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What Do Economists Recommend When the Urge for Conspicuous Consumption Collapses?
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A large fraction of discretionary spending in the modern American economy is conspicuous consumption intended to impress other people, especially face to face. For example:

But what if you just aren’t in the mood to drop by the Copacabana with the other goombahs? If you don’t feel comfortable crowding into the Copa, maybe you don’t need to buy a new tux and you don’t need to hand $20 to each servitor with his hand out.

I can imagine my Animal Instincts reviving the day I get my vaccine shot.

But I don’t see me wanting to hit up the Bright Lights, Big City until about then.

What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019.

 
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  1. You can always go online and brag about how much you’re giving to charity. The ADL and SPLC always need money. Their work is never done. Won’t you help? Please give generously.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Pericles
  2. Spending money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like, makes no sense.

    Buy what you need and save the rest. Schiff happens and when it does, having an emergency fund will help you big time. Also, live a little below your income’s standard of living by contributing to your company’s 401k, get the full match if they offer one, and bump it up every time you get a raise. Only borrow money for things that appreciate, like a house. After your car is paid off, keep driving it and make payments to yourself so you can pay cash for the next one when this one finally gives up the ghost. And then start saving for the next car and pay cash for that one too.

    And don’t forget charitable contributions. To your church, synagogue etc.

    I know, marketing gurus and leftists will hate you, but you can cry all the way to the credit union, which is a better deal than the bank.

  3. Even if there were a miracle cure tomorrow, would you feel it wise to invest in high-rise apartments downtown? Or maybe a farm?

    https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/coronavirus-covid-19-moving-to-the-country-working-from-home/12274084

    The countryside is appealing but I wouldn’t want to be too far from critical services. Exurbs and “edge cities” seem like the smartest moves.

  4. The bottom has really fallen out of the market for lap dances.

    I think what John Maynard Keynes would recommend would be is that the government print money and create jobs digging holes and then filling them in again. Or build walls from sea to shining sea.

    Traditionally it has been popular to start a war in which large numbers of surplus workers are disposed of, often before they can reproduce

    In the run-up to Memorial Day the small city that I live in has deployed hundreds of white wooden crosses at the roadside in memory of such local workers. These crosses, which seem to be a popular feature are brought out of storage two times a year at Memorial Day and Veterans Day and planting them along two different road sides provides useful employment for work crews, post hole diggers, warehousemen, etc.

  5. slumber_j says:

    A large fraction of discretionary spending in the modern American economy is conspicuous consumption intended to impress other people

    When Steve Sailer isn’t waxing down his trusty 30-year-old Civic or whatever it is, does he spend all his time watching reruns of MTV Cribs? This must be what accounts for his recurrent insistence on the centrality of conspicuous consumption to the US economy.

    Look, I know a lot of people do spend their money that way, but a whole lot of people don’t–and many among the latter group do all they can to avoid the Joneses rather than keep up with them. I doubt most of the people currently hunkering in the Hamptons are suddenly not worried about impressing one another…

    Anyway, Steve Sailer’s not-so-sudden lack of interest in splashing out on gaudy baubles doesn’t exactly surprise me, and it may not indicate all that much about the broader economy.

    • Agree: epebble
  6. Neoconned says:

    Before all this Corona nonsense started consumption, child birth rates, ,debt levels, consumption and other factors were already going down. I’m pushing 40 yrs old and I still haven’t paid off the tens of thousands of dollars I owe the IRS or whoever and probably never will. I’ve given up. Pensions will be insolvent and Social Security if it’s still around when I’m old will be a Weimar type form of digital funny money.

    It’s over. Animal spirits? LOL I drive a hatchback…..like I give 2 flips what somebody says I should drive……

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. George says:

    ” in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019.”

    There is going to be a huge transfer of wealth from people who were not screwed by the shutdown (for example government workers) from those that were (for example small business owners). Small business owners often owned nice stuff, like houses, they bought with loans assuming they maintained a certain income. Why settle for hedonism when you can have real wealth and power?

    It will be interesting to see what happens with state and local government pensions.

    As far as covid the local sanitation men no longer wear masks.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  8. Neoconned says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    I’m at the point where I say we need a new New Deal type arrangement.

    Seriously if business types are only here for fast returns then screw em….

    Who needs them? Let them be like the hookers they are and let them chase whatever nation flashes a coin in their face.

    You’re w us or against us. And if the globalists don’t like that then they can take their dog and pony show elsewhere.

  9. UK says:

    Conspicuous consumption had already changed for many people.

    Dinner jackets are out, tortured social opinions are in.

    Such as how, despite all appearances to the contrary, Bruce Jenner is a fine and extremely attractive woman.

    • Replies: @Morton's toes
    , @Rob McX
  10. Art Deco says:

    A large fraction of discretionary spending in the modern American economy is conspicuous consumption intended to impress other people, especially face to face.

    No it isn’t.

    1. Clothing and footwear account for about 2.5% of personal consumption expenditure and very few people can identify one brand over another without looking at the label.

    2. Another 2.4% is accounted for by furnishings. Who do you invite in your house, and how much effort do you put into ‘impressing’ people who are already your friends and relations? Few people are all that brand conscious and the price of antiques is declining.

    3. About 3.3% is accounted for by motor vehicles and parts. The luxury brands account for about 8.5% of auto sales by volume (though a larger share by the sum of purchases).

    4. About 6.5% is accounted for by restaurant meals and the like. The people you’re trying to impress would be (1) a date (which is something done all up and down the social scale) and (2) clients, i.e. it’s business. And, again, how consequential is the luxury sector?

    5. Recreations account for 3.8% of personal consumption.

    6. Housing accounts for about 17% of personal consumption expenditures. In re mortgage originations, Jumbo loans account for about 17% by value.

    And a great deal of this is not other-directed at all. It is purchased because the purchaser enjoys the palpable experience of having it (at least for a while). Other times, his only audience is himself.

  11. theMann says:

    Well at least I know where to begin with load of complete rubbish:

    Conspicuous consumption is not a term any legitimate Economist would use, it is a term invented by Sociologists, specifically, Thorsten Veblin, and it is a load of crap.

    1. A person either has money or they don’t have money. With all the people out of work, I will go with don’t have money.

    2. If they have money, they either spend it, or “save” it. In our perpetual inflationary environment, I will go with spend it.

    3. If they “save” the money, it either goes to a bank (etc), or under a mattress.

    4. If it goes to a bank, they “spend” it in the form of loans.

    5. The only way a voluntary overall reduction in spending occurs is if many people take their “money” and stick it under a mattress . This is exactly what happened during the Great Depression, during a deflationary cycle. We don’t have to worry about deflation. We do have to worry about 30 million people losing their jobs, but hey, totally worth it to stop the Pandemic.

    6. We are in fact having a huge reduction in consumer spending, and it will have a multiplier effect, but it is as involuntary as it gets.

    7. The government can, of course, print all the “money” it wants, and eject it into the Economy. This has, so far, led to a huge inflation in asset prices, not so much the real Economy….yet.

    In the meantime, the phrase “Conspicuous Consumption” is by definition, a judgement call you are making about how other people spend their money. Might as well be a Democrat if you are going to do that, because you are talking about a term Academia invented to feel superior to people who had more money than they did. And no one is fit to assess the “hedonic value ” of another man’s purchases.

    • Troll: ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  12. I think that the travel industry , especially cruises, has taken a devastating hit. We have friends who have taken two cruises a year on luxury ships to exotic places. That gave them six months of something to tell you about. I know they have cancelled their next two deposited cruises. A Rolex used to be a statement, but now there are smart phones that give you time, temp, heart beat, blood pressure and a million apps. Maybe a sailboat?

  13. What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019.

    The advice is stimulus, and it’s not wrong.

    And for once how about stimulus doing actually useful stuff:

    — Infrastructure.
    Get American men out there building the roads, bridges, tunnels, sewers, airports that we should have–and now need to have having imported so damn many people. This of course has big downstream effects in materials industries. Start ratchetting up quotas for domestic sourcing.

    And, of course, the frontline project to speed ahead–Build the Wall!

    — Marriage bonus.
    Hunkering down because of the Xi Jinping’s Gift, should have been a good test for couples. Probably a bunch are itching to go find someone else, but millions more have found out they are a “go”.

    Let’s reward these young people whose lives have been interrupted, basically to help their elders totter around for a few more years. Some sort of direct marriage bonus (obviously has to be a “one time” deal). And a start on some sort of housing bonus, that only gels into true subsidy with children down the line.

    (And to sweeten the pot so taking the marriage plunge actually makes sense for young men–federal recommendation/pressure of “joint custody” and no paycheck raiding. Maybe marriage subsidies only apply to marriages in states with these laws or couples making these arrangements.)

    — Baby bonus.
    Huge baby bonus but only for *married* couples.

    Also have arrival of baby lock in the housing subsidy for married couples, which otherwise gets taxed back. I.e. housing subsidy character is upfront–“this is for couples who want to get a home and have children”.

    This is on top of huge non-refundable child tax deduction. Basically married middle class families of raising 2+ kids should be off the income tax rolls until a pretty high threshold. Tax protection big enough so that combined with the housing subsidy young women can opt to stay home and have how many ever children the would like.

    — Immigration stop.
    And, of course, the biggest “stimulus” costs little–an immigration stop. Some direct stimulus hiring more border patrol, an E-verify bureaucracy and “deportation force”.

    But the biggest stimulus is wages rise, housing prices fall, the pressure everywhere–roads, schools, parks, open space, pollution, crime, social friction/hostility–eases up and starts getting better.

    Life just … gets better.

  14. UK says:
    @Art Deco

    Conspicuous consumption, by its nature, is seen more than it is done.

  15. Wrong Goodfellas metaphor.

    The drop in conspicuous consumption will be the least of America’s worries. In fact, the rich will only be richer relative to the average Americans. No shortage of conspicuous consumption in Mexico and Brazil which is where we are going in a best case scenario after a decade(s) of severe depression.

    America is not The Copacabana, it is The Bamboo Lounge and we are undergoing what is known in Mob parlance as a “bust out.”

    • Agree: slumber_j, ben tillman
  16. What do other iSteve readers recommend buying right now?

    I’m not interested in opinions about stocks, gold, survival stuff.

    What do people with first-hand knowledge of autos, appliances, home remodeling, real estate, etc. think? Are there bargains to be had? Is now the time to act, or should I wait? Or have I already missed the boat?

  17. Anon[241] • Disclaimer says:

    Conspicuous Consumption is a vastly under-discusses topic on the AltRight. Probably bc most of us are male & intellectual & think it’s a bit sissy.

    But I’ve come to the concussion that a huuuuge amount of what makes bright White girls so susceptible to deep state is simply it’s ability to present certain thongs as trendy & cool.

    Think about the downstream consequences:

    • huge wealth transfer to (((profs))) at expensive units
    • mudsharking w numinous n-s in msm
    • clothing/supermarket/advertising brands attaching PC culture to things that aren’t political
    • Women thinking men find sassy, overeducated girls in turdworld trendy charities attractive

  18. Look to the elites to see how the upper-middle-class will soon be spending their discretionary income.

    The priorites of the Bezos, Musk, Rogan crowd is clear: Supplements, HGH, personal trainers, saunas, cryo-chambers, etc.

    Longevity, fitness, wellness, etc. in this form is rather expensive. More and more men of the UMC (doctors, lawyers, etc.) are adopting these methods.

  19. @Art Deco

    That seems to me to be a large enough fraction of spending to affect the economy. There’s also the money multiplier of the people providing those goods and services.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  20. Autos are dead.

    Whatever you do, don’t buy that boat.

  21. @Clifford Brown

    No,buy the boat-and get the fuck out of here!

  22. Alice says:

    My kids outgrew their shoes and shirts and pants during lockdown. It’s true I didn’t buy an Easter dress this year, but eldest still needs a suit for an upcoming event.

    My kids still get hungry. True, I can’t indulge in going out and dropping a couple hundred on steaks and drinks, but ground beef at Sam’s went from $3.29/lb for 90/10 to $4.59 /lb for 80/20 since mid March.

    My mortgage didn’t drop. My gasoline just got exchanged for more heating and electricity. And that chest freezer wasn’t cheap.

