All the doomsayers on the news are telling us that our world will be very different from now on due to the Covid-19 virus, that we may be entering a “new normal.” What they aren’t doing is making predictions about what that will look like. I have no crystal ball and don’t know either, but I’ve speculated about a few things.
The talking heads don’t dare say things that make them look other than compassionate. The technologists, speculators, and accountants in the background, however, are doing a lot of thinking in pretty cold-hearted ways. Here’s what I think some are thinking but not saying publicly.
The economic effects are going to be bad for business in general and for small business in particular. This is already evident, and will only get worse if the outbreak persists for months or years. This has not been kept secret. However, there will be some up sides, too. If we lose a significant percent of the elderly population, but not the younger people, that will help many sectors of the economy. Actuarial tables will change drastically. Social Security may become fiscally self-sustaining, at least for a while. Life insurance and maybe health insurance premiums will go down or Medicare for all may become feasible after all. Many top jobs like CEOs will become vacant and filled by younger people, leading to a rapid shift up the ladder for many workers.
Hair styles will change. Long hair on men will become the fashion again when millions of men can’t get haircuts. An Afro will not be seen as an anti-establishment black power challenge, but a sign of compliance with authority. The rebels will be the ones to violate the shelter in place orders and get haircuts.
Natural selection will have its day again, at least for a bit. I don’t know how, exactly, but it will happen. Some of those reckless college students on spring break in Florida will get sick and die or possibly suffer permanent debilitating conditions preventing them from reproducing. For all we know, Covid-19 reduces sperm count or makes people sterile. Only time will tell. The anti-vaxers may die off more rapidly once a vaccine is produced because they refuse to get it, or they may flourish because their unassisted immune system may be naturally hardier. The End of Days preppers may very well survive quite well while the rest of us don’t. You could see a lot of people return to following Biblical apocalyptic verses like Revelations, Thessalonians, and Proverbs. People who have been prudent and saved a nest egg or whose parents have, may do okay while their peers suffer deprivation which bring about its own risks. Desperate people with guns could change life in a lot of places, although I’m not predicting a Mad Max type lawless society. America could become a lot more like a third world country, or the Great Depression, with out-of-work cosmeticians and waiters in the fields picking crops especially if the borders are truly sealed.
Air travel may come to a near complete end, save only for military and some cargo aircraft. People with property, even ordinary suburban houses, may start growing their own vegetables and keep chickens for the eggs. Some do now, but that number could balloon. I see that as a possible good thing. I just vacuumed my whole house today because our cleaning lady can no longer come here. That’s the first time in decades I’ve done that. People who have learned how to cook will do better than those who never bothered to learn how. The domestic arts will suddenly become much more important. People will be exchanging recipes in vast numbers.
The diverging paths in China and Italy will change people’s views about totalitarianism. It’s not all bad. We’ve already seen some movement in that direction with the lockdown orders here in the U.S. and Europe. If you think our current president is bad, our next one could be a Jim Jones or David Koresh or Adolf Hitler or Kim Jong-un bent on saving the “true believers” or “master race” or “anointed” or really such seeking absolute power, wealth, and control.
These are musings, not predictions. Stay well and have a nice day. By the way, I’m not producing daily crosswords any longer. Not enough people were reading/doing them. They’re quite a bit of work to make.