Economic Pandemic

An unprecedented ten million Americans have lost their jobs in the last two weeks.  In Britain, an unknown number of people have been ‘furloughed’ with the government paying 80% of their salaries. This will hide the true scale of the economic devastation for a while.

Ferry companies that transport a large part of our imported food say that they have tried to run loss making services without passengers – as a moral duty – but cannot continue.  Most of the world’s airlines are bankrupt.  Electricity and energy companies fear millions cannot or will not pay their bills and they will go under. Everyone wants a government bailout.

The price of wheat skyrockets ever upwards as people fear food shortages – ports are shut and harvests are not being collected. Meanwhile the price of  oil plummets ever downwards to less than $20 a barrel at the worst point. (It was $160 a barrel more than ten years ago) Crude piles up on tankers with nowhere to go and no customers to buy. All oil production except that of Saudi Arabia will be loss making at this price. Green energy will become even more of an economic joke than it already was.

From football clubs to garden centres, from hotels to banks, the world has never ever seen such an economic disaster in such a short time. This will be worse than the great depression – and an entire generation will be left without hope. Social unrest will follow. Governments will be forced to bail out or nationalise everything from train operators to car manufacturers. Political violence will rise exponentially. 

How many people worldwide will die from suicide, despair, drug addiction, lack of food and pharmaceuticals, fear and destitution?

How many wars will start?  How many riots will cause death and destruction? How many innocents will be tortured by governments with newly formed totalitarian powers?

Sadly these statistics, like those of Stalin’s Gulags will not be counted for many years.

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8 Comments on Economic Pandemic

  1. Unternehmergeist!
    Joseph Schumpeter is today remembered for his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy and for schöpferische Zerstörung, the theory of dynamic economic growth known in English as “creative destruction”. Sometimes called “Schumpeter’s gale”, it is the theory that a massive periodic purge is necessary for the health of capitalism. It’s when complacent and moribund old industries are swept away and vigorous new ones take their place.
    Take the airlines, which do everything in their power to stifle competition and rip-off the public. Well, the planes are going nowhere. Literally. When all this is over, somebody will get them flying. This need not be the old guard and the taxpayer should not mourn any that fall by the wayside.
    We need Unternehmergeist, not handouts!

  2. I still do not understand why the casualty rate thu=is year is no more than last year. Obviously we should take some precautions, but to devastate the economy cannot be the answer. The deaths are a lottery and we just have to accept the casualties as we did in the war.

    • 1) We don’t have to accept the casualties. We can try to minimise them by isolation just as, “in the war”, we tried to minimise them by evacuating children and retreating to air raid shelters when necessary.

      2) What casualty rate is no worse than last year? What are you talking about?

  3. Talk of economic devastation is as ridiculous as ‘we’re all going to die’ from the virus. We got through the Second World War, as the Queen reminded us last night. We survived the German submarine blockade and the Blitz. Then we can do what doctors and nurse on the front line are telling us, which is to stay at home and relieve pressure on the NHS.

    I’m not aware of food shortages, but if there are, let’s bring back rationing. A spartan diet of potatoes and broccoli will do us no end of good.

    • I think, as I do occasionally, that Catherine Blaiklock is correct in her prognostications. We are experiencing , I do believe, a civilizational revolution if not meltdown. As you choose to prognosticate, Tomas Dusek, and I agree, we will muddle through; but there is no reason to expect or hope that our lives will ever be the same again. I say this as a man who is not frightened by the potency of COVID-19, despite being in a higher risk group. It’s the secondary, indirect effects of our political response to it that greatly worry me.

      My main, albeit trivial worries right now are getting a haircut, and whether, next month, I can buy flowers.

      Après ça, le déluge

    • ‘WE’ survived WW2 by the skin of our teeth (and American assistance) but 50 million people worldwide didn’t. Frankly, it’s a silly comparison. This is something quite different.

    • Food rationing would also eliminate the obscene amount of food wastage. Hopefully also, a high percentage of the junk food and junk coffee establishments will be allowed to die quietly. That will help.