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How will the world change after the coronavirus?


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#1
Outlook

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Things will change after the coronavirus blows over. Do you think international organizations like WHO will gain more power and integration in the world? Will China crackdown heavily on bush-meat and poaching trades? Will transportation be different? What about socioeconomic and generational changes, will this lead to something similar to the Spanish Flu?

This thread isn't so much as to discuss the disease's impacts now, but the impacts after. This might be the big one that we've been anticipating with regards to global pandemics. And as usual with things like this, humanity only reacts better after they deal with the crisis. So what's your prediction?
Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/Gnyr3sbdKkU

#2
Cyber_Rebel

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Production has shifted towards automation (at least in China) in order to deal with the issue of human to human contact, so I'm curious if it'll stay in that direction due to the advantages of an automated workforce. A crackdown on bush-meat and the general conditions of street food (people there were sometimes cooking with shit water) would be prudent, and honestly it's one of those unique cases where I don't care if it's authoritarian. 

 

Big government could be argued to be positive in regards to being able to respond to societal threats. WHO in my opinion has been abysmally terrible, and needs to be reformed or at least have better stronger leadership. (Similar case with the U.N.) In short, we'll be better coordinated, but at the same time we need to be able to function independently as well. I'm not an anti-globalist, but pandemics of this scale create further skepticism of relying on that model purely for trade and economic growth. I can see that skepticism either reforming international discourse or further encouraging nations to be strong (self-reliant) on their own. 

 

Socioeconomically it depends on how bad this continues to affect the stock market. This may mean the end of business as usual in the United States, as this has created the strongest case yet for a national health care system. (ties into big gov. positivity) If people are sick, poor, and desperate I'd imagine some definite ideological changes are going to be the end result. If it gets very bad, as in killing off a generation like discussed in the disease thread, then you can expect a radical political realignment to take place. This is already underway, the virus itself really only sped up the inevitable. 

 

There's also the carbon emissions which have receded a great deal in China, 25% which is absolutely incredible. The world could look at this, and actually try and shift production much faster from fossil fuels as we now have very recent real time evidence. If China comes back online business as usual and the emissions go back up, they might actually face a harsher response with actual repercussions. Ideally, China should try and keep this lower emission threshold and gain a foothold on green/solar technologies by doing so. They may actually retain their previous growth (someone more knowledgeable might correct me) if the rest of the world follows suit. Those are my ramblings on the matter, it may all be wrong, but we'll see.



#3
starspawn0

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Lots of things will be fundamentally different, and won't go back to the way they were before.  This also happens with forest fires:  it was once believed that after a forest fire, nature returns to an "equilibrium" very close to what it was before the fire. This was supported by an ideology called "balance of nature" -- that all things are in perfect balance, unless disturbed.  Eventually, people rigorously tested this hypothesis, and found it to be very wrong, indeed.  After a forest fire, nature reaches a new equilibrium, with a whole new distribution and ecology.  Nature is constantly shifting from one temporary equilibrium to another; crises initiate the transitions.

 

See this Adam Curtis documentary, the second part in the trilogy "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace":

 

 

The first 20 minutes or so discuss the balance of nature ideology, and how it was proven wrong 



#4
Yuli Ban

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A damn ton.

 

Even if coronavirus turns out to be a nutraloaf nothingburger, certain trends are in place right now that are literally at an inflection point. Things like automation, for example. 

 

Just try to picture this scenario:

Coronavirus becomes as "bad" as the flu, infecting around 100 million people worldwide by August. We're still talking about a million deaths at least, and severe economic ramification to boot.

Now imagine an even worse situation, where coronavirus infects somewhere around a billion people. The vast majority survive it, obviously, but we're still looking at a severe collapse in productivity and widespread fear. 

So begins a severe recession, easily as bad as 1983 or 2008. That means at least two years of depressed manufacturing and job growth. The tech sector's going to face a wipe out unless something drastic is done. They're going to face a wipeout regardless, but if the big ones can hold out to 2021 or 2022 or so, they might be able to utilize advances in AI to supercharge automation. Other industries would sign on as a means of returning to high growth prematurely, and that means that AI & robotics see accelerated growth in spite of reduced funding. 

 

Of course, the geopolitical situation might also be very different to boot. Imagine the fear wrought by coronavirus mixing with fake news and ultranationalist sentiments. We're already seeing these sorts of riots in Ukraine and India. Couple into that joblessness plus prolonged joblessness due to automation, and I can see things being very tense, perhaps even radical, for some time forward. 

