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  1. #1

    COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    I'm creating this thread as to attempt initiating some discussions without them getting lost in the COVID updates thread.

    First, although we've mentioned them, I think it worth refreshing them and/or updating them: what do we think will be the lingering effects in the world after the pandemic is gone?

    Cultural:
    - the possible disappearance of the handshake and greeting kisses
    - more importance of personal space

    Economic:
    - universal income
    - universal healthcare in the US, paid sick leave
    - health workers wages go up
    - reinvigoration of national industries
    - creation of strategic medical stockpiles
    - more variation in supply chains and decentralization of demand
    - rise of work-at-home
    - acceleration of automation

    Specific to China:
    - loses international/regional respect, power
    - companies emigrate, probably to India
    - imposition of economic sanctions by the international community


    I'm sure, I'm missing many. But I'd like to see if we agree/disagree and make a more complete list.
    For example: tourism. I think it's going to be depressed for another 6-18 months, but eventually it will start recovering and return in full force. Airlines may implement some measures but I don't think any will be long-lasting.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  2. #2

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Normal life:
    Going back is only a question of time. As we talked in another thread, people can only suspend their lives for so long before they take stock of the risk and incorporate it (just like many habitual activities) or deem it irrelevant.

    With no vaccine the latest projections I read about talk about not one wave, but many waves of infection taking different possible forms:




    Countries that have eased restrictions have seen upticks in cases and with another 12-18 months ahead of us, I really can't see the population abiding to recurrent lockdowns and much less tolerating the economic consequences. Sooner or later this virus will have to be incorporated to our daily lives until there's a vaccine or it dies down.

    South Korea case increase article (spa): https://www.lanacion.com.ar/el-mundo...res-nid2363957

    I think that, in light of what we're seeing with states opening up (and countries around the world too), the lockdown days are numbered and the populace will simply accept the fact that many will be infected and many elders will die.


    I say normal life (actually close to normal) because there is no viable system in place for the world to function properly in a lockdown mode; nor is the human mind ready for it. Once the fear factor starts to wear off people won't be willing to make such a grand sacrifice.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  3. #3

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Now a What If? The covid thread and the general consensus here in TAT is of a certain narrative, but following the principle of "When everybody is thinking alike, nobody is thinking much." I think there are some scenarios foreign to our echo chamber that are worthy of consideration. I'm not talking about Marat Safin grade paranoia but maybe, there are things we might be missing or viewing wrongly.

    So, what if Trump* is right about re-opening the economy? As seen in my previous post, projections estimate that COVID-19 will be with us for some time, and it's simply impossible for society to carry on for that amount of time in the current conditions.

    What if Trump* is right about the WHO? The director is not even a doctor (first time this has happened), got appointed after heavy lobbying by China, has a dubious track record in his native Ethiopia and even appointed Robert Mugabe (!) as a goodwill ambassador.

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...-paying-136002

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ntric-WHO.html

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/02...th-soft-power/

    Then you have the WHO denials, dropping the ball and ignoring Taiwan's early warning.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-h...-idUSKCN21T0BA

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/113959...mission-china/

    https://www.business-standard.com/ar...0601496_1.html

    Now, in an organization as large as the WHO, it's probable that there are good and bad people, so I'm not saying the WHO is 100% bad, but when the director has such murky credentials, well....


    *in no way am I saying that he is a good or brilliant person, simply that he might be right, even if it's for all the wrong reasons.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  4. #4

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drop-shot View Post
    I'm creating this thread as to attempt initiating some discussions without them getting lost in the COVID updates thread.

    First, although we've mentioned them, I think it worth refreshing them and/or updating them: what do we think will be the lingering effects in the world after the pandemic is gone?

    Cultural:
    - the possible disappearance of the handshake and greeting kisses. GONE. TOO SMALL A PRICE TO PAY SO NO PROBLEM THERE. MY QUESTION WILL BE: WILL EVERYBODY ACCEPT ASIAN-STYLE BOWING AS A NEW NORM?
    - more importance of personal space. WOULDN'T KNOW. IN SOME COUNTRIES (POOR ONES) IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE.

