Some kind of Mediterranean season is a clear indicator that life is going back to some sort of normality. Sure it’s not perfect, but in the context of a global pandemic it’s an encouraging development. Lefts see how people are behaving. At least the boat is fit again and most of the year I will use it as my "office" as it is so much more save cruising to the ports and shipyards then getting stacked on congested motorways or full trains.
In truth we’re all waiting to see how the next couple of months will unfold. For me it has been reassuring to hear that at this stage both Cannes Yachting Festival and eventually Monaco Yacht Show (*)are set to go ahead as planned.
Also the shipyards in Italy have begun to come back and continued with their constructions and continue which their projects for new yachts.
The expectations for both shows is so great across the industry, it gives all in the industry something to look forward to.
(*) till 26th May MYS said the show would go ahead as a not-for-profit event. It seems they have since changed their decision and will not host the show until September 2021.
As a reporter I reported on collapsing societies, including the former Yugoslavia. Now every day here in my so called "civilised world" I can see the same symptoms: a increasingly polarised, insecure population. For citizens living in a socially unstable society it is becoming some how impossible to understand how fragile a crumbling financial, social and political system is before an implosion (or explosion) is bringing it all to a halt.
Since 2011, this legendary "Euro-Crisis", I see many harbingers of a slow but accelerating collapse:
The press has become one of the main pillars of the despotism of e.g. appointed, not by its citizen elected, political responsible of the EU bureaucracy. Journos and their "experts" babble endlessly like the courtiers of the 18th century at the court of Versailles about the weaknesses of the monarch, while the farmers lack bread.
I'm sure that much happens unintentionally and is not planned. But think twice, is it not designed to distract us from the depressing sight of what has become a "social market economy" which has made Germany the strongest economy in Europe? To me it looks like an attempt to keep us trapped in illusions.
These were all the warning signs from the countries I reported: they're violence, they're wars and they're intrigues. I would be glad if I was wrong. But I have seen a lot of things before the virus was hiding the fan... Much of it is now happen here in our previously much stronger countries, whether Europe or America. The circumstances which are now topical with this pandemic and its consequences with sudden outbreaks of violent BLM and LGDP action are only the drop that will bring the barrel to overflow, - or we will all become quite like people of China.
As soon as the economy collapses and the rage explodes in a firestorm across the country, the political freaks will appear, making Trump look shrewd and benign.
Isn't it amazing about this whole situation that the economy suffers so terribly
when people only buy what they really need for 8 weeks?
Isn't that bad? Isn't it?
8 weeks of buying only food and what is really needed and the economy goes down the drain.
That means that we only buy crap that we don't really need.
The truffle is appreciated by some people as a particular culinary speciality. For a rather "smelly" mushroom they are very expensive and actually over many centuries they were mainly part of the rural cuisine, probably because of their strong aroma.
As it is the case with specialities, they suddenly become valuable only because nobody wants to eat them anymore. The truffle seekers lost their business and invented lots of fairy tales about why the truffle is allegedly so fabulous.
And because people like to believe, this same trick works the price begun rising astronomically beyond any reasonable, rational argument. This is exactly the principle by which a consumer society functions: A product is described as sensational without any real evidence, but the fact that so much attention is paid to it gives the fairy tale credibility.
So, the "speciality" suddenly becomes a profitable product and is then used by the "haute cousine", like all fashionable dishes do if their ingredients, like, intestines brain; lung, stomach etc, are having a completely unrealistically market-price.
There are still many truffle pigs around, but most truffle these days found by dogs. It took my little Rottweiler a day to understand what to detect near oak-trees for and then to exchange it for a piece of dried turkey breast. Unfortunately his strength proved to be unsuitable, - he dug the stinky mushroom out of the ground in a few minutes, but the mushroom was also destroyed by his claws.
The park recovers totally.
I am used to the fact that most people in the park do not get too close to me when they see me with my Buddy, the little gentle Rottweiler. And we avoid the busybodies anyway.
