Health personnel are working overtime. Most of us are not. Most of us are self isolating. That microcosm of dynamic ‘imbalance’ alone is worth noting and, guess what, that example is just a change that will be repeated to some degree in everything.
Of course, some folks are ‘essential’ support workers and they are staffing food stores and keeping the lights on. Financially, they are much the same. Some are not-quite-so-essential and they have had their hours cut back – such as the BC ferry system which is running fewer ferries. That changes their lives somewhat, too. And the list goes on. Front-line workers, essential support workers, part-timers….all of them are adjusting to the C-19 virus. Basically that just means the work-force is a’changing a bit more and unpredictably than it usually does.
Is it changing permanently? Or just for awhile?
Methinks it will never be the same again. I don’t see how it can. Firstly, there is the simple fact that a lot of small businesses are operating marginally at the best of times. This interruption will take them out of the game. Secondly, larger ‘distributors’ like Amazon and Costco and the ‘big box’ stores will garner a larger amount again of the existing market but that market is already a flat or shrinking one. Wages will drop – those are low-skill jobs and there will be plenty of applicants.
Somewhat viable mom-and-pop alternatives will crash, too. Less disposable income around. Quilting supplies shops may be an exception. Thirdly, a lot of companies will use this disease to ‘get rid of the dead wood’ and will simply not hire back all of their staff. More poor. More homeless. More demand for government services. Only the public service numbers will remain steady. Everyone else will be ‘tightening belts, cutting back and streamlining’ in whatever way they can. Taxes will increase but the cow is already pretty dry. Government debt will increase. The Canadian dollar will fall. Imported goods will increase in price.
Delivery services will also increase. UPS to taxis, pizza delivery to food delivery. NetFlix. Amazon. Costco/Home Depot delivery. More transactions will be done ‘online’. Those transactions done in person will be faster (I hope). And air travel will fall out of the sky. Air freight will increase. Fuel prices may remain low because fewer people are driving.
“How can I profit from this disaster?”
You can’t. Not in a larger sense, anyway. You may decide to invest in electric delivery van production and see your shares go up but there will be fewer and fewer people willing to take on huge mortgages as so many around them default from lack of income. Your real estate equity will go down. Even if your real estate holdings continue to tread water (we still attract immigrants), the falling Canadian dollar makes that value internationally less. You might win on the one hand, but you’ll lose more on the other. This is a disease that sinks all boats. Eventually.
‘But you wrote in a blog that it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good!”
And that is still true. Some guy owns a mask-making company. He’ll do well. GoJo owns Purelle. They are going gangbusters. Money is being shoveled into Health Care – even hospital cleaning staff are getting overtime. There are industries that will do well in a crisis. But even they ‘flatten out’ after the crisis has passed and there is no guarantee that the next crisis will be so needy of hand-cleaner. Even the winners will have to adjust later.
“So, what are you saying?”
I am saying C-19 is a game changer and the really amazing thing is that it is NOT as deadly to humankind as is even traffic or ordinary flu. Not by the numbers. Not yet, anyway. Still, C-19 changes everything. What this disease has demonstrated is just how unstable and teetering is our house-of-money and our society. Although, to be fair, we do not yet have roving gangs of zombies so society is remaining more or less civilized so far.
We got a really bad cold and it has fundamentally changed us and I think it will fundamentally change the way ‘things are done’ forever.