Who and what will rise and fall in status?

A reader asks:

will we see a post from you with predictions of ‘risers & fallers’ in our new coronowartime world?…What are your predictions for (semi-) permanent changes in status of various insititutions & ideologies in the new times?!

Here goes:


Health care workers — duh, and much deserved.

The internet and the tech community more broadly — Their institutions have performed the best, and even Anand G. has more or less recanted.

Big business

Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea

Peter Thiel, who numerous times cautioned us about the fragility of globalization and global supply chains.

State capacity libertarianism

The NBA and Adam Silver — They led the charge to shut things down.

Surveillance — It worked in parts of East Asia, and Europe’s unwillingness to use it will cost many lives.


Science and scientists

Balaji Srinivasan, who saw it all coming on Twitter.

Individuals who can create structure for themselves — the true winners of lockdown.

The Federal Reserve System and Jay Powell — hail QE Infinity!


The FDA, CDC, and WHOouch.

Social justice warriors — who cares about your microaggression these days?

Rudy Gobert — will never be in the running for “Defensive Player of the Year” ever again.  That said, his being Covid-positive led to the closing of the NBA and may have benefited America more than any other NBA player “action” has done, ever.  He has since given a good deal of money to charity and ought to go up in status.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York.

Bolsonaro, López Obrador, and populism more generally.

Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?

The media.  No matter what you think they might deserve, they just seem to keep on going down in status.  Bet on the trend!


Various “right wing types,” of varying degrees of fringe, were early on this issue.  But I suspect they will rise in status only within their “in groups.”  Same with Matt Stoller.

Triage — we had to do it, and we did it unflinchingly.  But in the “social record,” will this go down as OK, or as horrifying and “we can’t ever let this happen again”?  Or maybe we’ll just forget about it, and pretend those silly philosophers doing trolley problems are wasting our time.

Donald Trump and also China.  I’ll delete any comments that discuss these, because as topics they do not encourage subtlety of response.  No matter what you may think is a just outcome here, in predictive terms the paths of these reputations are still difficult to call.

I thank C. for some assistance with this post.


It'll be many months if not years before we can say what did or didn't work, although that won't stop people from taking credit or placing blame very quickly.

Remember 2 weeks ago when the newyorktimes.com confidently
told everybody that masks ineffective


NYC leadership in general dog

Hard to row when u sit on the wrong side of the boat xD

sikicem seni

Not even then as won't be able to prove a negative. Authoritarians will claim it worked no matter how it turns out and state capacity "libertarians" and everyone else will agree with them.

We will never know what worked in any period of relevance not will it matter for future planning or politics even if we could.

@Addie: We have zero proof that shows they are effective in a statistical significant manner when it comes to outcomes. My bet in the end it's mostly placebo in the same way they are giving out zpacks like candy right now even though it's a virus.

Whether the American death toll is 5000, 50,000, 1 million, or whatever, someone will point to the actions taken and their timing, and say, using data, this worked and this did not.

And it will be utterly ignored the next time a novel disease becomes a pandemic. There isn't all that much difference between SARS, MERS, and the current entry in the pandemic sweepstakes except for getting lucky in the first two, especially for MERS, in seeming part due to the memory of the first one being apparently still fresh enough..

Decisions with massive import have been made over the last few weeks essentially on gut feelings; a bit of experience, but mostly a guess and a bet. Both ways.

Within the next decade a similar situation will arise. Lessons learned from this one will be applied, and it will be a self generated catastrophe; a virus that fizzles out or has minor effect with everyone sitting at home, businesses shuttered.

I'd suggest there is nothing to be learned here except that when you are called upon to make substantial decisions with no data you will be wrong most of the time. The only way to deal with these situations is to make yourself less fragile so it isn't a big deal.

"And it will be utterly ignored the next time a novel disease becomes a pandemic. "

That seems unlikely. Humans respond to rational fear. SARs was a very small thing. The system handled it, so no need to change things. Covid19 overwhelmed the system, therefore some of the changes we make in response will result in long term changes.

So does the world's response to Ebola support or contradict your belief, in light of what is happening now in the U.S.? For example, medical supply stockpile levels.

The response to Ebola supports my belief. It was more hype than any tangible damage outside of Africa.

People create hundreds of potential disaster scenarios on a constant basis. There's not enough resources to predict against all of them. So, we tend to concentrate resources in the ones that we have actual experience and data to judge by. SARs, Ebola, MERs, etc, the existing medical system handled in a reasonable manner. Covid19 was an exception so the medical system and other organizations are likely to experience long term changes.

+1 agreed. All the others were relatively local and well contained.

Anand G has recanted? where? the tweet you reference has nothing to do with the arguments in his important book, Winners Take All. if those arguments aren't what you're referring to, what position has he supposedly recanted?

Did we just skip from talking realistically about 100,000 dead Americans to status signalling?

No- you clearly just finished jerking off to that personal fantasy though.

How many posts here in the last month have seriously discussed a data driven figure of the number of deaths from covid19 in the U.S.? A couple, definitely, particularly in relation to the Imperial College numbers, which were extremely rough guideposts at best.

The idea of 100,000 dead Americans is not a personal fantasy, it is the current best case scenario for the U.S. according to people who have access to far more data and expertise than anyone involved with MR/U.

Viruses don't care about fantasies.

So a bad flu season and less than alcohol. Yawn.

A flu season is spread over half a year and doesn't overwhelming hospitals, end up with hundreds of thousands on vents or keep health care workers from treating other life threatening conditions. "Yawn."

Get back to me when that happens. I have yet to see a credibile report showing a rise in deaths even in NYC from heart attacks and gangbangers seem to be getting treated the same as before the pandemic for those gutshots.

But sure I am seeing plenty of health care workers shirk their public health responsibilities and hide at home. For example by barber cancelled by monthly skin cancer and lice check and my dentist cancelled by biannual mouth cancer check and heart infection prevention. So yeah I guess we can blame the virus on future cancer death if you want.

On the flip side I'm fully expecting a real rise in actually immediate deaths from pulmonary embolism from the government directing people to sit and watch Netflix for eighteen hours a day for months, probably going to see a rise in diabetes, drugs, abortions, and alcohol too.

Want to bet in the end the the shelter in place has more negative health outcomes and deaths than the coronavirus?

Are you completely ignorant of what is happening in Spain and Italy? But maybe you wish to remain in a state of bliss. Viruses don't care about what you wish anyways.

Population: 47 million, deaths from Kung Flu: 4000.

Can't find any metrics showing Moroccans showing up at ER with knife wound had a higher mortality rate post-pandemic but sure, enlighten me.

Lots of hype. It's a bad flu season, yawn.

Consistency bias is strong in this one.

The current number of dead in Spain is 7,340 - you cannot just ignore the news a couple of days and expect to even be in the ballpark of accurate numbers.

An hour later, another hundred - 7,424. This comment thread is actually a great piece of theater on how big of a problem this actually is.

Also anyone calling it "Kung Flu" is clearly signalling where their loyalties lie.

And yet the claim by Jan was our Moroccan friend or NY gangbanger is now more likely to die from his stab wound as he won't get treated effectively in the ER now as a result of the virus; ditto grandma having a heart attack or Uncle Jim going into anaphylactic shock. I'm still waiting on those metrics. Because what I'm really hearing is "homeless addict who goes to ER night for pain will now have to wait a couple extra minutes to get his fix or scared soccer mom might not actually take her kid with a common cold to the ER now for placebos and as as result WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!". Still yawning.

Seems like addition is hard too. That 100,000 is on top of normal mortality rates. Allowing for the fact that covid accelerates normal mortality rates with effective brutality into a time frame that no health care/morgue system has been able to handle once infection rates go above a certain point, as seen in Italy, Spain and France, and now starting to be demonstrated by the NYC region.

Don't worry, the odds are extremely good, if you live in the U.S., you too will be exposed to what having 1% of a population infected with covid means. If you are very lucky, you won't be among those to experience what a 5% rate means, since nowhere has even come close to half of that infection rate till now.

“ Seems like addition is hard too. That 100,000 is on top of normal mortality rates.“

No overlap? Remarkable!

Third sentence - "Allowing for the fact that covid accelerates normal mortality rates with effective brutality into a time frame that no health care/morgue system has been able to handle ...."

"morgue system has been able to handle"

Have yet to see a morgue system fail anywhere .. are bodies rotting in the Italian streets? Pretty sure humans figured out how to dispose of mass casualties in effective and sanitary conditions thousands of years ago just fine, it's not particularly hard sans regulatory hurdles which are putting people's lives at risk because WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!! SKY IS FALLING!!!

Is that true? In Italy is isn't. Most of the deaths are people who are very old and have other serious health problems. So it isn't an additional 100,000, it is a large number shifted in time to within a few weeks. Italy has 1700 people die every week.

Disabuse yourself of the notion that there are good decisions here. There are only bad and very bad. The shutdown of the economy will have deep and lasting effects. Not shutting it down would have deep and lasting effects. As time goes on it is very likely that we will have the deep and lasting effects of both.

An interesting bit of data. I talked to my mother yesterday and asked her about the 1957 influenza. She doesn't remember it. 69,800 deaths in the US. I was born while that influenza was raging, in hospital. She remembers Strontium from the nuclear tests as a worry. Just to put this whole mess in perspective.

That is their number range, with 100,000 at the very bottom of the number of Americans to die from covid.

And don't worry, it has been several decades since believing good decisions are likely to be made by my fellow Americans.

"The idea of 100,000 dead Americans is not a personal fantasy, it is the current best case scenario for the U.S. according to people who have access to far more data and expertise than anyone involved with MR/"

Could you provide a citation for this?

Dr Fauci is the source of that information. Isn't this extremely common knowledge?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," said that he had never seen an outbreak follow the worst-case scenario projected in disease models. But he offered his own estimates for the course of the new coronavirus in the US.

"I mean, looking at what we're seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases," Fauci said but corrected himself to say he was referring to deaths.

"But I don't want to be held to that," he added. "I just don't think that we really need to make a projection, when it's such a moving target."

I thought so, but I wanted to make sure.

I don't have the same takeaway from the Fauci interview. He indeed talks about models and worst and best case scenarios that those models produce. It is not clear to me that when he mentioned that 100K to 200K people "could" die, that he meant 100K was the "best case" (Usually the words "may", or "could" suggest worst cases, not best cases). He did not clearly state it as a best case. However, as usual, when someone says something "could" happen, the media too often changes that to "will happen". And "could happen" is turned into the "best case".

What is very clear is that Fauci warned strongly against using the model to predict anything:

"Fauci believes that the U.S. is likely going to have “millions of cases” but broadly cautioned against relying on modeling estimates while still stressing the extreme risk the virus poses."

“I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target that we could so easily be wrong and mislead people”.

And from that we get a headline "..."The US 'can expect' more than 100,000 Covid-19 deaths..."


