Around the traps.

Not much in the notebook this week locally, as things have been hectic. There is a budget today, and the usual hype has been happening. But let’s look at other things. At the moment the best mortgage rate you can get is 2.25% and the market is “toppy”. Shares are going sideways, as are property prices. What is happening is that transportation costs are going up. Significantly up.

Hapag-Lloyd has just announced a 3,000 per 40ft GRI on Asia to the US and Canada services from 15 June.
A year ago, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) US west coast component stood at just 1,686 per 40ft – 12 months on, and shippers are paying up to 14,000 to ship the same cargo on the same route in the same ships.
Although today’s Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) reading for the route jumped 9.5%, to 5,516 per 40ft, there is virtually no chance of shippers securing space at that price.
Typically, quotes The Loadstar has seen for the route, after inclusion of equipment and space guarantees, are nearer to 10,000, with some carriers wanting up to 14,000 for an early June shipment.
“Today’s environment is a free-for-all, and it seems carriers are looking to get what they can, while they can,” said Jon Monroe of Washington state-based Jon Monroe Consulting.
For the US east coast, the FBX spot rate spiked by 11.5% on the week, to $7,358 per 40ft, but here too shippers are likely to have to pay substantially more to get equipment and a guaranteed shipment.
“With nearly 40% of containers getting rolled, many shippers are paying significantly more in premiums in the hopes of getting space,” said Freightos research lead Judah Levine.
Even some BCOs that have signed new annual contracts with carriers are reported to be scrambling to get their products shipped as the lines row back on start dates and volume commitments in favour of abundant lucrative spot and short-term business.

This came from Peter Grant, who monitors more information from Africa than I do: he comments.

There’s simply no way manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers can absorb cost increases like that. They’re going to be passed on to us, the consumer; and many of us won’t be able to afford them easily. Some will say, “Oh, well, just buy something used off Craigslist or an auction site, and make do with that until things improve.” Sadly, that won’t help much, because many more people will be trying to do just that – so prices will shoot up there, too, in line with increased demand. Just look at what’s happened to used car prices over the past few months. One way or another, we’re all going to be affected.
Many voices have been warning about dramatic increases in the inflation rate for a long time now. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, those increases are no longer pending – they’re already here. With news like this, expect them to get worse – quickly.
If you really need to buy a big-ticket item, it might not be a bad idea to do so as soon as you can, before these inflationary pressures make it all the way through the supply chain and reach you. On the other hand, don’t spend all your reserve cash to do so. In difficult economic times, you may need the money more than the item you want to buy.

Today (Thursday 20th May) the NZ government gives its budget for next year. It is being promoted as a wellbeing and recovery budget. But they have already started austerity, and this is going to bite. From the ASMS, a health union.

The Government is now embarking on a generational health restructure which is due to go live in July next year. The cost of that is yet to be determined.
Irrespective of the shape of the new system, it will rely on its people and the skills and commitment of doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals to care for us when we are sick or injured, wherever we happen to be.
My question is this: how many of these critically needed workers will still be working in our public system come July next year? So many of them aren’t just metaphorically ‘sick and tired’, they are fatigued, burned out, tired of battling cramped spaces, old IT and infrastructure, and significant staffing shortages. In many hospitals, bed occupancy rates are regularly running at 100% with frontline cancer and mental health services, to name just a couple, desperately overstretched.
Since the government’s ill-advised “pay restraint” announcement we have had a deluge of emails from doctors and dentists who have had enough.
Here is a small taste:
“As a result of this announcement I have already looked at ads for my specialty in Australia and will continue to do so.”
“I and many colleagues I have spoken to who were contemplating moving more time out of public to private (but we’re not doing so at this stage) are now determined, this was just the push we needed!”
OECD data highlights our health worker deficit, especially in comparison to Scandinavian countries. New Zealand’s health and social care workforce comprised about 11% of the total workforce in 2018 while in Scandinavia it ranged from 17%-20%. In New Zealand there were 59 health and social care workers per 1,000 population, compared with between 84 and 107 in Scandinavian countries.
With our system facing major workforce shortages and carrying vacancies up and down the country, we can ill-afford to lose more to the private sector or overseas.

This is getting a little too historic. What else is going on?

The shortages will continue until morale improves.

Shortages mean that you don’t need to run a “specail” to get people into the supermarket. Their cat is hungry, or the little ones need nappies. In short, if it is not made in NZ — in the same island — there is a chance of a shortage.

Food and grocery supply shortages continue to plague supermarkets.
In Petone Pak ‘n Save, shoppers are warned that there is a shortage on Huggies nappies and certain brands of pet food.
In the Countdown down the road, an Eta peanut butter fan is having to settle for a different brand.
A year-and-a-half after the start of the global pandemic, international supply chains are still struggling to return to normal levels.
Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said the global supply network was under unprecedented pressure and New Zealand faced a double dose of challenges due to proximity and port issues.

We need to start monitoring our grocery bills. Most of the stuff we get IS local: including the dog food and our food. We live in an agricultural area. But the prices are going up anyway.

