Post-Viral Paradigms: The World After COVID-19

Ermintruder

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(Apologies for not having returned to respond on my thread https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/covid-19-precognition-the-lockdown-did-you-sense-this-was-going-to-happen ....I will return to that).

I wanted to try and pin-down the idea behind this proposed new thread before it slips my mind, because I feel this is an important & valid set of conjectures.

May I preface this: I'm writing as someone who's only had 1.5 days of 'Working From Home' since the UK lockdown started on 23 Mar, and today's been my first day off in a outdoors/everywhere fortnight. So I'm seeing how a fair chunk of the world is changing shape just now, up close.

Cutting to the chase: irrespective of the final direct impact from Covid-19, I genuinely think that almost every aspect of of current society may be massively-changed by the observances and interpretations we are being required to follow.

The list of specific societal modes which we could logically-predict might change forever may well include:

  • absolute control & tracking of all forms of travel anywhere and everywhere
  • the overnight end to all paper/coin financial transactions (and the consequent end of all privacy of movement)
  • societal shunning for a massive range of transgressions (any hugs/touches between people, individuals risking to be outside for longer than their allocated slot, people daring to talk to each-other in person)
  • the end of international holidays, and much business travel
  • the sanctification of OCD styles of hygenic practise
  • spiralling psycho-social alienation and huge increases in mental illness & suicide
  • the counter-intuitive rebirth of commerce locality (high street butchers reporting 800% increases in sales, but coupled with a massive increase in online purchasing; ergo: out-of-town retail parks and hypermarkets are dead)
  • the relegation/deprioritisation of almost all environmental improvement programmes
  • the end to almost all forms of social interaction perhaps permanently

Maybe I'm over-reacting. I really hope I am. And I'm very (very) tired as I write this. But I'm afraid I might be more right than wrong.

Things are not going to bounce back to what they were: and I do not mean as an actual consequence (so far) of physical disease.

I'm forced to wonder: there's a genuine danger that the prelude 'cure' for this virus might be a lot worse than the disease. And that is before (please, no) any major public order incidents.

What is the world we're making, on the back of this?
 
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EnolaGaia

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I think it's premature and presumptuous to speculate about eventual / long-term changes while the COVID pandemic is still unfolding.

We don't know what changes may yet be implemented, and we certainly haven't yet seen the global phenomenon begin to ebb.
 

escargot

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I think it's premature and presumptuous to speculate about eventual / long-term changes while the COVID pandemic is still unfolding.
No it's not. It is natural and logical to speculate, and it also shows that people are willing to look forward to a time after the crisis and learn from it.
 

Zeke Newbold

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I take Enola's point, but - hey - we're Forteans - looking ahead speculatively is one of the things we do.

Here's mine:

* The end of the consensus around laissez faire free market capitalism. State intervention in the economy will be taken for granted and investment will be demanded of governments. Welfare will not be sniffed at and even a national life grant type thing may be considered. To be sure, this process was well underway before the crisis - but I think the crisis is really the final nail in the coffin for economic `libertarianism`.

* The hastening of cultural globalisation. This seems counterintuitive because borders are being closed and travel restricted. However, this must be the world's first fully global crisis - and we have all been watching with genuine concern events going on in countries far away from our own. We really have all been in this together and we have all been together in watching it unfold on a screen too. It's going to be impossible to revert to petty nationalsim after this, it seems to me.

* But... there will be plenty of Sinophobia around - with a new Cold War in which China (and, alas, the Chinese people) will be blamed and demonised and distrusted.

* The end of glitz, swagger and bling. Cheap and cheerful will be the future. We will go small scale, cottage industryish, folksy and DIYish. So no more big budget long Bond movies and the like. Instead domestic dramas with decent real people in them. And sincerety will be valued above image mongering.

* A new apreciation of offline life and face to face interactions. People will go on the rebound against having lived online for so long and will crave simple meetings with people. We will be doing more stuff online, sure - but face to face interactions (with various precautions) will be seen as a deluxe treat.