    I really need to fix that crummy water softener now, even if my plumber is too old and scared to come to my home.

    I have no more savings than I had before. Actually, less since we bought more guns.

    • Replies: @Thoughts
    , @Almost Missouri
  23. Coemgen says:
    @Art Deco

         2.5%
         2.4%
         3.3%
         6.5%
         3.8%
    + 17.0%
    ————
        35.5%

    What is the other 64.5% of discretionary income spent on?

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    , @Art Deco
  24. theMann says:
    @Paul Mendez

    But anything that is likely to run into short, or severely short, supply. Not entirely trivial example: case MRE prices have more than doubled in a few months, they will double again soon enough.

    You can wait to buy glut items – cars, vacations, so forth.

    BUT: any money you don’t spend now, you are placing a bet against inflation.

    I honestly have no idea how things are going to play out, the debt monster worldwide is collapsing, but it is an unprecedented thing, so trying to analyze it in monetary terms is almost certain to be wrong.

    I am certain of four things: inflation, shortages (especially food), repression, violence. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  25. @Paul Mendez

    Buy non-perishable stuff you know you will use. Stock up as much as you can store.

    That is a great way to fight future inflation, and does not subject you to market risk.

  26. Paul says:

    The movies about Mafia types (before government wiretaps undid them) tend to be exaggerations. Where were their mansions? They mostly lived no more than a middle class type of life.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  27. @AnotherDad

    Huge baby bonus but only for *married* couples.

    I think I know which ethnic-racial-cultural group would be (mostly) excluded….

  28. Leaving aside the “conspicuous” part of it, clearly some people are in a position to sit this out better than others. In part that’s just because some have always been improvident. But it’s also because many people’s jobs are helping provide things that other Americans can do without if they have to. I’m recently retired, and even though it’s not a big income it is steady and reliable (until the whole system collapses). If I can’t go to restaurants it’s tough but it isn’t going to kill me. But if I had an ordinary job with a company that just went broke, what can I do? The whole economy is shedding people like me by the carload. I like James Howard Kunstler’s explanation: that the world is undergoing an inevitable period of long economic contraction and the adjustment is going to be painful for a long time.

  29. @Paul Mendez

    You never miss the boat. In Erich Fromm’s words: To Have or to Be?
    That is the question….

    “The truth is that life is hard and dangerous; that he who seeks his own happiness does not find it; that he who is weak must suffer; that he who demands love will be disappointed; that he who is greedy will not be fed; that he who seeks peace will find strife; that truth is only for the brave; that joy is only for him who does not fear to be alone; that life is only for the one who is not afraid to die.”

    ― Joyce Cary

    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  30. Peterike says:

    “ I can imagine my Animal Instincts reviving the day I get my vaccine shot.”

    Don’t rush out to get the first vaccine. Wait a bit to see what it actually does to people.

  31. @Buffalo Joe

    Maybe a sailboat?

    Sailors aren’t the kind to spend their money showing off. You’re thinking of power boaters. Sailing takes way too much work for them.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    , @Anon
  32. Art Deco says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Traditionally it has been popular to start a war in which large numbers of surplus workers are disposed of, often before they can reproduce

    Where and when?

  33. @Art Deco

    It is purchased because the purchaser enjoys the palpable experience of having it (at least for a while). Other times, his only audience is himself.

    I suppose it could be argued that one purchases a house because having shelter is more enjoyable than homelessness, but most people don’t consider that to be “discretionary” spending.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @JosephB
  34. Quebecer says:

    My question to economists is what do they recommend when people can’t buy much more than what is generally considered a necessity ?

    Like, just how many people really need an F-150 ?

  35. MarkinLA says:

    There is something to Kondratiev waves based on the human life cycle and how it manifests itself in the economy. The US government tried to short-circuit it with massive immigration. It looks like even that didn’t completely wipe it out. Maybe we just have to wait it out like we did during the Great Depression.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondratiev_wave

    Demographic theory
    Because people have fairly typical spending patterns through their life cycle, such as spending on schooling, marriage, first car purchase, first home purchase, upgrade home purchase, maximum earnings period, maximum retirement savings and retirement, demographic anomalies such as baby booms and busts exert a rather predictable influence on the economy over a long time period. Harry Dent has written extensively on demographics and economic cycles. Tylecote (1991) devoted a chapter to demographics and the long cycle.[12]

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  36. International Jew [AKA "Hebrew National"] says:

    What Do Economists Recommend When the Urge for Conspicuous Consumption Collapses?

    Do you want the classical answer or the Keynesian answer?

    The classical answer is that changing consumer tastes result in changing relative prices and, indirectly, changing demand for the labor and capital specialized for producing this vs that. But in the end, wages and prices adjust to clear the markets and there’s no involuntary unemployment or truffles rotting in the fields.

    The Keynesian answer is that there’s chronic oversupply so we need waste and government make-work projects or the Great Depression will never end.

  37. @Paul Mendez

    What do other iSteve readers recommend buying right now?

    A few weeks ago I would have told you major oil stocks, but they have bounced back 50% already.

    I would say homes and real estate, because interest rates are so low now, and prices are likely to dip in coming months due to unemployment, etc. and they are not making any new real estate and desirable locations are forever. If you can put it in an irrevocable trust for your heirs, so much the better.

    I also think that antique furniture is a steal at this time, especially when you compare prices to modern stuff made out of fiber board. The catch, however, is that many older types of furniture are no longer useful in the modern digital home, unless they can be adapted.

    For example, the bottom has completely dropped out of the market for Georgian mahogany slope-front desks, which people used to use to pay household bills, etc. because they are not designed to house a desktop computer and monitor. But wouldn’t you rather have a handmade item made of solid mahogany to some piece of crap?

    Similarly, with walk-in closets everywhere, people don’t need free standing wardrobes, and with the decline of formal dining, oak dining tables are less in demand. With everyone having digital phones, clocks are now redundant, although there is nothing like the deep ticking and chime of a grandfather clock to make a home seem like a real home and each one is a unique piece of history.

    https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/decorative-objects/clocks/grandfather-clocks-longcase-clocks/antique-welsh-carved-oak-8-day-longcase-grandfather-clock-thomas-evans/id-f_18784252/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Charlotte
  38. @Buffalo Joe

    That is a huge reservoir of money that will not be flowing into cruises, airlines, hotels, &c. But does it just drain off like one of those Asiatic rivers that flows from the Himalayas into a dry desert lake bed or does it go somewhere else? That is the big unknown.

    On the one hand it is absurd for people who are going to be suddenly impoverished to buy Starbucks coffee that is no different than what comes out of their kitchen dripper for twenty cents, i. e. 15X cheaper. But all the consumer sectors are not going to get hammered uniformly that’s for sure. Does anybody miss not having a Lebron James James Harden drama to eat up their time? I certainly do not. Did you read that ESPN analytics guy’s thing last spring where the most productive play in the NBA by far is James Harden flopping behind the arc for three free throws? Does anybody miss that?

    • Thanks: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  39. International Jew [AKA "Hebrew National"] says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    The bottom has really fallen out of the market for lap dances.

    That’s a good one!

    You should have stopped there though.

  40. So all those complaints about Christmas being too “commercialized” are really complaints against the superfluously employed?

  41. Paul says:

    What Do Economists Recommend When the Urge for Conspicuous Consumption Collapses?

    Invest in Giffen goods.

  42. @Art Deco

    Don’t forget school taxes and every other layer of taxes, not to mention thousands more for propane and oil heat. That really impresses the ladies!

  43. wat says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Cars have a future. The bus is bad whe the next pathogen comes and self driving cars are a lie.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  44. @Clifford Brown

    Autos are dead.

    I expect some really good deals on late model Buicks only driven on Sundays.

  45. @AnotherDad

    — Infrastructure.
    Get American men out there building the roads, bridges, tunnels, sewers, airports that we should have–and now need to have having imported so damn many people. This of course has big downstream effects in materials industries. Start ratchetting up quotas for domestic sourcing.

    Yes, true, exactly. The dam break in Michigan should be used by a real leader to push for infrastructure repair. New York harbor needs floating barriers like those on the Thames. Even the wall is a good idea as it means jobs for Americans.

  46. gary says:

    Why you think the elite staged the Kung Flu? To install police state law to facilitate Gentile

    extermination. We are cattle to them. redundant pests now that AI and robots are replacing

    the human cattle. Steve, get your little Kung Flu vaccine loaded with ID information and

    lots of other little super-Orwellian functions. Your children will curse your name for

    fiddling with your trivia while they die in poverty, misery, and commie oppression.

    • Agree: VinnyVette
  47. What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019.

    There are many undesirable middle eastern types who have a knack for starting businesses, but we don’t want their kind in this country.

  48. @Jonathan Mason

    Keynes wasn’t nearly as stupid as his modern fans would have you believe.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  49. Longtime reader first time commenter… Screw conspicuous consumption! Those days in the USSA are over! Stuffing cash under the matress is the new Amerikan way “for as long as cash is legal and not for long”, and anyone who spends on just about anything non essential is an abject moron and deserves what he gets as a result. The economy? Screw that too! The “economy” means big biz and Wall Street and both are as anti social and anti American as it gets! We the proles owe nothing to the “economy”! Will it cause job loss? Yes… But the rulers of the economy already destroyed it a very long time ago, and pounded the final nail in the coffin with this shuttering of the “economy”, both govt and private sector! We are in survival mode, Brought to you by the 1%!

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @dfordoom
  50. Jack D says:
    @slumber_j

    I saw a segment on the news about the mile long line up for some free food distribution. Most of the cars in the line were late model (“starter “) luxury cars – e.g. Mercedes A-Class or SUVs and most of the drivers were Latino women (this was Long Island NY IIRC). It was all good as long as the paycheck was coming in – $349/month, no problem. But then you get laid off and you have $0 in the bank so you wait in line for the free groceries. And in a couple of months the repo man is going to come for that car also.

    I saw something yesterday that said something like 40%+ of the people who were laid off are never getting those jobs back even if Xi Jinping Flu disappeared tomorrow.

    People are not going to learn – Americans will continue to spend 1oo%+ of their income just like our government does. One man’s “conspicuous” consumption is just another man’s consumption. The real question is what is their income going to be? All those millions of immigrants that we imported to cook in restaurant kitchens and clean hotel rooms, what happens when the demand for restaurant meals and hotel rooms is half of what it used to be and is not coming back for a decade?

  51. Jack D says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Cars are not dead (although fewer people will be able to afford to buy new ones). Uber IS dead. Car sharing is dead. Your own car is one of the few guarantied germ free places now that is not your basement.

    • Agree: AnotherDad
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @njguy73
    , @dfordoom
  52. Anonymous[930] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Really thick mahogany furniture sometimes gets bought at surprisingly high prices to be cut up for guitars. Ditto rosewood facing in buildings.

    The violin guys use only maple and spruce, although maple appears in Colonial style furniture. Brazilian rosewood and mahogany are the “money shot” woods with guitars, acoustic tops may be spruce, cedar or maple. Spruce beams are occasionally found and the high end violin guys don’t bother with them but guitar guys will.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  53. Anonymous[930] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    I had figured that the antique car market would be impacted by a disease that took out a lot of old fat people, but so far not as far as I can tell.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jack D
  54. I can imagine my Animal Instincts reviving the day I get my vaccine shot.

    The Air Force gave me a flu shot: The resulting case of pneumonia nearly killed me.

    I’m wary of all vaccines, particularly recently developed ones. Feel free to take my place in line. I’m content to take my chances with the real deal.

    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  55. @HammerJack

    Isn’t @Steve already on the ADL and $PLC haters lists?

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  56. Jack D says:
    @Art Deco

    You are missing some big categories here that are going to be (already have been) hit. Food away from home (formerly almost half of food spending) . Transportation (flying). Entertainment (movie theaters, concerts). Etc. Whether these were formerly about conspicuous consumption or not, they are going to be hit.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  57. When demand falls, prices fall.

    If by “economics” you mean “how can the government stimulate aggregate demand” you need to rethink what you mean by expconimocs.

  58. @Jonathan Mason

    Wow, your post evokes Devo’s Smart Patrol.

