Vermischtes – Unkommentierte Megasammlung 03

Ich bin in den letzten vier Wochen aus verschiedenen Gründen – andere Prioritäten, Krankheit und nun Corona – nicht dazu gekommen, Vermischtes zu schreiben. Da ich aber weiterhin interessante Artikel gesammelt habe und nicht möchte, dass das alles total verschwendet wird, habe ich mich dazu entschieden, sie in Ladungen unkommentiert zu veröffentlichen und das Kommentieren komplett auf die Kommentarspalte zu verlagern (was für ein Satz!). Wo noch Kommentare da sind habe ich die in meinen Notizen gehabt, ich lasse euch die entsprechend da. Ich hoffe, dass das für euch trotzdem interessant ist. Ich habe genug Material für drei dieser Artikel (insgesamt sechs normale Vermischte) zusammen und werde es sukzessive über die nächsten Tage veröffentlichen. Dann haben wir auch was anderes als Corona zum Diskutieren, vielleicht auch nicht schlecht.

1) In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity Lacks Leadership

What does this history teach us for the current Coronavirus epidemic? First, it implies that you cannot protect yourself by permanently closing your borders. Remember that epidemics spread rapidly even in the Middle Ages, long before the age of globalization. So even if you reduce your global connections to the level of England in 1348 – that still would not be enough. To really protect yourself through isolation, going medieval won’t do. You would have to go full Stone Age. Can you do that? Secondly, history indicates that real protection comes from the sharing of reliable scientific information, and from global solidarity. When one country is struck by an epidemic, it should be willing to honestly share information about the outbreak without fear of economic catastrophe – while other countries should be able to trust that information, and should be willing to extend a helping hand rather than ostracize the victim. Today, China can teach countries all over the world many important lessons about coronavirus, but this demands a high level of international trust and cooperation. […] Perhaps the most important thing people should realize about such epidemics, is that the spread of the epidemic in any country endangers the entire human species. (Yuval Noah Hararari, Time)

2) Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

Pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, the Russian campaign uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic, the report said. […] A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since January 22, it said. […] It said a fake letter purporting to be from the Ukrainian health ministry falsely stated here were five coronavirus cases in the country. Ukrainian authorities say the letter was created outside Ukraine, the EU report said. “Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that coronavirus is a human creation, weaponised by the West,” said the report, first cited by the Financial Times. The EEAS has also shared information with Slovakia over the spread of fake news accusing the country’s prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, of being infected with the virus and saying he may have passed on the infection to others at recent summits. EU leaders have been conferring by videoconferences since early March. It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy, the second-most heavily affected country in the world, that health systems would be unable to cope and doctors would choose who lived or died because of a lack of beds. (Robin Emmot, Reuters)

3) Austerität ist tödlich

Das traf nicht nur Italien; auch die spanische Regierung sah sich gezwungen, ein Kürzungsprogramm zu unterzeichnen. Daraufhin wurden die Ausgaben für das Gesundheitssystem allein im Jahr 2012 um 5,7 Prozent gedrückt. Aber am härtesten traf es bekanntlich Griechenland: Die staatlichen Mittel wurden zwischen 2009 und 2016 von 16,2 Milliarden auf 8,6 Milliarden fast halbiert. Mehr als 13.000 Ärzte und über 26.000 sonstige im Gesundheitswesen angestellte wurden entlassen. 54 der 137 Krankenhäuser wurden geschlossen und das Budget der übriggebliebenen um 40 Prozent gesenkt. Insgesamt fielen zwischen 2011 und 2016 bei etwa elf Millionen Einwohnerinnen und Einwohnern mehr als drei Millionen Menschen völlig aus dem Schutz einer Krankenversicherung. Das griechische Gesundheitsministerium erklärte die gesunkenen Kosten „als eine Folge von Effizienzsteigerungen im Finanzmanagement“. […] Der von der Großen Koalition in Berlin mit durchgesetzte Kahlschlag sozialer Infrastruktur in der Eurozone während der letzen Dekade ist ein Faktor, der die Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie schwieriger macht und Leben kosten wird. „Austerity kills!“ war in Südeuropa der Slogan im Widerstand gegen die Kürzungspolitik der Troika, noch immer ist er an einer Hauswand im Athener Stadtzentrum zu lesen. Derzeit wird mehr als deutlich, was damit gemeint ist. (Alexis Passadakis, Freitag)

4) We Were Warned

The systemic failure stems in part from the fact that in recent decades successive administrations have not treated pandemic preparedness with the degree of seriousness they reserved for addressing other top security threats—from, say, terrorists or adversarial nations. The pattern repeats itself: Presidents rush to prioritize health security and lavish money on it after crisis strikes, then scale back resources and succumb to complacency once it subsides. Pandemics don’t occur with the frequency of other national-security incidents such as terrorist attacks and therefore often seem “like a remote possibility,” Toner said, especially for elected officials thinking in the time horizon of their term in office. […] Funding for pandemic preparedness has long lagged behind other homeland-security priorities. The U.S. government, for example, spends at least $100 billion a year on counterterrorism efforts versus $1 billion on pandemic and emerging-infectious-disease programs, according to one calculation in 2016. This despite the fact that the new coronavirus threatens to kill vastly more Americans than terrorism ever has. And the Trump administration has gone further—not only underfunding these efforts but also proposing steep spending cuts year after year to institutions, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that are tasked with handling outbreaks. […] The Trump administration has also downplayed global health threats through structural changes within the White House’s national-security architecture. […] The irony is that this is all occurring in a country, the United States, that for decades “has been a leader in pandemic preparedness,” Toner said. “We were better prepared than others,” he acknowledged, “but no one, no country, is prepared for what we’re seeing now.” Just as the spread of the coronavirus is a function of human nature, so too is humanity’s capacity to be caught unprepared for it—despite warning after warning after warning that we would live to regret it. (Uri Fleischer, The Atlantic)

5) A Glimpse of the Coronavirus’s Possible Legacy

The public experience and knowledge of SARS, Fukuda explained, make it easier to enact these types of measures because people need little prodding to undertake them. This creates a “major advantage for the officials dealing with the outbreak because you can expend less effort convincing people to help, and the strategies can be more effective,” he said. […] Supplies have now largely returned to stores. Authorities have cracked down on counterfeit medical goods. Press briefings and detailed updates on new patients are delivered daily. Lam has mostly stuck to goodwill visits, allowing health officials and respected experts to explain the situation. A second batch of government-funded evacuation flights are being planned for Hong Kong residents in Hubei province, the coronavirus’s epicenter in China. The city is now testing about 1,000 people a day, though Yuen has said this number should be increased. The government’s interventions and individuals’ change of behavior have been significant. The results of two surveys carried out by researchers in Hong Kong in January and February, published Monday, estimated that the large majority of the adult population wore masks when going out, while most avoided going to crowded places, and reported washing or sanitizing their hands more frequently. Not only have measures been effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 but the transmission of influenza has also “declined substantially” as a result, the researchers found. Researchers added that if their findings were borne out elsewhere, “they support the perspective that COVID-19 can be meaningfully controlled, or at least mitigated, by familiar social distancing and population behavioral changes short of the draconian measures introduced in mainland Chinese cities.” (Timothy McLaughlin, The Atlantic)

6) How Hillary Clinton Became a Postmodern Menace

The vitriol is revealing. Bill Clinton has been part of the national conversation for precisely as long as his wife has, but Americans have not spent years publicly expressing their desire for him to disappear. Nor have cottage industrialists spent years producing “Go Away Bill” merch (T-shirtshoodiescoffee mugs) to monetize the ire. It is Hillary, uniquely—a little bit Rorschach, a little bit Rashomon—who rankles people. It is Hillary who is imagined, by many in the American public, as a conspiracy theory incarnate. And it is Hillary, in that sense, whose treatment as a living fiction is timely yet again, during a Democratic primary that found a large group of capable and electorally viable female candidates steadily eliminated from contention. (#DropOutWarren may have its own electoral particularities; it is also spiritually similar to #GoAwayHillary.) Presidential politics will always involve some strains of magical thinking. Women candidates, though, often inspire something more akin to paranoia. They are often treated as interlopers, their presence regarded, in ways both subtle and astoundingly obvious, as an encroachment. American culture talks a big game when it comes to women’s equality, but it has not, traditionally, been terribly good at following through on the slogans. And Hillary Clinton—who won in 2016 but also very much didn’t—is a reminder of the depth of the lie. That might help to explain why so many people would prefer that she stop doing the reminding. (Megan Garber, The Atlantic)

