Denial is Proportional to the Unpleasantness of the Reality

screaming girl with tightly shut eyes

More evidence that intelligence and education do not reduce reality denial, and that the strength of denial is proportional to the unpleasantness of the reality, as Varki’s Mind Over Reality Transition theory predicts.

Two hundred scientists were recently surveyed on their perceptions of global risks.

Top risks by likelihood:
1. Extreme weather
2. Biodiversity loss
3. Water crises
4. Climate change
5. Urban planning
6. Man-made disasters
7. Involuntary migration
8. Food crises
9. Asset bubbles
10. Illicit trade

Top risks by impact:
1. Extreme weather
2. Climate change
3. Water crises
4. Biodiversity loss
5. Food crises
6. Man-made disasters
7. Urban planning
8. Natural disasters
9. Involuntary migration
10. Interstate conflict

Notice that depletion of affordable fossil energy does not make their list.

Notice also that fossil energy scarcity will worsen every single one of the risks they are worried about, except maybe climate change, and a good argument can be made that oil scarcity will in fact worsen climate change because we will probably burn anything and everything to survive.

Notice also that all actions (except rapid population reduction) to mitigate any of the risks the scientists are worried about requires surplus wealth that only abundant affordable fossil energy can generate.

Notice also that depletion of affordable fossil energy is a problem today for every country in the world, not a vague future risk, nor a risk for future generations, nor a risk that effects only a subset of less fortunate countries. Affordable fossil energy depletion is at the core of global social unrest caused by growing wealth inequality and falling standards of living, unsustainable runaway government debt that threatens monetary stability, and a dangerous asset bubble that threatens a collapse rather than a decline.

Notice also that fossil energy depletion (and climate change) is the only risk that we can’t do anything about, except make do with less, and rapidly reduce our population.

Notice also that most scientists believe we can keep our lifestyles and reduce the threat of their top risk, climate change, by switching from fossil energy to renewable energy, which is a thermodynamic impossibility.

Notice also that fossil energy depletion is the only risk that has 100% certainty.

The only reality more certain and more unpleasant than fossil energy depletion is our mortality, which I’ve previously discussed.

That’s why fossil energy depletion is not on the risk list of our best and brightest.

The strength and ubiquity of human reality denial is amazing!

h/t Alex Smith @ Radio Ecoshock

P.S.  This talk by engineer Jean-Marc Jancovici, which I posted a couple years ago here, is one of the best explanations of why everything I said above about the depletion of affordable fossil energy is true. In 90 minutes Jancovici demolishes pretty much everything the idiot professions of economics and central banking believe.

38 thoughts on “Denial is Proportional to the Unpleasantness of the Reality”

  1. I’m surprised, and disappointed, that human population growth is completely overlooked – yet one could argue that it is a fundamental contributor to ALL those other problems listed (apart from natural disasters). I’m not sure denial is the explanation (hell, most of us are aware of the problems we face, and we sure talk about them with each other, to the point of clinical depression), but would suggest that it’s simply an overwhelming feeling of futility and impotence to do much about any of this, given the insuperable forces driving most of those problems.


    1. You are right that over population should be on their list because it contributes to and/or causes every problem, but given they’re assuming there’s no near term energy problem, then it’s reasonable to assume we have the wealth to address problems and to feed the current population, at least until climate change and/or soil & aquifer depletion reduces crop yields, but that’s likely a problem for their children, not themselves.

      I think the explanation for ignoring the most important and intractable problems is reality denial. They’re willing to talk about, for example, the food crisis, because the “experts” think all we have to do to solve the problem is reduce food waste. Ditto climate change with EVs and solar panels, biodiversity loss by voting for the left, asset bubbles by printing more money, etc.

      A problem with a solution that does not require me to sacrifice anything does not require denial, unless the solution won’t work.


      1. And yet, we are witnessing an acute, transient problem that’s the polar opposite of denial: over-reaction, with mass anxiety. I refer to the current COVID-9 pandemic, which in older times (like >10 years ago) would simply have been referred to as a “bad cold going round”, but now that we have whizz-bang genetic technology that can identify, and even name impressively, the causal agents (coronaviruses have been long known as being among the many viral agents of human upper respiratory tract infections), the world goes into melt-down. Surely, this is not going to happen each time a new URTI-virus pops up? At least it stops people flying! But this current phenomenon somehow goes against the hypothesis of denialism. Certainly, politicians are exploiting it for what it’s worth, showing the world just how “pro-active” they can be, especially in China (where they were badly bruised over the handling of the SARS outbreak), but now spreading to everywhere else. Maybe such transient problems are a convenient diversion from the more chronic, intractable ones we all face?


