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Immanuel Kant on money and more

Today is Wednesday and we mourn the death of Charlie Watts. But while we are doing that, here are some snippets on C18th philosophy and Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), the ideological poverty of German politics, vaccines, and then some Charlie.

Immanuel Kant on Money

A reader (thanks Justin) sent me an interesting tract that he had come across in his own reading.

The discussion below is from the 1797 book – The Metaphysics of Morals – written by the German philosopher – Immanual Kant.

For some unknown (now) reason, I skipped that work after I had read the 1785 work – Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals – during my days of catching up learning about the great moral philosophers.

The full text is available – HERE.

My source wrote:

As to page numbers, the standardized page numbers from the standard German edition of Kant’s work, Kant’s Gesammelte Schriften, are by volume and page. The standardized page number for the above passage is 6:288. The translation I quoted is from the Practical Philosophy volume of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. The page numbers for the Cambridge Edition are pp. 435-436. In this section of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant also refers and quotes Smith’s labor theory of value. The Metaphysics of Morals was published in 1797.

The German Text, paragraphs 14-27 (Source)

Wie ist es aber möglich, daß das, was anfänglich Waare war, endlich Geld ward? Wenn ein großer und machthabender Verthuer einer Materie, die er anfangs bloß zum Schmuck und Glanz seiner Diener (des Hofes) brauchte (z. B. Gold, Silber, Kupfer, oder eine Art schöner Muschelschalen, Kauris, oder auch wie in Kongo eine Art Matten, Makuten genannt, oder wie am Senegal Eisenstangen und auf der Guineaküste selbst Negersklaven), d. i. wenn ein Landesherr die Abgaben von seinen Unterthanen in dieser Materie (als Waare) einfordert und die, deren Fleiß in Anschaffung derselben dadurch bewegt werden soll, mit eben denselben nach Verordnungen des Verkehrs unter und mit ihnen überhaupt (auf einem Markt oder einer Börse) wieder lohnt. – Dadurch allein hat (meinem Bedünken nach) eine Waare ein gesetzliches Mittel des Verkehrs des Fleißes der Unterthanen unter einander und hiemit auch des Staatsreichthums, d.i. Geld, werden können.

And the translated English text is:

But how is it possible that what were at first only goods finally became money? This would happen if a powerful, opulent ruler who at first used a material for the adornment and splendor of his attendants (his court) came to levy taxes on his subjects in this material (as goods) (e.g., gold, silver, copper, or a kind of beautiful seashell, cowries; or as in the Congo a kind of matting called makutes, in Senegal iron ingots, or on the Cost of Guinea even black slaves), and in turn paid with this same material those his demand moved to industry in procuring it, in accordance with exchange regulations with them and among them (on a market or exchange). – In this way only (so it seems to me) could a certain merchandise have become a lawful means of exchange of the industry of subjects with one another, and thereby also become the wealth of the nation, that is, money.

MMT stands on the shoulders of giants.

Immanuel Kant was certainly that.

And while we are running a ‘German’ theme

The latest electoral polls are showing that the September 26, 2021, German Parliamentary elections are getting very close, with the SPD at 22 per cent (and shooting up) and CDU/CSU at 23 per cent (and diving) (Source).

The Poll of Polls shows that the ruling CDU/CSU has come off a steady support base of around 36 per cent to drop to its new low since February 2021.

Conversely, the SPD has surged from a relative stable base of 15-17 per cent to its new high since late July 2021.

The current reports covering the upcoming German election in September are suggesting that the awful SPD leader Olaf Sholz could become Chancellor.

I suspect the CDU/CSU will still win though.

Which means there will not be much change if this Tweet from the CDU, put out this Tweet last week (August 21, 2021), is anything to go by.

So “Oldie but Goldie” is what?

Translated it says:

Yes, we confess, we have a little fetish: Solid finances without new debts! That is intergenerational justice in practice! And it is the best prerequisite for investing in the future. We are concerned with both. And our budget shows: Both are possible!

