Covid-67

Dan O'Heirity

I Return to the Fact That There Are Chinese Who Can Be Called Subhuman

A while back, and over the course of a few days, or it might even have been a week or two, I reported on the ways in which China has been threatening Australia with all sorts of economic sanctions because Australia has been very vocal in calling for an independent inquiry into the origins and subsequent spread of the CCP virus across the globe. Those who have read my journal entries will know that I tend to refer to the CPP virus that was released into the world as an act of biological warfare. The argument is not that complicated. If you make the decision to send your infected citizens around the world then you have engaged in an act of biological warfare.

If you have been reading my entries then you will also know that I have a tendency to refer to Chinese businessmen who stripped Australia of medical supplies and daigou who did the same, as subhuman. I have been very careful in choosing this designation. Someone who is subhuman lacks the moral sensibilities that characterize human beings. This means that such a person does not have the same moral frame of reference as a human being. In other words, it would not make sense to speak of inhuman acts on the part of these individuals because to do so would imply that these people have a moral frame of reference but choose to act in inhuman ways. This is not the case. They lack a moral frame of reference.

It is only when the world understands a certain Chinese mentality that it will be able to deal with the CCP leadership. Understanding means starting from the premise that these businessmen and daigou have no moral sensibility which means that one cannot appeal to them as one would appeal to a civilized person. Nor can one negotiate with them as if the result might be a shared understanding that could lead to some sort of rapprochement or to some sort of negotiated middle ground on matters at hand. Why? Because negotiation can only occur when the two parties both have a shared moral sensibility. And that is not the case. What we are seeing is worldview that is defined by an unwavering loyalty to the morally bankrupt CCP.

In the argument that I am making, not sharing our values means that the CCP operates as a malicious and malevolent dictatorship, surveilling and monitoring its own citizens and “persons of interest” around the world, threating countries that will not kowtow to Beijing, seeking to influence democratic processes, imprisoning millions of Uighurs in order to brainwash them, using slave labour as a means of production, and murdering, vanishing and torturing people who stand up to the regime. Make no mistake. If the world does not stand up to China now then we will see China succeed in what Professor Anne-Marie Brady has identified as China’s aim to become the dominant world power.

China’s Arrogance and Presumption is Now Evident on the World Stage

So, back to the ways in which China has threatened Australia as voiced by Ambassador Cheng Jingye in Australia. First Cheng Jingye threatened that parents of students might think that Australia is not such a good place to send their children if Australia is seen to be unfriendly or even hostile to China. Secondly, he suggested that Chinese tourists might think that Australia is not such a good country to visit. And third, Cheng Jingye suggested that maybe China would not import beef and wine from Australia if Australia is unfriendly to China. These are of course thinly veiled threats with the purpose being to tell Australia that it had better not defy China or consequences will follow.

This point is made by Former speaker of the house Bronwyn Bishop, who says of Australia’s relationship with China that, “if we don’t bow enough, or smile enough, we’re reprimanded, and we’re then threatened”. Well, Australia has been reprimanded and now the CCP has shown its real face by threatening to place tariffs of up to 80% on Australia’s barley exports amidst an anti-dumping investigation and by suspending meat imports from four of Australia’s abattoirs. Peter Jennings, Executive Director at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says that China’s actions are a warning not to embarrass China in a meeting of the World Health Assembly – scheduled for 16th May 2020 – which would act as a forum for discussing the investigation into the CCP virus.

For Jennings, this is the short term China problem. The longer term problem, as Jennings sees it, is that China will likely continue with these aggressive actions which would lead to strained relationships – understatement – been Australia and China. This report mentions Australia’s tourism and university sector but does not go into any detail. We shall come to these issues shortly. First, however, Jennings makes it very clear that China is so resistant to the independent investigation into the origins of their virus because the CCP believes that its own survival is at stake because the CCP can never be seen to have made a mistake. I would guarantee that this fact will out in the history of this virus.