If coronavirus is particularly bad, the main conservative voting base might also be handled badly, which I can't imagine would go over well with ultranationalist youths in many countries. 

 

 

Now that I think about it, I wonder... how scared might some people get? There's going to be a lot of technological change coming at us very, very rapidly very quickly, the kind of change that would make people highly uncomfortable (to the point many might not tolerate it). But factor a plague and economic recession into that fold and you might see acute future shock take hold. Too much change coming way too quickly.

Especially we Americans are not used to extremely rapid changes or shifts. We're used to stability and the status quo. That might even be one reason why so many refuse to believe that anything's wrong right now: accepting that there's a big problem brewing means accepting that there will be great changes. And that just won't do.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
Alric

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You say after, but will there be an "after"? If we are looking at worst case scenarios, it is that the virus remains around forever. It is a new virus like the flu that spreads around the world. Maybe it kills a few million people every year and we just have to live with it. It is the new normal. If that happens, then everyone here will likely get it at some point in their life, just like most people have had flu or colds at some point. Once it spreads to a certain point you can't stop it, and people can't avoid each other forever.



#6
Erowind

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Especially we Americans are not used to extremely rapid changes or shifts. We're used to stability and the status quo. That might even be one reason why so many refuse to believe that anything's wrong right now: accepting that there's a big problem brewing means accepting that there will be great changes. And that just won't do.

Was literally in a Asian food joint earlier listening to an older, conservative sounding man repeatedly ask the bartender (because she's Asian I guess?) "it's just a flu right?" "It's like the flu, it's not like the black plague." He sounded simultaneously exasperated, concerned and like he was in a state of denial. The girl working the counter told him about 80,000 people had it--good on her for keeping up with real numbers--and he took that as reason that it wasn't that bad. The only other time I've seen random people I don't know step out of the spectacle of consumerist society like this was during the 2016 election when the Trumpers were out in force. I imagine 9/11 was even more intense. At the computer store the clerk gave me purell without asking after I checked out and said, "nobody wants to catch corona." There's a sense in the air of illusions breaking and it feels like the people around me are way more alive than normal, albeit, some are obviously scared. 

 

Tying this into my post. Crisis precipitates change when the status quo cannot adequately respond to it. Even if the coronavirus were to vanish tomorrow the market shock may already have been enough to trigger a recession. Should a light recession occur I expect status quo to chug along. Should the virus get much much worse and throw the economy into depression. Or, should the economy throw itself into depression for a variety of reasons I've mentioned on the forum before; this will weaken status quo and open the margins of the overton window to more "radical" positions. This doesn't mean global capitalism will break, but it will crack, and it will be challenged in some degree. The historical ramifications are that this will contribute to eventual revolution/collapse that faces us as the larger issue, climate crisis, applies greater and greater pressure. Which is to say the conditions surrounding human reaction to the virus will accelerate cultural development and or degeneration. I'll not make specific predictions and instead make more broad ones. 

 

Our autumn of discontent from Chile to France to Hong Kong to Lebanon to Haiti and beyond was a prelude. As people hunker down to protect themselves from the virus unrest will likely temporarily take a different form. Crowds clearing shelves, food riots in some less developed countries as supply chains are disrupted. This virus doesn't exist in a microcosm. Climate crisis most recently in the form of locust plagues in Africa is damaging the food supply chain, and with global economic crisis, what genuine foreign aid exists will be harder to come by. Following this period of violent dormancy I expect there to be another rapid and grand display of developing class consciousness among global populations. I don't have my source on me right now, but the Arab Spring was also precluded by disruptions in the food supply chain due to the great financial crisis and pressure from climate crisis. Consider the turbulent conditions over the past 4 years and imagine what the world might look like should and event like the Arab Spring take an even grander stage. What if this time there is a Latin and a South-East Asian spring with auxiliary unrest throughout Afro-Eurasia. Consider what the world would like if during this same time India were to turn fascist. 

 

The particular regions don't matter so much as the cultural trend does. The historical parallels for our world are multidimensional. South African apartheid is mirrored on a global scale as capital accumulation treats those it extracts value from as white colonizers treated the indigenous Africans. The imperium is where capital accumulates and the slaves where it comes from. Just as apartheid plays out so does a parallel to both the Fall of the Roman Empire and the conflict of power during the transition of global power from the British Empire to America. Where Imperial America is both in a process of collapse and conflict with not just the rising Chinese, but also other centers of capital accumulation such as India. The empires of today are not entirely like the empires of years past. Wars are fought mostly through trade, debt and finance. These economic wars could turn hot as supply chain becomes strained due to climate crisis in the middle and latter part of the century should humanity not collectively respond. Who will global powers point their guns currently engaged in proxy wars of extraction at when the smaller countries they exploit run out of natural and human resources to extract value from?