    🎶
    The Smart Patrol
    Nowhere to go
    Suburban robots that monitor reality.
    Common stock,
    We work around the clock.
    We shove the poles in the holes!
    🎶

  59. @Clifford Brown

    Whatever you do, don’t buy that boat.

    Boat prices should be down down down, so very tempting.

  60. Anon[153] • Disclaimer says:

    Not just conspicuous consumption, but consumption in general could take a hit after this pandemic, I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore:
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/recession-unemployment-covid-19-economy-consumer-spending

    Until a vaccine is out, not too many are gonna wanna shop for non-essentials. Who wants to try out new clothes/shoes/accessories that have been tried on by lots of others? Not to mention the venues where you would show off these fancy new clothes – the nightclubs, bars, restaurants, parties, charity balls, symphonies, operas, cruises, luxury travels, etc. are going to probably be shut until everyone’s got their vaccine: https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/lights-go-out-over-asias-nightlife/

    As far as I’m concern, this is all good news. Economists tell us that globalization is good because it allows for goods to be manufactured at the cheapest location and sold at the highest price location, thereby maximizing profits. But all cheap goods does is encourage over consumption. How many more cheap plastic toys do our spoiled children need? How many big screen TVs does each family need? How many more expensive watches/tech toys do we each need? How much more plastic do we need to toss in the ocean? Factories, air travels and cargo ships all pollute our air and poison our rivers and oceans.

    Meanwhile, conspicuous consumption generates envy and makes us all greedy for wanting the same. As Henry Ford said, luxury makes you soft, those who grew accustomed to luxury will have trouble adjusting to hard times, and will resort to any means to keep their soft and easy lifestyle.

    And as far as I’m concern, nightlife leads to sin and crime. As the saying goes: Nothing good happens after midnight. We need to go back to shutting down cities after 9pm. Parties, nightclubs, bars, brothels, massage parlors are where all the illicit/casual sex, drunkenness and drug dealing/consumption take place. The death of nightlife would be a good and necessary cleansing of our increasingly seedy cities and our collective soul.

    Perhaps this virus is God’s will, a chance to wipe out all the underbellies of our society and to cleanse away the need to over consume, not to mention the weak and the rotten.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  61. Anonymous[724] • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco

    Pretty much anywhere and anywhen. All the way back to the Neolithic, tribes that could not stay where they were (bad rainfall, exhausted soil) would move to new grounds, which typically would be occupied by other human groups, resulting in a resource wars. The moves/resource wars cost in death about 50% of the adult males in the moving group, and much more than that (up to 100%) of the males in the displaced group (women and children in moving and displaced groups had slightly less mortality than the men). These figures were actually taken from fairly recent events (1800s) in segments of the world that still used Neolithic tools, so they might not exactly fit real Neolithic casualties. (Lawrence H. Keeley, _War Before Civilization_, see also John F. Ross, _War on the Run_)

    More recently, the author is probably referring to WW I and WW II, which produced significant mortality, although not as much as the resource wars,.

    The overall thesis is unprovable (how could we assess motives, or even identify the people involved, or reconcile the obvious bad effects to the various societies with the thesis that they gratuitously inflicted these results on themselves?), hence an attempt to divert a rational discussion into “is, is not” pilpul. (https://www.unz.com/gatzmon/pilpul-for-beginners/ ). That’s the most likely reason why the person you replied to (https://www.unz.com/isteve/what-do-economists-recommend-when-the-urge-for-conspicuous-consumption-collapses/#comment-3910930) did not answer your question. To do so would divert the discussion back to something resembling rationality with a connection to actual events.

  62. Sean says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    For most of history and right up until WW1, joining the army in wartime was a fast track to dying of disease. World War One was the first in which deaths due to disease among the troops did not far outnumber those killed or dying of wounds thus received.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    , @HA
  63. @Jack D

    The real question is what is their income going to be? All those millions of immigrants that we imported to cook in restaurant kitchens and clean hotel rooms, what happens when the demand for restaurant meals and hotel rooms is half of what it used to be and is not coming back for a decade?

    I don’t know the answer, but I know it will require more immigration.

    • LOL: Joseph Doaks
  64. What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime when the hedonic value I’d get out of a new suit or new car would be considerably below what I’d have expected in 2019

    And even those splendid compared to now 2019 expectations were not sufficient for you to get rid of your – what – 15+ years old Infinity or some such – with worn-out seats. – My overall impression Mr. Sailer is that you are a solid underperformer in your role as a consumer – with or without CO-19s help.

  65. It’s like when you’ve been living the sweet life running on a cocaine high then the unsustainability of it bears down on you and in getting knocked down you rediscover the enjoyment to be had in a loaf of freshly baked bread.

  66. @Jack D

    It all depends on what you mean by “discretionary spending”.

    I lived for some years in the Dominican Republic and there were millions of perfectly healthy human beings living there and going about their daily business, but without many of the luxuries that Americans probably consider to be nondiscretionary.

    For example the majority of people never ate desserts or commercially made candy bars. The supermarkets had huge sections piled high with rice and sold 6 different brands of powdered whole milk (used to feed infants), but baby formula (much more expensive) was hardly used. In the US, you can hardly find the powdered milk in supermarkets, but you may be lucky if you look in the Hispanic products section.

    Medical lab tests that cost $200 in the US were available for $10, using the same diagnostic machines. Panoramic dental X-rays were available for $12 that cost $100 to $200 in the US.

    A large proportion of people wore second-hand clothes, other than underwear, and even the ones that they bought new were hardly ever (genuine) Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger.

    The fact is that there is almost infinite capacity for Americans to scale back on consumption of non essentials, expensive brand names for mundane products, discretionary or conspicuous or not, and on high priced items that have equivalent products that cost a fraction of the price and perform the same function.

    However it seems that the US economy NEEDS a significant proportion of people who are willing to overconsume or overpay for the system to work properly so as to speed up the flow of money through the economy. If we all consumed only what we needed, then I guess we would be a poor country, because we would deprive entrepreneurs of profits and the state and federal goverments of tax revenue.

    • Agree: epebble
    • Replies: @Tetra
    , @dfordoom
    , @Art Deco
  67. Goatweed says:

    Hot water heater and car repairs from rodent damage have more than spent the corona stimulus payment from the IRS.

    Conspicuous consumption for us means travel.

    Will parks and attractions be open?

    Oh, test everyone within a month period.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  68. Here in my corner of the world, conspicuous consumption would be to buy a Mafell track saw and then work in the driveway so that Jensen across the road, with his Festool toys, can see that he’s now in a lower league.

    • LOL: Cortes
  69. @Paul Mendez

    Everybody knows that insiders make a rate of return well above the overall market return by “shaking the tree”: weak hands capitulate in a sharp downturn while strong hands gather up the loosened fruit. In the present case, however, Warren Buffet is acting the part of weak hands. Buy the airline stocks that have been shaken from his portfolio.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  70. UK says:
    @Jack D

    Labour is an asset and it seems there’ll be a glut.

    Perhaps that can used for private purposes as a competitive advantage?

    For example, when I was young and had little immediate economic value, I worked holding trays of champagne glasses at events. I was paid very little so a table would have been about the same price.

    “Bruno” had a whole scene where the joke was replacing furniture with humans, but I actually did that job.

    It seems that jobs like that may be on their way back. The profusion of bicycle delivery services also represents a step in that direction.

    Obviously this is something to grieve over but there’s no point ignoring it.

    For some time, I planned on opening a steam-punk style automated bar. It would have been really cool, but the economics just aren’t there.

    • Replies: @epebble
  71. The kind of conspicuous spending you’re describing doesn’t benefit our benevolent tech overlords, therefore they will not promote it on the media channels they control, which is basically all of them.

    Welfare checks—now and forevermore—will be directed to streaming content providers and trinkets from Amazon in an endless wealth transfer to big tech, with marginally self-aware humans making trivial decisions about which specific tech giant should receive their stipends.

    Now that Jeff Bezos has convinced most Americans that ordering groceries will save grandma—that it’s immoral not to get everything online—it’ll be hard to get them to back into another position.

  72. @Jonathan Mason

    Jonathan Mason said:

    “The bottom has really fallen out for lap dances.”

    No, no, no!

    The bottom has really shaken out for lap dances.

    FIFY

  73. anon[282] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    Yes to every one of these proposals. It distributes wealth the right way by building a hard-working, responsible, family-based middle class.
    One thing to add – Deportation. Deport all illegals. More than that, establish a precedent of stripping criminals of their citizenship and deporting them. We are a democracy and we can vote for any laws or constitutional changes we want. We need a provision in the constitution to strip criminals of their citizenship and deport them, a completely reasonable response to crime, since crime is a betrayal of the social contract of a constitutional republic.
    If you strip street criminals of their citizenship and deport them, you will solve the problem of the black criminal underclass.
    If you enforce the laws for white collar crime (financial crimes, bribery, graft) and deport these gentlemen, you will remove no small number of our political elites.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    , @Anon
  74. Grumpy says:

    Conspicuous consumption is fundamental to American life: oversized houses, Ford F-150s, private colleges, boats used once a year, cabins on the lake, granite countertops, limited edition sneakers, timeshares in Cabo, Whole Foods, chemical lawn treatments, vacations curated for social media, New Yorker subscriptions, season tickets, Apple products, taxidermy, National Public Radio tote bags…

  75. @VinnyVette

    “Stuffing cash under the matress is the new Amerikan way”

    Since 2008, putting money into the bank is almost like putting cash in the mattress. Where is our interest? Why is the inflation rate far outpacing the rate of return for bank accounts? Hell, I heard POTUS expressing the idea of a NEGATIVE interest.

    The government is telling us the time value of our savings is LESS THAN NOTHING. That everyone other than the saver deserves to benefit.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @VinnyVette
  76. What are you going to do if they tell you that your vaccine shot is only about 50% effective?

  77. anon[282] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Autos are dead

    You’ll know the American Dream is over when Americans no longer crave the freedom of the road.

  78. Tetra says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    I got an ear infection while backpacking through Costa Rica and all I had to do was go to the pharmacy and tell them and they just sold me what I needed and it was cheap I didn’t need an appointment or an exam. Many people I met there were tourists from the states who were just there to get dental work and from the money they saved they could pay for their entire trip, the services, and get a vacation out of it. I saw a dental office too because I went with one of the people I met to one of them in the village of Atenas and it was very nice on par with any I’ve been in here in the states. pura vida!

    • Replies: @UK
  79. Anonymous[186] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    I had figured that the antique car market would be impacted by a disease that took out a lot of old fat people, but so far not as far as I can tell.

    Jay Leno hasn’t been looking very healthy these days. I can’t understand how a guy with his money can get so fat. He can hire a live-in chef and a personal trainer, for the love of Pete!

    According to Jay Leno, apparently, conspicuous consumption is when you stand up straight, and can’t see your penis.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  80. danand says:

    Trump vs Ferrari

    “YPSILANTI, Mich. – President Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire, covets a hot supercar built by Ford that starts at approximately $750,000.
    “I wanted to buy one, but then I heard the price,” Trump said smiling.

    It was a carbon edition 2020 Ford GT.”

    AE71AB68-A43D-476F-90BD-4C3D7C3221FA

    “Bill Ford was showing me some of those cars, it’s incredible,” Trump said. “I wanted to buy one, then I heard the price. I said forget it. I said I’ll use one on occasion. But what a car that is, huh? What a car.”

    Perhaps Trump was just negotiating the price?

    “Ferrari reported better than expected earnings last week. The luxury carmaker shut its factory in March as the coronavirus ravaged the brand’s Italian home, but total shipments of Ferrari supercars increased 5% to 2,738 during the month-long furlough. Better-than-expected earnings – $1.02 billion, better than the projected $852 million caused Ferrari’s share prices to surge, making the Italian luxury carmaker’s market value worth more than mass market consumer car manufacturers Ford and General Motors.”

    Orders for Ferrari’s surged during the pandemic. Idling during the shutdown freed up some time for the well healed to pick out colors/options. Good on them, someone needs to drive the economy forward.

    A month and half back, at the height of the pandemic, you’d see a supercar or nice show car out tooling around, or in the Home Depot parking lot. I guess some guys were thinking if this it, the end, may as well enjoy it.