7) Sexism Is Other People

“Maybe Next Time, Ladies,” the headline of a New York Times opinion piece put itthis week, after it became clear that the 2020 Democratic primary would likely end with two straight, white, septuagenarian men vying to wrest the presidency from another straight, white, septuagenarian man. Is this outcome due to sexism and racism? Yes. Is it also due to other factors? Yes. The fact that both can be true at once—elections have a way of mingling prejudice with legitimate matters of policy and performance—lends galling currency to self-laundering lines like “I’d vote for a woman, just not that woman,” and “I’d vote for a person of color, just not that particular person.” These explanations carry their own camouflage. And they are adjacent to another idea that has been wielded in the 2020 primaries: “electability.” “Electability” claims to be a benign and objective concern. It is neither. It merely outsources biases, rationalizing them by appealing to the moral failings of imagined others. It talks about neighbors, and “other people,” and “what the country is ready for.” It throws up its hands and washes them at the same time. And it suggests an especially insidious strain of sexism. The sexism of the political past has often been blunt and unashamed in its expression (“Lock! Her! Up!”/ “Iron! My! Shirt!” / “She-devil”). The sexism of the political present, however, is slightly different: It knows better, even if it fails to be better. It is a little bit cannier. It has lawyered up. It is figuring out, day by day, how to maintain plausible deniability. (Megan Garber, The Atlantic)

8) Seven early lessons from the coronavirus

The first lesson is that, unlike the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the coronavirus will force the return of big government.  […] The second lesson is that the coronavirus provides one more demonstration of the mystique of borders, and will help reassert the role of the nation state within the European Union.  […] The third lesson of the coronavirus relates to trust in expertise.  […] The fourth lesson is open to interpretation but very important nonetheless. Unfortunately, the coronavirus could increase the appeal of the big data authoritarianism employed by the Chinese government. […] The fifth lesson concerns crisis management. What governments learned in dealing with economic crises, the refugee crisis, and terrorist attacks was that panic was their worst enemy.  […] The sixth lesson is that the Covid-19 crisis will have a strong impact on intergenerational dynamics. […] The seventh lesson is that, at a certain point, governments will be forced to choose between containing the spread of the pandemic at the cost of destroying the economy or tolerating a higher human cost to save the economy. (Ivan Krastev, European Council on Foreign Relations)

9) Whatever it takes: Italy and the Covid-19 crisis

Intriguingly, Italians’ faith in sovereigntist parties appears to be crumbling along with their belief in the EU: Covid-19 is weakening Italy’s brand of populism. According to a poll taken on 10 March, support for the League is at 27 percent, down by 7.3 percentage points since the May 2019 European Parliament election. During this period, the Democratic Party has remained stable in the polls, moving from 22.7 percent to 22.5 percent; the Five Star Movement has dropped from 17.1 percent to 15.6 percent; and Forza Italia has fallen from 8.8 percent to 6.1 percent. Nonetheless – and somewhat confusingly, given the fate of the League – support for the nativist Brothers of Italy has risen from 6.5 percent to 13.4 percent. […] This is a very dangerous time for both Italy and Europe as a whole. After the financial crisis and the migration crisis, the emergency is a turning point for European politics. With European borders closing and EU member states protecting their national interests, the Italian experience holds important lessons for the rest of the continent. Italy has not only been dealing with Covid-19 for longer – at an estimated 10-12 days ahead of other EU countries in infection rates and emergency measures – but is deeper into the political effects of the crisis. Although it might seem strange in the context of its politics of recent years, Italy is on the right track in re-establishing political solidarity and putting aside domestic confrontation. (Teresa Coratella, European Council on Foreign Relations)

