Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Forum - what are the possible longer term changes from the covid-19 pandemic?

I have let the Monday Forums alone in part because my posting and hence my audience has been right down. Time to resume I think, if in a limited way. I miss the red-herrings!

Back in the 1970s I was quite addicted to the TV program, The Good Life. Now the ideas of sustainability, then so 60s and 70s, appears to back driven by covid-19.

Here I must admit to a continuing sense of pique. I cam back to Armidale intending to develop my veggie garden.

My arrival coincided with level 5 water restriction which prohibited even the use of even buckets or watering cans for use on gardens. While I accepted the need for water restrictions, I thought that the Council had gone over the top at least in in terms of the composition of the restrictions. Now eight months later with winter dawning, with four months of above average rainfall and more rain forecast, with the main dam above 50% with other water supplies in place, the restrictions are still in place. I look at my little veggie patch and think about just how much water I have imported via the vegetables bought and all the costs involved in transporting them. So much for self-sufficiency!

Leaving aside that personal gripe, there has been much media coverage about the changes in behaviour patterns brought about by covid-19, changes that are meant to be long term. I wonder. As a trainer, i used to comment that most training programs had limited effect because people went back into their organisations and normal life and then dropped the new things that they had learned where these conflicted with existing patterns.

Now as covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, I think that we can see the same pattern. Still, I may be wrong, so here is the topic for today's Monday Forum, What longer term changes do you expect to flow from covid-19?   

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Armidale Diaries 8 - cold, council, chooks and bunker boxes

Snow, Armidale, 1949, Gary Bryant family photo

I had just had my shower this morning when next door neighbour Dave knocked on the door to collect me for a wood run.

It's been cold in our little city. Summer and autumn were warmer than average, but that warmth has been replaced by below average temperatures. Yesterday, the maximum stayed firmly below 10. At 10am the temperature was 3.8C, equivalent to -4.8C after taking wind chill into account. With the cold, I have had the wood heater in the lounge room going steadily from late afternoon, chewing through the wood.

We have have fallen into a routine. Dave has a ute, so we take that down to Ducats to pick up a load. At Ducats, the ute goes onto the weighbridge, then we go to the large wood heaps to load, back to the weighbridge to measure the new weight and then to the office to pay It's quite easy and not very expensive. A full ute load costs about $76 and keeps both houses going for several weeks.

Ducats' wood zone was  crowded. The firm gets much of its wood from trees cleared as part of road widening works, as well as wood from dead trees on properties. There is a fair bit of this because of the drought. The wood is split, trucked, and then dumped in big piles at the back of the lot. This morning there were half a dozen utes and cars, often with trailers, with more arriving all the time. Dave manoeuvred the ute between the piles and other vehicles and we started loading.

There is a lot of opposition in Armidale to wood fires, especially in the old city where the smoke collects in the valley along Dumaresq Creek. While I generally support moves to improve the efficiency of wood heating, I can't share the opposition to wood fires in general. I could mount a rational argument for this position, but in reality I just like fires!

I find that this love of fires is shared among those of us who grew up in Armidale. It exists even among those now living in areas such as Queensland's Sunshine or Gold Coasts. 

It's not surprising. Armidale can get quite cold, houses were generally weatherboard and not insulated, so wood fires and stoves were normal.

Central Park Rotunda in snow. Photo Caling Collection

We used to call it the Armidale flick. My girlfriends would come into the kitchen at Marsh Street, stand with their back to the fuel stove and then flick up the back of their skirts to allow the warmth to reach their bottoms!

Fires extended far beyond heating. We all lit fires in backyard and bush to cook or just to play. There were bonfires for cracker night, fires in 44 gallon drums cut in half to provide heat outside shearing sheds where dances were being held. Even though cold draughts came up through the gaps in the sheering shed floor, the cold wasn't too bad when dancing, but between dances the girls in their dresses used to huddle round the fire drums. 

My girls were young when we moved to Sydney.  My habit of building fires in the backyard continued after our move. Then I would dig a hole in the lawn, surround it with bricks and call it a BBQ, but it was really just a fire. My family laughed at me, although my daughters and their friends did enjoy things such as toasting marshmallows. 

I had to laugh, by the way. I received an email from Judy Grieve. President of the Armidale and District Historical Society to say the Society had held a committee meeting on the Central Park Rotunda. While not as cold as in the above snow photo, it's still pretty chilly. I suppose that's one way of preserving social distancing!