    Now that the lock-down appears to be essentially over, and traffic is returning, those cars are absent. Back to the garages I guess?

    • Replies: @Anon7
  81. @George

    Small business owners. You mean the ones who think they’re big business owners (and vote with them) but aren’t. The base of support for Trump (not the poor, that would be wrong)? The ones screaming loudest for opening up (not the poor again, they are suitably afraid).

    Small business owners are the kind who promote and vote for zoning changes that allow a new Walmart in their town and then wonder why their hardware store is going out of business.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  82. This is way down on the thread, but here goes anyway.

    The virus proves how many jobs are unnecessary. Make-work, Busy-work Jobs. Typing on a computer in a cubicle, yeah, that’s work, alright. Opining online, real work alright.

    The term “essential” workers is important in this context.

    Most of the work done before the virus was . . . wait for it . . . IN-essential.

    Let those jobs fade away. How? Just take huge tranches of money away from corporations and billionaires and trillionaires and give it to the rest of us so that we can go about our lives without the mind-numbing and humiliating bother of “working” at IN-essential, make-work, busy-work “jobs.”

  83. Thoughts says:
    @Alice

    The buying guns part is just stupid.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  84. @Alexander Turok

    Keynes wasn’t nearly as stupid as his modern fans would have you believe.

    No, he was queer. “In the long run, we are all dead.”

    Well, yes… The bottom of the page is the end of the line.

    John Maynard[-]Keynes =

    Johnny yanked reams.
    Johnny reamed Yanks.

    Fortune does not change men, it unmasks them. -Suzanne Necker, author (1739-1794)

    (For that matter, masking does not change men.)

  85. Tell the truth Steve: You watched Goodfellas last night, and wanted to work that shot into your blog.

    That said, I think there’s going to be a lot of inconspicuous consumption going on in the next year. Lots of new people buying backpacks, camping gear, food supplies, extra masks, storage units, gun licenses, solar generators, heirloom seeds and gardening beds, and, if they can afford it, four-wheel drive vehicles and second homes in the country.

    This virus woke a lot of folks up to supply chain interruptions, the dangerousness of dense urban living, pandemic diseas, and draconian government overreach.

    Every guy teaching a survivalist or gardening or hunting or even a basic camping course is going to be overwhelmed this summer. They’ll make tons of moolah and have wait lists months or a year long.

  86. Reading this, it truly makes me appreciate that youth is wasted on the young. But fortunately, the young are increasingly priced out of enjoying youth.

    The only people who should be enjoying their youth should be people who are affluent enough to relive it.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  87. epebble says:
    @UK

    Actually there is one such occupation; it started in Southern California and it has spread now – Human Directionals. People holding up arrows with business signs and twirling/dancing to draw attention of passers by. So this can be extended to Advertising.

  88. Thoughts says:

    I think you guys are wwayyy to negative.

    Every girl will be rushing to the mall to buy new clothes if she has the money.

    When it comes to single females, spending may even be MORE as people make up for lost time and have a throw-your-cares-to-the-wind attitude.

    I throw it down now…

    This Christmas shopping season will be EPIC! Retailers will make Bank.

  89. What Do Economists Recommend When the Urge for Conspicuous Consumption Collapses?

    Building giant (empty) hotels?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ryugyong_hotel
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ryugyong_hotel

    Speaking of the Kim kin, PolyMatter has just uploaded a video delineating possible and actual Kim succession paths, past and future. He believes the most obvious heir should KJU drop dead is not the sister, but the son– who’s all of ten.

    What fun a tween would have with mushroom clouds! Sure beats a chemistry set.

    Jeff Besos must be on the outs with YouTube/Google/Alphabet, as video links from the Kindle are “sent to Atlanta” now. This is PolyMatter’s Twitter announcement:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/polymattersref_src=twsrc5egoogle7ctwcamp5eserp7ctwgr5eauthor
    http://mobile.twitter.com/polymattersref_src=twsrc5egoogle7ctwcamp5eserp7ctwgr5eauthor
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/ucgng3vwj3xt7qorcidahdfg
    http://www.youtube.com/channel/ucgng3vwj3xt7qorcidahdfg

    (Does Besos have Tourette’s Syndrome? His devices sure do!)

  90. Jack D says:
    @Anonymous

    Car collecting is generational – people generally want the cars of their youth. So as the Boomers die off, the value of Boomer generation cars will also fall. However, keep in mind that Xi Jinping Virus is killing mostly people who are pre-Boomers. And folks who are in nursing homes have usually already shed their cars.

    But in general, car collecting is an old white guy hobby. Jay Leno has a fantastic series of videos out that highlight not only his (vast) collection but also on occasion the cars of fellow collectors. Invariably they are white guys of about Leno’s age. He also sometimes talks about how he came to acquire some of his cars. Often the previous (old white guy) owner has died and his widow or family call up Leno and ask him if he is interested. It will be interesting to see if Leno’s collection remains intact after he dies.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @MarkinLA
  91. Art Deco says:
    @AnonymousMillenarian

    You’re referring to the Keynesian multiplier, not the money multiplier, which is a different metric. The Keynesian multiplier refers to the effect on production of increases in government spending. Lots of effort at measuring this, with inconsistent results. I once did a meatball literature review and discovered the median estimate of a number of studies was 0.6, i.e. production levels don’t respond much to public expenditures.

    The goods and services in question account for about 19% of your personal consumption, with housing costs another 17%. The thing is, we’re looking at (1) the upscale consumer who is (2) consuming to display. The households of professional-managerial types and persons more affluent might account for somewhat north of 40% of disposable personal income and perhaps 35% of personal consumption in this country. Now, look at the jumbo mortgage data and the luxury car market. They’re not accounting for 35% of the expenditure on cars or 35% of the expenditure on housing. And, of course, someone with a 5 bedroom Tudor house built in 1920 may have a number of motives; impressing people isn’t necessarily a priority or even a consideration.

  92. Anon7 says:

    OT: Coronavirus lockdown shortened the flu season by about six weeks and saved lives!

    Lockdowns and social-distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus seem to have shortened the influenza season in the northern hemisphere by about six weeks.

    Globally, an estimated 290,000–650,000 people typically die from seasonal flu, so a shorter flu season could mean tens of thousands of lives are spared.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01538-8

    What about NO flu season? Shouldn’t the lockdown be an annual flu season tradition now? If we could save only one life… all lives are precious… an abundance of caution…

    In a related story, the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Law resulted in many thousands of deaths.

    The failed policy of increased speed limits accounted for the deaths of an estimated 12 545 Americans over 10 years of follow-up. The repeal of the National Maximum Speed Law and its aftermath show that policy decisions that appear harmless can have long-term repercussions. Our data support reinstating lower speed limits on rural and urban highways. Reduced speed limits would save lives; they would also reduce gas consumption, cut emissions of air pollutants, save valuable years of productivity, and reduce the societal cost of motor vehicle crashes.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724439/

    So, I guess it’s back to 55 mph highway speeds.

  93. @Coemgen

    Bitches, bling, and blow.

    • Thanks: Coemgen
  94. Anon7 says:
    @danand

    This is the dream of the elites. Make the masses pay for everything, like a nice roadway system or fancy airports (especially the fancy regional airports!) – but then put restrictions in place so it’s mostly the elites who get to use them.

    Make the masses foot all the bills for all the illegals – emergency room health care, public school education, free state EBT money – then own the businesses that use this labor force for practically nothing.

    Living the dream – the rich have been doing it for decades here in the USA.

  95. @Alice

    80/20 beef is better than 90/10, provided it’s grass fed.

    90/10 beef serves no purpose except to cater to the market that never got the memo debunking the Great Cholesterol Scare of the 1980s.

    80/20 tastes better too.

    If you can buy directly from a butcher who does custom grinds, consider 75/25 or even 70/30.

  96. Art Deco says:
    @Coemgen

    I made some mistakes in arithmetic. This refers to personal consumption expenditures in toto.

    18.3%: Housing and utilities (the housing will be about 90% of the sum)
    17.0%: Health care (I think includes lt care)
    8.5%: miscellaneous services
    8.3%: miscellaneous non-durable goods
    8.0%: Financial services and insurance
    7.0%: Groceries
    7.0%: Food service and accommodation
    4.0%: Recreational services
    3.7%: Motor vehicles and parts
    3.3%: Transportation services
    3.0%: Final consumption of philanthropies
    2.8%: Recreational goods and vehicles
    2.7%: Clothing and footwear
    2.4%: Furnishings
    2.3%: Gasoline, fuel, & c
    1.5%: miscellaneous durable goods.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  97. @Sean

    For most of history and right up until WW1, joining the army in wartime was a fast track to dying of disease.

    True, but catching syphilis or TB does not fly as a recruiting slogan.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  98. Art Deco says:
    @Craig Nelsen

    Having a two bedroom apartment in a non-viperous neighborhood is shelter for a household of ordinary size. The extra space is discretionary.

  99. JMcG says:
    @Paul Mendez

    I don’t need a vehicle, but Ford is giving big discounts and 72 months interest free on ‘20 models and 84 months interest free on ‘19s.
    I’m getting some hardscaping done this spring. The guy doing it said a lot of his jobs have been cancelled, so he’s happy to have the work. That’s in SÉ Pa.

  100. Muggles says:

    Those that want to conspicuously consume, and can, will continue to do so. But this is mainly for the lower IQ lower class people (of all kinds) who somehow get the money.

    Quick rich entertainers, athletes, criminals, lottery winners, etc.

    Others lacking the actual money go into debt for that. Bad idea.

    As to what to buy now, that depends on your stage of life. If you are older and not subsidizing relatives, or needing to save for retirement (buying stocks now is a good idea for that) you might consider inflation hedges.

    Gold, silver, etc. are good for that. Paying off debt is good. If you are inclined to buy a vacation home or second home, or move to a better climate, safer place, etc. you will find prices temporarily down. People now unemployed and/or debt ridden (former business owners now bankrupt) will sell their ski condos and vacation places asap. Likewise anyone needing to cut expenses and move into smaller digs, or rent. However, given the trillions in Magic Fed Money being handed out, in a year or two inflation will rear its since forgotten head. Prices for durables and useful property will rise as a result. If you want that nice tricked out pickup, RV or nice car, the next year is the time to get a deal. Major new appliances, farm equipment, anything you can use or enjoy that will last.

    Just a few thoughts.

  101. njguy73 says:
    @Hannah Katz

    You’re more of a rebel than any so-called SJW could ever hope to be.

  102. Ammunition and an All American canner would be good investments. No economists would recommend either. I’m curious how the lockdown advocates will get us out of their moldy economic pickle. So far their beloved government spending has only made billionaires richer and grocery store prices inflated.

  103. njguy73 says:
    @Jack D

    I would say that those millions of immigrants will go back home, but then I realized something.

    I’m not a complete idiot.

  104. @Jack D

    But in general, car collecting is an old white guy hobby.

    There’s a short dash-cam video on YouTube taking you through that great European capital, Vaduz. It’s about eight minutes long. Yet you see two 1930s-era cars pass by. Just another day in the principality!

    Xi Jinping Virus

    Winnie the Flu!

    (Oh, bother, I’m not the first.)

  105. njguy73 says:
    @Jack D

    People that “Don’t Stand So Close” by the Police is the song of the pandemic.

    Actually, the song of the pandemic is another hit from 1980.

    “Cars” by Gary Numan.

    “Here in my cars/I feel safest at all/I can lock all the doors/It’s the only way to live/In cars”

    Numan, BTW, is also a licensed pilot who once ran his own charter flight company, and who claims to have Asperger’s Syndrome.

  106. @Art Deco

    All wars have been organic with absolutely no manipulation by elites who may have a financial or political interest in the carnage. You remain a paragon of conventional wisdom.

  107. anon[103] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paul Mendez

    New cars financed for 60 months at 0% are a thing. And the price was competitive, due to internet shopping. 0 down payment, to boot.

    I generally pay cash, but this will be an interesting experience. The cash is in a separate account and the payments are automatically debited. In five years, we will see how it worked out.

    So anyone needing a car might test the waters.