10) The deglobalisation virus

The Covid-19 crisis has become the third great shock of the century, after the 9/11 attacks and the process unleashed by the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which triggered economic and financial contagion. This is simultaneously a human shock, a supply-side shock (involving production), and a demand-side shock (involving consumption), with the added danger of unleashing a new financial crisis. It may be, as Holman Jenkins suggests, that recession is an inevitable part of the eminently sensible method used to combat the virus – in other words, the suppression of demand that comes with keeping people in their homes. But it comes when the world’s governments have fewer tools for fighting against its effects, and will exact an enormous toll. Increasing numbers of supply chains, much more complex than they were in 2008, are seizing up or stalling. Many factories making machinery, cars, toys, and other products have had to cut or cease production for lack of vital components originating in, for example, China, where manufacturing has been halted. Air and other forms of travel are in abeyance; the same goes for the movement of shipping containers – that analogical invention so crucial to globalisation. Global tourism has taken a massive hit, from which it will take time to recover. The pandemic has laid bare our mutual dependence, the degree of interdependence on which we rely. And there is no shortage of people advocating retreat. (Andrés Ortega, European Council on Foreign Relations)

11) Germany, Wilsonianism and the return of Realpolitik

In the coming years, Germany will embrace realpolitik in practice, not just in rhetoric. With a fading American commitment and increased interest in Europe, Germany will have to invest more in its defensive capabilities, perhaps embedded in a European institution. While some are skeptical that Germany can implement a more robust defense policy, the country will soon have no choice. Simultaneously, the country will become more assertive and consciously increase its power — probably arguing that it will be for the sake of Europe. Such a move would be a long overdue and necessary consequence of the end of the Cold War, and the new world order defined by Sino-American competition. German pacifism and Wilsonianism could thrive while German foreign policymaking was shaped by Washington. With America’s attention elsewhere, Berlin has become less relevant for the United States. Consequently, current American interests coincide less, and clash more, with German interests. The time is over when Germans could simply agree or disagree with whatever came out of Washington and then be done with their foreign policymaking. Nothing can change the two governing forces of American strategy ­— the United States wants to remain the most powerful state in the world, and its primary challenge is China. So long as this is true, Asia will remain the priority theater for U.S. foreign policy, not Europe. This leaves a void — a void that Germans have to fill with own concepts and visions if they do not wish to be steamrolled by the United States as America acts on new interests lying elsewhere. The increasingly realist rhetoric by German leaders indicates that this idea is settling in. (Dominik Wullers, War on the Rocks)

12) Why rich people use so much more energy

In a nutshell, as people get wealthier, they spend more on transport (cars, boats, planes, vacations), which is one of the most energy intensive consumer categories. Because wealthier people turn to more energy intensive goods, the energy gap rises even faster than the income gap. […] The most energy intensive thing that wealthier people do is move around more, in cars, ships, and planes. […] The top 10 percent of the global income spectrum consumes 20 times as much final energy as the bottom 10 percent. The numbers are particularly striking for transport, where the top 10 percent consumes 187 times as much in vehicle fuel and operation as the bottom 10 percent. “In land transport, the bottom 50% receive a bit more than 10% of the energy used,” says the report, “and in air transport they make use of less than 5%.” Conversely, the top 10 percent uses around 45 percent of land transport energy and 75 percent of air transport energy. As Boeing’s CEO noted in 2017, celebrating his company’s endless growth potential, somewhere around 80 percent of people in the world have never flown. […] But because heat and electricity represent a basic good, it is not appropriate to address them with pricing mechanisms like taxes, which tend to be regressive and hit the poor the hardest. Performance standards and large-scale public investments are better suited. Vehicle fuel, because it is a luxury good, is a better target for pricing. […] This logic leads ineluctably to a third policy conclusion: The only way to decarbonize many of the most energy intensive goods and services fast enough is for wealthy people to change their behavior and consume less of them. (David Roberts,