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray

On other matters, while we were loading wood, Dave asked me what's the story with Armidale Regional Council? 

By way of background, a group of councillors (we used to call them alderman) unhappy with the management of Mayor Simon Murray and new CEO Susan Law moved a successful motion to dismiss the Mayor. The Mayor responded that the Council had no power to dismiss him and effectively ignored  the motion. The dissidents then moved a motion to dismiss the CEO. The Council (aka Mayor and CEO) obtained a court order blocking the move. The State Government then gave the Council notice to show cause why it should not be suspended and an administrator appointed. Meantime, Council and local government rules on public comment by Councillors effectively prevented dissident Councilors from public comment.   

I explained all this to Dave and then added that since our local newspapers were effectively suspended I had only Facebook to rely on for news. Here I am FB friends with most of the dissident groups plus members of many local organisations, so the slant I was getting was slanted. My personal view was that the conflict was all about the changing roles of Council and that nobody was really addressing this issue.         
In an odd way, this links to another issue on my mind, the humble chook.

I grew up with chooks. We had them in the backyard when I was young, most people did, Then chooks largely vanished from back yards, in part because we were all wealthier and more time poor, in part because the increasingly urbanised town and city dwellers on their smaller blocks objected to their neighbours having chooks on the grounds of noise and smell, in part because council regulations made chook keeping more difficult.

Now, in our covid-19 era, chooks are back. The idea of producing one's own eggs, of having the Sunday roast available in the backyard, has suddenly become attractive once again. Those producing chickens for sale are selling, out while thieves have discovered a new niche market, stealing home chooks for on sale.

Nostalgia can be a bad thing. While I am thinking about installing a chook pen, I also remember the downsides. I wondered how many people shared my nostalgia, so asked on the Armidale Families Facebook page. After 57 comments, it appears that many do!

One of the nice things about the covid-19 shutdowns is the way that regional businesses and locals in combination have focused on local and regional supply via on-line ordering.

One example, not the only one, is the way in which the Welder's Dog has combined with local producers to supply bunker boxes. This photo shows the contents of our first order. We have just ordered a second, attracted by the slogan "lamb shanks, lamb shanks, lamb shanks."  I really like lamb shanks. It's just the food for this cold weather.

I would like to think that this local and regional focus might continue as the shut-downs ease. If there is one lesson from this pandemic, it is the importance of local businesses and local supply.

Postscript 9 August 2020

Google has changed the blogger writing/editing tool. One part of the change is that the control comment  element including delete has been shifted from the bottom to the  top of comments. Clearing spam comments in a hurry, I managed to delete a number of real comments including one here.

My commenter here made the point that clearing dead trees from properties for firewood could have negative effects in reducing habitat for animals and insects

Friday, May 22, 2020

Round the blogging traps - EM Lilien and fin de siècle, Ramana and fear of the other, Neil Whitfield's reminiscences

I have often mentioned Hel's ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly. It remains one of my favourite blogs.

The illustration -  EM Lilien, Das stille Lied, c1900 - comes from a guest post on Hel's blog, Gender, Orientalism and the Jewish Nation: EM Lilien, by (I think) Dr Lynne Swarts, a Sydney historian and academic.

I had not heard of E M Lilien. When I first saw the illustration I thought Aubrey Beardsley and fin de siècle. If you look at the Beardsley in this post, Monday Forum - fin de siècle, the decadents and other such matters, you can see why I had that reaction.

There is indeed a linkage between Lilien and equivalent movements in France and England, although Lynne is writing from a particular perspective, Lilien as Jewish and Zionist intellectual and artist. It's another thread.

I had not realised that Hels had broken her finger in rather dramatic circumstances. I quote:
This week I was walking down the street, never less than 2 metres away from the closest person. Yet two hoons ran up from behind, yelling about the stupidity of allowing elderly people out of their houses. In fear I fell over on the concrete footpath, breaking one finger, dislocating another finger, cutting the face above the eye and bruising the jaw like a boxer. 
Ouch!!!!!!!!  Seriously, while covid-19 has revealed much that is good in human society, it's also drawn out some of the stupidities. 

This graphic comes from Panic, a post on Ramana's Musings. I would add  Facebook and news! 

Written on 20 March at the start of Indian lock downs, the post takes a practical and philosophical view. Of course one should take sensible precautions, but in the end fear becomes it's own worst enemy leading to paralysis.