But for sure this insane, and in its use completely unproven "Lock-UP-2020" is the best thing that could happen to the park:
No people, 1-2 joggers in 2 or 3 hours.
The birds are carelessly screaming around as if they were politicians.
And nobody tears out the red poppies.
Life is good for the time being.
And about the poor businessmen who hopes for the welfare state, which should bail him out, we'll think later.
He was like our pet bird for a long time. Fed and cared for during the winter, protected by the Rottweiler during the summer from neighbour's cat.
But since a few months I could observe that the tits did not even fly away when Clyde was standing next to them. At first I thought it was habituation but now studies have been published in Germany claiming that tits are also dying en masse from some kind of pneumonia.
Bacterium Suttonella ornithocola causes death of blue tits.
(Text in German)
The largest economy in the EU has already lost more than 20%.
I'm really not an economic expert, so I research what the trends are, what the experts say and then mix that with my rather sceptical view of humanity's reasonable actions.
The Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, GFK, is one of the leading economic analysts in Germany. I am not writing anything about Italy or France here. Nor does Merkel carry any weight here. She is rather, as usual, with her strangely calm way of speaking, suitable to calm and comfort the people. It is the average German citizen who is worried. And when they do, other EU member governments should should do too...
The reality in Germany looks like this:
The GfK "consumption barometer", which measures the buying mood of consumers, has fallen to a record low. The study, entitled "Corona shock: consumer climate reaches historic low" and it describes:
1. consumers expect recession
2. income expectation in free fall
3. consumption is carried along by income expectations
Production shutdowns, shop closures and the catering trade have brought economic activity to a virtual standstill in many areas. In addition, interrupted supply chains hinder production in many areas of industry. Many companies are making use of the possibility of short-time working to avoid redundancies. Nevertheless, it will not be possible to prevent a rise in unemployment in the further course of this year. The resulting fear of job losses is weighing on sentiment.
While the economic outlook is currently still getting off lightly given the severity of the crisis, income expectations have suffered an unprecedented slump. Compared with the previous month, the indicator lost 47.1 points and now stands at -19.3 points. Never before since the start of the monthly survey of consumer sentiment in 1980 has a higher monthly loss of income expectations been measured.
One does not need a mathematical genius to calculate the consequences of the loss of about 20+% of the current VAT of 20% in terms of loss of tax revenue. When unemployment is rising and rich individuals run for the hills (or tax heavens), were is the money supposed to come from?
According to the Federal Employment Agency (BA), just under one in three of the 2.2 million companies with at least one employee subject to social insurance contributions has registered for short-time work. More jobs have already been cut in the service sector than at the height of the financial crisis recession in April 2009. In the manufacturing sector even before Corona, Daimler Benz, Mercedes, had decided to cut up to 15,000 jobs. VW was already pushed into the defensive thanks to strange methods of a lobbyist NGO, "Deutsche Umwelthilfe".
But it is by far the largest employer, the medium-sized companies that are now being led to the slaughterhouse to be gutted by ominous tax avoidance hedge funds like Black Rock who will sell their patents and pension funds to the highest bidders.
The forecasts for the increase in unemployment from the current 2.3 million, which fluctuates between 700,000 and 2.5 million. increase, so to speak. This could lead to a total unemployment of 5 million.
The job index of the Federal Employment Agency (BA-X), an indicator for the demand for labour in Germany, fell by 20 points in March 2020, April has not yet been recorded and is due to be published on 30 April.
As of the fourth month in Corona short-time work, employees whose working hours have been reduced by at least half will now receive 70 and 77 percent, respectively. From the seventh month, the rates will increase to 80 to 87 percent. The reserves of the Employment Agency amount to almost 26 billion euros.
For me it is more than questionable whether the government's decisions will stabilise consumer demand. This is completely open because Corona will act as a booster for the use of artificial intelligence.