        1. LOL. One man’s reality is another man’s denial. 🙂

          I’ve been assuming the virus is worse than the authorities have been telling us based on the fact filled daily analysis of Dr. John Campbell, and by what governments are actually doing, rather than what they are saying. I also think the Chinese government and the World Health Organization screwed up badly by denying the outbreak for over a month. I think heads have already rolled in China. Similar decapitations should be applied to the WHO.

          Hopefully you are right and I am wrong. We should know who is right in a month or so because it appears the virus can be spread by people without any symptoms for 7-14 days.


        2. Paul, based upon my extensive reading on COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 during the past several months I would say that the world reaction to this disease/virus involves massive denial, particularly from those in political power positions. I would also say that this virus is much worse than you believe it to be. However, I hope you are right and we will likely soon find out.


  2. Need a break from bad news? Here are a few minutes of happiness by my favorite band performing a medley of some of the best songs ever written. I remember being the first boy at the grade 5 sock hop to walk across the empty gym floor to the opposite wall and ask a girl to dance. The just released song was Come Together by the Beatles.


  3. Perfect timing by one of my favorite thinkers, Tim Morgan. His essay today elaborates on my lament that the most important problem we face is the only problem we never discuss. He hopes that a crisis might force us to confront the reality of our fossil energy predicament. I’m betting we deny it all the way to the bottom.

    Where the purely biological prognosis for the Wuhan coronavirus is concerned, there’s at least a ton of speculation for every pinch of fact, and there would be no merit at all in adding to that speculation here. One of the few things that can be said about this with any confidence at all is that somehow, sometime, the epidemic will end.

    The expectation then will be that, in the purely economic and financial spheres, what the economic and financial consensus likes to call “normality” will be restored.

    As people and businesses go back to work, as the flow of goods and services resumes, and as ravaged supply lines are repaired, the economy will be expected to stage a full recovery. People wary of travelling will, we’ll be told, start boarding aircraft again, and even the cruise liner industry might start to shrug off the tag of “floating petri-dishes”.

    Capital markets, too, will be expected to bounce back, even if takes a long time to restore them to their full pomp, hubris and folly. Investors will be expected to go back to wasting their money propping up “cash-burners” again, and queuing up to get a piece of the latest moonbeam IPO.

    But the reality, from a surplus energy perspective, is that this definition of “normality” is highly unlikely to be restored. In economic terms, the relentless rise in the energy cost of energy (ECoE) had already started making people poorer, long before the name ‘Wuhan’ had any connotation beyond the geographical.

    It cannot be stressed too strongly that global trade in goods had already turned down, as had sales of everything from cars and smartphones to chips and components. Financial stresses had already become severe, and investors had already started to view cash-burning and over-hyped sectors with new caution.

    Nasty though it is in purely human terms, and real though its economically disruptive effects undoubtedly are, the coronavirus didn’t strike out of cloudless economic skies.

    Rather, it’s been a bolt from the grey.

    It’s too soon to say whether the epidemic will act as a catalyst for a full-blown financial crash but, if it does, the authorities will have tough decisions to make, and we can only hope that the disastrous mistakes made during the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) will not be repeated.

    In the sound and fury of that crisis, the imbecility of ‘monetary adventurism’ was piled on top of the prior folly of ‘credit adventurism’. The blithe assumption was made that, left to its own devices – and, of course, bailed out by taxpayers from the consequences of its previous failures – ‘de-regulated’ finance could get back to driving economic progress.

    Back in 2008, the ‘global’ crisis was presented as something that somehow had happened out of the blue, without human agency, and that ‘nobody could have known’ that a credit-driven bubble was going to end in a bust. The reality, though, was that we’d been using $2 of new debt to buy each $1 of highly dubious “growth”.

    Since then, and whilst reported “growth” has become even more cosmetic and insubstantial, the debt cost of each dollar of it has risen to over $3. Along the way, the worsening imbalance between asset prices, on the one hand, and all forms of income, on the other, has inflicted enormous damage. This imbalance has blown huge holes in pension and other saving provision, has prevented the proper functioning of markets in pricing risk, has stripped the economy of “creative destruction” and has saddled us with far too much of the speculative and the outright exploitative.