Another short Ramana post, A Common Enemy, deals with the fear of the other, the way in which this feeds into division. Ramana's blog features short posts that mix sensible commentary with personal reflections and details of personal life. Specifically on the fear of the other, we have to resist this for ir creates poison.

Finally in this short round up, I continue to enjoy Neil Whitfield's reminiscences and repeats of past posts on Neil's Commonplace Book. Neil and I met through blogging, later in person. After these years, Neil's posts are in part a journey through my own life.

It's been a while since I did a blogging round-up. Somehow, day to day pressures have changed my focus. Time I did some more!   

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Train Reading - Introducing John Buchan's Memory Hold-the-Door, Nevil Shute's Slide Rule

John Buchan, Memory Hold-the-Door
I fear that my reading has become sadly truncated. I blame covid-19, but in truth it happened much earlier. I suppose that it was associated with a broader ennui.

I have never, perhaps rarely, read individual books because I must. When told to do so, I find myself in rebellion, Sometimes, David Copperfield is an example, the book stays with me later. Mostly, they drift into the vacuum of my mind, there to be lost.

My train reading began because I had large bookcases of unread books on one side, a longish bus and train rde both ways on the other, The rules were simple: I had to select one book that I had not read, finish it whether or not I liked it, and then write a post.

The practice provided a liberal education because my remnant library is a meld of three generations, grandfather, father and mine with books over multiple ages.  I decided that I liked older styles of writing and that older views were not outdated simply by the passage of time and fashion. My knowledge of history also expanded because the older books ask different questions and have different assumptions. This applies to non-history texts as much as history texts.

With time, I started adding modern books that I thought that I should read. This was an error in some ways, diluting the original purpose.  I was no longer forced to address different ideas, some of which I profoundly disagreed  Then I stopped travelling. Drift set in because I was no longer travelling. I tried to create specific time blocks for my train reading, but found a curious thing. Train time had been dead time to be filled as I wished. Now I still had the time, but found that the thought that I should be doing something else productive kept intervening.

I know that this was silly, irrational. My train reading had been interesting, stimulating, valuable, but I couldn't help myself. I blame the whole thing on my protestant background!

A few weeks back I made a determined effort to begin again, plucking two books of my shelves to read in parallel. Both had been purchased from Boobooks here in Armidale. Each had cost the princely sum of $10. Both were autobiographies by prolific writers whose writing I had really enjoyed. Both dealt with the author's life outside writing, although the interconnections between their life experiences and their written work was clear.

The first book was John Buchan's Memory Hold-the-Door completed just before his death in 1940. Born in 1875Buchan was a prolific writer. publishing 100 works including nearly 30 novels, seven collections of short stories, and biographies of Sir Walter Scott, Caesar Augustus, and Oliver Cromwell. He was also a barrister, colonial administrator and diplomat, a member of parliament and, finally, a very successful Canadian Governor.

Memory Hold-the-Door focuses on aspects of Buchan's personal and public life, including his evolving beliefs. His writing is rarely mentioned. The book includes many vignettes, short biographies of his friends and colleagues, although he consciously chosen to exclude the living.   

Nevil Schute Norway to give him his full name, was born in 1899. As Nevil Schute Norway, he practised as an aeronautical engineer in the foundation days of aircraft production and civil aviation. As Nevil Schute, he published 23 books including On the Beach and A Town like Alice. He chose the shortened form of his name as a pen-name to avoid conflict with his aircraft and aviation activities.

As the name suggests, Slide Rule focuses on Shute's aviation experience. It's a rattling good yarn, to use a phrase both men would have appreciated.

I knew that many of Shute's earlier books had an aviation background including No Highway, Published in 1948, the book's hero is an eccentric boffin at RAE Farnborough who predicts metal fatigue in a new civil airliner but is not believed. Within four years, the de Havilland DH 106 Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner, would experience metal fatigue related crashes, in so doing destroying the hopes of the British aircraft industry.

While I knew of Shute's background, I had no idea just how significant a figure he was in the early days of the aircraft industry as an engineer and businessman.

I will tell you a little more about these men and their autobiographies in later train reading posts.           