13) Elon Musk’s coronavirus journey: A timeline

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is gonna Elon Musk, even during a global pandemic. Musk — and his problematic tweets — have prompted controversy for quite some time. His reaction to the coronavirus crisis is no different. Even as public officials around the world have warned of the potentially catastrophic implications of the virus, and as federal, state, and city leaders beg the public to combat the virus’s spread by socially distancing, the South African-born entrepreneur has suggested on Twitter than the whole thing is “dumb,” or at least that everybody should settle down about it. […] This is noteworthy because what Musk says and does matters. People respect him and follow his advice. If he doesn’t take coronavirus seriously, others might not, either. What’s more, he’s in charge of factories employing thousands of people, and he has taken a contradictory approach compared to other tech and corporate leaders when it comes to letting employees work from home and shifting production to coronavirus-related necessities. […] But beyond any real effort he makes to pitch in on the crisis, what Musk says about the coronavirus matters, in a similar way to what the president says or what some personality on Fox News says about the pandemic. He has 32 million Twitter followers, and there’s a sort of “cult of Elon Musk” around him, meaning people listen to him.Musk, like all of us, gets to do the coronavirus his way, but his choices matter more. He can do it irresponsibly, like the spring breakers who are still partying on the beach in Miami. Or he can do it responsibly. It’s up to him, and it’s not too late for him to change his tack and encourage his followers to do the same. (Emily Stewart,

14) How Do You Know If You’re Living Through the Death of an Empire?

The fall of an empire is supposed to be a dramatic thing. It’s right there in the name. “Fall” conjures up images of fluted temple columns toppling to the ground, pulled down by fur-clad barbarians straining to destroy something beautiful. Savage invasions, crushing battlefield defeats, sacked cities, unlucky rulers put to death: These are the kinds of stories that usually come to mind when we think of the end of an empire. They seem appropriate, the climaxes we expect from a narrative of rise, decline, and fall. We’re all creatures of narrative, whether we think explicitly in those terms or not, and stories are one of the fundamental ways in which we engage with and grasp the meaning of the world. It’s natural that we expect the end of a story—the end of an empire—to have some drama.The reality is far less exciting. Any political unit sound enough to project its power over a large geographic area for centuries has deep structural roots. Those roots can’t be pulled up in a day or even a year. If an empire seems to topple overnight, it’s certain that the conditions that produced the outcome had been present for a long time—suppurating wounds that finally turned septic enough for the patient to succumb to a sudden trauma. That’s why the banalities matter. When the real issues come up, healthy states, the ones capable of handling and minimizing everyday dysfunction, have a great deal more capacity to respond than those happily waltzing toward their end. But by the time the obvious, glaring crisis arrives and the true scale of the problem becomes clear, it’s far too late. The disaster—a major crisis of political legitimacy, a coronavirus pandemic, a climate catastrophe—doesn’t so much break the system as show just how broken the system already was. (Patrick Wyman, Mother Jones)

15) Republicans like me built this moment. Then we looked the other way.

Don’t just blame President Trump. Blame me — and all the other Republicans who aided and abetted and, yes, benefited from protecting a political party that has become dangerous to America. Some of us knew better. But we built this moment. And then we looked the other way. Many of us heard a warning sound we chose to ignore, like that rattle in your car you hear but figure will go away. Now we’re broken down, with plenty of time to think about what should have been done. The failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party. Here are a few: Government is bad. Establishment experts are overrated or just plain wrong. Science is suspect. And we can go it alone, the world be damned. All of these are wrong, of course. But we didn’t get here overnight. It took practice. Long before Trump, the Republican Party adopted as a key article of faith that more government was bad. We worked overtime to squeeze it and shrink it, to drown it in the bathtub, as anti-tax activist Grover Norquist liked to say. But somewhere along the way, it became, “all government is bad.” Now we are in a crisis that can be solved only by massive government intervention. That’s awkward. […] What is happening now is the inevitable result of a party that embraced fear, weaponized xenophobia and regarded facts as dangerous, left-wing landmines that must be avoided. Over the past few years, when ramming through conservative judges, Republicans have crowed, “Elections have consequences.” That’s true. It’s something to think about when sitting at home not watching sports and wondering how long it will be until you can find out if that nasty cold you have is something more. Yes, elections have consequences. Those of us in the Republican Party built this moment. Now the nation must live with those consequences. (Steven Stuart, Washington Post)