I took away another meaning from "But I don't want to be held to that. I just don't think that we really need to make a projection, when it's such a moving target." in light of how Trump claimed that 100,000 dead would be evidence of his administration having done a good job containing a pandemic.

We will know in the next few weeks and months, but the number of 100,000 dead as a best case seems based on a fairly firm foundation.

Dr Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus taskforce, told NBC News’ Today: “If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities.”

“We don’t even want to see that … the best-case scenario would be 100% of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we’re not sure … that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another.”

Right, Fauci doesn’t know. It’s a model. He has to be cautious and say this could happen.
We’ve been bombarded with models and they’re all over the place. It’s not unusual when the data is incomplete and confusing.

notable that the "journalists" report Dr. Faucis 100,000-200,00 number in big headlines without reporting Dr. Faucis context

How many died of influenza each year over the last decade? For perspective. I haven't looked it up, but the numbers are substantial.

Over 600,000 die of heart disease every year. There are over 2 million people die every year.

The issue here isn't the deaths. It is the overwhelm of the medical system that would worsen the situation. And that at the time these decisions were made there was no way of knowing whether it would be 100,000 or 2 million.

There is a distinct possibility that once all the data is in, it may be determined that this was a vast overreaction. But that isn't the point. It is that no one could know, and you have to take the worse case scenario as a possibility and act accordingly.

So far I'm quite impressed how things are going. The vast majority of people are acting rationally, the decision and governance systems are being forced to sharpen up and in most cases are. The numbers are not as bad as the worst case scenarios would have it. There are some treatments that seem to be making a difference already.

The media is making up stories already. That tells me that it isn't as bad as they wish it was. Which is good news.

'So far I'm quite impressed how things are going.' Wait a month, and let us know how you think things are going. Or ask someone in Italy or Spain or France how impressed they are with how things are going right now.

Maybe you can ask someone in the NYC region in a week or two - they will certainly have enough experience by then to give an informed opinion.

Remember, the troll gets off on hijacking a discussion.

Remember this first sign of an agenda is to resort to ad hominems, i.e. in modern speak "anybody who disagrees with me is a troll"

The NBA which had to call off a game literally at tip off because on of its players tested positive. Yea they were super quick to react. The NBA status is dropping precipitously no one watches sports in summer and it looks like it’s going to permanently shift its season which will underscore its complete capitulation of fall to the NFL. Oh yea and it’s biggest growth market is gonna be an international outcast. So basically cowen is wishcasting which begs the question- why? We all know why.

Yeah, the assertion that this raises Adam Silver or the NBA's status, evidently because they did the absolutely necessary thing at the last possible second, is a bit bizarre.

You're not wrong about what happened, but for many who were not taking the crisis seriously the NBA's decision was a real wake-up call. In the US their decisive action also contrasted with the NCAA's foot dragging and made them look much better in comparison.

This is ridiculous the NCAA cancelled all conference tournaments almost a week before NBA suspended the season. The NCAA only held off on canceling the tournament because delay wasn’t an option. This is pure mood affiliation from a likely wigger

Wrong! The NBA shut down on March 11th. There were two Big East tournament games played that day. On March 12th, Creighton and St. John's played a *half* of basketball. The game was cancelled at halftime. THAT'S foot dragging. Get your facts straight before throwing dated insults my way!

Lol not hard I bet I can guess something you share with Silver and Cohen.

NCAA cancelled all tournaments that hadn’t yet started. This without any players testing positive. The NBA clearly wasn’t cancelling until a player got it. The leaders at the NCAA had different priorities.

There is literally no way to defend an organization that doesn’t stop playing until a player gets it against an organization that stopped play without allowing any players to be infected. The NBA suspended play at the last possible moment it could. No league could keep playing after a player was infected. The goyim at the NCAA thankfully were far more quick acting.

NCAA caved to public and member pressure (e.g. Duke, who should increase in status as well) in the wake of the NBA's decision. The Gregorian calendar isn't a conspiracy. It went NBA -> NCAA when it came to cancelling basketball. Not a hard thing to Google - or remember.

I agree the NBA should have done it sooner. But when they acted it was decisive, many other orgs got in line and many people woke up to the threat. It was an important moment, hand forcing aside, and they will be remembered well for it.

Plenty of people will remember how aggressively the NBA got in bed with China.

Yeah, that's will cause some rankling.

For what it's worth, the Indian Wells tennis tournament was canceled on March 8, fully three days before the NBA. That was a very big deal, given its status within the sport: the best-attended tournament outside the Slams, the second largest tennis stadium in the world. That was the bell that tolled for sports in 2020, for anyone who was paying attention.

That’s my point if anyone deserves credit it’s Duke which ended their season unilaterally while the NCAA was still considering options. They did this well before NBA. But a certain group of people really likes the NBA and really hates Duke.
Adam Silver performed absolutely disgracefully.

Yuck to your comment on the progressive Left. You think it’s about micro-aggressions when we’re seeing Native American disenfranchisement, and blatant disregard for the value of lives of people with disabilities? The Progressive Left is at least needed more than ever and your snide comment about micro-aggressions is rude

We need the "progressive left"? Perhaps for target practice. They are human garbage.

I love how we have to delete comments about Trump and China status because they aren't productive but this is a-ok.

Hmm. Yea, those issues you mentioned seems extremely unimportant to me. Honestly, who gives a shit?

As in what typical normal American would even care about a issue that has so little relevance to his own normal boring routine life? I expected even fewer such Americans than before now with COVID, as per his post.

I’ll be honest and confess that I don’t know if he uttered any other memorable words, but these are pretty impressive so not only is he a “riser”, be he should also be celebrated as a hero.

“A healthy society should not only have one kind of voice”

— Li Wenliang

+1000. He needs to be the face of more democratic changes in China and how a single bad bureaucracy can have global consequences.

the INTERNET, the WEB, and the technologies built on top of them!

Mere public annoucement of social distancing would have been harder without them, let alone work-at-home, survive at home via web ordered delivery, etc.

UPS, Fedex, etc.

WHO has been terrible these last few months. They covered for China and ignored Taiwan. Maybe it was better given the outcomes today, but it is not professional for organization that is supposed to be for health not politics.

Not specific to WHO, but the recommendations by health agencies around the world including WHO and CDC telling people that wearing masks is not effective was terrible advice in hindsight. It's clear that there is an effective defense in depth strategy that worked in the Asian countries closer to the epicenter that involved mask wearing. If we can't trust the medical experts staffed with MDs and PhDs at these institutions, who can we trust? This leaves a big opening for the paranoid Alex Jones demagogues to exploit. Leaders need to tell the truth. Better to admit a shortage than to lie to the public.

and MAYBE, just-in-time and various inventory restriction parts of "lean"...

Loser: Richard Epstein


The losers are all those who are going to be infected who would not have been infected if the administration had ignored someone whose work was not based on public health concepts or data, but instead based on some essentially made up numbers.

Wow. That interview is stunning. Classic example of Kruger-Dunning in action. His prediction of 500 deaths is now the lead paragraph in his Wikipedia page.

"Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?"

Don't think the intellectuals in the humanities even deserve a mention in this discussion. Not a winner nor loser. These departments have not been relevant in any big discussion for a long time. The professional talking class for better and worse have assumed that position. Taleb, Pinker, Thiel, the Twitter-sphere, right wing media, left wing media, etc. Take your pick.

People who bag groceries?

Yes, I was surprised to see no mention of supply chain workers in general (truckers, mail, FedEx, grocery workers).

And plastics bags themselves.

You say the media is a loser but viewership is like a rocket ship. In a way, you could say we viewers want this raging trash fire of disinformation piped into our brains.

People act strangely when public health experts start talking about how 100,000 covid dead is a best case scenario in the U.S. at this point.

Though Dr. Strangelove is hard to improve when it comes to black humor - "President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops! Uh, depending on the breaks."

Maybe MR falls in status since, judging by his increased comment frequency, prior_approval has clearly lost yet another job.

Many years, the flu kills 80,000 Americans.

Non-idiots do not freak out about the Kung Flu killing 100,000.

Another for the loser column: organized religion. The decline in church attendance will be accelerated by years. Donations will dry up and many religious institutions will go under. The Catholic Church and mainline Protestants, with precarious finances and lukewarm flocks, will lose the most. Mormons and the counter-cultural types will be more resilient.

I want to disagree with you but can't. The fact that churches shut their doors and abandoned God didn't help with the flock either. Like if your own clergy don't have faith in a time of need, why should I go there? My church has stayed open but yeah it's the only one I know in the entire city which did. Wwjd, not bow to Caesar and the Pharisees who told him to STFU or get sent to jail by the cheering state capacity libertarians.

Usually religiosity rebounds in times like this but the Abrahamic clergy seemed to collectively decide to squander it and put their faith in man and do your point, that is going to bite them.

BTW a nitpick: Roman Catholic Church. Not all Catholics are Papists.

Why bother with accurately recounting the translated words of Jesus regarding Caesar, you would just likely ignore them anyways,

Christian fellowship and witnessing isn't Caesar's domain. Can't get communion via Facebook live. That Caesar quote has been taken out of context for millennium once Rome co-opted the religion by statists who hate that Christianity is fundamentally a liberation ideology.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. Matthew 22:20-22 , KJV

I’ve always felt that Jesus’s “Render unto Caesar” should be delivered in a Bronx or Mel Brooks accent: ie that is is sarcasm.

Or is the fact that I am Catholic that makes the difference?

"All three synoptic gospels state that hostile questioners tried to trap Jesus into taking an explicit and dangerous stand on whether Jews should or should not pay taxes to the Roman authorities. The accounts in Matthew 22:15–22 and Mark 12:13–17 say that the questioners were Pharisees and Herodians, while Luke 20:20–26 says only that they were "spies" sent by "teachers of the law and the chief priests".

They anticipated that Jesus would oppose the tax, as their purpose was "to hand him over to the power and authority of the governor".[Luke 20:20] The governor was Pilate, and he was the man responsible for the collecting of taxes in Roman Judea. Initially the questioners flattered Jesus by praising his integrity, impartiality, and devotion to truth. Then they asked him whether or not it is right for Jews to pay the taxes demanded by Caesar. In the Gospel of Mark[12:15] the additional, provocative question is asked, "Should we pay or shouldn't we?"

Jesus first called them hypocrites, and then asked one of them to produce a Roman coin that would be suitable for paying Caesar's tax. One of them showed him a Roman coin, and he asked them whose head and inscription were on it. They answered, "Caesar's," and he responded: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's".

Doesn't sound too sarcastic to me in that context.

These are exactly the circumstances that provide opportunity for religious revival. It's highly likely that a latter-day Aimee Semple McPherson will take advantage of the situation and lead at least a moderate comeback for spirituality.

Most of South Korea's infections came from culty churches that forced their congregation to physically meet. That's not good for followers nor good PR for potential followers. In America we have this:

“The virus, we believe, is politically motivated. We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.”


