Historian Niall Ferguson cites “the most succinct statement I’ve yet seen of the “massive enduring social and economic change post-pandemic” hypothesis.”
TV News>>YouTube stars
Corporate journalism>>Citizen journalism
EU/EEC>>27 sovereign states
I’m surprised he didn’t also include Stores>>Home delivery.
Of course, the degree to which these changes happen and are sustained will be largely a matter of how long the coronavirus pandemic lasts and how definitively it is suppressed. But even if coronavirus continues as a recurrent plague, none of these trends are likely to be absolute. For example: Offices>>Remote work…my own experience with new-business initiatives, both in existing corporations and in startups, suggests that there really is a lot of advantage in the in-person human interaction. Some of these never would have gotten started in the first place unless such interaction had taken place. And, of course, there are a lot of things that can’t be done at home, including most manufacturing and all construction work. Ditto transportation. And I’m not sure what TV News>>YouTube stars has to do with coronavirus or other epidemics, given that neither modality need involve person-to-person contact.
Assuming that coronavirus is largely or completely suppressed, what are the long-term effects likely to be? Are there now so many people who will have been exposed to the convenience of on-line grocery shopping that they will feel little need to visit physical grocery stores? Will spending half a day at the mall ever again be a thing? Will people want to be densely packed into a movie theater or will they just decide that streaming movies at home (especially with large screens that I bet a lot of people are buying under the current circumstances) is just as good and a lot cheaper? How about airline travel (or sea travel) for vacations?
Colleges..traditionally, the on-campus college experience was (at least supposed to be valued) for free discussion and interaction with professors. Yet much of this has already been suppressed, both via giant lecture classes and by fear of creating offense. College was also valued for its social opportunities, especially those involving dating and mating and the finding of spouses. Yet reports indicate that this has become pretty awkward due to the administrative sex police and their frequent condemnation of people (especially men) with no form of due process. Plus, people are now getting married a lot later, so the pressure to find someone during one’s college years is less-strong than it used to be.
In his tweet, Niall Ferguson also makes the excellent point that “I’d be more persuaded if there were evidence of comparable changes after the (much more lethal) 1918-19 influenza pandemic.” Although media influence in those days was much less comprehensive and continuous; also, many alternatives that exist today (such as work-from-home as opposed to work-at-the-office) really weren’t feasible in those days.