missed revenues to local businesses, based on the information county and municipal governments should already have from their licensing processes. 

    Keeping it at the state, county and local level I -*- hope -*- will short circuit the corporatists’ intent to loot the Treasury once again.

    Local police and sheriffs should have a handful of their best investigators deputized into federal service to crack down on the corruption in the process. We don’t want entire police and sheriff departments deputized. Fraud experts – such as William Black – can determine what a sufficient number of local federal deputies would be. One for every $10 million? One for every $50 million? Whatever reasonable number, it should work out to 2 or 3 or 4 deputies in small rural counties, and a dozen or score in large urban counties. The bailout should include funding from the federal government passed through to local law enforcement to hire replacements for the deputies, as well as pay them.

    I think such a local approach might also appeal to the right wing. Remember the overwhelming opposition to Hank Paulson’s 2008 bailout proposal was over 90 percent. 

  14. Hugh

    Medicaid is administered through the states. Medicare is Federal.

  15. Hugh

    Hearing more stories that Trump is getting frustrated with Fauci and the healthcare experts because they don’t buy into his happy talk and try to keep their statements more tethered to reality. Apparently, he’s wanting to go back to business as usual. The economy is more important than people. So what if we lose a few million old folks?

  16. Mojave Wolf

    This is a great and very true post. Thank you.

  17. Hugh

    Sorry for the multiple comments. To understand Trump and his actions, it is important to understand his pathology. He is a narcissist. Clinical narcissism is a personality disorder. It is not something you have. It is something you are. A narcissist when confronted with a reality which contradicts or undercuts his/her self-image will simply deny the reality. They will confabulate, say things that are facially false, until this new “adjusted” reality conforms to the image they have of themselves. And they will continue to do this, even if they are directly challenged. They will continue to do this to the point of psychological collapse.

    Trump is often described as a “great counterpuncher.” That too is an aspect of his narcissism. That’s what narcissists do when they and their self image are challenged. They lash out. Diminish others to maintain and justify that all important image of themselves.

    Understand this and you will understand both what Trump has done to this point, that he is never going to “get it,” and that a lot more people are going to die on the altar of this man’s narcissism.

  18. Trinity

    Hugh, thank you for that succinct description of the pathology of narcissists.

    I was raised by one, my mother. You nailed it. The only difference between her and Trump is the scale of the resulting damage.

    Which brings me to my second point. As Tony points out, getting processes operating at the appropriate scale is the ONLY way out of this neoliberal, unrestrained capitalism disaster. If we survive it. If we do not do this, nature will rescale it for us. So far, here in the US, she\’s already winning.

    I\’m old enough to remember the old \”it\’s not nice to fool Mother Nature\” commercials.

  19. @hugh

    “Hearing more stories that Trump is getting frustrated with Fauci and the healthcare experts because they don’t buy into his happy talk and try to keep their statements more tethered to reality. ”

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Sean Hannity had on two doctors, tonight, who were asked about hydroxyquinone + zpac. The first doctor spoke about a new study (I think he said from NY), of the “clinical observation” kind (not double blind placebo controlled), involving hundreds of patients, that showed efficacy. I forget the exact numbers, but I think he said that of the group, you’d normally expect 15 would need intubations, but actually NONE did.

    Dr. Oz has now weighed in, and he also used the phrase “game changer”, which really triggered a lot of Trump haters. Dr. Oz (God bless his heart) has now funded a double blind study of HQ + ZPAC therapy, USING HIS OWN FUNDS.

    While I’m impressed that Oz would step up to the plate, I have to wonder why the hell it was necessary for a private citizen to fund this.

    In any event, on this particular point, I expect history will show that Trump was right. And he will be shown to be correct (or not, as the case will be) within 2 months. The drug combination is said to work within 5-6 days. So, it’s not like some huge ramp-up is needed. According to Oz, the hardest part was getting a hold of the drug.

    Oz will also be on Laura Ingraham’s show, tonight. (It’s already started, as I type this.)

