Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Fundamental changes in a post-coronavirus world

bonddad at Daily Kos counsels Accept That Everything You Understand About the World Will Fundamentally Change.

I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to develop a way to understand exactly what is happening. At times I’m remarkably calm about things; at other times, I think we’re in the opening scene of a post-apocalyptic movie where the world is falling apart and society is desperately trying to maintain order and stability but to no avail.

Yesterday morning I finally hit the nail on the head and realized the following (which is from my Facebook feed):


I got the idea from a governor Cuomo press conference (God bless that man, BTW). He noted that we will get through this but that it will forever be with us — we’ll look back in 10 years and say, “I was doing “X” during the pandemic.” This statement implies that this is a world-defining event much like WWII or (I hate to say it) the Great Depression. It’s something that will change, well, everything.

Here are some of the things that are going to fundamentally change.

  • A big return of Keynesian economics. Almost overnight, Republicans ditched their austerity mantra and quickly voted for a $2 trillion stimulus. There was no talk of “we need to balance the budget;” instead there was talk about keeping people whole.
  • A return to government expertise. Watching Dr. Fauci and other experts during this crisis has been very comforting because they tell the truth (which stands in stark contrast to Trump). Polls show that the public trusts them. Once this is over, expect the public to become a lot more comfortable with expertise.
  • A rise of teleworking: Modern technology allows people to work remotely. I’ve observed there’s a clear generational divide regarding this idea: old people dislike it, younger people are all over it. Once this is over, expect this idea to become part of the modern workforce
  • A huge rise in automation. One of the big problems with manufacturing in the current crisis is that large groups of people have to be in close proximity, which prevents social distancing. Expect factories to adopt automation at a faster pace to ramp-up production as this thing comes to an end. And this will lead to …
  • A future discussion and eventual adoption of Universal Basic Income: I’m behind in understanding the specifics of this concept, but I understand the basic idea, which is pure Keynesian in concept. Expect this to become a commonly expressed idea.
  • A complete rethinking of the US health care system. Watching this disaster unfold one thing has become very clear: the healthcare system has to change in a big way. I have no idea what it will look like. But it’s going to change.

This is what I see.

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