 

All the same the historical epics of revolutions across history are in motion across the globe. Where Russia is a microcosm, our world is in the mid to late 1800s. The people have not yet attempted global revolution, but they are showing signs of moving towards this end. There were strikes dating as far back as 1862 in Russia, with the failed revolution of 1905 setting the stage for 1917. If one views the Arab Spring as an analogue to smaller revolts in the 1800s and considers the material conditions of the Russian people parallel to that of people today the future looks clear. Status quo cannot respond to climate crisis, capital accumulation by definition demands extraction and the biosphere will not tolerate this on human terms forever. This means that the famines, suffering, and conditions of slavery, however direct or abstract, will continue to agitate people until they are resolved. That agitation will take the form of class consciousness. Even in the case where fascism co-opts this development fascism itself is just another reaction of capital. Meaning it too will eat itself alive and die by it's own contradictions given time and too develop into the next mode of production. 

 

This is all very marxist and modernist. That's because marxism is the only lens besides liberalism I'm somewhat versed in and liberalism obviously doesn't have the answers. I suspect that I'm wrong, that maybe some select parts of this analysis are correct, and that the future will mostly look different than what I project here. Economics is a very powerful tool for understanding sociocultural development and I intend to learn different schools overtime and meld them together in the best possible way. For whatever all this is worth I know things are changing and that capital cannot adapt to modern conditions. Whatever comes next may it be socialism, communism, something Yuli Ban's come up with or some other thing entirely I cannot say. But this it's all very exciting! 

 

On a less serious note I sincerely look forward to automation, VR, anti-aging and space travel in the future and think we're on a path were all of these will be realized to some degree. The climate catastrophists are partly right. Things are very bad, and it's very depressing. And anyone reading this may well die in the turmoil. But if we make it through, if we beat this monster inside us, this pride and avarice that compels us to eat both the world and ourselves. Well, then we are on the cusp of creation itself. Nothing will stand in our way again and we need only seize the opportunity and take our rightful place in the stars. 

 

W7NnHQY.jpg



#7
starspawn0

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I have been thinking about long-term economic repercussions.  One is what will happen to the eldercare profession:  there is a large sector of the economy devoted to taking care of the elderly -- retirement villages, nursing homes, all their staff, nurses, and home-care assistants.  A large chunk of the people that receive this care consists of people over about 75 years of age; and, if the virus hits half of them, and kills about 7% of them, then a lot of the houses in those retirement villages will very suddenly empty out and not need to be replaced; and large numbers of nurses and staff won't be needed, either.  

 

Furthermore, there are a lot of older people living in their own homes (not in a retirement village), who will suddenly die, and their homes will be put up for sale.  This should depress the real estate market; and communities with a higher median age will see even greater depressed home prices.  It could depress it by a lot -- even just a little bit of extra slack in the market can drop prices by a tremendous amount.  This will have a cascade of effects; some good, some bad.  

 

When you put all these effects together, it's hard to say what it will do to the U.S., for example.  If a lot of people are depending heavily on the value of their home, and are over-leveraged, living paycheck-to-paycheck, then they will default on their loans, and then we may have a very nasty financial crisis.  Or, if a large number of investors are depending on real estate investments for money, then they, too, might not be able to pay the bills (whatever they may be); and we could, again, have another financial meltdown.  

 

Generally, if there is any situation where there are large numbers of people barely keeping above water, and depend on the market staying pretty much as it is, could lead to another very nasty financial meltdown.



#8
Erowind

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/\ At least in the case of nursing homes I have direct second hand experience here. In well run facilities elders will likely be less likely to get the virus than they would normally. My mother's workplace is already implementing a crisis plan, securing excess supplies and moving residents around to make quarantine units on certain floors. There will likely bans on visitors who are not immediate family and protocols around how long those folks can visit and how they'll be sanitized. In the event of an internal outbreak common spaces get shut down and quarantine's are put into effect immediately. 

 

Also from direct second hand experience. Most nursing facilities are not up to code and in dismal condition. My mum's is lucky enough to be funded by both a charitable effort on UPMC's part, state grants and city grants. so they're better off than most though still shorthanded with staff. 



#9
starspawn0

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They won't be able to stop the people under the care of the nursing home from getting sick.  Even hospitals with special clean facilities to treat very sick patients can't keep it away.  Quarantine would work, but it's expensive.