Die Schwarze Null for all those who thought the fiscal debate in Europe had transcended the moronic Stability and Growth Pact fiscal traps.

Oldie and Mouldy!

Please read:

1. Die schwarze Null continues to haunt Europe (May 21, 2018).

2. Dr Die Schwarze Null still not thinking beyond more austerity (April 19, 2021).

Australian Vaccine situation

This updates my thoughts on the disastrous vaccination roll-out in Australia, which has been created by the incompetence of the federal government (who tried to ‘save’ money and didn’t order enough), the conflicting messaging from our health authorities, and the incompetence of the NSW conservative state government who claimed they were the champions of freedom and didn’t need lockdowns to control the Delta variant.

Today, NSW recorded the record number of cases, deaths are rising and more regions are being impacted.

Meanwhile state borders against NSW are firmly shut (and I am stuck in Melbourne unable to get back to Newcastle easily).

I often compare Australia as a federation to the dysfunctional Eurozone and claim that there is unity in our federation that makes it work.

I am now in the process of changing my view on that given that Australia has almost ceased to exist in this pandemic and by dint of the Constitutional responsibilities the States and Territories are at the forefront of the health situation (they run the hospitals and health legislation mainly), while the Commonwealth (federal government) really had only two responsibilities – external quarantine and vaccine purchases and distribution.

The federal government has severely botched both of its responsibilities which is why we keep getting infections escaping quarantine and there is a severe shortage of vaccines.

But Australia has become a collection of separate states and territories and the ideologies within each boundary has to some extent determined how the pandemic has been handled.

By far the majority are zero Covid states and have mostly achieved that with occasional outbreaks being controlled by short, sharp lockdowns.

Victoria, also desires a zero situation, but due to quarantine failures last year, endured a very nasty second wave, which was controlled, ultimately, by a harsh, 110-day lockdown.

NSW has been lucky until now.

But another quarantine breach triggered a Delta outbreak and the conservative government there decided they didn’t need any significant restrictions.

Wrong.

The outbreak is now escalating and damaging the national economy because the other states have isolated NSW.

Now the mantra from these neoliberal idiots is that we have to vaccination our way out of the problem because they have failed to bring case numbers down.

NSW has been forced to impose restrictions now but they are somewhat lax and mostly concentrated (the harshest) on poorer, low-paid communities.

But we are being berated every day by the politicians to get vaccinated so we can be free when we get to 70 or 80 per cent of adult population, which is only about 55 per cent once you add in the children under 16.

And it is the children that are now getting infected by the Delta variant.

The problem is that without sufficient supply, the federal government decided to define who could get AZ (in greater supply) and who could get Pfizer (hardly any available relatively).

Then the medical authorities that sanction the safety of the vaccines determined that AZ was risky for under 60s and so authorised Pfizer for that group.

But there is not enough to go around.

The federal government then decided that it would lose the next federal election (within the next 8 months or so) if the vaccination rates stayed low and, without consultation, told us all that anyone could take AZ even though the medical authorities had declared it undesirable for certain age groups.

The doctors then rebelled and on June 28, 2021, the Australian government bowed to pressure from the medical professionals and announced it would fully indemnify doctors from any damages claims arising from the vaccine program.

This was in the context of the Government going against the advice of the medical authorities.

They didn’t offer any of the citizens are similar indemnity against damage.

Meanwhile, there are growing (but small) number of cases every week of people dying from the side effects of AZ, or, at least, becoming very ill from thrombocytopenia syndrome or TTS.

The medical authorities then reneged as the NSW crisis exploded and decided that people below 60 could have AZ if their doctor was okay with it.

The messaging has been terrible.

And, as a result, a significant number of people are not prepared to take AZ and are waiting for the next major shipment of Pfizer, which apparently is due later this year.

Meanwhile, the supplies of Pfizer has been reallocated to 16-39 year olds because the NSW Wave 3 is infecting kids in great numbers and the government wants to restore ‘freedom’ quickly.

