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You can find much greater detail for the timeframes 1550-1700 at a new website now almost finished ... THE BUSINESS OF SLAVERY... a website book also designed to bring genealogical studies up-to-date from 1530 to the present-day... as well as questions of merchant lives and activities... Click now to... The Business of Slavery (in English history).

Merchants and Bankers
February 2020++ - Australia


Trade - an international perspective

(This website closed in May 2020 due to corona virus problems. - Ed)

This Merchants and Bankers Listings website is now years old ... Its timeline material on economic history (for 1560-1930) is being moved to a website managed by Ken Cozens and Dan Byrnes, The Merchant Networks Project. This website now emphasizes data on modern developments, mostly on modern/technical industry, computing, and for the future, today's climate change problems. The editor's view is that in the context of climate change/Anthropogenic Global Warming, the views of Merchants and Bankers (and Economists, politicians), the keepers of matters economic, are due for a considerable shake-up. If this website can encourage the shake-up, and help inform it reliably, well and good. -Ed

For the year 2020 ... re non-bushfire issues ... also re COVID-19

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Issues from March 2020

By 6-11-2019 we find it reported that 11,000 scientists from 153 countries in Bioscience Journal warn that we have a climate emergency that is happening faster than predicted, so we now guess the “science is in”. This is the end of all guessing. We now wonder even more deeply what non-Climatology-studying climate science sceptics in Australia feel they are actually on about. More so as March 2020 reactions to the corona virus surely seem to prove more and more that economic behaviour is indeed social. Very social.

28 Feb , 2020. In what now seems like his finest hour of all, US President Donald Trump at a rally tells his followers that the corona virus is "a hoax". That's right, anything happens that you don't understand at all, call it "a hoax". And well, it's now your call.

w/e Australian, 29 February-1 March 2020: Finance pages: Finance journalist Terry McCrann says (and it sounds like US politician Donald Rumsfeld to us): "... We really are in a world of known unknowns".

SMH on 2-3-2020: p. 15, Trump's post-truth presidency collides with health emergency: US epidemiologists regard his February views that corona-virus problems will "work out fine" as "wishful thinking". And by 10-3-2020, most or all of Italy is in lockdown due to corona virus. Yes, it really is, working out fine. Even, fine and dandy.

AAP to close

Climate Change Sausages ... so good

Getcha climate change sausages here ...

generic democracy sausgage photo from Australia

Credit: Photo by Anon.

Opinions differ, but this webpage blames the economic decline of print media in Australia very much for this ...

4/5-3-2020: AAP (Australian Associated Press) for decades has assisted journalism in Australia by providing regional media outlets in particular with accurate, good-quality and well-written syndicated news items. This is now to change by about mid-2020 and AAP will close. It seems that nothing can or will fill the gap. Adieu, then, AAP. At stake are 85 years of media history and 600 media jobs.

5-3-2020: crikey.com reports: The Department of Industry had confirmed that government funding for Australia’s only dedicated bushfire research centre will end next year, The New Daily reports. ADF chief Angus Campbell confirmed defence has a corona virus plan in the works, The Australian reports, and described talking with Scott Morrison about the “discomfiting” use of ADF personnel, without permission, in that bushfire video, The Guardian reports. Climate denialists have forced world-class scientists to justify, ad nauseam, science. BBC Headlines reports meanwhile that climate change boosted Australian fire risk by 30% at least. One report author is Prof. Geert van Oldenborgh of Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute of De Bilt, Netherlands and 17 others from six countries. So much for the work of arsonists/anecdotalism.

5-3-2020: Late afternoon news from Schwartz Media: A fear at the end of the earth - James Button spoke to scores of people about climate change and what it means to them. He found deep anxiety – but also a contradiction between how people thought and how they acted. Today, find out what a conversation about ecological catastrophe could look like. Schwartz Media also like this webpage today wants to know why ScoMo's government wants to use the best of new-science-knowledge for corona-virus-issues but not for climate-change-issues. Just why is this anomaly and when is this absurdity going to end? Yes. We'd really like to know! And the same questions apply to Trump's administration in the US White House.

10-3-2020: ABC TV: Stock exchange behaviour, all over the shop and on the run big-time from corona virus, is described jocularly as a "textbook case of volatility". A day of confusing turmoil on stock exchanges around the world. (In France, and as a measure of the irrationality aroused by a major health issue, arises the erroneous idea that using cocaine will fend of attack by the corona virus.) Strewth, the Italian PM puts the entire country (60 million people) of Italy into "a health lockdown".

11-3-2020: More turmoil on world stock exchanges. Australian Federal Government outlines $2.4 billion worth of corona virus health funding plans. One idea is to use 100 pop-up clinics for corona virus testing to reduce pressure on hospital systems.

