Overcoming the Prevailing Dystopian “D’s”
I’m going out to run for five or six miles in the hills around my home to clear out the funk and fear from my head.
Let’s all of us get up and out of our lidded platonic caves, where we hunch and hunker down in the lambent shadows, taking our view of the world from television and other screens.
Some sunlight on our bodies and souls could improve our vitamin “D” and immune systems with some delight, delectation, dance, and even divinity.
To overcome the prevailing dystopian “D’s” of disease, disaster, decadence, depression, and social distance.
Read The New York Times of all things, if your immune system can take it. A Yale guy named David L. Katz, founder of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research center, has offered a gale of common sense in the midst of the floods of fatuity.
Herd Immunity is the Answer
He argues that the current remedies for the virus are worse than the disease. What we should be doing is not a mass mobilization but a “surgical strike.” We should carefully focus our scarce healthcare resources on the vulnerable population alone.
All the evidence from Korea and other countries is that the sick and weaker over-sixties suffer almost all the deaths and emergencies. He counsels to let the rest of us live and contract “herd immunity” through mild exposure to the virus. In Korea, which actually did mass testing and has real data, 99% of the cases were mild.
The worst example may be that hapless cruise ship. As William Briggs observes: “Had 3,770 souls on board. 712 cases or 19% population case rate, with seven deaths, or 0.18 population death rate, and a 1% case death rate.” Even in these confined quarters and in an elderly group, less than one in five got the disease, and one percent of that group died.
Katz points out that today our mass ministrations are doing the opposite of a surgical strike and actually promoting the exposure of the elderly in families. His household is filling up with young people now unemployed or sent home from schools and colleges.
Katz writes: “Young people of indeterminate infectious status are being sent home to huddle with their families nationwide. And because we lack widespread testing, they may be carrying the virus and transmitting it to their 50-something parents, and 70-or 80-something grandparents… Such is the collateral damage of this diffuse form of warfare, aimed at ‘flattening’ the epidemic curve generally rather than preferentially protecting the especially vulnerable.”
Meanwhile, we are flooding the healthcare system with younger people who are not really at risk and closing down much of the private economy, while expanding government spending by the trillions.
Governor Cuomo of New York prattles that “if we can save just one life” all the sacrifices will be worth it. By that logic he could save still more lives by lowering the speed limit to 30 miles per hour.
Demand Side Interventions Pose an Issue
We babble about economic collapse, as if closing down businesses for a month or so will wreak “permanent damage” on our economy. Barron’s economists talk of a new Great Depression unless we restore the “gap” in demand.
Demand side measures of the economy are essentially meaningless. And demand side interventions by government are more the problem than the solution.
After World War II, government spending dropped 61 percent in two years and the economy zoomed into one of its greatest decades. In New Zealand in the mid 1980s, the country sank behind Argentina in the lists of per capita output. An aggressive program of zero-base budgeting, dismantling all the departments of government, led to two miracle decades of growth.
A “recession” caused by direct government reactions to a real crisis is completely different from a recession caused by trade wars, monetary devaluations, tax hikes, tariffs, attacks on high tech, and luddite green lawyers.
The information theory of economics says that wealth is knowledge, growth is learning, and money is time. If we do not insist on destroying knowledge, suppressing learning, and debauching money, economic growth will accelerate once the crisis is over.
Our money, however, is already so debauched that the crisis represents a huge opportunity for the Cryptocosm — for the launch of new forms of real money, respectful of time, to replace the prevailing carnival of central bank shuttlemoney traded at a rate of $6.7 trillion every 24 hours.
Expressing real money values are time-prices, gauging the amount of time it takes to earn the money to buy the goods and services that sustain and exalt our lives.
In real terms of time prices, we can grow all through the crisis, as we improve our pharmaceuticals, drone deliveries, online commerce, arts, entertainments, remote education, microchips, social networks, and artificial intelligence.
Crises spur capitalist innovation and creativity. Capitalism, as Nassim Taleb explains, is anti-fragile: stress and challenge strengthen it.
Trillions of dollars of bailouts suffocate economic growth by attempting to guarantee perpetuation of the past.
This crisis will provide many buying opportunities for intelligent investors ready to learn.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy