The three COVID economic pills: Desperation, wokeness, normalcy

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OK, let me give you the option for three pills here.

Option 1: The Desperation Economy

This might be what results short-term, but ideally not. Basically what happens in this economy is that companies are still largely run on cost-cutting (I believe that will remain true, yes) and there are millions of people looking for a basic income source + potentially benefits. Since theoretically any number is higher than $0, some people become desperate and work below their worth. This is also called “under-employment,” and it’s been a problem for about 45 years, but only reported on by the “business media” (gag me) for about five. The very notion of successful, efficient hiring eludes almost every company under God’s beautiful sun, so it’s quite likely the process will be a bit desperate for a minute. If you watched this 60 Minutes deal on “The Jobless” last Sunday, one lady is already discussing a $45,000 pay cut. That’s about $4,000/month pre-tax that you now lack access to. Again: “under-employment.”

Option 2: The Woke Economy

This is the utopia we hope for. This is the other extreme. We’ve been hoping the economy would be more driven by empathy — hell, I was writing about that in 2015 — for years. Maybe this is the wake-up call? Maybe words like “anti-fragility” and “human-to-human business (H2H)” and “radical transparency” can exist in reality, instead of the world where they help sell books? Indeed.

I was loosely part of a webinar yesterday on “Communicating Under Duress” which did a good job of acknowledging the present realities and challenges, but also nodding to a more-hopeful, overall-better business future.

This link should take you to that webinar. If it asks you for a password, try 6I!^@2?A. (No period, end at the A.)

I’m in a similar deal this Friday, if you want to register.

Option 3: “Same as it ever was…”

This is the idea that, after everything, not much will really change. People will crave normalcy so much that they will just return to their normal arc of going to an office, going to malls, going to their condo/3–2 house in the inner urban core, etc.

I think this is unfortunately the correct option because of how the human brain tends to work, what it tends to want, how it tends to perceive things, etc. But I’d nominate this if you crave an immediate return to normal:

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So those are your “three pills.” One is pretty bad (desperation), one is pretty good (wokeness and empathy), and one is somewhere in the middle leaning bad (how things were beforehand, broadly). The sheer reality is probably a bit more nuanced than that — some things will change drastically, some not at all, and every family will contextualize and process things differently relative to their state of employment, their health, their home value, and more.

What’s your take?

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