16) The worst possible president for this crisis

Now Americans have to fear that the president will sacrifice their health — or the lives of their parents — just to goose the stock market. It’s part of a pattern: Trump’s acts consistently make it more difficult to get COVID-19 under control — and shake confidence in his leadership when that confidence is badly needed. CNN on Sunday documented 33 false claims the president has made about the coronavirus just since the beginning of March, including the untrue assertion that „anybody who wants a test can get a test“ for the virus. […] What to do? A growing number of journalists are calling on news and broadcast networks to quit showing Trump’s briefings live — arguing that public safety is best-served by fact-checking the president’s statements before reporting them out to the broader public. „Even this far into his term, it is still a bit of a shock to be reminded that the single most potent force for misinforming the American public is the current president of the United States,“ NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen wrote over the weekend. „On everything that involves the coronavirus Donald Trump’s public statements have been unreliable.“ […] Trump illustrated the depth of the problem Sunday, when he was asked if he had thought about contacting previous presidents to get their help and advice on managing the coronavirus threat. No, the president said. „I don’t think I’m going to learn much.“ That’s the problem of course. We have the worst possible president for this crisis. He is making it worse, not better. So it couldn’t be more clear: Winning the „war“ on coronavirus will happen despite Trump, not because of him. (Joel Mathis, The Week)

17) Democrats need to play coronavirus hardball

There is a very dangerous line of thinking that is common in Democratic circles in times of emergency. It goes something like this: In times of crisis, it is important for Democrats to behave responsibly and not exploit the situation for political gain. Therefore, they should negotiate with Republicans to get something rather than hold out for unrealistic, utopian demands and risk disaster. The problem here is that so-called „utopian demands“ are really just the bare minimum of what is necessary to actually address the crisis, and letting Republicans get their way will lead to a disaster that is only somewhat less bad than what would happen if we do nothing. Moreover, Democrats have all the political leverage in this situation, because Trump will take most of the blame if the economy collapses. The only way to actually rescue the whole American population is to exploit that political leverage. […] The sensible, pragmatic, responsible thing to do in 1932 and in 2008 was to tell Republicans to either do as they were told or go pound sand, and the same is true today. Democrats should propose a solution that is both fair and big enough to address the crisis, and tell Republicans to take it or leave it. As the crisis gets worse and worse, and the bodies start piling up, Republicans almost certainly will fold — indeed, at least one Republican senator has already argued the Republican plan should be more fair. Among other things, Democrats should demand much larger checks to individuals that will go out automatically in future crises, an even bigger upgrade to unemployment insurance funded by the federal government, budget backstops for state and local governments who are getting slammed, wartime-style mass state purchasing of medical equipment, and requirements that any company that gets rescued keeps its staff on payroll. But to make that demand, House Democrats will actually have to write a bill doing so. Gutless centrists will no doubt characterize this as „taking the American people hostage.“ In reality, it is Republicans who are taking the people hostage to try to get through a giant bailout for the rich. Democrats, should they choose to play the same kind of hardball, would be trying to save the American people in the only way it can be done — through politics. (Ryan Cooper, The Week)

18) Confessions of a coronavirus skeptic

But as with all virtues, the effort to achieve Olympian detachment becomes its own vice when taken too far. In this case, the vice is a kind of world-weary knowingness that takes pleasure in and enjoys a sense of superiority by looking down on the fears and suffering of others. This is the allure of what certain ancient skeptics called “ataraxia,” the contentment that follows from suspending one’s opinions between competing options for belief and action. If I’m honest, I evaluated the COVID-19 threat during most of February in something like a pundit’s version of this unflappable and untouchable state of mind. It didn’t last. My outlook was changed quite rapidly by the steady accumulation of evidence on the other side of the ledger: the virus quickly spread far beyond China, showing it was highly contagious; it began killing large numbers of people in Italy; and sick people there soon began overwhelming hospitals, forcing doctors to make horrible choices about rationing care. These three developments and the possibility of them being replicated in the United States in a matter of weeks pointed to the need for a drastic reevaluation of the situation. The abandonment of my skepticism about the threat posed by the virus has left me greatly worried and plagued by darker doubts. Was it really necessary to put the American — and increasingly the world — economy through the trauma and destabilization of a sudden stop? Maybe that’s what’s required to defeat the virus, protect lives, and avoid suffering on an Italian (or worse) scale around the world. The problem is we don’t really know how much economic carnage is likely to follow from our actions — or how bad the political consequences of that carnage might be. If the world is plunged into its first depression in 90 years, we may come to question the wisdom of what we have done over the past two weeks. But for the moment, we just don’t know. Uncertainty — skepticism’s discontented twin — can be very hard to live with. But it’s something we’re all going to have to get used to. In our present dire circumstances, we simply have no other choice. (Damon Linker, The Week)