    Siren voices to the contrary, spending borrowed money has never been a cure-all for a process of “secular stagnation” driven by a structural deterioration in an economy in which the prior spurt in prosperity delivered by fossil fuels was coming to an end, and had started to go into reverse.

    Nobody would envy the choices that are going to imposed on governments and central banks if – or, to be realistic about it, when – the 2008 crisis is repeated, but this time in the much larger and more menacing shape that has always been a virtual inevitability.

    But the analogy that can most usefully be made here might be one which compares 1945 with 1918. After the first “war to end all wars”, the rallying-cry was “business as usual”, but no equivalent delusion could persuade the people of 1945 that there were merits in re-creating the inter-war world, be it the financial the excesses of the 1920s or the mass misery of the Great Depression.

    This time, a similar catharsis might – just might – persuade us to start taking a realistic view of the economy, not as a monetary construct capable of perpetual growth through financial manipulation, but as an energy system whose prior ability to make us more prosperous has gone into reverse.


  4. Rob,

    I went to the site linked in your post:

    Scrolling down they get to some issues not in the primary group. One is overpopulation. But they don’t think we’re there yet. The need to have a look at Their calculations say we’re already using 1.7 Earths. (borrowing from the future) To many in the sustainability biz., they are much too optimistic. My guess is that we are ~500% overpopulated.


    1. I agree we are in deep overshoot. How much depends on the assumed lifestyle. If you assume a modern north american lifestyle, and no fossil energy, then I suspect the earth can sustain less than 100 million. If you assume a medieval lifestyle then the earth might sustain 1 billion. These numbers of course could be much lower if we do more damage to the biodiversity, soil, forests, watersheds, fisheries, etc. before getting our population in balance.


  5. In your 2016 article “Overpopulation Denial” you wrote: “Therefore, any progress towards solving the problems caused by human overshoot must come from a reduction in human population.”

    In a 2018 article, “Is population growth a problem” Tim Garrett explained (in terms and equations I don’t understand) why population growth is not a problem. (See excerpt below). I would be grateful if you could explain why Garrett is wrong.

    “In fact, each of the ingredients of the Kaya and IPAT identities can be better seen as symptoms not causes. One perspective is that, broadly put, civilization is a heat engine. What this means is that all of the internal circulations defining what we do in civilization are driven by a consumption of energy, mostly fossil, and a dissipation of waste heat, including carbon dioxide as a by-product. From this perspective, only about 1/20th of the total caloric consumption by civilization as a whole is due to the caloric consumption of people themselves. The remainder is used to support the appetites of everything else, like the energy required for industry, transportation, and communications. Globally averaged, people have each about 20 energy slaves working around the clock to help them accomplish all of civilization’s tasks.

    People themselves are a relatively small proportion of the world’s total resource consumption. Imagine someone visiting Earth for the first time, knowing nothing ahead of time about the planet or its inhabitants. The visitor would witness all the marvelous phenomena of the earth, atmosphere and oceans. Maybe they would even have a special sensor they use to detect massive plumes of heat, particulates, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from all over the planet, some from small stationary sources and others moving quickly across the oceans and land. Almost all would come from objects made of steel. The visitor would probably fail to perceive people and conclude they are insignificant relative to civilization’s machinery.

    You as a staunchly proud human might tell the visitor that they are missing important context. It’s people who are running the machines not the other way round, and that the measured environmental impacts are proportional to population.”


    1. Here are the two essays you mention:

      Garrett often makes important assumptions without stating what they are. You have to tease them out. Here is what I think he is saying.

      1) Garret says that increasing the energy efficiency of the economy will increase economic growth. This is a version of Jevon’s paradox. Garrett is correct with the important but unstated assumption that no policies are put in place to prevent the savings achieved from efficiency from being spent. Garrett is not correct if you assume, for example, that the government creates a carbon tax to encourage efficiency, and then uses the tax receipts to pay down public debt, and reduces the debt ceiling so it cannot be re-borrowed. Or more simply, burns the cash received from taxes. If the collected carbon taxes are spent on public programs then Garrett is correct and efficiency will increase growth.

      2) Garrett says that economic growth leads to population growth. This is another way of saying that the population of a species will grow to consume whatever resources are available. The unstated assumption here is that no policies are put in place to override our genetic behavior. Garrett is incorrect if you assume a one-child policy, or much better given we’ve waited too long to act, a birth lottery to drive down population quickly.