12-3-2020" crikey.com reports: Australian Govt Health minister says Australia cannot predict how many will die from coronavirus; Guardian journalist Russell Jackson "unpaid for five weeks".

OPINION Barry Jones: We need more democracy, not less “What is the evidence that supports the health measures that are being taken? What are the competing views? Of these, we know very little. Most important of all, we do not know what economic decisions are implicit in the health choices being made. If there are none, let us know. If there are some, what are they? Then, and only then, can the community make an informed judgement. Without transparency, and scrutiny, there is no democracy.” THE SATURDAY PAPER - From Schwartz Media, 7-4-2020. And well, here it is ...

10-4-23020: Why is US President Donald Trump so ill-informed about corona virus epidemiology - and in public? Why is the president of Brazil, Bolsonaro, allowed to be even more ignorant?

an economic abyss, the opening of, //a doctor, surgeon Mark Ghallager, who has had corona virus, says don't believe those who say it's just like flu, i've had it and it's more like suffering malaria ... // contact tracing

One billion people will live in insufferable heat within 50 years – study

Human cost of climate crisis will hit harder and sooner than previously believed, research reveals

Story by Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 5 May 2020.

The human cost of the climate crisis will hit harder, wider and sooner than previously believed, according to a study that shows a billion people will either be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat for every additional 1C rise in the global temperature.
In a worst-case scenario of accelerating emissions, areas currently home to a third of the world’s population will be as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, the paper warns. Even in the most optimistic outlook, 1.2 billion people will fall outside the comfortable “climate niche” in which humans have thrived for at least 6,000 years.
The authors of the study said they were “floored” and “blown away” by the findings because they had not expected our species to be so vulnerable. “The numbers are flabbergasting. I literally did a double take when I first saw them, ” Tim Lenton, of Exeter University, said. “I’ve previously studied climate tipping points, which are usually considered apocalyptic. But this hit home harder. This puts the threat in very human terms.” There will be more change in the next 50 years than in the past 6,000 years Instead of looking at climate change as a problem of physics or economics, the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines how it affects the human habitat. The vast majority of humanity has always lived in regions where the average annual temperatures are around 6C (43F) to 28C (82F), which is ideal for human health and food production. But this sweet spot is shifting and shrinking as a result of manmade global heating, which drops more people into what the authors describe as “near unliveable” extremes.

This website closed in May 2020 due to corona virus problems. - Ed

Humanity is particularly sensitive because we are concentrated on land – which is warming faster than the oceans – and because most future population growth will be in already hot regions of Africa and Asia. As a result of these demographic factors, the average human will experience a temperature increase of 7.5C when global temperatures reach 3C, which is forecast towards the end of this century. At that level, about 30% of the world’s population would live in extreme heat – defined as an average temperature of 29C (84F). These conditions are extremely rare outside the most scorched parts of the Sahara, but with global heating of 3C they are projected to envelop 1.2 billion people in India, 485 million in Nigeria and more than 100 million in each of Pakistan, Indonesia and Sudan.
This would add enormously to migration pressures and pose challenges to food production systems. Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet's most important stories Read more “I think it is fair to say that average temperatures over 29C are unliveable. You’d have to move or adapt. But there are limits to adaptation. If you have enough money and energy, you can use air conditioning and fly in food and then you might be OK. But that is not the case for most people,” said one of the lead authors of the study, Prof Marten Scheffer of Wageningen University. An ecologist by training, Scheffer said the study started as a thought-experiment. He had previously studied the climate distribution of rainforests and savanna and wondered what the result would be if he applied the same methodology to humans. “We know that most creatures’ habitats are limited by temperature. For example, penguins are only found in cold water and corals only in warm water. But we did not expect humans to be so sensitive. We think of ourselves as very adaptable because we use clothes, heating and air conditioning. But, in fact, the vast majority of people live – and have always lived – inside a climate niche that is now moving as never before.” We were blown away by the magnitude,” he said. “There will be more change in the next 50 years than in the past 6,000 years.”
The authors said their findings should spur policymakers to accelerate emission cuts and work together to cope with migration because each degree of warming that can be avoided will save a billion people from falling out of humanity’s climate niche.
“Clearly we will need a global approach to safeguard our children against the potentially enormous social tensions the projected change could invoke,” another of the authors, Xu Chi of Nanjing University, said. We've got an announcement … … on our progress as an organisation. In service of the escalating climate emergency, we have made an important decision – to renounce fossil fuel advertising, becoming the first major global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from companies that extract fossil fuels. In October we outlined our pledge: that the Guardian will give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention and prominence they demand. This resonated with so many readers around the world. We promise to update you on the steps we take to hold ourselves accountable at this defining point in our lifetimes. With climate misinformation rife, and never more dangerous than now, the Guardian's accurate, authoritative reporting is vital – and we will not stay quiet. You've read 31 articles in the last six months. We chose a different approach: to keep Guardian journalism open for all. We don't have a paywall because we believe everyone deserves access to factual information, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Our editorial independence means we are free to investigate and challenge inaction by those in power. We will inform our readers about threats to the environment based on scientific facts, not driven by commercial or political interests. And we have made several important changes to our style guide to ensure the language we use accurately reflects the environmental emergency.
The Guardian believes that the problems we face on the climate crisis are systemic and that fundamental societal change is needed. We will keep reporting on the efforts of individuals and communities around the world who are fearlessly taking a stand for future generations and the preservation of human life on earth. We want their stories to inspire hope.

