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  • fka
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #160 on: August 24, 2021, 10:09:06 am »
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I'm sure you understand why we need a source for this number.

I was curious about this, too. Martino got it from that Asia Nikkei article, which cites the Korea Economic Research Institute, but doesn't link to their original source (the number in the article is actually 78.5%). That number seemed way too high to be plausible. If that were really the case, like 2/3 of shopfronts would be vacant and visible signs of economic collapse would be everywhere.

I went to KERI's website and it's clear that's a very partisan, anti-regulation think tank. No big deal - sometimes partisan think tanks can produce high quality research regardless of their ideological leanings. Sometimes they churn out crap just to get their name in the press and serve as rent-a-quote sources for lazy journalists. KERI's English publications are quite out of date and I couldn't find anything to support what the article claimed. http://www.keri.org/web/eng/home

Then I found this: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2021/07/13/skorea-COVID-19-coronavirus-Seoul-restrictions-small-business/4651626164014/ It cites KERI but says:

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While South Korea's economy as a whole has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic well, with the government projecting GDP growth to exceed 4% in 2021 on the back of strong exports, smaller businesses have suffered.
Nearly eight in 10 owners of small storefront businesses have seen their revenues drop this year, by an average of 21.8%, according to a survey released on Monday by the Korea Economic Research Institute.

There's a link to the KERI survey, which is only available in Korean: https://bit.ly/3Df0BFN

Using Chrome's translator, in the first paragraph we see this:

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Eight out of ten self-employed people (78.5%) reported that their sales in the first half of this year decreased compared to the first half of last year. In terms of amount, it was analyzed that the average 21.8% decreased.

The language is a bit awkward here but we can make sense of it, and the rest of the report goes into more detail:

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The decrease in net profit by industry was Karaoke / Laundry, etc. (21.5%) Clothing store / Cosmetics store / Flower store (20.6%) Restaurant, cafe, etc. (19.7%)  Beauty salon / Skin care center (19.7%) Real estate, interior, auto repair shop (16.1%)  Grocery retail stores such as supermarkets, convenience stores and butchers (14.8%)  Academy (including arts and sports) (14.2%).

^ I've cleaned up the formatting from the original Google translation but haven't altered any of the numbers. Later in the report (based on 521 responses, so not a worthless study but one that might fall short of what a major government or academic study would consider robust), we learn that a majority of respondents consider COVID to be the biggest factor in the decline of profits, with labor costs and high commercial rents also significant. Fewer than 50% of respondents believed that legislation was necessary to compensate small business owners for lost profits due to social distancing measures, while a third felt it was more important to tackle "tax, utility bills and labor costs". The most popular solution to getting business back to normal was producing COVID immunity through vaccination.

So it looks like the number Martino's been using from the Asia Nikkei article was probably just a mistranslation or editorial mistake.

Martino, you're pretty good at acknowledging these kinds of mistakes, so I'm assuming you're going to do that here. I'm curious as to whether you think a 15%-20% decline in profits for some industries is closer to belt-tightening or the 20-40 year catastrophe that you originally suggested?


« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 10:12:14 am by fka »


  • fka
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #161 on: August 24, 2021, 11:08:28 am »
For reference:


Those businesses are hurting. There's A LOT of dried up income. It's not just a little belt tightening for many of them...

That's a catastrophe affecting millions across the country. It is NOT sustainable.


Your story was anecdote. The data shows that small businesses have been devastated and the rate of business failure is higher than pre-pandemic.

When businesses see sales dip 75% with the imposition of social distancing measures, yes, it's because of those government measures. These restaurants can see their profits increase and decrease as social distancing measures become more or less strict.

Face it: It's because of these rules that small businesses are getting devastated. This is going to have severe long-term impacts.

There are something like 13 million people employed in micro and small-sized business in Korea. $7 billion would equal about $540 dollars per person. That's not anywhere near enough to handle a 75% decline in business.

The reason for this is anyone with a brain (which apparently excludes both you and gogators! because otherwise you would realize how moronic his point was) would look at that $7 billion figure, divide it either between the number of small businesses or the number of small business employees and realize that it is nowhere near enough to keep businesses afloat if they are experiencing a 75% decline in sales.

Small businesses across the board are seeing a 75% reduction in sales. Yes, some are doing okay. Many more are really hurting. You would need to spend something like 1500 per person, per month just to keep them in survival. And still many would fold. Have you done the math on that? Korea doesn't have that kind of money.

Just because you can't accept that there isn't enough money, doesn't mean it isn't true.

I'm not posting these to embarrass you. I just want to know if your perspective has changed now that you know you've been using a massively inflated number (about 55-60% higher than what small business actually reported). A lot of your arguments are rooted in the 75% decline in profits being catastrophic (your word, not mine).