Monday, May 18, 2020

Sydney's Nanda\Hobbs Gallery presents the paintings of Caroline Zilinsky

Faceless, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen, Nanda\Hobbs Gallery, Sydney  

One thing that I have really missed since the covid-19 shutdown is gallery visits. I can no longer afford to buy, but looking remains a pleasure. I mention this now because I received an email from Sydney's Nanda/Hobbs, Gallery. It began:
Titanic by Caroline Zilinsky opens at Nanda\Hobbs—enigmatic and revealing portraits painted without without fear or favour. 
“The world started melting down and you said let’s have the show. I thought the world may not exist in a few months so I said yes but it felt a bit like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. May as well play the violin to the bitter end and go down doing what I love.”
I blush to admit that I hadn't heard of Caroline although she is an established painter. Now back in Armidale, I am struggling to come to grips with New England painters, past and present, let alone those from elsewhere. However, I was really struck by Caroline's striking paintings.
The Senator, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen
Both the paintings so far included in this post are realist in style with an underlying message. Of the two, I prefer Faceless, although The Senator is striking.

There are various descriptions of Caroline's painting. Her artist's profile states:
Caroline Zilinsky is the most enigmatic of painters.  She is obsessive, highly skilled, sharp witted and possesses an eye that drills into the very soul of her sitters, revealing their most intimate truths. Her unrelenting artistic drive is intoxicating—ten-hour days at the easel is the studio norm. 
When viewing Zilinsky’s paintings, one cannot be an innocent bystander. As an artist, she has the ability to metaphorically reach out and grasp the viewer, compelling us to engage in a dialogue with her protagonists.  Her works inhabit an interesting place in contemporary Australian painting. She echoes many of the themes of the Australian Modernism greats and stylistically, acknowledges a debt to their introspective investigations into an uncomfortable world.
I suspect all that's true, although as a result there is something uncomfortably ungainly about her work. Anthea may, but would I want her too?
Anthea may or may not, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen
There is something brave about Nanda/Hobbs proceeding with an exhibition in current circumstances, I am not sure whether the NSW rules yet allow open viewings, but you can visit by arrangement.

You can view the full catalogue of works here along with a short video with Caroline and Ralph Hobbs discussing the work in Titanic.

In person viewings in the gallery can be made by appointment—Please contact the Gallery on 02 8599 8000 to arrange at time. The exhibition closes on 5 June.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Saturday Morning Musings - covid-19 and the lucky country

I do not know what real changes will come from covid-19. I do know that this is one of those times that I am glad that I live in Australia.

The first thing I noticed on visiting the supermarket yesterday was an absolute mountain of toilet paper! Not only were the normal shelves full, but there was a special display at the front of the store. Flour was still in short supply,  the whole world seems to be baking!, but there was plenty of pasta and the meat shelves were well supplied. The early panic buying that led to drastic shortages has been replaced by a degree of normality.

Covid-19 has placed great stresses on supply chains in Australia and elsewhere. So far at least, Australian supply chains seem to have met the challenge. There are increasing problems in overseas supply, but domestic supply has held up. We can contrast this with the US where meat supply  has become a major issue because a concentrated supply chain proved highly vulnerable to disruption.

As in other parts of the world, covid-19 has highlighted issues associated with social inequality. In wealthy countries, the virus initially hit hardest among the global mobile who travelled for business and leisure. New York is perhaps the classic example, but you can see similar patterns in Australia. Then as lock downs came into effect the economic ripple effects hit the most economically vulnerable. Again, the US is the most remarkable example because of the absence of safety nets.

In Australia at least, the immediate effect has actually been a reduction in social inequality because of the way support measures have been designed. The income position of those at the bottom end has actually improved, in part because those on unemployment benefits have actually seen their incomes double. This may not last, but is at least one positive.

As in other western countries, Australia has seen virus clusters in aged care facilities. All countries will have to address longer term issues here. However, for the present at least infections and deaths have been less. The Australian examples stand out because they are single events rather than a universal pattern. This is small consolation for those who have lost loved ones, but is still a positive.

The Australian death rate has been quite low. As of last night, Australia had 6,914 confirmed cases of which 63% were acquired overseas, 37% from local transmission. Deaths totalled 97. This is a relatively low number of deaths both in absolute terms and as a proportion of total infections. It can also be compared with an Australian road toll of around 1,200 in 2019.

The relatively low Australian death toll is due in part to effective social distancing measures, in part to the quality of the health care system. I suspect that many Australians are very glad that we have our system compared to that applying in the US. I don't think that we are alone in this. Support for the NHS in the UK has also grown. I wondered how the crisis would affect US domestic attitudes to health care. Would it act as a circuit breaker? I suspect not based on the US reporting that I have read.

