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COVID-19 versus the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
#1
With the market meltdown going on this week, I've been spending way too much time watching CNBC.  COVID-19 really has everyone running wild.  You've got Jim Cramer and his underlings quoting FDR all day, demanding that Big Daddy Government take action to save us.  No matter where you sit on the subject of Keynesian Interventionism, this is pretty striking.

Then there's the breakdown in the former OPEC-Russia alliance, causing oil prices to tank.  Muhammed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin were bestest buddies until very recently, now they're bitter enemies.  You have to think that again, is is these "extordinary times" that prompted the change.

Is the Fourth Turning in full swing now, or what?  The overreaction to this crisis, imho, will ultimately save lives, but lose many their livelihoods.

It's the exact inverse of what most governments did during the (Third Turning) 1918 Pandemic, which was worse than this one in terms of mortality rates. There was a world war going on at the time, so no government or media mouthpiece would admit weakness, thereby giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The only country that did admit what was going on was neutral Spain, so of course the disease came to be called "Spanish Flu".

For Strauss and Howe scholars, it's hard to imagine a situation that illustrates the generational theory more readily.  COVID-19 has become a full-blown crisis because society is in the mood to MAKE it a crisis.
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#2
The actual crisis is the degradation of trust in institutions, that lead to Donald Trump getting elected POTUS. Since Trump feeds on hating the "deep state", it's no wonder that he can't navigate a response to this epidemic. He would have to admit error (also not a possibility for him). The real question: will Trump win again and drag us all down with him, or will Biden win and start mobilizing a response that will be too late and fragmented due to resource losses under the Trumpster?

Of course, the CNBC wankers are expecting a Knight on a White Horse response that will keep them and all the others lie them rich and happy (the rest of us can pound sand). Biden may comply; Obama certainly did. If he does, then this will happen again in a decade or so. I'll bet it gets fixed then!
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#3
(03-12-2020, 05:05 PM)Increase Mather Wrote: For Strauss and Howe scholars, it's hard to imagine a situation that illustrates the generational theory more readily.  COVID-19 has become a full-blown crisis because society is in the mood to MAKE it a crisis.

This is exactly right.  If this had happened in the 90s, the response would have been entirely different.  People are freaking out, and desperately want the government to do something about it.  I guarantee you that if we have mass forced quarantines, with people unable to leave certain areas, the public will cheer for this.

By the way, the mortality rates that are being quoted for COVID-19 are all exaggerated.  They are taking the number of deaths and dividing by the number of confirmed cases... but there are many more actual cases than confirmed cases. Severe cases all end up in the hospital and get confirmed, whereas mild cases frequently don't bother seeing a doctor and nobody knows about them.

In South Korea, where testing is much more widespread, and they're actually catching lots of mild cases of the disease, the mortality rate is being reported as 0.7%.  That will probably go down as well, I'm guessing the true mortality rate for this disease is going to be about .5%.  Which is 5 times worse than a normal flu, but nothing remotely like the 10-20% mortality rate of the spanish flu.
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#4
I feel like this could be the peak of the Fourth Turning, similar to how I think that 1933 was the peak of the last Fourth Turning because that was when the Depression was at its worst and when Hitler rose to power in Germany.
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#5
(03-13-2020, 01:42 PM)Ghost Wrote: I feel like this could be the peak of the Fourth Turning, similar to how I think that 1933 was the peak of the last Fourth Turning because that was when the Depression was at its worst and when Hitler rose to power in Germany.

Many have questioned when the regeneracy phase of this 4T would arrive, as for may it seemed as though there was just a lot of the same old, same old over the past decade. Could this virus do what not political or activist movements failed to do, thus launching us into the true crux of this crisis period?
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#6
(03-13-2020, 01:37 PM)Mickey123 Wrote: This is exactly right.  If this had happened in the 90s, the response would have been entirely different.  People are freaking out, and desperately want the government to do something about it.  I guarantee you that if we have mass forced quarantines, with people unable to leave certain areas, the public will cheer for this.

By the way, the mortality rates that are being quoted for COVID-19 are all exaggerated.  They are taking the number of deaths and dividing by the number of confirmed cases... but there are many more actual cases than confirmed cases.  Severe cases all end up in the hospital and get confirmed, whereas mild cases frequently don't bother seeing a doctor and nobody knows about them.