Jennings also talks about a process of democratic countries around the world “de-coupling” economically from China but at the same time he also sees the world continuing to trade with China. I get this economically, but remember that the CCP is led by people who are subhuman and as I mentioned above, China is seeking nothing less than world domination. In this respect I believe that Jennings is closer to the mark when he says that Australia should be seeking to build up trading relationships with “friendly” and “like minded” countries, Europe for example, and Japan, and perhaps also Indonesia. The only solution to the “China problem” is to meet them on their own terms. This means standing absolutely firm and saying to China that we do not need you.

Are Chinese Tourists Really a Likeable and Beneficial Feature of Australian Cities?

Now let’s turn to Chinese tourism in Australia. I have written previously on the billions of dollars contributed to the Australian economy by Chinese tourists and I have quoted figures from primary data sources in this respect. Chinese tourists make a significant contribution to the Australian economy in the region of $12 billion annually generate from 1.4 million Chinese visitors. Instead I’m going to take a look at a story that argues that we do not need Chinese tourist to the degree that we believe that we need them. First, however, not this rather odd perception of the presence of Chinese tourists in Australia. “The millions of Chinese tourists that had become a beneficial and likeable feature of Australian cities and regional centres, always seemed innocuous enough. But, in reality, the money generated by Chinese tourism effectively represents one of China’s rarely-utilised but effective soft power weapons“.

The really important point here is obviously that China can use Chinese tourism as a soft power weapon but can I just say before we explore that point that it is entirely a matter of opinion – not shared by everyone – that Chinese tourists are a likeable feature of Australian cities. One can easily imagine another opinion about swarms of Chinese descending on tourist attractions, shouting and screaming at one another, oblivious to other tourists as they are led around by a tour leader shouting through a loud hailer and waving the Chinese flag for the tourists to follow. I’m just saying that there is more than one perspective on whether Chinese tourists are in fact a likeable feature of Australian cities. OK. I’m actually saying that I don’t find Chinese tourists to be a likeable feature of our cities. I am sure that I am not alone in this respect.

It’s a Joke That the Chinese Have a Say in the Countries That They Decide to Visit

Another point to note with this story is that Chinese citizens obviously do not decide whether or not visit Australia. The CCP makes that decision for them and so the idea that the Chinese might decide that Australia is not such a good place to visit is a nonsense. The CCP will stop potential tourists from coming to Australia. That point aside, the main argument made in this article is that Australia can look to other markets for its tourist trade. Thus, the argument mirrors the argument with respect to our trade situation. Australia has allowed itself to become far to dependent on China for its tourist income and so – and I did have this thought a long time ago – it can look to internal markets in light of the fact that borders will be closed for very long time.

Secondly, Australia – having one of the best records in the world in containing the CCP released virus – may actually be a country of choice for a lot of visitors from around the world. As with the trade argument, there is going to be some short to medium term pain for Australia but surely we should agree that the longer term picture that we want to see is one in which China cannot exercise soft power by threatening that Chinese tourists will not come to Australia. Here we have more than a question of tourist dollars. We have a question of China’s attempt to manipulate Australia into doing its bidding. The question is whether Australia will take a stand and say, “No more”. In this respect I believe that we are witnessing the emergence of a new world order playing out before or our eyes. China is testing the waters to see just how much power it can exert.

Australian Universities Have Also Been Utterly Stupid in Terms of Their Dependence on China

I have reported on many occasions that Australian universities are in all sorts of trouble as a result of the massive drop in international student numbers with some universities having generated as much as 50% of their income from international students in past years. Basically the sector is totally stuffed and it is clear, in my opinion, that universities had no viable risk management plan in place to deal with current situation. At the same time, it could be argued that the CCP virus crisis in institutions of higher education has highlighted “bad strategies” or “poor strategic thinking” at universities. And yet, we can expect universities “to violate a fundamental rule of business: that the best people to get you out of a mess are not the people who got you into it in the first place”.

