What I've Learned From the Coronavirus Crisis

Jan 2015
4,315
2,906
MD
Capitalism is very fragile. Nothing about our current lifestyle of consumption is sustainable in the long term. We might be able to keep it afloat for a little while but eventually, probably within our lifetimes, it's going to come crashing down. We've been experiencing all of this "prosperity" and "progress", but all it took was one little global pandemic to crash the stock market and the oil market -- sending the entire world into mass panic. Imagine what's going to happen when all of the sea caps melt and sea levels rise; when we run out of oil (which will most likely happen in my lifetime). We're screwed. It's all downhill from here. Appreciate everything you have right now, and everyone in your life because these are the end times.
 
Nov 2013
3,084
1,485
NM
Capitalism is very fragile. Nothing about our current lifestyle of consumption is sustainable in the long term. We might be able to keep it afloat for a little while but eventually, probably within our lifetimes, it's going to come crashing down. We've been experiencing all of this "prosperity" and "progress", but all it took was one little global pandemic to crash the stock market and the oil market -- sending the entire world into mass panic. Imagine what's going to happen when all of the sea caps melt and sea levels rise; when we run out of oil (which will most likely happen in my lifetime). We're screwed. It's all downhill from here. Appreciate everything you have right now, and everyone in your life because these are the end times.
We can fix the energy issue - either improved nuclear reactors, or solar arrays in space, or fusion (but fusion's been just 30 years away for a long time now). The solar in space looks more doable, it's a question of materials science - which is incremental. If we can build the skyhook - a kind of free ride into low Earth orbit - we could build solar arrays tomorrow.

Somehow, the novel coronavirus-19 pandemic wasn't expected - although we kept getting hints that it - or something like it - was lurking out in the previously unexplored corners of the world. We'll get better @ it, we have to; or we'll succumb to a slightly more aggressive pandemic in future.
 
Jan 2015
4,315
2,906
MD
We can fix the energy issue - either improved nuclear reactors, or solar arrays in space, or fusion (but fusion's been just 30 years away for a long time now). The solar in space looks more doable, it's a question of materials science - which is incremental. If we can build the skyhook - a kind of free ride into low Earth orbit - we could build solar arrays tomorrow.
Nuclear energy is pretty unsafe. Idk if solar as it is right now is as capable of powering modern civilization as oil is. It needs more development, and hopefully we are able to see it's full potential. As it stands right now, if we don't find sustainable energy soon, or if we don't change our lifestyle (will never happen) modern civilization is over.

Somehow, the novel coronavirus-19 pandemic wasn't expected - although we kept getting hints that it - or something like it - was lurking out in the previously unexplored corners of the world. We'll get better @ it, we have to; or we'll succumb to a slightly more aggressive pandemic in future.
Capitalism has had hundreds of years to adapt to these kinds of things. How many even deadlier pandemics have we had? First world countries were able to get a handle on HIV/AIDS through education, easy access to treatment, etc. However, it took something even more contagious like COVID-19 to send the entire world into a panic. Even American intelligence has reported on how unprepared we were for a pandemic disease. Imagine if, God forbid, something even more contagious and deadly affected the world.
 

RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
42,268
30,801
La La Land North
I'm not that much of a doom and gloomer even though I am sufficiently old that I may not see the return to January levels of overall "goodness" economically.

But what we are seeing here is, as so often is required for a real disaster, the convergence of a whole herd of negative things at virtually the same time.

The markets had been overheated and everyone was expecting a correction of some magnitude. This is a natural and basically healthy reset that happens with fair regularity. And then after a surprisingly stable peace between Saudi and Russia on production limits, the agreement broke down and Saudi, being the richer gun if not the bigger gun said OK Putin, we got the cash to outlast you and let the price tank. And although low oil prices on first glance seem good for people and business, in fact the US became a major oil producer, but most of it is now high cost shale oil, which at these prices is no longer economic. So a very large industry in the US is shutting down.

And then there is Dopey Don and his stupid trade war. I'm not wanting in this thread to go into the whole "short term pain for long term gain" argument about the trade war with China and Europe but this is now. It is the short term effects that are compounding the current situation.

But the real One Ring to Bind them All is Covid-19. This could not have happened at a worse time. Much of the world is shutting down. Supply chains are drying up. People are scared and not buying things other than toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

But, this too will pass. The question is will it be in one month, 6 months or 5 years?
 
Nov 2013
3,084
1,485
NM
Nuclear energy is pretty unsafe. Idk if solar as it is right now is as capable of powering modern civilization as oil is. It needs more development, and hopefully we are able to see it's full potential. As it stands right now, if we don't find sustainable energy soon, or if we don't change our lifestyle (will never happen) modern civilization is over.