It is a major mess.

Meanwhile, the evidence is that all the confusion is resulting in people baulking at AZ and also not turning up for bookings and/or not making bookings.

Further, anecdotal evidence is that because of all the mess, vials of Pfizer are not fully used on some days which means they go to waste, despite a massive demand for the injection.

And to make matters worse, the 60 year old plus group are even denied a choice and are forced to take AZ or nothing and the evidence is that 27 per cent of the above 55s are refusing that unfair choice, despite being proclaimed by the medical authorities to be the group that is among the most vulnerable to get serious and fatal illness if they catch Covid.

Taken together, the neoliberals are pushing the politicians into a position to ‘open up’ the society in a situation where the population is significantly unvaccinated and has not had any serious viral load over the last 18 months.

But the basic point is that until they give the 60 plus group a choice – that group is now the only one without a choice – the nation cannot get close to the 80 per cent threshold they are defining as the ‘freedom’ day.

The best thing to do, given that appointments are not filled each day and vaccine is going to waste is to just open the queue to everyone with the assumption that you can nominate your preferred vaccine when the appointment is made.

The queue will be long – millions.

But at least the Federal government will then know how much Pfizer they have to get and when the 80 per cent mark will be achieved.

They will also know how many anti-vaxxers there are – that is uncertain.

And on a daily basis, all available slots would be filled and no vaccine would go to waste.

The other point is that the health officials are keen to tell us that the ‘best vaccine is the one that is available’ as a means of trying to force us to take AZ, given there is grossly insufficient supply of Pfizer available.

It is clear that the vast majority of Australians prefer Pfizer.

Just today, they have made it available to 16-39 years and the take up of appointments has increased quickly whereas that cohort was not convinced they should take AZ.

But the authorities keep quoting the average deaths from AZ, which are small.

The problem is, as all statisticians know, no-one is the average.

This US CDC article (July 2, 2014) – Nobody is average but what to do about it? The challenge of individualized disease prevention based on genomics – is interesting.

The authorities can quote the low average AZ clotting deaths and illness for all they like, but those numbers are meaningless for any one individual, who might be in the ‘death’ cohort.

The authorities don’t know the individual risk.

So for some, they are unknowingly being given a lethal injection.

Several are in that category in Australia.

And it is that reality that has created the 27 per cent of over 55s who are not anti-vaxxers but who don’t want to see if the AZ injection is lethal or benign.

Here are some interesting numbers.

All the talk in Australia has been about so-called ‘vaccine hesistancy’ as opposed to ‘anti-vaxxer’.

The two cohorts are clearly different.

I am personally, hesitant, because I am not being given a choice, whereas as I am very strongly pro vaccine.

The Report from Imperial College London – COVID-19 Global Behavioursand AttitudesThe Year in Review – which covers the period April 2020-April 2021, is interesting and covers survey evidence from “29 countries, areas and territories”.

The survey questions covered a number of areas relevant to the public health response to Covid-19 including reactions to lockdowns, trust in government, vaccine sentiment and more.

One section focused on “How has willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine changed?”

The Report found that:

Compared to November 2020, willingness to get the vaccine has increased in all countries surveyed except Australia.

“To what extent do you agree or disagree that if a COVID-19 vaccine were made available to you this week, you would definitely get it?”

1. For Australia, 55 per cent ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Agree’ as at November 2020.

2. By April 2021, the number had dropped to 51 per cent.

3. 24 per cent ‘Disagree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’ as at November 2020.

4. By April 2021, the number had increased to 27 per cent.

“To what extent do you agree or disagree that you are worried about potential side-effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?”

1. For Australia, 47 per cent ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Agree’ as at November 2020.

2. By April 2021, the number had dropped to 44 per cent.

3. 26 per cent ‘Disagree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’ as at November 2020.

4. By April 2021, the number had increased to 32 per cent.

“To what extent do you agree or disagree that if you do not get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available, you will regret it?”