  108. @Reg Cæsar

    John Maynard Keynes =

    Johny, ya drank semen

    Ay, hand-jerk me, sonny

  109. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    The science of economics isn’t designed for giving advice. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    There are, however, plenty of people willing to sell you advice, based on sciences of which only they have knowledge.

  110. Pericles says:
    @HammerJack

    Steve helps them generate content.

  111. @UK

    Has bruce had the operation?

  112. Anon[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hannah Katz

    Spending money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like, makes no sense.

    I would change that to …to buy things you don’t need, but, great line, I love it. As well as the rest of your comment.

  113. @Jonathan Mason

    “I think what John Maynard Keynes would recommend would be is that the government print money and create jobs digging holes and then filling them in again. “

    That’s more or less what UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is doing, just not bothering with the holes.

    Consider that most of the UK economy is “service industries” – like the vital business of selling coffee and houses to each other. The coffee shops are shut, at least for eat-in, and the house market is in suspended animation.

    Rishi is funding 8o% of the wages that the furloughed coffee shop baristas and estate agency bastards are earning, on condition the employers stump up the other 20%. So the employees can still pay the bills, it’s just that people are making their own coffee and not moving house. It might even improve our balance of payments, as when people make their own coffee Starbucks can’t overcharge for “Swiss” coffee beans and transfer the profits to Zug.

    Only a small percentage of the UK economy is actually making things people need. The rest is non-essential. I could wish when sweating at exercise that I had a lithe fitness instructress to look at, but it’s not vital. We could go on for decades like this !

  114. @Bardon Kaldian

    “The truth is that life is hard and dangerous; [REDACTED]; that he who is weak must suffer; that he who demands love will be disappointed; [REDACTED]; [REDACTED]; that truth is only for the brave; [REDACTED]; that life is only for the one who is not afraid to die.”

    Joyce Cary was batting over. 500 – not bad! I redacted his lies. You are welcome.

  115. Anon[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    I think what John Maynard Keynes would recommend would be is that the government print money and create jobs digging holes and then filling them in again. Or build walls from sea to shining sea.

    The 21st century version of this is as implemented in WA state: hundreds of millions of unemployment checks paid out to the “Nigerian Prince” fraud gang, while the Seattle city council and state governor are colluding on a way to pass an additional $100m stimulus to illegal immigrants without having to go through the state legislature.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  116. Charlotte says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    If you’re on the East Coast or the South, and you’ve got a way to haul stuff, there are excellent deals on furniture to be had at auctions. Much cheaper than antique stores. The quality of antique furniture is generally far superior to modern furniture in the same price range, at least if you stay away from the very high end antiques. I live in the Great Plains, and I’ve bought a number of pieces at online auctions, but the shipping has gotten really pricey. My “closet” is a 200+ year-old solid walnut armoire from New Orleans for which I paid less than the cost of shipping.

  117. @Almost Missouri

    Depends on how you are cooking it.

    For grilling, absolutely, the fatter cuts do a lot better. The leaner cuts tend to taste very dry.

  118. @HammerJack

    Hammer, Years ago I bought a Corvette from an aquaintance so he could buy a 26 foot Columbia sailboat. There are alot of things you can do on a sailboat that you can’t do in a ‘vette. But come winter we were both without our toys. There is something stately, for lack of a better word, about sailing. And to be honest, is there nothing better than having a beachfront summer home?

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  119. Anon[238] • Disclaimer says:

    Expect Zoom to sell “in game” style icons and badges for use by participants, and to show badges for people who have, for instance, contributed to Covid charities, or other good causes, like anti-Trump PACs and transgender rights organizations.

    Then maybe green-screen systems for backgrounds and high-quality cameras and microphones. Have you noticed the trend in conspicuous, fancy-pants, radio-station level microphones in video podcasts?

  120. Rob McX says:
    @UK

    Indeed. “Bruce Jenner is a woman”, “Race doesn’t exist”, etc. are the woke equivalent of “My watch cost more than your car”.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
  121. Anon[238] • Disclaimer says:
    @HammerJack

    Sailors aren’t the kind to spend their money showing off. You’re thinking of power boaters. Sailing takes way too much work for them.

    I was surprised to learn this, watching YouTube sailing channels. Owners are usually not wealthy at all and have to clean bilges and fix Yanmar diesel engines (supplemental power for windless days and docking in the marina). They have neverending project lists of things to install. They have to be electronics geeks. And maintenance is neverending, resulting in a lot of free boats on offer. You don’t see many women owning sailboats: It’s either a guy or a couple. Women owners manage to get guys to help them do stuff: You see this in YouTube videos.

    Also surprising: The number of hand-to-mouth small aircraft owners, non-doctor/dentist types who don’t even own a car. Thank god they can earn money from YouTube.

  122. @Goatweed

    Goatweed, welcome to the club. Who knew a new water heater would eat the $1200 stimulus check? I thought those things were like $500-$600. A Harley. That’s the ticket so I can ride with all the fat ass lawyers that gather nearby at a small bar.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @E. Rekshun
  123. @The Alarmist

    “I’m wary of all vaccines, particularly recently developed ones. Feel free to take my place in line. I’m content to take my chances with the real deal.”

    I’m confident I had the bat AIDS in January. It was a very weak, faggy cold. Before taking any fake vaccine, I’ll get my blood tested for batAIDS antibodies to get a vaccine waiver, if possible. My primary objection to the vaccine is that Science proves coronavirus vaccines aren’t real. I would get a fake vaccine more willingly than I would wear a facediaper – the ladies need to enjoy my handsome, head-turning face.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  124. JosephB says:
    @Craig Nelsen

    I suppose it could be argued that one purchases a house because having shelter is more enjoyable than homelessness, but most people don’t consider that to be “discretionary” spending.

    True, but how much of the money spent on home buying is far beyond “having shelter.” Granite counter tops, 3 bathrooms, large yards, oversized garages, houses twice the size they were 50 years ago with fewer people in them. We’ve moved well beyond shelter. I suspect Corona will have a negative impact on the top half of the housing market. It certainly feels like a good time to think about moving upscale with housing.

  125. Seems to me, after the vast debt increase we are incurring, we need consumers to save a lot more for a while, and help prop up investment, not consumption.

  126. @Buffalo Joe

    One of the really cool “statements” in CA, for a while now, is having your own wine label, and if you’re truly rich, your own winery. They’re beautiful places and will make you super popular, but they don’t make any money. Your own beer label/brewery might be the next thing on the list. The last thing the consumer market needs is more wine and beer.

    what’s a “rolex”?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Buffalo Joe
  127. @Almost Missouri

    No, leaner is better. Do you honestly like the feeling of grease in your mouth and on your hands? I eat 93/7 and it’s fabulous. I’m not avoiding cholesterol (say what?), but fat. The low-fat diet is back! Shriek!

  128. Anon7 says:
    @Jack D

    “All those millions of immigrants that we imported to cook in restaurant kitchens and clean hotel rooms, what happens when the demand for restaurant meals and hotel rooms is half of what it used to be and is not coming back for a decade?”

    Thank god the Democrats have the answer! Guaranteed basic income, of course. We’ve already tried handing out free money, and everybody who got some think’s its great! What could go wrong?

    Sure, sure I can hear your question. Would the democrats be willing to give out free money to people who are in the country illegally?

    Survey says…

    Woot!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  129. Jack D says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    The government keeps mandating more and more “safety devices” and “energy efficiency improvements” and the manufacturers mark these extra costs up 400% – they are happy for the government mandates because #1 – all their competitors have to comply also and #2 increased cost translates to increased bottom line. What are you going to do, not buy a water heater? And tank type water heaters are too bulky to ship from overseas so no pesky foreign competition to keep prices down and there are only a small handful of domestic manufacturers (each one has a bunch of different labels so the # of brands is a tiny fraction of the number of manufacturers) . And the heaters are “planned obsolescence” – they are literally designed to rust out as soon as the anode rods are eaten away and the lifespan of the anodes is timed to match the warranty. And need one with a power vent? Pay double because it has a dinky little blower motor.

    So much for “no inflation”. If you have lived in your house long enough to need 2 or 3 water heaters you can see the geometric progression in prices.

    • Agree: Buffalo Joe
    • Replies: @Bernard
    , @kaganovitch
  130. @Hannah Katz

    “Buy what you need and save the rest.”

    Indeed. However, in case you haven’t noticed, one of the classic functions of money (to be a store of value) is currently undergoing a vicious assault. It’s hard to make the case to save fiat currency.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  131. Jack D says:
    @stillCARealist

    The last thing the consumer market needs is more wine and beer.

    Wine and beer labels perhaps but the people staying home have been drinking up a storm and sales are way up.

  132. @Buffalo Joe

    And to be honest, is there nothing better than having a beachfront summer home?

    Yes, much better is to have friends with beachfront second homes who are too busy working to pay for them to use them. We have a place on one of the Great Lakes that nobody in the family has visited in over a year. Meanwhile, family friends have been there a dozen times or more. At least one of them replaced our microwave oven when it died and they couldn’t contact us to pay for the new one.

  133. @Art Deco

    Where?

    The Taiwan Strait.

    When?

    Soon.

    Watch the US military start hiring like mad around the time the bennies dry up.

    Taiwan’s semiconductor production capabilities are of enormous strategic value.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/they-saw-day-coming-huawei-forges-alliances-rival-chipmakers-washingtons-crackdown

    Nothing is going to be done about Hong Kong.

    The Fed Death Star will ensure any CCP financial shenanigans from that vector get the Alderaan treatment.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  134. SafeNow says:

    In the MSM, the return to pre-Covid normalcy is dichotomized into: soon, or not soon. What’s absent is “never.” I am a “never” guy, and I think most Unz commenters are as well. Further, I break down “never” into two possibilities: (1) Social peace; sad, but peaceably resigned and gracefully accepting; or (2) Societal breakdown; chaos; dystopia. I would place the odds of number 2 as more likely.

  135. @Jack D

    Anecdotally, some liquor stores are reporting such strong sales that, “… every day is like New Year’s Eve.”

  136. UK says:
    @Tetra

    An ex got an easily solvable skin infection when we were on holiday in the States. She just needed some antibacterial cream but we had to drive 45 minutes to a doctor, pay $150 for 2 minutes of chatting that confirmed it, wait a few hours in total and go to a pharmacy where the $2 commonly generic cream cost $80!

    We were in a poor rural area at the time and what should have been a five minute $2 trip took most of a day and cost a hundred times that.Thr
    It may not be nationalised like the NHS but there was nothing that felt free market about it…

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  137. MarkinLA says:
    @Jack D

    It will be interesting to see if Leno’s collection remains intact after he dies.

    No, unless he donates it to some museum that has the money to keep it going like the Petersen. Every year I get a brochure on a big motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. Every year there are at least 2-5 significant motorcycle collections being auctioned off in that auction.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  138. Anon7 says:

    What I don’t see is the science of economics having much advice to give in the meantime…

    The science of economics may not have much advice, but you can bet the science of advertising will have plenty to say.

    A lot of shopping is therapeutic, and the effectiveness of retail therapy is undiminished. People also buy to show to other people what they believe, or who they follow online or what economic level they aspire to.

    Also, I really think that Americans are raised to use material goods to regulate their feelings. What’s the point of acquiring self-control through long discipline when you can skip straight to the good feelings?

  139. Anonymous[712] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon7

    Most of those are just public option plans, they are not “free healthcare,” despite what the propaganda machine claims.

    And to pre-empt it, I would applaud anyone who kicks out all the illegals. Trump’s not doing it because he’s beholden to the GOP cheap labor lobby.

  140. @Buffalo Joe

    Who knew a new water heater would eat the $1200 stimulus check? I thought those things were like $500-$600.

    In my metro southeast area, it’s $800 to install a standard 80 gallon water heater. Last year, I paid $1100 (after $500 rebate from the gas co.) to have an exterior, tankless, natural gas powered water heater installed. It’s been great. Freed up some space in mu utility room and reduced my natural gas bill by $10/mo. (so it’ll pay for itself in only 110 mos.!)

  141. Anonymous[161] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    That’s why you buy stock.

    • Replies: @Warner
    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
  142. Anonymous[200] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag

    Small business owners are the kind who promote and vote for zoning changes that allow a new Walmart in their town and then wonder why their hardware store is going out of business

    Was with you until this point. You’re the kind who tries to block the building of new housing, new businesses, then you scratch your head wondering why the “local cost of living” is so high.

  143. @MarkinLA

    My impression is that there are more car museums in the U.S. than customers who want to visit car museums will support.

    In general, judging from road signs on cross country trips, America is awash in museums.

  144. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    In January?

    It was just the flu, bro.

  145. Anonymous[201] • Disclaimer says:
    @theMann

    Might as well be a Democrat if you are going to do that, because you are talking about a term Academia invented to feel superior to people who had more money than they did.

    Good example of the genetic fallacy. And often we’re felling superior to people who will soon have less money than we do, and then scream at the top of their lungs that we need to let the pandemic rip because they were too irresponsible to have a rainy-day fund.

    And no one is fit to assess the “hedonic value ” of another man’s purchases.

    If you want to talk about ideas that began on the Left and have been infecting the right, how about this celebration of mediocrity? This idea that there’s no such thing as excellence, truth, beauty, accomplishment, intelligence. That we should never “judge” anyone’s behavior.

  146. Bernard says:
    @Jack D

    Absolutely, I was astounded when I went shopping for my last one. In a ten year span water heaters went from a range of $100-200 to $400-600.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    , @Mr McKenna
  147. @Jack D

    (each one has a bunch of different labels so the # of brands is a tiny fraction of the number of manufacturers)

    Other way round,no?

    • Agree: Jack D
  148. Anonymous[132] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    Yes to everything except the housing subsidies. You have to deregulate first, otherwise it just goes into the pockets of existing landowners.

  149. @Hannah Katz

    Max out your 401k. Have 10% of your paycheck automatically put into a savings account.

  150. @Anon

    Holes in the Ground

    Keynes backed up his theory by adding government expenditures to the overall national output. This was controversial from the start because the government doesn’t actually save or invest as businesses and individuals do, but raises money through mandatory taxes or debt issues (that are paid back by tax revenues). Still, by adding government to the equation, Keynes showed that government spending—even digging holes and filling them in—would stimulate the economy when businesses and individuals were tightening budgets. His ideas heavily influenced the New Deal and the welfare state that grew up in the postwar era.

    https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/john-maynard-keynes-keynesian.asp

  151. Anonymous[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    There are some people who regularly shop as gas stations despite the fact that the same products are available at half the price at the local grocery store. Do they “deserve” to lose out? Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. You had the option of investing your money. You would have wound up with a lot more hand you done so.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  152. @slumber_j

    Have no fear! Figuring out what to do with other people’s extra money is exactly what the Democratic Party is there for. After the Green New Deal takes effect we can put all of our spending into necessities alone, assuming they still have bread when we finally get to the front of the line.

  153. @Paul Mendez

    “What do other iSteve readers recommend buying right now?”

    Classic Art

    • LOL: theMann
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  154. @Thoughts

    The not having guns is the stupid part; means you’re going to pay retail in the time of WuFlu.

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
  155. @Anonymous

    So you approve of essentially ZERO or negative time value of money as instigated by US policy? OK.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  156. @John Achterhof

    Meh. The airlines have taken on new, enormous debt loads, not to invest in anything, but just to survive. If they do survive, they won’t have any profits for many years. That’s the reason the share prices of airlines have collapsed: that really is all that they are worth now. Buffet knows what he’s doing. There isn’t any upside.

  157. @Jonathan Mason

    Well Keynes would probably have suggested America fix its crumbling infrastructure and build more nuclear reactors, which neither the mainstream right or left in America has much interest in doing. The right is mostly interested in giving tax breaks to bloated internet giants while the left wants to waste money on building a green utopia.

    The US has also failed to follow the other side of Keynesian economics – pay down national debt when the economy is doing well. Not only does this give you more room to stimulate the economy in the future, but it helps deflate asset bubbles in the near term. Unlike many economists, Keynes was a highly successful investor who made a lot of money out of asset bubbles driven my badly timed tax cuts.

    As for what to do with your money now, try putting some of it into medium-sized domestic companies that are likely to benefit from the growing trade disputes that are slowly grinding down the global giants.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Art Deco
  158. @Anonymous

    According to Jay Leno, apparently, conspicuous consumption is when you stand up straight, and can’t see your penis.

    I have a similar problem; I’m near sighted.

  159. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paul

    The old mob guys were very quiet and stayed below the radar. They lived in nice but not colossal or ostentatious houses. They had few eccentric hobbies and spent little in visible ways. Occasionally they would have something really nice but they tended to give nice presents to family members who were not involved but were well behaved and acted grateful. I went to an estate sale for one of the sons of one of the big local mob kingpins. Tons and tons of high dollar knick knacks.

  160. I wonder why economists don’t factor in the disutilitarian aspect of conspicuous consumption. A lot of it is just signalling “superiority” which is designed to make others feel worse. If people feel bad about their clothing or their car, that is a cost. It really seems like a negative sum game.

  161. @AnotherDad

    This is the best recipe for recovery on the internet.

    Just one thing: I didn’t see Nancy Pelosi taking any notes.

    Hmmmm…

  162. @UK

    It may not be nationalised like the NHS but there was nothing that felt free market about it…

    On a similar note, I have gone from full-time employee to contracting, and trying to buy reasonably priced health insurance has been…interesting…

    I recently visited my optometrist for a routine examination. At the end of the session I was asked about my insurance status. I spared the young lady at the front desk my sob story and said, “I have cash and we all know cash is king.”

    She said the exam was $225 paid in full.

    I replied, “That’s less than two months of premium under my old plan. Interesting.”

    So it goes, so it goes….

  163. @Steve Sailer

    Have you visited the Nethercutt Collection in the ever lovely downtown Sylmar, California?

    A national treasure straight out of The Big Lebowski, especially the nickelodeons and
    European Orchestrions. At Christmas time, the music performances make for an eerie and slightly Lynchian treat. Four Stars.

  164. @MarkinLA

    “Maybe we just have to wait it out like we did during the Great Depression.”

    FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression great. The UK, for example, didn’t seize on a financial market panic to install vast intrusive bureaucracies everywhere. As a result, they had no “Great ” Depression.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Art Deco
  165. HA says:
    @Sean

    “World War One was the first in which deaths due to disease among the troops did not far outnumber those killed or dying of wounds thus received.”

    Maybe. How much of the Spanish flu’s infamous tendency to attack the “young and healthy” was actually an attack on immune-compromised ex-soldiers who had spent the last couple of years stewing away in cramped, crowded, pathogen-soaked trenches and bordellos (not to mention all the iffy hooch and other chemicals and preservatives added to that toxic mix)?

    It is widely assumed that the higher HIV/STI rates among “men who have sex with men” are at least somewhat (maybe even largely) due to the increased stress on their immune systems associated with their bustling pathogen and chemical-tainted partygoing and thrill-seeking lifestyles. (Africa isn’t easy on the immune system, either, come to think of it.)

    Would the Spanish flu have been the killer that it was if the young and “healthy” people whom it attacked had not already taken such a hit to their immune systems? And if one includes Spanish flu casualties into the overall WWI death toll, then for that war, too, diseases retained their position as the heavy lifters when it came to killing.

    • Replies: @theMann
    , @Sean
  166. epebble says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The one near us announced closure a few days back. We enjoyed visiting it a couple of years back. https://www.worldofspeed.org/

  167. njguy73 says:
    @AnotherDad

    “A: Encourage American men to get jobs, get married, and gave kids, in that order.”

    “Q: What is something that our elites don’t want happening?”

    “Correct, for $200.”

    “Thank you. I’ll continue the category and take ‘Stuff That Should Be Obvious’ for $400, Alex.”

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  168. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Nobody uses maple for acoustic guitar tops. Les Pauls famously had figured, violin bookmatched tops, but on an acoustic it would be a disaster.

    Spruce, redwood, and occasionally mahogany or koa are used on steel string guitar tops. Nylon string models occasionally use cedar or cypress.

    Mahogany, koa or cypress tops usually only go on guitars made entirely of those woods except for the fingerboard, bridge, peghead overlay and so forth.

    Someone recently positied on a forum that it was a yin/yang, or as he put it, “lingamwood” and “yoniwood” issue. Yoniwoods were softwoods good for acoustic tops, and very occasionally used for a solid body guitar. But the neck needed to be lingamwood and the body more yoniwood for good results. Woods were on a sliding scale of lingamishness or yoniness, so to speak. The fingerboard needs to always be the lingamest, followed by the neck, the back and sides on acoustics, etc. Actually this makes for a sensible approach although I’m sure that most guitar makers would prefer a less controversial set of terms.

    Unlike Zachary Guitars’ Alex Csiky, who is like the enfant terrible of custom guitar makers, antagonizing and needling potential customers, and at one time requiring prospective buyers to actually audition for the right to buy his guitar. He proudly proclaims that his 24 fret access neck joint is “Tighter than a Witch’s Cunt”.

    So far, no witches have filed a formal complaint.

  169. @Anonymous

    Yeah right. Sort of like repetitive biannual trips to Las Vegas to recover prior losses.

  170. @Steve Sailer

    America itself is fast become one big ol’ museum viewable (without even buying a ticket) from the comfort of your car. (at least until the highway finishes crumbling apart)

  171. @stillCARealist

    Still, A Rolex watch, once the one piece of status successfull men wore.

  172. @Bernard

    Bernard, Thank you. And installation and a new gas line because the old flex hose wasn’t up to code. But, thirty plus years in this house and only the second swap out.

  173. @Hypnotoad666

    Hypno, classic art is on black velvet. You know, like a Gainsburger at the Louvers.

  174. theMann says:
    @HA

    Also, at the end of four years of war, nutrition and sanitation both had taken a major beating. I wonder how much vitamin C and B6 deficiency, combined with dirty water supplies, contributed to the Pandemic.

    • Agree: HA
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  175. @anon

    The only people who could arguably be stripped of their citizenship and deported would be naturalized citizens and maybe anchor babies. The African-American criminal class could not be deported as they have no other country of origin to deport them to.

  176. @theMann

    The U.S., though, was in pretty good shape in 1918.

    Everybody else was indeed exhausted.

    • Replies: @HA
  177. prosa123 says:
    @Clifford Brown

    Paul Harrell is one of the best firearms You Tubers out there, along with Hickok45.

  178. Why give advice at all?

    It’s their money, let them do whatever they want with it.

    Laissez faire, laissez passer, le monde va de lui même.

  179. @Bernard

    Count yourself lucky. My last one was $1200.

  180. I’m not alone in that my private life has not changed one bit during the so-called pandemic.
    Not one bit.

  181. Anon[189] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    We need a provision in the constitution to strip criminals of their citizenship and deport them, a completely reasonable response to crime, since crime is a betrayal of the social contract of a constitutional republic.

    Perhaps we should buy some land in Africa and turn it into a penal colony. How about Madagascar? Let our otherwise highly capable inmates (who are only in prison because of racism) turn it into the next Australia/USA.

    • Replies: @Alexander Turok
  182. HA says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “The U.S., though, was in pretty good shape in 1918.”

    The ex-soldiers, however, had by that point seen some…well, stuff. For example, with regard to treating syphillis:

    In 1906 Paul Ehrlich, a German histological chemist at the Robert Koch Institute… had been experimenting for some years with the use of arsenic [as opposed to the mercury that was used earlier] compounds in treating… syphilis

    I’m guessing mercury and/or arsenic isn’t great for the immune system (and does a number on you in a variety of ways).

    Smoking also became popular in WWI: “The horrors of the Great War led to a great rise in smoking and by 1919 cigarette smoking was by far the most popular form.” Also not great for the respiratory system. Then there was all the nasty stuff Upton Sinclair wrote about (i.e., all the compounds that — as you have noted — made white bread so prized, despite the vitamin deficiencies it created). And it wasn’t until the 30’s that we started fortifying “white” foods like milk and rice.

    Somewhat earlier than WWI, around the Typhoid Mary days if I remember the source, more people were dying in NY city than were being born, but thanks to Ellis Island, we were able to keep that human meat grinder turning. Yay!

    In other words, those good old days when people didn’t care so much about people dropping like flies from pandemics weren’t really all that wonderful. Maybe if we got back in the habit of drafting tens of thousands of young men to die in foreign wars, we would care less about pandemics, too, but be careful what you wish for.

    In the case of the Spanish flu, the media and politicians made a concerted effort to ignore it, so as not to disrupt the war effort and liberty-bond-parades:

    Well, there was fake news in 1918, but it was coming from the government, and it was being echoed by newspapers around the country. You know, consistent with that [anti-sedition] law that you just quoted… public health leaders, locally and local politicians, were saying this is nothing to worry about…

    It got so bad in Philadelphia, when they finally, belatedly, you know, issued their closing orders – you know, closed schools, churches, no church services, you know, bars, restaurants, so forth and so on, theaters – one of the newspapers said, quote, “this is not a public health measure; you have no cause for panic or alarm,”…You know, I mean, how stupid did they think people were?

    …the only effect a statement like that had was that people stopped believing anything they were being told, and that meant that rumor and bad information was dominant. Nobody knew what was going on. And when they’re getting no information, when they’re being told this is ordinary influenza by another name and these things are happening or, in some cases, people are dying 24 hours after the first symptoms, all that did was spread fear and, in some cases, panic.

    • Replies: @HA
  183. Anonymous[238] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Lower interests rates are a reality everywhere in the world, so US policy is not the dominant factor here.

    I know people like you. People in my family, who stick their money in a bank account and earn no interest. I try to tell them to invest in the stock market, but they won’t listen. They know someone who lost all their money in the stock market, and that anecdote trumps my data. Fine, no skin off my back. In fact, I benefit as the paper holders are essentially transferring money to those of us smart enough to not hold paper. But I’m not going to listen to the victim crap, anymore than I’ll listen to the whining millennial who took on loads of debt for a worthless degree. The time value of money is not zero. You just managed yours poorly.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  184. HA says:
    @HA

    “it people stopped believing anything they were being told, and that meant that rumor and bad information was dominant.”

    And before anyone of the people here who think he’s attained Ann Frank levels of lockdown-victimhood because his gym was closed for two months wants to pipe up with the inevitable “how is that any different from today?”, let me tell you, don’t bother. Yeah, the CDC masks-are worthless-masks-are-necessary fiasco and all that other hug-an-Asian stuff has indeed been an embarrassment, but unless you live in Belarus, don’t embarrass yourselves by getting (on the internet, of all places) to complain that the lack of information you have to deal with today was anything like what past generations had to endure.

  185. Anonymous[143] • Disclaimer says:
    @njguy73

    Yeah, that’s what elites everywhere want, for workers to stop working. *eyeroll*

    You’re closer to base with the marriage and kids thing, a portion of our elites do have a certain biblical hatred for European-derived peoples and a desire to see them demographically decline. But, in general, non-Finnish Leftists do not want this. Very few feminists don’t want to marry. They want to delay marriage, want marriages to be easy to dissolve, and want to be favored when that happens. They don’t want to “waste” their youth on him, but beta bux must be there when she wants him, or else the whole project falls to the floor.

    • Replies: @njguy73
  186. @Joe Stalin

    Agree! why put the $$$ in the bank where’s the advantage? My feeling is this shutting down of the economy has more to it than “health and safety. The bank / Wall Street bailout quantive easing by the Fed was in the works before Covid hit, and the Covid crisis is a convenient excuse to blame bailout 2.0 on the collapse of the economy due to having to shutter the economy due to the “crisis”. As you mentioned now right now Trump brings up negative interest and the Dems roll out digital currency… NOW!
    Social credit is next on the agenda!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  187. MBlanc46 says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Fat is where the flavor is.

  188. Here is an excellent article very relevant to Steve’s question… “What is the most dangerous thing to the economy”? Saving! The article explains very nicely why that is bunk!
    https://dailyreckoning.com/the-biggest-economic-threat-today/

  189. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Hannah Katz

    Spending money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like, makes no sense.

    The history of the West in the post-WW2 period suggests that these things do make sense to most people.

    Instant gratification is its own reward. An increase in status is its own reward. That warm inner glow you get from having a better car than other people in your social circle, having a better house than your next door neighbour, having nicer clothes than the other women you know, being able to take your girlfriend to more expensive restaurants and buy her more expensive gifts than other guys buy their girlfriends, boasting about your overseas vacations – these things seem to provide people with overwhelming good feelings.

    People in general are governed by emotion, not reason. Driving a beat-up old car because at least you can afford it might be rational but it’s less emotionally satisfying than borrowing money to buy a shiny new car.

    There’s a small minority of people who are capable of making the rational decision to live within their means and save for the future but most people don’t work that way. The emotional rewards of living beyond their means are just too powerful.

    In our new post-CV future people will look for new ways of getting the emotional highs that are provided by spending money they don’t have.

  190. Anonymous[405] • Disclaimer says:
    @VinnyVette

    the Dems roll out digital currency

    the f*** are you talking about?

    • Replies: @VinnyVette
  191. @Anonymous

    I’m not a victim; almost all my financial assets are in mutual funds. The current stock market crash has been horrendous; I’ve been through the 1987, 2008 crashes and enduring the current pandemic market.

    There’s something unseemly about driving the market interest rates to near ZERO. If the US raised their rates, as was being done at the end of 2018, the rest of the world would follow. We should be able to put money into a savings account and NOT lose money. That’s what the country did pre-2008. A rate of return of inflation+ would not be unreasonable for a saver.

  192. njguy73 says:
    @Anonymous

    Yeah, that’s what elites everywhere want, for workers to stop working. *eyeroll*

    That’s a half-truth. Elites want workers to work just enough to keep the elites as they are. But not enough that workers could work for themselves.

  193. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Jonathan Mason

    The bottom has really fallen out of the market for lap dances.

    Lap dancers have a right to earn a living. Why aren’t they getting a bailout?

    They probably contribute more to human happiness than a lot of the industries that are getting bailouts.

    Small business is the backbone of society. Lap dancers are small businesswomen. We need to get the lap dance industry up and running again.

    Maybe they could agree to wear masks?

  194. @Anonymous

    Fucking Google it!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  195. Art Deco says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    So far, I’ve got one fellow offering pop anthropology and now you offering fiction. Somehow I’m getting the idea this notion of yours isn’t very well thought out.

  196. @Anon

    Exiling to a distant land is a throwback to a time when economies were primarily agrarian. In an urbanized economy, you need urbanized exile:

    https://alexanderturok.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/exile-ghettos-as-an-alternative-to-incarceration/

  197. Art Deco says:
    @alt right moderate

    Well Keynes would probably have suggested America fix its crumbling infrastructure and build more nuclear reactors, which neither the mainstream right or left in America has much interest in doing.

    We’ve had ‘crumbling infrastructure’ for about 40 years now. The trope appeared just after ‘functionally illiterate’ and just before ‘food insecure’ and for about the same reasons. Oh, and the rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting poorer for a couple of generations now.

  198. dfordoom says: • Website
    @wat

    Cars have a future. The bus is bad whe the next pathogen comes and self driving cars are a lie.

    Yep. In fact what doesn’t have a future may be mass transit systems. Get rid of those buses and subways and build freeways. And it will be good for the economy.

  199. dfordoom says: • Website
    @VinnyVette

    The economy? Screw that too! The “economy” means big biz and Wall Street and both are as anti social and anti American as it gets! We the proles owe nothing to the “economy”!

    You do realise that when you go to the store to buy essential items – that’s the economy. When you buy a house, that’s the economy. When you pay your electricity bill and in return the power company gives you electricity, that’s the economy. When you put gas in your car, that’s the economy. When you go to the gun store and buy lots of guns, that’s the economy. When you buy clothes and shoes for your kids – that’s the economy. When you buy food, that’s the economy.

    The “economy” does not mean just big biz and Wall Street. The economy is millions of people buying and selling stuff that people need, and it’s millions of people trying to earn a living.

  200. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Jack D

    Cars are not dead (although fewer people will be able to afford to buy new ones). Uber IS dead.

    So it’s not all bad news.

  201. Anonymous[306] • Disclaimer says:
    @VinnyVette

    I did, all I got was some stuff the Chinese are planning on doing. If you’re one of the “Ural-Altaicists” who came to this site for 9/11 truth, you should know that google has delisted inforwars.

    • Replies: @VinnyVette
  202. anon[265] • Disclaimer says:

    Buy up all the cars Hertz, Avis, etc. are selling and use them to create an artificial reef somewhere. I think Keynes would approve. Or something.

  203. @Hannah Katz

    Spending money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like, makes no sense.

    This was better said by Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) in Fight Club

    Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.

  204. Wielgus says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Just living could be a fast track to disease in the past, and in the 18th or 19th century I doubt whether something like Covid-19 would even have been noticed – it would be competing with diseases like cholera, smallpox and typhus that were far more lethal.

  205. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Anon

    But all cheap goods does is encourage over consumption. How many more cheap plastic toys do our spoiled children need? How many big screen TVs does each family need? How many more expensive watches/tech toys do we each need?

    How many consumer goods other people want or feel they need is their business. The fact that neo-Puritans might disapprove is irrelevant.

    As Henry Ford said, luxury makes you soft, those who grew accustomed to luxury will have trouble adjusting to hard times, and will resort to any means to keep their soft and easy lifestyle.

    When you’re as rich as Henry Ford it’s really easy to criticise others for wanting a few of the luxuries you take for granted. If Henry Ford had had his millions taken away from he’d have squealed like a stuck pig.

    And as far as I’m concern, nightlife leads to sin and crime. As the saying goes: Nothing good happens after midnight. We need to go back to shutting down cities after 9pm. Parties, nightclubs, bars, brothels, massage parlors are where all the illicit/casual sex, drunkenness and drug dealing/consumption take place. The death of nightlife would be a good and necessary cleansing of our increasingly seedy cities and our collective soul.

    We need to outlaw dancing as well. If you want to have some fun there’s always psalm-singing. Remember, if it feels good it’s wrong! Fun is just another word for sin.

    Perhaps this virus is God’s will, a chance to wipe out all the underbellies of our society and to cleanse away the need to over consume, not to mention the weak and the rotten.

    I always get a bit nervous when people want to cleanse society of people of whom they disapprove.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anonymous
  206. @dfordoom

    Children really like new toys, and really get bored with old toys. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bit of the Flynn Effect was due to more and more toys.

    Driving around an Amish farm village, I was struck by how many colorful plastic toys were piled up in the yards.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    , @dfordoom
  207. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Jonathan Mason

    The fact is that there is almost infinite capacity for Americans to scale back on consumption of non essentials,

    But what if they don’t want to? What if they don’t want to live like peasants in a Third World country?

    What if it turns out that for most people it’s the non-essentials that actually make life worth living? What if it turns out that people don’t want to live on rice and lentils and ride bicycles and live in shacks and wear second-hand clothes?

    Don’t people have the right to want the things they want?

    If you want to scale back on non-essentials go right ahead. But don’t expect others to embrace a miserable subsistence existence.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  208. SFG says:
    @Hannah Katz

    So you live up to the stereotype in living this way, but not in sharing your wisdom. 😉

    I actually did this, more or less, and have just north of a million at 40. Problem is, the wrong woman could take it all away.

  209. @dfordoom

    Yeah but the reports are that 25% of the workforce in the US are now unemployed. Will it be possible for them to receive subsidies that enable them to maintain their lifestyle indefinitely just like getting a kind of alimony from the government?

    If that is the case do any of us really need to work, or could those who wish just be voluntarily pensioned off for life?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  210. nebulafox says:
    @Steve Sailer

    >Children really like new toys, and really get bored with old toys.

    I was a very odd child, apparently.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  211. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Children really like new toys, and really get bored with old toys. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bit of the Flynn Effect was due to more and more toys.

    That’s quite plausible. Toys are essential to stimulate kids’ brains.

    And it could be argued that toys for grownups (those non-essential items that people like so much) are in fact essential for mental well-being. Having the essentials keeps you alive. Maybe just staying alive is enough for some people. But having the non-essentials makes people happier and possibly makes them psychologically livelier. Maybe even more productive. Maybe it even makes them more well-rounded people.