    Trump is a deeply flawed character, and his constant tooting of his own horn, and blatant lying, (such as “nobody could have anticipated this”) is tiresome. But smearing and lying about him serves no good purpose.

  20. Ian Welsh

    The point is larger than hydroxyquinone + zpac, far larger. As for whether those work, we will see.

  21. @ian

    I wasn’t addressing any of your points, only 1 aspect of hugh’s comment.

    I certainly agree that Trump is a narcissist, e.g..

    From my perspective, though, there is one related, salient larger point than Trump guessing right about a drug combo. And that is, the systemic flaws and bias in the medical system.

    Both drugs in question are FDA approved, have good safety record (with appropriate caveats for known side effects) and are CHEAP!

    Ah, but even there the rotten American system shows it’s ugly head. As I recently posted, the price of HQ was about doubled in January, to about 9 bucks a pill. In Africa, Laura Ingraham has paid about 5 cents per pill. So, “cheap” is relative.

  22. Ivory Bill Woodpecker


    In my nearly 57 solar orbits, I have noticed that “Expertise is worthless; amateurs know best” is a widespread article of faith on both ends of the “horseshoe”.


    Benedict Donald can’t allow himself to be removed from office, because that fatuous, illegitmate ruling that “A sitting President cannot be indicted” is the only thing protecting him from being removed from the White House to the Big House.

    THAT is the primary reason why he is prioritizing economic recovery over preserving human lives (which won’t work, as a rampant pandemic will hurt the economy even worse than serious, widespread anti-pandemic measures will), and why he is grasping at quack remedies.

    He is afraid. Good. 😈

  23. Tom

    Report from the front line:

    We’re losing this fight. Contrary to what you been hearing, the young are not spared. Pediatric and Young Adult cases are piling up in the ICUs. In the absent of adequate masks, reduction of viral loads is essential and everyone in public should have a mask of some sort, even a ninja mask/Balaclava/Niqab/Something is better than nothing.

    In my state Hospitals are filling up and medical workers are starting to drop. One of my coworkers has already committed suicide which has caught us all by surprise. At current rates, the entire hospital system will crash and hundred of medical staff will die and thousands taken out of the fight in 3 weeks without extreme measures taken. The Guard has been mobilized and the state “locked” down (with so many exemptions and no real safeguards, it just slows the spread), but I fear the damage is already done as we suffer exponential explosion. I’m getting some sleep and then I’m on a mandate 72 hour rest by my Medical Director who lives out of the station now and travels with us as he tries to get a handle on the outbreak in our area of operations.

    Do us all a favor, and stay home till this virus burns itself out.

  24. Stirling S Newberry

    “US to reopen in weeks”


    “And now it is time for me to relive you, the little people, of your failed and useless lives. We just don’t need so many of you. Go back to work and some of you will catch something you won’t walk away from.”

  25. Ten Bears

    Haven’t you herd, patriotic grandparents should be willing to die for capitalism.

    [Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to Sucker Carson, last night; pun intended]

  26. Hugh

    Ten Bears, we live in a post-irony, post-parody age. People now say things on national TV that in the past even dead drunks would stop short of.

  27. Stirling S Newberry

    Implicantory denial:

    The difference between what Fox New says and what they do:

  28. sglover

    Beyond parody: Bezos is soliciting *donations* to fund sick leave for Amazon employees.

  29. Ché Pasa

    Anything that comes out of this sausage grinder will be top loaded, guaranteed. That’s just the way our governing class and their sponsors think, D or R, it doesn’t matter, they are all devoted to their sponsors’ demands and interests. And in a crisis, their sponsors want MONEY, lots of it, no strings attached, and fast. They’re already getting unlimited amounts from the Fed. They want more. They want it all, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Research the bailouts in 2008 and 2009, and what sort of threats were held over the Congress to toe the line and cough up the money. That was a shit show and so is this.

    “Reopening the country” in the midst of a pandemic is most assuredly a threat.