1. For Australia, 51 per cent ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Agree’ as at November 2020.

2. By April 2021, the number had dropped to 47 per cent.

3. 23 per cent ‘Disagree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’ as at November 2020.

4. By April 2021, the number had increased to 26 per cent.

“How much do you trust COVID-19 vaccines?”

1. For Australia, 67 per cent ‘Very much’ or ‘Moderately’ as at November 2020.

2. By April 2021, the number had dropped to 66 per cent.

3. 33 per cent ‘A little’ or ‘Not at All’ as at November 2020.

4. By April 2021, the number had increased to 34 per cent.

The point being that while it is difficult to know how many Australians are strictly anti-vaccination as opposed to waiting for a choice, it is likely the former category is substantial.

Reset Australia – which is part of a global effort to “counter digital threats to democracy”, published a report (May 17, 2021) – Anti-vaccination & vaccine hesitant narratives intensify in Australian Facebook Groups – which found that the “national pro-vaccine campaigns are being undermined by online disinformation and misinformation proliferating in Facebook groups.”

They examined “13 Public Facebook Groups between January 2020 – March 2021” in Australia, and, found that:

As of March 2021, these groups had a combined total of over 115,000 members, generating over 2.66 million interactions throughout the period of analysis. During the research period, subscription to these groups grew by 280%.

These groups that have been aided and abetted by conservative elected politicians in Australia are at the extreme end of the resistance.

Reset said the groups were the “tip of the iceberg” given they had only covered a small amount of the available public evidence of anti-vaxxer views.

Other surveys suggest the strict anti-vaxxer cohort is around 11 per cent (Source), which would mean that that resistance “are not a roadblock to getting back to normal”.

But the same research found that there were “27 per cent of Australians … who said they would get vaccinated, but not straight away.”

Much of that group reflects the fact that the denial of choice between AZ and Pfizer and the inconsistent and variable warnings about the dangers of AZ has created the ‘wait’ strategy.

In June 2021, around 50 per cent of the over 55 year old cohort “were willing to get vaccinated, but had not been yet, were waiting for Pfizer to become available.”

The daily vaccination data is available at – Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The data is broken down in a number of ways and makes interesting reading.

I did some calculations based on this table, which captures the situation on August 23, 2021 in Australia.

We can assume that those who have already taken the first dose are not anti-vaxxers.

You can see that in the above 70 years cohort, they are already meeting the 80 per cent threshold or more.

So it reasonable to assume that the 27 per cent of those who are waiting are in the 55-69 years group, which has had AZ available to them for months and have low relative take up rates

The younger groups have low rates too but have only recently been allowed to access the vaccines.

In June 2021, around 50 per cent of the over 55 year old cohort “were willing to get vaccinated, but had not been yet, were waiting for Pfizer to become available.”

I don’t think the daily berating that the politicians give us to stop waiting will work.

And there is no way that the nation can get to the 80 per cent threshold while that older group of Australians are denied a choice.

It is simple arithmetic.

Which means that the delays in getting to the 80 per cent threshold come back to the poor decisions made by the Australian government in mid-2020, when they tried to ‘save’ money (that they have in infinite supply) and failed to purchase enough Pfizer stocks.

That shortage of supply has worsened because the medical bodies have authorised only Pfizer for the under 60 year olds, even though they have hedged now and said it is up to the individual to take the risk on AZ if they choose.

But the simple and obvious point is that the government must get more Pfizer before we will go beyond these damaging lockdowns.

Then that 27 per cent of older Australians will be falling over themselves to get in the queue to be vaccinated.

Music – Goodbye to Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts – died yesterday.

This obituary (August 24, 2021) – Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer, Dies at 80 – is a good account of his contribution.

I last saw the Rolling Stones live on November 15, 2014 at the Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley (outside of Newcastle).

Around 18,000 other people joined me and I think all left with the same impression – fabulous show.

