COVID-19: "Post-COVID World," Losses Mount, and now "Phase Four?"
Having last written about this "slow-moving hurricane" on March 23rd, where are we today? Listening to a growing chorus of all the different ways you can say "the world will not be the same," after this global pandemic is behind us.
Anyone wish to tell me "Oh, that's way too overstated @roleerob!"? Are you sure about that, dear reader?
Given my family's agricultural background, the news report above stood out to us. One of the many unintended (?) consequences, of what is being done in response to COVID-19, are massive disruptions to our various supply chains. In this case our food ...
While the "Almighty State" can pretend it can get away with printing money, what about all of the resulting losses of economic output from the "lockdown?" Can it also "print food?" No, of course it can't ...
Before continuing with this post, here is a bit of what I said in my first 3 COVID-19 posts:
Sunday, March 15th (Day 1):
We are told the protection of our health is the one and only objective of all of these unprecedented actions. With no one questioning (at least that "we" are ever going to hear from ...) what the unintended (?) consequences might be. "We the sheeple" are dutifully falling in line and complying with all of it. With nary a bleat to be heard anywhere ... Because, of course, "everybody knows" ...
Friday, March 20th (Day 6):
In response to Covid-19, the United States is proposing spending measures that have never been attempted before now. With much of the world appearing to be following their own version of the same "plan." Note well, dear reader, the "plan" is not to solve the almost insurmountable debt problems we already have, but instead drive them to staggering new heights.
Monday, March 23rd (Day 8):
In war, people continue on with their lives. In the best way they can individually manage, under hellacious circumstances. In the midst of these tragic times, there are heroes. And there are those who fall under the simple label of "collateral damage" ...
The overly used word "unprecedented" in these tumultuous times is now being replaced with ... wait for it ... Sacrifice! Of course. Soon enough, to be followed by another "S" word. Suffering.
Since writing these posts, I have spent less time "in here" and more time "out there" in the real world, with my immediate family, extended family, and friends. Dealing with the consequences of our government's decision to largely "lockdown" America.
This morning, with the close of ~ Day 30 yesterday, I will write a brief update on what's going on here around us, as our world continues to experience the global reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Surely the trillions of USD thrown into the "war" on our "invisible enemy" has turned the tide in our favor. The Federal Reserve has taken a number of "unprecedented" steps. The U. S. Government has taken a number of "unprecedented" steps.
We're "good to go," right?
- Stock market losses reached levels exceeding those of the Great Depression, as "unprecedented" market volatility shakes the global financial system.
- The Federal Reserve promises to do "whatever it takes" to address the COVID-19 crisis, including the use of financial "bazookas" ...
- By April 3rd, it was reported 24% of small businesses were already temporarily shut down. With the potential for another 40% to close within 2 to 3 weeks. Scariest of all:
"Forty-three percent believe they have less than six months until a permanent shutdown is unavoidable. Nearly half of small businesses (46%) believe it will take the U.S. economy six months to a year to return to normal." - U. S. Chamber of Commerce
- The previous ATH of 17 million Americans unemployed has now risen to 22 million, "as economy sinks" ...
Hmmm, I guess not. Well, has the Federal Reserve "thrown in the towel?" Has the U. S. Government said "enough!" and changed course? What would be your first guess, dear reader?
Phase Four" anyone?
Here's what else DC power players want to cram into the bill — and who would benefit most."
"Everyone" is coming "out of the woodwork" to weigh in on what should be included in Phase 4. In executing Phase 1, 2, and 3, our "fearless leaders" were merely "warming up in the bull pen." It is incredible the scope of what is being seriously proposed.
Even President Trump and the Republican Party leadership, decrying the Democrats adding a bunch of "non-essential" items to previous legislation, are now talking about using Phase 4 for all sorts of wonderful new ideas. Like, for example, completely rebuilding the infrastructure of America and spending trillions of USD more to do it ...