    Yes, of course, if they don’t get their money, pronto, they will ensure that tons of useless eaters will be sent to the mass graves no doubt being dug as we speak. As the Outbreak spreads among the high and the mighty, even as they retreat to their bunkers, they can and most likely will use their resources to ensure their own survival (so far successful) and further restrict the survival of the Rabble. And that’s just the beginning.

    There will be no debt relief for the masses. There will be at best a modest “bridge check” sent to some of the Rabble to shut them up while the looting intensifies. Our rulers intend to come out of this even more secure than before the Outbreak, and they intend that the Lower Orders be less secure, more dependent and far more submissive.

    It’s a perfect opportunity to monkeywrench their plan, but it won’t happen in Congress, oh my no.

    If monkeywrenching is to be done it will have to come from outside the system. So far, nothing has emerged to take advantage of the opportunity — apart from those selling $2o rolls of toilet paper on Craigslist and $100 bottles of hand sanitizer.

    What a country!

  30. anon

    As this crisis continues, the rich are becoming impatient with the peasants and want us back to work for them. While they have immediate access to testing and beds in their mega mansions, they want the rest of us to return to work for the sake of the economy, even if it means millions of people could die.

    Trump is a sociopath who will feel no guilt whatsoever if millions of people die from lifting shelter in place orders as long as the stock market is healthy again. His wanting the country to return to work asap is my guess for why Dr. Fauci was absent from yesterday’s press conference. Trump will soon replace Dr. Fauci with a quack doctor who won’t correct Trump’s fallacies.

  31. someofparts

    A comment from some twitter feed – a guy says his 76-yr-old grandmother, who has never been radical, says Bernie should declare himself interim president and tell us where to show up to overthrow the government, and they can use her car to get there.

    This morning I’m noticing (thanks to spotlight from Krystal and Saagar) that Biden is hiding out. His staff have to wear masks when they visit. Coming from the man who urged his elderly supporters to congregate at voting centers, this is just repulsive.

    Meanwhile, Bernie, who is as old as Biden, is out there raising money and doing all he can to help the rest of us, putting himself at risk.

    The difference between a maggot and a mensch could not be more obvious.

  32. Nancy M

    Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick should follow his own advice. May I suggest that he publicly self-immolate with great fanfare to show us how it should be done.

  33. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “Trump will soon replace Dr. Fauci with a quack doctor who won’t correct Trump’s fallacies.”

    Well, there is a job opportunity for a certain regular here who sings the praises of drinking bleach… 😈

  34. sglover

    THAT is the primary reason why he is prioritizing economic recovery over preserving human lives (which won’t work, as a rampant pandemic will hurt the economy even worse than serious, widespread anti-pandemic measures will), and why he is grasping at quack remedies.

    Wouldn’t be surprising if it went no further than an idiotic determination to get revenues up at his resorts. Forethought, strategic thinking — it just doesn’t come naturally to a guy who’s bankrupted multiple casinos

  35. different clue


    And it is very revealing of what the Catfood Democratic Party is and what it stands for that it conspired at every level to prevent the mensch from getting nominated so as to install its own maggot instead. Biden is a perfect expression of everything the ClintoBiden Sh*tobamacrat Party is and stands for.

    I hope Sanders keeps running all the way through the Convention. I hope the mensch forces can tear the Democrat Party into two pieces, with Sanders and all the mensches expelled from the party and all the maggots for Clinton, Obama, Biden, Clyburn, Warren etc. staying within the party. Let the maggots make it obvious to all who and what they really are.

  36. sglover

    In any event, on this particular point, I expect history will show that Trump was right. And he will be shown to be correct (or not, as the case will be) within 2 months.

    Wow. Words fail. Are there a lot of people like you?

  37. different clue


    I am not sure, but I believe that Trump has zero authority over whether State Governors can issue partial or total shelter-in-place orders or not. If that is correct, then some at least of the Governors will base their decisions and orders on what various epidemiologists in CDC and elsewhere say is safe.

    And pro-upperclass anti-citizen governors may be more vulnerable to citizen pressure at the state level to base decisions on epidemiology and disease control concepts than Trump would be.

    The next month or so may offer us an interesting Darwin Test. Obviously Trump would like to see vast crowds permitted to assemble so he can have his ego-boosting rallies. If the TrumpAdmin lifts the Federal Level no-crowds-no-gatherings orders and the State Governors are still free to make their own decisions about that, then those majority Red States for magatrumpa can repermit crowds and the Trump fans can all gather at huge rallies and spread new Wuhan-grade outbreaks of NuWu Corona. And majority Blue State Governors can leave their “no gatherings” orders in place. And we can then observe the difference between NuWu Corona development in the different politically-oriented States.

  38. Ché Pasa

    I think I remember seeing somewhere that a goodly percentage of the positive corona virus tests are coming from among the Higher Orders. Their hideyholes, bunkers and resorts in Colorado, Idaho, the Hamptons, Florida, etc. are all infected, and Trump’s own properties are helping to spread the virus among the expensive set. Poor people so far are showing proportionally fewer cases. If it’s true, who’d a thunk, right?

    No wonder Our Rulers are freaking out.

  39. different clue

    Who’d a thunk? I will claim to have thunk something like this when it was first reported as being bad in China. I can’t prove that, of course. But I will make the claim.

    What I remember telling people at the time was that since China is wired into all the UpperClass and OverClass money and power networks of the world, that the power-money NetWorkers would take it from China to all the major money centers and power centers. I predicted to these people at the time that places like Blodgett Mills, New York and Rabbit Bay, Michigan would be among the last places infected, and maybe not infected at all.

    Maybe the highest UpperClasses and the OverClass can all get eachother sick and then all get eachother dead. Then the rest of us can finally have nice things.

  40. “Wow. Words fail. Are there a lot of people like you?”

    According to my mother, there’s nobody quite like me. Perhaps Dr. Oz’s mother would disagree, but I’ve never met the woman, and so, wouldn’t want to speak for her.

    BTW, in 2 months there will be about 60 days. 60 days / 6 days = 10 possible sequential trials.

    One web site I came across supposedly listed studies involving hydroxyquinone in China (exclusively? I don’t remember). Most were in a “recruiting” status. So, maybe to do large studies the ramp up time is prohibitive.

    Fortunately, Dr. Oz is on the case.


    Finally, while I’m not too troubled by animal studies where some get a placebo (maybe I should be troubled), for something like covid-19, if the placebo has no possible therapeutic value, at all, then I would consider such studies grossly immoral. They may be necessary, to placate the guardians of scientific correctness, but you’d never get ME to be a patient in such an experiment. Not when I believe there’s a relatively low risk, but very promising therapy, available.

    If a disease is ‘slow moving’, then I could see such an approach being ethical. Covid-19 is not slow moving. In the movie “The Right Stuff”, the crew didn’t follow best engineering practices to make a textbook case for an emergency bypass. They just did what the engineers thought would work.

    It’s called survival. The number of cases in NY is doubling every 3 days (Cuomo).

    One way to approach this, and to still have a built-in breaking mechanism, is to double the amount of people in sequential trials. Say, 500 1st 5 day period, 1,000 2nd 5 day period, 2,000 3rd day period, etc. This would mitigate short term risk from the drug treatment. (The opportunity risk is another matter.)

    Even if it turns out that this therapy kills the covid19 with minor and/or manageable side effects, but has long terms negative consequences that nobody expected, you’d still have to balance out such a possibility against jeopardizing your frontline medical staff. Today, Cuomo said his projections show they need 30,000 more ventilators, and FEMA is only promising 400. So, we may also be able to forestall PTSD in medical staff who have to care for patients who are guaranteed to die for lack of a ventilator.

