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Recovering (Economically) from COVID: Scenarios for After May; Plus BRIEFLY NOTED: 2021-03-09 Tu

BRIEFLY NOTED: for 2021-03-06 Sa

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...


The global container fleet today has a capacity of 32.9 million TEU (Twenty foot-Equivalent Units). The container ship OOCL Hong Kong has 21,000 TEUs of capacity. Back in 1582 we had perhaps 1/12 of our current population on the globe. Back in 1582, back in the days when the English merchant fleet was 1/20 of the worldwide total, the entire English merchant fleet could carry only 1/3 as much cargo as the OOCL Hong Kong can.

Thus, for the globe as a whole, today 30 million TEUs; 1582 140 thousand TEUs—1/200 as much. That is one dimension of economic growth and globalization since the start of the Imperial-Commercial Revolution Age back in the 1500s:

Yuval Noah HarariLessons from a Year of Covid: ‘A largely automated present-day container ship can carry more tons than the merchant fleet of an entire early modern kingdom. In 1582, the English merchant fleet had a total carrying capacity of 68,000 tons and required about 16,000 sailors. The container ship OOCL Hong Kong, christened in 2017, can carry some 200,000 tons while requiring a crew of only 22… LINK: <>

Very Briefly Noted:

Four Paragraphs:

Robert J. ShillerThe Godley–Tobin Memorial Lecture: ‘John Maynard Keynes’s (1936) concept of ‘animal spirits’ or ‘spontaneous optimism’ as a major driving force in business fluctuations was motivated in part by his and his contemporaries’ observations of human reactions to ambiguous situations where probabilities couldn’t be quantified. We can add that in such ambiguous situations there is evidence that people let contagious popular narratives and the emotions they generate influence their economic decisions. These popular narratives are typically remote from factual bases, just contagious. Macroeconomic dynamic models must have a theory that is related to models of the transmission of disease in epidemiology. We need to take the contagion of narratives seriously in economic modeling if we are to improve our understanding of animal spirits and their impact on the economy… 

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Brian MorrisseyWhy Is This Interesting?: ‘Quartz was right about one big thing: Most articles are too long. Quartz co-founder Kevin Delaney put it this way to me over five years ago: “A lot of the 800-word stories have been padded out with the B matter. It’s called B matter because it’s B grade, not A matter, which is the focal point of the story.” Brevity is more important than ever. There is simply too much content let loose on the world these days… 

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Noah BrierOn Schumpeter, Creating New Things, & Modern Approaches: ‘Schumpeter… says invention… and innovation… are fundamentally different… pure discovery… actually sell[ing] the thing…. Inventors handled the making, and entrepreneurs handled the marketing. (Capitalists, the third corner of the triangle, dealt with the investment.)… Bell Labs, IBM, and GE…. Thousands of scientists were in their labs doing science and waiting for opportunities to show off their work to executives and customers who may find opportunities to commercialize…. Things have changed a lot, and most companies have become much more focused on user-centered innovation…. You start with the job to be done (in Clayton Christiensen’s words) and work your way backward…. I was fascinated to hear how mRNA allows pharmaceutical companies to work in this way for the first time…. The CEO of Moderna… L

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WikipediaHedonic Treadmill: ‘Hedonic adaptation may be a more common phenomenon when dealing with positive events as opposed to negative ones…. Negative emotions often require more attention and are generally remembered better…. Adopting “non-zero sum” goals, those which enrich one’s relationships with others and with society as a whole (i.e. family-oriented and altruistic goals), increase the level of subjective well-being. Conversely, attaching importance to zero-sum life goals (career success, wealth, and social status) will have a small but nevertheless statistically significant negative impact on people’s overall subjective well-being…. Contradicting set point theory, Headey found no return to homeostasis after sustaining a disability or developing a chronic illness… LINK: <>