(Ends)

13-5-2020: Message for Amazon/Prime Video Australia . . . Re "War for a New Nation", a long documentary mostly on the military aspects of the American Revolution which I have just seen. It seems well-researched, well-scripted, well-narrated, and it quotes many US historians still living. But the proofreading of the accompanying spoken script, displayed on the screen, is appallingly bad; ludicrous, inept, illiterate, laughable, and worse-than-amateur. The result is a completely spoiled production. So don't argue, please, just fix it! Fix it soon or bear with the world's laughter of derision. It's a disgrace! It looks like it's been done by an illiterate computer program. What is this? Another symptom of the decline of US power in the world? Proofreading by cowboys from Modern America? Nonsense? Idiots! I say again! Fix it yesterday! I really don't give a tuppenny damn how much it costs, just fix it and fix it soon!
Yrs etc, Dan Byrnes.
(The last message of all, the end of these websites)

The UN recognises about 193 nation states in the world. That's 193 countries to get corona virus and then decide what to do at government levels. 193 sets of borders. 193 countries to own to a health system. 193 countries to do testing. 193 different cultures? What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go wrong with so many countries when so many people want perfect moral fix-ups of all sorts of things (like better/more affordable housing, like true social justice) during an emergency which stretches health workers, health systems and entire economies. Good luck with that!

These nation states were well-warned about "pandemic(s)" by movies, books, newspaper and magazine articles ... (Matt Damon starred in a recent movie called Contagion). In February 2018, about 30 microbiologists, zoologists, public health experts met at the HQ of World Health Organisation in Geneva Switzerland to discuss issues. The group had been started in 2015 by WHO to establish a list of dangerous viruses as populations grew, global travel widened, the natural world had to exist in a smaller space. What this group spoke of as "Disease X" (a highly-infectious respiratory disease with no known cure or vaccine) became . . . what we call corona virus. (w/e Australian Magazine, 9-10 May, 2020, article The Next World War by Jenifer Kahn.)
No one can say something like this this was not coming eventually! This website page rather wonders if global warming will not offer the world more pandemics? But if so or not, are corona-virus-problems just a fast version of the kinds of health, system and economic problems that will arise more slowly due to global warming? This webpage rather thinks so.
This is why the 193 nations already recognised by the UN need to look into how corona virus originated - in order to see that such a thing never happens again, regardless of where it originated in fact - seemingly in China. (Where the USA seems to want to abdicate its world leadership position, to mishandle this pandemic, withold funds from WHO, blame China in a conspiratorial way, to recommend unproven drugs and to also mention the ingestion of disinfectant in a way which is immediately denied by disinfectant companies! Go figure!)

This corona virus situation meantime is NOT war and idiots-in-power like Trump would do well to realise this. It is a medical and epidemiological emergency - and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, the mode of thinking required is scientific/probable-istic - which is foreign to Trump and his ilk, hence their particular use of language, politics, numbers and actual power . . . What the world is seeing is actually a clash of thinking styles in politics - a shake-out - the epidemiological vs the non-epidemiological. Who will win? The issue is the same as with climate change - is the science "in" or not? Who believes in the science? And who doesn't?

This webpage thinks - re "economic recovery" - that all relevant graphs used should go back to 1929, the appearance of The Great Depression. Only in this way will meaningful comparisons be made. If not to the economic effects of the 1918-1919 outbreak of Spanish Influenza. (Which in fact is misnamed, and it ought to have been originally named for when/how it originated, within the US Army via Kansas via France.) This - "The Plague" - hit Australia in January 1919 and went through three waves till September 1919. The death rate climbed to 400 per day. People stayed as far from each other as possible and crowds were avoided.

What is a human life worth the newspapers ask, mostly rhetorically. Well. a life is valued at $4.9 million. (The figure is Australian and is borrowed from the insurance industry.) But as a cautionary tale, a newspaper reminds us that while life is precious, it is NOT priceless.
Worldwide the same virus pandemic by 16-5-2020 has caused the cancellation of 28 million surgical procedures. Life in hospitals seems destined to be dynamic!