  41. Benjamin

    @Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Every pillar of neoliberalism is disintegrating practically in real-time:

    Globalizing trade is what supercharged a Chinese virus and made it a global pandemic in the first place. Outsourcing everything means we can’t easily make things like ventilators ourselves. Suppressing everyone’s wages for decades (facilitated in large part by that same outsourcing) means millions of people have little to no savings, which means significantly increased human suffering and economic damage as the economy shuts down (millions of people live paycheck to paycheck, and now the paychecks have suddenly stopped). Cutting extra hospital beds as a ‘needless expense’ (usually while giving more and more money to the MBA administrative parasites) means there’s little to no capacity now that we desperately need it. Massively bloated prison populations, made even worse by privatization, are ripe for a pandemic. Decades of kowtowing to the private sector, yet the private sector can offer no solutions, because it long ago gave up on R&D as too expensive, and anyway its job is to turn profit, not provide public benefit. And decades of hollowing out and vilifying government has left us with staggeringly inept governments (Trump deserves to be racked over the coals for his actions. But so do the Dems. What has passed for the ‘leadership’ coming from the Democrats in the last few weeks has been shocking, even by their abysmal standards).

    All of this, every last bit of it, brought to us by ‘experts’.

    And yet here you are, attempting to be smug.

    Liberals aren’t just shockingly clueless; you’re downright evil. You have been on the wrong side of all of these issues (and plenty of others besides. Western warmongering has killed millions, and liberals full throatedly supported these wars, when they weren’t actively engineering them themselves. The environment is on fire, and all liberals can offer is token non-binding band-aids) for forty years. And your only response was to sneer and mock, while pushing through these policies. And now (your own, as opposed to funny brown foreigners) people are dying, as a direct result of policies you supported (spare me any protests that you didn’t support them).

    The left has been warning about the many problems with, and dangers of, neoliberal globalization and associated policies for decades. Stiglitz, Galbraith, Keen, Klein, Hudson, (Yves) Smith, etc etc etc. The list of people who are actually genuine experts, and who don’t have their heads shoved up an ideological asshole, is long. And they were right. About everything.

    Keep blathering on about your disdain for ‘populism’ (it’s actually democracy itself that you despise) and your made up horseshoe gibberish. The rickety scaffolding of your fanatical ideology is collapsing around you, and taking thousands down with it.

    I don’t know what comes next, but isn’t going to be your tepid West Wing bullshit.

  42. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Maybe this new Black Swan Event will finally topple crapitalist civilization, but the SOB survived the flu epidemic of 1918, the Great Depression, and the two bloodiest wars in world history, so I would assign a low probability to its demise.

    I wish I were half as wicked as Benjamin thinks I am.

    This world being what it is, I’d probably be rich and powerful. 😛

    OTOH, there is that metathanatic world–where the criteria of success and failure are different, if not diametrically opposed, to the criteria of this world–to consider…

  43. Benjamin

    Neoliberalism in general is a genuinely wicked worldview that makes millions of people’s lives objectively worse. I’m not saying you specifically are wicked. No, you’re just stupid.

    My point isn’t that there’s going to be a communist revolution tomorrow (though, yet again, and I’ve said this before, and as ever you refuse to engage with it: FDR prevented a revolution by curbing the worst acts of capitalism. But this time around there is no FDR, reactionaries like you just gleefully contrived to cockblock the modern equivalent).

    My point is that every supposed selling point of globalization has just been revealed to be a weakness. At minimum the case for nationalized capitalism with strong borders just got a big boost.

  44. different clue


    I see you are getting quite a workout with our resident Clinton supporter.

  45. different clue

    @ Benn Jah Mihn ( phonetic spelling)

    Threee commentz on a particular subject did not get through. It may be random. It may be triggers. I will try a very shortest version of them with certain words re-spelled to see if that helps.

    So . . . I see a certain klinden zupporter has been giving you a workout in the comments.

  46. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Benjamin and DC, earnestness and rage are not good for your cardiovascular health.

    As a wise man (well, OK, it was Bugs Bunny) once told me:

    “Don’t take life too seriously; you’ll never get out of it alive.”

    Peace out, my politix otakuz. :mrgreen:

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