Over on Rod Dreher's blog someone referenced a study which claims 11% of churches are still holding communal services (some churches are holding closed services but streaming them online-- those don't count). 11% is still a problem, but it's hardly an across the board indictment of American religion.

Teachers up, education down.

Winner: Andrew Yang

$1000 for every citizen is what the doctor ordered. Even approved by Romney, Trump, and McConnell.

No. Yang's UBI was entirely about automation taking all the jobs. A wrong premise. Nothing at all to do with pandemic relief strategy. And in the past few weeks he's shown that he has no clue what the Fed does. He's a phony.

This bailout is universal, meaning for everybody not just crony insiders as bailouts usually are, so it is at least a partial win for this ideology.

If you believe that then you haven't been paying attention. Large portions of the lower middle class especially in high cost of living areas won't get anything. Nor homeless people.

So yeah no.

In any fair-minded take, the structure of this program exposes the limits of UBI.

It's extraordinarily expensive - estimated to cost about $300 billion - even at $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. That's of course dramatically less than any annual UBI would have to be to cover some minimal cost of living.

It starts phasing out at $75k single / $150k married and fully phases out at $99k / $198k. That would imply a very high marginal "tax" rate of benefit loss if this amount was scaled up to the level of a true annual UBI.

The jury is still out on the progressive left, if you admit they have positions other than "micro-aggressions are bad."

Universal Healthcare - awaiting to see how the US system does versus Europe's. Or if there's ventilator rationing and the rich get them preferentially, there will be a leftist populist reaction.

Climate change - COVID-19 may show that a massive private and national gov't led response to a hard-to-see problem is possible. It may lead to massive future pandemic detection and prevention efforts, which would be very similar to a climate change response.

Economic Turmoil may lead to a demand for a strong social safety net, as many people lose their jobs. It also may lead to a real revolutionary left re-appearing in the USA.

Return to the days of the Montreal Protocol demonstrating that a massive private and national gov't led response to a hard-to-see problem is possible,

Then watch how in the next three decades in the U.S., a well funded effort to prevent any such recurrence of collectively handling a global concern ever happening with American participation.

The Montreal Protocol was perhaps the greatest fraud of all time. There is no way of knowing if the response that it created had any effect on the earth's atmosphere but it had significant effects on the food industry, among other things. It also was the impetus for the current global climate change hysteria. We really need more such bogus science.

The analogy with climate change is super interesting, since this in some ways seems like an accelerated version. Unfortunately, here the causality is much more clear.

1. We already have a good idea that universal health insurance isn't a significant factor.
2. Pandemic detection and prevention efforts are cheap compared to the costs of the Green New Deal. Bonus: Greta's 15 minutes of fame are over.
3. The Left's pathetic romanticizing of proletarian revolution will fizzle yet again just like Occupy Wall Street did (and this time the dirty dregs will be prevented from occupying anything due to social distancing).

For number 1, we are now running a natural experiment. It is not hard to bet on the U.S. blowing out the numbers of any country with universal health insurance. Partially because all of those countries seem to have more functional public health systems than the U.S.

The US has 35 ICU beds per 100k population. Germany is not far behind with 29. After that Italy with 13. So yes, lucky us.

The US also has four times as many ventilators per capita than the UK and six times as much as France and Italy.

Wrong on health workers. They are also losers since there is shortage of PPE. The trash-bag wearing nurse who got COVID-19 and died is sad example of that. They also for obvious reasons have a higher than average infection rate.


Certainly in comparison to the importance of rising and falling in status.

It says a lot about intellectual bankruptcy that Tyler's first thought is about status... and he completely ignores service workers who've gone from not-deserving-of healthcare-or-living-wages to vitally needed in the blink of an eye.
Old dogs don't learn new tricks and Tyler's a very old dog....

He got ya there Ty

"Social justice warriors — who cares about your microaggression these days?"

I'm a non-Asian but I'm definitely seeing more aggressive racism towards Asians these days.

Which most certainly does not constitute a microaggression.

Right, but this episode shows that the social justice warriors are correct in their belief that there is a lot of racism underneath the surface. In good times it shows up as silly “micro-aggressions” that few actual minorities actually care about, but in bad times it shows up as things that actually do harm and disrupt minorities’ lives.

Following this episode, social justice warriors at least in their more serious incarnations could well gain in status.

SJW’s obey a racial hierarchy scheme and Asians do not register. If you think an SJW will point out the recent attacks on Asians in NYC were all committed by “black and brown bodies,” then I’ve got a newspaper called the NYT to sell you! Losers: Anyone who looks Chinese in America

There’s plenty of anti-Asian racism by whites and Asian-on-Asian racism too. I haven’t heard of any assaults in my area, but many Asian-owned businesses in my area were boycotted in February even while other businesses were going strong—as their clientele was almost entirely white and Asian to begin with, that means that whites and other Asians were doing the boycotting.

The travel bans and extra security screening of Asian travelers also cannot be blamed on “black and brown bodies.”

This is the level we are dealing with in NYC. The woman had to go to the hospital. And please stop with the hyperbole. You obviously don’t know what a boycott is. Heightened safety measures with a net that is not cast too wide is NOT racism. It’s called common sense. Btw you obviously haven’t been to JFK. Yes, those agents are for the most part black and brown and we Asians do get treated very shabbily by them. Don’t think I notice?

Is it racism if it's asian on asian?

Only in the bizarre world of Social Justice Warriors.

Or in the bizarre world where the Chinese and Japanese consider themselves the same race. Or the Koreans and Vietnamese.

+1, Ok, that's a fair point.

No, this stuff doesn’t count and will be swept under the rug. Unfortunately for Asians in the US, their attackers have all been racial minorities with more Pokémon points.

And according to SJW racism only goes one direction on the Pokémon scale.

So this won’t matter to anyone.

Possible, but unlikely. It's not normal for the proverbial boy to cry "Wolf!" hundreds of times, and then, when a fennec fox appears, for the boy to go up in status, even if he has a compelling story and anecdata about an impending wolf calamity.

On the flip side, people are going to remember that NYC officials urged citizens to pack the public Chinese New Year celebration, and that Florence held a "hug a Chinese person day" in the name of anti-racism. Actions like those will be blamed for causing a lot of illness.

Teleworking will (already has) risen in status as everyone realizes just how little is lost having knowledge workers physically congregate in one place. Large meetings may also get better (with teleworking) because only one person talks at a time.

@Carl - I hope so. When I was working for a firm in the USA doing my IP stuff, I had clients I never met, just via email mostly and some Skype. Life was good. But when I moved overseas, despite the lack of personal contact, business dried up since I was not in their time zone (though I adjusted my hours to be reachable in their time zone, by Skype) and could not in practice meet them in person (even though, as I say, when I was in the USA I hardly ever did). So my business dried up by two-thirds. Plus the perception that when you're overseas you're not working. So for personal, vindictive reasons, I hope the tyranny of the office is indeed brought low, post-Covid-19. That said, I don't miss working that much, since real work is hard, stressful, challenging. Much easier and enjoyable to be in the rentier class.

Working remotely is a classic coordination problem, no one person or even firm can shift the economy to remote working. It was especially hard given different tools and different expectations on when a face to face meeting was required. This episode may have permanently shifted the bias to working at home amd using VC for everyone , but we haven’t yet decided on the final killer app (ala microsoft windows, microsoft office) standard VC tool, I am still flipping between Teams, Skype and Zoom. Zoom seems to have best functionality but corporations don’t like it. Next step will be VR goggles I think and the follow up to this episode will be a rapid increase in internet speeds to support this. Watch corporations buy dedicated slots on Musks satellites for this.

"Teleworking will (already has) risen in status "

+1, Best answer

Not really, it's just currently a necessary evil. You will see companies shed teleworking as fast as possible once they get the clear.

Generally supervisors despise telework and they are the folk that make or break it.

Would bet $500 one year after this pandemic you won't see telework at any level not expected by the pre-pandemic trajectory great that at most a 5% uptick.

I don't think we'll see any vast move to have people work remotely 100% of the time. But I expect a loosening of restrictive policies about doing so sporadically. I work at a large financial company which has historically been very reluctant to approve working from home outside things like snowstorms. We were told in a department meeting (via phone of course) that the brass has been quite impressed with how well the mass work-from-home thing is going now and we should expect greater leniency in the future.

Maybe though I acknowledge we both are anecdotal. IME "the brass" is generally supportive of teleworking even now and many make heavy use if it themselves while thinking everybody below them who isn't is simply choosing not to because "they made it a policy to support telework years ago". The caveat is in every organization it's "with supervisor approval" and they aren't approving generally speaking in the vast majority of cases across all industries.

That isn't going to get fixed because it's about power, control, and fiefdom building. Telework weakens vassalage and that is anathema for supervisors.

How do I get on Thiel's payroll? Snark aside- Can you ask him to do something about Zoom? That garbage is almost certainly about as secure as TikTok and every major academic institution is lapping it up without any oversight.

Rishi Sunak. He went from unknown to the heavy favorite to be the next Prime Minister of Britain in a month.

hahaha. you sure about that ? murdoch and trump would never approve.. then again , he is the least disliked tory right now

I'm skeptical of saying with any degree of certainty that Gobert will never win DPOY again for this. A lot depends on how/when/what kind of normal we return to.

I guess in defense of him not winning it again you could say the odds of any individual excellent defensive player winning DPOY are low in a given year anyway (though it seems he was front-runner this year).

Too early to tell because we haven't seen how everything is going to play out yet. However, if these extreme social distancing measures (closing "non-essential businesses" and other lock downs) last for more than 1-2 months even on an intermittent basis a la the Imperial College paper, then I think the meme of "Abundance of Caution" will fall in status. People will finally see that abundance is not free and will start to view the Proper Amount of Caution as better. That will have all sorts of implications from helicopter parenting to security theater to regulation. (In fact, many Abundance of Caution regulations have already been relaxed in the present emergency to allow for accelerated development of vaccines and treatments, for example.)

I really really hope you are right.

Rise: Scott Gottlieb. Probably the best public communicator overall. Better than Fauci, who is well liked.

I'd like that phrase "abundance of caution" to be deep-sixed.

"Abundance of caution" usually really means "fear of legal liability". Fear is the operative word.

You'll delete any comment that mentions Trump? Lol do wartime measures now apply to this blog?

If incident fatality rate ends up being less than say 0.3%, Trump will rise in status. Or if the spread of disease is somehow contained (perhaps by aggressive use of masks), he will likely rise in status. On the other hand, if the disease becomes widespread and IFR ends up being > 1.0% I think he'll fall in status. Cutting the pandemic budget will hurt him.

When his favorability rating is skyrocketing, you're not allowed to mention him on MR.

Trump and China are off-limits? Not even a stab? Well if you think my comment is not nuanced enough then delete it.