      3) Garrett says that you cannot contract the economy without collapsing it. The unstated assumption here is that you permit debt to grow faster than the real economy, to provide the illusion of normal growth, as we have for the last 20 years. A wise government would have constrained debt as we bumped up against physical limits to growth. Now we probably face a painful correction, rather than a gradual decline.


    2. It’s quite simple, FJ. No people, no related problems to the rest of the planet. Few people, few problems.

      “It’s our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we’ve inflicted on the planet. If there were just a few of us, then the nasty things we do wouldn’t really matter and Mother Nature would take care of it, but there are so many of us” – PIC Patron, Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE (Founder, Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace)


  6. Inquiring minds want to know, what will governments do next if:
    – buying the dip is no longer profitable
    – interest rate cuts no longer inflate assets

    Given that they do not understand the problem, many choices that will worsen our situation are probable.

    Or will they use the virus as cover from blame and allow the bubbles to deflate?


    1. Tim Morgan weighs in with the short term options…

      In the very short term, though, this is like watching a horse race, with a very definite interest in the result.

      The ‘runners and riders’:

      1. Best outcome – the Fed and other CBs realise that you can’t fix a virus with QE and rate cuts, and do nothing.

      2. Worse outcome – the CBs try to act, and fail. This would destroy any belief in CB ominpotence, and crash the markets

      3. Worst outcome – CBs act, and succeed. Then we get a few more months of madness, enough to ensure that the subsequent crash has maximum knock-on consequences.


      1. And Tim Morgan follows up with an excellent more detailed essay…

        Analysis undertaken using the Surplus Energy Economics Data System (SEEDS) indicates that, where the advanced economies of the West are concerned, prior growth in prosperity goes into reverse when ECoEs reach levels between 3.5% and 5.0%. Less complex emerging market (EM) economies are more ECoE-tolerant, and don’t encounter deteriorating prosperity until ECoEs are between 8% and 10%.

        With these parameters understood, we’re in a position to interpret the true nature of the global economic predicament. The inflexion band of ECoEs for the West was reached between 1997 (when world trend ECoE reached 3.5%) and 2005 (5.0%). For EM countries, the lower bound of this inflexion range was reached in 2018 (7.9%), and it’s set to reach its upper limit of 10% in 2026-27, though prosperity in most EM countries is already at (or very close to) the point of reversal.

        Desirable though their greater use undoubtedly is, renewable energy (RE) alternatives offer no ‘fix’ for the ECoE trap, since the best we can expect from them is likely to be ECoEs no lower than 10%. That’s better than where fossil fuels are heading, of course, but it remains far too high to reverse the trend towards “de-growth”. In part, the limited scope for ECoE reduction reflects the essentially derivative nature of RE technologies, whose potential ECoEs are linked to those of fossil fuels by the role of the latter in supplying the resources required for the development of the former.


      2. It is all but certain that the Fed will cut short term rates. Some CBs have had a change of heart about negative rates. The $US could slide if they cut the most.


          1. I doubt cutting rates will work for more than a few days. Supply disruptions won’t be affected, and the velocity of money is unlikely to increase. People are uneasy, and will likely cut back borrowings.


  7. I re-listened today to Alex Smith @ Radio Ecoshock’s recent interview with Nate Hagens.

    Here are some important numbers from Nate that every citizen should memorize:
    – 8 billion people use 100 billion barrels of oil (equivalent) every year
    – 1 barrel of oil does 5 person years of physical labor

    – fossil energy provides 500 billion human (equivalent) slaves to help us
    – each person has on average 60 slaves

    That’s why the poorest Canadian lives better than the richest Pharaoh.

    And why 500 billion (equivalent) reality denying fire apes are crowding out other (non-domesticated) species.


  8. Although Mac10 does not appear to understand the thermodynamics that underpin the problems he rants about, he does know how to turn a phrase about denial within our “free markets”.

    The Reign Of Denial Is Crashing In Denial

    One year ago, the Fed was “pivoting” from tightening to easing, the U.S. yield curve was inverting and the U.S. data was pointing to recession. Many pundits, myself included, said that recession was imminent. CFO confidence was at a decade low. In response, the Fed cut rates three times and the Trump administration “borrowed” a ludicrous 5% of GDP to give the illusion of expansion, which sucked so much liquidity out of bond markets that the Fed was forced to print money at a 5% annualized rate. The largest combined pro-cyclical stimulus in U.S. history without any comparison. Which of course created the largest super bubble in U.S. history.