*Hypochondria will go mainstream. Every little sneeze and cough will cause alarm, and a degree of ostracism. People will take time off just for little colds and sniffles and dispensers of cold remedies will become even bigger businesses than they are now.

* The biological sciences will replace business studies, nedia studies and computer science as the default study options for young people. Even those interested in another branch, will tweak it to make it relevant to medicinal matters - hence less astrophycists and more astrobiologists.

*(Edit to add) Massive, massive curtailments of our once hallowed civil liberies - as we have all now invited unprecedented violations of our freedoms into our lives and it's going to be difficult to row back from them. Those who believe in personal liberty and privacy and choice will really have their work cut out.

If any of these stick in your political throat, please understand that I'm saying what I think might happen, not what I want to happen - although some - some - of the above changes I would indeed welcome.
 
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Xanatic*

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I worked from home for some years, that actually made me more social. I craved human company after work.
That is why I'm not working from home now, I would go crazy knowing I can't even go out after. I don't see those still with jobs after this crisis working from home unless they have to.
 

madmath

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It would be helpful to know how the world reacted after the influenza pandemic of 1919. That would give indications of how governments, organizations, and people will change, allowing for the changes in technology that make commerce and communication faster. However, back then there were many a catalog-based business, so you could order from home, and many foods could be delivered, so there are some commonalities.
Zeke Newbold is right in that governments are already abusing the situation to curb rights. For those of in relatively liberal democracies where we'll have the opportunity to replace miscreants, it helps to read the news beyond that day's announcements of the spread of the virus, see what your national and local government officials are sneaking through.
 

GNC

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In the latest FT they point out that the Spanish flu was no sooner over than a new pandemic arrived hot on its heels, sleeping sickness, which killed and disadvantaged millions more. Best to take coronavirus as something new and unprecedented in that respect, if we're wondering what happened next - and wish to stay optimistic.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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Thought-provoking thread (and might I add; terrifying).

I can see that the sort of things @Ermintruder posits could well happen but I'd sincerely like to think that they won't. (Or at least, not in this dimension ;))

I must admit I don't like where some of the current restrictions are going, e.g. 'use bank cards rather than cash because it is safer'... well yes, but I hope that isn't a precursor to a cashless society. (Or forcing us all to go contactless*) And the other worrying trend I've seen reported is that several countries have introduced tracking apps to tell you where infected people are. Oh, no. Just... nope. Things like that are a very slippery slope that I don't want to find myself on. I suppose the biggest thing I do worry about from this, is the removal of our personal freedoms (on a permanent basis I mean, not a temporary "remain indoors").

I'd like to think that there'd be an increased incidence of companies allowing their workers to work from home; it will be the case that a lot of people will realise their jobs can be done from the comfort of their own homes without their daily commute, and hopefully enlightened business owners will pick up on that too.

Funnily enough Mr Zebra and I were talking about this very same thing earlier today, saying that we'll actually miss working from home when the time comes to go back to the office... being the quiet non-social creatures that we are, we are perfectly happy chatting to our colleagues electronically rather than face-to-face so for us at least (your mileage may vary) working from home suits us perfectly. And we tend to put in longer hours as well, so that can only be a good thing as far as the company is concerned.

The thing that I often wonder, though, is... when will any of us actually feel safe going out again? Say we woke up one day and the government said "Right, all restrictions are lifted. As you were." I don't know how I'd feel... I mean, the virus would still be out there, somewhere, lurking... so I think for many people it will take a while to want to do normal things again, even when we can.