Trump is mixed on globalization. He had the right idea that the American manufacturing sector badly needed to comeback. He tried for example to lure Foxconn and shame Harley Davidson but he has so far failed to achieve perhaps his most important campaign promise.

The problem is trying to contrast the man who predicted a miracle a few short weeks ago with the man who just yesterday said “And so, if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 – it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000 – we altogether have done a very good job.”

Nicholas Christakis - Riser

Winner: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

The Strategic National Stockpile was actually Clinton's idea. Bush added masks and other protective equipment


Losers: The Federal Government 2013-2020

The PAHPAI Act was renewed twice in 2013 and again in 2019 but the stockpile was never fully replenished. There were supposed to be 52 million masks but by March 2020 only 40 million. Now there's only 13 million and 5 million are expired. So where exactly did the money go?

People are also going to wonder why Apple can stockpile masks but hospitals can't.

Federal government going back to 2009 - that's when the inventory of masks was depleted and never restocked.

RISER: Readers of International News

We already saw the coronavirus disaster unfold months ago. Another reason to pay attention to events outside your own neck of the woods.

This is just virtue signaling. Of the type that TC would undoubtedly approve of, since he too is seemingly an avid reader of international news.

The jury is still out if he saw this coming, though he was prescient enough to be in a position to hand out prizes to whoever meets his approval.

Definitely. I’ve started reading the South China Morning Post regularly now because of this crisis as their coverage has been much better than the American papers I normally read. If I’d done so earlier maybe I would’ve avoided a lot of stock market losses.

Historians of 19th & 20th C Public Health have been an important part of social media since the early days of C19 https://www.amazon.com/Stacking-coffins-Influenza-revolution-Ireland-ebook/dp/B07WHT8PDX/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ida+milne&qid=1585554860&sr=8-1

US example https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/03/how-cities-flattened-curve-1918-spanish-flu-pandemic-coronavirus/

"Health care workers — duh, and much deserved"

No and emphatically no. Many medical workers will spread it via ego, many are sitting at home, many should be and aren't, etc. I think you are sadly mistaken if you think a billing coding specialist who bankrupts a family for taking grandma to ER with coronavirus will be lauded or the asymptomatic nurse who spreads it far and wide cause she can't be bothered to wash her hands or the private practice doctor cramming thirty sick patients bin a strip mall waiting room infecting patient after patient in the exam rooms that get cleaned monthly or the barber who closed down shop leading to melanoma deaths. Sure maybe they will get a little bounce but this isn't 9/11 NYC firefighters.

Healthcare workers are being involuntarily drafted into a 20x increase in occupational risk, without a peep. And in some cases without protective gear!

How many labor groups would agree to that (without: pay increase, protections, guarantees)?

This isn't NYC firefighters - many more doctors will die from Covid. And I didn't see anything in the stimulus bill about a Doctor's Fund. We need an "MD Bill".

"This isn't NYC firefighters - many more doctors will die from Covid. "

343 firefighters died in 9/11

It seems doubtful that 350+ Doctors will die in NYC from Covid19.

so far mebbe 8 weeks(early) into this viral pandemic
50 doctors have died in italy

And how many of them died from lack of PPE v. ego or other non-covid causes but just happened to be timed correctly. Generally doctors are a geriatric field, they are dying from that. If the concern is "doctor's health" and "lack of PEE", well just ban doctors over 50 or with cancer from coming to work. But nope, virtue signaling is more important.

well according to Italy the 50 docs died from covid 19 infections not ego or old age or virtue signaling

When you find specifics of how they died get back to me. Want to bet comorbidities or age (i.e. they shouldn't be working right now hence virtue signaling) and lack of following protocol because of ego (hence caught it).

If a doctor is catching communicable diseases in professional setting that tells me she isn't following protocol which is putting both themselves and patients in danger. You know, the same reason outside this pandemic hospital acquired infections and medical malpractice are the third leading cause of death in America. That isn't happening via magically pathogens that can elude all PPE. Nice they get a taste of their own medicine after killing hundreds of thousands a year. You want to know what kills (and will kill) more people that coronavirus, doctors.

But sure man, go ahead of find me the 36 year old Italian doctor who meticulously followed the protocol to the letter include PPE and still died. Even one black swan. I'll be waiting.

in this viral pandemic
- the number of italian doctor covid 19 deaths has quickly increased from 50 to 61 and 40 deaths are in the Lombardy reagion
- providing medical care for covid 19 patients in a disaster area is not virtue signaling

so now asphyxia is virtue signaling?
you sed
" find me the 36 year old Italian doctor who meticulously followed the protocol to the letter include PPE and still died. Even one black swan. I'll be waiting."
Try the cemetery

Reduced in status: climate change.

Hard to get worked up about large expenditures to prevent damage at the decadal and century timescales when real damage is being done right now.

Rise in status: operations research and computer modelling. Except in climate science.

Maybe the need for computer modelling, but I haven't seen any model of the coronavirus that has been satisfactory.

Harry & Meghan missing under Losers.

Riser: people who sold all their stocks in mid-February (without being privy to classified information). Sure, lots of people now will claim to have foreseen this pandemic, but I won’t believe they really did unless they were in the small minority that acted on the unprecedented market crash. Making idle predictions is cost-less (especially because a lot of the people who got coronavirus right are people who frequently predict worst case scenarios but no one is going to remember all the times they got it wrong in the past). Putting your own money on the line shows true conviction.

Also, I actually think the traditional media will be at least mixed. There is a ton of false information and outright conspiracy theories spreading on social media and alternative media, that sound plausible to many smart non-specialists. When all is said and done, I think people will realize how easily they were convinced of many things that turned out to be false, and have traditional media’s gatekeeper role will come to be more valued. A good heuristic will be that getting reported in traditional media is a necessary (but obviously not sufficient) condition for something to be true—i.e. while you should not believe everything you read in the mainstream news, you should also not believe anything that is only circulating on social media or alternative news and has not been reported in any mainstream news outlets.

The pertinent question now is when to get back in. Do you think the SCMP will be better at covering the eventual recovery than traditional English media?

Zuau, a long time ago I decided I wasn’t smart enough for market timing, so although I saw a lot of risk coming I decided not to sell. We will see if this is this is the correct call long term. I operate with a very defensive portfolio though, with the idea being to keep enough cash and cash equivalents on hand to survive at least a ten year dip, so maybe my sangfroid is not a good recommendation for others. This bias to cash has probably cost me a lot over the years in stock market returns but given me much needed peace of mind, which isn’t worth nothing.

Couple of Republicans already got in trouble for selling their stocks ahead of the public learning about the government's response.

Hence my caveat “without being privy to classified information.” Government officials who sold stocks instead of telling the public after learning of non-public information should lose status and rightly so.

As you said above, that was mid-Feb. Wasn't there enough information out there for alarm. I just keep eyes on the market casually, and I was expecting a drop and looking for a bottom to buy into. Hell, the travel ban was 2 weeks old at this time.

Dianne Feinstein is a republican? Did she switch parties yesterday.

+1, this keeps getting spun as a Republican issue, but Feinstein and her husband sold as much as 6 million in stock.

"Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?"

As opposed to the brilliance of the law and economics types?


Humanities academics are increasingly viewed as expensive and unimportant luxuries. This is because they've clung to subjectivity and refused to adopt statistical methods. Economics, on the other hand, like other pseudo-sciences, tries to achieve acceptance by the use of numerology, trying to make valid predictions of unpredictable human behavior with the use of as many numbers as possible. Regardless of how things work out they won't be able to join the STEM fields. They should accept that their work is based on opinion rather than science.

Rise: Don't ignore the delivery workers, the truck drivers, the grocery store clerks, the cashiers, the warehouse workers, the farmers, the medical equipment manufacturers, and numerous other blue collar, real economy workers who risk their life for doing salt of the earth work that is only now being recognized. The fake, financialized economy has all the wrong incentives that rewards all the wrong kinds of paper pushers, bean counters, and other unthinking globalists. If you want to have a real economy, reward real people who do real work.

Loser: Leveraged AirBnB hosts who were always one month away from financial ruin and now they will meet it. This model of 21st century landlording is a terrible way to seek rent on what is human necessity.

Interesting that the little people trying to divert a few tourism dollars away from the big hotel industry would be considered a villain.

*Re: Triage*

Will become a go-to argument to whitewash any policy (supposedly) increasing state-/healthcare capacities. Not necessarily in a libertarian sense. Will be interesting to see, whether harder-hit countries aim for saner policies then less severely hit countries.

*Add to Losers: Libertarianism / Civil liberties*

Much like other post-wartime situations, after Covid19 many liberties will have to be re-conquered that were gushingy thrown out during crisis-mode.

*Add to "prediction most likely to disappoint"*

That western societies will get rid off the cultural stigma of wearing masks during flu-/pandemic-season.

In line with the red queen dance, universal use of masks and social distancing will only make viruses more infectious longer term. Maybe in twenty years just being in an open area within 20 feet of someone will be enough to catch something.

Worth speculating about. Maybe the large share of asymptomaticness in Covid-19 patients stems from the high use of masks in Covid's birthplace?

OTH, coronaviruses are quite good at jumping between species. So I'd guess they're more likely to use their genetically inherited skills that open up multiple cohorts for them easily (by going after pets e.g.), rather than aquiring one completely new skill just to re-open one cohort for them.

I think another winner has been Utilitarianism, he country is having explicit conversations about trade offs in economy vs deaths. As usual the arguments are clouded by emotion but clearer than ever before. Is this the age of rationalism?

Many comments are made about government agencies and criticisms over an administration's failure to "do something." Never is a thorough understanding of federal bureaucracies undertaken. Layers of appointees (abuse of position by some disinterested appointees) vs civil service positions vs hired consultants vs direct administration oversight vs congressional oversight vs relationships with industry (for the good and for the bad depending on agency contacts), hiring restrictions, civil service lists, circumvention of hiring restrictions, inability to terminate, 20 and 30 year ineffective employees (who outlast multiple administrations and oppose directors' and/or administrations' goals, responding to daily requests from Congress (on behalf of donors, friends, relatives), automatic annual salary increases, accruing sick/vacation time, some doing nothing but showing up, many believing they should be running the agency based on longevity.

Would you like to take over any agency and face such chaos for one example, the CDC and learn of 944 employee discrimination lawsuits filed over ten years, a pending employee class action (settled for $11MM) over a wage dispute plus much more never disclosed, investigated, reported on ? I am certain that any extensive study of the CDC or any other agency will reveal many things we would find surprising like the ability of individual employees to ignore directions, contempt for expert opinions, obstruction of administration goals.



It is the nature of the beast created and fed and hidden from view.

Lower in status: The US.

Like it or not, the US is shaping up as the country which is likely to experience more deaths than any other developed nation (and yes, I realise that it's also a very large country, but the point will stand). This will cost a lot of soft power and reputation.

