Ramin Mazaheri and Jeff J Brown – for The Saker Blog
We can’t always find it but there is always a tipping point. Last week I crunched the data and suggested it’s May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops.
Maybe I’m a few days off, but not many more: This bubble-popping is precisely why Trump is not wearing a mask, planned to end the corona task force and keeps talking about reopening; this is why 300 US CEOs and the Department of Defense sent Mexico’s president a letter threatening that they better reopen now and not screw up corporate supply chains.
But what is absolutely certain is that getting the West back to work requires some sort of propaganda campaign to do so – what will that media effort look like?
When I recently asked What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? readers pointed that many politicians are dug in way too deep to climb out. Yet, whether they claim to be “wrong” or “right” – climb out they must:
There has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus; neoliberalism is predicated on constant growth and wage-earning; The New York Times’ irresponsible rebroadcasting of 1.1 million US deaths in “a best-case scenario wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on – the West has to end the Great Lockdown.
But Americans aren’t going to go back to work until their media stops scaremongering, as their scaremongering line is slavishly followed by European and Western media: polls show more Americans fear getting sick from the virus than economic hardship, and despite all the data showing only the elderly and medically-vulnerable are at risk (thus they are the healthy ones who should be quarantined).
The New York Times now despises Sweden for their corona-sovereignty, but even they can’t help but admit Sweden shows the only way out of the Great Lockdown: “But what about the economy? The choice is not between indefinite shutdown and Russian roulette. A transition needs to occur that balances the risks at play. From that perspective, Sweden is the future.”
The first step is talking about it – how will the West do that?
I have said from the beginning that the West’s arrogance is that whatever China can do, they can surely do: The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments, and amid their economic Great Recession on top of it all.
But can the West use the same media persuasion techniques as China?
To find out what worked for China I posed the question to Jeff J. Brown, author of the most important book on China in decades, China is Communist, Dammit! Brown lived in China for many years and realised he had to refute with data and analysis the Western absurdity that China’s rise has come via capitalist methods.
“There is always lots of debate in China, especially facilitated today with all the electronic social media platforms. There was a lot of discussion in China about citizens having more say in the mainstream media, to increase the flow of useful information during the lockdown. There were forums of every stripe, airing grievances about rules being too strict to measures being too lax, to forums on using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and old fashioned remedies to prevent/treat Covid.”
This is quite a contrast from what I dubbed The West’s middling, middle-class corona response, which inherently assumed that everyone has a comfortable home, job and savings, even though since 1980 the West’s middle-class has been blown apart. This response was designed by well-paid doctors, professors and epidemiologists, and trumpeted by well-paid Mainstream Media mouthpieces.
In Brown’s book he relates how the Chinese Communist Party is essentially the world’s largest polling agency, constantly querying public opinion on matters big and small. Frankly, if I was forced to select a single trait which separates China’s government from the West’s it would be this one, as it explains their government’s success & efficiency, the obvious & justified basis for the CCP’s popular support, and the bottom-up nature of socialist democracy as opposed to the top-down, technocratic & aristocratic model of Western liberalism.
“There were lots of differing opinions aired in neighborhood, village and town meetings. The red line to not cross is suggesting the overthrow of China’s communist-socialist system of governance, which is no different than the West, where it is verboten to demand an end to capitalism.
(FYI, when I asked Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? I related how right up there with Iran’s “Down with England, America and Israel” chants is, “Down with those who oppose (the political principle of) the guardianship of the Islamic jurist.” Socialist-inspired revolutionary nations make it crystal clear that a return to capitalism-imperialism or a tolerance of Western-style fascist speech will never be permitted.)
Mao’s mass line continues to this day in the form of millions of surveys conducted among the people, to air concerns and catch the popular zeitgeist. It is all about learning from the bottom up. Then and now, you grab a banner and protest publicly, when all these other avenues of communication have failed. There are an estimated 300-500 public protests a day in this country of 1.4 billion citizens. China haters take this as a sign of weakness. Baba (Father) Beijing sees it as a source of strength.”
