A friend asked me today, how did we get into this mess?
It was clearly a rhetorical question. But since I’m a jerk, here is my answer:
First, we elected a president who dissolved the NSC pandemic unit in 2018.
He also dissolved a lot of other Very Important Things, so if not this pandemic, something else awful was going to happen eventually.
Then the pandemic hit.
Many governments (ours) were given a significant warning of what was about to occur, and ignored these warnings.
When pressed, governments that didn’t want to lose face (ours) pretended that nothing was really wrong.
When it became apparent that this ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand strategy would lead to the deaths of—and this is a conservative estimate—millions of Americans, the President was forced to backpedal and take the threat to his presidency seriously.
Then the pandemic showed us all the limits of economies that depend on perpetual “growth” (Thanks Malthus).
Too little, too late efforts to slow the pandemic shut down retail, travel, and restaurant industries.
People stopped buying things.
Growth was no longer possible.
When everyone stopped working and buying things, everyone who believed in money couldn’t help but admit there must, at the very least, be less of this invisible substance.
The stock market immediately crashed and will crash further, because money doesn’t exist, it merely exists insofar as we all believe it exists.
All that is solid melts into air (Thanks, Marx).
Now we will see how long we have to stay in this state of capitalism-in-suspension before we revert to (and probably not in this order):
1) A barter economy (I’ll give you this good, if you give me that good);
2) A socialist economy;
or 3) ~~ and this one will probably come first if we have to wait long enough ~~
a VERY RIGHTEOUS ANGRY MOB.
Is this a Marxist Revolution?
Or will we be able to recover with a significant market reset?
I think the answer to that question will ultimately be correlated to how long we are expected to stay at home. But I’m not economist. Or an epidemiologist. I’m closest to a historian, sometimes. I’m just a post-doc who studies apocalypse who really hopes his post-doc still exists when all this is said and done.