And sure, you can argue that this is because Trump fired some people and this couldn't have happened if Obama was in charge, but ultimately, Americans voted for Trump. That blame shifting doesn't go very far. I don't think that Singapore or South Korea's response relied on having a particular party in charge at the time. (Equally - who put up with a dysfunctional CDC and FDA for so long? Blame whichever politician/party you like, but its a crisis like this which highlights how bad things have become, and the people that tolerated it.)

And especially the US's health care system. Forever a bad joke among the rest of the world, now famously responsible for one of the biggest losses of life in the developed world. Whether that's fair or not, I don't know of a single non American, or actually American for that matter, who thinks the US health care system is any good.

"I don't think that Singapore or South Korea's response relied on having a particular party in charge at the time."
Well, maybe not South Korea.

People who emphasize absolute rather than per capita numbers, and who generalize from the experience of islands, are enjoying a temporary rise in status, but I'm not sure that that will persist.

Not just the US. The West in general will lose status. We will find that a lot of what we thought was status was just economic clout, and we'll miss it when it's gone.

Status is relative, of course. And history is written by victors. But let's not talk about rhymes-with-vagina, even though "subtlety of response" is plenty lacking in some of the threads here. "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Like it or not, the US is shaping up as the country which is likely to experience more deaths than any other developed nation (and yes, I realise that it's also a very large country, but the point will stand). "

So are you saying people will ignore per capita data and just concentrate on raw numbers? And ignore Europe as a whole?

People still think of Europe as a collection of different states, but of the US as a single entity with regions. So yes, I do.

Yeah I agree... obviously this was written a week ago, but now it looks the US is catching up per capita too, and it seems the fatality rate is higher there too than in many other industrialised countries (ok Spain and Italy are higher, though Germany, South Korea and Canada are lower)... overall I think most people, especially those outside of the US sphere of influence, will see China as being more professional in having handled this crisis...

Losers: Anti-Vaxxers. They may begin to take comunicable diseases seriously.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

They were conducting exercises for coronavirus pandemic preparation way back in October 18, 2019. Now the Foundation is the subject of a number of conspiracy theories for being so prescient.


What am I missing? In my five decades never heard a bad word about Brazil in the US outside a random news story or two which lasts at most a couple days and is usually about logging.

Really? Have you missed the barrage of anti-Brazilian venon spitted against Brazil in a daily basis by America's mainstream media and its fellow travellers? I still ramember reading people assuring us the world's athletes would never get back to their countries from Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Games. How gangs and tropical diseases would kill them all. I still rememeber news stories and "analysis" carefully crafted to make Brazil look a lawless jungle. I still rememeber the systematic attempts to dismiss all Brazilian achievements, from the war against to the Paraguayan invader to the typewriter to the walkman. And now, people are using the coronavirus outbreak to slander Brazilians and make them look like a bunch of savages.

Maybe get out the beltway/coasts and don't consume MSM?

I'm pretty confident if I call my aunt in rural Montana she might not even know it's a country outside they make nuts and is full of cannibals.

1) Brazil is not full of cannibals. Nowadays cannibalism is only practiced among isolated tribes, which represent less than one percent of one percent of total population.
2) Nut production is a small part of Brazil's economy. It is a very regional product. What we call Brazilain nuts, Brazilians call castanhas-do-Pará (nuts from Pará, a northern Brazilian state).
3) So that is it. America's populace and dedision-making elites are being fed demeaning anti-Brazilian lies, but it does not matter.

"Just stop reading the Pravda, Mr. Solzhenitsyn."

"Just don't read the Volkischer Beobachter', Fräulein Scholl"

I'm aware of that, just saying I'm betting the vast majority of Americans know nothing of Brazil and have no real opinion on them one way or the other. I live in Hawaii, an actual US state for Christ sake, and the number one complaint I hear from mainland tourists are they are amazed we don't live in grasshuts still.

You made it sound as if that changed but nope, just same old MSM and upper middle class coastal / beltway drama that is irrelevant to nearly everybody in America.

Contra Peter Thiel (anti-globalist): "A commercial aircraft carrying 80 tons of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down in New York on Sunday, the first of 22 scheduled flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April as it battles the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/business/economy/coronavirus-china-supplies.html

I thought I read somewhere that there was a supply chain issue in that American cotton was required and that was part of the problem getting masks and gowns spun up. Is Thiel ignoring the law here knowing the WH won't prosecute or did that law in the recent bill get suspended / bad article I read? Curious is all.

There's also the hundreds of thousands of defective testing kits that the Chinese government sent to Europe. That won't be forgotten.

Mayor London Breed if Bill de Blasio is on the other side.

Al Gore is a winner for creating the internet. Without him I have no idea what I'd be doing while self-quarantining.

This is an urban legend. Al Gore didn't create the internet. But he invented and gave his name to algorithms.

I have compiled some additional predictions here:


What has risen in status? The N95 respirator which was invented in China in 1910 by Lien-teh Wu. Today's version is a descendant of that early design.


Obesity is a Loser. You fatsos are the ones that make insurance so expensive. Now we have disease that will strike you down for not slimming down. Fat-shaming needs to be brought back. It is a matter of public health.

I think it's better not to use the phrase "social justice warriors". It's in a strange class of terms where the people who are most willing to apply it to themselves are the worst examples of the group, while people opposed to the concept often apply it to very reasonable people.

how about we change social justice warriors to
"people who tell other people what terms to use"

Is there going to be a corresponding drop in status for people worried about the war on Christmas?

Surprised not to see Taleb as an obvious riser and the United States as perhaps the most obvious decliner. When you say CDC, FDA you really mean the American society and government as a whole. I see a lot of willingness to call out Europe but US had more time, spends a ton more on healthcare and...500k fatalities, here we go!

Definitely Taleb's status goes up along with Thiel's.

Have to agree with Taleb rising in status. Warning on pandemic risk for years and putting out this on 26 January:


We still have some ways to go with this. I'd be hesitant to draw any conclusions this soon.

I think that the impact on the overall view of the "tech community" is still up in the air. Yes, the products have kept working, and we've seen how useful they can be.

Fairly or not, however, it's still possible that events will turn toward a negative view that the "tech community". The "risers" in status may not include anyone who could work from home, still collecting paychecks. Meanwhile, others - generally making far less money - took more personal risk to deliver food to them, staff grocery stores, and operate the food supply chain. Still others - waitstaff, bartenders - lost jobs that may not quickly return. (I hope that I'm wrong about how long those job losses persist.)

The "tech community" obviously are far from the only people in that work from home group. They are, I think, somewhat more likely to be viewed negatively, however, because of the easy contrasts that can be made versus other workers providing their own firms' services. Amazon execs and software engineers compared to Amazon warehouse workers and delivery people. Same for all of the "gig economy" delivery companies: Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.

We shall see, but one big COVID-19 outbreak at an Amazon warehouse that results in several deaths could really change this story for Amazon. Perhaps similar impact on the tech delivery services - and also some of the Big Business (e.g., Wal-Mart) if reporters at some later date tally how many front-line workers end up severely ill or losing their lives.

It seems odd that "software engineers" are considered a major component of the US work force and that they are so often brought up in conversations about it. According to one source they number about 3.4 million, a little less than the number of truck drivers in the US. There are 1.35 million licensed attorneys and 1.93 million bank employees in the country.

"Health care workers — duh, and much deserved."

Much deserved but still underequipped like soldiers sent to war with no rifle.


Powell: too soon to tell. How long to a TIPS spread ~ 2.5+?

Post-communist Europe, despite its public institutions being a cesspool of corruption, incompetence and petty bickering; has handled the situation in a surprisingly professional way so far. Or more broadly, countries north of Alps and east of France.

Greece is not doing all that badly either, despite being a major tourist hub. The tarnished status of the country and its civil service will rebound.

Switzerland's riches and large pharma industry proved completely inconsequential so far. With nobody flying anywhere, Switzerland is also deprived of the usual prodigal spending of the world's 0.1%.

Italy, France and UK appear even more dysfunctional than ever. Slow, complacent and reactive.

Spain deserves a special "wtf were they thinking?" category.

Huge loss in status for Europe. EU solidarity quickly collapsed. Tourism will be crippled for a long time. European healthcare had always been touted as better than American, but it's been exposed as fragile and under-invested.

For spring break, of course, after it had become painfully clear that the virus spreads best when many people come together in one place.

"French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has called on his countrymen to buy domestic products as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak cripples the European single market. Describing his approach as “economic patriotism,” he urged French supermarkets to ‘stock French products.’
The French move comes at a time when the 27 member European Union single market faces a massive supply chain crisis in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the EU member states have set up border controls to restrict the export of food and essential medical supplies to neighboring countries."


I saw a presentation on the virus given by a Russian virologist from Vektor Novosibirsk a couple of weeks ago. It was mostly an explanation for the public of what the virus is, where it comes from, and so on. As an aside commenting on the infection rates and responses across countries, he said that things were likely to get very bad in America and other countries that follow the CDC model, which he described as flawed for handling this kind of pandemic. He also said that FSU and Eastern European countries that still had the influence of the Soviet biological security system would do better. He didn’t get into the differences, but it seems to be holding up so far.

I think it might be mixed for the WHO. They have done terribly on a number of issues, but I suspect that in the end the WHO will grow in importance. This crisis proves that there is a need for an international body to promote global health and to prevent pandemics, and so I'd expect them to get a larger budget in the future. There isn't any other organization that could take over that role.

+1, I'm not sure how it will fall out, but it could result in the leadership of WHO being replaced and new people appointed with a bigger budget and pledges to be less political going forward.

Like a lot of these things in this thread, it depends on the medium-term reaction. (Another example being a claim down-thread that cash asset holding will be a big winner out of this. Well, not if you get hyperinflation and interest rates at 0.1%, coming out of it.)

The WHO clearly has become very "close" to China. There are natural synergies with what the WHO is, with what the PRC is - a vast authoritarian bureaucratic apparatus administering over probably >1/10 of the world's people, which can really *do* public health programs (as well as stupid, harmful crap like the one child policy).

They're gonna have to solve that, and socially distance a little. Can you imagine how mad Narinder Modi is at the WHO right now? Imposing a lockdown on over one billion people, many of whom are on the margin of subsistence, because the WHO bought and promulgated the "China has contained, not that dangerous, travel ban no need" at the outset? If the WHO wants the developing world it cares about to listen to it again, they will need to fix their shit.

Winner: Cuomo has a 87% approval rating. He's becoming America's Governor like Giuliani after 9/11.


California's Newsom has responded well, factual, deferring to experts, appearing to have things well-managed, if in a calmer Californian approach contrasting to Cuomo's New York intensity. Interesting, in national approval ratings, he may lag behind Cuomo less because of the style than simply because he has a time zone disadvantage in reaching national media.

As of now, Newsom's status should be way up, while Cuomo's should be way down.

I cannot fathom how anyone on earth is talking about drafting Cuomo for the democratic presidential nomination. As things appear now, he was telling people to go out and socialize when he should have been sending them home, and he's spent the past week pitifully trying to blame shift.

