From here to eternity
I went to cut my hair the other day, and I know the guy who owns the place for years now. He was one of the first to read my book and he liked it.
He said “I almost read the whole thing.” Good enough.
“You know where the coronavirus comes from?” he asked.
“If you said Wuhan I walk out.”
“From a brewery in Mexico, along with the lyme disease.”
Got to love the Italians, they never give up to be cheerful no matter how bad it gets.
Now Milan is the European center of the virus, likely because of the fashion shows and the many Chinese visitors shopping. Not their fault, except how the virus got out of a lab in China, it didn’t appear out of thin air in the world. Nobody is investigating it.
The media said that 41 people died in Italy last day alone from this. That’s tragic.
For the rest of us, we’re about to find out what we’ve wrought with the wonders of globalism. Is there anything you can think of over at the Wall Mart or the Walgreens that isn’t made in China?
The message is getting out — though not from US authorities yet — that everybody may soon be spending a lot of time home alone.
Switzerland banned events with more than 1,000 people (why that number, exactly is not clear), Japan has canceled school for the time being — duration unknown for now. The auto show in Geneva in cancelled.
Of all the many-networked systems the world depends on, banking and finance are the most fragile, the most susceptible to danger of disorder. And, of course, that is exactly what we’re seeing in the stock markets – they’re diving hard.
Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs) are a tally of how executives see their own company – whether business activity at their company rose or fell, whether they added or shed staff, etc.
A value above 50 means expansion; a value below 50 means contraction.
And in China, both, the PMI for the non-manufacturing sector and the PMI for the manufacturing sector, released on March 1, have collapsed to unfathomable lows (from 54.1 in January to below 30 now). After that time, the government site with this info became not accessible (error # 502, whatever that means).
ANZ banking group estimated, based on migration data of workers returning to the city from their villages, that about 50% of the workers had returned to their jobs as of this weekend, but that China’s economy was operating at only 20% capacity, hampered by issues ranging from lacking parts to other workers not having returned to work.
Despite repeated pleads from health officials not to buy face masks, which will not work, people can’t stop snatching up masks and respirators.
Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades, and now is the time to act on those plans, as a WHO official in Geneva was lecturing the other day.
Let’s see how efficient are the governments that cost us a fortune in taxes.
Efficient in protecting their own people, that is.
For all of you stacking up on food for the coming apocalypse, just remember – rice comes from China and pasta from Italy.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler