Sunday, April 05, 2020

The Shape of Things to Come

Some things are fairly well known. Let's start from those.

1. In the US, for the week of April 15, the average daily death toll will be a couple thousand coming mainly from the Northeast corridor.

2. Beginning in the week of April 21, if lockdowns persist, the unemployment rate will raise to over 15% and moderate size non-service oriented businesses will begin layoffs.

3. In the week of April 28, if the lockdown persists, the central government will no longer have enough credit to float the system, and businesses will follow their own pattern of adaptation.

Which means that within the next week, (the week of April 15), the central governments around the EU and North America have a decision to make:

A. Admit that the pandemic is out of control and instead prioritize the economy.

B. Double down into economic catastrophe.

My guess is that the governments will choose A. In that case, we have a very interesting social condition that will develop in that the free peoples will be divided amongst themselves on the basis of age. Going into the 2020 election, we will see that develop in political terms as well. I would expect that the Democrats will demagogue the issues and attempt to have it both ways before strongly siding with socialist-type interventions that are not economically feasible. The Republican, lacking strong leadership, will dance in the wind as they hope for the situation to resolve itself.

So by mid-May, we will have a new normal. The economy will be reopened but the virus will not be defeated. The daily death toll will remain in the thousands, but most people will begin to adapt to the threat, having learned effectively nothing. With a depressed economy and no excess capital to spend, certain changes will need to be made:

1. Higher education will cease to be a four-year vacation for the indolent on loans. The student loan system collapses under the weight of unpayable loans built on fraudulent education, bloated administrations, and a squirrel cage system of raising costs without value.

2. The financial system will be sacked of a great proportion of its liquidity.

3. The service sector will remain contracted, not for the virus, but because there is no money to spend.

4. Capital investments will contract and political solutions will be proposed that are in fact confiscations of wealth.

5. The legal system will lose legitimacy to the degree that court orders are not enforced by fiat, but rather only through negotiation.

Well, let's see.