 

....

 

On the subject of expense:  elderly people are going to get hit with crippling medical bills.  Although the death rate for people in their 70s is around 5% or a little more, the number of people who become very sick and need hospital care is much higher.  For that age group, it might be as high as 30% of those infected.  And maybe 20% or more of those infected in their mid-70s require hospitalization; some will require lung transplants, and there aren't enough to go around.

 

I don't know what Medicare will pay; but given how Trump has made motions to slash it, and given how the hospital stays will probably be long, they're probably going to have to pay a lot of money -- and many of them can't afford to lose a lot of their money like that.

 

Some investor wolves are probably licking their chops, thinking about all that money they're going to take from the elderly.  They'll laugh all the way to the bank.



#10
starspawn0

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Businesses will learn that telecommuting works pretty well, with few or no downsides.  They have only been able to gradually test this out in the past, in limited ways, due to the risk of failure -- suddenly removing the requirement that people must show up physically could seriously damage a business, if unexpected problems crop up.  And, businesses are afraid people will be lazy if they work at home, and not get as much done.  

 

But if a business is forced to experiment with telecommuting, and finds that it works pretty well, then they might be tempted to do more of it in the future.  One can imagine all kinds of repercussions of this -- one being greatly reduced gas consumption, as people don't have to physically go to work.  It also could mean more outsourcing of labor.  This could, in turn, impact employment.



#11
caltrek

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I was thinking of this question while accompanying my wife on shopping errands.  Because it was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, there were relatively few shoppers in the store.

 

Science fiction is often based on an exaggeration of present trends.  So I begin to paint an exaggerated picture in my head of what it might all mean.  I imagined a future in which robots outnumbered humans.  In which stores were filled with robots shopping largely for things like robot spare parts with only a minority of expenditures being for items needed by humans.  Store clerks would also be mere robots.  All centrally controlled by some overarching AI, or perhaps a collection of super AIs.

 

In one phase of post apocalyptic development, a massive human die-off would mean that property could come to be inherited by robots .  Perhaps, at some point, an AI would conclude that such an arrangement was inefficient, and issue a command to such property owning robots  to report to the nearest recycling center, where they would promptly be obliterated.  Robots, being robots, would simply obey such commands with no fear or remorse. 

 

Kind of a futuristic setting for what might be expanded to a full short story, except that I am not otherwise motivated to write such a short-story.  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#12
starspawn0

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I see Eliezer Yudkowsky came to a similar conclusion as I did above:
 
https://mobile.twitt...383484647575552

The USA will soon witness one of the vastest wealth transfers in history, as massive numbers of old people die, and hospitals send medical bills to capture their entire estates.


What I wrote above that was related:

On the subject of expense: elderly people are going to get hit with crippling medical bills. Although the death rate for people in their 70s is around 5% or a little more, the number of people who become very sick and need hospital care is much higher. For that age group, it might be as high as 30% of those infected. And maybe 20% or more of those infected in their mid-70s require hospitalization; some will require lung transplants, and there aren't enough to go around.



I don't know what Medicare will pay; but given how Trump has made motions to slash it, and given how the hospital stays will probably be long, they're probably going to have to pay a lot of money -- and many of them can't afford to lose a lot of their money like that.



Some investor wolves are probably licking their chops, thinking about all that money they're going to take from the elderly. They'll laugh all the way to the bank.


It didn't occur to me, though, that they would pounce on the estate after death. Those estates are not protected by Medicare or other laws. So, it will be a net transfer of wealth from the middle class, of middle age, to hospitals and investors.

#13
caltrek

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You kind of already see that with old age homes.  Old folk who are no longer ambulatory and or suffering from dementia.  The nicer nursing homes are financed by families who drain their collective wealth of value to pay for quality care for the elders of the family.  Revenue streams can include reverse mortgages, rental of properties vacated by newly arrived patients, long-term care insurance policies, or sale of homes and parking of the proceeds into more liquid forms of wealth.  High costs of care can cause a sort of evaporation of wealth that might otherwise be passed down to offspring.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#14
starspawn0

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There needs to be a better model of eldercare than nursing homes, for the very old, that doesn't eat up $10k to $20k per month.  

 

....

 

On an unrelated matter:  another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic will be reduced gas and oil consumption, which will further depress the economies of Russia and Venezuela.  This, in turn, will make it difficult for Russia to move the retirement age back.  They should learn not to put too many eggs in one basket (fossil fuels)!



