The Dream of Normalcy

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Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

It won’t be like waking up from a nightmare

This will end. But we will be unlikely to return to whatever we left behind. Life just doesn’t work like that. For example, we will not defeat this virus. It will return, likely in the late fall, perhaps before any vaccine is available. We will be ready for it but no one who remembers these times will take it for granted. That’s one new reality.

Work is another. I live next door to a boutique hotel that survives on business travel and expensive weddings and other events. Their steakhouse was one of the best and busiest in town. Was, because the hotel is currently closed and many friends who worked there are unemployed.

Business travel is likely to go down

Smart businesses are going to take a hard look at business travel. It is expensive and, after months of people working remotely, they will be questioning the need for sending bodies all over the country, with expense accounts. This will hit the travel and hospitality industry hard and it may be permanent.

And those big weddings and public events? After participating in a recession a lot of people are going to realize that this may not be the time to splurge. Or gather in large groups with people you don’t know well. Conferences will have a rough year. More dominos drop.

It is going to become obvious that some jobs are unnecessary

The New York Stock Exchange has no humans on the trading floor, as of last week. But trading continues unabated. Are those jobs necessary?

There is no US economy, there is only the global economy

Doom and gloom? No, it’s change and change is the way of the world. This crisis is putting a lot of assumptions about work, responsibility, and community in question. And this is not a US or political problem, it is global. Our economy has been global for years, though there are those who like to believe that we still have a US dominant economy. When China shut down, we shut down. Business is truly multinational and we have many politicians who simply cannot comprehend this reality. But now it is in our face.

The old white guys are out

So, what about politics? During the past ten years we have seen a global movement to the right and towards strongmen leaders. Are these would-be dictators doing a great job managing the crisis? They are not. At a time when we need to work together they came to power refusing to compromise with those they disagree with. This is not partisan, it is, like a lot of these notions, about the fading of the old ways. Older white guys, like me, will be out of power.

Enhanced global communication drives their downfall

Communication is the driver. The driver of news, belief systems, rumors and memes, of access to knowledge, and it knows no borders. Very little in the way of economics keeps people planetwide from accessing the internet. It used to be said that if you want to engineer a coup in a country, the first thing you do is shut down the telephone system. There is no such ability to keep us in the dark. Fake news and hacking do work but they are blunt instruments wielded by highly partisan powers. And, as consumers of information, we always get more sophisticated in seeing through the phony or misleading information.

The real speculation here is this fundamental change in leadership, across business, government, religion, across borders, ideology, and all the fundamental foundations of society. Normalcy? It’s coming. You can either surf the wave or be bewildered and cling to a reality that is gone forever.

Normal will never be ‘normal’ again, and that’s ok

What is normal? This is it, right now. We are inventing it. We have no choice. We can go to darkness and fear. I am not seeing that happen so far, in spite of attempts to scare people into doing things others want them to do for political or financial profit. Normal says we are all in this, all in the same boat in the same storm. We can’t buy our way out or hide and hoard. That is not normal or a life anyone would want. I don’t.

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