60 second summary
- The Australian government is in survival mode about the Corona Virus at the moment.
- It is focused on the priorities which will help save as many lives as possible and that’s good.
- They are talking about building a bridge which is 6 months ‘long’ – after which, they will help us restart the economy.
- One key thing that I haven’t seen discussed yet is this:
- Over time, an increasing proportion of people are going to get the disease, recover and can then get back to work.
- Figuring that out and understanding how to harness it is going to be important to the restart of the economy the government wants to ‘stimulate’.
- This situation, reminds me of a French lesson I had in 1982.
The key point I think we are missing
There are already 42 people in Australia who have been diagnosed with Coronavirus and recovered.
The evidence so far says that most of those people won’t catch the disease again.
Below : WHO Worldometer 22.3.20
There are 2 stages to the economics of this
I think there might be 2 stages of economic recovery from the Coronavirus. The key issue for me is that we don’t all get let out of the lock in at the same time. We will be drip fed back in to the ‘outdoors world’, as we develop immunity.
French Lessons with Mr. Self
I once had a cantankerous French teacher (he taught French, he wasn’t from France) called Mr. Self.
Not unreasonably, he once asked a class of which I was a member to learn the French word for ‘Today’. (“Aujourd’hui.” ) For several weeks, no one bothered to learn the phrase. In the end, he told us we couldn’t leave his class, to go to lunch, until we had been up to his table at the front of his class and spelt the word to him without a mistake.
What’s happening with the Coronavirus seems to be creating a similar circumstance to my old French class. Understanding that could help us manage the situation.
Stage 1 : Stuck in French Class :
During stage 1, the government follows the medical advice. They tell us that we need to stay at home and self isolate. They quarantine those infected with COVID-19 but with mild cases.
For many, this time period will go on for months, perhaps even as much as 2 years. Stage 1 will last for older people until a vaccine is found.
In a sense, those people are stuck in French class with Mr. Self. They can’t go out to lunch. They may as well use the time constructively and learn something useful. If we’re going to have 25 million people at home for 2 years, let’s use the time to learn the things we’re going to need to know when they get out. We could use this opportunity to focus on those things which might give us a competitive advantage in the world economy when everyone recovers.
We could use this time educating those stuck inside, using cloud services, on a variety of subjects. We could cover STEM training, Cyber Security, Statistics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These are the things we will need to know when things calm down. The government could even link the payment of benefits to the attendance of online courses.
Then, at some stage, each person who is going to gets the Coronavirus. Without putting too find a point on it they will either live or die. For those that live, I think the government should literally issue a certificate of “I’m clean.” Those with a certificate can then go back to work.
Step 2: Let out to lunch :
In this stage, those who are immune from COVID 19 can now go out to lunch and have fun.
There may be business owners who want to start their coffee shop, butchers shop or accounting company back up but can’t because they (the business owners) are still in Phase 1. Those people might want to hire a manager from the pool of certified healthy people, to execute their tasks. I run my own business from home but I have about 20 people who help out. There’s no reason why other managers shouldn’t do the same thing. Being one of the first to recover could make you a valuable person, with many different businesses interested in using you as their avatar in the field to actuate their business needs.
These people, the first to recover, could also be entrepreneurs. They will make and sell web services to the people still stuck at home. They could make the most of the situation to produce incubators, hand sanitizer and to deliver things that people stuck in their homes need. They may also be required to fight bushfires and do the other things we need in the real world.
The government can provide support to these people, when they recover, in the areas of management and business planning. It might also be useful to create a database which connects those with the required skills and a certificate, with those business owners who need help.
Banks can also get involved, assisting people in this group in business casing their ideas and providing loans to get them started.
We’re not all going to get out of French at the same time
For those stuck inside, it makes sense to use the time learning skills which will assist the economy in the future.
For those that get the disease and survive, we want to help them restart the economy. Providing facilities to connect them with business owners who will hire them and / or with the tools to start their own business could ultimately prove useful for everyone.