*just realised that contactless now has multiple meanings, doesn't it? not just in terms of payments but in terms of human interaction. Hmm.
 

madmath

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The restrictions won't, or at least shouldn't, be lifted all at once. What should happen is allowing people who've had the virus and thus are (theoretically) immune will come back to work, with time to detect a possible resurgence, before those who haven't had the virus return to work and otherwise going out.
I expect hand shakes to disappear from most interpersonal interactions for quite some time after. People will be very reluctant to engage in physical contact. I also expect to see gloves and masks for a long time to come.
And I do very hope I no longer see guys leave a rest room without washing their hands. Especially in restaurants. Even more especially in a sushi restaurant. :wtf:
 

Trevp666

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IMO I think generally people are desperate for things to return to normal. I'm trying to look at things optimistically/positively.
It might even (once restrictions begin to be lifted) end up being more normal than before (if that's possible!).
I most likely have slightly rose-tinted specs on but;
I can imagine that people that previously were not all that sociable might start to make more of an effort to get to know people etc.
Local businesses will benefit from an increased generosity of local people who have realised that the big stores aren't going to suffer much but the people that run the little local shops depend on local trade.
A greater community spirit will be a lasting effect as during this period there has been a greater amount of neighbours and local people helping each other out at a time of crisis.
The realisation that the lack of manufacturing here in the UK as a result of having to import all sorts of medical stuff etc will drive many SMEs to start making goods here again, thus increasing employment opportunities and kick starting the economy (which we are already starting to see with ventilators, masks, clothing etc).
People generally will begin to take responsibility for their own lives a bit more leading to more self-sufficiency, home grown fruit and veg, making things last longer by repairing them instead of throwing stuff away as soon as it gets a scratch on it etc.
 

Frasier Buddolph

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Bad as it is, I doubt that the covid pandemic is bad enough to produce any permanent, profound change in the way we live. Give it a year, we'll be back to the culture wars, strident SJW nonsense, people falling from high places trying to get a selfie, etc., etc.

I would HOPE that certain people here in the States would finally realize that the federal government has a legitimate and vital role to play, but I am not optimistic. I think that China's position as the world's leading superpower will be secured, and America's second-rate status will be painfully obvious to all.

Hey, I've been wrong before . . .
 

GNC

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With the news that the usually unpoliced online mass media outlets are deleting ignorant conspiracies about the virus, is it too early to hope we're entering a new, post-fake news world once the crisis is over, where people take responsibility for what they spread online (so to speak)?
 

Victory

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I posted a lot about this on another thread but some things I think:

Kissing/hugs/handshakes to be less common in social situations.

Some businesses which did not treat staff well during this to be informally boycotted.

International travel to take a long time to get back to the levels it was beforehand.
People will be a bit worried about going overseas, and not have the money to do so, plus more business meetings will be via web conferencing.
 

kamalktk

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Population will spread out away from the large cities. There will still be large cities of course, but the acceptance of teleworking will mean people that used to have to live close to downtowns will now be able to live out in the small towns/countrysides, or even other countries entirely, where the cost of living is less.
 

Yithian

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Desinofication with regards to essential goods and products and a general drive to strengthen vital supply chains.

Establishment of more robust instititional safeguards and protocols from future outbreaks.

Some bankrupt airlines.

Possibly a boost for the campaign for decent healthcare provision in the U.S.

A slight rejigging of the office/home balance in the West.

A lot of economic difficulties and a certain recession.

But essentially back to normal--albeit a 'normal' with a memory of this traumatic interlude seared into it. We may see some good artistic responses, but I rather suspect that most will be crap; when reality veers this close to fiction, what is there to gain from further depiction? See 9/11.

For all the talk of this being a revolutionary moment in our historical evolution, most people in most places will prefer a return to the status quo ante, and governments will be extremely eager to oblige.

We aren't going to see any meaningful enquiries or post-mortems, at least not the kind that names and shames the guilty, which is not to say that this is fair or reasonable.

With respect, anybody suggesting that China will replace the U.S. as the dominant hegemon has not looked at the economic and military figures, nor factored in the epic loss of cultural capital to the Chinese. Plus, behind the scenes, global leaders are seething.
 

Yithian

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Desinofication with regards to essential goods and products and a general drive to strengthen vital supply chains.
As I was saying!

Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.

The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.


Full Article:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...o-fund-firms-to-shift-production-out-of-china
 

Mythopoeika

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As I was saying!

Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.

The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.

