We know that previous eras didn’t start on time. The 19th century ended with World War I. The 18th ended with the French Revolution.
Previous crises in this century, 9/11 and the Big Shitpile, were built on the 20th century economy. Resources still mattered. This time it’s different.
There’s another key difference. This is the first event in world history happening everywhere at once. Thanks to globalization, the virus has put the entire planet on lockdown. Previous panics were regional, and you could even evade World War II by going to South America. This is the same event here that it is everywhere else. Only the performance of government, and thus the result, will be different.
- Science is primary
- Nationalism is stupid
- Cooperation is essential
Usually I would take these one at a time. But they’re as closely tied together as the cords in a rope. Each by itself means something, but it’s the combination that matters.
Politically we may be fortunate that the Pandemic comes with ultra-nationalism at its height, with selfishness called a virtue, and with science in disrepute. They can all fall together.
The pandemic itself will be just the start of a process. It will take years to clear the sins of ignorance, bigotry and selfishness from the global system. But all these things, represented not just by Trump but by every other fascist dictator on the planet, are headed into retreat. Because they must.
Scientists have been expecting a global pandemic like this for years. It’s why Obama launched his pandemic response in 2014. The response that was systematically destroyed by Trump four years later. His 2018 decision will eventually be seen the way we now view Neville Chamberlain talking up “peace in our time” in 1938.
As I write this my own state of Georgia, and the states around it, are still not quarantining people. Many are still going on about their business. Some preachers are still holding services.
Science has told us that the result, in a month or two, will be mass death that will make March in New York City look like a warm-up act. Some of these deaths will be covered up. I’m already hearing of untested Coronavirus victims being marked-off as pneumonia victims. But the reality is just going to be too stark. It’s almost too horrible to contemplate. Living in Georgia I’m right in the firing line. It may be why I’m writing as much as I can. In case I don’t make it.
It’s also important to note that the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 itself is just a warm-up act. The National Weather Service is predicting there could be as many as 4 major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this season. Imagine what a Katrina, a Harvey, an Irma and a Sandy could do to Florida by October. Which is when many scientists are predicting that the current virus will come around again.
I guess we’re fortunate that Hillary Clinton wasn’t elected. With her in the White House, do you think we could have taken the House last year? Even if Clinton’s performance right now were Cuomo-like, she’d still get blamed (unfairly I know) for every death and every delay. She would be vulnerable, and so would the political revolution we so badly need.
How big a revolution is that? Go back to what I said at the beginning. World War I. The French Revolution. We’re not just talking about MBS and Putin and the Fall of the House of Oil anymore. We’re talking about overthrowing an entire political class, on a global scale. We’re talking about show trials, or at least truth and reconciliation commissions, against every single person, on every continent, who tried to brush this under the rug. Many nations are certain to haul out the guillotine, or something like it.
I regret having underestimated all this. I even told InvestorPlace readers to load up on dividend stocks. What’s going to happen is going to look a lot more like the Great Depression than I ever contemplated before.
First will come unemployment on an unimaginable scale. That’s why half my money is in cash now.
But even before that ends, we’re going to have enormous inflation in asset prices, because all the new money we’ve created must go somewhere. That asset inflation will come alongside real inflation, rising prices, a falling dollar.
All these are great ingredients for social unrest, because the message of this blog – that collectively we’ll get through this – isn’t going to immediately get into the heads of the millions of people who may not individually get through this.
The $2 Trillion “stimulus” program (it’s a bailout) is just a down payment. The economy should have been put into a deep freeze for two months, as Denmark was, the people paid by government for the duration. In America people are getting fired and losing their health insurance. It’s not like turning the computer off, then on again. The dislocation will just be ginormous.
But, again, let’s look at the silver lining, too. These horrors will teach those lessons I started out with. The primacy of science, ignorance being what made this worse. The stupidity of nations, because viruses that don’t respect boundaries. And the requirement of cooperation. Selfishness is going out of fashion.