So far, so good. However, in this country as in the rest of the world attention is now turning to the best ways to unlock economies. The economic and social costs of the lock downs are not sustainable beyond the short term.

I wonder if Australia can manage this properly? I have reservations here in part because it requires a degree of subtlety and judgment, a recognition of geographic difference, To my mind, Australian governments do not have a good track record in this area.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Are current productivity measurements still meaningful in services dominated economies? - a note

Back on 22 April 2020, Winton Bates asked What are the implications of declining productivity growth in high-income countries? Winton had previously expressed some reservations about statistical measures that suggested a structural decline in productivity growth in developed economies, in part because of difficulties in measuring the impact of information and communications technologies including real price declines. Now more convinced, he looks at the implications for future income levels.

I am very out of touch now with productivity discussions, but felt that the rise of services created difficulties for productivity measurement and indeed for the measurement of real income growth. I saw three problems.

The first lay in the definition of capital investment itself where measurement based on physical capital underestimated real capital investment in services where investment in things such as improved processes had a high labour component, a low physical component. A second problem lay in valuing outputs especially in non-market areas. A third and related problem lay in the assessment of quality in outputs.

My feeling was that, in combination, these problems meant that the level of capital investment in services was underestimated, output was underestimated, leading to misleading conclusions about the nature and level of productivity growth in services. Overall, I thought that productivity growth in services had been considerably underestimated.

I still think that was right, but now I suspect that productivity growth in services has declined, in part because the previous gains from process improvement have been largely exhausted while the longer term costs from process improvement have become more apparent. Services have also suffered from a growing regulatory burden, especially but not just where Government funding is involved. I wonder, too, about the quality of services. Has this actually declined as I suspect. 

These are not insignificant issues now that services constitute such a significant portion of the economies in developed countries, some 64%. I wonder how much meaning conventional productivity measurements now have.   


Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Armidale Diaries 7 - birds, bees and social isolation

In these days of social distancing, I find myself spending time just sitting at the outdoor table in the back paved area absorbing the sun. It's out of the wind and is a real sun trap.

Sitting, I look across the little backyard and then a paddock to Queen Elizabeth Drive, once known as the Mad Mile. This, then the main drag to the University, acquired its name because people used to pu the foot down. Armidale was much smaller then and it was really a country road.

Constable later Sergeant Montgomery, the city's only motor cycle policeman, used to spend time there waiting to catch the unwary. Monty, as he was known, was an institution especially among the young who had just acquired or were on the point of acquiring a license.

In those more relaxed days, you could acquire a full unrestricted drivers license at 16. There were no minimum hours. You just needed to pass your driving test. Most country kids had been driving from an early age. For townies like myself it was a little more difficult, but most got their license at 16 or 17.

The stories about Monty are legion, some may even be true!. A big man, he had the reported habit of falling off his bike, in so doing acquiring the nickname "Autumn Leaves".  He used to wait behind a particular billboard outside town to catch unwary highway travellers. We locals knew this habit and could take necessary avoiding action. Through travellers were not so lucky.

Monty was also a kind man. It's not easy being a policeman in a smallish community, for you are both a resident and an enforcer, different roles that can conflict. You need to temper the letter of the law with s degree of discretion and judgement, something that is more difficult now because procedures have become so rigid. In retrospect, Monty managed the balance pretty well.

I have mentioned the adjoining paddock before. The doings there continue to fascinate me. It's quite a big paddock by urban standards. The neighbours have a ride on mower. Since the rains came and the grass grew, they have been mowing regularly. A cacophony of sulphur crested cockatoos has gathered as a consequence.

There are hundreds of them. Each morning they gather in the trees on the other side of the Mad Mile Then, mainly travelling in pairs, they engage in a mad dance swarming from one end of the tree line to the other over an 800 plus metre path. The trees shake under the impact. In the evening they gather in the hundreds to feed on the paddock.

I said a cacophony of cockatoos. The poets tell us that bird song is meant to be melodious and indeed it can be. But these birds squark! A friend looked up descriptions for them in a crowd. Choices include a clattering, a chattering or a cluttering. I prefer cacophony!

Not all birds are so noisy. A crested pigeon has taken up feeding in the backyard. I used to call them woodcocks in Sydney, but I am assured that the correct name is crested pigeon. There are a pair that sit on next door's TV areal., but its the male who comes to eat.

He was very cautious initially, but now he just ignores me, moving only if I make a sudden movement.

