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Thursday, March 19. 2020
Yesterday (3/18) I was watching CBS Morning News. I do tend to watch in the morning before I catch my train, usually not more then 20 minutes to see headlines. Now, working from home, I have tended to watch the entire 3 hours (I watch the local morning portion from 6-7 as I work). I'm no longer surprised at the hyperbole and panic in their reports. Normally it shouldn't matter, but in these unusual times with people watching TV constantly, it's very concerning.
Yes, they do pepper in 'feel good' stories of people giving away products, time, and effort (this morning, a distillery that has shifted to making and giving away sanitizer) in order to limit the panic reporting. These are of a particular type, though. All are about people voluntarily giving of themselves. Key word "voluntarily", something which is rarely mentioned in reporting. I often wonder why.
I found out yesterday when one of the CBS anchors, Jeff Glor, exposed his massive ignorance with this statement (may not be exact, but close enough). "It's nice to see people putting capitalism aside and focusing on cooperation." Wait - WHAT?
Capitalism requires cooperation. Yes, competition is often pointed to as the hallmark of capital. Competition keeps prices down, competition produces innovation, competition leads to forward thinking and proactive behaviors. Competition is critical to capitalism. However, every company would fail if its workers didn't cooperate. Every exchange would fail if the two parties involved did not cooperate because every exchange has to be based on mutual benefit. Every deal between businesses would fail if there wasn't cooperation. Cooperation is essential to every facet of capitalism. I'll compare it to any team sport. The competition between the teams yields high levels of performance from the teams themselves (front office down to the field), but requires the cooperation between teams to set rules, engage in trades, and agree on method of determining winners. It also requires cooperation on the field between team members to make the competition itself intriguing and interesting to watch (or engage in).
This failure on the part of journalists is increasing daily, and it was happening before the panic of the pandemic. It's becoming more common. After all, they are playing to the fears every day. We were told that, at this stage, the number of deaths would double every day. Yesterday, 104 people in the US had died. Today, it's 155. That's close to a 50% increase, which is the highest it's been, and while the number of dead is likely to increase, we shall see if the rate increases. However, the 'model' is still what we're comparing to, and even in regions hardest hit the 'model' hasn't played out. Total worldwide deaths still haven't doubled every day, even with the worst hit places being accounted for. We haven't even topped 10,000. So panic is the only way to describe coverage. We do not know real mortality rates, mainly because we do not know real rates of infection. For what it's worth, I am still convinced I had a very mild form of it already, and several other friends believe they did, as well. None of us have been tested, and I see no reason to be tested.
Jeff Glor's statement, in my opinion, is starting to look more and more like the reason behind the panic. There is an agenda being pushed and it's incumbent upon us to be aware of - and push back against - that agenda with every opportunity we have. Keep informing people that journalists are just tools and these tools are often poorly employed and poorly informed.
Marat's eulogy was given by the Marquis de Sade, a rather fitting person given the ideologies he promoted, which led to the Reign of Terror.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:58 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
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I had friend on FB posting about how the great TP debacle of the current unpleasantness was an example of taking being Capitalism 101. I was tempted to say that I was pretty sure those folks were giving money (and might regret the choice they were making of what to spend it on) but bit my tongue.
I think it has something to do with their life experiences. It is a big problem with our politicians too. Many of them never worked a job outside of politics. When I was 8,9,10 thru 18 I would shovel snow in the Winter, mow lawns in the Summer, collected news paper, rags and scrap metal to make a buck. I have worked in restaurants, gas stations, car washes, etc even before I got out of school, in fact I had to get my SS at age 13 (I'm 76 back then you didn't get a SS until you had a real job). Most people I knew did the same. Not so much anymore. People live the easy life and go to college and work in prestigious fields and have never worked before in their lives. They have a "hole" in their life experience and it shows.
I was struck by the bizarreness of a reporter haranguing Trump yesterday about whether calling it the Wuhan Virus was racist. I was struck by the imagery: First of all, calling something Chinese "Chinese" is identifying a nationality, not a race. In addition to type-localities being a well-established scientific convention (geology does the same with rock outcrops), the very absurdity that it was somehow racist struck me, juxtaposed as it was in a news conference to discuss harnessing the nation's economy to its full potential in order to address a world-wide pandemic that we know little about.
Racist? Really?? That's what your readers are desperate to find out and understand? I don't think we've ever lived in an age where our putative cultural leadership has been more clueless.
So true Bulldog! I think we all owe to our 'friends' to push back ... be gentle but we need to expose the foolish thinking and tropes that pass for the "right answers".
Regards the disease data, I've been tracking the Johns Hopkins dashboard since I was appointed my kids' schoolteacher last Friday. (https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6)
While the number of cases are going up rather quickly, the "death rate" is dropping. Friday US cases were 2,572 and deaths 51 ... a 2.0% mortality rate. This morning, US cases were 9,415 and deaths 150 ... a 1.6% mortality rate. (Cases have jumped to 10,755 in the last update at 12:45 pm ...1.4% mortality.)
NOW, a major 'but' as many commentators and linked articles have noted: There ain't no real denominator since we have no real clue how many people are sick or have been sick. The Johns Hopkins "data" betrays this fact with their total number of "recovered" ... It was stuck on 12 for awhile, disappeared altogether, and then showed up again this morning at 106.
It drives me nuts, the inability to see that free-market capitalism depends on voluntary exchanges, i.e., consent. It's collectivism that depends on coercion.
If it turned out that coerced collectivism did a better job of ensuring that everyone got what he needed, I'd have to rethink my views, but that's not what happens. Consistently, it's the free-market societies that enjoy prosperity and bounce back better from shocks. As they say, capitalism works as well in a crisis as socialism on a random Tuesday.
When I used to work in Kazakhstan, our charter would always arrive at the regional airport at night, and we would have a couple of hours driving to get to the field camp. There were no towns to drive through, only the agricultural collectives, typically with a few hundred people. One knew when when you were driving through or past one, because you'd see some lights - always 2 or 3 bulbs, max, that was all they had in the entire village for illumination, and then just over the barn/warehouse door, for security - in an otherwise completely dark countryside, not a streetlight there. I've never seen such beaten-down, bleak hardship as was in the FSU.
It comes from picture-thinking based on feelings rather than on tight definitions and data. China is of course a nation, not a race, Aggie, but it just feels racisty because vagueness. Capitalism (I use "free market" instead whenever I can now in the vain hope of gaining a listener) is much more dependent on cooperation than competition, but people hear the dark music in their heads.
Half the commenters on this one also come to my site, but the rest of you might like my recent post "Scrooge McDuck." I can't link or the spam filter will block me.
Bulldog....you’re watching cbs news. That right there is your problem.
well, I could say any one of 6 different news outlets on TV and it would STILL be a 'problem'. None are really reliable or good.
My point, of course, is that the main outlets are all totally "in the bag" for socialism. That can no longer even be a question.
Anyone who does question it has to have more than a few brain cells missing.
Ever since the first two cells joined forces in the competitive struggle of Life, Cooperation is the foundation of Evolution/Creation. Social Animals depend upon cooperation to hold their Pack, hive, pod, tribe together. Even sex requires cooperation (well socialist sex requires coercion to force equal distribution of activity). Capitalism uses the natural forces of voluntary Cooperation. Socialism has to be forced as it is un-natural to have that much altruism operating in a large society.