Virus Diary

As long as we’re shut in, with time on our hands, let’s have a go at this thing, record our thoughts as they occur, a sort of rolling diary of predictions. Please join in and once we bust outta here, we’ll see how much holds up over time.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March, 2020, a few ideas to start:

• The Johnson/Cummings U.K. Tories coopted Labour and Lib Dem anti-austerity (at least as campaign rhetoric) to resounding electoral effect. Democratic candidates Biden and Sanders, in being tentative, leave an opening for President Trump to embrace the Universal Basic Income proposal of Andrew Yang and many others on the left.

• As an unexpected side effect, the virus will hasten the eventual adoption of UBI.

• The virus undermines the commercial real estate market. When it becomes apparent how many more functions can be carried out remotely, companies will wonder why they need all those buildings.

• It’s notable how, so far, only our physical selves are constrained. Our online world continues to flourish.

• Suddenly Amazon acts almost as a utility, prioritizing sales of items for the public good over the discretionary. Probably not a position they’d have chosen.

• This is more of a milepost than 9/11. As time goes on we’ll measure everything as B.C. and A.C. Before Coronavirus and After Coronavirus.

• A strong, skillful domestic response, still a possibility, could arrest American decline.

If you have any thoughts, please contribute.

Update, 18 March: Nice to see Tom Friedman is a CS&W reader, even if he is an idea thief. His column the day after my original post.

14 thoughts on “Virus Diary

  1. I may be wrong, but I think that the US and Europe failed to take the opportunity to head this off about a month ago. Everyday the numbers sky rocket. I am interested to see the effect when Italy’s lock down has had a chance to make a difference.

    If I am happy about anything, it is for my retirement account. Sure it’s looking bad now, but you need a few downturns like this so that you can buy in at a steep discount. I am just waiting this out on my normal investment portfolio.

    I am actually much more effective getting work done from home as most of my work is at a computer. The only ones coming to my desk at home are the dogs.


    • Thanks Jason. If Italy’s lockdown helps, does that make it more likely the U.S. and EU countries follow its lead? Probably, I guess. Which probably augurs for continued stockpiling now of stuff you need, and can still get.

      You and I are lucky that most of our work is done at a computer. The president pushing for a payroll tax cut puzzles me since that doesn’t touch the gig economy, the folks we’re counting on who are out there delivering meals, or hospitality industry employees, with much, if any relief. Am I missing something?

      Dogs are welcome at any desk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The payroll tax is the the wrong incentive at the wrong time. Vulnerable people need unemployment support at this time when they can’t work. I don’t need a tax break to buy more crap.

        Trump is really demonstrating his lack of leadership here. He really seems like he is lost. It’s a long way to November


  2. Your sixth bullet point is right on. This is the start of a massive, rapid shift in our society. I pray that whatever comes next will ultimately involve strong action to address climate change.


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