The 21st century Western reality is that taking to the streets usually makes one a far-right neo-fascist or an irresponsible anarchist: we see that in the treatment of the Yellow Vests or the recent anti-Lockdown protests in Michigan, which I immediately supported – of course, as I support democracy – in, We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? Brown relates how China’s state is far superior in perhaps the most important thing in politics: incorporating public opinion into public policy.
If anything will be an argument for centralisation over federalism – and central planning over neoliberalism’s “invisible hand… guiding us all towards corporate fascism & neo-imperialism” – it will be the corona-return: it’s clear that the US is wasting a tremendous amount of time, energy and efficiency by having a central government whose suggestions can be and are being totally ignored at the state level.
“Public campaigns like this are done at the neighborhood and private/public employer level. These entities would get their instructions from city/town/village government units, which in turn, working up the hierarchy, got theirs from county, provincial and national level bodies. As is true in socialist countries, the national government may set the tone, but democracy devolves down to the local level, allowing for reasonable adaptation, according to needs on the ground.”
Imagine the amount of discussion – which could have gone to relating the needs of the lower classes and the Mom and Pop shopkeeper/proletariat – which the US wastes daily in political sniping and Trump Derangement Syndrome? The Eurozone common currency will be similarly hindered by disunity, which is the last thing needed in a crisis.
China was stunningly running at 75% economic capacity around February 10 because they are coordinated and united. Some US governors may even, unthinkably, play politics and delay their reopening with November election goals in mind. Americans haven’t had a war on their soil for 150 years – they just don’t know what a crisis is, and that helps explain their lack of unity in this crisis. They think that their preferred politician not taking office in November constitutes a crisis – the building historic economic catastrophe should recalibrate their realities.
Socialist-inspired nations already made the necessary changes, but the Western liberal & economic model cannot
So Brown has surprisingly shown how – as a result of their model of socialist democracy, and not liberal democracy – China really didn’t need a multi-week media campaign like I envision the West needing because there is so much communication between the people and their pubic officials, as well as such an awareness of what is going on, what is needed and what is to be done.
That makes perfect sense when we realise that socialist democracy is based around discussion-based consensus and not the unilateral decree of Western “liberal strongmen” like Emmanuel Macron nor the individualist “great man-ism” personified by Ayn Rand’s blowhard protagonists. In places like Iran and China everything is done by committee (and the CCP and Basij are essentially two huge committees, after all) because these are not only two new systems, but also systems which have inspired massive Western sabotage campaigns: these bureaucrats know that they cannot be high-handed and aloof, but instead must be receptive, responsive and always trying to keep as large a proportion of the population on the side of their socialist-inspired revolution as possible. In short: they cannot risk wasteful mistakes, but why would they even want the system the West has, especially in a few more months?
Of course, there will still be huge health concerns on May 17, especially in the US, but Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus. Of course, the “Western economy” is not at all synonymous with “global economy”, a rather vital point to Iranians, Chinese, Cubans, etc.
Western politicians, none more than state of emergency-loving France, keep reminding us that this is a war: a war necessarily needs heroes, and the West now needs ones other than nurses and rich doctors. A media campaign of, “Go back to work to save grandma’s social security (and our consumer, unplanned economy)”, is thus logical but would obviously be a complete 180 from the editorial policies and public stances of countless Western media and politicians. Such a campaign is probably only feasible for socialist-inspired nations, where collective and not individual action is lauded.
Trump says he views Americans as ‘warriors’ amid coronavirus and he got roundly mocked for it… but I don’t know what the top US public servant can do otherwise, really? America’s bureaucrats thus know the obvious truth of this article – Westerners will need some sort of inspirational campaign to get them back to work. Westerners are culturally prone to fearing others and wanting to stay at home alone even in good times: Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’?
Westerners will thus likely stay hunkered down, as for months their private media has been ravenously gobbling up the higher ratings they have gotten via pounding fear into their viewers.
You can say I am underestimating the virulence of corona, but about this I am sure: in the Western Mainstream Media there has been basically zero space given to objectively giving so-called “contrarian” views which could possibly calm people’s fears. It as if I am a bad journalist because I am not scaring people?!