    I think you could argue that for women buying new clothes, getting their hair done, getting their nails done, actually makes them psychologically much healthier. And maybe for men buying a new set of golf clubs does the same thing.

    And useless non-essential things like dining out, going to bars, going to coffee shops, going to the movies, playing golf, overseas trips, going on cruises, etc, almost certainly improves the mental health of people who enjoy those activities.

    There’s more to life than mere survival. The more non-essential something is the more essential it is.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  212. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Jonathan Mason

    Yeah but the reports are that 25% of the workforce in the US are now unemployed. Will it be possible for them to receive subsidies that enable them to maintain their lifestyle indefinitely just like getting a kind of alimony from the government?

    If that is the case do any of us really need to work, or could those who wish just be voluntarily pensioned off for life?

    I suspect that we may be about to find out.

    It seems likely that in the future fewer workers will be required, but lots of consumers will still be required and it will be necessary to ensure that they have enough money to consume in ever-increasing quantities.

    There doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why 25% (or even a substantially higher proportion) of the workforce could not be paid generously just to consume. Americans don’t need to make things. Other people can do that more efficiently. Robots can do that more efficiently. Americans just need to buy stuff.

    Buying stuff (whether it’s goods or services) is a patriotic duty. It’s quite reasonable to pay people well for doing so.

    Paying people to be professional consumers makes more sense than doing things like paying people to serve in a bloated military establishment that nobody needs. Those professional consumers are also serving their country. The profession of consumption is an honourable profession.

  213. @nebulafox

    A worker where a relative worked grew up in Europe; one time his Christmas gift from his father was the magazine well to a Sten gun. (His birth certificate had a swastika on it, leading to amusing conversations from HRs.)

  214. @Morton's toes

    Yes, I happen to miss sports a great deal. Having the ballgame on in the evening while I am outside is one of life’s pleasures.

  215. @Anonymous

    Appearantly you do not know how to insert the correct key search words into a search engine. Bloomberg for one and other MSM press outlets ran stories on the Dems attempts to sneak digital currency legislation into the C19 relief bill. I’d say Google it by I digress…

  216. Art Deco says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    There would be a lot of transitional costs and deadweight loss attempting to get from here to there.

  217. Sean says:
    @HA

    There were 3,000,000 deaths in the WW1 Eastern front from typhus, which has historically been the stereotypical campaign disease (most of the soldiers Napoleon lost in Russia were to disease and most of them may have been to typhus). 1918 Flu Pandemic That Killed 50 Million Originated in China, Historians Say ( 140,000 Chinese workers served on the Western Front).

    The 1918 flu went away in the summer only to come back with new and spectacular virulence especially in men of military age (the W shape age graph). myriad soldiers in cramped conditions created the environment for rapid spread and thus the circumstances by which an extra virulence would likely evolve.

    What is currently happening may seem in retrospect to be a dress rehearsal for a big (second) wave in October out of Chinese detention camps as Professor Ewald has expressed concern about. It would be no huge surprise if COVID-19 came back in October as the 1918 flu did with specialised virulence for the ages of those in the Xinjiang detention camps, who are not elderly, and with a death rate of several percent. What does China say to these concerns?

    https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/china-says-theres-no-risk-of-a-covid-19-outbreak-in-xinjiang-camps-dont-believe-it/
    In December, China claimed to have released the more than 1 million Uyghurs and other persecuted peoples detained in “vocational training centers” as part of its campaign to “eradicate ideological viruses.” Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the Uyghur region, told the press that everyone in the camps had “graduated” and were out and living “happy lives.”

    And if you believe that you probably work for the World Health Organisation.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  218. MarkinLA says:
    @Almost Missouri

    That stuff gets passed around by libertarians but there is absolutely NO proof of it other than more stupid hand waving by economists. It can never be proven. Every country suffered from the Depression and it was different in every country. We had 10,000 bank failures that wiped out the saving of millions of people and the reserves of companies leading to their bankruptcy and the collapse of whatever pension the workers thought they had. Exactly what was the guy without a job, savings gone, and no pension going to do to get the economy moving again?

    Blaming it all on a bureaucracy (that compared to today is miniscule) created to put people back to work and try to hold asset prices up is the kind of nonsense Ron Paul preaches.

    What the Ron Pauls advocates is the kind of stuff we are trying to keep from happening now where asset prices collapse and the super wealthy swoop in and take everything (for 10 cents on the dollar) some middle class Joe spent the last 25 years accumulating.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  219. @MarkinLA

    So to prevent asset prices from collapsing and the super wealthy from swooping in, we are … passing trillions of dollars to Wall Street diluted from everyone’s savings! Thanks, but I think most middle class Joes would have done better with Ron Paul.

    And yes, all of economics is “stupid hand waving”, but until something better comes along, that’s the coin of the realm, so to speak.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  220. @dfordoom

    There’s more to life than mere survival. The more non-essential something is the more essential it is.

    Well, it is a truism. The vast majority of the human race are, and always have been, in a struggle for simple biological survival, but it is only when there are surpluses of food and material goods that people have the leisure time to think about stuff and become educated.

    Charles Darwin came from a wealthy family. His mother was a Wedgwood, whose family company had made a fortune in ceramics. His father was a doctor and financier.

    Young Darwin dropped out of medical school, but eventually graduated as a transfer student with an ordinary degree at Oxford with a planned career as a priest. At that time priests were often the most educated people in their communities. The job also included the tasks today assigned to public records officials. As a student he preferred riding and shooting to studying, but he graduated high in his class.

    Still drifting, he obtained for himself an unpaid internship as a naturalist on a two-year voyage to South America on HMS Beagle. Actually it wasn’t even unpaid, his family paid for his participation. Perhaps if he has lived today, it would have been a trip to North Korea.

    He got great value for money, since the voyage actually lasted 5 years due to unavoidable delays and saw many wondrous things like sea shells high in the Andes. How come, he asked?

    His contact with “untamed” humans on Tierra del Fuego in December 1832 unsettled him more. “How great”, wrote Darwin, the “difference between savage & civilized man is.—It is greater than between a wild & a domesticated animal.”

    The cruise touched on Cape Verde, the Falkland Isles, Tierra del Fuego (The Land of Fire), the Galapagos, and many other points of interest on the south American continent. From Darwin’s observations came the data that became fundamental to the sciences of geology, zoology, and evolution.

    Darwin, in the tradition of his family, was a slavery abolitionist, but if Britain had not developed wealth based on empire and slavery,and his family had not flourished in the industrial revolution, then there wouldn’t have been an HMS Beagle, and the wastrel Darwin with leisure time to spare would not have been on it.

  221. Anonymous[390] • Disclaimer says:
    @Neoconned

    It’s over. Animal spirits? LOL I drive a hatchback…..like I give 2 flips what somebody says I should drive……

    What is the significance of driving a hatchback?

  222. Anonymous[390] • Disclaimer says:
    @theMann

    This has, so far, led to a huge inflation in asset prices, not so much the real Economy….yet.

    Evidence please.

  223. MarkinLA says:
    @Almost Missouri

    We are doing that because of bought and paid for shills in Congress. There are other ways to keep asset prices afloat such as paying companies to keep their employees on the payroll – even if they aren’t doing anything. However, the corporations want to take the money for that purpose and still lay off their employees.

    If you let asset prices collapse and only the super wealthy come in, eventually you will have riots. In 2008 we didn’t because most of the people being foreclosed on bought those houses knowing full well they were eventually going to lose them. Where the government went wrong was making sweetheart deals with scum like Steven Mnuchin where they actually let him borrow the money he used to buy up those foreclosed assets. They should have been available to people who DIDN’T buy during the bubble but were renting now. The problem was that they raised lending standards so they couldn’t. Then the Fed goes ahead and buys them off the banks for par anyway.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  224. Art Deco says:
    @Almost Missouri

    FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression great. T

    The implosion in production and real income occurred between the fall of 1929 and the spring of 1933, nearly all before Roosevelt took office. It was within a few months of Roosevelt’s inauguration that you began to see a rapid economic recovery. Per capita product in real terms grew by 6.4% over the period running from 1933 to 1940. Over the period running from 1883 to 1929, mean annual growth in real per capita product was around 1.6% per year, so you’d ordinarily have expected it to grow by about 20% over a 12 year period. By 1941, it was 20% higher than it had been in 1929. In terms of production and income, the Depression was definitively over before the war. The labor market remained injured, with unemployment in excess of 6% and another 6% or so employed by the WPA and like agencies.

    The Democrats made a number of bad policy choices during that period (and continued to make them), so the economic recovery was slower than it would have been had optimal policy been followed. Among the mistakes were the National Industrial Recovery Act, erecting in law a conflictual labor relations regime in 1935, the ill-timed institution of payroll taxes in 1935, and the institution of a stupefyingly high minimum wage in 1938 (given what nominal incomes were at the time, an equivalent value today would be about $25 an hour). All these hindered labor market recovery. You also had the 1937-38 contraction, which appears to have been the result of bad macroeconomic policy choices on the fiscal and the monetary side. Instituting production controls in agriculture was not helpful either.

    You don’t get optimal policy when policy is made by human beings.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  225. Art Deco says:
    @MarkinLA

    In 2008 we didn’t because most of the people being foreclosed on bought those houses knowing full well they were eventually going to lose them.

    Would be skeptical they knew that (much less that their lenders did). Over a 10 year period (2007-16), about 14% of all owner-occupiers faced foreclosure, as opposed to 5% in an ordinary 10 year period. And, of course, 1/3 of the population at any one time rents.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  226. @Art Deco

    FDR behaved in a way during the 1932-33 interregnum that ruined what little was left of confidence. The economy was dead in the water by early March 1933. He then made a huge splash with his inaugural address that did much to cheer people up.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  227. Art Deco says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The economy had actually stabilized by mid 1932, though it wasn’t growing. After the election, there was speculation that FDR would devalue the currency, and that triggered another run on the banks. It might have been better had he just lied through his teeth and denied any intention of devaluing. Of course, he did engineer a devaluation some months later and it proved to be his most tonic policy. The British devalued in September 1931 and their recovery began shortly thereafter.

  228. MarkinLA says:
    @Art Deco

    Well, what I mean is that so many of them had those loans with an extremely low interest rate for some years and then a reset to an astronomical rate. If you took out one of those loans did you really think you were going to make the payment after the reset?

    The people who took those loans out were paying less than rent so were really just lowering and fixing their rent until the reset.

  229. Not Raul says:

    Deregulation and tax breaks for meth labs.

  230. @slumber_j

    Steve Sailer’s gaudy bauble should be a bicycle for exercising in the sun.

  231. MEH 0910 says:

  232. @Sean

    In Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves says that even though all the soldiers were living in the same conditions in the trenches, it was the ones who had lost hope who developed trench foot. Although not a scientific study, I believe he was probably correct, and that holds a lesson for people that no doubt partly explains the spread of the 1918 influenza among soldiers. Yes, there was proximity, but also there was a long period of stress no doubt combined with poor nutrition –immune system killers.

    As I’ve been saying for weeks, people need to focus more on preventing the severe form of the illness than on transmission per se. The associations of ICU admissions with obesity and low vitamin D suggest that taking care of our immune systems is one way of helping on that front.

    Rather holing up in his cloffice (my neologism for his closet-office), Steve should be preparing for round 2, autumn COVID, now by sleeping more, exercising in the sun, forrest bathing, practicing Wim Hoff method (or just doing breathing exercises as well as cold/hot hydrotherapy), sleeping more, cutting out carbs, Intermittent Fasting, spending time with his loved ones, and getting more sleep.

  233. MEH 0910 says:


    [MORE]

    In early April, Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a professor at Harvard, was speaking via Zoom to a large bipartisan group of top officials from both parties. The economy had just been shut down, unemployment was spiking and some policymakers were predicting an era worse than the Great Depression. The economic carnage seemed likely to doom President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.

    Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.

    “We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.

    ******
    Furman’s case begins with the premise that the 2020 pandemic-triggered economic collapse is categorically different than the Great Depression or the Great Recession, which both had slow, grinding recoveries.

    Instead, he believes, the way to think about the current economic drop-off, at least in the first two phases, is more like what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster: a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound.

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