I watched Charlie Watts the most during the night because he held the band together.

His timing was really constant and tight, unlike a lot of drummers who speed up during a number as the intensity increases.

I was mesmerised by his playing – a really soft, almost jazz touch on the skins (playing R&B), with a really strong bass drum beat.

I though this video of the Stones from the German (Bremen) – Beat-Club – program was interesting because it focuses, somewhat on the drumming, given that Mick Jagger is largely absent.

Every great band and musician of the time appeared on the Beat-Club.

This recording was done in 1972 in Montreaux.

The sound isn’t great and the guitar players look bored (particularly Mick Taylor) but you get a real sense of the touch of the drummer and the way he sets the bottom end up with Bill Wyman.

No more Charlie.

If you like jazz then some of his Quintet and Big Band albums are excellent. I have several of those.

Here is a sample, which features the long-time, Rolling Stones backing vocalist – Bernard Fowler – singing the George and Ira Gershwin – I’ve Got a Crush on You – which is off the 1997 album Long Ago and Far Away.

That album is fabulous and features the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

And then there was the 1972 album – Jamming with Edward! – which was a spin-off session during the – Let it Bleed – recordings, while the Rolling Stones waited for Keith Richards to turn up.

The – Full Album – features Nicky Hopkins on piano, Ry Cooder, guitar, Mick Jagger, vocals, harp, Bill Wyman, bass and Charlie Watts.

The old R&B song – It Hurts Me Too – is a particular standout from a host of great numbers.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2021 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 17 Comments
    1. Funny, at university I was taught that British philosophers were the common sense rationalists and Germans the obscurantists – maybe not so!

      It has been a long time since I read him, but I think you will find David Hume’s essays on money to be less strikingly modern… from what I remember he advocated running a surplus, distrusted paper money and believed in full reserve banking.

      Wonder also what Kant thought about the supposed bankruptcy of the French state as leading to the French Revolution…

    2. ‘So for some, they are unknowingly being given a lethal injection.’ Governments around the world have arranged our modern world around motor cars, which they and we as citizens know will be lethal for a small minority. One can opt out to an extent by remaining a pedestrian with a much reduced risk, though conversely, opting out as a cyclist increases the risk. There are bullets out there. Just have to hope my name isn’t on one of them.

    3. It is impossible to overstate the potential impacts–social, economic, political–of a robust, readily transmissible, continually-mutating virus, able to easily cross national borders, evade vaccines and treatments, and seriously affect all age groups. We’re not there yet but could well be moving in that direction. Given that decades of neoliberalism have rendered a proletarian revolution less likely than the second coming, the left should be focusing on this potential, perhaps immanent, deconstruction of the neoliberal world order (by, of all things, a virus) and putting plans in place to seize whatever revolutionary windows may open. Yet I can find little to nothing about such a scenario, not to speak of plans, coming from the left. Instead, it reminds me of a friend who looked out the bedroom window and saw her garage burning, while she remained frozen in place, peering out in slack-jawed immobility.

    4. Kant’s successor in the standard list of Great German Classical Philosophers, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, is sometimes called the Father of German Socialism. Fichte was quite clearly an MMTer, arguably the first. Enough so that he should be called “Job Guarantee Fiat”. For those are the recommendations of what he called his most finished work – The Closed Commercial State [Der Geschlossene Handelsstaat].

    5. totally agree with Bill about the loss of patient autonomy with vaccine rollout but disgaree with the notion that offering choice will overcome reluctance to vaccinate.
      From personal experience one of the main problems with delivering effective care is human irrationality – there are no limits to this. I think it is built into the human gene as a way of providing diversity in response to external stresses. Experience has shown that the only way to get past 90% vaccination rate is starting when there is no autonomy ie as an infant. No country has succeeded in getting much past 80% even when the virus is rampant. Israel is only at 60% despite unlimted availability.
      Waiting for the mRNA option quite a sensible choice depending on prevalence of Covid and I gave this advice a few months ago with the caveat that if covid took off it would be the wrong decsion.
      Within 2 months there will be unlimited supply of mRNA and I am predicting empty mass vaccination sites and a plateau at 80%.
      btw AZ looks like it is providing better long term protection than mRNA possibily owing to the longer duration between doses

    6. Thanks Bill , for some commonsense on the vaccination situation, I agree with your conclusions completely and like you I have hesitated in getting vaccinated, as I had no choice of vaccines and I am an allergic type person to radiological, medical dyes etc . Charlie Watts was an incredible drummer, he left a rich legacy with the Stones.

