Realism leads to solutions

Stop calling this new generation “doomers” they are just realists.

Coming from France, where people are overly pessimistic and landing in America where traditionally people are overly optimistic, I can sense this new generation being right there in the middle, grounded in reality. They aren’t fooled by political lies, they don’t fall for the popularitiy contest of the herd, the bullies. They’ve been exposed to global thoughts, early on interacting (mind you, digitally) with people all around the world. They are grounded in reality. I feel sorry for the older generations who’ve been overly sheltered and cannot handle anything less than confort. Living in a rather uneventful world, for the better of course (boomers to millenials) but our great-grand parent’s generation, those who lived through the 2 world wars, the great depression and other turmoil that spilled incessantly through the first half of the 20th century would say: suck it up. The reality. Magical thinking doesn’t work. Harsh, but the resilience they have built within themselves throughout these times make them much more apt to sustain the psychological and economic hardship that this pandemic is bringing to us. Its not about you, you aren’t the only one affected, the whole world is. Each and every one of us. We can face the truth, make the best of what we have, life is worth living despite its condition. Take care of the other, you will find a new meaning in living. We take care of each other. You don’t need to get ahead of anyone or anything, all we have to do as a specie, is to defeat this virus and we will, as well as rebuilt a new society that can sustain this kind of test of nature. Nature is forcing us to reevaluate our humanity, and how we live amongst each other in a society. I don’t see no doom as long as we can adapt. But shielding ourselves from reality doesn’t help to confront the problems, and more importantly to find solutions.

If we hadn’t spent the last 3 months thinking everything is going to magically resolve itself super fast and without a dent in our economies, lives, psychological well being, a sort of common delusion by burying the problem and pretending it doesn’t exist, we would have actually start racking our brains for solutions to sustain the next 3 years – as health officials and other economic advisers had warned, its not doom, it just is, reality, the sooner we would have prepared, the sooner we would be apt to handle it and adapt. Instead, people get now this double wave negative cusp, where they all thought that after the lockdown, they’d be able to resume all as if nothing happened (thanks to evil loans!) but now they are faced with reality, that it won’t. A double downer. Shifting in isolation mode was hard enough. Seeing the positives sides of it would have helped better prepare psychologically for the next 3 years, and acknowledging that whatever business you ran, work you did, would have to shift (for most people) tremendously to be able to adapt through these times. And more importantly, realizing that our system was broken and unable to handle this, we could have spent 3 months trying to gather our effort to pressure our gouvernements into the right direction to face this test of nature. As the people and our needs. Instead, we let our gouvernent inject trillions into big corporations (as in there would be no unemployment resulting from this, cause you know, America always bounces back!) we let them waste millions on medicine that don’t work because a lunatic thought that his gut feelings were right, instead of injecting this money to the people who now more than ever needs to have access to free health care. And we let them, and perhaps you, inject trillions too speculating in a bubble stock market that is obviously ready to burst, with once again all this wasted money that could have been directed towards building, securing, organizing, protecting our future decade. I love magical thinking. But not when, clearly there are better ways to think. I can’t help to make parallels between the declines of empires, Rome or others and how it has, most certainly at all times occurred with this sort of magical thinking mindset.

Just take the restaurant and hospitality industry case to start with. Because everyone should be able to understand the basic equation. If they were even making a profit pre-pandemic at a 100% capacity / occupancy, then what happens when they have to slash their space and capacity to half in order to comply with social distancing? 3 solutions, either double the prices on the menu, half the price of their rent, or redenominate / devaluate the dollar. Simple enough. Not to implement, I mean in the amount of options we have. Yet everyone is just egger to reopen without thinking it through, taking out loans after loans in the hope that it will work out in the future.

Or take that great solution of dining outdoors. I love dining outdoors! Such a great thing. In the summer. So what happens now in the fall and winter? Or on rainy days? How can a restaurant that was even making a profit before all this can hope to be making one in the mist of this? Or did we all agree that businesses didn’t need to make a profit? As in Amazon, and other giant tech companies? How does it work? Its called, a speculative bubble and here, mindset. Who’s going to take the fall, is the million dollar question. Because once the funds dries out, the cliff is high. But I guess everyone is ready to take a plunge. Or are they? All these small and medium businesses we are luring into reopening, do they understand that no one will take a chance on them or help them when that happens? Free falling simply because they are out of luck. And that, in my understanding of business and economics, or even just as a human being, sounds just like a really bad business or life plan. Why try to get ahead, whats so appealing in the idea of having all this money when times like this shows us that all we really need is to sustain life in a equalitarian manner.

Everyone holding on for dear life to things as they used to be, is the definite wrong direction when these times are testing humanity on our capacity to adapt.

Lets go back to the restaurant exemple.
Solution 1 is to double the menu price. Already high prices pre-pandemic, restaurant eating is still a luxury for most aside from big city dwellers. But for the 40M newly unemployed people, that’s probably not going to work out at all, and for the rest of us probably not either because it will become out of reach. So that leaves the very rich only, to be able to entertain themselves at restaurants, bars and cafes. Will they be able to maximize the already half capacity business operation ? And for all of us here, goodbye for now, it was fun and delicious while we had the option.

Solution 2 to half the rent prices. Well that sounds good right, but how does the landlord owner deals with his share of mortgages, payments etc… to turn a profit as well? Should the government help at this level? Seems like it would be a welcomed help, but for one, it doesn’t look like they are remotely considering these kind of options, and 2, not sure how viable it is in the end, for either business models, the commercial space owner and the restaurant owner. Given that right now people are probably rejoicing finding confort in doing things “like we used to” but once again, with unemployment on the rise and the notion that social distancing is the fondation of our lives in the next 3 years, it is safe to assume that, just like solution 1, it is off to start on the wrong foot.

Solution 3 devaluate / redenominate the dollar. This makes the most sense to me. If $10 now equals $100 or other amount to all of us, its a form of reset that will surely create economic devastation, but at least it is controlled from the top of macro economics, and a uniform applying of this will reach through individuals, to small business to big corporations all at once solution. It could spare a lot of headache if we were willing to even consider such option from the get go to save us more grief. But I doubt.

Solution 4. A gouvernemental buyback of all small to medium businesses who need to sell because simply not viable in this social distancing time of a pandemic. Just those that operate with social contact as their fondation (think restaurant, bar, theater etc…) Wow thats crazy, but why not. If I were a restaurant owner, I would want to sell asap. Rather than spend the next 10 years trying to overcome the economic impact of these 3 pandemic years. But of course, no one would be crazy enough to buy such a business now. Or they would, because we live in a speculative model. To me, this is what needs to stop and what this test of nature is showing us to do.

Solution 5. We don’t need to social distance anymore because we all move around in a clear plastic bubble with oxygen tanks attached…. No need to change anything to our ways of business then. Wow

And here we go. The top white house economist just resigned today. “Mr Philipson is one of the few top administration officials who holds a Ph. D in economics.”…. “the lack of a top white house economist comes as the administration predicts a far rosier economic path than most independent economists have projected.”