As the weight of the impact of the Coronavirus is hitting people more as each day goes by, it appears that the tendency to prophesy doom and gloom is growing stronger. The somewhat ironic aspect of this negative forecasting is that it has nothing to do with the danger of the Coronavirus itself as calculated in the number infected or in death tolls, but rather from the consequence of the virus and the various measure of stay at home orders being issued around the world.
This was even occurring yesterday amongst my various blogs and websites that I like and read daily. One news source, which has a tendency towards gloom and doom even during the best of times, was attempting to convince its readership that we are on the verge of an impending food shortage. The article contained some decent points, but most of it was remarkably illogical and based on false assumptions. I will be spending a good deal of time during my video today discussing why this particular fear should not be worried about, but suffice it to say here that a viral pandemic does not affect national food provisions until farmers and truck drivers start dying in the millions.
The next article, which was far less gloomy and more descriptive in nature, pertained to the inevitable crash of the financial markets. And while I fully concede the fact that the virus is going to create to some economic challenges going forward, the truth is that these type of forecasts literally never stop being written. There has probably never been a time since the great depression that people were not predicting the crash of our economy. So, when forecasters perpetually cry wolf it is difficult to take them seriously.
Furthermore, to undermine an economy, in my humble opinion, you have to undermine the goods, services, and labor of that economy to fully make it crash. True, cash shortages can create all sorts of problems, but those problems are not insurmountable as our $2 Trillion Federal Government bailout recently demonstrated. I think the only way the coronavirus fallout could lead to a true crash of the American system is if it leads to some type of civil unrest. That could happen, but I’m not hearing much on the rebellion front these days as most of America is “Quarantine & Chill” mode.
And lastly, I just finished an article that was entertaining hypothetical government regime changes. Specifically, the writer was contemplating the repercussions of the powers of government becoming more authoritarian and how martial law measures could permit some ambitious politician or military officer to attempt a coup on Trump. And while I put no upper limits on the ambition of Washington politicians nor lower limits on their morality or their ability to attempt to undermine Trump, I also seriously doubt that anything like is going to take place.
Here’s the thing about huge cataclysmic events, whether they be resource shortages, fiscal, or political in nature… no one ever sees them coming. Oh sure, there’s always plenty of people who prophesy after the fact and claim that they warned us all of the impending doom and if we had just listened to them we would have been better off. But usually in such cases, these same individuals do nothing all day besides predict catastrophic scenarios. And when spend your entire life throwing shit against the wall eventually some of it will stick. There are occasions when even minded people predict catastrophe, but even they rarely are correct about the details and they never gloat about it afterwards.
What makes these types of events devastating is that people could have not predicted them ahead of time. The coronavirus is an excellent example. A year ago, no one would have anticipated that such a pandemic was capable of shocking the world the way that it has and that is not due to the fact that people believed it was theoretically impossible. It’s that we believed it was certainly improbable. And since it was a massive improbability, no one was worried about it.
And that’s the central reason why forecasts, especially negative forecasts, are usually wrong. When humans have the ability to conceive of a devastating turn of events on the horizon they will invariably attempt to mitigate that disaster from occurring and are usually successful in doing so. Anxiety leads to action unless you’re a Millennial or Zoomer in a “Literally, I can’t even” moment.
I’m not saying that nothing negative will come from this coronavirus pandemic. Clearly, that’s not the case already. But, in all probability, those predicting a specific doom will be wrong, as they usually are. The things that will be causing us distress a year from now are not the matters that we have the ability currently foresee and worry about in this present moment. Rather, it will likely be some phenomenon that we had no ability to anticipate beforehand.