Capitalism has had hundreds of years to adapt to these kinds of things. How many even deadlier pandemics have we had? First world countries were able to get a handle on HIV/AIDS through education, easy access to treatment, etc. However, it took something even more contagious like COVID-19 to send the entire world into a panic. Even American intelligence has reported on how unprepared we were for a pandemic disease. Imagine if, God forbid, something even more contagious and deadly affected the world.
If we put solar collectors in orbit, they'll generate power 24/7. Beam it down (microwave?) - to wherever you want it.

HIV/AIDS wasn't all that contagious - once condom use was heavily promoted & retroviral cocktails were developed. It's the ick factor (VP Pence's take, I believe) that caused lots of problems initially, in terms of simply facing the problem as a public health issue.

Even American intelligence - Yah. You know, that's setting the bar fairly low - the US intel community (all of them, apparently) missed that the USSR was failing economically & politically, that radical Islam was going to be a thing, that hiding covert action money sources within drug smuggling into the West was a no-win unsustainable & incredibly foolish plan of action, that Vietnam was properly France's war, & we (the US) should never have gotten involved in subsidizing the French effort there @ all, & so on.

We're pouring billions of dollars, the best technological & engineering brains into weapons systems. Nice paychecks & sweet technical issues, but we need those resources put into strengthening our education, engineering, scientific & related issues. Strong citizens & infrastructure can always develop weapon systems, if it comes to that.
 
Dec 2018
6,734
1,984
New England
Capitalism is very fragile. Nothing about our current lifestyle of consumption is sustainable in the long term. We might be able to keep it afloat for a little while but eventually, probably within our lifetimes, it's going to come crashing down. We've been experiencing all of this "prosperity" and "progress", but all it took was one little global pandemic to crash the stock market and the oil market -- sending the entire world into mass panic. Imagine what's going to happen when all of the sea caps melt and sea levels rise; when we run out of oil (which will most likely happen in my lifetime). We're screwed. It's all downhill from here. Appreciate everything you have right now, and everyone in your life because these are the end times.
We've learned nothing of the kind. The markets will survive this. In fact, if you have some spare cash, now is a good time to buy.
 
Jan 2015
4,315
2,906
MD
If we put solar collectors in orbit, they'll generate power 24/7. Beam it down (microwave?) - to wherever you want it.
Whether or not they can power things like cars the way that petroleum can hasn't been proven.

HIV/AIDS wasn't all that contagious - once condom use was heavily promoted & retroviral cocktails were developed. It's the ick factor (VP Pence's take, I believe) that caused lots of problems initially, in terms of simply facing the problem as a public health issue.
I know. That's what I said.

Even American intelligence
- Yah. You know, that's setting the bar fairly low - the US intel community (all of them, apparently) missed that the USSR was failing economically & politically, that radical Islam was going to be a thing, that hiding covert action money sources within drug smuggling into the West was a no-win unsustainable & incredibly foolish plan of action, that Vietnam was properly France's war, & we (the US) should never have gotten involved in subsidizing the French effort there @ all, & so on.
They're right about this. We weren't prepared for the coronavirus. At all.

What else aren't we prepared for?
 
Jan 2015
4,315
2,906
MD
I'm not that much of a doom and gloomer even though I am sufficiently old that I may not see the return to January levels of overall "goodness" economically.

But what we are seeing here is, as so often is required for a real disaster, the convergence of a whole herd of negative things at virtually the same time.

The markets had been overheated and everyone was expecting a correction of some magnitude. This is a natural and basically healthy reset that happens with fair regularity. And then after a surprisingly stable peace between Saudi and Russia on production limits, the agreement broke down and Saudi, being the richer gun if not the bigger gun said OK Putin, we got the cash to outlast you and let the price tank. And although low oil prices on first glance seem good for people and business, in fact the US became a major oil producer, but most of it is now high cost shale oil, which at these prices is no longer economic. So a very large industry in the US is shutting down.

And then there is Dopey Don and his stupid trade war. I'm not wanting in this thread to go into the whole "short term pain for long term gain" argument about the trade war with China and Europe but this is now. It is the short term effects that are compounding the current situation.

But the real One Ring to Bind them All is Covid-19. This could not have happened at a worse time. Much of the world is shutting down. Supply chains are drying up. People are scared and not buying things other than toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

But, this too will pass. The question is will it be in one month, 6 months or 5 years?
This isn't "doom and gloom". Capitalism is extremely vulnerable to sudden crises and this situation proves it.

We've learned nothing of the kind. The markets will survive this. In fact, if you have some spare cash, now is a good time to buy.
The markets will survive, for now, but this proves that there are serious vulnerabilities. It's like playing a game of Jenga: We've built a complex and unsustainable mess, and removing the wrong piece from it will bring the whole thing down.