I won't spend any more of my or your valuable time to dig into further details because, as this is written, this legislation is once again "bogged down" behind the scenes in smoke-filled rooms, while our futures are being determined. With the inevitable state-selected "winners and losers" being strenuously debated back and forth ...
Supply Chain Consequences
In many countries around the world, we have deceived ourselves to think we can forever print money, creating "something out of nothing" and have it all turn out just fine. After all, if we don't look too closely, it has all been working out well so far, right? Modern Monetary Theory anyone?
Setting the supply of money aside, what about the supply of everything else? In this era of the remarkable complexity and interrelations amongst all the producers of these items? Commonly utilizing the principles of Kanban "just in time" inventory systems to keep costs at a minimum?
Can't we just "print" it? No ...
Growing food, for example, doesn't even pretend to lend itself to any of this nonsense at all. And if not efficiently distributed, once grown and ready to eat? It tends not to have a long shelf-life either. See the lead image and story above ...
In North America:
"Today, conventional wisdom is that the average city in North America has a three-day supply of fresh food (dried, canned and other preserved food supplies will last a bit longer). This, according to some, means that we are all only ever “nine meals from anarchy.” Luckily, North American grocery stores have sophisticated supply chains so no one is seriously suggesting that the panicked purchasing of the last few days that has emptied shelves will persist. Nevertheless, the systems we depend upon are, in many ways, fragile and inherently vulnerable."
The Conversation Post, 17 March 2020 [emphasis added mine]
Anyone even remotely familiar with the all-important agricultural industry knows we are entering the time of year to begin planting, for a new growing season. While heavy automation helps in a number of ways, it is not all automated. Laborers are needed.
Then, we will have the need to harvest. Again, while there are automated aspects of this mission-critical process, there is also a lot of manual labor involved, as referenced above. What is the "Almighty State" proposing to do about that?
I have obviously only barely scratched the surface of this topic. And focused only lightly on food, which is a universal supply issue. I haven't even started on other critical supply issues, e.g. medical supplies ...
It is enough to convey the general idea of how massive the challenges are we face in having chosen to "lock down" much of the world. The clock is ticking ...
How do we get out of this mess? Free people up to return to work! To pretend there is an alternative to that basic statement borders on insanity. Or worse ...
Having "locked down" much of the world, to supposedly protect us from COVID-19, how do we do that?
State-issued "Certificates of Immunity" anyone? No? Okay, how about "COVID Passports" then? Do you need more than a few moments, dear reader, to consider all the complexity involved in getting everyone tested, under some nightmarish new bureaucratic process?
Of course, only after a test has been developed that is:
- Reliably and consistently accurate, and
- Produced in sufficient quantities and efficiently distributed across the planet?
No pressure. Take all the time you need ...
Given how well all of the global response is working out so far, what could possibly go wrong ...
With the United States having achieved the unenviable position of suffering the most ("honestly" reported?) COVID-19 deaths, China has slowly but steadily received more and more attention, due to its alleged role in its origin:
- How accurately are deaths being reported worldwide, particularly in China?
- Claims are growing louder and stronger that the Wuhan Virology Lab was the source of COVID-19.
- Growing demand for accountability, all the way up to reports of consideration being given to "waiving" repayment of international loans provided by the Chinese, to recoup the "unprecedented" global costs of COIVD-19 and their cover-up of its seriousness, until it was too late.
Surely, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people's President for Life, Xi Jinping, will have no problem, with whatever is decided. Right?
While America's financial losses have already been staggering, reportedly the conditions are even worse in other countries around the world.
- Japan is in a "severe situation" and is "extremely depressed."
- In the European Union, with a report that the "coronavirus outbreak is having a profoundly negative impact on people’s livelihoods, on companies of all sizes and on economic growth", the response appears to be similar to that of the United States.
- Overall, the picture is grim with a report the "World economy in 2020 to suffer worst year since 1930s Great Depression ..."
We all have our perspectives on what it is like to participate with others "all over the world" in adding value to our Steem blockchain. In doing so, we can easily read the personal stories of others and the impact this pandemic is having on people "in here" and their families.
