The thing that really frustrates me about the crises I’ve seen in my life is that, by and large, the financial devastation is 100% avoidable.
Absolutely, 100% avoidable.
Covid-19 has killed hundreds of thousands of people. That’s real and it’s not up for debate. I can’t language it away. You can’t un-dead the dead.
Money, finance, employment, bankruptcy, rent, and property ownership, by contrast, are human concepts. They are old, important concepts and I’m not suggesting that we do away with them generally … but with just a bit of flexibility during a crisis, we would have no need to fear economic ruin in addition to fearing disease and death.
With just a bit of a flex to money and property rules, the terror of economic devastation could be turned all the way down and we could let public health policy drive our response to a public health crisis.
Why, exactly, is the stock market still open while the economy is closed? That’s absolutely, on the face of it, going to lead to massive losses (on paper) while nobody can do anything about it.
Why, exactly, are we still insisting on super-strict rules of bankruptcy … so that the businesses who miss out on support by days or weeks wind up gone forever?
Why, exactly, do we have to unroll our financial problems in real-time, from home, while disease stalks the land? Why do we use the same merciless rules that govern our economy the rest of the time in times of crisis?
All the rules about money are choices, collectively made by humans.
We could make different choices, and it would be a lot better for everybody.