    In other words, the U.S. is in a recession now, merely covered over with record borrowing, record printed money, and record speculation which exploded this past week.

    Worse yet, global central banks ALREADY front-loaded stimulus ahead of the true recession. Which means they have NO dry powder left for an economic downturn. Contrary to popular belief, artificially bidding up stocks does not benefit the economy.

    Central banks have lost control over the economy. Now, they only have control over mass delusion. And very soon they are going to lose that control as well.


  9. Tim Watkins today on the implications of exponential population growth, exponential net energy decline, and exponential virus replication.

    And our tragic denial of all of them.

    P.S. The Vancouver airport is still open for business. We have idiots in charge.

    In order to grow the population from 1 billion in 1800 to more than 7.5bn in 2020, we had to burn the copious volumes of fossil fuels required by the industrialised agriculture to feed us. Facilitating this required central and private banks to spirit additional paper (and electronic) currency into existence at a rate that approximated to the rate at which our consumption grew. The negative consequence – beyond the periodic need, as happened after 1929 and 2008, to realign the funny money that has been printed with the real state of our finite world – is that the amount of pollution we have dumped into the biosphere has also grown exponentially.

    Anyone who talks about growth of any kind at this stage is effectively calling for mass slaughter on a scale not seen since that asteroid took out the dinosaurs. Indeed, even remaining where we are may no longer be possible because our accessible supplies of fossil fuels and a host of mineral resources are now so depleted that we have to use more and more energy and resources every year just to obtain them. This is the “net energy cliff” in which the non-energy sectors of the economy have to shrink in order to maintain the output of the energy sector


    The problem – given our inability to process time – is that the actions we need to take to mitigate today’s situation had to be taken at least a week ago if they were going to have an effect. That is, if the aim was to prevent the virus from spreading we needed to go into the kind of lockdown that Italy and China have imposed at the same time those lockdowns began. Since we failed to do that – for example, placing no travel/quarantine restrictions on people travelling from the affected regions of China prior to the Chinese government banning travel after 23 January – we need to respond today to the large rise in cases that we can expect to see in about a week’s time.

    To be clear here, if your government is telling you that they are trying to “contain” the virus, they are – whether knowingly or unthinkingly – lying.


    1. Thanks. It’s very late, maybe too late, to do anything about climate change. I favor the simplest and most effective short-term action for reducing carbon emissions: increase the interest rate. One man at a keyboard can implement it tomorrow. This should be coupled with the only effective long-term action which is a birth lottery to drive down population quickly. If it turns out that we’ve already emitted too much carbon to prevent a climate incompatible with 8 billion people, then rapidly reducing the population will improve the prospects and reduce suffering for future generations. A lower population will also help with bio-diversity loss and the depletion of energy and other non-renewable resources.

      Here’s another good talk by Montgomery:


    2. I listened to the interview. Montgomery is clearly a really smart aware guy. Nevertheless when discussing solutions he failed to mention population reduction and the need to shrink the economy. He also seems to be oblivious, or more likely in denial given how smart and well read he is, to affordable fossil energy depletion. His industry (health care) will be one of the first victims of energy depletion.


  10. Tim Morgan explains how a virus contagion could lead to a banking contagion.

    If cash-strapped companies start to fail to any significant extent, the inevitable consequence will be a compounding cascade of defaults.

    This isn’t a problem that can be solved by putting yet more borrowers into the limbo of “zombie-ism” – being allowed to add owed interest to outstanding capital balances doesn’t enable firms to meet their ongoing cash needs.

    The likeliest outcome at this point is that the authorities will recognise and react to the business liquidity crisis, but won’t be able to do so in ways that are sufficiently comprehensive, and which meet the urgency of the situation.

    This, I suspect, is when a lot of recent history starts to be regretted. The scale of stock buy-backs in the United States, for example, has effectively replaced large amounts of shock-absorbing equity capital with inflexible debt. China has spent ten years almost quadrupling its debt in order to slightly more than double its GDP. Globally, monetary policies adopted during the GFC, and then kept in place for far too long, have paid people (and businesses) to borrow. Cheap liquidity has created huge areas of exposure, with stock markets just one example amongst many.

