Voyageur, July-September 2020

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Post COVID-19: What Should We Expect? By Greg Beatty, J.D., Business Development Consultant

COVID-19 has disrupted everything with whiplash effect. The science is unsettled, there’s no single approach by governments, and news coverage is schizophrenic. Let’s examine what is expected for society, community, family and personally.

Working Definitions A prediction offers a statement of what will happen in the future based on an inference of events or knowledge. An expectation has something added to the prediction: a state of readiness, a mindset, for an event about to happen. In the case of the current pandemic, determining expectations and personal reactions is akin to the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance.

The Wizards To consider what lies ahead, and to fast track to the acceptance stage, we reached out to thought leaders around the world, including a former Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a Harvard PhD, an entrepreneur developing software for a global real estate online platform and virtual ecosystem, a UK-based food and hospitality expert advising leading hotel chains for post COVID-19 readiness, and a Thailand-based Buddhist professor with extensive scholarly credentials. We’ve selected the most interesting range of expectations and add our personal expectations. Here’s what we might expect.

Society: Expect our Rights to be Re-set Governments knew that a global pandemic was possible, but there was no readiness. The proverbial phrase: This was not a black swan; it was a gray rhino. Governments reacted postpartum with a comprehensive business shutdown instead of targeted protection to those most vulnerable. They mandated restrictive policies to flatten the curve, some more draconian than others. Collectively, they appear to try an economic solution to a health problem. Taking a broad view, think about the choice we have in front of us. Which would you rather: • Go back to business-as-usual (more deaths, especially amongst the elderly and vulnerable; and fear of social engagements until heard immunity is achieved) • Lock-down for all until we have a vaccine (with 10 July-August-September 2020

economic catastrophe) • Asian-style tracking (mass government surveillance, as started by China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) Expect governments to drive us to the third option. We’ll slide right into a new regime of mass government surveillance. We´ll thank our authorities for it! They´ll present it as having our cake (health security) and eating it too (less economic disruption). The strategy, quite possibly, is a temporary lockdown with two purposes: • let fear extend • prepare the systems for mass surveillance Initially, reports focused on the daily COVID-19 death totals without detailing demographic breakdown. Without information there is no insight, only fear. The lockdown in varying degrees will remain until Big Brother 1.0 – not the vaccine - is ready. Expect Big Brother to come faster than the vaccine. This is what makes the authorities comfortable with putting in place mechanisms to address a V-shaped recession: it is "fundable" for some months through bailouts of corporates and workers alike. Then mass surveillance begins, and we will move into a different socio-political arrangement. It’s Orwell wrapped in Kafka inside John Le Carre. Security above everything. And hierarchy as a way of delivering it. For those still skeptical, we share with you what is already happening in Europe. Spain and other countries in the European Union have restricted freedom of movement of its citizens to one kilometer from home. Further, there are more than ten additional restrictions on movement, most of which carry a minimum fine of 1,500 Euros per act. For those fortunate to have a second home for vacation, travel between residences is another fine of 1,500 Euros. Celebrations are forbidden too. Each person in attendance is subject to a fine of 10, 400 Euros. Fines are issued on the spot. Recipients are advised to remain courteous with the administering official or receive an additional 1,500 Euro fine. The granularity of restrictions rises to a black comedy. Picture this: a family of four is not allowed to venture out for a neighborhood stroll. Only one parent with the kids per time out, and the venture must fit one of the five designated time blocks based on age group. After being locked up in the same home for hours, husband


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