During the Covid-19 crisis

Gentlepeople – during the crisis I’ll be opening up more discussion threads in order the keep the conversation going. The auto-moderator is holding up a lot of comments – so this morning I woke up to over 200 comments being held up. Please be patient – I will release them but it takes time to read through them and, despite what you may think, I do have a full-time job (currently writing a book on trade policy and blockchain).

The other posters and I will be bringing you information about the Covid-19 crisis itself and providing the usual gamut of commentary.

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16 Responses to During the Covid-19 crisis

  1. Could you please remove the block on the Chinese leader’s name? That is just annoying.

  2. BorisG

    Sinc, my sympathies. This workload may become unsustainable and frankly waste of time. Just delete them all including mine. Don’t waste your time.

    And thanks for your great work.

    One day I would like to discuss libertarians’ secession from Cat but that is a topic for another day.

  3. Ellie

    I think CL would make a good right hand man. He would smite me in a second though. 😞

  4. Archivist

    I think CL would make a good right hand man.


  5. Sinclair Davidson

    Could you please remove the block on the Chinese leader’s name? That is just annoying.

    Yes – I was trying to clamp down on some of the anti-Chinese silliness.

  6. Ellie

    I am having Chinese for dinner.

  7. Ellie

    He is bringing his own chop sticks.

  8. Bruce in WA

    Thank you. The Cat is, ATM, a tiny glimmer of light and warmth in among the overwhelming bleakness and doom.

  9. Onya Sinc, I take back all those things I said about you.

  10. Tel

    Going back and approving old comments might help the anti-spam software figure out good from bad. However, I doubt anyone is likely to go back and read the entire thread again, hoping to discover the extra comments.

    Some helpful hints about killer words might be appreciated.

  11. Ellie

    Onya Sinc, I take back all those things I said about you.

    He is a good, bald man.

  12. “Currently writing a book on trade policy and blockchain…”

    I tinkered with this idea a couple of years ago. But I’m sure no-one would pay me to write a book on this. So I’m delighted you’re doing it.

    It seemed to me there was a bigger role in trade administration than trade policy. I had in mind export and import documentation as a starting point. I imagined it might be possible to configure an import/export tax/tariff system inside a blockchain ‘ledger’ of transactions (comprising also invoices, shipping manifest, payment receipts, ex-im credits etc) whose originators would be customs/health agencies, banks and private traders. It seemed to me these ledgers could possibly replicate and then replace the current system of WTO ‘schedules’ of tariff commitments. In sone respects they might be ‘live’ schedules.

    Some aspects (schedules) of services and TRIPS (intellectual property) trade agreements/commitments could also be replaced (I guessed) by blockchain.

    Then, as blockchain schedules became comprehensive, the often-breeched WTO ‘notification’ system that currently catalogs changes impinging on Member countries’ ‘rights/obligations’ could be replace by a summary of events in the blockchain (maybe that record *is* the blockchain).

    Overall, however, I wasn’t convinced that creating these blockchains — a difficult thing to do, especially at first — would be an attractive simplification for governments or for any but the largest exporters/importers. I’m uncertain whether all the potential advantages such as the consolidation of disparate import/export information in ‘blocks’, the elimination of privileged control of information, the guarantees of the blockchain ‘contract’ and the opportunities offered by (programmed) self-execution of contracts, would really add up to a clear advantage over the present (also sophisticated) systems. In a complex area of administration, any workable incumbent system has a lot of inertia and the AU system (at least) works pretty well.

    Then, for government agencies the “problem” would, in part, be loss of a management role. Agencies that extract power from their administration of the current ‘ledgers’ — and their clients — would presumably resist both transparency and ‘automatic’ aspects of the blockchain implementation.

    But I really don’t know enough this to have the right intuitions. So I’m looking forward to what you suggest. Best of luck.


  13. Sinclair Davidson

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for that. Yep – it is along those lines.

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