    7. It’s a pity that this analysis doesn’t acknowledge that the UK and other countries have widely used AZ without the same vaccine hesitancy. The problem in Australia has largely been driven by a media that hysterically reported on extremely rare cases of side effects, as part of their concerted effort to treat the whole Covid situation as an opportunity to create conflict and fear, as a way of increasing sales or ratings. All vaccines (all medical procedures) have some level of risk, which is usually completely ignored by the media. It’s a shame that those who are hesitant in Australia about AZ have allowed themselves to be scared by a pretty blatant form of media scare-mongering for an obvious purpose.

    8. MMT has nothing useful to learn from Kant’s metaphysics or economics.
      Prof. Mitchell misinterprets the Kant’s attempt to explain “What Is Money?” in his “The Metaphysics of Morals”.
      The paragraph of Kant quoted in the post merely argues that the particular commodities which are used as money result from the ruler requiring that taxes be paid in those commodities.
      It seems that Prof. Mitchell thinks this mention of taxes somehow makes Kant relevant to MMT’s claim that “Taxes drive the demand for fiat money”.
      However, reading the following paragraph’s in Kant’s book makes it clear that there is no such connection.
      Contrary to MMT, Kant insists that money must be backed by valuable commodities. And he explicitly denies the possibility of fiat money having value.
      “The thing to be called money must, therefore, have cost as much industry to produce or to obtain from other men as the industry by which those goods (natural or artificial products) are acquired for which that industry is exchanged. For if it were easier to procure the stuff called money than goods, more money would then come into the market than goods for sale; and since the seller would have to have expended more industry for his goods than the buyer, who got the money more readily, industry in producing goods, and therefore trade in general, would diminish and be curtailed, along with the productive industry which results in the nation’s wealth.”
      “– Hence bank notes and promissory notes cannot be regarded as money, though they can substitute for it temporarily; for they cost almost no industry to produce and their value is based solely on the opinion that they will continue as before to be convertible into hard cash; but if it is eventually discovered that there is not enough hard cash for which they can be readily and securely exchanged, this opinion suddenly collapses and makes failure of payment inevitable.”

      “Silver (more or less alloyed with copper) is, accordingly, taken as the proper material for money and the measure for reckoning prices in the great trade of the world; other metals (even more so, nonmetallic materials) can be found as money only in a nation where there is little trade.”

    9. Charlie Watts could be said to have been a one-off. Cool that you noticed the jazz influence in his drumming, one of his great loves in music and possibly the greatest. “His timing was really constant and tight, unlike a lot of drummers who speed up during a number as the intensity increases” and, so, it could be said that he always played it ‘his way’. (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.) Thanks for this thoughtful tribute to Charlie Watts, Bill.

    10. Completely agree with Bill on the 60 year old plus group being denied a choice. It is causing lot of quite understandable hesitancy. My wife is 61 and suffers severe migraines frequently; in windy and allergenic weather and from other multiple intermittent triggers from glare, to too much tomato in a dish, to other foods and food additives and so on. It has proven impossible to map the extent of these complex, intermittent, interacting migraine triggers. These migraines can be excruciating headaches as any migraine sufferer knows, with other effects like “aura” or visual problems and even stomach symptoms. My wife very reasonably asks. “How am I going to know after an AZ shot if I am having a migraine or a stroke? And with my history of immune disease (coeliac and IBS) problems I feel I am a sitting duck for an AZ reaction.” Yet her GP has had her professional discretion taken way by Government dictate and cannot prescribe my wife Pfizer. The vaccinination stations will ignore the docto’rs prescription again by federal government order.

