COVID Conundrums

What am I?

I used to think I was a capitalist …

‘Til the government offered subsidies to help stave off layoffs & paycuts!

When those measures were announced, I breathed such a big sigh of relief & I held my hand out. Should I be worried that I’m a (grateful!) socialist now?

Since I’m sucking at weight loss during lockdown, I’m trying to distract myself by learning a little about things I’ve ignored for years. You can’t watch the news these days without wishing you’d studied psychology, sociology, political science, economics, & maybe a little Celtic mysticism! These are soft sciences. That means that you can make a very cogent argument, that is totally meaningless, but nobody can prove you wrong. Right!?!

Very useful in these confusing times.

Over breakfast news this morning, I heard that this is “the first time prices have risen to the negative value”. They were only previously positive in the timeframe being discussed. So what the duck did this mean? Why did the guy not just say the number went down? There is some sophisticated subterfuge being employed here, & it can only be designed to keep the uninitiated outside the pale.

How is it that neoliberalism, in economics parlance, is a faith of those on the right? I thought that anything with the word “liberal” in it was at least three shades pinker than the white centre of the political divide. Are all the meanings reversed when you go from politics to economics? And now that we’re on the colour spectrum, why are Canadian liberals red, American blue? Who is being backward here!?! The conservatives adopting the reverse in both countries, of course. Is it true that the French flag represents the balance between the left and the right? And not the liberty, equality and fraternity thing, because that is just a conspiracy theory pushed by the radical centrists!

Trickle down economics. Didn’t that fade away in the era of Reagan & Thatcher? Now it’s being touted by governments again. I remember my Dad calling it “Sucking Up” economics. Because, he said, they make it look like they’re giving you something … while sticking the vacuum cleaner hose into your pocket!

I’m still sick of politicans sniping at each other. You’d never run a good company this way. It’d be like the materials manager blaming the lack of inventory on the production manager for using all the parts. When the operations manager is asked to intervene, he deflects the blame onto the temporary workers & fires them all, while requesting the human resources people hire more accountants who will recalculate numbers that look better. Without even getting into the challenges of outsourcing & upstream supply chain management, it’d be a total duckfest. So why is it a good idea to try running a country like this? Don’t we all need to be on the same team to succeed? Especially during a crisis.

One real criticism I have of our news media is the lack of real investigative analysis & critique of the COVID responses around the world. The gross data is on TV every dinnertime, but I don’t see too much detail on which countries have the better healthcare systems, for example. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about such things. Digging into those details might educate us, the general public, on some key attributes of our differing approaches & societies. Such data might influence us on how to choose our next politicians. And I’m not presupposing what that data might reveal. It might, I would hope, have an influence on how our governments makes changes for the future. Though it may touch many of us, & our families, COVID-19 has a mortality rate that isn’t threatening for most of us. Despite that, it can’t hurt if we are better prepared, in case an even more virulent & deadly KISSYOURASSGOODBYE-23 virus rolls through a few years down the road.

My biggest conundrum? If we’re all adding to the national debt, who’s loaning us the money? And can’t we just print more to pay it back? Or is there an ink shortage now!?! ๐Ÿ˜œ

Okay, so I’m having a little fun with some of this. On the premise that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. But I’m genuinely interested in learning a little more about economics. I would especially like to see some comparative studies on healthcare systems. If you can recommend a source of balanced information in any of these areas, please send it my way. Indeed, I don’t think I know any economists, so if you can introduce me to anyone in the field, I’d welcome the connection.

Let’s hope we can keep most of our jobs & that we can all come back stronger & better from this. Meanwhile, even if you feel it’s not necessary, please help make a fellow human feel a little better & safer … and if you can … wear the damn mask when you are asked! ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ˜

Stay safe out there, all.

The Yin & Yang of COVID-19

We’re an interesting species, are we not? It took a little while for us all to get on the same page with respect to this whole social isolation thing. Thankfully, I think, regard for human life overcame the desire to protect the economy. Most people made it to this perspective, for the most part. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how it unwinds.

If we come up with a vaccine or a cure, better still if we had both, it would be an easier transition back to something resembling normalcy. Perhaps we might even achieve a new, hopefully better, version of normal. It would be nice if we learned from the experience & were better prepared for some future outbreak. Anyone up for improvements & support for our healthcare people & systems at the moment? Might we be a nicer & kinder society afterwards?

The alternative paths are fraught with trepidation. It will be interesting to see what the tipping points might be. And to see who might be trying to put a thumb on the scale along the way. As the virus makes its way through the population, there will be a point where a significant percentage of people will have contracted COVID-19. And recovered. Will this growing group want to remain socially isolated, in order to protect those who have yet to be exposed? At some point, there will be enough of us thinking in a way that might be contrary to our personal feelings on doing what we previously though of as the right thing. The larger the numbers holding such a perspective, the more readily we can join the crowd. While we generally like to see ourselves as loving & kind, sometimes, it is fear that encourages us to be so. Remove the fear for self & our concern for others can diminish too. Replaced by our concerns for our financial health & other matters. Valid concerns, these too.

These days, we are influenced by social influencers on social media. Politicians, musicians, & tacticians from a wide variety places & spaces can get inside our heads. There are so many mounds that can be found to preach a moral story from. Yes, staying home to protect Grandma is valid. So too is getting Jack back to work, so he can feed his family. But what if Jane wants to return to work too, but fears for her life because of an underlying condition? What about making that mortgage payment? Paying the rent? Companies, small & large laying off their people. All devastating worries & legitimate, perspective-altering situations. We can all think for ourselves, of course, but it can’t hurt if we hold on to the better part of our nature, as we make these decisions together.

Individually & collectively, we have some yin & yang going on. In the same way that I can never quite figure out which is the good one, I struggle with trying to figure out if I’m inherently nice, or just being so because it’s serves me better. I have to acknowledge that I would be greatly relieved to find that I’d already had the damn thing & was now immune. But I would, at the very least, wish the same for everyone else. It’s not going to be easy but here’s hoping we can stick with the will of a kind majority, & the rule of law, ’til we get to the other side.

For as long as I’ve been socially isolated though, I’ve had a cough, cold or flu bug. I am doing the social distancing thing by the book. How on earth am I catching these things!?!

One thing I’m not doing well with at the moment is dieting. Tomorrow is the first of a new month & I’m dreading stepping on the scale!

I’m almost questioning my own sincerity now, but I think I hope that you’re all doing okay out there!!! ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