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The Great Fall of China

Posted June 09, 2022

Jeffrey Tucker

Early on in the pandemic, China was the first nation to identify SARS-CoV-2 and the first to use lockdowns as a control mechanism. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) generated wild videos that flooded the world. People were collapsing in the streets. Dead people were just lying around. Police were locking people in their apartments to control the spread. These videos had a lot to do with panicking the whole planet. 

In the old days, before 24/7 news media coverage and insane and non-stop social media frenzies, hardly anyone would have paid attention. This was the first pandemic to deploy viral media frenzies. And it worked. 

China declared victory over the virus. They had stopped the spread by violating everyone’s rights. The pathogen got scared of the power, genius, and might of the CCP and it just went away. 

Be Like China!

China’s astonishing society-wide lockdowns — never before seen anywhere in the world as a disease-control measure — earned high praise from “experts” everywhere. The World Health Organization sang the praises of lockdowns, with even the head calling them genius and impressive. Incredibly and astonishingly, it seemed that many people actually believed this poppycock. 

How could we know it was fake? Because all pathogens can be classified according to three general features: prevalence, severity, and latency. The first two are tradeoffs with each other, simply because a pathogen that kills severely cannot spread. We knew early on from China’s doctors, when they were allowed to speak, that SARS-CoV-2 was a classical coronavirus with respiratory infection. It had short latency, high prevalence, and severity focused on the old and infirm. 

Scientists the whole world over knew this for certain! What that means: it cannot be suppressed. It’s not Ebola. It’s not even SARS-CoV-1. It had properties closer to the flu. We knew that for sure. But some people in the world wanted to try out a new theory, and they did. 

The next country to lock down was Italy. The U.S. was next. Once that happened, the UK fell and lockdowns spread throughout the whole world. There were only a few holdouts. 

The economic mess in the world today traces back to those days. The spending. The inflating. The brutal division of workers. The educational losses. Everything began in March 2020, and all the effects we are seeing now show exactly the hell that was unleashed in those days. 

Shanghai Lockdowns 

There has been a theory out there, and I’ve sometimes found it attractive, that China never really believed in these lockdowns. They were merely trying to troll the West into thinking that lockdowns work. We took the bait. We stayed locked down for a year and more, even as Wuhan had fully opened and posted social media posts of thousands partying. Good trick! 

With the latest lockdowns in Shanghai, I’m doubting that theory. Cases were rising there as they must, but Beijing immediately ordered a lockdown of one of the world’s biggest, busiest, and productive cities in the world. Most everything but essential businesses are shut right now. Bankers are sleeping in their offices. People are hunkered down in their homes. The enforcement is tight and brutal. 

It’s hard to imagine that the CCP would do this to a great city if its epidemiologists really believed that lockdowns do not work. They must believe it. 

Here is a report from one BBC reporter in Shanghai:

"What time will the next test be? Are we allowed to walk around outside? Have you checked the food app to see if we can get a delivery order through? The main questions of the day. 

"For the last few days we haven't been able to go past the end of our road. A neighbour put some big bottles of fresh water out front yesterday, for people to come and take. Someone else organised a group buy of vegetables and eggs. 

"We're all wondering if it's really possible to test, analyse and then sweep up the Covid carriers among almost 25 million people in a matter of days, then simply open up again. We're preparing for weeks of this."

Truth is that we are not just talking weeks. If we are to believe the data out of China, it appears that Covid has yet to arrive in most of the country. It hasn’t even fully swept Shanghai. If the CCP really believes in suppressing this virus, this could go on for many years. There could be profound economic consequences to this. Same as in the US, and the same consequences too: lob loss, business closures, inflation, education loss, and general demoralization. 

For Xi Jinping, this is a massive gamble. He does have to enjoy the support of the CCP. If these lockdowns really do tank national productivity and unleash monetary and financial chaos, there could be new questions about his leadership of the country. There will be a scapegoat. 

A friend and I were talking about the history of dictatorships and how they always seem more stable and strong than they really are. When the people reach a stage of too much suffering, they can become unstable and weak. We are nowhere close to that in China today, but we cannot rule it out if the CCP is truly interested in endless virus suppression forever. No country can operate this way. 

Germany and Price Control 

Another country to follow China’s lead in virus control was Germany, which had some of the most brutal lockdowns in the world. Of course, they achieved nothing. But now Germany has a huge inflation problem that the conflict with Russia is making worse. There is a growing natural gas shortage, and the price-control police have already started the investigations. The public is being hectored about limiting consumption. The whole country is being groomed for price control. 

If this could happen in Germany, it could happen here as well. 

Shanghai is once again locked down. Meanwhile, the world economy is right now teetering on the brink of possible calamity. China’s political instability, along with rolling lockdowns adds to the worries. Meanwhile in the U.S., interest rates are rising, at the same time inflation is out of control. 

Not good days, and there seems to be no end in sight.

Regards,

Jeffrey Tucker

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