    Economic:
    - universal income. NOT YET. IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS AND AS LONG AS THE RICH GET SUCH A GREAT SLICE OF THE NEW INCOME, IT CAN'T BE DONE.
    - universal healthcare in the US, paid sick leave. NO. THE GOP WILL NOT HAVE IT. THE SOLE WAY OF GETTING IT IS IF THE SENATE ALSO FLIPS, TOGETHER WITH THE PRESIDENCY, AND A NEW TAX PACKAGE LEANING ON CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH PASSES. WHICH IN THE USA, NOT YET POSSIBLE.
    - health workers wages go up. NOPE. REMAINS AND WILL REMAIN PERHAPS THE WORST PAID LINE OF WORK IN THE SACRIFICE/REWARDS RATIO.
    - reinvigoration of national industries. JUST A FEW. THE MOMENT AMERICANS GET AN iPHONE FOR $1500 BECAUSE IT IS NO LONGER MADE IN CHINA, THE COUNTRY REVOLTS. IN COUNTRIES LIKE OURS, THE PEOPLE AFFECTED THE MOST WILL BE THE POOR BECAUSE THEY BUY THE CHEAP STUFF. FROM CHINA.
    - creation of strategic medical stockpiles. FEASIBLE. BUT ONLY IF YOU GET WISE PEOPLE IN CHARGE. YOU KNOW WHERE I STAND ABOUT THAT.
    - more variation in supply chains and decentralization of demand. NOPE. PRETTY SOON THE BOTTOM LINE WILL BE AGAIN THE WAY OF MEASURING HOW INDUSTRY WORKS. WALL STREET WILL SEE TO THAT.
    - rise of work-at-home. TEMPORARY. A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL NOT WANT TO. A LOT OF BOSSES WILL NOT WANT TO (THERE IS NO WAY A COLOMBIAN MANAGER WILL ACCEPT HIS CHATTEL SLAVES WILL NOT BE THERE IN PERSON). PLUS, THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS WHY PEOPLE WILL NOT WANT TO WORK FROM HOME. HOW DO YOU CARRY YOUR OFFICE AFFAIR IF YOU WORK FROM HOME?
    - acceleration of automation. YES, BUT NOT BECAUSE OF THIS. EVERY COMPANY IS TRYING TO FIRE EVERYBODY TO IMPROVE THE BOTTOM LINE (AGAIN). THIS WILL ONLY GIVE THEM MORE EXCUSES.

    Specific to China:
    - loses international/regional respect, power. NOPE. THEY HAVE BOUGHT ENOUGH LOYALTY AROUND THE WORLD FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE NOT TO BRING THIS UP. EUROPE WILL KOWTOW.
    - companies emigrate, probably to India. NOT EMIGRATE, BUT MIGHT OPEN BRANCHES. WHICH WAS HAPPENING ALREADY.
    - imposition of economic sanctions by the international community. NONE. THEY ARE TOO BIG NOW. USA/EU IMPOSES SANCTIONS? CHINA DENIES THEM RARE EARTHS AND MATERIALS. THEY WOULD CAVE IN IN WEEKS.


    I'm sure, I'm missing many. But I'd like to see if we agree/disagree and make a more complete list.
    For example: tourism. I think it's going to be depressed for another 6-18 months, but eventually it will start recovering and return in full force. Airlines may implement some measures but I don't think any will be long-lasting. AIRLINES WILL PARK PLANES, FIRE ALMOST EVERYBODY, AND CANNIBALIZE EACH OTHER. PLANES WILL BE PACKED AGAIN SOON, BUT NOT BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE FLYING. SIMPLY, THERE WILL BE FEWER FLIGHTS. AND, FOR EXAMPLE, IN ARGENTINA: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO: 14 HOURS BY BUS FROM NEUQUEN TO BAIRES, IN AN EQUALLY CROWDED BUS, OR TAKE THE PLANE? YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO.
    Will leave comments for your other posts for others.
    Last edited by ponchi101; 05-12-2020 at 04:25 PM.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  5. #5

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    I'll pick up on some points:

    Economic:
    - universal income. NOT YET. IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS AND AS LONG AS THE RICH GET SUCH A GREAT SLICE OF THE NEW INCOME, IT CAN'T BE DONE.

    I don't know. Spain already started talking about it, so who knows, maybe a country or two pick it up and it gains traction. Now, if we're talking worldwide, sure, we're very far from it.