This website closed in May 2020 due to corona virus problems. - Ed

We live, apparently, in times in Australia when seemingly respectable employers (likes Coles supermarkets) have allegedly been underpaying employees/members of their staff. Go figure. There is something very wrong somewhere!) "Working from home" seems set to change work practices long-term and may also in time modify house-designs. We now live in a time of change.

Apparently, world-wide, corona virus, a very clever virus indeed, has been exposing dire weaknesses in entire economies, health systems, in the political management of entire populations. Once well-off goverments are suddenly in debt. Apparenty, world wide, health workers are being hailed as our new heroes; they were unsung, and now they are being sung. Apparently, in Australia, restaurants, hotels and eateries of all sorts are in trouble. Airports and airlines are in trouble. Retailing is in trouble. TV shows are denuded of audiences. Entire economies are in trouble.

The arts are in trouble, as are musicians and anyone else whose income relies on a human gathering of more than about ten people (except for schools (?)). Cinemas are in trouble but not the streamers of video product. Children's schooling is in trouble, which means state Education Depts are in trouble bigtime. Accomodation is in trouble. Football and most sports are in trouble. The Ruby Princess maritime disaster re maritime health for a cruise ship in Sydney/ NSW/ all Australia was because a low-risk warning was incorrectly issued for the ship and its passengers based on badly-assessed test results for corona virus. This was an example of our scientific ignorance of this virus, but also, and even more mysterious for what was once Australia's largest convict colony, the complete and final erasure of matters maritime in the NSW bureaucratic mind. It was a very strange thing to happen in what was once a major convict colony for Britain, receiving shipload-after-shipload of beknighted passengers. (The land-and-buildings of the one-time Sydney quarantine station, once famous on Sydney's North Head, have evidently long-been-sold to private interests.)

In Indonesia by mid-May 202, millions are "headed for the breadline", with nine million forced into poverty. "Don't mess with me", warns Frank Zappa's Zombiewoof. A mutant strain of the corona virus might be spreading in Australia... (w/e Australian, 9-10 May, 2020). Vaccine matters are horrendously expensive and involve pharmaceutical companies in general; Australia's CSIRO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, Tennessee; Duke University in North Carolina, USA University of Sheffield in UK and of course in Washington USA the absurd Trump and his "Operation Warp Speed". The world is now engaged in a race to develop a corona-virus vaccine - watch this space for news of the race's casualties ...
Trump as POTUS and his predecessor Obama are now engaged in a slanging match over what this webpage (like Obama) believes in the US has been a gross mishandling of this medical nightmare. Well, survive, and otherwise, stay away from all of it. And there we leave it, to fester as usual, or worse . . . The simple reason that this webpage has bowed out of the discussion is that the changes are too many ...
But Australia has done comparatively well with all the challenge, we so far think. What is amazing is that a Liberal-National coalition government has been so Keynsian, so socialistic, so agreeably, and so quickly.

Viruses such as corona virus are called zoonotic and the villain of the story seems to be the bat-of-Asia. (But human difficulty with disease is nothing new. Measles is thought to have originated with the domestication of cattle and pigs and chickens can carry swine flu and bird flu.)

Then there's the great argument about "when to re-open the economy". I loved the deep irony of the headline arising in Australia - "snapback to stagnation". Our PM Morrison wanted our economy to "snapback" to normal, (the old normal, not the new one, and BTW, surprise, surprise, Australia is now officially in recession ). But since Australia was in the grip of stagnation anyway, the headline soon became, inevitably, "snapback to stagnation". Sorry Scomo, but facts are facts.
Meantime, when to re-open the economy? It's a debate that engrosses the EU, the USA, Brazil, and in Australia, what do we do with the restaurants, the schools, the university systems, the transport systems involved? Which are not built for 1.5 metre social distancing. When will a vaccine arise so that people, and the economy, ultimately, the world economy, will be protected? For what we do is that we don't prevent well, we merely respond well. Or badly, as the case may be.

This website closed in May 2020 due to corona virus problems. - Ed

In climate change news various, things look worse as time goes by. One of Australia's chief scientists, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Hugh Durrant-Whyte, says climate-change is the most significant challenge of the 21st Century. (The story carrying his remarks is in Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March, 2020.) Later, world climate scientists are saying that 9 of the world's 16 major tipping points have already been exceeded - it may be now too late to avoid the ill-effects of climate-change.
Which now should possibly be renamed, World Climates Change. Just to make the point sharper?

The Merchant Networks Project
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The history websites on this domain now have a companion website at: The Merchant Networks Project produced by Dan Byrnes (of Australia) and Ken Cozens (of London).



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