      My wife’s migraines can be so bad, they have twice triggered TGA (Transient Global Amensia) attacks for her. Her recent second attack occurred the 2nd day after my first eye operation. Stress is another trigger. I spent my second morning after my first eye operation answering her non-stop questions for four hours as to why I had a bandaged eye and was laying on my side all day (as directed by doctor to do for two weeks). I knew what was happening to her as it was her second TGA attack. Of course, I asked her to perform the FAST tests [1] to assure myself she wasn’t having a stroke.

      I am 67 and have not been able to have an AZ shot for another reason. At the start of this year I had no known medical preconditions. By yesterday, I had had my 3rd major eye operation, at a rate of 1 operation about every 8 weeks (8 weeks recovery each time). I yet face a fourth operation at least. I have had to cancel 2 appointments for AZ in favor of eye operations, thus having to make the choice between going blind in one eye or facing COVID-19 unvaccinated. I went for the eye operations and then watched (with one good eye) while Berejiklian and Morrison allowed the Delta outbreak to go critical and run rampant in NSW. I am in Qld. but we can’t be safe for long. Too many people are running the border illegally. (The need for state ring-fencing occurred because the federal govt. and NSW govt. were so incompetent.)

      I am now hesitant about AZ myself. There is enough evidence that AZ may have negative impacts on re-attached and healing retinas. Not enough evidence to be scientifically robust yet but enough to concern me and make me hesitant. Heck, my second retinal tear occurred straight after my flu shot at 8 weeks after my first eye operation. Coincidence? Maybe, probably, but it sure has made me hesitant about an AZ while trying to keep my retina intact. Would Pfizer be better than AZ for me? Maybe, and I would like the choice. I would pick Pfizer. On balance it sounds just a little safer for me.

      Okay, these are just two anecdotal tales from my household alone but they illustrate that “not average” dilemma many people face, whether over 60 or not. They also show how quickly anyone can go from “no medical pre-conditions” to “Hospital, we have a problem,” especially when they are over 60. The over-60s have reasons to be worried and do need a choice to overcome understandable hesitancy.

      Note 1: FAST Test for stroke.

      Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
      Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
      Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he or she repeat the sentence correctly?
      Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 000 or get sufferer to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

    11. Some Guy, a ‘critical, cholarly edition’ of Fichte’s book came out in 2012 from the State University of New York press with Anthony Adler as the editor and translator. It is available from SUNY directly or from you-know-who.

    12. Larry: Yes, thanks, got it as a birthday present in 2013. There’s also Isaac Nakhimovsky- The Closed Commercial State: Perpetual Peace & Commercial Society from Rousseau to Fichte- Princeton (2011). Though I think they miss not just revolutionaries like Abbé Sieyès but also Jacques Necker supporting similar ideas – with good arguments for a state guarantee of employment in a book which was also translated recently – in the 1830s. :-)

      Fichte, like anyone who was anyone those days, hung out at Madame de Staël’s salon. Since Necker, the Prime Minister of France whose dismissal helped lead to the Revolution, was her dad, Fichte might have heard or discussed such ideas there. Marx read Fichte before he read Hegel, who though he did not write much on it afaik, seems to have gone backwards on money. And unfortunately so did Marx with his goldbuggery.

    13. Bill, I think we may have struck one of the very rare – perhaps only – situations where our federation becomes dysfunctional to such a degree as it has.

      I can’t really think of any other situation that would cause this – and this is the second time since 1901 that this has happened I believe. The states initiated similar border closures to one another a century ago during the Spanish Flu pandemic. And it resulted in similar infighting between the states and the fed.

      As long as it remains the case that it is ultimately the state governments and not the federal government who bear the responsibility for the health of Australians living inside each state jurisdiction, then this logically seems a very likely outcome in the event of a pandemic.