19) How the Covid-19 recession could become a depression

As Jason Furman, who served as deputy director of the National Economic Council during the financial crisis, put it to me, this isn’t a financial crisis, where if you can stop the panic, you can unfreeze the economy. “Here, there’s a deadly germ out there and you don’t want to go near it for your sake and your community’s sake. There’s only one equilibrium: It’s economic inactivity until the danger passes.” “We’re about to see dizzying decline in economic activity,” says Zandi, the Moody’s economist. “There’s no analogue to it in the modern era.” It’s a shocking statement, coming barely a decade after a global financial crisis that was, supposedly, our generation’s great economic flood. But Zandi thinks what’s coming now may prove much worse. There will be at least four waves of economic pain, he told me, each building on the last. Wave one is “the sudden stop,” the unexpected cessation of economic activity all across the country. A month ago, people were going to work, eating in restaurants, paying child care workers, buying flights, planning car purchases, looking at new homes, growing workforces, holding conferences. Now, vast swaths of the country are sheltering in place, and much of the economy has simply … stopped. On Friday, Goldman Sachs projected gross domestic product (or GDP, a measure of the size of the economy) would fall at a 24 percent rate in the second quarter of the year. If you’re used to looking at GDP numbers, I don’t know how to convey how startling that forecast is. “A decline of this magnitude would be nearly two-and-a-half times the size of the largest quarterly decline in the history of the modern GDP statistics,” they write. When the economy stops, and GDP plummets, workers lose their jobs. That, Zandi said, is wave two, and “it’s coming very quickly.” It may already be here. Initial data suggests we’re seeing a spike in unemployment claims so massive it makes the worst week of the Great Recession essentially disappear on a chart. (Ezra Klein,

20) Lehrer-Arbeitszeit: Über gerechtere Belastung und Entlastung

Lehrer wie M. leiden nicht zuletzt darunter, dass sie ihr Arbeitspensum kaum bewältigen können – sie leiden unter chronischem Zeitmangel. Dass Lehrer*innen viel Freizeit haben, wurde durch wissenschaftliche Studien mehrfach widerlegt: Arbeitszeiten von mehr als 50 Stunden sind bei vielen Lehrer*innen die Regel. Viele Lehrer*innen arbeiten deutlich mehr als andere Arbeitnehmer, um ihr Pensum bewältigen zu könnenNicht zuletzt deshalb machen derzeit Lehrer-Gewerkschaften wie die GEW und der Philologenverband gegen die Überlastung mobil. Ein Grundproblem ist die unklare Bemessung der Arbeitszeit. Die Arbeitszeit von Lehrer*innen wird nicht in Arbeitsstunden, sondern in Unterrichtsstunden angegeben. Wie viele Stunden die Pädagog*innen pro Stunde bei einer vollen Stelle geben müssen, unterscheidet sich abhängig von der Schulform und vom Bundesland. […] Der Versuch alle Aufgaben mit hoher Qualität zu erledigen, führt fast zwangsläufig in den Burn-Out. Daher reduzieren viele Lehrkräfte freiweillig ihre Stundenzahl. Sie verzichten auf Geld, um bei guter Gesundheit und zufrieden mit dem eigenen Schaffen ihr Soll zu erfüllen. In Zeiten von Lehrermangel denken Politiker daher schon darüber nach, die Teilzeit-Optionen von Lehrer*innen zu beschneiden. Sinnvoller wäre eine allgemeine Absenkung der Pflichtstunden: Tatsächlich ist das Stundendeputat im internationalen Vergleich hoch. In China etwa beträgt es nur zwischen 11 und 16 Stunden. Der Pisa-Papst Andreas Schleicher empfiehlt zum Beispiel ausdrücklich, die Pflichtstundenzahl zu senken, um die Unterrichtsqualität zu erhöhen. (Dominik Schöneberg, Bildungslücken)

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • derwaechter 26. März 2020, 22:14

    Bei “I’d vote for a woman, just not that woman,” musste ich an mich selbst als Wähler im Jahre 2005 denken. Müsste ich im Nachhinein ein schlechtes Gewissen haben, weil ich nicht für Merkel gestimmt habe?

