COVID 19 has already brought sweeping changes to America and to the world. For the first time, a vision of true globalization is becoming apparent. But what other changes have been wrought?
Whenever there is a dramatic alteration in a culture, broad changes result. Sometimes these changes are temporary and sometimes they are permanent. Industrialization and automation brought permanent changes. Jobs became more centralized and larger cities were a result. People left the countryside filled with multi-family living and agriculturally based lifestyles to move into the large metropolitan areas where factories were offering thousands of jobs to unskilled labor. Young people flocked to these new opportunities and a new lifestyle was born.
World Wars I and II, also brought changes. Men were sent overseas and saw the world as their fathers never did. They were exposed to new cultures and new ideas which they then brought home with them. Some married women from other countries and this too brought about many changes. Small nationalistic enclaves became the norm through the birth of little China towns, little Italys, and citizens found comfort and safety in surrounding themselves with other transplanted expatriates. The dropping of the Atomic bomb created a global fear of potential Armageddons and the entire world was impacted for at least a generation with “duck and cover” drills, Hollywood disaster movies and books written about the world ending in a nuclear conflagration. Although creating a large initial impact, the bombing of the World Trade Center did not foster lasting or permanent change. What will COVID 19 bring? Will it be lasting and permanent? Will it be global?
Already we are seeing changes. Many people are finding that the jobs they held prior to the outbreak are gone, some forever. It is unclear how much tourism will be impacted, but the negative press it receives is obvious to all. How many will want to fly, take a cruise, travel if the restrictions we are currently experiencing remain in place or escalate? What about the fear involved in flying in an enclosed airplane, re-breathing the air of others for an extended period of time? Then there is the use of public facilities from dining to bathrooms. Public transportation will be evolving as well. Much of what we have taken for granted will be questioned and potentially changed or even gone forever.
Telecommuting will be a growth industry. What jobs can be handled in this manner? Education will change dramatically, both at the primary-secondary level and at the collegiate level. Who will want to pay exorbitant tuition to a school they cannot attend physically? How can a university justify the overhead they currently enjoy getting paid for facilities that are no longer available? No more parking lots, dormitories, sororities and fraternities, dining halls, etc. How can you charge for something which no longer exists? All of the people manning those positions are also out of a job. Entire spectrums of the working class have disappeared over night.
Changes in the food industry are equally dramatic. From the farmer and rancher to the meat packer and food processor, all the way to the grocers, wholesalers and restaurants, increasingly stringent measures have been taken to combat exposure to COVID 19 and the perceived threat of other pandemics coming down the road. In all likelihood, robotics will begin to replace much of this unskilled labor. New guidelines and new safeguards are even now being enacted in order to re-open society with some semblance of a return to normality.
In the area of real estate, we see high end Air BnBs, hotels, rental properties going under and offered up for sale. Those who had expensive second homes in exotic locations are starting to sell their overpriced properties and since it is becoming a glut on the market, home sales in that group are dropping like rocks. At the same time, folks living inside the cities to experience the nearness of public amenities like restaurants, museums, parks, etc. are finding that telecommuting from home with their young children running about and having to educate them on their own has proven that apartment living no longer has the incentivization and allure that it once had.
The idea of a yard for the kids and some distance from their neighbors is looking more and more attractive. Many are also looking back and wishing they had a victory garden like their grandparents or at least a space to become a bit more self sufficient as they see supplies in local grocers diminish and violence appearing in what was once a peaceful neighborhood. Many young families are looking at the need to supply summertime activities and space for their children in a crowded apartment as an unworkable situation for the long term and are therefore looking at moves to more suburban neighborhoods with yards and fences or even out to the countryside if they have the funds since telecommuting (at some level) seems to be a possibly permanent change.
Healthcare will be increasingly impacted. At this point in time, hospitals are laying off or eliminating doctors and nurses. While this, at first, seems to fly in the face of what would seem counter intuitive, given the pandemic is healthcare oriented, the fact of the matter is that all money-making non-essential healthcare/surgeries were “put on hold” for an extended period of time. As a result, hospitals can’t pay their doctors and nurses. This should turn around in the future, but there is a current need to trim the overhead of professionals who cannot or are not being allowed to work.
What will the future hold for healthcare? Perhaps we will see specialized hospitals or wings added to provide for the isolation required to deal with this and future pandemics. Certainly new training will be needed and new regimens for dealing safely with ongoing illnesses and sicknesses which spring up but are not pandemic-related. People will still get pneumonia, TB, etc. and require a physician and nurse care. If this has taught us anything, it is that we need new procedures in place to prevent a total shutdown of society in the future.
The military too has been impacted. We have ships which went into port and contracted the coronavirus. Quarantining on ships and bases has thrown a real monkey wrench into America’s ability to protect itself. New regimens must be developed to prevent this from happening in the future.
Change does not always happen in the manner we expect it to. “Never let a crisis go to waste” is a mantra from the left which seeks to impose change whenever the opportunity arises, even if the change is not for the better.
We live in a difficult time period, undergoing great changes. The biggest change is that now these alterations are occurring on a global scale and the effects of such changes are being felt in very different ways.
I was once discussing the future with a friend and he said that he thought we needed a global world government to end wars, famines and redistribute the wealth so that everyone would have what they needed. I responded that nowhere in history has this ever occurred successfully and lasted for any length of time, so how could he expect it to happen globally and forever now. I added that one man’s paradise is another man’s prison and what if the changes he saw as “good” others saw as “evil”? Where could someone run if everything were only one way on the entire planet? He didn’t believe that was possible. He thought EVERYBODY would want what he wanted. After travelling globally for most of my life I can guarantee you that everybody does not perceive the world, good and evil, food, culture, children, marriage, religion or anything else in the same manner.
Right now the best you can do is to know God, love your family and friends, prepare to be adaptable and stop expecting everything to go according to plan. Everything cycles. During this quarantine, re-evaluate your life. Make better plans. Be aware. Learn new skill sets that will be needed based upon the changes you see and not just what has always made you happy in the past. Anticipate. Learn to be happy and content with less. Let go of the material and embrace life as it comes. Life is a journey. Everything happens for a reason. God bless you and protect you in the coming days.
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