Everything will be fine, unless something foreseen happens – risks and growth in the era of Covid-19

This post’s title is from one-time Presidential-candidate, Walter Mondale. A lifetime ago, he was addressing the National Press Club and noted that the highest risk events don’t come out of the blue. Rather, they approach for decades in plain sight, each year becoming bigger and harder to stop.

Media voices are already debunking the idea that Coronavirus was the kind of crisis that “nobody thought would be a problem”, as the President said on March 11, 2020.

If history has taught us anything, it is that these moments of stress drive innovation and open minds to change. Times of crisis show parts of the status quo must change;  solutions emerge and become new patterns of care.

Good news, coronavirus response cause rethinking parts of our culture:

  1. Closing schools in the Summer
  2. Having jobs without sick-leave, or gig work without unemployment benefits
  3. Leaving the poor with nearly no economic safety net
  4. Deciding if healthcare is a business or a national service
  5. Reluctance to use and pay for telemedicine as in-person care
  6. Continuing to travel, rather than getting good at video conferencing
  7. Knowing and valuing your food supply chain

Bad news, there are numerous paths in which Covid-19’s destruction could be decimating:

  1. The shift from 3% unemployment to >30% won’t be clear until July corporate reports.
  2. The economic impact of this crisis may far outstrip the capacity for governmental response. The US stimulus of $2 trillion is a huge portion of the federal government’s $4.5 trillion in tax receipts, its benefit may be short-lived.
  3. Instability in China and the risk that Coronavirus remains a larger problem there than admitted could lead to a Malthusian catastrophe.
  4. As US borders close, seasonal labor for planting and harvesting will disrupt the food supply.
  5. The lack of productive investment options will leave people heavy in currency holdings and ripe for loss through inflation.
  6. Stimulus funding will become entangled with election-year politics — charges of political linkages will further undermine confidence in US democracy.
  7. Covid-19 returns late in the year, in a more virulent form.

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