In South Korea, where testing is much more widespread, and they're actually catching lots of mild cases of the disease, the mortality rate is being reported as 0.7%.  That will probably go down as well, I'm guessing the true mortality rate for this disease is going to be about .5%.  Which is 5 times worse than a normal flu, but nothing remotely like the 10-20% mortality rate of the spanish flu.

If this had happened in the 90s, it would have been written off as a bad flu year.  The present freaking out is largely driven by people trying to divert attention from the real problems of the crisis.

Incidentally, the CDC does have figures on actual positive flu tests.  Using those numbers - thus overestimating the same way Covid-19 is - we would get a flu fatality rate between 10% and 25%.

Germany's measured fatality rate for Covid-19 is 0.16%, by the way, below even the estimated rate for some strains of flu.
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#7
It goes beyond showing how awful a President we have. It also shows how corrupt and incompetent governments are in some places in which power has long seemed entrenched. Maybe Humanity is over-reacting; maybe it isn't.

If I am to compare COVID-19 to anything, then it is to HIV/AIDS as a killer. Obviously COVID-19 is transmitted like a common cold and is not as lethal as HIV-AIDS.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#8
(03-13-2020, 01:37 PM)Mickey123 Wrote: If this had happened in the 90s, the response would have been entirely different. 

People are freaking out, and desperately want the government to do something about it.  I guarantee you that if we have mass forced quarantines, with people unable to leave certain areas, the public will cheer for this.

Correct. And nobody even remembers the H1N1 virus of 2010, which killed 16,000 Americans.

But the S&H cycle is very, very political.

Which is to say, their cycle is nearly impossible to detect and quantify, because informed-people tend to be very, very political (ie., blind as a bat).

Conclusion: If Hillary Clinton were President right now, Covid19 would be a breath of spring-like fresh air, no matter how many innocents breathed deep it's deathly aroma.

p.s. People are not freaking out, they are merely like sheep following a shepherd. In this case, the shepherd is evil like Adolph Hitler etc.
We now be 4t, officially ... finally!  Rolleyes
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#9
(03-17-2020, 10:37 PM)Marc Lamb Wrote:
(03-13-2020, 01:37 PM)Mickey123 Wrote: If this had happened in the 90s, the response would have been entirely different. 

People are freaking out, and desperately want the government to do something about it.  I guarantee you that if we have mass forced quarantines, with people unable to leave certain areas, the public will cheer for this.

Correct. And nobody even remembers the H1N1 virus of 2010, which killed 16,000 Americans.

But the S&H cycle is very, very political.

Which is to say, their cycle is nearly impossible to detect and quantify, because informed-people tend to be very, very political.

Conclusion: If Hillary Clinton  were President right now, Covid19 would be a breath of spring-like fresh air, no matter how many innocents breathed deep it's deathly aroma.

p.s. People are not freaking out, they are merely like sheep following a shepherd. In this case, the shepherd is evil like Adolph Hitler etc.

I don't think that's a valid conclusion. If Clinton had won in 2016, this would still have happened, there would still have been a strong government response, but there would be significant resistance from the Trumpistas (who presumably would have caused so much trouble already that we couldn't even be sure what the state of the nation would be anyway). I think the same folks would have been calling 'hoax' - its just that now they are slowly turning around as their leader slowly acknowledges the problem.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
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#10
Is that really you, Marc Lamb? Haven't seen you for a long time, since the old forum.

I did start a thread on H1N1 v. COVID-19.

http://generational-theory.com/forum/thread-6011.html
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
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#11
Thanks for the replies folks.  Since there's a bit of interest, I'll delve down some more.

Who here is familiar with the work of Harry Dent?  His thinking has been greatly influenced by Strauss and Howe.  Admittedly, he isn't as scholarly as S&H are, but then he comes from the finance world.  He used to run a mutual fund back in the day.

His biggest weakness is that he tries to predict the market tops and bottoms with too much specificity, whereas S&H are much more circumspect and allow for anomalies (i.e. the shortened Civil War saeculum).  On the other hand, Dent has some high-profile advocates such as David Stockman, the former Treasury Secretary under Reagan.

His basic premise is something like this: you get economic booms in the 1T and 3T, economic busts in the 2T and 4T.

The springtime 1T boom is fueled by pure raw demand.  It's the point where new household creation is at its peak (1950s USA).  It takes a large dominant Hero generation like G.I.s or Millennials to make this happen.

The summertime 2T bust is characterized by inflation, with the economy overheating and its key inputs becoming scarce.  (Think 1970s USA with stagflation, the energy crisis, Jimmy Carter malaise.)