That said, everything can still change.

Changes: ("status" is not a very appropriate word here)


The Police State
Mandatory Digital Money


Civil liberties
Paper money and coins

The degree to which the average citizen, much less self-described "public intellectuals", are accepting *without question* the exercise of police powers in peacetime, is alarming. This includes government restrictions on movement, freedom of association, assembly, etc. It also includes the de facto government seizure of private property and/or the means and freedom to create it. The self-inflicted amount of economic damage is going to result in even greater government control and fewer civil liberties. Apparently, nothing was learned from the post 9/11 developments.

I live in France, where the situation is (apparently) even worse. There is really no equivalent of the US Second Amendment in France because as far as civil liberties are concerned their constitution is a flowery word salad of unenforceable sentiments located in disconnected documents such as the "Rights of Man". Not that the Second Amendment seems to have much relevance in the US today. The extraordinary use of police powers and the restrictions on liberties are justified by a self-proclaimed "state of urgency". The government decides what constitutes a state of urgency and the extraodinary measures it justifies. There seems to be little other branches of government or the citizenry can do to put a check on it. I'm beginning to undertand how other authoritarian episodes in recent history (racism, communism) were allowed to take hold.

An example of the extraordinary absurdities taken place where I live: I'm required to have a signed and dated piece of paper each time I leave the house to justify my presence outside my own home. The other day I drove to the supermarket with my official document "Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire", dutifully signed and dated, with the justification that I was out to buy things of "primary necessity" (food) from an "authorized" source. I was stopped at the round about just before the supermarket by a decidedly unfriendly Gendarme who asked to "see my papers". I was threatened with a Euro 135 fine (first offence) because I had crossed out the prior date and entered the current date in an effort to save paper and printer ink (in short supply at supermarkets which is effectively the only place to buy those things). When confronted with my statement that the document contained all the relevant information, including the current date and my question as to why a fresh piece of paper would make any difference, I was told (non-sequitor) the purpose was to prevent the spread of the virus! Much of what are taken as legitimate laws and regulations are not written, and if they are, changed almost daily, and ultimately subject to rather fanciful an stupid interpretations of those in uniform who seem to relish their newly expanded authority.

Others are actually being fined for riding a bicycle more than 2 kilometers from their home or hitting a tennis ball across a net with a young son or daughter, as if doing these things is going to spread the virus. Being in close(r) proximity to those controlling these activities is a greater danger to one's health.

This crisis will be used to as an excuse to eliminate paper money and coins and the "threats" to public health that apparently is something that happened last month. There may be some advantages to that, but let's also think about the greater amount of government surveillance and control this will also entail.

Reduced in status, in my mind, are libertarians and other public intellectuals who are not even raising the issue of civil liberties and for whom the Second Amendment, for example, seems to be something that government can ignore as it chooses. Not that the Covid Virus is not serious or that we should not take reasonable measures to limit its spread. But, at what cost? Are the measures being taken logical and commensurate with the threat? Have these type of concerns been raised as a serious issue on this blog?

Your concerns are valid but at the same time the conditions that inspire them could also lead to positive changes. For instance, a large minority will always be opposed to digital currency. This could be a step toward private money or a precious metals backed currency. An increase in the power of law enforcement should create more conflicts between it and the general population that could lead to a level of rebellion that would change the make-up of the government. While such an event would be a social trauma, it was just such a thing that created the US in the first place.

Very good post. What makes the situation even more alarming in France than in the US is that the population seems almost unanimously to support the restrictions of freedom, and as as far at they criticize they government, it is to demand more restrictions of freedom. Being in the US now, the only information I get are from medias and call/emails with my friends and family, but I really have heard no one asking the government to calm down and let it people go (outside). My leftist friends demand the requisition of all industries having a relation with producing medical material, my centrist or right-of-center friends support their government's action and ask for more.

I am confident it will not last however. Resistance will arise and eventually win.


Wake up people. We are being walked into a permanent Police State. The virus will pass, but the deterioration of civil liberties won't.

And, etc:


QE infinity. That’s it.! That’s the name to the idea which popped into my head several days ago. ...money is printed and dispensed.

Picture this. Tomorrow morning, everyone wakes up with $100k. The largest household stress everywhere in the world disappears... financial stress. Imagine the flood of humanity that would be released. Like a sustained tsunami pushing forward for aeons, we could and would generate a tremendous capacity for innovation.

You see, I don’t believe we would become a society of welfare bums. No. I see humanity in a different light. I see what is written in our hearts.

I was wondering just the other day, what happened to Thiago.

And Prior, where's that guy been? Maybe I missed it, but I haven't detected his style in any of the rotating cast of pseudonyms.


Rationalists. It will still be possible to spew lines of complete BS that one doesn't even believe, but there will now be a nagging sense in the back of one's mind that the universe will come get revenge.


Service workers, restaurant. Whatever toehold servers had on economic stability will be lost, and much of their livelihood will not return.

Service workers, delivery. Sure the service of delivery itself will rise in status, but the actual provisioning of delivery is undifferentiated so the individuals will not gain any status. In fact, the individuals will face more coercive regulation to attempt to force random low-skilled people into providing a critical service.

"Service workers"

Elites (aka Tyler) to service workers: Remember how desperately we needed you a few weeks ago? Thanks, but now it's time for you to fuck off and die.... while we re-open the border so I can get some properly subservient Guatemalan to clean my house for what I want to pay!

Up: statistics and Dominos pizza
Down: area studies and mass transit

Loser: Online learning. Lots of people finally tried it and many don't like it.

Social Justice Warriors are more relevant than ever, especially for rent reform: https://newrepublic.com/article/157081/rent-strike-nation-coronavirus

While FDA, CDC, and WHO will be hurt by this, pandemics are here to stay and there will be more of them. Thus it would behoove us not to trash them but to improve them and increase their budgets so that this doesn't happen next time. The CDC has performed well in the past, so right now I would propose that it's failing this time are more leadership related. Pandemics are global and unless we are seeking to imitate the Shogun Period of Japan, we will remain interconnected. As a result, global efforts to deal with pandemics need to be intensified.

Status of the American citizen has to fall, as well as any positive story of Exceptionalism.

To be sure there are a lot of people who are quietly good, and some true heroes, but there are far too many people throwing coronavirus parties, calling students back to campus, or partying at the beach. (Going to the market when you're out of your favorite food, rather than when you're out of food.)

You have to say at this point that collectively we are not that smart.

+ 0.5

It won’t just be the US. And it won’t just be the 30% of the population that ignores quarantine orders or travel advisories. Western Low social trust / low state capacity societies are going to take a huge dive in status.

Some of it is individual behavior, but a large chunk is bureaucracies playing CYA with IRB threats during a global pandemic, a government that can invade random countries but not stock up on healthcare PPE (both parties and two administrations), an FDA that was much more concerned with following the PowerPoint flow chart than preventing a pandemic, and a political parties more interested in status games than doing the actual work.

You can also sum up the CDC and FDA actions as “not my job, and not my problem.”

By now we know that all the early tests were bad. Suspicions confirmed.

And so as we adapt to that information, we have to review CDC response. Should they have just gone with the bad test, knowing that it would free some erroneously and quarantine some mistakenly?

Possibly, but I think we can see how that would be hard for an institution founded on higher standards.

You say the CDC had "not my problem" but I say everyone who demanded immediate and accurate tests was playing "it's always someone else's fault."

If that magical speedy and accurate and widely available test with nowhere in the world, it was nowhere in the world.

And all the complaining in the world wasn't going to make it happen in the past. To get that good test a lot of people people needed to work hard and that took time.

"You can also sum up the CDC and FDA actions as “not my job, and not my problem.”"

No, actually it was exactly the opposite, but just as bad. The CDC was determined to create their own test, despite the WHO test being proven to work, and they didn't even take the rudimentary precaution of having a team work on WHO tests as a backup for their own test. They were all in on "My way or the highway!".

Then the FDA starts swing the bureaucratic bat around and issuing cease and desist warnings to independent labs who actually correctly diagnosed Covid19 patients.

The incompetence was, to me anyway, shocking and outstanding.

It is now confirmed at the WHO test was inaccurate, which means you are demanding that they should have gone with an inaccurate test.

Is that a good demand?

"Batch with only 30% detection rate was bought by health officials from Chinese supplier"


Could be why they wanted their own test. Probably just got 'lucky' dodging that bullet. There was a post where Romer said even a 80% inaccurate test (like the Chinese sold to a few countries) helps, but that sounds off. 80% inaccurate would give a lot of folks false confidence.

Are you this dumb or are you trolling?

That's obviously a defective test from China. You quoted that part. No one with an ounce of sense is saying that you can't screw up the manufacturing and produce a defective test.

The WHO test(s) , the first created by a German scientist Olfert Landt, and sanctioned by the WHO has been made an used widely across the planet. Landt created the test the first week in January, sent it to Taiwan on the 11th and WHO gave it their blessing on the 17th. Another test from Dr. Leo Poon from Hong Kong is also available with the full protocols on WHO's website.

"Landt estimates he has manufactured four million tests by the end of February, and another 1.5 million each week since then. Each kit -- which includes 100 tests -- has sold for at least 160 euro ($173) each to clients in Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Australia, Europe, with his two adult children helping label and pack the kits. His wife, who has worked for the company for 15 years, is also involved."


The CDC could have manufactured the tests in the US. They chose not to and it was a monumental screw up.

Feel free to link a good study on the accuracy of the WHO reference test.

They also could have let hospitals and test makers develop their own tests from day 1 but they explicitly forbid that for weeks.

+1. To be exact, not only did they forbid it, but threatened legal actions for those that went ahead on their own.

Are you guys talking past each other? Because we don't want bad tests!! Bad information makes good situations worse and bad situations chaotic. Good decisions require good information, not fake news.

Sometimes I see an arrested adolescence, which combines "you're not the boss of me" with "it's always someone else's fault."

I would like to think this is just some kind of fringe, I think it might run deeper and rise higher than that.

In the worst case it is just part of a new American character.

"fragility of globalization and global supply chains"

Have we actually seen fragility? Or are we comparing responsiveness to some ideal?

Market economies are great, but even they cannot wholly reform in 2 to 4 weeks.

"Have we actually seen fragility? "
Yes, which is why China is making a big show of sending supplies to other countries. It doesn't necessarily mean all production moves back to the U.S., but companies will likely spread investments around going forward and in some cases pay more to have facilities closer. They should have been doing this anyway, but complacency is always the default until there is a crisis.

I see everyone making, distributing, and using more masks than in March 2019.

It's just that we see the increase as insufficient, compared to an ideal.

It's not about masks. It's about the delay in everyday products, like iPhones. "Build a plant in China" became the "buy IBM" of the 21st Century.

That is just silly. I believe Apple is one of the companies that is using their Global Supply Chain to deliver masks.