  • sol1 27. März 2020, 01:17

    16) Schon vor zwei Wochen habe ich das hier gelesen:

    Trump wird wohl am Ende der Krise mehr Christen auf dem Gewissen haben als alle römischen Kaiser zusammen.

    • Stefan Sasse 27. März 2020, 09:08

      Anders als die werden sie ihn aber dafür lieben.

      • TBeermann 27. März 2020, 09:49

        Abwarten. Ich halte es im Gegensatz zu seinen Lügen und moralischen Verfehlungen durchaus für möglich, dass ihm Covid-19 tatsächlich schaden könnte.

        Bisher hat es ihn gerettet, dass das Leben der meisten Menschen in den USA im Großen und Ganzen so weiter lief, wie vorher. Die Wirtschaft war stabil (war sie unter Obama auch schon, aber es ging zumindest nicht bergab) und wer keiner Minderheit angehörte, für den war alles, wie gewohnt.

        Das ist jetzt anders. Und genau so, wie er vorher von einer wirtschaftlichen Lage profitiert hat, zu der er wenig bis nichts beigetragen hat, könnte er jetzt über eine Rezession stolpern, für die er nichts kann und die andere Regierungen vermutlich unter den Voraussetzungen des US-Gesundheits- und Sozialsystems auch nur graduell besser bewältigt hätten.

        • Stefan Sasse 27. März 2020, 13:56

          Dein Wort in Gottes Ohr.

        • Erwin Gabriel 27. März 2020, 14:41

          @ TBeermann 27. März 2020, 09:49

          Abwarten. Ich halte es im Gegensatz zu seinen Lügen und moralischen Verfehlungen durchaus für möglich, dass ihm Covid-19 tatsächlich schaden könnte.

          Ich auch.

          Corona breitet sich exponentiell aus. Die USA wird ein Desater erleben, und ab einer gewissen Größenordnung wird er sich nicht mehr herausreden können. Dagegen stehen die Demokraten mit ihrem Gesundheitssystem.

          • Stefan Sasse 27. März 2020, 17:03

            Die Frage ist halt, ob die Realität des Desasters durch die Propaganda stößt.

            • Erwin Gabriel 28. März 2020, 17:54

              @ Stefan Sasse 27. März 2020, 17:03

              Die Frage ist halt, ob die Realität des Desasters durch die Propaganda stößt.

              Wenn Amerikaner sterben? Da kannst Du drauf wetten …

              • Stefan Sasse 28. März 2020, 18:26

                Ich kann mir gut vorstellen, dass sie es schlicht leugnen. Ich meine, du hast 1991 auch genügend Kommunisten gefunden, die der Überzeugung waren, dass alles prima läuft.

  • derwaechter 27. März 2020, 23:24

    Ich schaue regelmässig bei Fox und Breitbart vorbei. Die Antwort lautet bisher: natürlich nicht!

    • TBeermann 28. März 2020, 09:31

      Die USA stehen aber auch wieder in der Entwicklung mehrere Tage vor uns. Der richtige Anstieg wird auch da erst kommen (mit offiziell jetzt über 100.000 Fällen haben sie die weltweite Führung schon mal übernommen). Im Moment liegen sie bei einer Verdopplung etwa alle drei Tage und in den Epizentren an den Küsten stoßen die Krankenhäuser jetzt schon an ihre Grenzen.

      Das werden selbst Fox und Co nicht mehr lange ignorieren können.

      • derwaechter 28. März 2020, 13:12

        Doch. Machen sie sonst ja auch. Nicht das Problem an sich, sondern die Verantwortung der Regierung Trump und der Republikaner generell.

      • Stefan Sasse 28. März 2020, 13:29

        Hoffen wir es. Die maroden Strukturen des rural America sind außerdem auch noch gar nicht betroffen, das ist noch so ein Desaster, das nur auf sein Eintreten wartet.

  • Erwin Gabriel 28. März 2020, 17:59

    @ TBeermann 28. März 2020, 09:31

    Das werden selbst Fox und Co nicht mehr lange ignorieren können.

    Zustimmung. Selbst wenn viele in der gebotenen Qualität behandelt werden könnten (was ich nicht glaubre – in den USA sieht es bestimmt nicht besser als in Italien oder UK aus), wären sie anschließend pleite.

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