Many have already lost their jobs altogether, been laid off, or furloughed. This is at the end of approximately the first 30 days ... What does the future hold?
As stated in past writings, I have long been interested in history, in general, and military history, in particular. Have you ever read about some of the "sparks" resulting in outbreaks of full-fledged war?
In this "tinderbox" of problems, all over the world, do you think the seeds of World War III are being sown? While perhaps not so obvious today, what about the impact of growing shortages in the supply chains of needed goods all over the world? What about tomorrow?
There are already stories, even here on the Steem blockchain, over the impact of these shortages. Even though, at the moment, they are still relatively non-threatening. Again, what does the future hold?
Is it possible, even in the relatively short time frame of 30 days, there is someone, somewhere in the world, whose lives have not been personally impacted by the global response to COVID-19?
Hard to imagine ...
- The impact on my own family is growing:
- Even though we are theoretically in the "high risk" category ourselves, my beloved lifemate continues to faithfully serve daily in her role as a healthcare provider for the elderly, i.e. even older than we are. And definitely more fragile health-wise ...
- Three of our children are directly impacted by the "Paycheck Protection Program" [PPP]. 2 as business owners. The 3rd as an SBA Loan Officer for a bank (while their spouse has been indefinitely laid off). All have been overwhelmed by the complexity of compliance for obtaining the "free" money ...
- Another child, with the failure to find work and generate income, is facing the sale of their home and a move ...
I am very thankful, in the midst of this gathering storm, for the closeness of my family and my friends. I hope you, dear reader, have close associations with others in your life. In whom you have trust and upon whom you can count to "be there," in bonding together, to help you get through what we are already experiencing.
And what is coming ...
Photo: "Spring" day, here at home, on 16 March 2020. Great day for posting ...
As a follower of Christ, I do not have any fear of the future. I am settled on knowing that God has ordained what is happening. And what is coming. The outcome is in His hands.
For those who have different systems of belief and, in one way or another, are relying on the "wisdom" of man to guide them through times like this ... Well, I will simply say you have a lot more faith than I do.
After only 30 days of "unprecedented" this, that, and the other thing, America is in a state of upheaval only matched (possibly) in history by times of an actual war. Right?
Yes, certainly to this "old warhorse," except for one "teeny weeny" difference:
We did this
As the losses continue to mount, in general, and the impact of major disruptions on our supply chains "come home to roost," in particular, I predict those finally starting to ask "what are we doing?" is going to grow dramatically in number.
It is very sobering to me to consider what people are going to feel compelled to do, as this crisis grows more acute. And what the "Almighty State" and our "fearless leaders" are then going to justify doing in response. All while we receive an increasing number of calls for and reports to prepare for a "new normal" in the "post-COVID" world ...
I’d love to hear any feedback you may be inspired to provide.
P.S. As soon as "Spring" returns, I am really looking forward to getting back to work on our "Back to Eden" garden. Which now seems to be a far more important activity than when we started into it last summer. Here in America, during World War II, these were referred to as "victory gardens!"
P.P.S. As this is being published, there are reports President Trump is laying out the "guidelines" for "Opening up America Again" in three phases, which the 50 State Governors are to use in determining when to "reopen" their states and allow their citizens to return to work.
Interested in reading more of my related posts?
|Lead Image||Title, Link, & Summary|
|Day 1: COVID-19: Out of the News, Into our Lives at Home ...
Summary: With alarming speed, COVID-19, the "Coronavirus disease," went from the news in China to a pandemic here at home. What are the implications of the unprecedented response to it?
|Day 6: COVID-19: Pandemic Defense and "Helicopter Money"
Summary: How many times can a writer use the word unprecedented to describe what they are experiencing? Trillions of dollars promised, up to and including "helicopter money!"
|Day 8: COVID-19: Gathering Storm of Looming Financial "Armageddon"
Summary: Under a scenario which could aptly be described as a Perfect Storm, "unprecedented" consequences of the "unprecedented" actions from the "Almighty" State continue to grow - on the 8th day of America's "lockdown."