I am a bad journalist for immediately waving the red flag that a Great Lockdown is actually a forced suicide march for the West’s abandoned lower classes? It is not my fault that the neoliberal & neo-imperial system of the West refuses to take care of their elder class, and Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism actually contains an immediate answer to the economic chaos caused by the Great Lockdown.
Only time will tell if the Great Segregation/Lockdown was necessary, but we definitely know much more about how to handle coronavirus than on January 1 or even March 1: protect the vulnerable, isolate the sick, take personal responsibility actions in public, population-dense regions need extra precautions, and… get back to normal before the Western double-bubble economy pops.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020
Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020
Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020
Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020
Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020
(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020
Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020
Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020
‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020
Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020
No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020
Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020
We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020
The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020
ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020
Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020
The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020
May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020
Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.
Good thing that you can work from home and don’t have a hundred people a day in your face in the course of a work day, eh?
I don’t work from home and do have a hundred people in my face every day, and totally agree with Ramin.
A major factor here in the US is the fall football schedules. The NFL, and even more especially, its unofficial major minor league the NCAA, all need to get back at it pretty quick if they’re going to pull off a normal fall football schedule, which as we all know over here, is as close to a national religion these days as anything else. I can’t even imagine the economic, social, and political fallout were they to cancel or even seriously curtail all that, nor can I imagine the authorities could possibly contain the popular discontent it would inspire. The NFL’s recent release of a normal fall schedule tells me that this has already been considered and that a break in the pandemic and lockdown will magically materialize NLT July. Matter of fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict that the inevitable get back to work PR campaign will be centered around one or both (probably phased in between the two) of the upcoming American Memorial Day and/or Independence Day holidays. The flag waving and patriotic hysterics to do the selling will of course be epic and thoroughly nauseating.
They better hurry, which would be a first for our dear leaders.
Because even old Vince is singing his theme song as a wiccan chant to keep the pink slip away:
WWE: Mr. McMahon Theme “No Chance In Hell” [CD Quality …
Here is an article that looks at the high cost of unemployment on both health and mortality:
We are all part of a massive social experiment which will prove very costly even when the COVID-19 deaths are not included.
Not saying that it’s a “plandemic” but the gears in the back of my head are mulling the possibility that Sweden corresponds to the way out, in the sense of Sun Tzu…
Speaking of Sweden, Shamir’s latest gives background on how they were so lucky (seventh paragraph):
The latest ……
The question is: How does a society achieve immunity without imposing a containment policy that forces universal isolation? It can’t be done or can it? Swedish experts figured out how pursue two seemingly-conflicting objectives at the same time: Contain the virus sufficiently so it doesn’t collapse the health care system while exposing enough people to the infection to eventually achieve controlled immunity. Without some immunity, nations are condemned to an endless cycle of widespread outbreaks that decimate the economy and
stress the health care system.
We are not naturally immune to the common cold or the flu and pneumonia. Moreover we do take precautions when we find the evidence of such. We naturally isolate the carrier and give appropiate treatment as well as personally take precautions. This also happens with other virus’s and communicable diseases.
What does this do? Rates of infection drop. The problem of transmission (R) is confined or reduced. With the present COVID-19 this would reduce the transmission rate from an exponential rate to one that is quite low (less than R-1). When not confined the tranmission factor, which is time and number sensetive, could drop from 100 percent to maybe 5 percent. It would not be exponential.
The difference between COVID-19 or the common cold abd the flu is one where a carrier shows no symptons of the virus for a period of time. To overcome this we need testing, a vaccine may be a bonus yet none exist for the common cold. The further, and perhaps crutial, question is how long does a carrier retain the ability to spread the virus? It would seem medical opinion and science tells us this is limited although studies are now finding that people are shedding more virus during early stages of the disease rather than the later stages. In fact the viral load was “highest during the first week after symptom onset and subsequently declined with time”.