The autumnal 3T boom is fueled by new technological breakthroughs, and the attendant increases in worker productivity.  (1920s boom or 1990s tech boom.)

The winter 4T bust is characterized by deflation, when new household creation is at its trough and demand is at its weakest.  This is the one elites have a dread fear of.  "Deflation" is is verboten word in the financial media, it's rare that anyone even has the cojones to utter this curse word.

So our deflationary winter may have been bit late, but now has finally found the pretext it needed to assert itself.  If so, this won't just be a "correction" but a "reset", where all the sectors that have been overpriced for awhile now (healthcare, real estate, higher education) will fall back down to Earth.  And contrary to expectations, the middle class will be allowed to preserve its existence for another saeculum.  But there's a fair amount of pain and dislocation to come first.

The one idea from Generations that sticks out to me the most right now is, "It is not the triggering event *itself* that creates the Crisis, but rather, *society's reaction to* the triggering event that creates the Crisis".
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#12
(03-19-2020, 02:56 PM)Increase Mather Wrote: Thanks for the replies folks.  Since there's a bit of interest, I'll delve down some more.

Who here is familiar with the work of Harry Dent?  His thinking has been greatly influenced by Strauss and Howe.  Admittedly, he isn't as scholarly as S&H are, but then he comes from the finance world.  He used to run a mutual fund back in the day.

His biggest weakness is that he tries to predict the market tops and bottoms with too much specificity, whereas S&H are much more circumspect and allow for anomalies (i.e. the shortened Civil War saeculum).  On the other hand, Dent has some high-profile advocates such as David Stockman, the former Treasury Secretary under Reagan.

His basic premise is something like this: you get economic booms in the 1T and 3T, economic busts in the 2T and 4T.

The springtime 1T boom is fueled by pure raw demand.  It's the point where new household creation is at its peak (1950s USA).  It takes a large dominant Hero generation like G.I.s or Millennials to make this happen.

The summertime 2T bust is characterized by inflation, with the economy overheating and its key inputs becoming scarce.  (Think 1970s USA with stagflation, the energy crisis, Jimmy Carter malaise.)

The autumnal 3T boom is fueled by new technological breakthroughs, and the attendant increases in worker productivity.  (1920s boom or 1990s tech boom.)

The winter 4T bust is characterized by deflation, when new household creation is at its trough and demand is at its weakest.  This is the one elites have a dread fear of.  "Deflation" is is verboten word in the financial media, it's rare that anyone even has the cojones to utter this curse word.

So our deflationary winter may have been bit late, but now has finally found the pretext it needed to assert itself.  If so, this won't just be a "correction" but a "reset", where all the sectors that have been overpriced for awhile now (healthcare, real estate, higher education) will fall back down to Earth.  And contrary to expectations, the middle class will be allowed to preserve its existence for another saeculum.  But there's a fair amount of pain and dislocation to come first.

The one idea from Generations that sticks out to me the most right now is, "It is not the triggering event *itself* that creates the Crisis, but rather, *society's reaction to* the triggering event that creates the Crisis".
Yes Inread one of Harry Dent’s books where he talks about a second Great Depression which never arrived; at least not yet. Could happen if the fallout from COVID-19 lasts a long time.  Which takes me to third from last paragraph as depression is that other evil D word in the minds of economists. Economic blasphemy if you will. Do you believe the virus panic to be the triggering event to usher in the crux of this crisis?

I would be shocked if the 1T that follows ends up being a rerun of the last one. Can’t imagine today’s women being willing to put up with returning to the kitchen to assume June Cleaver-like roles. And modern technology no doubt won’t allow a repeat of the Organization Man ethos either where they were all but guaranteed lifetime security.
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#13
Neil Howe had some great points about this topic (COVID-19 vs. the 1918 flu) which he brought up on his regular webcast at Hedgeye. To wit,

1) In 1918 there was no real treatment other than keeping people warm and hydrated, so there wasn't really an issue of overwhelming the health care system. "Treatment" amounted to a bed and a blanket.
2) In 1918 the economy wasn't affluent enough to conceivably shut down most economic activity for weeks or months.

