Readers: some of the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Entries addressing events in the The future assume there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Most recent sense check, ENTRY #387.
Some of the entries are part of a series. Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:
- Working with Lee Iacocca after he left Chrysler, 2019Q3 Iacocca Personal Observations.
- GM EV1 — behind-the-scenes events affecting development and introduction of the GM EV1, the first modern electric vehicle. 2020Q1 GM EV-1 Story Behind the Story Booklet
- Coming technology tsunami and the implications for the US, Tech Tsunami Booklet with Supplement
- Trump Supporters Brainwashed? A series discussing why Republics have abandoned basic principals, Are Trump Republicans Brainwashed 2020Q1
- Who took out the Donald? Who/what groups are most likely to “take out” Trump? Who Took Out the Donald Entries with Update
- Revenge Revolution — description of what form the revolution might take, 20 01 07 Start of Revolution
Prelude to the current series of entries: I’ve concluded Trump is a lunatic and the administration filled with lapdogs save a couple of people at CDC. Instead of wasting time commenting on actions by Trump, I thought it more productive to begin discussing what happens in the US once the coronavirus is more under control. #378 began the series. At this point not sure how many entries. Comments and suggestions welcome.
ENTRY #389: We are approaching the end of July 2020. Fewer than 100 days until the presidential election. What’s happening? Just a bit.
- Coronavirus remains unchecked in many locations
- No clear strategy from the White House yet addressing the Coronavirus
- Growing effort to ban the Confederate flag and to remove statues honoring generals who fought against the US
- Growing effort to rename buildings, sports teams, schools, organizations and brand-name products that some group might consider offensive
- Sending non-uniformed federal troops to various cities to arrest often peaceful protestors. Trump ordered the troops “to protect the cities from destruction.” Of course, troops were sent only to cities with Democratic mayors. None of the mayors asked for the troops.
- Sputtering economy that may beginning to backslide. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are so divided they cannot come to agreement on a stimulus package.
- Cancelling the Republican Convention in Jacksonville, Florida that Trump insisted on moving from Charlotte, NC because the NC governor had mandated rules for wearing masks and limiting the number of people who could gather in public places.
- Icing on the cake is both humorous and tragic. Last week Trump was bragging to Fox News about how he “aced” a test designed to detect likely onset of Alzheimer’s. His remarks were pathetic but memorable. Trump claimed remembering five words, “Person, woman, man, camera and TV,” qualified him as an incredibly smart person. Donald, I hate to tell you, a 5-year old can do the same thing, and the 5-year old can also identify an elephant.
Widespread uncertainty in any environment tends to lead to widespread chaos. No one in the White House, no one in Congress and certainly no one in the public, knows what’s next. Nor does anybody in the Trump administration seem to know how to fix the current problems, or even care about fixing current problems.
The most clear-cut answer to reduce the risk of contracting and to reduce the number of cases of the coronavirus comes from an epidemiologist who merely states facts – wear a mask and stay 6’ away from others. However, even such a simple gesture from a highly trained professional has been met with strong resistance, starting with the Trump administration. Finally, this past week, Trump suggested wearing a mask might be OK, although not for him.
In a series of earlier entries, I noted that many Trump supporters seem to be brainwashed. If there were ever a concrete example of brainwashing, the refusal to wear a mask is it. One does not need an epidemiological degree to understand a face covering will slow penetration of inbound/outbound particles.
I wonder if any of these Republicans have ever watched the movie, “Lawrence of Arabia”. Trumpsters, why do you think the guys riding in the desert on horseback and on camels covered their face with scarves? Without a scarf, blowing sand tends to get in the mouth and nose, and really doesn’t taste great.
Wearing a mask reduces the dispersion of particles when you breathe, cough or sneeze, thereby reducing the likelihood of contaminating others. But since Trump has implied and even stated masks are for wimps, or at least he did so until only a day or so ago, no self-respecting brainwashed Republican wants to be seen wearing a mask.
In their brainwashed state, Republicans don’t need a mask because they are immune from the coronavirus. Only liberals need masks, and who cares if liberals are infected because of some Republican?
The two ends of “should-I-wear-a-mask?” spectrum were highlighted in a couple of recent Facebook posts. One post equated forcing people to wear masks in public locations as similar to Nazi’s forcing Jews to wear a yellow star. Not even remotely a legitimate comparison. But the guy who posted the entry is a hardcore Trumpster.
The other extreme regarding wearing a mask was lighthearted. The post was a quote, “Walmart is only asking you to wear a mask. You can still wear your pajamas and still leave your bra and your teeth at home.”
While Trump politicizing wearing a mask is baffling, even more baffling is the effort by the Trump administration to reduce funds allocated for testing the public for infection. Using Trump’s logic, if there are no tests, then the number of reported infections will decline. The decline in infections will prove that Trump has done a great job addressing the issue. Welcome to logic in Trump World.
Let’s put the brainwashed Trumpsters aside, and address the economy post coronavirus and post Revenge Revolution. The Coronavirus has been the catalyst for accelerating the shift to a new economic model.
In the post-coronavirus world, wealth will still be created the way wealth has always been created – integrating and/or processing individual components so the end product is more valuable than the individual components – aka, manufacturing. Manufacturing categories include a wide range of industries — farming, mining, automotive, software development, construction, etc.
The GDP also includes non-manufacturing categories, or “services.” Services include such industries as travel-and-entertainment – hotels, casinos, air travel, cruise ships – food service, retail, banking, professional services, including medical, and a host of other occupations. Think of services as “transferring money from one pocket to another.” While many services are essential and generate many jobs, no societal wealth is created with the transfer of money between pockets. However, services can result in individuals or companies becoming wealthy.
Like all past major shifts in the economy – agrarian to industrial, e.g. – some individuals and some companies will benefit. Other individuals and companies will be left behind and lose wealth. The shift often can be swift and brutal. An example is the shift from steam-powered locomotives to diesel locomotives in the 1930’s. Within a few years of introduction, diesel locomotives dominated and production of steam locomotives stopped.
Unfortunately, when these economic shifts occur, some in society will be hard hit. If we use the experience of workers during the coronavirus shutdown as a proxy, then workers most at risk might be those in the middle – jobs above entry level that require some level of advanced education but not jobs that require skills for critical thinking.
During the coronavirus shutdown, many people in the United States got a surprise. Critical workers included grocery-store clerks, sanitation workers, emergency-response teams, transit workers and other seemingly out of the limelight, lower-paid employees. While society was surprised about which jobs were “critical,” organizations discovered that many employees were in fact, “non-critical.” Such workers included certain clerical staff, middle managers, sales staff, and other support personnel.
An open question in the post-coronavirus economy is what happens to central cities or other areas where offices are clustered? If people continue to work from home, and only need an office part-time, and if support staffs are reduced, what happens to all the office buildings in say Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.? What happens to the infrastructure – subways and light rail – restaurants and other jobs dependent upon office workers?
People still need space to work and food to eat. However, will those working at home look for a somewhat larger house? Will those working from home begin to order in more meals rather than going to nearby restaurants?
While the future of the economy and future size and style of homes are uncertain, one certainty is the United States and other developed countries are going to face huge dislocations and changes to the norm. Covid-19 accelerated the arrival and intensity of the technology tsunami. The next decade is going to be a wild ride. (More about coming technology tsunami, Tech Tsunami Booklet with Supplement.)
One variable sitting on top of the economic and social changes post coronavirus is action required to mitigate the impact of climate change. The argument is moot whether climate change is natural or man-made. Climate change is here and is not going away.
Next blog entry we’ll discuss how some proposed actions to address climate change might cause further economic and social dislocations. Stay tuned.