Sounder » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:48 am wrote:
This is so sad. An exiled Chinese (billionaire) businessman, Gow, IIRC is his name, early on said that things were much worse than presented. He says the govt. will fail within ten years.
That would probably be Guo Wengui
, who spends his time on NYC Grindr as Miles Kwok. He is basically the Ahmed Chalabi of China; continually offering insider takes to anyone who will run a headline, and continually asserting the evil regime is on the verge of collapse ... any minute now ... just around the corner ... walls are closing in ...
The information gap we're still in the middle of is an environment tailored for opportunists. Twitter is an endless succession of dubious videos with caps-lock captions, all claiming to be breaking news from the front lines. This is a pretty classic trap because it never stops working: if you know the official story is a lie, you're going to latch onto just about anything that contradicts the official story, because we need a story.
Like we need food.
All the speculation about the origins and motivations behind this are a re-run of 9/11 Truth, and I hope everyone recalls how that shitshow washed out for all involved. MIHOP? LIHOP? Controlled depopulation event? Op gone wrong?
The effects are going to matter a lot more than the causes, most especially in terms of our daily lives and how it shapes the political landscape.
The progress of nCoV is maddeningly slow. For a culture whose conception of reality is primarily filtered through movies and TV, that pacing is even more painful. But remember, everything we're seeing now is the emergent effects of infections and transmission chains that unfolded approximately a month ago. And there's so much -- nearly everything -- so much we don't know. The r0 is still a speculative range. The transmission vectors are still speculative. The body count is still speculative. The number of people infected is still speculative.
If you want a conspiracy theory to chew on, consider the Diamond Princess. For a first world coalition that knows China is lying about -- nearly everything -- wouldn't a cruise ship under quarantine provide an ideal sandbox for observing how dangerous this outbreak really was? And, given the rate at which those numbers exploded onboard, what conclusions do you think that coalition took away from their experiment?
For American observers, it's hard to understand just how bad the third world really is, in terms of health care infrastructure and training. In most of the countries currently grappling with potential outbreaks, there is no capacity whatsoever for screening and testing until a C-130 full of CDC and DOD observers & facilitators show up with pelican cases full of gear. And once things get bad domestically, all of that borrowed time, money, expertise and equipment will get recalled.
I expect this to go down like the Great Famine in China: most of the deaths, most of the devastation, will simply never be acknowledged. China has already committed to a completely counterfactual narrative, and there's not a lot of historical precedent for how sovereign bureaucracies walk that back
or come clean. It's generally decades later, generally low-key and cloaked in euphemism, and generally agitated by marginalized historians and researchers.
After all, the big story of the past century is Globalization as Leviathan -- a super-sovereign system woven out of cut-out corporations, Eurodollars, supply chains and free-trade zones. Who can actually pull the plug on that?
This is a tremendous stress test being exerted on antiquated systems whose only remaining competence is the appearance
of power. China's quarantines didn't work -- they can only restrict the movement of poor people, and even then, not completely. China can fill dirt lots with prefabricated trailers and talk about building hospitals but they don't have enough personnel to do anything with them.
I don't think the situation will play out too much different for any other country. Consider Japan, with incredibly, miraculously low infection numbers so far. Has the virus mutated into something more benign, Andromeda Strain style? Is there something unique about Japan that renders them less vulnerable?
Or are they simply lying because they're hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo?
I don't know, either.