In the age of social distancing, we are all forced back to our social media connections. There is a real issue here. From my viewpoint social media has been a godsend, but then I'm involved actively in the on-line world. This is not true for many. Covid-19 has suddenly short circuited all previous discussions about the on-line world and the importance of decent internet access. Even the Armidale Regional Council has been caught,struggling with virtual council meetings because some councilors in country areas do not have access to dependable broadband.

One thing I noticed when I arrived in Armidale was the apparent absence of bees. Growing up here, there were lots of bees. I managed to get stung several times. I knew that bees had been in decline in bee numbers many areas, so wondered if the district had been affected. Note I didn't say impacted. The rise of that word has been one of my pet hates.

I have a confession to make here, on bees not the use of English. I have been thinking that I would like beehives. I know that it's silly in some ways. There is a fair bit of work involved. But still!

Anyway, I put up a query on the New England Pandemic Facebook page asking about bees. I was reassured to learn that bees are still around, native and imported, just not where I was.I also learned a lot about flowers that bees liked, again both native and imported.

Ten days ago, the first bee arrived at the house. They must have known that I was looking for them! This morning as I sat outside another, the same?, cam buzzing around. I sat there and let it inspect my jumper. I don't know why my jumper should be attractive, but it seemed to be a subject of considerable interest.

Just at the moment, shopping has moved from a chore to a major excursion., a break! The stores are not crowded and toilet paper is back! In fact, most things are back including eggs and pasta.

I fear that my store trips involved detours. I know that this is naughty, As a male of a certain age, I should be staying home, not perambulating. The warnings are most fearsome, the police on guard. But still.

A number of nice lanes lie to the west of Armidale. You can drive down one road. swing to the left or right and then turn back to town. In all, the time involved is less than the standard metro shopping trip.

This is St Nicholas' Anglican church at Saumarez Ponds. It lies just to the west of Armidale. I can head west and then drive south and east to get to the shops.

Saumarez Ponds was a now vanished small farming community. I suppose that those communities are now coming back in a new guise with the spread of hobby farms outside Armidale. These began in the 1950s with the spread of those who wanted space for their chooks and horses. Some are just like large urban blocks, others have turned into mini-farms, some are outposts of the counter-culture community with mud brick homes and sprawling gardens. It's part of the richness of New England life.

 It's time to finish. Next door neighbour Dave has just come with a load of wood for the lounge room fire. I do love living in the country.         


Friday, May 01, 2020

A note on the economic aspects of covid-19 and the associated shutdowns

The scale of the short term economic impacts from covid-19 and associated shutdowns are becoming clear. They were always expected to be substantial even with the cushioning measures introduced by national governments. 

In a short BBC story (30 April 2020), Andrew Walker reports that a first estimate of Eurozone GDP between January and March showed a contraction of 3.8%, worse than during the financial crisis.

In the case of France, the 5.8% decline in gross domestic product (GDP) was the largest the quarterly series has recorded since it began in 1949. Two other large economies have also published first estimates: Spain saw a contraction of 5.1% while Italy's economy shrank by 4.7%.

In China, CBNC reported (16 April 2020) that in March quarter Chinese GDP contracted by 6.8% in 2020 from a year ago. Domestic downturns flow to other nationals through trade effects. As an example, Xinhua reported (30 April 2020) that international brands had cancelled textile orders with Bangladesh suppliers worth 3.18 billion U.S. dollars, a major hit to the country's economy.

In Australia, the Grattan Institute has developed a useful economic tracker that aids measurement of the economic effects of covid-19 and associated measures. This chart, for example, shows the proportion of jobs lost/gained by industry.

Proportion of Australian jobs lost / gained since 14 March 2020 by industry
Grattan Institute.  Data collected by the ABS for the week ending 4 April 2020 was released on 21 April 2020. Timing: Data released fortnightly. Chart last updated 21 April 2020.

In considering the economic impact of covid-19 we need to recognise that we are dealing with a multi-stage process. There is the first impact of the covid-19 shutdowns, cushioned to some degree by stimulus measures. Then comes the progressive re-opening of economies, followed by longer term adjustments. Jobs lost are not so easily regained. Many businesses will be forced to close. Others including financial institutions will be left in a weakened position. The ability of Governments to provide further support will be increasingly constrained by debt burdens.

In countries like Australia, one critical point will be the ending of current support measures. What will the economy look like one stimulus is withdrawn?