    - universal healthcare in the US, paid sick leave. NO. THE GOP WILL NOT HAVE IT. THE SOLE WAY OF GETTING IT IS IF THE SENATE ALSO FLIPS, TOGETHER WITH THE PRESIDENCY, AND A NEW TAX PACKAGE LEANING ON CORPORATIONS AND THE RICH PASSES. WHICH IN THE USA, NOT YET POSSIBLE.

    Sadly, I think you're right. Only glimmer of hope would be if the dems run the board in November with the memory of this still fresh.

    - health workers wages go up. NOPE. REMAINS AND WILL REMAIN PERHAPS THE WORST PAID LINE OF WORK IN THE SACRIFICE/REWARDS RATIO.

    Completely agree. They may be the men and women of the hour, but as soon as thing go back to normal, it's the backburner again. This particularly applies for non-first world countries.

    - reinvigoration of national industries. JUST A FEW. THE MOMENT AMERICANS GET AN iPHONE FOR $1500 BECAUSE IT IS NO LONGER MADE IN CHINA, THE COUNTRY REVOLTS. IN COUNTRIES LIKE OURS, THE PEOPLE AFFECTED THE MOST WILL BE THE POOR BECAUSE THEY BUY THE CHEAP STUFF. FROM CHINA.

    Probably true. I'm thinking more along the line of vital industries like pharma and things like that with which you can't do without in a severe crisis.

    - creation of strategic medical stockpiles. FEASIBLE. BUT ONLY IF YOU GET WISE PEOPLE IN CHARGE. YOU KNOW WHERE I STAND ABOUT THAT.

    If the US did it for oil, I can see it happening again.


    - rise of work-at-home. TEMPORARY. A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL NOT WANT TO. A LOT OF BOSSES WILL NOT WANT TO (THERE IS NO WAY A COLOMBIAN MANAGER WILL ACCEPT HIS CHATTEL SLAVES WILL NOT BE THERE IN PERSON). PLUS, THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS WHY PEOPLE WILL NOT WANT TO WORK FROM HOME. HOW DO YOU CARRY YOUR OFFICE AFFAIR IF YOU WORK FROM HOME?

    Wel, twitter just said the contrary.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/twit...anently-2020-5


    - acceleration of automation. YES, BUT NOT BECAUSE OF THIS. EVERY COMPANY IS TRYING TO FIRE EVERYBODY TO IMPROVE THE BOTTOM LINE (AGAIN). THIS WILL ONLY GIVE THEM MORE EXCUSES.

    Sure, this was an ongoing theme before, but this as you've said will be an accelerator.

    Specific to China:
    NONE. THEY ARE TOO BIG NOW. USA/EU IMPOSES SANCTIONS? CHINA DENIES THEM RARE EARTHS AND MATERIALS. THEY WOULD CAVE IN IN WEEKS.

    Probably true. China holds the most US bonds and dollars in the world (outside of the US), so any serious sanction can be met by selling their bonds and dollars making the currency plummet and crippling the US economy.


    I'm sure, I'm missing many. But I'd like to see if we agree/disagree and make a more complete list.
    For example: tourism. I think it's going to be depressed for another 6-18 months, but eventually it will start recovering and return in full force. Airlines may implement some measures but I don't think any will be long-lasting. AIRLINES WILL PARK PLANES, FIRE ALMOST EVERYBODY, AND CANNIBALIZE EACH OTHER. PLANES WILL BE PACKED AGAIN SOON, BUT NOT BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE FLYING. SIMPLY, THERE WILL BE FEWER FLIGHTS. AND, FOR EXAMPLE, IN ARGENTINA: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO: 14 HOURS BY BUS FROM NEUQUEN TO BAIRES, IN AN EQUALLY CROWDED BUS, OR TAKE THE PLANE? YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO.

    I expect tourism to be depressed until 2022, then a recovery and back to about normal in 5 years.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  6. #6
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    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    A sidebar about universal incomes... I don't see it. Not because it lacks merit; but in the best case scenario, where Democrats run the table on the presidency, Senate, and House, you all know full well what the opposition mantra will be...

    THE DEFICIT! THE DEFICIT!