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #162 on: August 24, 2021, 11:27:49 am »
For reference:


I'm not posting these to embarrass you. I just want to know if your perspective has changed now that you know you've been using a massively inflated number (about 55-60% higher than what small business actually reported). A lot of your arguments are rooted in the 75% decline in profits being catastrophic (your word, not mine).
Hey, no problem. Good that you did a deeper dive on the numbers. Of course we're all trying to sort through things.

Yes, I was basing thijgs on that figure. 20% is more manageable but still concerning. And I thinj you'd also agree that $7 billion is not a great sum of money over the course of this.

It's also worth noting that this is all pre-Stage IV numbers. I think you might see much bigger impacts then, but then again, it depends on how long it lasts.

Regardless, good catch on the data. It certainly shows things not being as bad, and I think you'd agree that if they were that bad, one would have to consider opening things up to some degree because those #s would be calamitous.
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  • Mr C
  • The Legend

    • 2923

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #163 on: August 24, 2021, 11:46:06 am »
For reference:


I'm not posting these to embarrass you. I just want to know if your perspective has changed now that you know you've been using a massively inflated number (about 55-60% higher than what small business actually reported). A lot of your arguments are rooted in the 75% decline in profits being catastrophic (your word, not mine).

No, no.  300%.  (75/25)X100=300% . 

If someone told you an item was  $25 but they charged $75, would you think that was 55-60% higher?


  • fka
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #164 on: August 24, 2021, 12:10:27 pm »
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Yes, I was basing thijgs on that figure. 20% is more manageable but still concerning. And I thinj you'd also agree that $7 billion is not a great sum of money over the course of this.

Yes, I don't think that the budget surplus is sufficient to make a long-term impact or cover all losses. It could fund some short-term stimulus, but it's not going to save every struggling business.

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It's also worth noting that this is all pre-Stage IV numbers. I think you might see much bigger impacts then, but then again, it depends on how long it lasts.

You might be right, but again, we don't really know how many are staying home because the government says they can't patronize a business vs. how many people are staying home voluntarily because they don't want to catch the coronavirus, so the impact of the restrictions may be impossible to quantify. That said, the rules have shifted so many times that it might not have much of an impact at all. For example, there was a period late last year when cafes had to convert to take-out only, but that was at Level 3 (if I remember correctly). I think gyms and certain other businesses were forcibly closed at one point, again at a lower level, while now they can operate under certain guidelines. This is anecdotal, of course, but several people have said they don't really notice any difference between Levels 3 and 4 in terms of what they can / can't do. The sparser number of people on the street may be due to self-imposed social distancing.

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Regardless, good catch on the data. It certainly shows things not being as bad, and I think you'd agree that if they were that bad, one would have to consider opening things up to some degree because those #s would be calamitous.

Yes, I agree. That's why I was suspicious of that 75% figure. That just doesn't really comport with GDP growth, a low-to-moderate unemployment rate and what we can see when we look out the window.


Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #165 on: August 24, 2021, 12:41:00 pm »
Yes, I don't think that the budget surplus is sufficient to make a long-term impact or cover all losses. It could fund some short-term stimulus, but it's not going to save every struggling business.
It doesn't have to save every business, but at enough to try and stem the bleeding.

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That said, the rules have shifted so many times that it might not have much of an impact at all. For example, there was a period late last year when cafes had to convert to take-out only, but that was at Level 3 (if I remember correctly). I think gyms and certain other businesses were forcibly closed at one point, again at a lower level, while now they can operate under certain guidelines. This is anecdotal, of course, but several people have said they don't really notice any difference between Levels 3 and 4 in terms of what they can / can't do. The sparser number of people on the street may be due to self-imposed social distancing.
Look, we all know Korean post-work dining habits and how Koreans hang out under normal conditions. We know the big dinners, we know the groups of 4-8 going out for dinner and drinks, and round 3, and kareoke and up until midnight or later and all that.

We also know that given the degree of activity during the daytime, that people are not so crippled with fear as to cause daytime commerce and such to evaporate. The degree of daytime activity suggests that any decline in activity at night is linked to the laws, not perceptions of risk.

This is before we get to the issue of ballooning household debt that has taken place. It's not a good thing if in order to get through this, people take on enormous amounts of debt. The bill for that is going to come due at some point. You can't have this massive of a disruption to the entire global economy and to the national economies of the respective countries without some severe impacts. Think the Great Recession of 2008 and everything that led to (cough cough Trump cough).
Join the DeMart Fan Club!
Shout out to WhenInRome... the first member. Thank you my son!


  • fka
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What COVID death rate are you willing to accept for normal life?
« Reply #166 on: August 24, 2021, 01:18:47 pm »
No one is denying that the restrictions are having an effect on the nighttime economy.