The way our world is changing with the covid-19 has been most spectacular (for lack of a better word). Trillions of dollars have been wiped out from global wealth. Seems like a virus has taken over Our way of life.
- My seven-year-old has moved to zoom meetings and her school learning has moved online.
- Clients are not wanting to meet in person
- We don’t like to shake hands with each other
- We wear a mask when in a crowd
- We don’t eat out anymore
- We don’t go to the mall either
- And holidays might be staying at home! Are we going to watch Netflix as a holiday activity?
- We all talk about the corona, not the beverage! This one is way more popular.
We have stopped or slowed consuming, this will reduce how much we manufacture, how much we process, how much we extract and has to lead to unemployment, further slow down in consumption – sounds like a long recession or depression etc.
I feel the way we are reacting is pushing us to a very long way back to normalcy. Our way of life! We like our kids to go to school!
Don’t we need to behave in a more measured manner? The governments should invest heavily in creating an infrastructure that makes our health care system be able to easily deal with a cure on a mass scale. Imagine how many hospital beds can be developed for $1 trillion, less than what markets have already lost due to mankind changing its ways of life, in less than a couple of weeks. Let us employ contractors to build a few thousand hospital beds in every city, town, community and train nurses, and others to be able to provide basic services. Don’t we train civilians to use a gun at times of war? This seems of mankind’s war with a virus! AND dear corona is curable! China is already showing signs of being in control! It cannot be so difficult for the rest of the world of smart people with trillions in ammunitions. Let us be charitable and develop health care infrastructure across the globe. Let us invest heavily in multiplying our manufacturing of testing kits, relevant drugs and start employing more people to working in such manufacturing units. This infrastructure will help us to make health care a basic for mankind – universally insured as a basic service. Let us invest in sanitizing technologies and tools, that ensure our kitchens and food processing is contamination proof. And then promote such technologies and tools to all restaurants for free! This is how fiscal policies should work. Let us sanitize our cabs, our planes, and hotels! Well, let us get our hotels and our resorts sanitized and converted with treatment facilities and use them to quarantine those with symptoms to have a treatment room with a view!
Monetary policies should subsidize loans to businesses with refinancing at lower rates and favorable terms. Businesses need funds to support employment with severely dipping revenues. The government can subsidize all sick leaves for firms. Let firms, in fact, hire more to build redundancies for a drop in productivity due to team members going away to get cured!
Let us find ways that keep us going to school, going out to eat, traveling, and in the process, we might get sick but be assured that we will get cured and will be back to living as our way of life! This is obviously a thought expressed casually and not prescribing in any way better or worse than the other. I am not shaking hands either!! But it seems the world is ready to pour $$ on this problem and yet it is not really making any huge impact. We don’t seem to know how to deal with this and there is no real precedence, but we know that we don’t want consumption to slow. The only way is to continue with Our way of life! Of course, we need to act on certain focus areas, and rapidly. Consumption of a lot of goods and services should increase at times of war! The AECOMs, McKinseys, Goldmanns, Bechtels of the world need to come together and their peers across the globe. It might help towards being a much better-prepared species against pandemics. There will be others in the corona family that will show up from time to time. We can’t change Our way of life every time!
Someone might think of a different way out! Stay safe until then…
Gaurav Biswas, 16 March 2020