Full Article:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...o-fund-firms-to-shift-production-out-of-china
Expect this to become more commonplace as more countries try to reduce their reliance on China. Best not to put all your eggs in one basket.
 

James_H

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I think what Zeke Newbold says is pretty nail on head. I also think foreign travel will start to be frowned upon (this in combination with climate concerns) so I'll have to keep schtum about my amazing holidays. Also I think there will be a general surge in public sentiment to left wing ideas (anti landlord, anti billionaire) though I worry that that coupled with people's tendency to authoritarian leaders in times of crisis won't work out very well.
 

Comfortably Numb

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maximus otter

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l think we’ll find that the world goes back virtually to the status quo ante after this latest Apocalypse Armageddon Ragnarok Götterdämmerung Cataclysm Catastrophe, and very quickly.

Just like it did after the last one, and just as it will after the next one.

maximus otter
 

ramonmercado

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l think we’ll find that the world goes back virtually to the status quo ante after this latest Apocalypse Armageddon Ragnarok Götterdämmerung Cataclysm Catastrophe, and very quickly.

Just like it did after the last one, and just as it will after the next one.

maximus otter
I just hope my pension fund recovers!
 

Spookdaddy

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A quieter, slower world?
'All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone', said Pascal.

I don't think the world will change much en masse. But I do think enough people will have discovered enough things about themselves to make a little bit of a difference - and maybe that too is enough.
 

Kondoru

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Thats an interesting article

But they talk about climate change as if its something that can have something done about. A tad egoistic.

People in the plast could do nothing much about Plagues, but we can.
 

ralfy

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Consider this article:

"Why this crisis is a turning point in history"

The era of peak globalisation is over. For those of us not on the front line, clearing the mind and thinking how to live in an altered world is the task at hand.
But I think there will be more, such as the effects of limits to growth as diminishing returns set in and the effects of both environmental damage and global warming. But like pandemics, there are certain crises that cannot be predicted, such as wars over resources. Still, as groups like the Federation of American Scientists point out, a twentyfold or greater increase in armaments production and deployment worldwide should lead to something.
 

Tribble

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In years to come there will be a rise in stories in the "All the lonely people..." thread, of people who died alone in their homes and weren't found until years later.

The sheer amount of fake news on social media will reach incredible levels. Already I see a lot of factcheckers having to deal with all sorts of fake C19 news - African kids dropping dead from experimental vaccines, people consuming lethal alcohol (often tainted with methanol) as a "cure", photos and videos from years-old disasters being repurposed and reattributed to mere weeks ago.

More urban legends and ghost stories, of haunted mass-burial grounds and of premature burials, will emerge.

Cashfree society? Interestingly, at the start of the year, a new law came into effect in Sweden (already a rather cash-free society) to preserve access to cold hard cash.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has also warned that a purely cashless society could easily be paralysed in the event of a natural disaster or invasion, as all it would take would be for the internet or power systems to collapse for all payments to be impossible.

https://www.thelocal.se/20200105/what-you-need-to-know-about-swedens-new-cash-law
 

Lord Lucan

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Cashfree society? Interestingly, at the start of the year, a new law came into effect in Sweden (already a rather cash-free society) to preserve access to cold hard cash.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has also warned that a purely cashless society could easily be paralysed in the event of a natural disaster or invasion, as all it would take would be for the internet or power systems to collapse for all payments to be impossible.

https://www.thelocal.se/20200105/what-you-need-to-know-about-swedens-new-cash-law
As an owner of a couple of retail stores, the breakdown for us in daily transactions is approximately 80% cashless, 20% cash. In over 10 years of owning retail/food businesses, we have only ever had one day where every transaction was by credit/debit card and that took place around 5 weeks before Christmas of last year.
From our perspective, the younger the customer, the more inclined they are to use card or contactless forms of payment (smartphone, smart watches, smart rings and would you believe smart artificial fingernails - I have seen one).
Interestingly enough though, speaking to a number of elderly friends, I've been surprised by the number who have withdrawn large amounts of cash to keep at home when the pandemic started to become serious and lockdown & isolation looked likely.
 
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