They have shifted their focus as they should, responsively and responsibly.


Get over the masks! The masks aren't the point. The point is that Apple was on-track to miss its guidance in the first quarter,

So just to be clear, in a global pandemic you demand no change in economic trajectory?

Perhaps even that people should not reallocate energies to saving lives?

You are obtuse. Try to focus on the words I am writing and not what you want to read. I know that is extremely difficult for you, but give it a shot. The months-long coronavirus event has exposed weaknesses in the supply chain, weaknesses that have been exposed by other events, but that were ignored. This time, they might not be ignored. Chinese leaders seem to realize this and so are making a big show of sending out supplies. That probably won't be enough to make business leaders in other countries rethink their supply strategies once this is over.
Is that clear enough for you?

"You are obtuse. Try to focus on the words I am writing and not what you want to read."

You might as well give up on that. anonymous has been ignoring what the other poster actually says in his commenting for years at this point.

Maybe either one of you should name and actual and not bulshit example of a week supply chain.

A classic example of ignoring what the other poster said.

You came here to contest my point, which is that there are not actual disruptions, there are reallocations.

Reallocations we all want and need

When the Chinese weld shut the door on an apartment building, are you going to say that exposed a weakness in the apartment building?

That it exposed "fragility" and the apartment building?

Top Kek. What a stupid hill to die on, especially after repeatedly and deliberately misconstruing what Ted was saying.


I hope you aren't making the claim that "lockdown" exposes flaws in the global supply chain.

The chain did not fail in that case, it was just turned off.

That would be like saying flipping a switch exposes the weakness in a lightbulb.

It's that there was a single source is the weakness, not China's ability to produce. Had we a bit of inventory and a more diverse source of medical supplies, it would have been less of an issue.

I mean, are your supermarkets full?

I think they are, with the (usually) humorous exception of constant toilet paper production facing (momentarily) insatiable demand.

Risers: Houston Astros

People have stopped talking about how they cheated, and when the season finally starts, the negative reception they receive as they travel to different cities probably won't be as strong.

Good one. Also related: pro athletes with nagging injuries. Some pitchers are even opting for tommy john surgery when there was nothing in the news about elbow or forearm issues before. 14-16 month recovery easier to bear when this season may never happen. On the other side: vets trying to hang on. Can't be easy to keep up the necessary training for months and some will be unpleasantly surprised when there is no roster inertia on the other side of this.

Risers: Governors Inslee, Newsom, DeWine, Beshear, Cuomo, Whitmer, Edwards, Murphy, Luhan Crisham, maybe Pritzker and Cooper
Losers: Governors Ivey, Kemp, Brown (Oregon), Reeves, McMaster, maybe DeSantis

Risers: Sebastian Kurz, Angela Merkel, Leo Varadkar
Losers: Viktor Orban, Mark Rutte, Boris Johnson
Unknown: Stefan Löfven

Losers: public transportation, urban high density housing/living, high leverage companies (this will become more evident in a couple of months when the bankruptcies hit)

Risers: private cars, detached single family houses, suburbs, low leverage companies, cash heavy personal asset allocation, online / home school education

The economic leverage status changes won't last long. The living arrangement changes may.

Everybody missed the big one. The European Union is finished.

Underrated comment. I was musing in the same direction, although its always possible that a crisis pulls people together.

Here Krugman's concept of "Zombie" may help the analysis. EU is dead, but still moving somewhat.

in that respect every union is finished.. the uk, The US .. the UN.. lets just all go back to our little local tribes, why don't we and throw stones at each other..

Rise: Scott Sumner. Eleven years ago he was a lone voice screaming in the wilderness. Today Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve are applying his once-unimaginable stimulus.

It is not pandemic, it is the depression, which follows, which will have the largest effect on the society. So populists of various kinds will be winners, not losers. Politically, it can lead to what happened in Europe in 1930s.

Humanities academics have done their work before the crisis started. The rise of stoicism, mindfulness and other philosophies will be paying off now. A better understanding of narrative theory can't have hurt in the development of the 'golden age of television', which might be keeping people in. Sharing and engaging with literature is going up, and there has recently been a rise in poetry sales. Are academics nothing to do with that? Even if it is only Harold Bloom he must deserve *some* of the credit for getting people to read more and better. What about Emily Wilson's Twitter feed with quotes from Homer about the plague. Talk about giving panicking people some perspective. And there's the people who are still teaching, who keep the tradition alive. It's not the same sort of contribution as nurses or epidemiologists, but it has a place in binding a society together.

Morality, to be blunt. It doesn't rise or fall, of course; people rise or fall in relation to it. Sickness is carrying away the sickest, as Darwin said it would. This is less "novel" than the name would imply. If it was just old people, Florida would be the epicenter. But even if it were confined to old people: we have suspended normal life because we have no mental toolbox to deal with this. At least in America, we do not really esteem or honor old people or their possible contributions! - we warehouse them, we do not want to see or be them. Or take the glibness of "OK Boomer" (or Just Die Already, in its meaner iteration). Sure, Boomers have a lot to answer for, but they also lived through American greatness, did some great things themselves, and *are our elders*. Now having discarded the idea of respect for elders, as irritatingly connected with duty generally - we are at sea when confronted with a hundred bodies on the ground. One body we can handle: care for this person. Two, we are still on firm footing. One hundred? We do not have the moral standing to say, it is natural that they should not go on to the hunting grounds with us when it is time. And it works the other way too: I see these people on NextDoor complaining about the sight of young people released from school, congregating outdoors in nature. Walking in two's and three's! Fishing! What could be more natural than that? "Oh, I am livid, they have no concern for my aged immuno-compromised mother, my father who has high blood pressure and prostate cancer, they must go inside! Call the police! It is unconscionable!" No, no, no - it is peacetime; there is no moral framework that would ever have compelled the young to stay out of the sun because people fifty and over with pre-existing health conditions are dying of a virus. I can't even begin to imagine my grandparents, whose lives were ruled by that simple morality that as a society we decided we could get by very well without, saying such a thing - that is how I, as immoral as they come, know it is not in the proper nature of things to feel that way about the young, come what may.

There is a vestige of that moral calculus left in the fact that in our hearts we all know this response would make so much more sense if the virus were in fact carrying away otherwise healthy children. We know we are lucky. Maybe this caesura is practice for that. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe it has other good knock-on effects, along with the hardship it may cause: families spending more time together, the downgrading of public education, everybody out walking and cycling and getting so darned fit, at least until the scolds succeed in getting us actually confined to our houses. But maybe too it alters the course of things in such a way that we will not be able to easily do this again when it is most meaningful. I haven't the slightest idea, I am continually surprised by events: I merely note our confusion. It turns out it was not something we could just hand off to the epidemiologists. To "WHO."

At least in America, we do not really esteem or honor old people or their possible contributions! - we warehouse them, we do not want to see or be them.

Unless they're candidates for political office, then we seem to revere geriatrics.

"Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?"

Might be too soon to make a call here. I would think any contributions will likely come a bit later as the impact to mental, psychological and emotional states become better understood. Such as just where and how we either deal with or raise above the suggestions that PTSD might be a big concern or social relationships (courting and dating, work place as a a group one hangs out with...)

Obviously the humanities will not be adding much to the solution of producing more X that is in short supply or how to develop treatments or vaccines -- that is now what they do.

‪Other likely losers (at least in short term): privacy and civil liberties ‬

What needs to rise, but almost certainly won't:

Physical distancing between the animal world and the human world. Don't concentrate live animals in unnaturally crowded conditions in proximity to one another, to other animal species, or to humans. That means not just exotic "wet markets" but also industrialized animal husbandry and even most smallholder family farms as currently constituted. That's what gives us Ebola, SARS, COVID-19 and the flu.

The "just a flu" bros have a point, although it's the opposite of what they intend. Instead of minimizing 100,000 dead by comparing it to a typical annual seasonal flu tool, we'll eventually wonder why we tolerated seasonal flu itself all this time, to say nothing of the killer pandemic flu that we were all dreading before coronavirus crashed the party.

No one is even talking about this, even in mid-crisis. Many of the lessons currently being learned will have been forgotten by the time the next pandemic hits. But for this issue, the lesson won't even be learned in the first place.

* annual seasonal flu toll

"No one is even talking about this ..."

No one *can* talk about this. The media and the twitterati play whack-a-mole the moment the words "wet market" - or bats, or pangolins - are anywhere uttered.

At least in a place like Strasbourg, where the real discussion centers on how to manage the dying, day after day after day.

Let's be sure to keep it that way! Absolutely.

You're missing the point. Your "real discussion" is taking place elsewhere. Tyler's post is about shifts in perception and conventional wisdom. Not day-to-day emergency measures.

Another on the list of that needs reconsideration.

The General Hospital. Single point of failure. Even without this pandemic a source of infection. Spread it out, single purpose facilities.

Having had ample experience with the German-style large hospitals, in both Germany and in Hungary, in which the various departments have their own buildings distributed across a campus-like complex, I would agree that in cases of mass contagion, their is the possibility of containing contagions. However, in many other kinds of treatments, poor communication between departments, the physical distance between facilities and equipment, and an intensified competition between departments for resources often creates miscommunication, unnecessary delays, and contradictory diagnoses and treatments that the very physical structure of the facility makes difficult to resolve. In the case of a small family member, in a large Budapest hospital following an accident, the child had to be transported among a half dozen buildings -- emergency, then radiology, MRI elsewhere, othopedics here, neurlogy there, internal medicine in another place and the pediatric deparment, where his bed was, way at the edge of the complex, going outside and up and down a steep hill during an icy winter, each time waiting for the appropriate vehicle and driver to be free.

Mixed: Scientists and the science institutions. While not exactly losing, if there was ever an event where scientists should be riding high, it was this one and it hasn't really happened that much: some individuals here and there, but as a whole, I don't really see a big movement to inject a lot of new resources into (covid) research nor do I expect that, after this is all done, we'll get a new normal in science resources.

Same with pharma/biomed: Abbott announced a new point-of-care test and about 1/3 of comments on my feeds were defending that the government should forcible license it so they don't profit too much (have we learned nothing? at the start of the epidemic, several of the big players announced they were sitting covid out after repeatedly losing money and getting bad PR for trying to help on past epidemics)

All the while, the margin of discussion is whether cruise lines should get a bailout or only restaurants.

There is a problem we have as a species, that we see things as a moment, and look back at things as an age. I've said that is a reason some fall for "stagnation" arguments. It is "what have you done for me today" compared to past _centuries_ of progress.

So in this moment, and in the same way, people want solutions "now."

But I think in a relatively short time people will look back and see the pandemic as a complete arc. And in that arc there will be hero scientists and a lot of hero front line medical providers.

losers- bill maher & co. who were hoping for a recession

Jobless claims over 3.3 million. No need to hope. It's already here.

Another winner: generalists.

"A human should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly."

Now more than ever.