So basically, regardless of the differences between the diseases and how they spread, our 'world shut down' response makes sense in 2020 compared  to 1918. Today, unlike before, can afford to suspend economic activity for awhile, and there actually is a payoff to minimizing hospitalization since we can save lives with treatment (but have limited resources).

https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/82609-w...e-daryl-jo
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
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#14
That makes a big difference. Government will have to subsidize firms which must shut down altogether such as airlines and pay people to stay at home. Maybe people in many white-collar office jobs will need to turn their homes and apartments into offices for a time. Others will have to collect unemployment.

It is impossible to lay blame for COVID-19. Viruses will evolve to take advantage of the behavior of the most successful possible hosts such as vermin, livestock, pets, and us.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#15
(03-19-2020, 06:00 PM)beechnut79 Wrote:
(03-19-2020, 02:56 PM)Increase Mather Wrote: Thanks for the replies folks.  Since there's a bit of interest, I'll delve down some more.

Who here is familiar with the work of Harry Dent?  His thinking has been greatly influenced by Strauss and Howe.  Admittedly, he isn't as scholarly as S&H are, but then he comes from the finance world.  He used to run a mutual fund back in the day.

His biggest weakness is that he tries to predict the market tops and bottoms with too much specificity, whereas S&H are much more circumspect and allow for anomalies (i.e. the shortened Civil War saeculum).  On the other hand, Dent has some high-profile advocates such as David Stockman, the former Treasury Secretary under Reagan.

His basic premise is something like this: you get economic booms in the 1T and 3T, economic busts in the 2T and 4T.

The springtime 1T boom is fueled by pure raw demand.  It's the point where new household creation is at its peak (1950s USA).  It takes a large dominant Hero generation like G.I.s or Millennials to make this happen.

The summertime 2T bust is characterized by inflation, with the economy overheating and its key inputs becoming scarce.  (Think 1970s USA with stagflation, the energy crisis, Jimmy Carter malaise.)

The autumnal 3T boom is fueled by new technological breakthroughs, and the attendant increases in worker productivity.  (1920s boom or 1990s tech boom.)

The winter 4T bust is characterized by deflation, when new household creation is at its trough and demand is at its weakest.  This is the one elites have a dread fear of.  "Deflation" is is verboten word in the financial media, it's rare that anyone even has the cojones to utter this curse word.

So our deflationary winter may have been bit late, but now has finally found the pretext it needed to assert itself.  If so, this won't just be a "correction" but a "reset", where all the sectors that have been overpriced for awhile now (healthcare, real estate, higher education) will fall back down to Earth.  And contrary to expectations, the middle class will be allowed to preserve its existence for another saeculum.  But there's a fair amount of pain and dislocation to come first.

The one idea from Generations that sticks out to me the most right now is, "It is not the triggering event *itself* that creates the Crisis, but rather, *society's reaction to* the triggering event that creates the Crisis".
Yes Inread one of Harry Dent’s books where he talks about a second Great Depression which never arrived; at least not yet. Could happen if the fallout from COVID-19 lasts a long time.  Which takes me to third from last paragraph as depression is that other evil D word in the minds of economists. Economic blasphemy if you will. Do you believe the virus panic to be the triggering event to usher in the crux of this crisis?

I would be shocked if the 1T that follows ends up being a rerun of the last one. Can’t imagine today’s women being willing to put up with returning to the kitchen to assume June Cleaver-like roles. And modern technology no doubt won’t allow a repeat of the Organization Man ethos either where they were all but guaranteed lifetime security.

For just a moment, let's look at it purely from an econ/finance point of view, while leaving out the political and social aspects:

Imagine a winter that starts off with a fairly severe cold snap at the start of December.  That would be analogous to the 2009 financial crash.  Then you get a strange, anomalous balmy period in early January, which is usually the "dead of winter".  That has been the period from say, 2015 thru early 2020 (anomalies happen!)

But we still have about half of winter to go.  Now we enter that dreary, slogging period of late-January thru end-of-February, where the air is frigid and the snow is dirty, and you wish it would just melt already.  Only then do the saecular deflationary pressures ease up, and create the conditions for a regeneracy.  Dent predicts that the inflection point will happen some time around 2023; that's when the demographic trends begin to turn upward.

Of course, all sorts of political things can happen in the interim.  Who knows what kind of society will finally poke its head of out its Groundhog Hole circa 2028, to see if the coast is clear?  As for the social aspects, a repeat of the 1T doesn't necessarily mean women are back to June Cleaver roles.  I do think that male/female gender roles will diverge from each other, but that could take many different forms.

Hope I answered your question satisfactorily, beechnut79.
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