#15
Yuli Ban

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Coronavirus Forces World’s Largest Work-From-Home Experiment

Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, working from home is no longer a privilege, it’s a necessity.
While factories, shops, hotels and restaurants are warning about plunging foot traffic that is transforming city centers into ghost towns, behind the closed doors of apartments and suburban homes, thousands of businesses are trying to figure out how to stay operational in a virtual world.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to test working from home at scale,” said Alvin Foo, managing director of Reprise Digital, a Shanghai ad agency with 400 people that’s part of Interpublic Group. “Obviously, not easy for a creative ad agency that brainstorms a lot in person.” It’s going to mean a lot of video chats and phone calls, he said.

wv9G5iB.jpg
A woman carrying a laptop crosses a near empty Nanjing Road in Shanghai on Jan. 29.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#16
Yuli Ban

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Coronavirus could force ISPs to abandon data caps forever

Pressure from the global pandemic has broadband companies loosening the arbitrary restrictions on the connections users pay for — and this may be the beginning of the end for the data caps we’ve lived in fear of for decades. Here’s why.
The coronavirus threat and official policies of “social distancing” are leading millions to stay home, doing meetings via video chat and probably watching Netflix and YouTube the rest of the time. That means a big uptick in bytes going through the tubes, both simultaneously and cumulatively.
ISPs, leery of repeating Verizon’s memorable gaffe of cutting off service during an emergency, are proposing a variety of user-friendly changes to their policies. Comcast is boosting the bandwidth of its low-income Internet Essentials customers to levels that actually qualify as broadband under FCC rules. AT&T is suspending data caps for all its customers until further notice. Verizon has added $500 million to its 5G rollout plans. Wait, how does that help? Unclear, but the company “stands ready” for increases in traffic. (Disclosure: Verizon Media owns TechCrunch, but this does not affect our editorial coverage.)


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#17
Yuli Ban

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The reduction in air pollution in China as a result of COVID-19 has saved the lives of 4,000 children under 5, and 73,000 adults over 70

COVID-19 is a massive global economic and health challenge, having caused >3500 global deaths as of this writing (Mar 8) and untold economic and social disruption.  This disruption is only likely to increase in coming days in regions where the epidemic is just beginning. Strangely, this disruption could also have unexpected health benefits -- and these benefits could be quite large in certain parts of the world.  Below I calculate that the reductions in air pollution in China caused by this economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country.
 
A few weeks ago, NASA published striking satellite images of the massive reduction in air pollution (specifically, NO2) over China resulting from the economic slow-down in that country following it's aggressive response to COVID-19.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#18
starspawn0

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Another positive outcome of the coronavirus, or rather two things:

 

1. We still don't know why it harms older people more than younger people.  An obvious reason is "immune system" -- but, actually, children have weaker immune systems than adults, as adults have been exposed to more viruses, so can deflect them more easily.  Maybe we will discover some secret of aging from the research.

 

2.  We still don't have a clue as to why flu is seasonal.  There are multiple attempts at an explanation, but nobody is convinced of any one.  One explanation has to do with sunlight and vitamin D; another has to do with the fact that people stay indoors more during winter, and therefore increase transmissibility; another has to do sunlight killing the virus; and another has to do with the fact that it's usually drier in the winter, and that it's actually moisture that blocks the virus.  I'm sure people will be looking -- more intensively than with the flu -- as to what causes the virus to spread and slow in various countries, under various conditions. 

 

Both of these will be extremely useful expansions of our medial knowledge.



#19
Cloned

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Perhaps the cell membranes in children and young people are thicker and more functional.



#20
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Lets say kemotx prediction of 300 million dead comes true.

 

1. Democrats will achieve complete dominance over federal politics as there wont be any more nearly as many boomers/silent generation voters. Swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio will no longer be swing states and lean left.

 

2. There would be a political vacuum in many countries. Many politicians are well over 70 around the world and many would die. There would probably be new leaders springing up all over the world and new political factions. 

 

3. Less taxes since less old people relying on social security.

 

4. Every country would take health care more seriously and there would be strict policies in regards to sanitation worldwide. Even countries like India and Brazil would start enforcing sanitation rules and get rid of any business that doesnt meet standards.

 

5. Lots of people would die of famine from lack of global trade. Countries that have very little arable land and countries that are poor would have the worst famines.

 

6. COVID-19 reduces lung capacity permanently in many recovered patients so there might be new health concerns in the future.

 

7. There might be more international cooperation in response to the pandemic in other fields.






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