Covidiocy.

There is a lot of resistance now to getting the COVID jab. Vox Day calls it the stupid test: but let’s start with someone who we know is stupid.

Adam Comments:

They’re too busy arresting Catholic priests. And this is also a lie because you like nothing better than hiding under your bed while fantasizing about your grandmother; any excuse to stay there permanently is manna from your pagan gods to you.
So the answer to the question of whether Jordan Peterson is going to fail the stupid test is no … and yes. No, he’s not taking the vaccine despite his virtue signaling attempt to manipulate his few remaining ardent followers into getting the jab on the bidding of his globalist masters.
But yes, he’s Jordan Peterson so he’s dumber than a bag of Ashkenazi rocks.

And while we are at it, masks have no utility.

You had one job.

From John Wilder, who notes that the US military has sacked someone for writing a book about political partianship being a risk to the military as breaking the rule that officers should not be political —

Lohmeier got sacked from command for the biggest sin of all in a Marxist world: telling the truth. Of course the new goal of the military is diversity rather than their old goal of killing people and breaking things. Recently, a recruiting commercial for the Army had as a focus a young woman whose “parents” were two gay women.
Huh? Just watching this cartoon commercial, you’d get the idea that the mission of the United States military was to be a hiring program for children of gay people. As I recall, that’s exactly what the guys who hit Omaha Beach were fighting for, right?
Meanwhile, if you look at militaries around the world that actually have a mission that includes killing people and breaking things, well, they have commercials of muscled men doing hard, difficult training to do nearly impossible missions. Or of jet fighters and artillery pieces creating massive explosions.

This reminds me of Stalin’s purge of the officer corps: it cost the Soviets a few armies worth of soliders as the woke failed and were relieved for cause, and the captains at the start of Operation Barbarossa became Colonels under a General bought back from fighting the Chinese. It will cost blood if the USA gets involved in a real war, with an equivelantly developed army.

Note I live in NZ and should not snark: our military is far worse: more politically correct and nowhere as many guns, tanks and people, even allowing for population.

The working class implosion.

This is a comment at Sigma Frame. Among the secular Kiwis, the Propertied class do marry, but marry each other. Being able to run a string of polo ponies and ride them is a minimal requisite. The educated upper middles tend to live together then marry, the middle class feel obliged to marry sometime after having kids (our Prime Minister, who is distracting the press by talking about her impending marriage in her early 40s fits into this group). The working class just rent together. Marriage is being something the devout do: the devout are being encouraged to have kids and raise them well, but those not in Christ are being led down paths that lead to no children at all.

These groups mate differently

The Ownership class actually has more freedom in mating, because there is a ton of money laying around, so much so that it is impossible to run out of it, so that less is leveraged at stake on the mating decision as a practical matter. Most of the people who are born into this class, however, do mate within it for the simple reason that there are very profound “relatability” issues to people who did not grow up in this class, and importing someone who did not grow up with that that kind of financial situation into it can be dicey (the person is not equipped to manage that). So this tends to be an insular group, and above all it’s mostly a hidden group.
The Professional/Managerial class is the group that forms the core of the “meritocratic myth”. They see themselves as self-made, and therefore merited, elites, and they generally seek out as mates others with similar profiles. In part this is social pressure from others in the striver class, and in part it is the desire to perpetuate the same degree of elite status in their children in the context of an economy and culture that has become skewed to the benefit of the highly-educated meritocrats (i.e., this class). In the past, this class was both more closed (fewer college spaces, therefore smaller number of highly educated people, more elite in background) and more open (marriages were often between classes, with a woman from a lower stratum being picked as a wife by a man in this class). The latter more or less does not happen any longer in any substantial numbers, as the men in this class, today, tend to seek out women in this class (i.e., striver women) as their mates for the reasons noted above. This has had many effects, including a consolidation of class hierarchy and greater economic immobility and cultural alienation between these class groups. It also has led to the women in this specific group (striver women) having more of a “closed market” on these men than was ever the case in the past, where, again, many of these men in prior eras married “down”. Not so much today.
The middle class is the group that is the largest part of the society in the US. It tends to marry within its own class as well. Previously there was some upward mobility for women in this class via marriage to men in the Professional/Managerial class, but that has closed down for the most part. The route up from this class to that one, today, is much harder. For a few decades there (between the collapse of the “marry into” strategy with the rise of second wave feminism, and around 2000-2005 or so) it was possible for some portion of this class to “educate itself upward” into the Professional/Managerial class without having to be born into it or marrying into it. That has now been mostly shut down as well, due to the prevalence of assortative intermarriage between the current members of the Professional/Managerial class, which tends to pre-populate the institutions and opportunities for this class in the next generation by means of their own kids. So today almost all of the middle marry within their own class and have much less social mobility options, via marriage or otherwise, than in even the recent past.
The everyone else category is largely not marrying any longer at all.

What happens if you don’t marry? You develop … hobbies. Drinking, gaming, or more damaging vices. Your life is shorter. To the elite, who want depopulation, this is a feature, not a a bug.