      I don’t think it suggests that federation itself is inherently dysfunctional, although obviously much room for improvement exists.

    14. And given the staggering incompetence of the federal government in implementing the only parts of the public health response that it is directly responsible for, and as a regional Queensland resident – where for the past 18 months, Covid and harsh lockdowns are something we’ve only seen on tv (so far at least!)……..I’m actually relieved that the federal government was NOT in charge here. It would have been like a blind drunk pilot and co-pilot attempting to land a 747 full of people.

    15. Being in the 50-60 cohort I was initially only able to get a shot of AZ, but happily took that into my arm knowing that, while the clotting risk was not zero it was much lower for me than for younger people so, with limited supply of Pfizer, I was only too happy for those supplies to go to people younger than me. While the probabilities tell you more about populations than individual, responding to the pandemic is a social effort.

    16. The Federal Govt. through Greg Hunt have doubled down on their ruling: no Pfizer and no Moderna for the 61 to 70 cohort. Vaccine advisory body ATAGI has suggested allowing older Australians the “choice of vaccine” to ensure they are vaccinated. However, Greg Hunt has just ruled it out. Those over the age of 60 will remain eligible only for the AstraZeneca vaccine. AMA president Omar Khorshid said, “The AMA’s message to anyone over the age of 60 is to go out and get your AZ vaccine.” Does Dr. Khorshid mean that his advice applies no matter what medical pre-conditions an over 60 person might have? If he doesn’t mean that he should have said so.

      What possible reasons are there to deny a choice for over 60s? Are Pfizer and Moderna likely to remain in short supply indefinitely? Will there never be situations where Pfizer and Moderna might be wasted and where such wastage could be reduced near the end of the day by permitting over 60s walk-ins?

      I am quite puzzled by this doctrinaire hard line. Is it just to ensure Pfizer / Moderna supply for younger people or is there some other reason for pushing AZ on older people? Does the government fear losing money on it somehow? Does the government fear a contractual penalty from the licensees AstraZeneca or Vaccitech? Has our government made this contract secret… erm I mean commercial-in-confidence?

      On the face of it, there seems little logic to the government’s position unless they are still covering for ordering too little Pfizer / Moderna or are trying to avoid some contractual penalty. There seems to be no recognition that quite a few over-60s, often via their GPs if the GPs were permitted professional discretion, would be prescribed Pfizer of Moderna for perfectly valid health reasons.

      If Pfizer or Moderna gets “tipped down the sink” while over 60s are refused it, that will certainly be a scandal. I hope the media and the whistleblowers keep an eye on that issue. It almost feels like the Government has a particular animus against the Over 60s cohort. Is it that we don’t vote enough for them or that we are too rusted on and can be taken for granted trash. But I guess I shouldn’t feel special, The neoliberals treat every one like trash except their super rich mates.

      The vaccine rollout has become an unholy rush because first it wasn’t a race and then it was a stampede: a stampede generated by Berejiklian and Morrison by letting Delta run wild, either by gross negligence or maybe deliberately. Could it be a deliberately staged stampede to the “magic” 70% mark to get some “freedoms” ready for Morrison’s pre-Xmas election?

      Gladys Berejiklian used the term “magic” for 70% double-vaccination. But 70% and 80% double-vaccination rates are not “magic” numbers with Delta variant and waning vaccine efficacy. Indeed, such levels will prove woefully inadequate and we will have a public health disaster if starting from a position of one thousand or thousands of cases a day. It will be a total disaster.

    17. Update: I get it. The Govt. are trying to move their stockpile of AstraZeneca and give their mates in CSL a payday. Using over 60s as the fall-guys to do it.

      See: “AstraZeneca stockpile grows to millions as Pfizer stock set to arrive”
      By Farrah Tomazin, Clay Lucas and Melissa Cunningham August 21, 2021 — 5.00am, The Age.

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