Yet the Swedish public health authority has surveyed the prevalence of antibodies to the SARS-COV-2 virus in Stockholm County. How can it be true that herd immunity has been reached in Stockholm County with only about 17% of the population having been infected, while an R0 of 2.0 is normally taken to imply a herd immunity of 50%?
A recent paper (Gomes et al) provides the answer. It shows that variation between individuals in their susceptibility to infection and their propensity to infect others can cause herd immunity to be much lower than it is in a homogeneous population. There is also strong evidence that a small proportion of individuals account for most infections – the ‘superspreaders’. A Shenzhen-based study estimated that 8.9% of cases were responsible for 80% of total infections. Therefor contact tracing is a must to determine an original source.
The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic is very low. Thus the spread is time and distance sensitive. The infectious period is estimated as 4 (=7 − 3) days. To note: most infections are not apparent during infection.
Conclusions from the study below: The number of fatalities involved in achieving herd immunity with SARS-COV-2 is much lower than it would otherwise be. The fatality rate to reach herd immunity in less densely populated areas should be lower, because R0 is positively related to population density. As the epidemic shrinks it should be increasingly practicable to hasten its end by using testing and contact tracing to prevent infections spreading,
No one should be sacrificed to a deadly virus. Especially in a modern economy, Not the young, not the old and not the poor. It’s barbaric to think like that. Every nation should be benefiting from 21st century medicine and healthcare. But they don’t. Herd immunity implies humans are cattle. It’s offensive to even use the term. Had the United States engaged in patient base healthcare instead of opting for HMOs and maximizing profits at the expense of patients, we wouldn’t be in this mess! And neither would the rest of the world if peoples in all nations had access to modern 21st-century medicine and healthcare. This is a failure of governments. It’s a failure of the IMF system of forced backwardness. Today, Sars Cov-2 is entering SubSaharan Africa. And while the rate of infection is low at this stage, starvation is not. It is reported that 130,000 people a day will die if adequate levels of assistance are not rendered. For just seventy million they could have quelled the locusts’ infestation now ravaging crops? Did they get it? Only a trickle of what was requested.
Isn’t ‘making up some story, or other’ what got us in this mess in the first place?
When you hit your thumb with a hammer, you don’t hit it again to make it feel better. Do you?
The democrats are still playing monday morning quarterback and criticizing the administrations efforts to manage this bug. But the real problem is the cost and inefficiency of the health care system, this cost alone is what separates our response to the bug over Chinas response, and it just snowballs from there.
Thank you for further explaining how China operates, bottom-up rather than top-down. Even here in Canada, the propaganda currently against China is hot and heavy. We have always been told that communism/socialism=brutal dictatorship where the people are abused, slaves. It is so overwhelming that people cannot see the brutality of their own corporate masters. It will be clear soon enough now as the police state is enforced to a greater degree. People in the west applaud the brutality of their masters, committed against others all over the world in the name of freedom. What a bad joke.
Your final remarks of how to deal with an epidemic: isn’t that how illness was always dealt with? Suddenly that all changed and everyone, the healthy had to be quarantined, shutting down the economy and the average persons livelihood. They didn’t do this stupidity for this virus.
The Western “economy” was always a fairytale made of lies designed to benefit the Billionaires and wall street banks / hedge funds anyway.
What’s wrong with letting it all burn to the ground?
Maybe it will give the American people the kick they need to actually go out into the world and start demanding chance instead of being a bunch of complacent sheep.
I think that everything that is happening now was by design… Our Creator knew which forces would be pulled in what direction by this catastrophe and that this catalyst may be of benefit.
The problem is that debt-based western economies are predicated on pulling forward tomorrow’s consumption to today (aka, “consuming the seed corn”), and with it, effectively the population level as well; i.e., encouraging – nay, demanding – unsustainably large population levels to perform all the harvesting and consuming of resources from which the wealth is then extracted for the .1%. The obvious downside to that scenario then, is that collapsing the economy in any manner – whether orderly or calamitous, and debt-based economies never collapse orderly – is that it’s not just the wealth and the resources that need to go away, but the people who were brought into being in service of all this madness as well. That’s why economic collapses pretty much always guarantee extreme social unrest and warfare in their aftermath. The resources and the wealth to take care of them either no longer exists or is in the hands of the few who are not about to give it up. The time to demand change is now long since in the rear view mirror before things ever got this far, as meaningful change at this point will involve pain and suffering that most rational populations will never accept barring have it thrust upon them unwillingly, as we’re about to find out.