    Anyone who thought that over-inflated asset prices were the only hostages handed to fortune by credit and monetary adventurism could now be drawn face to face with an uncomfortable reality.


  11. Mac10 with a nice rant today.

    Inquiring minds want to know, what will frightened leaders in denial do next?

    Today, the Fed squandered .5% of their 1.5% dry powder merely to appease Trump. At first, the G7 meeting release said that no specific stimulus was approved at their 7am emergency meeting. However, immediately Trump got on Twitter and castigated the Fed for not lowering rates. The next thing you know, the S&P went vertical.

    Basically, Trump got on the phone after the G7 meeting, called up Powell and said lower rates .5% or “you’re fired”.

    The rally was so short that if you went to the bathroom you missed it. The new “Shanghai Accord” rally had a shelf life less than :15 minutes. As soon as the market spiked, it got sold instantly in massive size. The day’s range was 160 S&P points, which is roughly 1500 Dow points.

    What we witnessed today was the total loss of faith, confidence and trust in central banks. Which was squandered to appease a narcissistic madman in existential fear of not getting re-elected. The greatest abuse of economic policy in U.S. history.

    What comes next will not be pretty. For ten years straight, markets have been well-conditioned to wait for central bank bailouts. Today, they got the BIGGEST bailout since the darkest days of 2008 and it imploded spectacularly.


  12. David Korowicz, a leading expert on systemic risk, discusses the virus and the range of possible outcomes. Fortunately Korowicz thinks the worst case outcome has a low probability.

    In China the circulation of people, goods and services has slowed and fragmented. An already weakening economy is now experiencing a major shock through the networks that sustain human welfare and societal functioning. Energy consumption is the most fundamental measure of economic activity and socio-economic complexity. Carbon Brief has estimated that energy use was 25% below expectations in the two weeks following the end of the New Year holiday equivalent to the energy drop that occurred between 2012 and 2018 as Venezuela’s economy and society underwent its profound crisis.

    Slower global growth and an increase in the likelihood of a financial crisis can be expected. If process contagion begins to accelerate significantly, there are limits on how much governments and central banks can do to respond. Injecting stimulus can address a demand shock, but it would have limited supply-side effectiveness. Assuming a deeper shock (equivalent to the 2% GDP contraction during the Global Financial Crisis) followed by stabilization, society and economies will be left less resilient as it faces the increasingly turbulent years ahead.

    At the furthest extreme there is runaway process contagion. In such a case supply-chain contagion (broadly defined, including impacting critical infrastructure services, for example) would begin to severely undermine global socio-economic integration and coherence. As it disintegrated and the forward-looking outlook became more uncertain, the failing financial system (credit, bank solvency, monetary stability and visibility, counter-party risk) would disrupt further supply-chains inducing a re-enforcing (positive feedback) supply-chain financial-system cross-contagion[iv]. No central bank can maintain a credit-monetary system if it’s core collateral, the expectation of economic production is opaque and collapsing in real-time. Beyond a tipping point, this could accelerate rapidly. It would effectively shut-down the flow of goods and services. Were this to happen, it would be a global catastrophe of unprecedented scale and duration.

    This latter outcome is very unlikely.


  13. Debt based fiat money/credit is power to access what is available and that you seek to obtain…IF the seller wants the tokens or credits you offer. Flooding the world with $US eventually drives its value down. The king of the hill is not a permanent position. Recall a century ago the British Pound was king, and was worth around 5$US . It is around 1.29 today. Not a Banana Republic yet…


  14. Q: Will human population grow in 2020?
    A: Not if more than 30% of the population gets infected.


    1. But what you haven’t considered is that many/most of those who die are the elderly and chronically sick, who are close to death anyway, and perhaps would have succumbed soon to another viral infection. What’s more, that 3.4% is derived only from the total tested; if you accept (as I do) that most folk infected with COVID-19 don’t even get sick enough to see a doctor, let alone have diagnostic testing done (how many of us get tested for a common cold?), then the real gross mortality rate is far lower. This virus is no more dangerous to human health than most other agents of common colds. Its notoriety is being driven by media sensationalism, official over-reaction and obsessive monitoring and control regimens (all that specious spraying of public places by space-suited technicians is absolutely ineffective, done purely for public show, and who knows what its environmental consequences might be?). COVID-19 will have no significant affect on human population growth.


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