I do not need to research in order to substantiate these facts. I work for a university that has suddenly found itself in a position where it is going to have to save millions of dollars over the next 3-5 years in order to remain financially the viable. The same is true of virtually all universities in Australia. As for the lack of a risk management plan, this fact is clear in terms of universities currently scrambling to try to find a viable way to survive. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the current situation which is that “In a deal struck on Wednesday between the National Tertiary Education Union and the universities’ industrial association, the union agreed to exchange temporary wage cuts for rules forbidding universities standing down staff without pay and other protections.” The reason that this is necessary is that the sector estimates that it will lose $4.6 billion dollars as a result of lost international student enrolments.

Negotiating with the National Tertiary Education Union on temporary wage cuts and standing down staff does not speak to having a risk management strategy. It speaks in the first instance to a complete failure of Vice Chancellors to manage Australian universities in a responsible manner. This much seems particular clear in the case of the University of Queensland where a leaked reportshowed vice-chancellor Peter Hoj had received a $200,000 bonus based partly on his success in growing the university’s relationship with China“. This bonus was awarded to Peter Hoj even though he had apparently not done as well with another “key performance indicator seeking “greater diversity” in the international student body to make the university more financially resilient“.

On this point, in terms of numbers, it was projected that 63% of the University of Queensland’s international students would come from China. Australian Vice Chancellor’s tend to earn at least $1,000,000 per annum with some Vice Chancellor’s earning as much as $1,500,000 per annum. Dwell on this point. A Vice Chancellor who was likely earning at least $1,000,000 per annum and who was awarded a $200,000 bonus thought that it was a good idea to have 63% of the University of Queensland’s international students coming from one country, China. Chariness would seem to be a quality lost on this Vice Chancellor. Even more, the story of the University of Queensland points to the fact that universities operate as pseudo-businesses. If the University were a real business then the Vice Chancellor would have been sacked for complete and utter incompetency.

What is the Statistical Value of a Human Life?

The CCP virus has obviously led to a huge economic cost for Australia and there is a fascinating article that looks at an economic model called the cold calculus cost-benefit analysis. Cold calculus cost-benefit analysis essentially views the economic impact of the CCP virus in terms of comparing the dollar value of lives saved plus any indirect economic or health benefits with the dollar value of losses from businesses closing and increased unemployment. In order to make this comparison one has to place a dollar value on a human life with this figure being referred to as the value of a statistical life. “The value of statistical life is an estimate of the financial value society places on reducing the average number of deaths by one“. This financial value of a life can be calculated in a number of ways. For example, by surveying individuals regarding how much they would pay to prolong or save their lives.

The report upon which I am drawing states that in Australia the value of a statistical life is estimated to be A$4.9 million per person. The next step is to determine what Australia has saved through acting to prevent the spread of the virus. The model operates on a proposed figure of a 1% fatality rate or 250,000 deaths if the virus had been allowed to run its course in society i.e. if the Australian Government had adopted a herd immunity approach to managing the CCP virus. Taking the value of a statistical life as A$4.9 million per life yields a cost of A$1.1 trillion to Australia if one assumes the 1% infection rate i.e. 250,000 deaths multiplied by A$4.9 million value per statistical life. In short, this model suggests that the shutdown has saved Australia $1.1 trillion worth of lives.

The next part of the equation is to determine the dollar value of the economic cost of the shutdown i.e. losses from businesses closing and increased unemployment. The article makes a number of assumptions to conjecture, first, that the economic cost of the shutdown would have been $180 billion. The article then questions the $180 billion figure, arguing for example that economic activity was in decline even before the CCP released its virus upon the world. The article continues to question the assumptions behind the $180 billion figure until it reaches a figure of $90 billion for the economic cost of the CCP virus. The article concludes that, “In the cold calculus of cost-benefit analysis, a highly pessimistic view of the economic costs of Australia’s shutdown comes to around $90 billion. It is a small price to pay compared to the statistical value of lives the shutdown should save, around A$1.1 trillion“.

First Published May 16th, 2020

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