    This reality will probably affect other things being discussed here. I just haven't had time to make the connections yet.
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  7. #7

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    I mostly agree with ponchi on this one with the following exceptions:

    - Companies diversifying out of China will be permanent. The direction will be various - highly automated factories in the West and other developing countries. Just read of Apple being in talks of moving 20% iPhone assembly to India. It's not only because of this crisis, but also because manufacturing costs in China are rising at a faster pace than in the West.

    - Stockpiling of certain things will also persist (oil, medical supplies), but not sure if that really makes a difference in the grand economic sense

    - Rise of work from home will also be permanent, it was already moving into that direction at least where I live. Mind you not to the level we are seeing now.

    - Suppression of travel is indeed temporary. As many planes will be flying as before no later than 2023. A small exception might be a prohibition of short flights in Europe in favor of train (already proposed in France)

    - No sanctions towards China, but the relationship between US and China will stay hostile even if Democrats take over the government. It's a strategic adversary now...
    Last edited by suliso; 05-13-2020 at 12:07 AM.
    Roger forever

  8. #8

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Thinking a bit more about it... There might be some industries permanently damaged. Not airlines as they are vital for the global industry or restaurants since people away from home need to eat, but things like cruise ships or night clubs. Those are nice to have perhaps, but not really vital for anyone except employees.
    Roger forever

  9. #9

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Interesting discussion. I just posted on another thread something that is relevant to this thread from the standpoint of the performing arts. I do think we have a lot of thinking and research to do before it will be safe for orchestras, bands and other large musical ensembles to perform together. (See discussion about the reaction to the article about the choir in Washington elsewhere.)

  10. #10

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    WFH increase will have secondary and tertiary effects when it comes to real estate and supporting business.

    More people moving away from cities to cheaper places.
    Less demand for commercial real estate (office space)
    Less businesses to support drop in white collar offices.

  11. #11

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Quote Originally Posted by fastbackss View Post
    WFH increase will have secondary and tertiary effects when it comes to real estate and supporting business.

    More people moving away from cities to cheaper places.
    Less demand for commercial real estate (office space)
    Less businesses to support drop in white collar offices.
    Or cities becoming cheaper places to live as some former office buildings are converted to apartments. While working from home I support more local businesses in the city than before not less. Occasional take out lunch + due to less commute time more likely to go out in the evening after work. It's not all bad really.

    There are some positive developments already with cities converting more streets for cycling and walking thus reducing polution and increasing quality of life. Milan might be an example for other cities on this in the future!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ffic-pollution
    Roger forever

  12. #12

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    About cruises: I read that the cruise lines are receiving massive amounts of reservations for August, here in the USA. So, the people most likely NOT to believe this is serious are also the most likely to go on a cruise.
    Maybe they will bounce back sooner. And then crash back again.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  13. #13
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    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    What we are seeing globally through my work:

    - Governments passing responsibility to employers (this is a trend globally) - we'll see more paid leave requirements, occupational health requirements. Maybe more paid sick leave or family care leave (there's already a trend for family care leave among leading employers)
    - Remote work and trends to cater to remote employees
    - Telemedicine and digital health solutions
    - The effect on medical costs will be interesting, likely increases in the long-term, which means worse access to quality care. Won't translate to pay for health workers
    - Employer wellness programs to help drive down medical and disability costs
    - Remote education
    - Will be curious to see what happens to pension systems, a lot of the employer and unemployment support has been around deferments for pension and social security contributions, etc. Given a lot of those national systems are already underfunded because of ageing populations, it may be a problem and I wonder if governments will start pushing even more pension obligations to employers.


  14. #14

    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    About cruises: I read that the cruise lines are receiving massive amounts of reservations for August, here in the USA. So, the people most likely NOT to believe this is serious are also the most likely to go on a cruise.
    Maybe they will bounce back sooner. And then crash back again.
    Really? I think they'll be massively disappointed. Even if US allows sailing virtually no foreign port will allow docking this early. Happy cruising from Miami to Galveston.
    Roger forever

  15. #15
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    Re: COVID aftermath and What Ifs?

    I also think there will be changes to the "gig" economy. The trend of more workers being more independent will continue, but there will be more demands/requirements on the contracting employers to provide benefits and social security contributions.


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