Fighting the COV : The Economic Enemy

How to fight this virus that has us locked away, hoarding supplies, turning ourselves into virtual versions of ourselves? 

There are many things to fight. The disease. The infection. The impact on the economy, our lives and society.

The battle against the disease is being waged on the front-lines by many medical professionals. They all have my deepest admiration and thanks. Medical researchers, at institutions academic to big pharma, are labouring to develop new weapons – vaccines, drugs – to throw down the enemy. Awesome.

Many manufacturers have stepped up their processes, or completely retooled them, to produce things we need to fight infection – hand sanitizer, masks, protective shields and more. Governments are wielding their power to suppress the spread, keeping us far enough away from each other so we can’t share the virus. All important efforts in the fight against the COV.

What’s left is the fight against the fallout effects from shutting down and shifting so much human activity – the wake of disease control. We’ve heard about massive unemployment and lost revenue in many industries. The picture hasn’t fully emerged yet of which industries and businesses may benefit from the demand reflected in all those empty store shelves and weeks of backordered home delivery. Some retailers have been hiring, as have delivery companies, but they’ve also incurred extra costs, such as installing protective measures for their employees. And then there all those government aid programs. Definitely needed. But where will these dollars come from ultimately? Taxes. Or the money supply, which ripples into inflation.

Many economic forecasts are grim. That’s what is left in the battle against the COV. Ways to fight economic downturn and unemployment.

All I have is an idea of what one person can do.

Here’s my simplistic understanding of economics: it’s the sum total of individual actions. It’s about the balance that’s created from the actions of millions of people in a country, and millions of other people in another country and other countries and… When there is economic growth, it means more people are buying things, because more people have the ability to buy things, because they have jobs to create more things that people want to buy.1It’s a big circular thing, that can either spiral down or up. 

Recessions happen when demand for stuff falls, as it has due to our enemy the COV. We’ve semi-voluntarily shut down the demand for many things like sporting events, live entertainment and travel. This has put millions of people out of work, so of course these people are buying fewer things. And down we go.

I think there is something some of us can do to shift the balance. Many people are still employed, doing essential things like healthcare, education, food services, maintaining the electrical systems and so much more. These people can support demand for goods and services. Economic recession and economic growth differ by whether there is more or less demand today than yesterday. I think we have some influence over this.

I’m not talking about increased debt burden, or senseless spending sprees. The decision-making process we go through when we make purchases, large or small, is complex and dependent on many factors. Outlook on the future is certainly one of them. There are times in every person’s life, regardless of whether they are acting as a consumer of staples like eggs and milk, or as a sophisticated investor in corporate expansion plans, when they are more or less willing to spend. This is related to the concept of consumer confidence, investor confidence, business confidence.

This is where I am going in my fight against the COV. It’s economic. Some of us have the opportunity to shift our economic stance, either as consumers, investors, or creators of products2. Because the economic situation depends on the number of buyers. More buyers means more room for sellers, and more employment. That’s fundamental theory. It means the action of each individual counts. 

Who am I to fight the COV? One consumer. One business person. That’s what the world is made of.

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1This buying can be of many things. It might be household goods, like slippers. Or construction equipment, like cranes. Business services, like cloud computing. Or consumer services, like entertainment streaming. Buying of many things are related. Like cloud computing and communication devices. Construction cranes and dental services (if construction industry employers have good benefit packages).

2 I am suggesting those who can afford to spend should, not that those who already have a debt load increase it.

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