I have to keep track of sources of information about the virus’s impact on the economy, and occasionally I find something worth thinking about and writing about.
I found an essay by Dr. Nicholas Christakis that makes some interesting points about the pandemic that are conclusions based on his behavioral research at Yale University. He believes that even with a 2020 approved vaccine we will not emerge from this phase of the pandemic until 2022. Vaccine distribution, trust issues, and politicization will keep us from beating the schedule of attainment of herd immunity, where 40% of the population has been exposed to the virus thereby limiting its epidemic potential. Beyond this he states some interesting behavioral conclusions.
He sees the backlash against globalization and urban living not lasting past 2024. He also believes that people will relentlessly seek opportunities for social mixing at large scale, such as sporting events. He cites a historical record indicating that consumption will come back with a vengeance as periods of plague-ridden austerity have often been followed by periods of liberal spending. One such citation is the record following the 1348 Black Death plague where citizens thought themselves rich because they had survived the plague and spent accordingly. A second citation relates to the Roaring Twenties which followed the 1918 pandemic.
The essay ends with what I liked best: “The worse the pandemic gets, the more people will expect from themselves, from others and from the state. As history plainly shows, after such widespread devastation, people will often feel not only a renewed sense of purpose but a renewed sense of possibility.”