If a government is paying 80% wages of several million people to stay at home can that be sustained? Any government issuing a fiat currency can always pay its bills. It never has to turn to the printing press and say, OK bud, how much do I owe ya? So long as too few goods aren’t chased by too much money, inflation isn’t a problem.
Ask yourself whether it makes any sense to say that the US needs another nation to “lend” America “dollars.” Simply put, that is self-referential nonsense. The US can always buy whatever there is to buy that’s denominated in US dollars. It has no need to borrow dollars from anyone else because it is the issuer of those dollars.
Yet the purpose of a capitalist system isn’t to make money, it is to produce goods and services. If millions of people are no longer producing goods and services, but are receiving the medium of exchange (money) to allow them to buy goods and services this will eventually reduce the standard of living for everyone since millions are now consumers but not producers.
”But Americans aren’t going to go back to work until their media stops scaremongering”
I think it would suffice by simply telling the Pindos that China won’t pay them for their ”horrendous sufferings” but, hey, let’s keep the anti-Chinese screamfest going — it’s good for Pindo mental fitness!
Can’t find any availability of “China is communist, dammit.” Was it ever published, and in what format?
Edition 2 is out: available on Amazon here.
Why read more anti-China propaganda instead of something which is objective, finally?
Thanks that’s helpful, although I don’t quite understand your comment. Your article quoted the title as China is communist dammit and when I searched for that it came up everywhere s unavailable. Perhaps you could update your post with the updated title?
Problem now is there’s a helluva inertia now built up in this toxic mercury blob agglomeration of clueless, out-of-their-league ‘leaders’ all determined to never be shown to be wrong (or corrupted).
Watch this clip starting, to 3:30 mark every one of this selection of national leaders sounding off to the word the catch-phrases from the same song-sheet they’re paid to follow about their plan going forward.
the Global Health Mafia Protection Racket
“protect the vulnerable, isolate the sick, take personal responsibility actions in public,”
Not too sure about your West, in my West that ship has sailed.
At this point the only plan is keep sending more poors back to work and isolate/protect the wealthy.
Argh! I could have sworn Ramin had the updated book link. Here it is for the new edition of “China Is Communist Dammit”, now titled, “The BIG Red Book on China”.
And for The China Trilogy:
Re: But, China is different…
Wishful and understandable thinking, but the world (and all things therein) is divided horizontally, not vertically.
There are many Americans appalled at this nonsense. I don’t even think masks and ‘social distancing’ do any good at all. If the government gives even an inch, a lot of us will get out there, and show by example that there is no reason for this hysteria. In the same way, that mask wearing convinced 20-year-old women (who have as much chance of dying from the virus as being hit by a meteorite), to wear masks, seeing people without them, will slow convince others that … maybe this is silly.
Perhaps a difference that makes a difference here is that while there is still a notion in China that the state and its media work on some level for the public good, this has not been the case in the West for decades. The state and the media (and their academics I would add) all work for capitalists, whether rapacious Oligarchs or corporate cartels. So, there would never be a media campaign to get the workers back to work for the public good as this would not suit the profit and power seeking interests of the flexible networks currently in control of the entire state apparatus of the West.
The only way forward in my opinion is through collapse and political revolution. Both, I believe, are now inevitable. Sadly, much of the revolutionary energy will be captured by the reactionary right, not the socialist left.
Stay safe, stay sane … for the difficult times are only ahead of us, not behind.
The main stream media are all reading from the same hymnbook regarding the coronavirus situation.
I honestly feel that the time is right for Trump to turn the people against the state if he is a true patriot. Get the people out on Capitol Hill and demand that treasonous people like Gates be arrested.
The establishment cannot defeat the people if Trump summons them as a patriot!