Not to say specialists lose, all hail ICU docs. But maybe "COVID non-essential" specialists lose a little. My friends who can't cook are losing their minds.


Homeschooling and online education. A bit ironic that statists are forcing an experiment of homeschooling on a bunch of coastal families, but I think it has been mostly successful. There are more than enough resources online: gamified education, Youtube, etc. I think afterwards, parents will have a new found respect for alternative teaching arrangements.

Lone wolf scientists. Those that took to Twitter and blogs (e.g., bedford.io) have had so much impact.

Preprints. MedrXiv and BiorXiv have been fantastic sources of initial, partial and timely information. Related....

Statistical inference. Specifically Bayesian inference. Start with priors, let the trickle of information update your priors. Now is not the time to say, "we don't have the data yet." Shame to those expecting to make critical lifesaving decisions based on complete data sets.

The military. Setting up field hospitals, general logistics, competent leadership. Besides the Fed, the only government institution to rise in status.

Amazon. Core business and objectives entirely unchanged. Online retail, logistics, door delivery and drone delievery, cloud services, health care streamlining, scale, scale, scale, etc. Compare and contrast to large businesses like Boeing or Starbucks.


Hospital administrators. WTF have they been doing all this time? Where is the stockpiles of PPE? Who are these people and how are they qualified to make top level health decisions.

Local school districts. Many claim they won't provide online classrooms because they cannot guarantee every student has internet. LA Unified is an exception. Is this just an excuse for not being able to provide online education? Did parents understand equality not education was the primary objective of their school systems?

Lawyers. So much of inaction in the system has been driven by fear of lawyers. Perhaps one reason why hospitals would not defy FDA orders to stop testing. I don't know why, but those in medicine seem especially terrified by lawyers and lawsuits.

"I don't know why, but those in medicine seem especially terrified by lawyers and lawsuits."
"terrified" is the wrong word
but the lawyers will try and ruin your life

Lawyers ruining the lives of doctors in the wake of COVID19 will be much more distasteful, thus the status of those types of lawyers should fall.

Winners? This November 3rd arguably begins the most interesting four years of politics in U.S. history. Clean up of viral havoc perhaps determines the next global leader(s).

When I first heard Thiel's prediction on CWT that economies most levered to globalization will fare worst in coming years, I was skeptical. I am currently updating my priors consistent with your prediction.

That said, given how little retroactive love (or status bump) Romney was given for making his widely mocked claim of Russia's importance as a geopolitical threat in 2012, I suspect very little will change in Thiel's status.

That said, people probably should update their esteem for Thiel, but I don't think you were making a normative prediction.

So...100k covid-19 deaths...overrated or underrated? And while we are separating sheep and goats, how about the rising or falling status of our hosts? Tyler is hysterical, his political filters on display , I’m particularly disappointed at his CDC/FDA bashing with little insight into the technical issues involved) while Alec’s posts, like the one above, is sober and actually addresses how we may move forward. Less Cowen and more Tabarrok I say.

Newsome, quick to act +1
Cuomo, slow to act but come around, will end up +1 though he deserves 0
Schumer, idot as expected, then put aside partisanship for the Stim bill, then caved in to Pelosi. Came across as weak, bowing to Pelosi. -1
Pelosi, even worse than expected. New low for her. -1

COVID update March 30:

New cases: Right-To-Work states four times higher than non-R-T-W states. Total cases: non-R-T-W states three times higher than R-T-W states.

edit: Schumer, idiot. But you knew that.

The losers are open borders, urban living and mass transit.

Also people who write blogs advocating for all three.

tl;dr but I searched and found neither Executive brand (riser) nor Legistlative branch (loser) in TC's post nor in above comments.

oops. meant to write States Executive & Legislative branches; Federal govment will likely take a hit on all 3, but it's early days. Plus, they did just sweeten the trough.

Well, "Social Justice Warriors" are falling in status, which is fine by me,
but "Freedom Warriors", those who will refuse to abie by containment orders and other restriction of freedoms (if they hold to hold) will rise both in number and in status. They will soon be called "terrorists" by the
governments, which will rise, an unfortunate side-effect, the status of terrorists in general.

Anybody that opposes, hinders, refuses to accept or attempts to advance their own interests that vary from US government policy is, by definition of the US government, a terrorist.

Subtlety of response is as over-rated as the concept of being over-rated, which is to say, truth is more valuable than either.

who u callin' fringe tyler!

I nominate Amazon's technology for cashier-less checkout as a big riser.

Caveat: Predicting the future response to a massive shock is a fool's game. We have no idea how people are likely to respond, and I'll bet I could come up with an alternate scenario that causes the opposite response to everything predicted so far in this thread.

That said, here are my predictions... (-:

The whole model of dense urban living with citizens moving by mass transit is going to take a big hit. I keep thinking how hard it must be for someone right now who lives in a small apartment in New York. They are isolated in cramped quarters, they can't store much food so they have to venture out a lot, and when they do they have to navigate potentially dangerous hallways just to get out of their building. Then they have to take mass transit and take other huge risks.

in comparison, we have a large home, a nice backyard, a big freezer and lots of cupboard space for groceries, and if we have to travel anywhere we get in our car in the garage, drive in isolation to where we need to go, etc.

If this goes on for a long time, people in the largest cities are going to feel increasingly trapped and at constant risk while the rest of us have many other options.

Accelerating this should be a growing acceptance of telecommuting, and the crazy high prices for real estate in the large cities. I've been wondering why the internet age hasn't reversed the trend of people moving into increasingly dense cities. Perhaps this will be the catalyst that spurs a major change.

One possibility out of this is that it will spark a resurgence in a savings culture, much like the depression did. Millions of people just got a rude wakeup call about the dangers of living from paycheck to paycheck and financing their fun with debt. It must be miserable knowing your rent is coming due and you have no work and have no idea when you will. And for people in the expensive cities, a $1200 relief check doesn't begin to cover it. I hope many of them learn the lesson - and learn to be more self-reliant.

I think governments are going to take a hit, if it's possible to think less of them. The failures of government at all levels from the World Health Organization to the CDC, FDA, and leaders of other countries that ignored the evidence for too long are going to help shatter the myth that central rule by elites is a good thing. At least, I hope so.

"The failures of government at all levels from the World Health Organization to the CDC, FDA, and leaders of other countries that ignored the evidence for too long are going to help shatter the myth that central rule by elites is a good thing. "

Don't let Tyler's threats scare you from stating the obvious. Trump and China both fucked up. And Fuck Censorship.

Another riser is John Krasinski who just started a new YouTube channel dedicated to sharing good news. Optimistic. Touching. Much needed in these trying times.


Losers: Cowen, Tabarrok, Roberts, Kling, Mercatus GMU Econ Dept.

Shame on all of you for not seeing the data right in front of you. Cases go up for four or five weeks, level off, and drop to low levels until it's gone. You can't see sh-t right in front of your eyes. My dad, who passed away 5 years, who was probability/statistics, common sense, and street smart, genius, had more brains than all of you combined and would laugh and piss on all of you right now. And you're doing it on global warming too. Haven't noticed drop in temperatures between 2016-18 even though CO2 emissions kept rising? Stupid.

Nah, the ship sailed with the election of Trump.

Wait, are you the same Alvin that predicted on March 20 right here that there would be less than 1000 US deaths and 30,000 worldwide?

It took five days for your first prediction to be wrong and eight days for the second.

Winner: Asia

They understand pandemics. Now the whole world will study their approach.

Loser: The US

Nobody is taking lessons from the US on anything except what not to do. The stupid politics is especially toxic. Wasted too much time bickering over dumb irrelevancies like calling it a hoax or an excuse for impeachment. This served the country how?

"Academics in the humanities — have they added much to our understanding of the situation, or to our response?"

Tyler as a polymath can you tell us what exactly you expected them to do? I mean one should not expect the humanities people to find a cure for COVID-19.

birds, bees, aquatic life , basically all of the natural world,
the slow movement,
the stoic and the romantics,
those with good metabolism,
the internet.
the middle age middle class centrists

big religion,
any one who sees themselves as a Randian Hero,
cocaine ,
the dogmatic.
Fox Spews ,sorry 'news'

What's gone up in status? Everything Tyler Cowen likes!

What's gone down? Everything Tyler Cowen dislikes!

Can I make a public plea that we drop Elon Musk's status?

He promised to use his funds and supply chain know-how to deliver ventilators to US hospitals. What did he actually procure? BPAP machines, i.e. non-invasive ventilators. Not what is needed to treat COVID-19. What a joke.

Ok so this was written over a week ago, but I'm still gonna get my thoughts in...if anyone reads this 😁
Go up in status:
South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan: definitely agree with this, these countries will be seen as being on the same level as Switzerland, Sweden etc...
Centrist politics: maybe the most important one - if you look at polls, most centrist parties (CDU, Canadian liberals, Finnish social democratic party etc.) seem to be up... obviously there is a "rally round the flag" effect, and even trump is up, but overall I think the centrists who prefer to play it safe, and broadly follow the science, Ari a better fit for a crisis like this...
Overall, being pro-science: yes, there are some who downplay the dangers of the virus, but unlit climate change, this is more immediate and less polarized...so being anti-science will seem idiotic to most people I'd say.
Transhumanism: yes this might be a bit of a stretch, but engineering the human body so as to be less susceptible to disease will seem like a good and reasonable idea...I expect that biotech will get more funds which until now flowed to internet companies...
Geopolitically, I'd say that it's too soon yet to know yet, but there will be a push by China to broaden it's influence, and also to make the EU less reliant on America... overall I think the US has many advantages, such as lots of area and farmland, but playing this up might not go down well in many countries. In the EU, some - Germany for example, at least that's the impression I'm getting from the opinions there - might be pushing for certain countries to leave the EU, Hungary and Poland being the obvious ones... there will probably be lots of political conflict in the EU, both inside and between countries...I'm not sure if globalism - whatever that is supposed to be - will lose in status, though it depends if the "harari" or the "George Friedman" view will win...if the former, then more international cooperation should become widespread, if the latter, than trumpian economic nationalism will win, but I'd say that this only works for certain countries - US, Russia, China and may Canada or Brazil come to mind- but it certainly won't work in Europe or Africa or most parts of Asia (unless they accept that China rules them more or or less).

Goes down in status:
Populism: yeah I agree, but why did cowen then claim this would rise in status a few weeks ago?
Libertarianism: definitely one of the biggest losers in a situation like this...more and more competent government will be wanted... not less. Not sure about state-capacity libertarianism, because I'm not ready sure if this is something that's a real ideology currently...
Sjw's :ok sure but it seems they were never such a big part of the left as some cons imagined...
Eating livestock: maybe veganism won't go up (though it should IMO), but eating land-based meat will probably not look so good, as someone wrote here before, animal farming is likely to spread viruses like this more easily... overall, I think more people might give a vegan or at least pescaterian diet a chance...(I hope so at least).

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